Opening Remarks

Michael Baranovic

Good morning and welcome to the first annual AGI Academic-Corporate Associates Conference.  My  name is Michael Baranovic and it has been my pleasure to act as the chairman of the Conference Planning Committee during the past 15 months.   Let me first thank Dr. Stephenson for sharing his views on Geology – The Hidden Science.  They provide an excellent foundation for our conference theme, “Unifying the Geosciences Through Improved Corporate and Academic Communications”.   As you know from our previous correspondence with you, the mission of the Associates Program of the American Geological Institute is to serve the wider geoscience community by fostering improved communication between academia, the private sector and government.  This Conference is a key event for the Associates program and has been designed to help the Associates Program meets it’s goals and mission.  In planning this, our inaugural event, we drew from virtually every segment of geoscience professionalism to create the organizing committee. Although some of our meetings were rather large in size and our committee members were of diverse backgrounds and opinions, we quickly discovered that our common heritage as geoscientists, regardless of professional category, gave us much more to agree about than to disagree about.  It is our hope, that what we experienced as a committee, will be repeated by the participants of this conference over the next two days.
 
Our goals for this conference are really very simple.  First, we would like to establish a constructive and viable vehicle for geoscientists to annually meet and communicate with each other.  Secondly, we would like people who have common interests to find each other and begin to solve problems and address issues together.  And thirdly, we would like to create a momentum with this inaugural conference that will carry us forward to the next one.  Our hope is that the AGI Academic – Corporate Associates Conference will become an annual event.

My role during the conference will be to periodically come before you as a Conference facilitator.  I will discuss the forward agenda with you, explain the processes that we will follow, and inform you of action steps, which will be required of you over the next two days.  The agenda and the abstracts are contained in the booklet that came with your Conference “packet”.  If you haven't yet received a “packet”, you can pick one up during the first break in the foyer outside this meeting room.
 
With this in mind, let’s take a more in-depth look at today’s agenda.  In just a moment, Marcus Milling Executive Director of the AGI will talk with us about Geoscience Trends and Challenges.  Then we will move on to our morning communication session with representatives of public and private sector employers.  Each of our speakers has been asked to provide an overview of their own employment sector and has been asked to address three subjects in the context of their remarks:

The session will be moderated by Dr. Don Paul of Chevron Corporation and be followed by a panel discussion and question and answer period.
 
An off-agenda item is that we will be taking a break at approximately 9:40 a.m.  We would like to ask all of you to be prompt in returning to the conference room at 10:00 a.m.  We'll adjourn the morning session at 12:15 a.m., have some lunch and then return at 1:30 p.m.

Our afternoon communication session is with representatives of the “supply side” segments of our profession.  Our speakers have been drawn from academia, research institutions and human resource organizations to address the following two issues:
- What knowledge, skills and personal traits does your academic segment seek to instill in geoscience students?
- What is the most important problem or issue that will effect geoscience education or recruiting over the next 5 to 10 year timespan?
The afternoon session will be moderated by Dr. Edward Roy of Trinity University and will follow a similar format as our morning session.

At the end of the day, I will be back to briefly talk with you about details of our dinner tonight and to give you instructions for tomorrow morning’s excursion to Exxon Research Center.

We have two items to cover that relate to our personal safety and personal comfort.  Here is a map of the meeting room.  The little stars on the map highlight the Greenway One Room where we are currently seated.  The red arrows show you where to exit in the (unlikely) event that an emergency should occur.  For your personal comfort, the restrooms are located next to the sports bar.  Just for your reference, tomorrow's workshops will reconvene here in the morning, but the workshops will be held in breakout rooms, which are scattered around our facility.
 
Before I end my discussion of today’s agenda, let me take just a minute to thank the other committee members for a job well done.  In particular, I would like to recognize Christopher Keane for the important role he has played in planning and executing this conference.  I'd also like to ask Chris to please stand up and be acknowledged for his work…..
 
So without any further adieu, let me introduce Marcus Milling.  I think it is likely that most people in the room know Marcus in his current role as the Executive Director of the AGI.  Prior to the AGI, Marcus spent over 20 years working in the upstream activities of the oil and gas industry including assignments with Exxon, Arco and the Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin.   As many of you know, Marcus is a man of great energy and vision and it is has been his leadership, which inspired the formation of the Associates Program and this Conference.