New Gulf Coast Section Board Member

Please join me in welcoming Jane Moring to the Gulf Coast Section Board as Director-at-Large.  Jane has worked extensively with the Delta Section in New Orleans in the past before coming to Houston.  Jane assumes the position vacated by Sally Thomas, who has recently been transferred out of the Gulf Coast Section.   Our thanks go to Sally for her help with Board activities.

Support for Education

The Gulf Coast Section continues to support education at all levels. 

The Board recently formed an ad-hoc Education Committee to study how we can best serve the educational needs in our community.   Last year the GCS Board voted to increase our scholarship program to up to $110,000 a year by increasing the number of deserving students we help.  Over the years the Section, along with the SPE Auxiliary, has given over a million dollars in scholarships.  This is an accomplishment we can indeed be proud of.  But we would like to do more.  The question is how we can put our limited funds to best use.  This is the question the ad-hoc committee is addressing.  The committee is led by our Vice Chairman Allen Shook and includes Bill Bowers, Hiep Vu, Rey Saludares, Nick Piskurich and Mark Peavy.  Please send your thoughts and suggestions to Allen.

While this study is underway, the Board also voted to provide funding for a program organized by the Environmental Institute of the University of Houston.  The Institute is planning a week-long workshop to work with science teachers.  The purpose of the project is to increase scientific and environmental literacy among teachers and interest and knowledge in science (including geology, earth / space, environmental, biology, physics and chemistry) of students in the Houston area.  The program was presented to the Board by Brenda Weisner, Director of Environmental Education.  Kermit Walrond agreed to work with Brenda on programming, offering the Magic Suitcase where helpful and exploring options to use SPE members as mentors.
At the elementary / high school level, our section recently made a donation to Communities in Schools Houston (CISH).  The mission of CISH is to provide and to coordinate student assistance services at the school campus in order to best meet the physical and emotional needs of at-risk students and to empower these students to remain in school.  CISH provides a valuable service to our community with their Houston-area dropout prevention program.  Ricky Pena and I presented the check.  Sid Smith, Sr. and Bill White are our contacts with this excellent organization.

Public Perceptions of Energy

Last November, the Chairman’s Corner dealt with issues surrounding public perceptions of energy.  In response, Simmons Bruns sent a thought provoking email, pointing out that our members are often poorly prepared to articulately defend our industry.  We tend to be well schooled on technology, but not well informed on the issues most people are interested in – how crude oil and gasoline prices are determined, the facts behind global warming and the options for sustainable energy. 

This got us to thinking.  Perhaps the Section should organize a series of Energy Issues Workshops to provide a forum for presentation / discussion of the technical aspects behind these issues.  The focus should be on technology and facts, not opinions.    Claude Thorp, Ken Arnold, Mark Peavy, Simmons Bruns and I volunteered to formulate specific plans, initially under the aegis of the Continuing Education Committee.  Again, we would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

agreed to work with Brenda on programming, offering the Magic Suitcase where helpful and exploring options to use SPE members as mentors.