Guidelines for a Healthy Technical Section 

As new technologies emerge and others mature, technical sections are expected to come and go. The topical focus of a technical section can become less relevant, obsolete or it can evolve over time and begin to overlap with another technical section or other member group. Technical Sections must adapt, redirect, or in some cases, merge or disestablish. This is a normal and expected part of the technical section life cycle.  

Following are the guidelines related to maintaining healthy technical sections and ensuring they continue to address the changing needs of SPE members.


  • Maintain a minimum of 25 professional members 
  • Identify representation from multiple regions


Technical area of focus, purpose, and goals must: 

  • Remain relevant to the industry
  • Continue to support SPE’s mission and strategic direction
  • Cover unique themes and activities not addressed by another technical section or other member group

Officers and Governance

  • Must include five main officer positions on the Section Board – Chairperson, Program Chairperson, Membership Chairperson, Administrative Chairperson, and Online Community Webmaster
    • It is recommended that at least one board member is based outside the US. 
  • Officers must meet a minimum of four times per year
  • Must comply with Officer Elections procedure that is documented in the Technical Section’s Governance document (by-laws) and ensure TD is kept informed of progress 
  • Must submit an annual report by the annual deadline of 1 June - financial information is also required if the section maintains a bank account
  • Must adhere to SPE policies 
  • Must provide consistent operational leadership that aligns with the Technical Section’s Governance document

Programming and Engagement

  • Maintain a variety of programming for members (ex: webinars, facilitated discussions, special sessions at SPE conferences, etc.)
  • Produce at least three events per calendar year (f2f or virtual) with at least one in a time zone that accommodates the Eastern Hemisphere.
  • Promote and drive participation in SPE International benefits and programs 
  • Support and engage in developing content for SPE International publications, events, and other technical activities

Annual Health Check

Section health should be reviewed each year and submitted via the annual report. 

It is recommended that each section establishes a small review panel to perform the annual health check. The panel should include a balanced mix of individuals from the current technical section board and others such as past board members, officers/members of other technical sections, or leaders of other SPE volunteer groups.

At Risk Technical Sections

Technical section annual reports will be reviewed by the Technical Directors each year. Sections that fail to meet the standards established in the above guidelines will be placed on temporary probation for the following 12 months. During the probation period, the technical sections will be given an opportunity to address weaknesses and restore the section’s health and effectiveness. Possible resolutions may include:

  • Merging with another technical section that has a similar technical focus, purpose, and/or goals
  • Revising technical focus, purpose, and/or goals
  • Establishing new leadership
  • Attending special coaching and planning sessions to address specific weaknesses (Section Officers, Technical Directors, and SPE staff)

Status Update and Plan Forward

Before the end of the probationary period, at risk technical sections must submit an update on the section’s health and any recommendations for changes, closures, or mergers for consideration and endorsement by the Technical Directors. 


Technical sections that are unable to restore quality engagement and comply with technical section policies will be disestablished at the end of the probationary period.

Prior to disestablishment, any existing funds will be allocated to existing commitments and remaining funds will be redirected to SPE International.