What's Ahead

10 Years: One Whole Decade

David Vaucher, Editor-in-Chief, The Way Ahead

What were you doing 10 years ago? If you are among today’s youngest TWA readers, you probably weren’t older than 8. There was no iPhone, no Twitter, and WTI crude was in the USD-30-to-USD-50/bbl range.The world was different then, and so were you.

In 2004, I was 20 years old, still a mechanical engineering student at Rice University—and loving it.

Now I am 30. I graduated not only from college but also graduate school (twice). I switched jobs a few times before finding the great opportunities I have where I am now. The girl I dated in college is married (not to me). I am about 25 pounds heavier (all muscle, really!). And my goals, aspirations, and skills changed dramatically for the better.

10 years: One whole decade. It is a long time. And yet the fact that I can remember my college years like they were yesterday shows how fast time appears to move forward—with no stops, no pauses, no time to catch your breath.

Looked at one way, it is terrifying: It is not such a leap to imagine that since I seemed to experience the past 10 years in an instant, the time between when I’m 30 and when I’m 40 will appear to go by just as quickly—maybe even faster. What if I don’t achieve everything I have set out to do?

Seen another way, it is highly motivating: I think of everything I have done and accomplished in the last 10 years—some of which I never would have predicted—and I think “Yeah, things worked out pretty well actually, and there’s no reason to think the next 10 years won’t be just as eventful.”

The fun thing about the future is that it is always a surprise: You can plan all you want, but most of the time you just have to roll with whatever comes your way. But don’t believe you can just sit back and wait for success and prosperity to come to you. Time marches on, and there is nothing anyone can do about that. However, we can exert some measure of control over how we feel when a decade-long period of time ends.

The daily struggles you go through at work, in school, raising your family, or keeping up with college friends or work colleagues can be tough—even onerous sometimes—but they can make you stronger. In another 10 years, if you want to look back feeling satisfaction rather than regret, you have to put in work and effort now. Sometimes things will not work out the way you want, but as long as you do your best and have the fortitude to pick yourself up and keep moving forward, you will come out a changed person, for the better.

The path The Way Ahead has traveled over the last 10 years reflects this as well. In 2004, TWA was just an idea in the minds of several young SPE professionals and Giovanni Paccaloni, who served as 2005 SPE President. Since 2005, when the first issue was printed, more than 110 young SPE professionals have served on the TWA Editorial Committee. Three issues per year from 2005 to 2014 have been written, edited, printed, and mailed. This is our 30th issue—Volume 10, Number 3—mailed to around 26,000 young SPE professionals.

Check out TWA’s 10-year archive at http://www.spe.org/twa/print/archives/index.php. Over the years, TWA’s “look and feel” has changed dramatically. In recent years, we’ve ever-more-intently focused each issue’s content around a central theme. And the covers have evolved from somewhat stock industry images to beautiful, full-cover pieces of art. In fact, one of my favorite parts of each issue’s cycle is seeing the cover emerge from an idea to its final form.

Sustaining and evolving excellent content and beautiful covers three issues per year over 10 years has prompted a growing appreciation for TWA. The TWA brand is now so strong that for many in the industry The Way Ahead not only represents the magazine but also the entire population of SPE young professional members.

This very special 10th anniversary issue continues this trend of quality and insight as some of the oil and gas industry’s most accomplished professionals share not only their thoughts about what has transpired in this industry over the last decade but also what they hope to see happen in the next.

I am happy to end my time leading TWA by handing over the reins to TWA’s next Editor-in-Chief, Tony Fernandez. Ten years ago, Tony and I weren’t even aware of each other’s existence. Now, through TWA and SPE, we have gone from being acquaintances to colleagues to friends. I can’t think of anyone better to chart TWA’s course through the first year of its second decade.

Thank you to all those serving on the TWA Editorial Committee this year. The magazine would cease to exist without your hard work and contributions, which you manage to fit into your very busy work schedules. If you are representative of the oil and gas industry’s future leaders, this business is in good hands.

I also want to thank the SPE staff for all their hard work in putting each issue together, as well as Todd Willis, last year’s Editor-in-Chief and now outgoing TWA Advisor. I learned a lot while serving as Todd’s deputy. And during my tenure leading this publication, I could always count on him for clear, thoughtful guidance. Like Tony, he has become my good friend.

So what happens next? No clue—and that’s the fun part! Bring on the next decade.