One Team, Sharing Our Strengths


One of my responsibilities as chair is developing a theme for the Section year. During the past year, I have had the luxury of leading the Long Range Plan Committee, which gave me the opportunity to review annual reports in detail and discuss the future of the GCS with many Section leaders and members. These reviews and discussions led to the theme: One Team, Sharing Our Strengths.

What does “One Team, Sharing Our Strengths” mean?

“One Team” helps us remember that no matter how many different study groups, committees, board members, support staff, and volunteers the GCS has, our high-level goals are the same. Although each group may set its own objectives, venues, teams, and speakers, we work together with our focus on the mission of the GCS.

“Sharing Our Strengths” highlights how the Gulf Coast Section has much to share and is willing to do so. Our strong asset base is but one part. Our strengths include a large active membership, diverse programming, strong Young Professionals group, and Section organization, to name a few.

What are some of the ways we can put our theme in action?

1) GCS members know who we are and why we exist
We should all step back on occasion to remember why the Gulf Coast Section exists. Our mission outlines this very well:

The mission of the Gulf Coast Section shall be the promotion of mutual cooperation in furthering the objectives of the Society of Petroleum Engineers International Inc. This shall be accomplished by:

  • Providing forums that afford members the opportunity to upgrade and maintain professional competence
  • Providing social interaction that increases member participation in Section activities as a whole, while striving to maintain the integrity of the Section
  • Supporting programs in area primary and secondary schools to encourage students to develop their abilities in mathematics,  - science, and engineering
  • Supporting engineering programs at the university level
  • Enhancing the image of the oil and gas industry by sponsoring community service programs

2) Open and effective communication
With a Section as large as ours, communication is vital to our success. We should be willing to share our successes and our failures with each other. Our communication networks should be efficient and look toward the future.

3) Continued technical outreach
The diversity of our programming is evident. But are we reaching all of our membership? The GCS is not just the Houston area; it covers 29 counties in southeast Texas.

Are there other Sections that could benefit from our programming? Our web site has Podcasts of distinguished lecturers, but are there other methods of technology dissemination? Could we have a joint meeting with another Section across the globe?

4) Continued community and educational outreach
Our community and educational initiatives are too numerous to mention here. These committees continue to bring forth new initiatives each year.

5) Build on our successful social events
Our Golf Tournament is the second largest one-day golf event in the United States. Our Sporting Clays events are some of the largest oil industry events of that kind.

6) Sound execution of new initiatives without sacrificing core operation
As you have read in this column during the past few years, we have made many educational and community investments. We should continue to evaluate the effectiveness of these investments as well as ensure all volunteer needs are filled.

Every year the Section’s finances are reviewed by an independent accounting firm. We have had exemplary reports, and our goal is to continue this track record.

7) Retention of members
The GCS should make SPE membership relevant to our members by communicating benefits of membership and providing diverse, high-quality programming. Our volunteers should know they are appreciated and their time is valued.

Yes, there are many goals noted here, but as noted “Father of Advertising” David Ogilvy once said, “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.”  The GCS continues to set our sights high.

Good Bye, Susan; Welcome, Sid

In October, Susan Howes’ term as Gulf Coast North America Regional Director will come to an end. Susan will transfer her responsibilities to our new Regional Director, Sid Smith Jr.

Thank you, Susan, for your active support of the GCS. Susan is a long-time member of the Section and has served the GCS in many capacities including vice-chair, chair, and past-chair. Her historical knowledge of the Section has been invaluable to many of us. Although she is “retiring” as regional director, she is not leaving the GCS; we look forward to her support in a different capacity.

Replacing Susan will be Sid Smith Jr. He is also a long-time member of our Section, having served in numerous capacities including chair. He was also active in the Aberdeen Section, where he also served as chair. We welcome Sid back and look forward to working with him over the next three years.

Until next month....