Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Importance of Growth and Celebration

By Mark Rubin, Executive Director
Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

My organization, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), reached an important milestone this past November by reaching 100,000 members.  The final membership figure for 2012 was 104,762, including 75,395 professionals and 29,367 students.  While the growth in overall membership is important, we are especially proud of growing our professional membership by an average of 4.7% each year for the past decade.

Reaching this milestone provided an opportunity to think about what had driven our growth.   Part of the reason was the relatively good health of the industry that we serve and the critical need for technology to find and produce oil and natural gas.  The petroleum industry is vital to the world economy, with oil and natural gas providing 54% of the energy used globally.   While this positive industry climate provided the opportunity, there were a number of things that we did to take advantage of this opportunity.  Our staff leadership team identified several key factors for our growth over the past decade:

·        Emphasis on globalization.  Our international expansion, begun in the 1970s, continued over the past decade by establishing new offices in Dubai, Calgary and Moscow, in addition to our existing offices in the Dallas, Houston, London and Kuala Lumpur.  These offices have given us global reach, and have allowed us to expand and adapt our programs and services around the world.

·        Creativity and flexibility in meeting the needs of members.  We have recognized that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for a global organization.  This has lead to a number of changes including improvements in our dues collection system, emphasis on young professionals programs, and emphasis on addressing the needs of geographic and technical niche groups within our membership.

·        Devotion to quality and integrity in all of our products and services.  Maintaining our reputation for quality has had a significant impact on membership growth and participation in all of our programs.

·        Expansion of our global meetings program.  We conduct more than three times as many meetings each year compared to a decade ago.  Our meetings meet member needs and enhance our reputation in our industry, helping us attract new members.

·        Investments in technology.  The internet has provided opportunities to enable members to access SPE resources from anywhere around the world quickly and easily.  We have made significant investments to expand the online resources offered. 

·        Enhancing support for local Sections and Student Chapters.  Local participation is the most valued part of membership for a large share of our members.  We have made significant investments in supporting these groups and have seen significant growth in the number of both Sections and Student Chapters globally.

·       Fostering a progressive staff culture.  We strive to foster a staff culture of people who care - who like and want to help our members, and who take pride in what they do.  We continue to make significant investments in training and supporting our growing staff organization.

We have used achievement of the 100,000 member milestone as an opportunity to celebrate our success.  I am especially pleased that while we have achieved much as an organization, there are still many more opportunities for future growth for our organization.

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