SPE Strong: Strengthening Our Core: Strengthening the Tools and Methods We Use To Disseminate Knowledge to Members
- Shauna Noonan (2020 SPE President)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 10 - 11
- 2019. 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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“To collect, exchange, and disseminate technical knowledge” are not only the first seven words of SPE’s mission, but also what our society has excelled at over its storied history. Sharing industry knowledge has allowed members to advance their careers, inspired new technologies, and served as the key differentiator between SPE and other societies. SPE’s technical content is available in many forms, such as manuscripts, journals, newsletters, and webinars. In my October JPT column, I stressed the importance of ensuring this content maintains the highest quality as we continue to transition into new methods of delivering information. Even the highest-quality content will gather dust if not being used by our members. As more young people join our industry, we must be mindful that the way they share and consume information is very different. In 2008, the largest segment of SPE membership was 50 to 54 years old. Ten years later, the demographics have shifted such that 30- to 34-year-olds comprise the largest segment of our membership. This shift has many implications for what SPE needs to do.
Through my travels to different sections and student chapters over the past few years, I have been asking three questions: How many regularly read JPT? How many read papers from OnePetro? How many have watched an SPE webinar?
It is usually our more senior members that raise their hands to these questions. The average age of our professional membership varies among regions, which means in some locations, I get half, or even far fewer, hands raised in response to my questions. While we still have many members that can remember a world before home computers, in many areas, more of our members have never experienced a world without computers. Many of the students entering university now have never known a world without smart handheld devices and Google. SPE must serve the needs and expectations of the full spectrum of our membership, respecting the differences in how they access and retain information.
Our 2005 SPE President, Giovanni Paccaloni, was a champion for the millennial generation and led the creation of the Young Professionals Program as a way to attract and retain them. Similarly, in 2015, then-President Helge Haldorsen launched “SPE 2.0,” a strategy to revise and modernize core programs to keep pace with the industry. This strategy also led to the creation of webinars and the greater accessibility of tools on the SPE website. As Gen Z joins our industry and the digital oil field becomes a reality, SPE must adapt how we collect and disseminate knowledge to reflect the needs and expectations of our changing industry. It is imperative that we demonstrate the value of SPE membership to post-graduation professionals.
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