Section Goals
At its meeting last August, the Board adopted a set of goals for the new program year, which were reported on in the Chairman’s Corner for October. 

Now here it is May.  So, how have we done?  

We set six goals for ourselves:
1. Improve Services to Members.  Last October, we talked about the financial health of the Section, which continues today.  Because of our solid financial health, the Board has been interested in finding ways to improve services to our members.  The strongest idea was to increase funding for scholarships.

In thinking about it, we decided what we should really focus on is increasing our support for education, and do so in ways that give us the most impact for our dollar.  We formed an ad hoc Education Committee, led by our Vice Chair, Allen Shook.  Their primary goal was to “determine the best use of GCS funds for recruiting, training, and retaining engineers for the energy industry (upstream oil and gas E&P).”

At the March Board Meeting, the committee presented preliminary proposals that support their goal and the GCS Strategic Plan areas of:

  • University Programs:  The Section should support university petroleum industry related programs and encourage volunteerism.  Support for student SPE Chapters is paramount.
  • Scholarships:  The Section should continue to support scholarships for college students in engineering.  Scholarships should be our first priority for external funding.
  • Preparing for the Big Crew Change:  Recruitment and retention of engineers is of great interest to management in our industry.  The Section’s efforts toward scholarship and internships are aligned with these needs.
  • K-12 Outreach:  The Section should support area primary and secondary schools to encourage students to develop their abilities in math, science, and engineering.

In this regard we are doing pretty well.  At its March meeting the Board voted to increase our budget for scholarship spending next year to $140,000, allowing scholarships to increase from $2000 to $3000.  This year our budget was $110,000.  Last year it was $77,000.  The Board also voted to fund an additional workshop for secondary science teachers on “Exploring Earth Science: A Summer Institute”.  Earlier this year we provided support for a workshop in June.  By early March, the workshop was fully booked, with a waiting list of half again as many teachers.  Given this much demand, we decided to support the University of Houston – Clear Lake for a second workshop in August.

Plans are being formulated to further increase our support for education next year, in ways that will benefit all of us in the energy industry in the Houston area.

2. Increase Membership / Participation.  Section membership continues to grow, largely because of the influx of workers into the Houston area.  Our membership survey told us that over 48% of our members had attended at least one SPE meeting in the last year.  7% had attended five meetings or more.  All in all, this is not too bad. 

The most important reasons for participating in SPE events, we found, was to learn and share technology.  This is not surprising and remains the principle focus of the Section.

3. Embrace / Disseminate Technology.  It’s been some time since we have changed or refocused our Study Groups.  There are now 13, focused on areas of technology and areas of Houston.  If you have any suggestions about new Study Groups, we would be delighted to hear from you.

We have been actively embracing new technology.  Each Study Group has a focused email list for those interested in their area.  This now gives us better ways to communicate meetings and workshops.  If you would like to join an email list, visit our web site at http://www.spegcs.org/en/cms/?457 .  You can also subscribe to RSS feeds, a feature which has grown more popular over the last year.

We continue to search for better ways to use technology to meet member needs.

4. Renew Operating Plan.  Every three years the Section prepares a new Operating Plan.  The plan (formerly called a Long Range Plan) includes specific action items shaped by the Strategic Plan and by our By-laws.  Work on the new plan is underway.  Our Vice Chair, Allen Shook, is leading the charge.

5. Improve Section Administration.  This may be the least exciting and least visible goal for most of our members, but the Board is committed to improving how the Section is administered every way we can.  For example, we have reviewed the recommendations from our Accounting Review and adopted those that improve our administration.  We have also implemented our web-based event reporting form that should greatly improve management of the event reports, processing and recording of income and expenses, payment of invoices, and reporting of results. 

6. Have Fun!  And, of course, we want to have a good time.  Life is too short to get stressed or grumpy.  Let’s take time to enjoy our work and our many friends in the SPE.   We have tournaments in golf, sporting clays and tennis planed for the year.  The Emerging Leaders Program has organized a number of active events for young people.  And, of course, every SPE meeting is an opportunity to network with old friends and meet new ones.

Comments.  As always, I would appreciate hearing from you.  Your thoughts, suggestions and comments will be most welcome.  You can reach me at hite@business-fundamentals.com.