As the GCS fiscal year enters the dog days of summer, I would like to thank the many volunteers of the Gulf Coast section who have been diligently focused on supporting this organization during the past year. These folks exemplify the understanding of the formula for success and successful decision making: attitude, skill, and a strong character base. Of special note are the following individuals who are recipients of the 2011 Gulf Coast Section Service award: Chris Atherton, Business Development chair, Kevin Brady, Drilling Study Group chair, Don Dumas, Northside Study Group chair, Barry Faulkner, General Meeting committee, Nancy Giffhorn, SPE Auxiliary past chair, Steve Guillot, Permian Basin chair, Lilly Lee, Petro-tech Study Group chair, Alex McCoy, Westside Study Group chair, Philippe Mitterrand, International Study Group chair, Jim Montagna, past GCS BOD Treasurer, Jane Moring, past GCS Chair, Kishor Pitta, Reservoir Study Group chair, Chris Reinsvold, General Meeting chair, Kim Tran, GCS Communications director, and Chuck Wagner, Reservoir Study Group committee member.

We should know that everything starts with attitude, but attitude is not everything. Attitude can take you so far, but with the right attitude one can learn the right skills. The right skills are honed through dealing with problems. We should get excited about dealing with problems because problems produce patience, patience produce persistence, persistence produce character, character produce hope, and hope produce power. It is interesting to observe that when we change, everything else around us changes as well.

I am reminded of a story shared long ago by a mentor that goes like this:

Fire, water, and trust were asked to attend a panel presentation, and the question was asked, “How does one find you?” Fire responded, “to find me just look for smoke”. Water responded, “to find me look for greener grass and lush forests”. Trust responded, “you better keep your eye on me, for if you’ve lost me, then I might never be found again.”

Trust can be easily lost, and hard to rebuild. Trust is intertwined with reputation, and why is our reputation important? The answer is that our reputation determines our advantages. This is true because our values determine our behavior, our behavior determines our reputation, and our reputation leads to advantages for those with a strong character base. Therefore I offer a formula for success: the right attitude, the right skills, built on a strong character base.

Successful decisions are largely determined by the choices we make. I would like to present a few steps for making better decisions provided by another past mentor. Step 1: Seek inspirational guidance. It has often been said that a man is foolish to trust in himself. Step 2: Get the facts. Obtain as much information as you can pertinent to the decision at hand. Step 3: Ask for advice. The more advice you get, the more likely you are to win. Learn to ask questions. Be always open to and look for new ideas. Step 4: Set your goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else. Only a fool starts off in many directions. Step 5: Count the cost. Ask yourself; is the cause worth the cost? Step 6: Plan for problems. Remember that proper preparation prevents poor performance. Step 7: Face your fears. Understand that the definition of FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. We should attack our fears, and move ahead of them. And lastly Step 8: Go for It. Know that you can’t steal 2nd base with your foot on 1st.

This is my last chairman’s corner message for the SPE GCS, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be your SPE GCS Chairman for the 2010-11 year. It has been a privilege to serve our section at a high level, and I am excited about the coming year ahead. Regretfully, I received a resignation letter from Skip Koshak, the incoming Chairman for 2011-12, due to a job relocation. He accepted a great job opportunity within Shell that is located in New Orleans ( I wonder if this might signal some future collaborative project with the Delta section? ). The good news is that we found another well qualified candidate for this position, Hiep Vu. Hiep served on the GCS Board of Directors in the capacity of director at large, vice treasurer, treasurer, and secretary. Hiep was appointed and approved by the Board of Directors during the April BOD meeting. He knows the section well, and is a really good guy to work with. I believe that the section will continue to prosper and grow under his stewardship. Fellow section members , please join me in welcoming Hiep back to the board as our new GCS Chairman.

In closing, I leave you with the words again of Edward Everett Hale. “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Remember that servitude leadership is a way of life. God bless.