Welcome to 2011!
2011 is proving to be an interesting year for our Society. As we start to turn the clubhouse corner of our elected year, Directors are looking forward to retirement, Assistant Directors are readying to take on their new roles and the incoming newly-elects are preparing to face their trial-by-fire. Please take time to thank all of the people that have put their names in the hat for this year’s election – our Society is a strong association thanks primarily to the volunteers who contribute their time and efforts.
As I reflect on the previous year as VP and look forward to May, 2011 as the incoming President, I am reminded of how strong we really are – a strength measured in all meanings of the word. Thanks to years of fiscal responsibility and careful planning, our Society is as financially strong as ever. Thanks to the immeasurable efforts of our volunteers, we have a strong foundation from which we can run programs. Thanks to the continuous training and development in the academic and commercial arenas, our annual Convention, our various workshops, the RECORDER and the Doodletrain, we are technically strong. Thanks to the undying efforts of our various social groups – the Doodlespiel, the Doodlebug, the Ski Spree and the T-Wave and others, we are socially strong. Thanks to the CSEG Foundation, the Junior Geophysicists Forum and all of the volunteer efforts to provide outreach activities, we are strong in our community. As I write this column, I realize that I can’t possibly acknowledge all of the building blocks of our Society, but I will touch on a few of the main points. After all, I will need something to write about in future columns!
In December, the Past Presidents Advisory Council met to review the society’s state of affairs and to help the existing Executive plan for the future. This is a distinguished group of former CSEG leaders, garnered from the last ten years of past presidents. This group of dedicated CSEG volunteers help keep our Society on an even keel by providing continuity from year to year. Jon Downton, CSEG Past President, chaired the meeting and John Townsley, current President, led the “state of the union” discussion, and I had the opportunity as incoming President to seek guidance from the group for the issues that I see on the horizon for our Society:
Maintaining a strong membership. One of the continuing challenges facing the incoming executive is our diminishing membership. We are a strong society, but our membership has been declining slowly each year for the past five years. Through our successful outreach programs and relationships with the academic institutions, we are able to attract students into the earth sciences disciplines, but we have a problem ensuring that there are jobs available when they graduate. This year, John Townsley will be leading the charge to undertake another poll of our membership so that we can gauge the Society’s relevance and the needs of both our current members and for our future membership.
Our relationship with our sister society, the CSPG. Another challenge, no less daunting, is to strengthen our relationship with the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and to forge a collaborative path forward. The roles of our collective disciplines are changing with the maturity of the basin within which we work, and indeed the world. There is a growing demand within our industry to have individuals trained with a multidisciplinary approach – less exploration and more exploitation – and our Society needs to change with the times in order to maintain the relevance to our membership. The annual joint convention that we hold with the CSPG is a testament to the success of joint collaborative efforts, and we need to continue to build on past successes.
JAC is evolving. Last year the Joint Annual Convention (JAC) Agreement was put on notice of termination by the CSPG as was their option under the terms of the agreement, and an interim operating agreement was negotiated to run the joint CSEG/CSPG/CWLS convention for the next four years. Our membership’s wishes – that of a collective and equitable longterm CSEG / CSPG vision going forward – will be readdressed and will guide our future strategy discussions. I will be working this year, and perhaps the next, to work with our CSPG counterparts to develop a modified long term agreement that addresses all of our mutual concerns and requirements for the future, and continue to foster goodwill between our societies.
Where will we call home? This spring marks the expiry of our CSEG/CSPG office lease. Our current home at 640 – 8th Avenue, run by Jim and Sheryl, is subleased from the CSPG, with which we share common space. We are looking for new space, and it is our Executive’s desires to establish a joint tenancy relationship again with the CSPG – to share in common area costs, as well as to continue to support a collaborative, not divergent path into the future. The search for the new office is on, whether it be in collaboration with or independent of the CSPG. At the time of writing this column, the CSPG was in the process of establishing their position on this matter. One way or the other, the CSEG office will be in a new home by July.
In November, I had the privilege of representing the CSEG at the Ottawa meeting of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences (CFES). This society is a collective of all geosciences in Canada, representing approximately 20,000 members. The CSEG is represented at the CFES table by virtue of paying a small portion of our membership fees to the CFES. While the activities of the CFES are varied and comprehensive, I believe that the highlight of the current CFES activities is their Bid to hold the 10,000 delegate International Geologic Congress 2020 (IGC2020) in Canada in 2020. Volunteers from each member society are needed for the Bid Committee, and the next CFES meeting will be held in Calgary next May to coincide with the CSEG/CSPG/CWLS 3-society Recovery Convention on May 9-13, 2011.
This year, the Earth Science for Society outreach group, led by the new 2011 Chair Rick Wierbicki taking over the helm from Annette Milbradt (Chair 2010), joins their major outreach event to our 2011 joint convention - in essence, a convention within a convention. JACC and Convention staff will handle the logistics for the ESfS initiatives, and the ESfS Chairs will sit on the convention Organizing Committee. This initiative falls on the heels of a tremendously successful collaborative event last year that saw 2000 grade school students from the Calgary area attend their own interactive earth science convention in the Corral adjoining the GeoCanada 2010 convention floor.
A tribute to one of our own. On a personal note, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the passing of a great individual – a true pioneer in many areas of geophysics. Peter Bediz has left his mark on our society, our science and indeed, our world. Peter Bediz passed away at the age of 90 on December 4th, 2010.
I met Peter in the mid eighties when John Boyd and I were looking at expanding our business into the area of potash seismic. Brash (albeit somewhat poor as it was during the NEP days) and full of what I thought were new ideas for the potash industry, I quickly discovered that Peter Bediz had already been acquiring and interpreting seismic data for the Saskatchewan potash mines since the early 60’s – a full twenty + years before our first business visit to Saskatoon.
Peter was elected the society President in 1961, when a good attendance at a technical luncheon (held in the local bar) rarely exceeded 50 people. While I only met him on a few occasions, he was quick to share his experiences and provide sage anecdotes about the history of seismic exploration in the early years. In the fall of 2004, then Assistant Editor Oliver Kuhn, Production Editor Satinder Chopra, and Turgay Ogut (Nexen Inc.) visited Peter Bediz in his N.W. Calgary home, and conducted a RECORDER interview which can be found on the CSEG website in the February 2005 RECORDER archives. Turgay and Oliver have extracted a synopsis of that article in this RECORDER in a fitting tribute to Peter.