HomeAbout AAPG Overview Honors and Awards

Honors and Awards

This year we offer a new way to recognize AAPG's best of the best: The 2021 AAPG Honors and Awards video, an official video celebrating recipients for the past year, can be found above.

The 2021 awards video was produced to recreate the AAPG awards ceremony, which historically is a popular part of the opening session at AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibitions. The 2021 IMAGE, held jointly with SEG, is a hybrid event.

Please enjoy in its entirety this celebration of those receiving AAPG awards for 2021, or follow links below to jump directly to an award section of choice. Also, you can read the biographies of the awardees by clicking the "BIO" link next to their name.

00:00 Awards Start

00:38 Distinguished Member of the House (In-Person)

01:29 Honorary Member of the House (In-Person)

01:47 Best Technical Presentation Awards (In-Person)

02:31 Young Professionals Exemplary Service Award (In-Person)

02:52 AAPG Pioneer Award (In-Person)

03:11 Public Service Awards (In-Person)

03:39 Harrison Schmitt Award (In-Person)

04:02 Distinguished Service Award (In-Person)

05:03 Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award (In-Person)

05:24 Norman H. Foster Explorer Award (In-Person)

05:42 AAPG Honorary Membership (In-Person)

06:20 Sidney Powers Memorial Award (In-Person)

06:55 Gretchen Gillis, Presidential Address

08:52 AGI Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal

Franklin Schwartz

15:44 Awards Continue (Video)

17:21 AAPG House Of Delegates

17:34 Distinguished Member of the House

Maurice Birdwell BIO
Anne C. Draucker BIO
William "Bill" Houston BIO

18:22 Honorary Member of the House

Donald W. Lewis BIO
Deborah Sacrey BIO
Margaret Anne Rogers BIO

19:51 Best Technical Presentation Awards

20:12 Jules Braunstein Memorial Award

21:03 George C. Matson Memorial Award

21:27 JC Cam Sproule Mem Award

22:12 SEG/AAPG Best Paper in Interpretation Journal Award

22:49 Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award

David W. Houseknecht BIO

23:32 AAPG Service Awards

23:47 AAPG Vlastimila (Vlasta) Dvořáková International Ambassador Service Award

Peter Grant BIO

24:32 Young Professionals Exemplary Service Award

Anna Phelps BIO
Lizbeth Calizaya Sunchulli BIO

25:34 Geosciences in the Media Award

Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson BIO
Michael Wysession BIO

26:50 AAPG Pioneer Award

Cindy Yeilding BIO

27:50 Public Service Awards

Hilary Olson BIO
Sandra Rushworth BIO
Stephen M. Testa BIO

29:36 Harrison Schmitt Award

Mark Kirschbaum BIO

30:27 Grover E. Murray Memorial Distinguished Educator Award

Xavier Moonan BIO
Brian P.J. Williams BIO

32:00 Distinguished Service Award

Sam Akande BIO
Maren Blair BIO
Marsha Findlay Bourque BIO
C. Elmo Brown BIO
William "Bill" DeMis BIO
Scott Durocher BIO
Ana Maria Goncalves BIO
Stuart Harker BIO
Michael Vanden Berg BIO
Stanley Wharton BIO

35:34 Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award

Marie Francoise Brunet BIO
Eric Barrier BIO
Alexei Milkov BIO

37:20 Norman H. Foster Explorer Award

John A. Parker BIO

38:16 AAPG Honorary Membership

Misfir Azzahrani BIO
Hernani Aquini Fernandes Chaves BIO
André Coajou BIO
Thomas Ewing BIO
Lee Krystinik BIO
Fiona MacAulay BIO
Randi Martinsen BIO
Daniel Schwartz BIO

40:54 L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal

Jerry Namy

42:54 Michel T. Halbouty Outstanding Leadership Award

Mahmoud Abdulbaqi BIO

49:53 Sidney Powers Memorial Award

Leslie Magoon BIO


2021 AAPG Distinguished Member of the House
Maurice Birdwell
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Maurice grew up on the family farm west of Haynesville, Louisiana. After graduating from Haynesville High School, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. where he served a tour of duty overseas in the 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Div., including deployment to the Middle East. After being honorably discharged he returned home and went to work in the oilfield. He worked as a roustabout and roughneck in oilfields from Texas to Alabama and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

After injuring a knee in a motorcycle accident he enrolled in college, earning a BS degree in geology from Southern Arkansas Univ. and a MS degree in geology from the Univ. of Louisiana, Monroe. He also did undergraduate field work at the Univ. of Texas and graduate field work at LSU. After graduation he was employed as an exploration geologist with Texaco in New Orleans and also served as a college recruiter. After several career moves, he retired as General Manager from Hunt Petroleum Corp. in Shreveport, LA. Subsequent to retirement, he worked for several independent industry companies before moving to Pearl, MS and forming Milbird Resources, which he currently manages.

Maurice has been a member of the AAPG for 53 years and the DPA for 38 years. He has served in the HoD for 18 years as a delegate from the Shreveport Geological Society and the Mississippi Geological Society, including last year's first viral meeting. He has served on numerous HoD committees and chaired the Resolutions, the Nomination and the Honors and Awards committees. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of the SGS and as Treasurer of the MGS. He also served two terms as a Gulf Coast DPA councilor and was appointed by the governor of Mississippi to the MS State Board of Registered Professional Geologist where he served for five years.

