Mapping the Pandemic’s Impact on Industry AssociationsBy Pedro Alcalá | Tue, 03/02/2021 - 09:01
Q: How did you become involved in AMGE?
A: I became a member of the association when I entered PEMEX, which was in January 1987. This means I have been a part of these organizations for the past 34 years. I had no idea what the association was all about when I graduated from college and began my career in the industry. As soon as I joined and became part of its activities, I became very motivated when I heard my colleagues promote the development of knowledge and expertise within our profession. Over the years, I have witnessed periods in which participation in the association’s activities has decreased, particularly in moments of difficulty for the industry in which everybody is looking for a new job or going back to school in between jobs. This is a common occurrence in an industry with a certain degree of volatility, as is the case with hydrocarbons.
Q: What is the best way to address those variations in regard to involvement and interest?
A: The association’s history goes back to 1958, when it focused on the much larger branch of geophysics. Over time, we became specialized in exploration geophysics, until we reached a point in which 80 to 90 percent of our activities were focused on oil and gas exploration through seismic methods. Now that I have become president of the association, I am interested in seeing the association return to its general roots. I believe it is imperative that all of our young geophysicists who have just graduated from college have access to a variety of venues through which their talents and education can be applied and developed. We do not want oil and gas exploration, and its volatility related to factors like oil prices and demand, to become a bottleneck that limits the growth of these young professionals. We also have to consider that international trends point toward the eventual diminished of fossil fuels, although we expect the global economy to depend on these resources for quite some time. We also want to establish stronger bonds and networks with other associations and academic organizations to make sure we are providing these young professionals with as many opportunities as possible. We have to keep in mind that the association’s member pool is aging; the average member´s age is above 40. This is why student outreach and the creation of student chapters is so essential.
Q: What are the most important items on your agenda as the association’s new president?
A: To be honest, our most pressing matter right now is taking care of the association’s financing resources. Our main source of income is the Mexican Petroleum Congress (CMP), whose funds have been heavily affected by the pandemic. We expect finances to return to normal levels in 2022, at the earliest. Another issue that became increasingly relevant for us during the pandemic was the safety of our members. To avoid public gatherings, we have migrated to more digital and remotely managed modalities. We are using this time to generate educational material and organize workshops to generate alternative income. We also want to focus on educating young physicists on the value of promoting sustainability at worksites and in the sectors they work in.
The Mexican Association of Exploration Geophysicists (AMGE) represents some of the most extensively and technically trained workers in Mexico’s oil and gas industry, with strong ties to both academic and labor communities within PEMEX.