“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” G. K. Chesterson
My parents were both teachers and my father, who was an uncommonly gifted math teacher, and also my mentor in life, gave me many examples of how a great teacher can inspire any student to excel to tremendous heights. Following my sixteen years of work experience in the Oil and Gas industry, I have had the privilege of teaching at a great technical institute such as SAIT for the last fourteen years. I am just beginning to appreciate Henry Adams’ saying “ A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”.
I agreed to Francois Aubin’s call to stand for election as the assistant director of education with a sincere hope that I could contribute in a significant way towards the building of bridges between the seasoned veterans in the industry and the young and energetic youth in high schools and postsecondary institutions. After the initial euphoria of being acclaimed into the executive post as the assistant director of education, panic set in wondering if I would ever survive in this role no matter how genuine my intentions. I calmed myself with the thought that I could, as I have during my teaching efforts at SAIT, rely on the advice of my good friend Satinder Chopra. Little did I know I had an able and willing mentor in the always charming Director of Educational services, Jennifer Leslie-Panek. I knew I had a challenging but rewarding two years of experience in my new executive role. The best way for me show my gratitude to Jennifer for her mentoring is to pay it forward to the new assistant director of educational services, Mike Perz.
Congratulations and welcome Mike to your new role, and you do have your work cut out for you. But not to worry, if the going gets tough, we can always count on the able and willing students at the SAIT. Who knows, I may even be successful in recruiting students from the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University to join the cause in a greater capacity.
Every day I am amazed at the chance meeting with friends and colleagues that result in good endings – I would call it serendipity. My association with the CSEG and all those whom I have come to know in the executive and in the various sub-committees have enriched my life in a way I never thought possible. When I joined the Continuing Education committee chaired by Ron Hinds few years ago, my intention was to keep abreast of the new software and data processing innovations coming to the forefront in the industry so that I could enhance my teaching curricula at SAIT. I also wanted to get my students from the EXPT program at SAIT involved in the many activities that take place throughout the year so that they could develop a greater sense of belonging in a industry where they hope to begin their careers. Fortunately, not only have I succeeded in my expectations, I have had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know many great individuals such as Satinder Chopra, David Willett, Andy Dyke, Graham Carter, Hart Jensen, Michael Clement, Bill Goodway, Heather Joy, to name just a few. These individuals are true friends of the young students and have done much in being part of SAIT student activities and helping student find employment in the industry. The best way for me to repay the many individuals who have given of their time and experience without expecting anything in return, is to do my best for my students, and to have my students volunteer at CSEG activities such as the luncheons, the DoodleTrain and conventions.
I am sure Jennifer will write a comprehensive director’s report on all the activities in the past year under her directorship. I sincerely hope I will be able to at least reach the high standards she has set for me to follow. I hope to call on her experience during my year in the director’s role.
My year as the Director of Educational Services will begin with the April CSEG luncheon, and the Distinguished Instructor Short Course (DISC) to be followed by the Decennial convention (GeoCanada 2010). The ability of the CSEG to deliver outstanding services to its members depends on the members themselves. If I could be remembered for one accomplishment, I hope it would be for my achieving greater participation from our members, students in high schools and post-secondary institutions in the many activities of the CSEG.
Our industry is in a “downturn” at the moment but be assured it will boom again soon, thanks to mankind’s insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. If our society (CSEG) is to be empowered with the ability to serve our members through good times and bad, I urge you to do your best for our society and practice the wisdom of two men that will echo through eternity inspiring many towards unity and service of others:
“Gentlemen, we must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately” – Benjamin Franklin.
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” – John F. Kennedy.