Volume: 3 | Issue: 1

Make a Decision Today to Volunteer

How do you learn something new or meet smart technical people in your area of work? I hope that one of your answers is, “through involvement in the programs offered by SPE.” I have found my involvement in SPE to be educational, rewarding, and helpful to my career.

I recently read an article by Grant (2013) in which he discussed the concept of givers (“they contribute to others without seeking anything in return”) and takers (“they try to get other people to serve their ends while carefully guarding their own expertise and time”).

I am probably not alone in being someone who was a taker from SPE for many years. I attended SPE conferences, workshops, symposia, and forums and participated as a spectator. I thought about becoming involved, but never took the next steps to learn how to become an active participant.

Several years ago, while attending a workshop and forum on research and development, I met someone from SPE who asked for my opinion on the event. The next thing you know, I was invited to become involved in the startup activities for a technical section, Research and Development, and a related conference.

My “yes” answer to these opportunities has resulted in a rewarding involvement in a number of SPE activities. Finally, I became a giver and have been volunteering in several capacities ever since.

Have you thought about becoming involved as a volunteer giver for SPE? If so, I encourage you to fill out and submit the volunteer form at As a wise man once told me, “This world only works because of volunteers.” We will all benefit from your volunteer service.

I am currently the secretary of the Separations Technology Technical Section (STTS), and have served in that role since its planning stages in 2010. As Hank Rawlins, STTS chairman, mentioned in the December Oil and Gas Facilities, the STTS has grown to more than 500 members.

The overarching goal of the STTS board is to serve our members. We are working on activities like webinars, articles in this magazine, and a special session on separations to be held at the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Amsterdam.

We would appreciate hearing from you about how the STTS could have a bigger impact on its members. Please feel free to forward your suggestions to me.

The following are suggestions for a few of the ways that you can specifically get more involved in the STTS activities:

  • Join the Separations Technology Technical Section
  • Participate in an online discussion. (While logged in to, select My Profile+, then My Communities, then Separations Technology Technical Section. Select a discussion thread and select Reply to Discussion (on the right side).
  • Start an online discussion. (While logged in to, select My Profile+, then My Communities, then Separations Technology Technical Section. Under Latest Discussion Postings, select Post (at the bottom).
  • Attend a webinar; offer to give a webinar (contact Jim Riesenberg).
  • Volunteer to help with board activities (contact Hank Rawlins).
  • When invited to be a speaker, agree to participate.
  • Submit an abstract for an SPE conference
  • To ensure that you are receiving STTS announcements, while logged in to, select My Profile, then My Notifications. Choose the preferred setting from the choices of Real Time, Daily Digest, No Emails, or Unsubscribe. OGF

For Further Reading
Grant, A. 2013. In the Company of Givers and Takers, Harvard Business Review, April 2013, (accessed 08 January 2014).

Chris Buckingham is the secretary of the SPE Separations Technology Technical Section, a member of the SPE Research & Development Committee, and a member of the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Projects, Facilities, and Construction Program Committee. He is the program director for the fluid dynamics and multiphase flow program at the Southwest Research Institute and can be reached at







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