Your Professional Career Box Score

Original Blog Posted December 2020
Your Professional Career Box Score

I would like for all my geology colleagues to take just a few minutes and ask yourself a somewhat reflective and philosophical question. The answer of which may help you to define and realize the goals of your career, allowing you to maximize your professional potential. That question is; “What will the box score of your professional career read like?” Many of you senior geologists that are career focused will have already considered that question and are working hard to fulfill your career and professional goals. But some of you are likely to be focusing on your family, their education, work and many other of life’s demands that all of us deal with. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when your children are young and I highly encourage you to make the most of the “golden years of parenthood.”

At some point however, you will need to consider the advancement of your career and that almost always means professional development. Gaining the expertise, communication skills and building a strong network of other geologists who are taking the development of our profession to another level. While it is true that geology is a science that has many static principles that govern its practice, emerging new technologies are developing at a ballistic rate.

The continued development of LiDAR, ARC-GIS, thermal scanning and other technologies are making it easier to do better work at a faster pace. Unless you are in a specialized sector of the profession, the quicker you gain command of new technology will often dictate how fast and far your career develops as well. I have over 30 years of experience practicing geology, in environmental, mining and geotechnical consulting. I now work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a Senior Geologist. All along the way, I have been quick to recognize emerging technology that will help me achieve project goals AND advance my career. I have been a member of various professional organizations, many of them specialized toward a single discipline.

When I, along with 7 other geologists in Nashville, formed an AEG chapter in 2017, I was drawn by the fact that there are committees and presentations in AEG that allow you to focus on your area of expertise. They all are doing work that is cutting edge. Yes, it is a little expensive compared to other groups, but I have been getting my money’s worth by becoming involved and recruiting speakers at our monthly meetings, planning field trips, reaching out to area universities and K-12 educational outreach. The professional contacts I have made with private and regulatory geologists have given me a better understanding of emerging technology, we have helped college student get grants, internships and jobs, our field trips bring together geologists from every stage of their career. It is a winning situation for everybody that wants to get involved, no question. I don’t know of any other organization that has as much to offer its members, especially our beginning geologists. If there was, I’d be a member - it’s as simple as that.

I have been a chapter chairman and am now Director of the AEG Southeast Region. Just getting geared up on that one, but I will get there. Throughout my career I have strived to gain expertise in every geologic discipline that I have worked in; hydrogeology, karst, environmental, underground mining, civil, including serving as expert witness. My drive and dedication have allowed me to be successful in all of them.

I am now working primarily in geotechnical engineering, which is more challenging than most. Someday after retiring, I will be a part time geoscience instructor, giving back to our profession in the best way possible by recruiting the geologists of tomorrow. By then my final box score should be impressive, I hope. But for all of you young geologists, the critical challenges you face to enhance your professional careers are: learning/using new technologies, network in your chosen field, become an expert in your area of discipline, maintain relationships from your academic career. The time to start is now, whether you are in the game as a professional or “on the bench” as a student, the innings are being played.  AEG will allow you to meet all of those career challenges, so that when you look back at your final career box score, you are satisfied with the knowledge that you made an impact in your chosen profession.  Trust me, it’s a great feeling.

Respectfully Yours.
A. Bruce Rogers, P.G.
Senior Geologist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Director, AEG Southeast Region 8


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