In January, I shared that ‘one person with a commitment can generate interest to more than 100 people’. What was meant to be said was that ‘one person with a commitment can produce more than 100 people with an interest’. The more commitment one has, the more likely one will make an impact. The question becomes where does commitment come from? The answer is passion. My message this month is about passion, and the direction of Gulf Coast Section educational initiatives.

Passion is closely intertwined with fierce resolve, the second half of servitude leadership. It is an intense driving, deeply stirring desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. It comes from within the heart, and is the difference between frustration and serenity. Passion is behind the energy of greatness. People with passion live in the ‘now’ and make changes in the world today. But when we are filled with pride, it is hard to be filled with passion. I encourage you to show that you care for those around you, and know that ‘today’ is the day to live. Know that time is life, and if you waste your time, you waste your life. Focus on all 24 hours of the day. Take time for your own emotional and physical needs, and know that time management is energy management. Match your daily priorities with your passions because 20% of our time produces 80% of our results. Always work on your strengths so that your strengths overcome your weaknesses and your weaknesses become irrelevant. Lastly, please consider giving a small portion of your passion to your industry’s professional society, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and thank you to those who already give of their time and energy.

Over the past four years the GCS has aggressively pursued a plan of putting more of our assets into worthwhile educational programs within the community with the purpose of creating foundations to elicit more interest in the petroleum industry. In 2006-07, section assets were $1MM dollars and climbing. As a result, an ad-hoc education committee was formed to evaluate options for educational giving. This resulted in the section supporting five educational programs: SPEGCS merit scholarships, CISH ‘at-risk’ scholarships, an endowment for the undergraduate petroleum engineering program at the University of Houston, the Collaborating in Houston for the Advancement of Science and Engineering (CHASE) program, and scholarships for the Houston Community college (HCC) Petroleum Engineering Technology program.

The first program is merit based scholarships, and are the traditional scholarship provided by the GCS. Over the past three average merit based scholarship spending has averaged $214,000 ( $3000 scholarships for 71 students). The second program is Communities in Schools Houston (CISH). The scholarships are provided to ‘at-risk’ youths to attend college classes. The CISH mission is to prevent kids from dropping out of school. The program is a nationwide program, and locally has over 2,000 volunteers contributing over 68,000 hours this past year. At-risk based scholarships have averaged $50,000 over the three- year period, but have steadily increased from $30,000 to $69,000.The third program was a gift to the University of Houston’s undergraduate petroleum engineering program of $250,000. The fourth program is the CHASE program, an initiative to provide math training to 8th grade algebra teachers to make them more effective in the classroom. This program was developed as a ‘grassroots’ pilot project by the SPE GCS in collaboration with HCC and the University of Houston, and was based upon significant data that indicated that 8th grade math is a hinge point in a student’s path towards advanced science and engineering curriculum. Shell currently co-sponsors this program with the GCS. The three-year average funding for CHASE was $40,219, and has grown based upon moving from a Phase 1 - six teacher program to a Phase 2 - fifteen teacher program. A larger Phase 3 program is expected. It is the hope that other companies within the industry will come alongside Shell and the GCS. The last program is the two- year HCC Petroleum Engineering Technology program scholarship. This program began in September 2007 with a SPE GCS gift of $40,000. To date, scholarship awards total $39,826. Fifty two scholarships have been rewarded to twenty nine students with an average of $766 per semester. Highlights of this program are that (1) the HCC received approval for a student chapter of the SPE, (2) Fifteen students have graduated from the program with eleven receiving support by the SPEGCS, and (3) four of the graduates are currently enrolled at the UH petroleum engineering undergraduate program.

The time has now come to begin throttling back on these programs in order to maintain a stable asset level of approximately $500,000 per year. Please feel free to research these programs further on the GCS website at, and share your thoughts with me (email : or another board director.