Maurice and his wife Lillian have been married for 56 years and have two children, Warrick (BS La. Tech) and Amy (MD, Univ. of MS School of Medicine) and three grandchildren. Their family enjoys SCUBA diving and vacationing in northern Arkansas.

Kevin B. Hill


Anne C. Draucker
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Anne Draucker hails from New Cuyama, California, named after the Chumash Indian word for clams, and grew up looking for fossils in the hills beyond the town's four streets. Annual family camping at Lassen Volcanic National Park and the realization that geology was a real job got Anne "all in." She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in geology at California State University – Bakersfield, joining AAPG as a student. The siren song of full-time employment with Chevron kept her in Bakersfield as a geologist following graduation. While located in California, Anne began her volunteer career with the San Joaquin Geological Society as Vice President, President, and Delegate to the AAPG House of Delegates. She simultaneously progressed from asset development geologist to her current petrophysics role as Techlog Strategist and AGILE coach based in Houston.

Anne twirled her way into the ranks of dedicated House volunteers as a member of the HoD Resolutions Committee (2012 – 2014) and Chair (2013 – 2014). She served the Honors and Awards Committee (2014 – 2015) and the Rules and Procedures Committee as Chair (2017 – 2018). Anne proved her mettle by serving as Constitution & Bylaws Chair (2018 – 2020). She now serves on the Membership Committee (2019 – 2021).

Anne's dedicated service to the AAPG HoD was informed by simultaneous service in other parts of AAPG, including the EMD Executive Committee as Vice President, President Elect, 2016-2017 President, and Past President. She served as Member Services Chair (2014 – 2015) and Website Committee Chair (2014 – 2015). Anne now serves the Advisory Council, including contributions to a rigorous review of AAPG governance as a member of AC's Strategic Long Range Planning Committee. Anne's dedication to doing the right thing has benefited AAPG in her work as Ethics Chair and the board of the Kern County Dance Alliance, where she gives back to her California community.

Anne has consistently brought integrity, rigor, and good humor to her volunteer duties. Who can forget Anne's steely gaze from the HoD dais at the 2019 Annual Meeting as C&BL Chair?

This biography would not do justice to Anne if it failed to mention that she is an accomplished ballroom dancer and bibliophile who breaks personal bests on book acquisitions on her junkets to Comic-Con. Anne is richly deserving of the 2021 AAPG House of Delegates' Distinguished Member of the House Award, and I am honored to be her friend and AAPG colleague.

Gretchen Gillis


William "Bill" Houston
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

William (Bill) was raised in New Hampshire by parents who were schoolteachers and active community members. This is where he was introduced to the importance of education and community service. Growing up camping, fishing, and hiking his love of the outdoors and science spurred him to become a geologist. After graduating from the University of Vermont (1989) he completed a master's degree at Colorado State University (1994). He then earned a Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University (2002). During his Ph.D. he worked as a consultant on development drilling projects out of Bakersfield, CA and Midland, TX.

Bill was an Education Project Manager for the American Geological Institute (1999) in geoscience curriculum development. From there he moved to Denver, CO (2000-2009) where he worked for several independent, small, and mid-sized oil and gas companies. His petroleum experience and visibility as an AAPG leader brought opportunities to spend a year in Thailand (2010) and 4+ years (2011-2015) in New Zealand working offshore exploration and Asia-Pacific new ventures. He returned to the U.S. in 2015, working as an independent geoscience curriculum consultant then as an Assistant Professor at Lake Superior State University (2017-2019).

Bill has been an AAPG member for 27 years, serving on numerous Association committees and as Elected Secretary on the Executive Committee (2009-2011). He has been a delegate and delegate Chair for the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and a delegate for the Asia-Pacific Region. During his time in the House he has served on several committees, including as Chair (two terms) of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee and Co-Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Section and Region Representation. He continued as an advocate for updating the Constitution and Bylaws and delegate representation policies of the HoD as Chair and Past-Chair of the House (2018-2020).

He steered foundational work as a committee member and Chair for the HoD. He was then able to build on those successes by collaborating with multiple terms of House leadership to bring about transformational changes in the guiding tenets of the HoD.

Bill and his wife of 23 years, Chris, are often accompanied at AAPG functions by their daughter Megan, a marine biologist. Their new home base is in Faribault, MN where they look forward to enjoying fishing, kayaking, and grilling/smoking at their lake house.

Richard Ball & Dan Billman


2021 AAPG Honorary Member of the House
Donald W. Lewis
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

I first met Don Lewis in 1962 when he joined the District Development Geology Staff in the Standard Oil Company of California (SOCAL and now Chevron Corp) Exploration Department Office in Bakersfield, CA. Don joined SOCAL in 1958 and I joined SOCAL in 1951 and was first assigned as a Development Geologist in the Exploration Department in the Bakersfield office. After 7 years in Bakersfield with 5 years in the Exploration Department, Don continued his tenure with SOCAL until he retired in 1995 and his 37 year career at Chevron includes three years of Alaskan geology, Superintendent for WAPET in Australia, Exploration Manger for Amoseas in Indonesia, Chevron Overseas Exploration Manager in the Asia-Pacific and European Regions, General Manager of Chevron USA's Western Region Exploration and lastly 5 years as Chief Geologist of Chevron Corporation.

