Although it is a large association—more than 110,000 strong covering 141 countries worldwide—SPE is also quite accessible. Each member’s contribution does make a difference. One way to achieve this is by engaging in your local section activities. Sections fulfill SPE’s mission locally. Each corresponds to a geographic region where the petroleum industry is present. Today, SPE members can affiliate with any one of 214 sections worldwide. It is hard to find an area of the E&P industry for which SPE has no associated section.
Sections are the primary way SPE fulfills its mission “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.” When you visit the SPE.org website and search for a conference, forum, or workshop, the number and variety of venues and themes you find come from SPE International’s efforts combined with and responding to members’ demand and the ceaseless work of member volunteers in all the sections.
Sections are committed to their local industry context and must also meet their members’ needs for both technical and personal development. To achieve this, sections promote technical dissemination events, such as seminars and discussion panels. These present opportunities for you to learn or to share your expertise with other members. Also, regular section publications (such as newsletters) keep members informed about local industry events. Another important role of local sections is to help the development and integration of the next generations of industry professionals. As part of SPE’s mission, sections support students and student chapters, establishing partnerships with universities. In addition, some sections promote community service and recreational events.
YPs play an important role inside local sections. Their involvement in SPE activities helps SPE grow and improve. In return, SPE offers YPs opportunities to develop. Most sections have YP committees that promote events and activities addressing YPs’ needs.
Sections are also key in recognizing individual contributions to the industry. Sections raise the SPE Awards Committee’s awareness of outstanding members. So, even if your location is remote, your efforts can be identified and achieve recognition by the overall SPE membership.
You can also be part of your local section’s governance. Each section’s Board officers are elected annually, with a number of positions any member can occupy. You could run for election as its volunteer chairperson. You would represent the section—locally, addressing member needs and coordinating section activities, and globally, reporting to the SPE International board. The chairperson is also responsible for the section’s annual report. Leadership and communication skills, as well as commitment to the local industry, are required to be a section chairperson.
You could run as secretary, where you would document section meetings, registering every decision made or idea proposed, and also keep an up-to-date list of members and their contact information. As membership chairperson, you would be responsible for recruitment initiatives and member retention.
Because SPE is a nonprofit association, section budgets are dimensioned only to support section activities and events. The role of treasurer is thus of primary importance, with responsibility for budget planning and keeping track of section expenditures on events, student support, and internal meetings. He or she ensures the section has the financial resources to properly operate and promote its activities.
Section YP committees are typically led by a YP chairperson. This essential position also ensures YP representation on the section’s board of officers. Also, student chapters can count on having a YP liaison who facilitates support from the section.
Involvement with your local section is valuable. Being in contact with other skilled professionals from your local industry gives you an excellent chance to network. Moreover, through such involvement, you can acquire soft skills to enhance your management abilities and learn how to work on teams with peers from different backgrounds. You can also share your technical experience and expertise by contributing to local forums and events.
No matter how you decide to participate, by attending your local section events or volunteering for election as an officer, rest assured you are providing a valuable contribution to your local industry. That is why SPE strongly encourages members to get involved with their sections—so go ahead, make a difference!
For more information, please visit www.spe.org/sections.