In 2008 the CSEG and the CSPG formed a near permanent business partnership which we call the Joint Annual Convention, or JAC. The JAC agreement specified that we would hold joint annual conventions which would be run by a pseudo independent committee called the Joint Annual Convention Committee, or JACC. This was a landmark agreement in that it committed both societies to working together in co-hosting their premier event of the year. Besides being a fair sized business with revenue of slightly less than $2,000,000, the convention is the year’s most significant social and technical event. The convention is where you meet old friends, make new friends, and learn new techniques. It represents our societies, and in many ways defines our brands.
The 2008 agreement created conventions that were bigger and better than either society could host on its own. Most stakeholders that I have spoken to are very satisfied with the partnership and feel that one big joint convention annually is better than two smaller conventions. Externally, the joint convention has been a great success. Internally though, some questions have been raised.
Starting early last year we began discussions focused on including the CWLS into the convention business agreement. The discussions stalled because each meeting seemed to raise more questions, which resulted in more proposed changes to the convention business partnership. Finalizing a three party agreement became impossible because we didn’t know that the existing two party agreement was fair and reasonable. The three party discussions ended when the CPSG served the required five years notice of termination in the first week of April. This means that the 2014 joint convention will be the last under the current partnership and a new partnership needs to be formed in order for joint conventions to occur after 2014.
In my opinion, the CSPG served termination notice primarily because they and we are not certain the existing business agreement is fair and the business is well run. A good partnership requires openness and knowledge and trust, and with the hands-off type of operation we’ve been using since 2008, it seems like the trust alone was not sufficient. We felt that these types of governance questions, amongst others, require a direct operator. To that end, just before the convention we signed a memorandum of understanding specifying that for each convention until 2015 one of the societies will directly operate the convention. Hopefully, our two societies will use the next four years to build the knowledge and trust needed to extend the partnership past 2014.
Initially, the CSPG will operate the 2011 convention. But, immediately after each convention, the non-operator can elect to become operator and take responsibility for running the following year’s convention. I’m hoping that we, the CSEG, do not choose to operate the 2012 convention because that would mean we felt the CSPG did not operate the 2011 convention as well as we could have. If the operator changes every year, it does not bode well for building the trust required to create a new partnership.
Speaking of conventions, GeoCanada 2010 just wrapped up. The Challenge Bowl was great fun; I stayed on till the bitter end when Western won victory over Acadia. Oh, Calgary, where were you? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time at the convention, so I have been looking for feedback. In fact, many of us want to know what you thought of the big show this year. At the May CSEG Executive meeting we talked about an online survey to gather feedback on the convention. If all goes as planned, we will be sending the survey to you real soon.
The Canadian Federation of Earth Scientists (CFES) held their semi-annual meeting in Calgary the week before the convention. I attended and spent a day with representatives of 11 of Canada’s Earth Science Societies. Three dollars of your annual CSEG fees are sent to CFES, so the CSEG has a vested interest in seeing that our money is well spent. And, I’m happy to report, a well spent $3 it appears to be!
CFES calls themselves the Canada’s Unified Voice for Earth Science, and at the meeting we talked about three CFES initiatives. Firstly, CFES is supporting UNESCO’s GeoParks initiative to promote local tourism by protecting small areas with geological significance. Canada’s first GeoPark will be in the Maritimes. Secondly, CFES is creating CanGeoRef, which is an index of Canadian peer reviewed GeoScience articles and will be included as a part of GeoRef. Thirdly, the CFES will form a task force to put together a bid for the 2020 International Geological Congress, a quadrennial convention of Geologists. I’ve never attended an IGC convention, but given the four year cycle, perhaps it is a something like the Olympics. I enjoyed the CFES meeting and feel our support is well placed.
Sorry no photo this month. All my shots of SynCrude Mine tour turned out grainy and fuzzy. With my next column in September I hope to have a clear shot of the Ricker Wavelet on the rightmost lane of south-bound Deerfoot. It is a perfect Ricker! It is located just past the south end of the Calf Robe Bridge. My wife is growing tired of me “Pointing Out The Ricker”. Has anyone else seen it?
Besides the regular committee meetings, we are planning to review the CSEG’s long range plan. Doug Uffen, a former CSEG President and the primary author of the original LRP, will moderate our meeting. Doug’s a natural at working with groups of people and I’m looking forward to the LRP meeting and the guidance that will come out of it.
I wish you well and hope you have a great summer.