By Amy L. Rhodes, GSH President
It has been a challenging year in a volatile business environment and I am very proud of how our office staff and volunteers have successfully navigated the volatility. I believe our society has not only weathered the downturn, but has continued to develop and expand currently being stronger than we have ever been. I had two main focuses this year during my presidency: fiscal discipline and championing new events that would increase the diversity of our members who actively participate in them. I am very happy with what we achieved on both fronts.
As far as fiscal discipline is concerned, we were forced to make some difficult decisions to effectively manage our budgets. We chose to move from a printed to an electronic journal that is only available online. We made this change in the span of a couple of months and it put a huge strain on both our office staff and Editorial Board. In the end, we succeeded in quickly turning around a product that the society can be proud of. We appreciate the patience of our membership as we worked out some initial kinks, but if you visit our most recent journal online, I think you will find the quality to be highly satisfactory.
All our board members and chairs were asked to closely track budgets and look for cost savings where possible. Every single board member and chair delivered on this commitment. One highlight came from our webinar committee who worked hard to schedule several high-quality speakers. Our GSH-SEG Webinar series has proved to be extremely popular with both local and international membership. These events have provided a great benefit to our members and have helped to keep our finances afloat during these challenging times. I believe the webinars will continue to provide a great deal of value to our members in the future years.
We also championed new events that got members actively involved in our society who may not have previously participated. Whitney Blanchard volunteered to coordinate our first Education and Career Development for Unemployed Professionals event. The event was free to attend and provided participants an opportunity to attend talks that discussed the resources available to job seekers and tips and tricks on how to market their skill set in a challenging market. The event was held at our Geoscience Center and Museum with very encouraging turnaround. It was so well received by our membership that we had a follow up event on May 17 and another coming in August. Stay tuned for more details.
Our Inaugural Diversity and Women’s Networking Event was held in May of 2016 and the event sold out. A distinguished panel including Ken Tubman, VP Subsurface Technology at ConocoPhillips, Xiaojun Huang, Manager of Subsurface Interpretation and Geophysical Applications at ExxonMobil, Thaimar Ramirez, Manager Performance Analysis and Interpretation at Occidental, and Cecilia Rose, Executive Career Strategist, spoke about how to optimize your career in geophysics. We hosted a second sold out Diversity and Women’s Networking Event in November of 2016 where Nancy House, 2016-17 SEG President Elect, and Dr. Scott Tinker, Director of Bureau of Economic Geology, spoke about key global trends in the geophysics profession and future opportunities in our industry and profession. Our members have expressed that these types of professional development events are in high demand in the current business environment.
The Geophysical Society of Houston strives to provide our membership with good value for their time and money. I hope you have been able to attend one of these new events or will consider attending an upcoming event and give us your feedback on what you would like to see at future events. It has been a pleasure leading such a talented group of volunteers and dedicated office staff. I am proud that we will finish the fiscal year in a strong financial position which our next board can leverage into continued success for the future. I believe the new events we have developed add additional value for a broader cross section of our local geophysical community. I plan to stay involved as Past President and I welcome your feedback. Thank you for all that you do for our society.