In these last few days before Christmas, as I’m struggling to think of anything interesting to write about, summarizing highlights of the CSEG’s activities in 2006 springs to mind. In TV sitcoms, when they resort to retrospective episodes, you know the time has come for the series to be yanked from the air. That’s probably somewhat true of my Presidency – maybe not yanked, but March is not that far away, and next year’s President, Doug Bogstie, is very busy behind the scenes as he ramps up to take over.
But 2006 will surely go down as a banner year for the CSEG, so I think it’s well worthwhile to dwell on some of the achievements and highlights of this year.
2006 saw the culmination of several years’ effort, especially on the part of Bill Goodway, when the CSEG Foundation was officially granted charitable status. The Foundation will fund activities that further the aims of the CSEG, particularly in the areas of education and outreach. The Foundation will begin active operation immediately when it takes over administration of the CSEG Scholarship Fund, but it will also gradually build up a corpus through transfers from the CSEG and donations, with the aim of becoming totally self-supporting. Donations to the Foundation from individuals and companies will be tax deductible. Many CSEG members have done well in this industry the last few years, so supporting the CSEG Foundation is an excellent way to give back to the science that has provided us with a lucrative living.
The CSEG Outreach committee, after building up its activity levels for a couple of years, really blossomed this year. Under the guidance of Helen Isaac, with the assistance of former CSEG Presidents Doug Uffen, Brian Russell and Perry Kotkas, and a considerable volunteer effort from many other CSEG members, the Outreach committee has become a force on its own. Achievements this year include:
-Twelve visits to high school career days or to talk about careers
-Co-sponsored 120 kids to the convention (KISP)
-Brought 110 kids to Seismic in Motion (with industry sponsorship)
-Attended 3 public careers shows (Calgary, Victoria, SAIT)
-Developed careers brochures and PowerPoint show for booth
-Co-founded PICC (Petroleum Industry Career Communications committee)
-On-going consultations with CSPG, CGEN, Canmore Geoscience Centre, Canadian Petroleum Discovery Centre, APEGGA
-Established a network of 9 ambassadors across Canada and overseas to promote CSEG activities
The Outreach committee has even more ambitious plans for 2007, so if any of you would like to volunteer for the CSEG, and the prospect of attending career fairs, working on school related material and the like appeals to you, this is a committee that can always use more volunteers.
A really big deal for the CSEG this year was the summer office move from 5th & 5th to the Western Union Building at 8th Ave. & 6th St. S.W. Not only was this a physical move, it was also a big philosophical change as we are now sharing a floor with the CSPG. In an overheated downtown real estate market, the CSEG in tandem with the CSPG was able to negotiate more space for less money. The great new CSEG office will be on show for all members early in the year, when the society puts on an Open House party. Details still need to be worked out, but expect an email invitation some time in January.
One area I’d really like to comment on is our technical luncheons. I feel that the quality of this year’s talks has been outstanding. Some years in the past I haven’t felt that way, but this year Jon Downton and Bill Nickerson really deserve praise for the quality of the talks they lined up for us. The task that is still fresh in my memory is the one given by Paul Anderson and Ron Larson in November. This talk had some theory, some processing, some interpretation, some marine data, some onshore data, some drilling results, some new technology – what more could you ask for? Many of the other talks in 2006 have been equally interesting. I look forward to more of the same in 2007.
The joint convention in 2006 was a big financial success. Although the joint conventions undoubtedly take more cooperation and patience behind the scenes, it is clear that geologists and geophysicists attend them in greater numbers, and companies, both on the service side and the production side, are more generous with their sponsorship. With attendance in the vicinity of 4,700 our convention ranks as one of the biggest earth science technical conventions in the world, and it is a worthy showcase for our local technology and talent. In the past when the CSEG enjoyed healthy profits from the convention, it created somewhat of an awkward situation for a non-profit society. Now with the Foundation in place, the CSEG can feel good that when good years allow it, excess funds can be channeled towards worthy, mandate-consistent causes.
In 2006 the Junior Geophysicists’ Forum matured from a somewhat experimental social to a regular annual event operating under the guidance of the Outreach committee (again!) One reality our industry faces is a dearth of people in their thirties. There is a big chasm between the 20-somethings and the 45 year old and up baby boomers. The JGF has evolved into one small bridge across that gap. The way I look at it, alcohol has obviously been a highly effective tool used by humans to bridge the gender gap, as evidenced by our sheer numbers. Surely it can also be effective to help foster relationship building and communication between our youngsters and old-timers!
I’ve touched on just a few of this past year’s highlights, but of course there were a lot of other people and initiatives that I don’t have room to mention. Our society is healthy, both financially and philosophically. We’re working on many positive things that promote the science of geophysics, and foster fellowship among our members. It looks like we have a strong group of new executive members coming in, and some exciting new initiatives on the books for 2007. If you’ve considered volunteering for the CSEG, now is a great time to do it.