Greetings. By the time this file gets ink, we’ll have turned the page on the calendar so please accept the wishes of me, the CSEG staff and the rest of the CSEG executive committee for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2014.
The past year was a decent one for the CSEG. Your society remains fiscally sound. Attempts are being made to expand the CSEG’s technical influence: the MUG, Microseismic Technology days, and the Chief Geophysicists Form’s Induced Seismicity Symposium were new (or new-ish) events for 2013. CSEG helped ‘backstop’ the impromptu efforts by Scott Leaney, Brian Russell and others to conduct a one-day seminar-style event at UBC to celebrate and honour the work of Tad Ulrych.
These are all good things, but as I write this I am reminded that 2013 held some challenges.
- Within our community several stakeholders have been through ‘stuff’. Some of our members had to deal directly with Calgary’s June flooding. This group includes a formidable former CSEG president who has had considerable influence on my career – and on many others. Characteristically, of himself and of our whole community, he has soldiered through that trouble with good humoured optimism. How many acquisition companies, for example, are doing the same right now?
- Within our community young talented geophysicists from across the country are struggling to find a foothold as geoscientists in capital constrained extraction industries or in capital constrained academic institutions.
- Within our community prodigiously capable researchers and academic mentors work hard to inspire young minds and push science forward in those same institutions.
- Within our community a number of members find themselves without employment.
For some, I expect turning the calendar page to 2014 comes as something of a relief. This begins to sound a bit low, and my intent is otherwise. The message, I suppose is resilience, and I was reminded of it at the Past Presidents luncheon.
Every December the CSEG president, past president and vice president invite all previous CSEG presidents to lunch. We tell them about the year past, and outline the year coming. We ask for their opinions because they are experienced in life and career and are collectively wise. Careers in that room started in the 1950s. Here’s the thing: those self-same challenges go back, in the familiar cycles, to the 1950s. We were advised to keep the finances sound, deliver member services in the best way we can, and keep to the traditional culture of the Society. In that context the message was clear: continue to foster a culture that allows competitors to come together and exchange ideas and continue to foster a culture that cares about the community. I appreciate the comments of all the past presidents, but I’m particularly indebted to conversations with Ralph Lundberg, John Boyd, Bob Comer, Easton Wren, Bill Evans, and Doug Uffen.
Valerie Nielson was present at the same event. She gets special mention for a series of insightful questions and she is noticeable in the room, especially in the absence of Nancy Shaw (travelling from Vancouver for lunch is a bit much to ask!). Valerie and Nancy are the only two women to serve as CSEG presidents in the ~60 years of the society’s history. About half of our membership under about 40 years of age are women and I am happy to say that 2015 will bring the third female President of the CSEG: two capable and qualified women, Flo Reynolds and Rachel Newrick, who have stepped forward to stand for election to the office of Vice President for 2014. If you have not yet voted, do so (if this issue gets to you before voting closes).
The CSEG Foundation is fiscally sound. Foundation activities are instrumental in our attempts to reach across the country. At a November meeting in Ottawa, I was approached by two Professors, one from UVic, and one from Acadia, who said essentially the same words to me: your outreach people are fantastic. We’re starting to have young geophysicists in industry say that they would not have thought about a career in geophysics without a ‘chance’ meeting at an Outreach event.
And that is a good positive note for the beginning of 2014. Stay well.