New Orleans has been the home of the Delta Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute for over 30 years. Since its founding, the Delta Chapter has served the local oil and gas industry as well as the surrounding community in various ways. While the organization's mission has not changed, goals and objectives to accomplish the mission have evolved over the decades with the changes in our industry and our community.
Foremost, Delta Chapter strives to serve all aspects of the oil and gas industry by acting as a joint industry support organization. To that end, the governing Board of Directors consists of oil and gas professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds including legal, finance, engineering, geosciences, computing, and education. Consequently, the organization does not focus on any one particular industry segment. The Board meets once a month to conduct the business of the organization which includes directing the efforts of the Chapter and use of its resources.
Since the metropolitan New Orleans area hosts about 18 active professional oil industry associations, Delta Chapter promotes and provides opportunities to partner with all of them to accomplish common and relevant goals. The Delta Chapter was the first API chapter to create a web page on the internet (www.api-delta.org) with the purpose of conveniently providing a wide range of information to the local industry. Several industry association calendars are posted on the site for easy access to information about upcoming events and -luncheons, identifying guest speakers. Delta Chapter also coordinates joint functions with many industry organizations. The premiere event is the annual Joint Society Luncheon in November which began in 1998 and includes all of the local industry societies. It continues to be relevant and well attended today.
The second goal of the Delta Chapter is to support our local community. The Chapter does this in ever changes ways to create a lasting impact. Funds raised through our annual sporting clay (spring) and golf (fall) tournaments are directed to promote energy education to children and young adults. The Delta Chapter built and maintains an energy exhibit at the Louisiana Children's Museum (LCM). The Chapter funds special programs at the museum such as "Super Science Saturday" and "FETCH Oil and Energy Saturday". Members of the Chapter donate their time and talents to assist in these activities, bringing excitement and fun to the learning process for both children and their parents.
API Delta Chapter believes that science and math education are vital to our industry's future growth and success. Each year the Chapter offers awards to students and their teachers at the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair. In 2007, the Chapter sponsored BLaST (Building Louisiana Science and Technology) at their First LEGO competition. The impact and quality of this event was so impressive that it continues to receive our support.
For over 20 years prior to Hurricane Katrina, Delta Chapter Board members annually reviewed the portfolios of outstanding teachers in the six Delta Chapter public school systems to select the recipients of the Delta Chapter Excellence in Teaching Awards. Teachers selected to be honored for their demonstrated superior teaching skills and dedication to their students and the community, their principals, and superintendents were invited to a Recognition Luncheon as guests of the Chapter. Delta Chapter Board members attended School Board meetings in the six parishes comprising the Delta Chapter to present the honored teachers with monetary awards, totaling $7200 per parish each year. Over $120,000 has been awarded to classroom teachers since the inception of the program. Post Katrina, the Chapter is investigating the best way to re-establish a teacher Recognition Program.
Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, the Board created a "mini-grant" program that assists local teachers in purchasing teaching materials for use in math and science classes. This well received by teachers program is another success that continues to receive funding because of its direct impact on students. In 2008, Delta Chapter inquired how it could assist the St. Bernard Parish School System. The response was a request to furnish 3 new freshmen science labs. Delta Chapter presented a $25,000 check at the August 2008 St. Bernard school board meeting.
Continuing to support the industry, Delta Chapter has added a college scholarship program to promising students sponsored by Chapter members. A new vocational scholarship program is currently under consideration for young adults. Delta Chapter recently partnered with Carville Job Corp Academy to assist disadvantaged youth. The federally funded program trains the students for entry level oil industry jobs while concurrently encouraging pursuit of a high school diploma or GED. As a result of a recognized a need for low interest loans to graduates to bridge the gap to employment, API national and Delta Chapter partnered to fund a program that loans graduates money at low interest rate to buy a donated vehicle at its repair costs.
We at API Delta Chapter are proud of our mission to serve and our accomplishments to date. Our programs and services will continue to adjust to the changing needs of our industry and our local community. However, our impact upon both will not diminish as long as dedicated individuals who cherish this area and this industry donate their time, talents and resources to the cause.