Don joined AAPG in 1958 and became active in various AAPG Committees, including the Visiting Geologists Program in 1979. As a Exploration Manager, he strongly advocated the participation of Chevron geologists in AAPG Section and local Society activities and in technical publications and presentations. Don's concern with the challenges of oil and gas exploration in environmentally sensitive areas led to his becoming a Founding Member of the AAPG Division of Environmental Geosciences in 1997. In 1994 he joined AAPG's Corporate Liaison Committee as the Chevron representative.

Don and Sue Lewis were married in 1959 and have 2 sons and their home is in Lafayette, CA located East of the San Francisco Bay area. With Don's retirement from Chevron at the end of 1995, his professional activities to AAPG have focused on AAPG and the Local Pacific Section AAPG and Northern CA Geological Society. His dedication to national AAPG is reflected by his Membership and Chair of a number of Committees, Vice President of AAPG in 2001, receiving the AAPG Certificate of Merit in 2003, the Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and the Honorary Member Award in 2008. Don has been a Trustee Associate since 1997.

His dedication and exemplary service to the Northern CA Geological Society(NCGS) are of special note and reflect his receiving the Highest Award of the AAPG House of Delegates (HOD), Honorary Member of the House. Don was President of the NCGS in 2000 and has been the NCGS Delegate to the AAPG HOD since 1995. He received the HOD Long Service Award in 2016 and the HOD 15 Year Certificate of Service in 2015. Don has been a Member of a number of HOD Committees and has Chaired The Nominations and Election Committee and The Future of Earth Scientists Committee.

It has been a sincere pleasure and privilege to prepare this Citation in Honor of Donald Watson Lewis receiving the prestigious and highest Award of the House of Delegates, Honorary Member of the House. The Award is presented at the Annual Meeting of HOD at the Annual Meeting of AAPG "in recognition of a record of consistent, dedicated, and exemplary service to the House of Delegates through committee work and officer service (not required)".

Bob Lindblom


Deborah Sacrey
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Deborah King Sacrey is an exceptional geoscientist and owner of Auburn Energy, founded by her in 1990. Deborah's unwavering perseverance and remarkable skills as a geologist and geophysicist are key factors in her client's and her success. She specializes in 2D and 3D interpretation worldwide. For the past 10 years she has been part of a team to study and bring the power of multi-attribute neural analysis of seismic data to the geoscience community. She is an expert in the use of Paradise software and has had many discoveries using multi-attribute neural analysis.

Deborah is a proud graduate of the University of Oklahoma, earning her BS degree in Geology in 1976. Immediately following graduation, Deborah was recruited by Gulf Oil in OK City. Later, she went on to work for several large and small companies, culminating with Paramount Petroleum before she became an independent consultant, first with Texas Meridian, and many clients since. She was a pioneer in the use of PC based seismic workstations for the independent and consultant, a practice at the time that was dominated by large Unix workstations at majors and large independents, and has built that into a flourishing career, working first with SMT and then with Paradise, where she continues to help develop and provide her expertise to clients to this day.

Deborah has been exceptionally active in the geological community. She joined AAPG in 1976, and is a Certified Petroleum Geologist (#4014) and Certified Petroleum Geophysicist (#2)! Since 1985, Deborah has served on and chaired numerous committees, including HoD committees, has been HoD Secretary/Editor, has served the DPA as Vice-President, Secretary and President, has been AAPG Treasurer, and on the Advisory Council. As for AAPG awards, she has received at least six Certificates of Merit, the Distinguished Service Award, the HoD Distinguished Member of the House and most recently the DPA Life Member Award.

Aside from the time and energy Deborah has dedicated to the AAPG, she has also served the Gulf Coast Section as Treasurer, Vice-President and President. She has been General Chair, Co-Chair and Vice Chair on at least three conventions, has been President of SIPES and the SIPES Foundation. During her SIPES Presidency, she was instrumental in the formation of the joint AAPG, SIPES, HGS APPEX which was later merged into NAPE as Summer NAPE. Deborah has served as President of the Houston Geological Society (HGS), receiving numerous awards, most notably an Honorary Lifetime Member Award and recipient of the distinguished Gerald Cooley Award. She been a long-time member of AAPG, SIPES, HGS, the South Texas Geological Society and the Oklahoma City Geological Society.

Deborah has enjoyed a long and dedicated career of service to the AAPG and the profession as a whole, and continues to serve and work as an active and energetic geoscientist, even after moving to her farm 80 miles west of Houston with her husband, Emmett. Deborah is more than deserving of this award, a cap on her long list of achievements.

Paul W. Britt


Margaret Anne Rogers
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Margaret Anne joined the AAPG in 1973 as an Associate Member and became a full Member in 1980. She was President of the Energy and Minerals Division (EMD) in 1997-98 and in that capacity was also a member of the Advisory Council for the same period. Those positions gave her greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of volunteer entities. Along with other committee membership and continuing contact with the "movers and shakers" of AAPG she developed a deep (and sometimes critical) knowledge of the Association. Her initiatives contributed to much improvement in AAPG.

