With summer arrival, and its associated hiatus of sorts with many of us taking advantage of the short Canadian summer, the time is right perhaps for an update on three CSEG initiatives we hope will have long term positive impact on our Society and the work it does.

The three initiatives are:

  • CSEG Foundation
  • GeoConvention
  • Value of Integrated Geophysics initiative

CSEG Foundation has undertaken a very successful fund raising campaign headed by John Boyd and Brian Russell. The Foundation is the charitable arm of the CSEG with efforts focussed on Outreach, Education, Scholarships and so on. Details may be found at: http://cseg.ca/foundation/. The campaign, like its counterparts for many other Foundations, is an ongoing effort. To date, the campaign has focussed on individual donors, and the response has been, frankly, spectacular. At time of writing, just under $500,000 has been committed to the Foundation. These funds are destined for a combination of active program funding and additions to the overall endowment. The campaign will seek to add corporate contributions in the near future.

In an effort to be well mannered operators of a charitable enterprise, the Foundation is making effort to publicly thank all of our donors (except, of course those who have requested anonymity). From the CSEG executive though, two general messages: 1) thank you, 2) if you’ve donated and the best efforts of the Foundation to extend personal thanks somehow misses you, let me know. CSEG does appreciate the commitment.

GeoConvention is entering a new and hopefully vibrant incarnation. The joint conventions of the past few years have been conducted through a joint operating agreement that required periodic renewal. That agreement basically repeatedly convened the Joint Annual Convention Committee – the JACC. Operatorship has ‘flipped’ between the CSEG and CSPG every couple of years, with the CWLS present as a non-operating participant. While the joint conventions have been largely successful, the non-permanent structure came to be viewed as limiting, particularly in light of the increasing occurrence of ‘for profit’ workshops and conferences. The three societies, including many of their volunteers who actually put the hours in to make the conventions happen, recognized that permanence allows for continuous improvement in a way that was not possible under the JACC structure.

Accordingly, all three participating societies began, about 18 months ago, to work towards establishing a different, more permanent structure that would not affect each member society in any fundamental way.

Legal and financial advice was jointly sought by the three Societies. Various structures were considered and rejected (an early rendition was termed ‘GeoConvention Inc.’). Over the past several months the review efforts have coalesced on the establishment of a GeoConvention Partnership. Between mid-April and early May the Boards and Executives of all three Societies unanimously voted to approve executing the GeoConvention Partnership Agreement.

Operating something like a legal or accounting ‘firm’, GeoConvention Partnership has as its founding partners the CSEG, CSPG and CWLS. Revenue and capital contribution amounts are fairly fixed by agreement. The Partnership will be able to hire its own staff (another continuity measure), and no bylaw changes are required by any of the Partners. Permanence will allow multi-year marketing, and better venue and date planning. Establishing the GeoConvention Partnership is limited to a ‘general annual convention’ and as such does not affect things like the CSEG’s DoodleTrain, or the CSPG’s Gussow.

While I have not yet asked them, I suspect that the current Presidents of the CSPG and CWLS (Paul MacKay and Dustin Menger respectively) would agree in expressing thanks to the people who have spent time reviewing the various iterations of the agreement and who have spent time pondering and debating the implications in the text of each version. Time is precious: spending it reviewing the legal details of agreements is typically not a highly prized volunteer activity.

The last Convention to operate under the JACC structure will be 2014. Establishing its successor, the GeoConvention Partnership may well be the most important fiscal decision taken by each and every one of the three founding Partners in their respective histories. We look forward to success.

Value of Integrated Geophysics is the name a newly convened CSEG committee. We call it the VIG – more about that later. Discussions after executive meetings and coffee discussion with active members indicated that there is a feeling that the CSEG does a reasonable job of telling ourselves how good we are at acquiring, processing and interpreting the geophysical data we use, and that we tend to be less impressive at telling others how well we do those things and what value those activities can provide. To a degree we’re drinking our own bath water, and perhaps it’s time to quit saying, “Mmm – tasty”. (The committee as a whole had no involvement in that last sentence. That one was all me.)

The VIG will make efforts to evangelize, if you will, new methods for investigating rock properties, rock fabric and the like to our industry colleagues in the engineering and business arenas. VIG members intend to establish lines of communication to Engineering and Business societies, their convention committees and publications, in order to promote the message. They will also try to collect and create papers articles and case studies in support of the premise that geophysics has measurable value. They will seek new opportunities to promote the message. The VIG Committee is Chaired by George Fairs. The Secretary is David Gray with Technical Members John Duhault and Lee Hunt. CSEG Executive Liaison members are Ron Larson and Kurtis Wikel. Additional Advisors include Marian Hanna, Charles Welsh, Satinder Chopra, Doug Uffen and Joe Minten. Others have either expressed an interest or are simply ‘in the sights’ of the committee.

As a side note another meaning for VIG is the take a bookmaker keeps for their services. In effect it is the ‘house’ take on a bet. In those terms the Committee, while eschewing inappropriate wagering, none the less hopes that our small gambles pay off by making our industry colleagues more aware of the value we can provide, which maybe, just maybe, translates into increase levels of activity.

For a more entertaining description of the ‘gambling’ VIG, I suggest a careful review of the movie Get Shorty (1995 – John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, James Gandolfini, Danny Devito, Delroy Lindo, Dennis Farina, and Bette Midler). It might make a nice evening diversion on the deck or patio.

Have a good summer.



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