Chair's Corner - February 2021

Chair's Corner - February 2021

How to Volunteer with SPE?

It is the second month of the year, and while we are all hoping for positive changes in our personal lives, around the industry and around the world, we will need to continue to be patient and resilient for a little longer. On the positive side, some COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and are being administered to front-line workers and a prioritized list of individuals. This gives us hope that one day soon, the pandemic will end or at least be under control, but we should all continue to be safe. I also know that many companies in our industry had to make difficult personnel decisions last year to survive, and therefore some of our affected members are actively looking for new opportunities. For those members in transition, I want to remind you that the section has a Members in Transition Committee where SPE members and affiliates can receive support from the section, look for new opportunities, network, support each other and volunteer with SPE to remain active. This month, I will talk about how to volunteer with SPE, as it may not be intuitive for members who are not currently active.

In my August Connect Chair’s Corner article Q&A, I explained how I started to volunteer with SPE-GCS through the section’s Young Professionals (YP) Committee after about three years of inactivity with SPE. Like many SPE student members, it was not clear to me at the time how to become active as an SPE member or how to volunteer as a professional. I am sure the information was right in front of me, but because I was new to the city and had a very limited network, it took time and courage to attend a YP board meeting and get more actively involved. Some of the biggest questions I had when I first became active were: How many SPE members willing to volunteer were in a similar situation, not knowing how to volunteer? Why doesn’t a large section like GCS have an overabundance of volunteers? For a section of around 11,000 members, why aren’t all of our section events sold out?

I learned that not all our members are active because they may have personal or professional reasons for not attending section events designed for SPE members to maximize their membership. Most of our members are either not aware of all the opportunities, not proactive in seeking out volunteering opportunities or, as in my case, they're waiting to be invited to volunteer or to see an advertisement on a section email, newsletter or website saying, “To volunteer with SPE-GCS, click here." Several years ago, it felt like unless an SPE member was already active or had a network of other members who could provide guidance, it was difficult to know how to volunteer, what to do or where to go. Now that I understand the section much better, I can share that volunteering with SPE is not as difficult as it seems.

Here are three ways you could start volunteering:

  1. Reach out to someone who is already actively volunteering, talk to them about what they are doing and, if interested, join their technical group (or "study group," as we formally call them) or committee.
  2. Find out what groups or committees are in the section through the website, org. Find out when they are meeting either by accessing the section calendar or by contacting the leaders of the groups or committees you are interested in. Ask them about volunteering opportunities.
  3. Fill out the volunteer form at org/forms/ volunteer-spe-gcs/. Indicate the groups or committees you are interested in and you will be connected with those groups’ leaders.

In the US, the presidential inauguration is behind us and a new administration is in place. The impact of the new administration’s policies on the energy industry is still unknown. WTI Crude and Brent Crude oil prices continue to hover between the 40s and 50s. Baker Hughes reports showed that the rig count in the US has continued to increase compared to previous months. According to Bloomberg, OPEC+ were having negotiations on oil output due to the ongoing pandemic and to continue to support an oil-market recovery.

Within SPE-GCS, here are a few highlights this month: The SPE-GCS Membership Committee has been working on a virtual initiative to network and help SPE increase and retain members. Called “SPE’s Got Talent” (SGT), it's a virtual talent show competition and showcase, which you will hear more about it in the coming months. There is a workshop on "Predictive Maintenance Using Machine Learning" by the Data Analytics study group; and a community service volunteering opportunity to serve as judge for the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH). Check the events calendar for more information and to register.

Until next month,