When I agreed to let my name stand for the position of financial director of the CSEG I had some preconceived ideas about what that job would entail. For the most part there weren’t any surprises, and I had lots of help along the way from Jim Racette, and Brock Hassel. However, the one part of the job that came unexpectedly was writing a director’s report in the RECORDER once each year. I’ve never been much of a writer so it also came with a lot of trepidation. As the deadline to submit my report approached, I racked my brains to think of what I would write about. Is anyone really interested in the dollars and cents of each line item of the monthly financials? Judging from the blank stares I get when I do my report at our monthly meetings, I suspect most of us simply trust the finances are well looked after, and would rather move on to more interesting topics.
So as the deadline loomed, I thought about many things. Do I again whine about the state of the industry, or the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, or the low commodity prices, or the crappy weather we had all summer?
I continued to procrastinate, until last week when things all seemed a bit more rosy.
It is late in September, and the mercury is currently hitting highs of 24 degrees. The world stock markets have just had a great run, and commodity prices are up. The Canadian dollar is hovering around parity, (I understand this is probably a bad thing, but for geophysicist in my demographic who dream of owning a property in Phoenix, it seems pretty good.), and I just spent the day in front of the TV watching 33 miners get pulled out of a cave they had occupied for the last 2 months. It was an incredible engineering accomplishment that brought the whole world together in the effort to save their lives. But even more incredible was the story of human will and spirits in times of adversity. I can’t wait to see the movie!
In 1996 Dan Hampson addressed the CSEG Doodlebug, as the current society president. One thing Dan said that has stuck with me for many year was…
“We work in the best industry, in the best city, in the best province, in the best country in the world.”
have to say throughout my 30 year career, that statement has rung true most of the time, and while it’s always easy to look at the half empty glass, I’d argue the glass has usually been about 80% full, and more often than not, full of a nice IPA.
Working on the CSEG committee has been a welcome contribution to keep that glass topped up. I feel fortunate to have worked alongside many excellent and dedicated directors under the guidance of two great CSEG presidents, John Dowtown, and John Townsley. While I sometimes think keeping track of the finances and preparing budgets is somewhat time consuming, it pales in comparison to the work the two Johns did during my two years on the committee. I was surprised at the vast array of functions that the CSEG executive manages, and everyone takes pride in providing the best possible service to our members. I’m proud to have been part of that team.
If you’ve gotten to this point, and still are wondering about the financial situation of the society, here is a brief summary. We continue to maintain a very healthy balance sheet. We have achieved this by continuously scrutinizing all the programs we support, and trying to predict the effects the changing industry has on the attendance of our events. Last fall we cautiously prepared the budget believing the industry was going to continue in a somewhat depressed state. The most obvious impact on the finances was going to be the revenue we received from the GeoCanada convention. Because of the number of participating societies, the pie had to be split in a lot more ways, and our anticipated revenue was going to drop by about $130,000. (As compared to previous joint conventions). We had prepared for this by stocking the war chest over the years, and we endorsed a 2010 budget with an estimated $170,000 deficit. I’m happy to report the actual revenue we received from the GeoCanada convention was $70,000, more than anticipated, and along with a few other positive changes, our corresponding deficit is now predicted to only be about $60,000. As for everything else, we are pretty much on track with budget. While attendance is down at our luncheons, and courses, our costs are proportionally down.
It would be nice to reverse this trend of declining attendance, and I urge all of us to make your friends and colleagues aware of how much the CSEG contributes to our industry, and if they aren’t members, get them to join.
Finally I want to thank the entire executive, and membership for giving me this opportunity. It’s been a fun ride, and good luck to next years executive.