But, this high award is for service to the House of Delegates and in recognition of the value of that service. She served on the Constitution & Bylaws, Credentials and Resolutions committees in which her views often presented an oblique perspective. This sometimes precipitated a reaction from the status quo, but on inspection, illuminated important elements and those were often accepted (and sometimes modified) and went to improve the final presentation. Her distinctive oratorical style contributed to these achievements.

Margaret Anne grew up in Austin and earned her BA and MA in Geology from The University of Texas where she met and married Harold who obtained a PhD in Physics there. Harold was hired to work at the Los Alamos National Lab, so New Mexico gained two scientists in the process! Margaret Anne's focus has been volcanic stratigraphy coupled with environmental geology. She has worked for 35 years as a consultant in waste management and is a Texas licensed Professional Geoscientist.

She is a long-term member of the Albuquerque Geological Society and has been their Delegate many times. In the process she has brought distinct benefits to that organization and credit to herself, the House and AAPG.

Her children have inherited (perhaps been proselytized, too) her geological interests. Christie is a geologist working for Exxon/Mobil in Houston and Rog works for the Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin on GIS. Both offspring have attended many annual conventions of the Association.

Patrick J. F. Gratton


2021 AAPG Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award
David W. Houseknecht
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Dave Houseknecht is a senior research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Reston, Virginia with a focus on basin analysis, geological controls of petroleum resource occurrence, and petroleum resource assessment. This work mainly is concentrated in Arctic Alaska and adjacent regions. He frequently represents the USGS scientific perspective on petroleum resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, and other areas of Alaska and the global Arctic to the Administration and Congress.

Dave joined the USGS in 1992, serving as Energy Program Manager through 1998 and then moving to a research position. Previously, Houseknecht was a professor of geology at the University of Missouri – Columbia (1978-1992) and consultant to the oil industry (1981-1992), working on domestic and international projects. He received geology degrees from Penn State University (Ph.D. 1978, B.S. 1973) and Southern Illinois University (M.S. 1975).


2021 AAPG Vlastimila (Vlasta) Dvořáková International Ambassador Service Award
Peter Grant
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Peter D. Grant, known as "Granty" to all, graduated with a B.Sc Honours degree in Geology from the University of Nottingham in 1974.

Through his career Peter held various technical and management roles with Seismograph Services Limited (SSL), British Gas, BHP Petroleum Limited and Woodside Energy Limited and in 2013 started his own successful consultancy "International Energy Solutions" in Perth, Western Australia.

Peter's time as a geophysicist and Party Manager with SSL took him to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Nigeria and the United Kingdom and introduced him to the art of working with a variety of E& P companies both large and small, national regulatory authorities, local and State governments and large local workforces and their leadership. Peter then gave up the delights of working in the tropics to join British Gas in London in1979 and learn how to successfully work field operations from the opposite side of the table plus the art of turning all those wiggles into subsurface maps, prospects and leads.

Peter emigrated to Australia in 1982 joining BHP Petroleum in Melbourne where he was successively Exploration Manager for Northern Australia (with a string of oil discoveries credited to his team), Project Manager for Myanmar stationed in Yangon and then Exploration Manager Africa & Middle Easy based in London. Peter became the General Manager of BHP's operating office in Sana'a Yemen and led the successful evacuation of all his expatriate staff at the time of the civil war in 1994 whilst providing for the financial well-being of his local staff through that difficult time.

Peter then joined Woodside Energy Limited in Perth in 1995 and once again was Exploration Manager for Northern Australia, where his team delivered a string of valuable oil and gas discoveries, before becoming a very central figure in Woodside's successful expansion into the international arena in various geographies and geologies.

Throughout his career Peter has distinguished himself in many ways but primarily through his ability to build trusted relationships with all levels of government, with joint venture partners, with suppliers and with local communities. Peter's other defining personal trait is his commitment to developing people, be they his own staff, students, national oil company staff or just about anyone needing a helping hand.

When I asked Peter to takeover from me as Deputy Vice-President for the Asia Pacific region of AAPG in 2012 he jumped at the chance and, in his usual indefatigable way, threw himself into the role becoming President and the very visible face of AAPG throughout the region. He has taken a leading role in promoting all of the student, young professional and conference events, whilst also finding time to be a valued member of the AAPG global Advisory Council from 2014-2017. He continues to promote AAPG and enthusiastically support every AAPG event in Asia Pacific.

Peter is truly a global ambassador for both our industry and AAPG and a worthy recipient of the Vlastimila Dvorakova International Ambassador Service Award. I salute him.

Agu Kantsler


2021 AAPG Young Professionals Exemplary Service Award
Anna Phelps
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

From a young age, Anna was fascinated with the physical sciences and natural landscape, but it wasn't until college that she fell in love with geology. Anna received her B.A. in Geology from Colorado College in 2010 and her M.Sc. in Geology from the University of Montana in 2015. For her Master's thesis work, Anna studied the facies and stratigraphic architecture of the Upper Devonian-Lower Mississippian Sappington Formation in southwestern Montana and published a paper on that work in the AAPG Bulletin in 2018.

