I’m writing this column mid-summer, and it seems an appropriate time to give an update on the CSEG’s activities so far this year.
Let’s start with the convention. In many ways this year was a test, to see if the two societies (CSEG and CSPG) could host a joint convention on a more permanent basis, rather than just every four years. In my opinion it was successful, and a strong indication that annual joint conventions are the way to go. We had close to 4700 attendees, making it one of the bigger earth science conferences globally. The exhibit floor seemed lively, with booths ranging from small one-man operations all the way up to the big booths of the integrated multinational companies. Various acquaintances of mine reported that the technical level of the talks was high; if the processing session I co-chaired was any indication, this was certainly true. The only small complaints I heard were regarding overly commercialized talks – thinly veiled marketing presentations. Next year’s technical committee is aware of this and will take steps to discourage this kind of thing. We don’t have final financial numbers yet, but the profit generated by the 2006 convention will exceed the budget projections.
When we do have profitable years, what do we do with the profits? This is always a topic of discussion at the executive level. We all know that our industry is cyclical, and one doesn’t have to look too far back to find years in which the CSEG operated at a loss, and there will certainly be some years down the road that are the same. So we are reluctant to do anything drastic with profits. Over the last few years the CSEG has been working hard to set up a Foundation, and I am pleased to report that as of today, the Foundation is on the verge of clearing the last bureaucratic hurdle and becoming a reality. The CSEG Foundation will allow us to channel excess funds into it, without jeopardizing our not-for-profit tax status, and these funds can then be used to support efforts that further the aims of the CSEG.
By the time you read this, we should have moved into our new offices at 600, 640-8th Avenue S.W. (Western Union Building). Looking at the financial side of this move, the executive and staff are feeling quite pleased with themselves, but lucky timing had as much to do with it as anything. If we had remained where we were, we would be looking at rental rates in the vicinity of $44 per square foot including operating costs; our brand new digs, with a better layout and more meeting room space, is costing us $20 per square foot all in. The building improvements amortized over five years should add another $5 per square foot.
The CSEG Outreach committee has really blossomed lately. They have established a CSEG Ambassador program, with representatives appointed in Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto, Quebec City, St. John’s, Dubai, London, and Tripoli. These Ambassadors are making the CSEG more accessible to members in these places, and attracting new ones. As I write, Outreach efforts are also underway to create a “Reach For The Top” style contest (am I dating myself?) for Geophysics students. This initiative is part of a larger SEG one, with the hope that there will be these type of contests globally, all feeding into international finals to be held each year at the SEG convention. We’re very excited about this, as it seems like a perfect structure to tap into the universities, and get students excited about careers in exploration geophysics.
Continuing Education, in conjunction with Outreach, achieved an extremely successful first year of the Canadian Distinguished Lecturer (CDL) program in 2005, with Michael Enachescu delivering his lectures in many Canadian cities to very appreciative audiences. The Distinguished Lecturer for 2006 has been named – Brian Russell will deliver what is sure to be an excellent and interesting talk, “The old and the new in seismic inversion”. With high caliber speakers like Michael and Brian presenting across Canada, the CSEG will continue to become more of a broadly Canadian society, and will attract more members from outside the Calgary oil patch.
Two CSEG endeavours I have been personally involved with are the Doodlebug and RECORDER. The 2006 Special Edition of the RECORDER, which came out early this year, is outstanding. Containing twenty articles written by experts from around the world, it’s the type of effort that makes the CSEG a top technical society. It’s important that we continue to focus on the technical side of things, via the RECORDER, Continuing Ed’s DoodleTrain week, the Convention, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, I believe a healthy technical society needs a strong social component. For over 50 years the Doodlebug golf tournament has been the CSEG’s social highlight (although avid Doodlespielers would beg to differ!) This year’s event is back in Jasper in mid-August, and I’m really looking forward to it.
In the spring I had the opportunity to attend both the CSEG Junior Geophysicists Forum and the Convention Student / Faculty mixer. I really enjoyed chatting with many students and Geophysicists new to the industry. I feel these kinds of events are very valuable. With the pronounced bimodal demographics in our industry, it’s extremely important that the CSEG does what it can to bridge the gap between this younger generation of scientists, and the older one that I am part of.
I’ve touched on some of the CSEG highlights of 2006 so far. Of course there are many others, and lots of volunteers working away on various things. And there are certainly a few issues not going so well too, but nothing noteworthy I’m happy to report. One personal goal I have set for my tenure as CSEG President is that we get online voting and registration available to the members for this year. It looks like we are on track to achieve this. This is very important to the entire Executive. We are here to ensure that members are getting value from the CSEG, that the CSEG’s efforts our working towards fulfilling our mandate, and that the society is being run in a financially responsible and proper fashion. So far I feel we’re doing that, and having some fun too. I’ll end this column with a reminder that we’ll soon be looking for candidates for the end of year election, to fill the vacancies on the executive that will open up. So give that some thought, and please contact me if you’re interested.
Have a great summer everyone!