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Petroleum Accountants Society of the Permian Basin
Petroleum Accountants Society
of the Permian Basin

P.O. Box 1123
Midland, Texas 79702

History of the Petroleum Accountants Society of the Permian Basin

As written by Jane Schulte for the Fall 2005 COPAS ACCOUNTS

The Petroleum Accountants Society of the Permian Basin (PASPB) has been around since before the beginning of COPAS, starting out as the Midland Society in 1954. The first meetings were held at the Midland Country Club, which was then located on the corner of Cuthbert and A Streets near the golf course. The social hour was the main function of the society, as networking was highly valued.

Our name changed in 1981 from the Midland Society to the current name of PASPB. The meeting location has changed over the years as well, going from the Midland Country Club, to the Ranchland Hills Country Club, to the Claydesta Plaza Club, and finally to the current location at the Petroleum Club downtown. Meeting dates and times also changed much to the chagrin of some of the members. When attendance started to decline, the social hour was “deleted” and the meetings were moved to lunchtime with considerable success.

As with most of the “senior citizen” societies, Midland did not initially permit women in the meetings, but changes were made in 1976 when the bylaws were changed so that a member could be a “person” instead of a “man.” There was only one dissenting vote, a past president, who walked out of the meeting never to darken the door again. The first female president, Frances Jones, was elected in 1988. Needless to say, the world did not end and PASPB has kept rolling on. I was fortunate to be elected as the second female president in 1991 and since then the genders have been pretty equal, although there was a stretch of nine woman presidents in a row.

In the early days, the Midland Society printed the COPAS Bulletins. Someone typed and mimeographed the document, then it was hand-collated with all the pages being laid out on a table while everyone walked round-and-round until they had made up the entire document. This all changed in the mid-1960s when COPAS realized they needed to copyright their documents and publication was turned over to Ross-Martin, which eventually became Kraftbilt. Today COPAS documents are distributed by the National Office.

Midland hosted the organizational meeting of COPAS on April 25, 1961 and we have been active ever since. Four of the Fall COPAS Meetings were held in Midland including 1966, 1972, 1978, and 1986, when John Jolly retired as COPAS Executive Director. As part of the roast of John Jolly for his retirement, he was furnished a new fancy ‘do’ (wig), as we recalled the days when he really had hair. We have a collection of future Executive Directors in our photo gallery, including Jon Gear, John Jolly, and Dick Beaverson along with past COPAS president, Wayne Kahmeyer. Unfortunately, the photograph is not high enough resolution to be included in the COPAS ACCOUNTS. The attire then was evident, as they were all in suits – the normal dress for COPAS meetings back in the 1980s. How times have changed!

After the big COPAS meeting in the fall of 1986, PASPB combined with the New Mexico Society to host the 1993 Fall COPAS Meeting in Ruidoso, New Mexico at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. Then it was back to Midland for the 2001 Spring COPAS Meeting in celebration of 40 years since the organizational meeting. PASPB also hosted the Leadership Conference in the summers of 1995 and 2005.

PASPB was certainly proud to be the first society to host the APA exams with the first test being administered in February 1996. Also, the first full APA was Paul Brown with Texaco in Midland. Many of our members have served on the APA board of Examiners from the beginning to present. We also boast three past COPAS presidents – Eugene Myrick (1966-67), John White (1970-71), and Steve Castle (1991) – along with several COPAS board members and committee chairs.

Every time there is a big upheaval in the industry, we wonder if PASPB will continue to be a society, but it seems that the level of membership has remained steady, or even grown, through those lean years. Perhaps the function of the society as a place to network still drives our membership as it did back in the 1950s. “The more things change, the more things stay the same.”