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President’s Column

SPE Strategic Plan – Mission Critical

To collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit; and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence.

pic of SPE PresidentIn my January column, I talked about the amazing growth of SPE—doubling our membership in the past 10 years. This growth is not only a testament to the evolution of our industry and the high demand for knowledge sharing, but also to SPE’s ability to remain relevant to industry professionals. As we work to remain relevant, we keep our SPE Mission always in the forefront. What does the Board do to sustain that relevance and our focus on mission?

For a number of years, we guided the society using a series of Long Range Plans that were pinned to 10-year periods. But when it became evident that the rate of change and the need for responsiveness always outpaced the Long Range Plans—for example, things we thought would take 10 years were accomplished in 5 years—the Board decided we needed an evergreen Strategic Plan. The first Strategic Plan was introduced in 2008.

Our Board committees review the Strategic Plan annually to refine the plan, make course corrections, develop tactics and activities for implementing our goals and objectives, and provide guidance to our many standing committees that are responsible for carrying out key programs. Here are some of the initiatives the Board committees have identified for 2012 to support Strategic Plan objectives.

The Board Committee on Education and Professional Activities is responsible for the Strategic Plan elements of industry image; resource/reserves definitions, classifications, and guidelines; life-long learning and maintaining competence; and support of academia. Some of the challenges affecting these programs are unequal educational opportunities in different areas of the world, need for a more global and mobile workforce, and inconsistent adoption of new technology. The committee has identified the following objectives for this year:

  • Expand the offering of training courses
  • Expand our energy education efforts
  • Develop best-practice guidelines in key areas
  • Increase the global reach of the Ambassador Lecture Program, in which young professionals provide university students views on E&P careers
  • Further integrate young professionals into SPE

The Board Committee on Print and Electronic Media is responsible for Strategic Plan sections on publications and This committee ensures that SPE publications and the society’s website keep pace with members’ needs. Challenges to effective publications programs include decreasing time available for volunteer activities, ensuring the quality of SPE publications, and anticipating the most relevant forms of publication. The committee’s 2012 goals include the following:

  • Develop the PetroWiki pilot based on part of the Petroleum Engineering Handbook
  • Publish more information about young technology
  • Evaluate SPE’s journals to meet member needs
  • Evaluate digital books and their acceptance among SPE’s membership
  • Explore new models of information dissemination
  • Accelerate the development of apps and mobile access to SPE products and services
  • Continue to adapt content and technologies

The Board Committee on Technical Programs and Meetings is responsible for strategies for the global suite of events. This committee focuses on developing events that serve the technical needs of members, while maintaining a sound financial position. Some of the challenges for this committee include competition from for-profit organizations, creating innovations in the transfer of new technology and field practices, and providing a variety of information delivery formats and topics. The committee has the following goals for 2012:

  • Conduct SPE Summits on “Barriers and Barrier Verification in Deepwater Operations” and “Human Factors Within Complex Processes”
  • Ensure relevance of programs by refining hot topics with the Board’s Technical Directors
  • Ensure a suite of workshops and conferences that serves the technical needs of our global membership

The Board Committee on Membership is responsible for Strategic Plan sections on dues and member benefits; sections, communities, and other member groups; and young professionals and students. This committee focuses on member relationships and deals with challenges like securing corporate support for volunteerism and participation, developing and implementing the right dues structure, and facilitating the adoption of a new section website hosting platform. The committee’s 2012 goals include the following:

  • Implement a new association management system to better serve the membership
  • Develop an enhanced volunteer recognition program
  • Encourage more Regional Section Officers Conferences
  • Improve administration of scholarships
  • Engage all Board members in reaching out to student chapters

I would like to thank everyone who is involved in helping set and implement our strategic plans. I also invite all members to provide their ideas on initiatives that SPE can undertake to execute our Strategic Plan successfully. You can find the current Strategic Plan on

Through the implementation of the strategic plans SPE is able to stay relevant in a fast-growing industry, continue to provide value to its members, and make the best use of its resources. As said by the great baseball coach Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”