It’s been 8 years since the first SPE Young Professionals (YP) workshop took place at Stressa, Italy. Who would have imagined it would launch an SPE YP revolution!
SPE was one of the first professional organizations to recognize the role YPs play in the future of the oil and gas industry as its dynamics continue to evolve. SPE leaders fervently believed that channeling youthful energy and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking would result in unique ideas and innovation that benefit the industry. SPE provided YPs a rare platform on which to hone their technical and leadership skills in the earliest stages of their career.
The Young Professional Coordinating Committee (YPCC) was established by the SPE Board of Directors as a standing committee, and YP programs have since expanded, vertically as well as horizontally. The YPCC has been successful in moving forward with new initiatives each year since its inception.
While I am convinced the YPCC has taken substantial strides, there are points to ponder: Are we willing to keep up this momentum? And how long will it be before we are ready to shape the future and face our industry’s challenges? During the last few years we’ve experienced an era of peak oil debate. We have seen our industry going deeper and colder in search of hydrocarbons. Industry leaders, political figures, and social activists along with a global audience have been grappling in debates about global warming. We have also witnessed a rise in negative perception about our industry and its ethics due to one of the most disastrous oil spills ever.
YP statistics show that the number of YP SPE members has risen from 12,716 in 2007 to 17,436 in 2010. This makes me confident that we have an ever-growing population with the ability to continue our journey’s success story. We have the right elements with the large number of YPs spanning the globe and SPE as a perfect catalyst to expedite transformation of YPs into skilled industry professionals. We have the right environment and the ability to be the agents of change: This way of looking at things has given a directional focus to YPCC, and many of its suite of programs emanate from it.
SPE has defined three YP strategic objectives that will serve as guiding principles for all current and future YP initiatives and activities:
1. Enhance technical knowledge and skills for young professionals. (Technical Development)
In a knowledge-intensive industry like ours, technical skills are of paramount value. In a recent YP survey, when asked to “rank types of training SPE should offer to YPs in order of importance,” almost 75% of respondents ranked technical training at the top. Additionally, another survey conducted by SPE of YP managers revealed technical skills are one of the most important contributors to the success of young professionals. The YP paper contest held at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition is already catering to this need. Furthermore, SPE is giving opportunities to YPs to serve on its various technical subcommittees.
2. Develop young professional leaders for the society and the industry. (Leadership Development)
YPCC’s current offerings and their structure provide substantial opportunity and exposure to develop YPs into future leaders within the industry as well as within SPE. The society has given a platform to YP members at the local level by suggesting sections develop YP committees. The YPCC recently launched the Industry Leaders Video Library to contribute to leadership development as industry VIPs share their experience and approach.
3. Integrate and engage young professionals in SPE. (Integrate & Engage)
The YPs of today are the future of SPE. Hence it is important that as YPs advance in their careers, they are simultaneously steered to take on larger roles within SPE. Most SPE sections have succession plans in place for active YP volunteers to progress into section leadership roles. A host of existing initiatives, such as the Ambassador Lecture Program, Young Member Award Program, and e-mentoring, have been quite successful over the years in ensuring seamless transition.
I am very excited about these new strategies and the changes and additional initiatives that will come from them. I look forward to your participation. I invite every YP to join this revolution and get involved with SPE. The wealth of resources has never been as great, and I can only imagine what it would be like with each of us making a contribution. Together we can make a better industry and a brighter energy future for the world.