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Circle the Wagons

Featured in Landman, September/Octobber 2018 / By Jay W. Beavers III, CPL, AAPL First Vice President 

We have all watched the old Westerns on television or at the movie theater that show wagon trains traveling across the country. “Westward ho” was a common phrase heard throughout the territory during the 19th century as settlers headed west from the East Coast. Thousands of settlers rode in wagons or on horseback for months as they navigated through thick forests, open prairies, brush country, mountain ranges and dry deserts. These trains were formed because it was safer to travel in large groups.

Each person on the wagon train had a specific job to perform while on the trail. There were wagon masters, scouts, hunters, trappers, fishermen, gunsmiths, cooks, doctors, dentists, seamstresses, lumberjacks, mule skinners, blacksmiths and, of course, the jack-ofall-trades. There were even entertainers on many of the trains. All of these travelers were focused on survival and reaching their destination safely.

While wagons might travel side by side to help combat the dust, they often had to cross rivers or mountains single file. The travelers helped each other as they navigated the rough terrain. They traveled during the day and slept at night. In the evenings, they circled the wagons so that their livestock would not escape.

The AAPL, with over 16,000 members, is much larger than a typical wagon train from the 1800s. It takes a significant amount of manpower to run a premier professional organization. The AAPL has a staff of 27 full-time employees, six of whom work on NAPE year-round. The executive vice president, as chief operating officer, reports to the AAPL Executive Committee and is responsible for the supervision of all day-to-day activities. The AAPL headquarters is centrally located 25 miles west of DFW International Airport in downtown Fort Worth.

There are 42 local landman associations affiliated with the AAPL. Each has one AAPL director — except the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen, which has two. The AAPL board of directors consists of 43 AAPL directors and the Executive Committee (president, first vice president, second vice president, third vice president, secretary, treasurer and immediate past president) for a total of 50 voting members.

The AAPL board of directors meets quarterly. While certain things can be approved by the Executive Committee, most business items must be approved by the AAPL board of directors.

We have 23 active AAPL committees, three NAPE committees, seven industry representatives and three task force committees. The AAPL Educational Foundation Inc. and the Landman Scholarship Trust are affiliated entities. Each committee has a chairman and an assistant chairman. The committees vary in size from six to 16 members. Committee members typically serve a three-year term. From time to time, the AAPL president will appoint a task force for specific purposes. All committee chairmen and assistant chairmen are invited and encouraged to attend every AAPL board meeting. Committee chairmen and assistant chairmen don’t have voting privileges, but they are responsible for providing the AAPL board with quarterly updates on committee activities.

Our fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. Board meetings are usually held in September, December, March and during the annual meeting in June. Nominations to serve on the AAPL Executive Committee are accepted by the Nominating Subcommittee until mid-January. The Nominating Subcommittee meets in February to review nominations and select a proposed slate of officers. The names of the nominated officers are revealed at the March board meeting. All active members of the AAPL receive a ballot and are encouraged to vote before the annual meeting. Election results are official after the votes are counted and validated by the AAPL secretary. The new officers are introduced at the end of the business meeting during the annual meeting.

The incoming first VP is responsible for selecting an assistant chairman for each committee. The incoming president is responsible for working with the committee chairmen to appoint new committee members. Each job mentioned here is essential to keeping the AAPL headed in the right direction. All officers, committee chairs and committee members — except for the AAPL staff — are volunteers and receive no compensation for their service.

Bill Justice, CPL, wrote a great article, “Committees, Volunteers are the Backbone of the AAPL,” published in the March/April 2018 issue of the Landman magazine explaining the volunteer process. The article describes how to access the new Committee Service Application that was placed on the AAPL website earlier this year. The use of the Committee Service Application has simplified the committee staffing process as we have had almost 150 members apply online for committee assignments. Applicants who were not selected to serve on a committee this year will be considered again next year.

If you are interested in joining the AAPL wagon train, please log on to the AAPL website (landman.org), register for a volunteer position and help us circle the wagons. Westward ho!