The PUG started back in 1990 as a small group of Esri technology users who gathered for the purpose of providing petroleum industry focused feedback to Esri on the capabilities of the Arc/Info software. Since Esri was not developed specifically for the petroleum industry and the Esri partner network was in its early days, there were specific petroleum workflows that were difficult or impossible to carry out within the base software. Thus, the PUG’s role was to gather feedback from users within the community and provided a single voice back to Esri in an attempt to encourage Esri to develop their software according to our industry’s needs.
In the early years it was a fairly small user group who met to socialize and share ideas. By 2003 the meetings turned into more of a conference format and continued growing from there. The PUG leadership group, called the PUG Steering Committee, was responsible for coordinating the user group meetings and the conferences up until 2008 when the conference budget became too large to manage independently. This is when the PUG handed over the management of the conference to Esri. Since then, the PUG Steering Committee has become increasingly less hands-on in coordinating the conference and now generally just aids with content (recruiting presenters and selecting final papers for approval) and recruiting and managing moderators for the paper sessions.
Who let the dog out?
The PUG has always had an affinity for a bulldog, and many ask why. The history of the bulldog is rooted in the early days of the PUG and is derived from an incident that occurred at an Esri User Conference in Palm Springs, California. Jack Dangermond had joined us for a PUG List discussion and he offered a long and complicated workaround for a specific issue on the List. Bill Wally, one of our founding members, replied that Jack’s suggested solution was “like putting lipstick on a bulldog: it is still ugly.” And as a result, a lipstick smeared bulldog was the logo for many years!
2003 to 2010 logos
Want to know the year-by-year history of the PUG?
1990: Our first logo was commissioned by Bub Dupree (first PUG Chairman) and drafted by the Amoco Drafting group:
1991: The first real PUG meeting was held at HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center) in the Woodlands. It was hosted by Jack Hill and had approximately 80 attendees.
1991: The “PUG List” was created at a PUG meeting in Exxon’s Houston office on September 5th. The meeting was started by Tom Murdock of Esri showing the things that Esri had developed that could relate to the petroleum industry. Instead, Tom ended up asking “What can Esri do for your business?” and by the end of the meeting, over 100 items were written on to the List!
1992: At the second PUG meeting we had grown to 150 attendees.
1993: At the 1993 meeting, there were over 300 people in attendance.
1994: With 400 attendees in 1994, Lisa Derenthal organized the PUG meeting to be held at the Houston Westin Galleria and began the tradition of bussing attendees to the Gingerman pub for the Tuesday night PUG social. Clint Brown of Esri and his band “Road to Ruin” performed at the Gingerman.
1996: There were over 500 attendees at the PUG meeting! Jack Dangermond attended and gave the keynote speech.
1997: The PUG became a limited liability company known as “PUG, Inc.”.
1998: PUG meeting has more than 600 attendees.
2004: PUG annual conference attendance breaks 1000!
2008: As PUG conference attendance reaches 1800, Esri assumes responsibility of the conference logistics and finances.
2010: Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the PUG, Jack Dangermond attended the PUG conference as the keynote speaker.
2011: The annual PUG conference is rebranded by Esri to be the “Esri Petroleum GIS Conference” and it is moved to downtown Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center to accommodate the large attendance.
2014: The PUG is rebranded as a Professional GIS organization, including new logo and website.