President's Column

An Open Letter From 2005 SPE President Giovanni Paccaloni

Dear Young E&P Professionals,

I am honored to introduce this new SPE publication for young professionals supported by a generous contribution from Schlumberger. I hope it becomes a tradition for the SPE President to write a message to you in the first issue of The Way Ahead  each year.

I want to take this opportunity to share with you my vision for SPE and my high regard for its young members.

Our Society’s foundation is its vision, its mission, its values, and its members. SPE’s values are integrity, professionalism, excellence, diversity, volunteerism, innovation, lifelong learning, and social responsibility. The soul of SPE lies in the integration of these values with the membership. In recent years, SPE has seen a positive trend in the number of members in each age group except at the younger end of the spectrum (i.e., the young professionals, you!). And SPE is reacting. The Way Ahead is one (and perhaps the most visible) of many initiatives the Society is undertaking to get young professionals motivated and involved, including the Emerging Leaders/Young E&P Professionals programs in several regions and the new online YEPP Professionals Network, to name but two.

When you choose to participate in SPE activities, you will find an environment of technical quality and excellence that will challenge you and push you forward. In fact, I find the title of this magazine, The Way Ahead, quite appropriate. The challenge is there; it is up to you to take it on and make the most of it. You will appreciate that my point of view is to reward enthusiasm and proactiveness (I do not advocate, however, the “no points for second place” philosophy).

SPE’s efforts are not limited to improving your technical expertise. Personal and professional skills also should be developed, and it is with great pleasure that I see exactly this approach being fostered in this magazine. After all, talents such as creativity and the ability to promote and manage change are essential for a society of professionals that has among its main goals the promotion of technological innovation. The “soft skills” section in this magazine should help you understand what skills you should develop and improve to become more effective and, ultimately, successful.

More on personal skills—I will give you a suggestion of my own. I am a sponsor of the “Three F Approach,” both at work and in my personal life. When dealing with colleagues and others I always try to be Friendly, Fair, and Firm. I support assertiveness, which I try to blend in the best possible manner with another fundamental skill, leadership. Once you have achieved a good balance of these traits, you can consider yourself there (almost—as visions can be approached but never reached, in my estimation).

I will close this message to you with an invitation. Some/most of you have just completed the transition between academia and the workplace so, among our membership, you are closest to the students. Students and young professionals make up almost one-third of our membership, and we want to cultivate and develop that segment. Students see young professionals as a projection of their immediate future and would certainly gain from your work/life experiences. My suggestion is that, as part of your section activities, you develop an effective relationship with local student chapters and visit them and mentor them in a continuous, systematic fashion. Along this line, I am glad that a section of The Way Ahead is devoted to the academic sector (students, professors, and industry/academic issues). SPE students and young professionals as a group represent the future of our industry, which means the future of sustainable energy supplies to the planet. I encourage you to debate issues related to energy sustainability, social responsibility, health, safety, and the environment.

My actions as SPE President will try to honor and fulfill the above intentions, and you will be my (fair) judges.

Yours faithfully, Giovanni Paccaloni