Building Bridges: My Journey Begins…(January 2008)
- Bill Cobb (2008 SPE President)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2008
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 14 - 15
- 2008. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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The October JPT, which was a marvelous look at SPE’s first 50 years, caused me to reflect on how the society has grown since I joined in 1963. Then, we had 14,270 members, two periodicals (JPT and SPE Journal), and six meetings. Today, we have more than 70,000 members, eight periodicals, and in 2007 held more than 100 meetings.
The story of our growth has been particularly impressive over 2001–06—a 38% increase in membership, a 75% growth in revenue, and a 100% increase in meetings. As I write this column, projections for 2007 membership and revenue continue the growth pattern, and by year end we will have held 62 workshops, 32 technical conferences, and 9 Forums around the world.
That is an impressive achievement for any professional association. But what is really important about these numbers?
First, growth in membership means that we are relevant. Yes, our business is booming, but that doesn’t automatically translate to joining SPE—people don’t join groups unless they get something gratifying in return. We are clearly doing things that oil and gas professionals want and need.
Second, growth in revenue means that our business model is right. We continue to generate revenue-producing initiatives that help us support non-revenue programs (like Distinguished Lecturers) and keep dues, meeting fees, and subscription rates low. And we control costs through the partnership of members’ volunteer efforts and the expertise of our professional staff.
Third, the growth in meetings shows that we meet our mission of technology dissemination in evolving ways. We are developing new conferences on vital subjects and revitalizing old conferences, and in the process generating 1,700 to 2,000 technical papers each year—all archived in the eLibrary. But the biggest growth in the 5-year increase has been from workshops, which evolved to meet members’ needs for short, quick-to-market events focused on providing practical information for immediate use.
But we are more than these statistics. Other noteworthy symbols of SPE’s growth over the past 5 years are the eMentoring, young professionals, certification, and Ambassador Lecturer programs; the multisociety LookUpstream and OnePetro, spearheaded by SPE; and a major energy-education outreach that includes our website energy4me. org. During this period we also opened offices in Dubai and Moscow.
In closing, I want to report that the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Anaheim was a great success. All expectations were met or exceeded. I take this opportunity to thank Technical Program Committee Chairperson Ashok K. Belani, Chief Technology Officer at Schlumberger, and Vice Chairperson Stuart Ferguson, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Weatherford International; numerous volunteers who worked on the technical and arrangements committees; hundreds of authors; and the SPE staff for a job well done. I would be remiss if I did not also express SPE’s deep gratitude to our exhibitors and sponsors.
On the road, building bridges, and encouraging SPE members…
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