Anna began her career at SM Energy, where she continues to work today. Anna has worked in exploration and development, conducting basin-wide evaluations of resource plays in Rocky Mountain basins and driving development optimization in the Permian Basin. She currently works in reservoir characterization, building 3D geocelluar models in the Midland Basin. Anna has quickly become a role model and leader at SM Energy. She has shown a passion for recruiting and is committed to the mentoring and professional development of interns and early-career employees.

Anna is enthusiastic about giving back to her local and regional geologic community and actively seeks out volunteer opportunities. Her list of accomplishments and roles is impressive, especially given her short time in the industry. Anna first got involved in AAPG at the University of Montana (UM), where she served as Secretary in the UM AAPG Student Chapter and led the UM IBA Team to win the Rocky Mountain Section IBA Competition. After graduate school, while working for SM Energy in Billings, Montana, Anna actively volunteered in the Montana Geological Society (MGS). Anna served as the MGS Awards Committee Chair, MGS Educational Outreach Committee Chair, and Publicity Chair for the 2017 AAPG RMS Meeting in Billings. Anna was also involved in local STEM initiatives and became an RMS IBA Coordinator, which she continues today.

When SM Energy transferred Anna to Denver, Colorado, she immersed herself in the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG). Anna participated in the RMAG Mentorship Program, served as Secretary to the RMAG Board, joined the RMAG Membership Committee, and became an officer on the Board. Anna currently serves as Vice President to the RMS, Coordinator of the RMS IBA Coordinator, RMS delegate for the AAPG HoD, and member of the RMAG Membership Committee.

Time and time again, Anna has shown her commitment to Young Professionals' growth in the Rocky Mountain Region through her volunteerism and by serving as an inspiring leader and mentor.

Mark Millard


Lizbeth Calizaya Sunchulli
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Lizbeth is a remarkable, caring, warm and brilliant young professional. She has developed a full career in AAPG. She has started as student member back in 2013 being part of the student chapter in San Marcos University and has never stopped promoting AAPG and motivating and leading her peers and colleges since then. She has always been willing to give and serve others, and this is an outstanding example for other Young Professionals. Inspired by her participation in the first pilot of the Latin America & the Caribbean Region Leadership Summit held in the framework of the 2013 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in Cartagena-Colombia, Lizbeth decided to be part of the organizing committee of the last four SC&YP LACR Leadership Summits (2015 Bucaramanga, Colombia; 2016 Cancun, Mexico; 2018 Bogota, Colombia; 2019 Buenos Aires, Argentina), investing her time and hard work to benefit AAPG students and young professionals, volunteers and advocates from this impactful program. During her AAPG service, she has helped dozens of student chapters to get started or reactivated as well as providing guidance to 40 student chapters as the LAC regional Liaison of Student Chapters (between July 2015 and June 2017) and acting on their behalf in the Global AAPG student chapter committee. Additionally, acting as the student activities co-chair, she helped scholars to be part of the 2016 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition held in Cancun, motivating them to actively participate.

In last few years, she was acting as the regional Liaison of Young Professional Chapters in the Latin America and Caribbean (from July 2017 to June 2020), where she has led eight young professional chapters across the region and representing them in the Global AAPG Young Professionals Committee. Her main achievements are the successful spreading of the YP program at the university and professional levels and the sponsoring of an effective transition of students to young professional members through networking of recent graduates with junior and mid-career professionals. Her further contribution includes being part of the organizing committee for the successful Ready to Work Brazil, regional new educational program, with exceptional impact on students and young professionals with less than 2-years of experience. Finally, as a progression of her career inside AAPG, she became Regional Delegate for the House of Delegate in July 2020, where she has excelled and has been demonstrating her leadership skills. She is just amazing.

Elvira Gomez Hernandez

2021 AAPG Public Service Awards
Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Christopher Jackson was born in Derby in the East Midlands, United Kingdom. He completed a BSc in Geology at the University of Manchester in 1998. He stayed on at the University of Manchester to undertake a PhD in the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of sedimentary basins, completing in 2002.

Jackson's research focuses on geodynamic, structural, and stratigraphic evolution of sedimentary basins. After completing his PhD in 2002, he was an exploration research geologist in the Norsk Hydro research centre in Bergen, Norway. In 2004, Jackson joined Imperial College London as a lecturer in Basin Analysis in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, where he was appointed Statoil Professor of Basin Analysis in 2015. In 2014, he joined the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin as a Visiting Scientist. Between 2015 and 2016 he was a Visiting Lecturer in Petroleum Science at the University of Namibia. He was promoted to Equinor Professor of Basin Analysis at Imperial College in 2018. In 2019, he was the H. Burr Steinbach Visiting Scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In 2020 he was appointed to the chair in sustainable geoscience at the University of Manchester.

