Greetings. The last month has been interesting.
I was able to attend the SEG meeting, late September in Houston. As an affiliated Society CSEG has four seats on SEG’s Council. A couple of years ago SEG Council was re-tooled, if you will, to foster a decentralization out of Houston. This is an intriguing development viewed from a CSEG point of view, considering recent CSEG efforts to operate beyond Calgary.
To that end CSEG has increased its University outreach programs across the country. We have established a Distinguished Lecture Tour. I express thanks to the committed volunteers who operate those programs, not least of whom are the Distinguished Lecturers themselves. They are not paid to lecture (though expenses are covered). In the past they have made all their own travel arrangements. Historically they have had to take time from work (and generous employers are hereby thanked!). They will continue to do so. As the CSEG’s CDL matures, currently under the leadership of the considerably capably former CDL Lee Hunt, guidelines and procedures are being established to reduce the burden on the Lecturer. By way of example, Don Lawton delivered his lecture 28 times (several times in the United States), making all the arrangements himself, and in doing so brought much positive publicity to the CSEG and Canadian geophysics in general. To Dr. Lawton, the founders of the CDL program, and the other lecturers – thank you. Check www.cseg.ca for details on this year’s CDL Tour.
Similar thanks are due to the Foundation’s University Student Outreach (USO), Scholarship and Career Fair Committees. These groups all reach outside of the CSEG’s traditional Calgary territory to engage young people and let them know about our corner of the business/technical world. Al Chatenay once told me one of his first supervisors told him that geophysics was a “life of science and adventure” – played right it is true and we are fortunate. Back to the matter at hand, CSEG is re-energizing its Ambassador program – an effort to reach out to groups of our membership situated (typically) near significant geoscience universities across the country. John Logel deserves thanks here for taking on that effort from Kelowna, and for being ready to cooperate with the USO folks in doing so.
Now, back to the SEG, as in 2012 CSEG executive committee members were able to sit down with key members of the SEG’s executive, notably outgoing President Dave Monk, current President Don Steeples, and the next President Chris Liner. Dave introduced me as ‘the guy who wrote in the CSEG RECORDER that the CSEG has 10% of the SEG’s budget but 2% of the SEG’s staff”. A slightly embarrassing moment to be sure, but Dave was, as usual, accurate. That statement appeared a few months ago in one of these columns along with an explanation of why it is possible (1. we are concentrated in Calgary providing an ease of getting things done, and 2. we have a superbly committed volunteer community). We had a good discussion and we intend to continue working incrementally to achieving value for our respective memberships via the Memorandum of Understanding we signed last year, and its guidelines for general cooperation.
While in Houston Jim Racette and I also had a very productive discussion with members of the Geophysical Society of Houston board (Tad Smith, Rob Stewart and Paul Schatz) about gearing up a similar agreement between GSH and CSEG. The two groups are of similar size, and similar relationship (in some ways) to the SEG. Tad and I followed that meeting with another in early October in Calgary. CSEG and GSH boards will be considering cooperative efforts in the near future.
Despite this being a CSEG column I will end, as I began, with a discussion centered on SEG Council. As an affiliated Society of our size CSEG has 4 seats on the SEG Council. The main issue before SEG Council this year was a motion designed to ease the application process for new members to Active member status. Loosely, to be an active member of SEG one must have 8 years of membership, a technical interest in the practice of geophysics and the signatures of three Active members on one’s application form. The motion on the floor (marred by confusion over the exact text and its intent) seemed to be simply a provision allowing for the requirements of Active Membership to be self-declared by the applicant, rather than compelling the applicant to provide a mini CV and three named references. As near as I can tell, the difference between Active and Associate is this: an Active member can vote and hold office and an associate cannot do either. An Associate pays the same dues as an Active member. As the President of an affiliated society with a vibrantly single class of membership, I found myself thinking that I’d be more than a bit frosted if I were an associate member whose money was welcome but whose opinion was not. The discussion was interesting and heated. I heard a couple of times that there was a concern that people would gain ‘backdoor access’ to active membership as though it were some kind of exclusive club. In any event the matter was tabled for study and future consideration by the Council and I became aware of a third reason that CSEG is able to operate with such a small staff with respect to its budget: our membership is inclusive. In terms of ‘promoting the science and practice of geophysics’ I am, as a thirty year P.Geoph. in Alberta, and as a registered P.Geo in Saskatchewan and BC, no more and no less invested in this arena of applied science than the data broker who finds me the data with which I help organizations make decisions, the party chief (and indeed his line crew) who acquire good ‘numbers’ for me in the field, the software marketing guys who give me access to the toolbox with which I ply my profession – and so on.
So, to ALL of our Members, thank you for making the choice to join the CSEG. Your presence is welcome and I urge you to be as active as you can in our world. Run for office; support our activities. Your talents can be put to good use and contributions, from each and every one of you, are appreciated.