President’s Column – June 2005

Title: The RMAG Family
Author: Elmo Brown
Publication: The Outcrop, June 2005, p. 3, 7

For the last several months I have been commenting on geologists and the greater geologic community. In this column, I would like to focus specifically on the RMAG community. Even though males make up the bulk of the membership, the RMAG is, in fact, a matriarchal society (Margaret Mead’s Samoans were behind the curve!). I am speaking, of course, of the two ladies that make up our office staff. They are the ones who keep the rest of us guys and gals in line when it comes to membership services, event planning, and guidebook and periodical publishing.

Chris Houston was born and raised in the little New Jersey farm community of Neshanic. Though the town’s name sounds a lot like mechanic, this isn’t what Chris had in mind when one of her first jobs found her working in the auto plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While in Grand Rapids, she began her college work at the local community college and later continued her educational path at Michigan Tech in Houghton. What she didn’t plan on was meeting a poor, beleaguered, over-worked geology graduate student who needed some immediate attention. She married Bill (who is now the RMAG’s Treasurer) and after a short stint in Washington, D.C., found herself here in Denver. Her qualifications (organizational skills she picked up while working at the AGI home office in Washington and, of course, taking care of poor, beleaguered, over-worked geologists) make her a valued member of the RMAG family. Her present responsibilities at the RMAG include maintaining the website, soliciting advertising for our various publications, and merchandising our products both in the office and on the road at conventions.

Our Executive Director, Sandi Pellissier, came to us a little more than eight years ago. Sandi is a rarity in Denver— she is a native Denverite! After graduating from South High School, Sandi moved away to Provo, Utah, where she majored in history and library sciences at Brigham Young University. From there she moved westward to California where she took up the hobby of sailing. What she didn’t realize was that she was on a collision course with her husband-to-be, Pierre. The two, after marrying, spent many a glorious day sailing in their 36-foot sailboat up and down the western seaboard from Seattle to San Diego. Then about twenty years ago, the pair moved back to Sandi’s old haunts in Denver when Pierre was hired as an electrical/mechanical engineer at Martin Marietta. During that time, Sandi worked as an interior designer with Furniture Galleries. The itch to travel was never satisfied for the two and when Pierre retired they purchased a motor home and began traveling the country. Unfortunately, the trip lasted only for about six months before Pierre was diagnosed with, and then soon died from, cancer. Though the times were tough, Sandi was never been one to sit still.

She soon found herself here at the RMAG, taking care of the RMAG membership. Her tenacity, perseverance, and eye to detail have helped gain the RMAG the reputation of being a fiscally sound organization that fulfills the needs of its membership and the geologic community.

Though the committees of the RMAG do the “big thinking” for the organization, it is Sandi and Chris who do the heavy lifting in terms of keeping us wild-eyed geologists on the narrow path. For example, this summer they are helping to coordinate a Federal Land Use Symposium scheduled for June 9th, setting up and manning the booth at the AAPG Calgary convention, aiding in the registration and logistics of the Coal Bed Methane Symposium to be held on June 30th, taking in registrations for the golf and tennis tournaments, marketing the new CD publication, “Gas in Low Permeability Reservoirs of the Rocky Mountain Region,” and firming up plans for the fall symposium on tight gas reservoirs tentatively scheduled for late August. Not to mention that they also do all of the other stuff associated with membership including registration for the Friday luncheon, taking book orders, handling the bookkeeping, keeping the membership database up to date, managing the website, and actively participating in numerous committee meetings. It is more than obvious that without their help and guidance, the RMAG would be a much poorer place, both in finances and in membership service. After all, we poor, beleaguered, over-worked geologists need quite a bit of supervision. Thanks to both Sandi and Chris for all they do to make the RMAG family the success it really is.