Jackson has participated in the two-episode BBC 2 television documentary "Expedition Volcano" about the Nyamulagira volcano in Congo. His "How to Look Inside a Volcano" lecture at The Royal the Institution features seismic data from Australia and Ireland and has more than 20,000 views on the Ri YouTube channel. He delivered the closing of the 2015 Geological Society of London lecture series, "Terra Infirma: What has salt tectonics ever done for us?" which features examples from the USA, Brazil, and Gabon and has more than 4,000 online views. Jackson actively uses social media to promote the earth sciences, STEM and diversity with more than 10,000 Twitter followers. His style is accessible to a wider audience and his lectures span a broad range of earth science topics. His commitment to public outreach is also evident from his 2016 - Geological Society of America (GSA) -Thompson Distinguished Lecturer Award and 2012-2013 - AAPG - Distinguished Lecturer tours.

Jackson is on the editorial board of the Journal of Petroleum Geology, a Fellow of the Geological Society of London. Part of the open access movement within academia, Jackson founded EarthArxiv, a free preprint service for the earth sciences.

Nick Lagrilliere


Michael Wysession
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

During the past 20 years, Dr. Wysession has worked hard to make major contributions in three areas that have increased public information relating to seismology and geophysics: 1) geoscience education, 2) geoscience literacy, and 3) seismology-related education and outreach.

Also, Dr. Wysession has presented videos and public lectures on a large variety of public education of the geosciences. Michael Wysession, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was appointed executive director of the university's Teaching Center, effective July 1, 2018.

Dr. Wysession is also the author of national K-16 science programs and textbooks, 2001-present; Consultant for K-12 curriculum development, 2006–present; Professional development for high school science teachers, 2003–present; Author of college digital-format Physical Geology textbook (in preparation).

The Teaching Company: Author and lecturer for two video courses as part of the "Great Courses" series: How the Earth Works, 2008 (48 half-hour lectures); The World's Greatest Geologic Wonders, 2013 (36 half-hour lectures).

All 36 lectures of Dr. Michael Wysession's Great Course on the Geologic Wonders of the World are among the most outstanding programs promoting general public interest in the geosciences available anywhere. Even experienced geoscientists will learn something from every lecture, and once you get started, you will want to watch every episode, perhaps more than once.

Television Media: Scientific host of "Journey to the Earth's Core," a television show produced by Wall-to-Wall Media for the History Channel, March 2011; Frequent commentator on local and national news during following large earthquakes.

Public Outreach: More than 75 lectures in the past five years at teachers' meetings, museums, colleges, and other informal education venues on geoscience topics that include natural hazards, natural resources, human impacts on the earth, climate change, and science literacy.

A personal story. One of the early recipients of this award, Walter Sullivan, was Dr. Wysession's high school idol. Dr. Wysession was the feature editor of his high school newspaper (Teaneck, NJ) and a young geophysics major in the making. He thought the "Science Tuesday" section of the New York Times was just the most fantastic thing (especially with Walter's fascination with plate tectonics). His goal was to be the next science editor of the New York Times, after Walter. That never came to be, but Walter did once interview Dr. Wysession and write about his research in a Science Tuesday edition. Perhaps Dr. Wysession will likewise inspire future recipients of this award?

Charles A. Sternbach


2021 AAPG Pioneer Award
Cindy Yeilding
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Cindy Yeilding's career challenged dogmas using new and/or unpopular thinking to find hydrocarbons, fight for a cleaner environment, and create a role model that set new standards.

She found oil in a "dead sea," turned "cast off" properties into valuable assets, established that one can be a successful global explorationist without moving around the world, and helped to dispel the notion that women cannot be accomplished leaders and scientists. She also refused to change her attire at work to "bland" and instead challenged the dogma of what it takes for women to be successful. And won.

She has been an active voice in low carbon and the energy transition, a proponent for diversity and inclusion, education, and a leader in cross-industry collaboration. Cindy has a rich history of successful leadership, most recently chairing a 300-member multidisciplinary team to deliver the National Petroleum Council's study on Carbon Capture, Use and Storage. Cindy currently serves on the Board of Denbury, the Board of The Center for Houston's Future and is Chair of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). Her activities in the OTC greatly expanded greatly the participation of women and students, and helped OTC embrace the energy transition.

Cindy retired in 2020 as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, bp America. In this role, she led the difficult closure of bp's Deepwater Horizon response, and her diverse accountabilities included leadership of bp's U.S. Country Support Team, bp's Executive Sponsor for Princeton University, membership in bp's D&I Council and board member of the Greater Houston Partnership.

Previous roles include VP Gulf of Mexico Exploration & Appraisal, VP Global Basin Analysis/New Ventures and Geoscience R&D Manager. She served on the Boards of BPX&P (GoM) and BPAPC (U.S. onshore) and held an oversight role on the BP America Board. Cindy's career highlights include:

  • Having been an instrumental player in the delivery of BP's deepwater GoM portfolio, leading to the over 2 billion BOE discovered and the creation of one of BP's core businesses.
  • Transformation of bp's global geoscience technology and research program through cutting-edge geophysics and geologic research.

Probably the only AAPG Distinguished Lecturer who toured while pregnant, Cindy continued to expand the role model for women in our industry. Cindy resides in Houston and Austin with her geologist husband Dr. Art Donovan. Their children are daughter Tyler, at Duke University and son, Zack, in high school in Houston. Cindy earned her MSc in Geology from University of North Carolina and her BS in Geology from Southern Methodist University.


