What’s on the Landman’s Mind

Featured in Landman, May/ June 2019 / By Melanie B. Bell, CLP, Executive Vice President 

As a manager of AAPL’s operations, my primary focus is accomplishing the strategic business objectives and initiatives as determined by the association’s elected leadership and members. But another role I greatly value is the opportunity to listen to the association’s members. A great place for that to happen is at AAPL’s booth at NAPE Summit each year. I place a high value on these face-to-face interactions and welcome them.

Several members recently shared some interesting ideas and insights. If there is a recurring theme, it is that change is always happening as we move through our careers and lives. And those changes are fascinating, exciting, maybe a little disconcerting and sometimes overdue. Members are experiencing changes in their workplaces, changes in how landwork is delivered and changes that affect their long-term career and personal goals. As a result, there are weighty issues on our members’ minds. Here is a glimpse into some of my recent member conversations: 

“I’ve been in the business for almost 30 years. I’ll be retiring in another five to 10 years. I don’t want to retire not having become a Certified Professional Landman. Would AAPL please provide a pathway to CPL designation for nondegreed landmen before I retire? I have been told that members are about evenly split on the degree requirement to apply for a CPL. I really want to retire having been recognized for my expertise and commitment to the land profession. What about establishing a separate set of criteria for nondegreed landmen? AAPL could require a nondegreed landman to earn and hold an RL for a period of years and then qualify for and hold an RPL for a number of years before finally qualifying to sit for the CPL exam. Wouldn’t this more stringent pathway to a CPL designation demonstrate a long-term commitment to continuing education and the certification program? Wouldn’t that pathway be evidence of more actual landwork expertise and experience than having graduated with an undergraduate degree in any subject matter other than from AAPL’s accredited programs?” 

“Well it has finally happened: I am working with an AI-based software that I am instructing how to identify contract and lease provisions through my own analysis. I am teaching it to recognize words and phrases in a due diligence project for an acquisition. How does software using artificial intelligence change the nature of due diligence projects? When the software is fully functional, the time for analysis will be greatly compressed. It will be interesting to see what new roles and skills are needed to manage the AI process. How will AAPL help landmen prepare for these changing roles?”

“I’m near the end of my full-time career. I still want to be an active member and will work part time past age 70, but I don’t want to maintain the required educational credits after I turn 70. Why can’t AAPL create an age exception for those landmen who are unable to qualify for Retired CPL status because we still want to work part time but do not want to be subject to a continuing education requirement?”

“The Connections & Conversations for Women in Energy event at NAPE Summit was an unexpected bonus. I have been an independent landman for about two years, and I graduated from one of AAPL’s accredited university programs. My university program provided great exposure to technical land skill sets. But the advice from the experienced panelists was the most compact and practical hour of career advice I have ever received. The advice would have been equally helpful to a male starting out in his career and for managers of early in career sta. Please make sure this type of event continues. I don’t have access to professional career development opportunities.”

Your ideas and comments are appreciated no matter the setting, time or place. Each is passed along to AAPL’s elected leaders and committees so they have the benefit of your insights and suggestions. AAPL’s Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh is just around the corner. Why not join us and let’s visit. You also may want to join or start a conversation on Landnews, give us a call and — even better — stop by and visit us at the AAPL office in Fort Worth. You are always welcome.