My mentor was the reason why I became a Petroleum Geologist
My good friend, David Hawk, told me last year when he became Chair of the HoD, he had a job for me. Well, guess what? He put me right in the middle of the most interesting committee. The Constitution & Bylaws Committee. Of course I tried to tell him I was too busy, which I am, but David never hears the word “NO”. Over the past few months I have had the pleasure of working with Peter Lloyd and the rest of the committee as we review, discuss, and debate the value of proposed Bylaw changes. It has been beneficial to have the breadth of experience that Clint Moore and John Hogg brought to the committee. Everyone has a voice which is what makes our democratic system so powerful.
We were asked to give a brief account of our professional history and our mentors. Again, I must bring the name David Hawk to the forefront, he is responsible for getting me started in the petroleum industry. Until I met him, I knew very little about petroleum and even less about the industry. I was a hard rock geologist with a geological engineering degree from the University of Idaho. He gave me a summer job at IGC Production Company in Boise, Idaho. He must have liked me as he let me stay through the fall of 1977. Then he told me if I really wanted to be a “real” geologist, (he was hinting at me becoming a petroleum geologist), I should go to graduate school, and better yet, if I stayed at an Idaho school, IGC Production would provide financial assistance. It was a deal I could not resist so I went to Idaho State University. With the opportunity to continue working projects for David, I was able to learn about photo-geology, geomorphology and structure while surface mapping many of the prospects IGC Production had assembled throughout eastern Idaho in the thrustbelt. I then chose a thesis on the Cretaceous Frontier Formation in the Big Hole Mountains of Idaho. IGC and their partners drilled a well that was in the middle of my thesis area. Not only did it provide information for my work, I was the wellsite geologist. It was a tough job since it looked towards the Teton Mountains and Jackson Hole was an hour drive away. It was quite a learning experience. David and I had another opportunity to work together at Horn Resources in Denver, Colorado from 1981-1983. He made sure I was exposed to every facet of being an explorationist, including engineering and land work.
I have always considered that “the” professional organization for those pursuing a petroleum career is AAPG. The conventions, society meetings, literature and technical sessions have allowed me to keep current with ideas and technology. However, it is the networking with friends and business contacts that has been most beneficial. There will always be some type of ups and downs in our business, and knowing people that can help you with a job, work, or idea can be significant to building your career.
I believe AAPG has taken bold steps to help the public and politicians better understand the science and risk inherent with the petroleum business; something we have for too long ignored. Realizing the importance of the international arena and expanding internationally has been very rewarding. Even if one doesn’t work internationally, the professionals we have a chance to meet, exchange ideas and share opportunities is worth investing a little of your time.
The kindness, inspiration and mentoring that David Hawk provided me; inspired me to mentor other geologist throughout my career. I trust you will consider doing the same.