The Gulf Coast Section board surveyed members last December to determine how we can better serve you with programs that best suit your many interests. Paul Gerber, research manager with SPE International in Richardson, helped us formulate the survey which went to more than 12,000 members.About 16% responded, making the survey statistically representative of the GCS population as a whole with only a 2% margin of error.

The survey gave us valuable feedback: During the past 12 months,56% of our members have participated in one or more Section activities,and 8% have participated in more than five. About 5% of our members are active volunteers, which we greatly appreciate. Although we don’t expect involvement by everyone, we will continue to search for ways to broaden our appeal and to provide better opportunities for all.

Perhaps the item that causes me the most grief is the number of respondents who said they wanted to volunteer but hadn’t received responses to their requests. GOOD GRIEF! As much as we appreciate and rely on volunteers, shame on us for not doing a better job of reaching out. If you would like to volunteer, please attend a meeting of your choice and let your willingness be known. If that doesn’t work, drop me a line directly. I will make sure someone knows about you. I find the best way to get involved is to say “yes” whenever someone asks for help.If you say “yes” often enough, you may wind up becoming chair of the Section. (I know!) Seriously, we want, need, and value volunteers and welcome greater participation from all.

We asked our members to tell us why they were active. Learning and disseminating technology received the highest marks, consistent with the Section’s biggest activities. Our study groups meet monthly at various locations throughout the city—downtown, west side, north side, and in between. We also host major conferences—the ESP Workshop and the Digital Energy Conference—along with numerous workshops. Next month we feature the Facilities for the New Frontier Workshop and the Barnet Shale Symposium. The Section is always on the lookout for additional ideas to improve our services.

Community service also ranked high on member interest. Becoming active in SPE is a great way to give back to the community. The Section is also looking hard at how we can improve our support for education at all levels—elementary, high school and university.

Executive Breakfast

The member survey revealed that our members have good support from their management for participating in SPE activities. For this we are grateful, but to learn more about how the SPE can meet the needs of our members’ companies, we hosted an Executive Breakfast in January. 2007 SPE President Jaleel Al-Khalifa discussed the priorities for his tenure, with the primary focus on people—finding better ways to help everyone in the industry reach their full potential. His presentation stimulated an excellent discussion among the many industry executives and SPE board members present. Many thanks to our facilitator, Sara Ortwein, Exxon Mobil Corp.,for her help in making the breakfast a success.Paralleling the interests of our members, the executives felt that SPE should continue to focus on technology and on petroleum engineering. They encouraged us to find new ways of disseminating technology, using the modern tools of the Internet.They also encouraged us to continue working with young professionals, both on campus and on the job. All felt that the SPE has great credibility and that it should work to maintain its integrity and ethics.

We appreciate the feedback and advice received at the breakfast and from the member survey. Using both, the Gulf Coast Section has clear guidance on where to focus our efforts.