2021 AAPG Public Service Awards
Hilary Olson
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Hilary C. Olson is a creative and inspired geoscience educator and research scientist. She attended the University of Notre Dame, earning a B.S. degree in Earth Sciences in 1983, and then a Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford University in 1988. Hilary's first job as a young geoscientist was as a Research Geologist with the Mobil Research and Development Corporation where she further developed her expertise as a biostratigrapher. Hilary joined the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics as a Research Scientist Associate in 1996. She worked on a projects supported by the National Science Foundation, the Ocean Drilling Program (now the International Ocean Discovery Program), the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and industry partners.

Hilary's passion is geoscience education and community engagement. As a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (PGE) in UT Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering she teaches courses, serves as PGE's Director of Education, Training and Outreach, and manages the Petroleum Science and Technology Institute for Texas High School STEM Teachers. Her programs provide high-quality education to state and federal regulators, K-12 teachers, and the public. Hilary reaches beyond her geoscience expertise to embrace teaching strategies that benefit learners of all types and backgrounds. She crossed effortlessly into the domain of geoscience education to forge fruitful collaborations with educational researchers and engage in original research that has produced contributions to the emerging body of scholarly work in geoscience education research. In addition, Hilary has designed online curriculum, teamed up with Jon Olson and others to create engaging local, regional and international field trips, and built community partnerships that have led to expanded opportunities for funding.

Hilary's exceptional commitment to enabling and expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion within the geosciences is particularly noteworthy. Her involvement in STEM education for pre-university girls emphasized the societal impacts of addressing energy, climate and water issues in the 21st century, and building confidence in middle-and high-school-age girls. In 2005, she co-taught a geoscience course at Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU. Hilary also co-led the Texas Earth and Space Science (TXESS) Revolution project (2007 – 2013), which provided professional development in geoscience to over 177 educators at minority-serving schools throughout Texas. TXESS Revolution educators directly impacted more than 30,000 learners.

AAPG recognizes Hilary Olson's service and honors her accomplishments and leadership in geoscience education and outreach with its 2021 Public Service Award.

Katherine K. Ellins


Sandra Rushworth
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

A decade ago, after the release of our energy documentary film Switch, I was contacted by Sandy Rushworth. Sandy had developed a lecture around Switch that she was giving in Houston magnet high schools, to the Young Women's Prep Academy in Houston, and to STEM classes. She wondered if I would take a look at the PowerPoint deck to see if it made sense. I thanked her for the nice compliment and, after reviewing the deck, asked if I could use some of it in my own lectures!

Not too much time passed before I was giving a lunch lecture to the docents at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Afterwards, a pleasant woman approached and introduced herself. "I help coordinate the docents at the HMNS," she said. "I'm Sandy Rushworth."

As a docent, Sandy leads tours for children and adults through the Wiess Energy Hall. Further, Sandy has introduced Museum docents and the public to the broad spectrum of energy education. Sandy recently mentored a group of college students in India competing in the Switch Energy Alliance Global Energy Poverty Solution Case Competition.

Sandy Rushworth is just that kind of person—giving her time and expertise at all levels with the specific intent of increasing awareness and nonpartisan education.

Sandy received her B.S. in environmental geology and biology from Beloit College in Wisconsin and her M.S. in oceanography at the University of Hawaii.

After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Sandy left her Hawaiian paradise to join Amoco in Denver in 1979. During her 32-year career, she also worked for Texaco, IHS Energy, and Marathon, mainly in new ventures and basin analysis. While working in Denver, Sandy helped establish Dinosaur Ridge in 1990, with dinosaur bones and footprints 12 miles from Denver with sponsorship from Amoco.

Sandy is a Master Docent and officer in the Houston Museum of Natural Science Guild; judging co-chair for two GCAGS Houston conventions; a counselor at Texas A&M Sea Camp for young people, teaching oceanography, paleontology, and geology to seventh grade girls; and teaches conversational English in Poland and Hungary.

If the world contained more Sandy Rushworths, imagine what would happen. We would all be too busy to worry about the things going wrong because our days would be packed doing something to improve it. Sandy, for your ongoing exemplary service to AAPG and society, we salute you, we appreciate you, and we thank you.

Scott W. Tinker


Stephen M. Testa
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Stephen M. Testa's career is a story of service to others. Fortunately, Stephen has had amazing mentors and teachers including the late Dr. James Slosson, State Geologist of California in the mid-1970s, who exemplified public service. Stephen considers himself an environmental geologist, which is reflective of his belief that all human endeavors have some environmental impact, and geology plays a significant role in the quality of life we have as a society and its sustainability; its impact on the environment.

After 30 years as a geological consultant, Stephen was appointed Executive Officer for the California State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB) in Sacramento, California in 2005. The SMGB has the distinction of being the oldest geoscience board in the nation, whose mission is to serve the public's interests related to geohazards and mining issues. During his eleven years with the board, along with his service to clients over the years, Stephen participated in hundreds of public hearings and made important updates to the way the mission of the SMGB was performed by streamlining procedures and allowing for a better flow of information to the public on important issues related to their communities.

