My message for this month is focused on growing wisdom through building relationships within SPE. Remember that servitude leadership is defined as “humility plus fierce resolve,” and last month I shared that “humility plus knowledge is wisdom.” The proper definition of “wisdom” is the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, and “to discern” is to detect something using means other than the eyes, or to understand the differences between such things as right and wrong, or good versus bad.

Every day we are faced with choices. We’d like to believe that most of our decisions are wise ones, but due to our imperfect nature, we may at times make some unwise decisions along the way. The resulting consequences could have life-changing or devastating consequences. So, my dear colleagues, my challenge to each of you is to make better decisions by developing your wisdom. A wise mentor or friend could provide assistance with this effort, for it is said that “he who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” Reach for wisdom, discipline, and understanding; let these become your coveted friends. These things lead to integrity, which is built over time and can be lost in the blink of an eye, so guard it closely.

Building relationships implies growth, and I am pleased to report on the growth of our section membership for the current fiscal year. During the first five months of the 2010-11 fiscal year we have grown by 1,142 members, from 14,032 to 15,174 (annualized growth of 19%). This includes our student chapters, young professionals, and professionals. Our student chapters have grown by 210 members, from 810 to 1,020 (annualized growth of 62%). The Young Professionals have grown by 275 members, from 2,400 to 2,675 (annualized growth of 27%), and Professionals have grown by 657 members, from 10,822 to 11,479 (annualized growth of 14%).

The exciting thing to me is that the section has added such a large number of Professionals, and that all three groups are continuing in a positive growth curve since Summer 2010 (see Figures 1-3). By projecting the 19% annualized growth rate to year-end membership, forecasted total membership is projected to be 16,773 members – a gain of 2,741 members. I find this to be difficult to achieve, until I see that there are approximately 1,500 unpaid SPE-GCS members, folks who simply decided to allow their dues to expire. The question is: why? My thought is that the SPE- GCS value proposition dropped below their perceived worth, what they are willing to pay relative to their personal gain.

My challenge to you, the members of this section, is to continue to help us drive our value proposition upward for all current and future members through world-class dissemination of technical information. Let’s regain a significant number of these unpaid members. Jeanne Perdue, SPE-GCS Membership Director, said that “we are growing gangbusters,” and it sure appears that we are in a definite up cycle. Let’s keep it up. A significant milestone for our section regarding the dissemination of technical content occurred in December with the first section webinar for the ethics class. Subsequent to this successful pilot, a Board of Directors subcommittee has been formed to help provide guidance, policy, and implementation for this new tool. Additionally, all monthly Board of Directors meetings will be open to the membership in this format. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see an electronic library compiled of all of our monthly meetings and workshops created via webinar technology that resides within the section available at our fingertips? Rather than listening to iTunes, one could listen to SPEGCS iTech.

I’d like to close with a well-deserved congratulations to the 2011 SPE-GCS Engineer of the Year nominee, Susan Howes, and the Young Engineer of the Year, Deepak Gala. Both of these members deserve a round of applause for their enthusiasm and dedication to the section and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Deepak will be recognized at the Young Engineer of the Year banquet to be held on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Next month, I look forward to sharing thoughts regarding our educational initiatives.