I am honored and humbled to serve you as the SPE Gulf Coast Section chairman for the 2007–08 program year. I plan to use this column to continue bringing you news and information to stimulate your interest in and increase your understanding of what is a large, diverse, and dynamic Section. Our Section kickoff meeting was held in late August, and by now most committee budgets have been submitted, reviewed, and approved. The Section calendar is getting full so please take the time to scan the many opportunities for attending a study group meeting or course on one of the variety of technical, business, or career topics.

One of my avocations is off-road dirtbike racing. Not the big-air of motocross but the down-to-earth fun of trees, rocks, roots, mud, and ruts. Incidentally, avocation (I have recently learned) is a term favored by life insurance companies for dangerous hobbies they intensely dislike! Ruts are an interesting problem; sometimes they can be the safest and fastest line—a nice smooth groove through a corner otherwise filled with obstacles. After too many passes, however, the rut eventually becomes so deep that your footpegs and boots start to drag, slowing you down and actually becoming less friendly and more dangerous, even slower. Eventually you realize that the rut is no longer your friend.

The less-smooth path outside the rut might take a little more effort, but now it is required to stay competitive in, and enjoy, the race. To escape that rut, sometimes you have to close your eyes, commit, and gas it. Well, maybe not close your eyes, but rely on your knowledge that while the first few seconds might be a little more uncomfortable than the rut, the challenge is fun and you won’t be left behind by the other bikes. Very satisfying.

We all get into a career/technology/network rut at times. I know I fall into them all the time. Finding the courage, time, and energy to gas-it out of that rut is hard. The Gulf Coast Section is here to make it easy. Take the time to really read the events in this newsletter, and then go to our web site to check for any recent meeting additions and other valuable information and to register to attend. I know there will be something there you will find interesting. So, twist that wrist, register, and bust out of that rut! Trust me, it is much more fun to ride with your friends in the lead pack than by yourself in that rut. Decide this year to make SPE Gulf Coast Section into one of your avocations—it is not dangerous I promise!

Please feel free to contact me at any time for any reason at ashook@bluerockenergycapital.com.