By Peter Eick, GSH President
Word from the Board – President’s Edition, Sept2022
I am pleased to say the GSH has started out its new year on an unusual note. We had more cash flow come in last month then went out. The last few years the society has been drawing down the endowment and not producing a positive cash flow to cover our expenses and scholarships that we grant each year.
Klaas Koster, last year’s GSH President, initiated some dramatic efforts to turn this situation about and we are now seeing the benefits of his leadership.
Klaas and the board agreed to:
Downsize from two to one full-time staff;
Shut down and sublease the St. Mary’s GSH office;
Consolidate and renovate the GSH Museum to include office space for staff as well as host meetings;
Ask each committee to really scrub their budget for excess and waste.
On the growth side, the Board pushed forward a strategy of trying to engage the next generation of earth scientists and worked on getting them to events and registered as new members of the GSH.
I am pleased to report that both efforts are paying off with short-term positive cash flow. Now we need to sustain this growth and turn it into a trend which is one of my stated goals for my term. This is where the real work comes into play. Getting the numbers to work once is easy compared to doing it right every single month and still do some extra for the society. This is where I need your help as members to contribute to our growth. Please come to a meeting, get a coworker to join the society, listen in to a virtual meeting over lunch, and get educated. It is a fun and enjoyable way to help your career and meet up with old friends again at our various talks and technical meetings.
One of the early lessons I have learned as the President is sometimes you are the referee and sometimes you are the advocate for a position but it is not easy to be both on the same topic. The society is undergoing change, and dare I say, growth? Only time will tell, but things that for us old-timers seem normal, like paper publications, are being replaced with online journals that encourage us to change and adapt to the new paradigm of the day. Gone are the Rolodexes (yes, I used to have one, just like my slide rule) and in their place are websites like LinkedIn and our ubiquitous smart phones. Had you told me 20 years ago that I would have a Star Trek like tricorder today I never would have believed it.
Thus, change happens, and while we on the Board strive to foresee all obstacles and issues, sometimes the old crystal ball is a bit cloudy, and we change too far in one way or the other. This is where you, the members, come in. If you see an area that we changed, please give it a while to see if the new method or procedure is working. If after a time you don’t see improvement, then let your Board know your thoughts and we will bring it up at our next meeting. Also, please remember you are always welcome to attend the board meetings. Every meeting is open to the membership and documented on the calendar on the GSH website. Please consider this your personal invite from your President to come to a meeting and see what we are doing.
Thinking of attending meetings, the SEG Conference, oops, I mean the “IMAGE” Conference just got over and our GSH museum booth was mentioned as one of the most interesting and well-done displays. I would like to complement our museum team for their efforts at putting on a great little display that really brought the audiences in. The conference was good as I met with many folks I had not seen face to face in several years. Those at the booth repeatedly had the feeling of, “I know you, but what is your name,” as we reacquainted ourselves with our peers at other companies. I saw friends I had not seen in at least 15 years, and it was just like old times catching up on the latest and how their kids are doing in college. That is part of the fun of attending an SEG IMAGE conference.
As I wrap this missive up for publication, I want to remind folks: The GSH is not a healthy organization, and we need to grow and do more things to get our cash flow positive all the time instead of one month out of many years. You, the members, can help with this by getting one additional member to join. I am sure there are folks you know in the G&G ranks of the company you work for that could join. Please take the time to encourage them to become members. Also bring them to a meeting or send them a link to one of the great technical talks. Come give a talk or two. I suspect every single member has at least one topic they could present that would educate the bulk of the society. These are all ways of encouraging growth in the society. So here is to making 2022/23 a growth year. Let’s get the membership up and encourage the future generations with some more scholarships funded as that is the ultimate goal of the society.