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President’s Letter – September 2021

Greetings on the new LGS season!

Before we tear off into the 2021-22 season, I wanted to give our customary yearend report for last season. I will not belabor the obvious, 2020-21 was a weird season. Yet, despite the obvious challenges, there was some good news!

The LGS board decided early last season that if the Petroleum Club was open for business (hence in compliance with statewide COVID mandates) that LGS would do what they could to support the club and those who rely on the club for income. As such, monthly meetings have been held in-person at the Petroleum Club with live streams of the presentations available, via Zoom, for those unable to attend.

Luncheon speakers included Dr. James Willis, Bill Finley, Chris McLindon, Eric Zimmermann, Rick Ramsey, Trevor Casper, Ryan Weber, and Dr. James Crane. Topics at the luncheons have varied—from coastal wetlands restoration and creation of a 63rd National Park at Jean Lafitte, to the petroleum system of the Appalachia’s and AVO templates using a south LA lower Miocene discovery as a template.

While we did not host our traditional Fall BBQ and January Pizza parties, socially the season was bookended with GeoGulf 2020 and a late Spring Cocktail Party. Kudos to Dr. James Willis, Travis Helms and others for pulling a rabbit out of their respective hats to make the impossible happen with GeoGulf. In doing so, they created a new model for possible GeoGulf type events in the future. I also want to thank Stratagraph for hosting the LGS Spring Cocktail Party/membership drive. I think it was a successful event and one that we will try to continue annually.

For the 2020-21 season, LGS had 33 paid members. Despite the relatively low number of paid members, financially, the society is stable. At the start of the 2020-21 season, the society had ~$22,000 in a local checking account and ~$58,000 in a Morgan Stanley long-term capital appreciation fund. In September 2020, the LGS board decided to invest $10,000 in the checking account, into our growth fund. At the end of the society year (May 2021), the society had ~$85,000 invested in this account. In addition to the Morgan Stanley account, LGS now has about $11,000 cash on hand, in that local checking account, which represents ~11% of the society’s total net worth of ~$96,000.

In general, the financial position of the society has remained remarkably constant with the main driver of net worth being fluctuations in stock prices. That is, the society loses a little bit each year, but the big losses and gains are market driven. For the 2020-21 season, the society lost ~$1,000 on yearly transactions, but was up ~$17,000 in the market account.

Historically, luncheons have been a slight loss due to the society subsidizing student lunches. However, because of restrictions at the University prohibiting students from attending luncheons, luncheons for the 2020-21 season were ostensibly break-even, costing the society ~$40 per luncheon on average. The other big debt items were the Spring Cocktail Party, updated accounting software, and the fee for our tax preparation.

Typically, student lunches, social events, and other day-to-day operations are offset by the generosity of members through society dues, cornerstone donations, and sponsorships. Income from dues was down from years past due to low society membership this season. With cornerstone donations, the society generously received $1,275 but unfortunately had no sponsorships. For context, in 2019-20, there were $2,270 in cornerstone donations and $2,900 in sponsorships. While this is not a great trend, the board recognizes the difficulties everyone has endured this past year and offers a heartfelt thanks to those who donated. Thank you!

This upcoming season, the board is looking forward to getting more involvement, especially with the university, as well as a return to regular social events. Obviously, we will continue to track COVID and communicate society comings and goings as best we can. In the meantime, please don’t forget to submit your dues for the upcoming season. Wayne Cook and Raphael Gottardi have already been working hard to secure interesting guest speakers.

This month our speaker is Chuck Yates, from the podcast entitled, “Chuck Yates Needs a Job.” Chuck is a colorful guy with a very checkered past in the private equity sector. He plans to tape the talk for his podcast, so bring questions for your shot at 15 seconds of fame.

Finally, I want to thank members of the society and the 2020-21 board, especially Bill Terrell and Trevor Casper for their steady involvement and guidance. I also want to thank the people who work behind the scenes to keep the society moving. I thank you and hope that I have served well enough as we move into the new season.

As always, if you have any questions or comments on how to improve the society, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best regards,
Joe Morris


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