Stephen has also interacted with the public as an instructor at the University of Southern California and California State University at Fullerton where he got a chance to teach and mentor students and provide them with a model of a working professional geologist. Stephen is a welcomed lecturer and speaker on the history of petroleum from rotary and garden clubs to geological associations. As a leader in the profession, he has been elected to leadership roles in AGI, AIPG and AAPG-EMD and AAPG-DEG, and numerous other geological and civic organizations.

As a prolific writer, Stephen's countless editorials reflect the need to be pithy, informative, and entertaining, leaving the reader to pass by the media sound bites and appreciate the fact that earth science issues are multifaceted and complex. As an author, Stephen has written hundreds of technical articles and more than a dozen books. His wife Lydia has been his partner in business and in life.

Stephen has demonstrated that he has served the public by being a distinguished public administrator, prolific writer, engaging speaker, diligent scientist, detailed historian, patient teacher, and uncommon leader in the public service and to the profession. For these reasons, the 2021 AAPG Public Service Award is being presented to Stephen M. Testa.

James A. Jacobs


2021 AAPG Harrison Schmitt Award
Mark Kirschbaum
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Mark A. Kirschbaum was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1954 where, at an early age, he fell in love with geology when he found his first fossil, an Ordovician brachiopod of the genus Platystrophia, which is still in his possession. He received a B.S. degree in geology from the University of Miami of Florida in 1975 and attended the Miami University of Ohio field camp, where he was first exposed to the geology of Wyoming that dominated much of his career. He worked with the U.S. Geological Survey as a research geologist from 1979 to 2012 on energy related topics mainly in Cretaceous strata of the Rocky Mountain and Colorado Plateau regions.

Mark worked in coal related projects for over half of his career culminating in two major studies: the paleogeography and sediment accumulation of Upper Cretaceous strata with Laura Roberts; and as project chief of the Colorado Plateau Coal Assessment where he was the main editor of a 1000 page professional paper on the subject. Later stages of his career were in oil and gas studies and was task leader for the assessments of the Uinta-Piceance, Greater Green River, Wind River, and Bighorn basins that led to the publication of studies popular with oil and gas companies working in the Rockies, including his 2013 paper with Tracey Mercier published in AAPG Bulletin. He was also involved with the world- energy project looking at numerous basins around the world and led the assessment of the Nile Delta.

Field and core work is Mark's forte and it has provided the solid backbone to his papers of regional stratigraphy and depositional systems. During his long career, he authored over 70 articles, maps, and cross sections, that have been extensively cited and put to practical use in industry. He has authored or co-authored over 40 abstracts given at professional societies, given over 25 invited lectures to state surveys and universities, given core workshops, mentored numerous students, and led many popular field trips. He is a passionate lecturer made more interesting by his often-irreverent sense of humor.

Mark retired from the USGS in 2012, became a research associate with the Colorado School of Mines from 2012 to 2015, and then consulted with Whiting Petroleum for two years. He is currently an independent geologist from Evergreen, Colorado pursuing interesting geologic problems. He is a great choice for the AAPG Harrison Schmitt Award.

Steve Cumella


2021 AAPG Grover E. Murray Memorial Distinguished Educator Award
Xavier Moonan

Xavier Moonan is a passionate advisor, mentor and teacher. He is super personable, open-minded, highly technically competent and knowledgeable; this all works together to make him a natural leader. His peers and junior peers follow him in a passionate and enthusiastic way, which is precisely the tone that Xavier sets. Xavier is a rock star in the Caribbean.

He has been a great asset to the Petroleum Studies Unit teaching at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, and the University of Trinidad & Tobago. Additionally, he has run innumerable geological field trips for many visiting groups including Anton De Kom University of Suriname, Dalhousie University and University of Toronto.

He has always made emphasis on the progression of the Petroleum Geoscience Programs through teaching and industry-based field trips over the past years. Xavier is to be commended for his professionalism, genuine concern for his students, and excelling at teaching. His students admire his love for structural and field geology. He has made an outstanding effort to incorporate the AAPG within the Petroleum Geoscience Programme at UWI, especially but limited to. This is evident in successfully initiating one of the most vibrant AAPG student chapters in the region and its yearly participation in the prestigious Imperial Barrel Award. He has always managed to encourage students to gravitate toward attending and organizing technical sessions and workshops, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and participation. He has also organized and hosted through the AAPG and Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, numerous Industry technical sessions at UWI. This has brought great public awareness and industry linkage to the UWI and UT&T.

He is Exploration Manager at Touchstone Exploration in Trinidad & Tobago and it has brought his experience in the industry to his activities as educator. He has constantly impressed his peers and scholars by the quality and quantity of the monthly activities (field trips, talks, short courses and workshops) that Xavier coordinates for both AAPG T&T Young Professional Chapter and the Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago. These activities engage numerous students and young professionals, and help them network with more established professionals, build confidence and build technical skills. Xavier is a model professional who these students and young professionals admire, respect, and look up to.

Elvira Gomez Hernandez


Brian P.J. Williams
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

It is the measure of Brian Williams' inspirational teaching and mentoring that at various times in the last 30 years, the majority of senior professors in sedimentology in the UK, especially in applied sedimentology, were either taught as undergraduates by Brian, or were supervised by him for their doctorates. The global oil and gas industry has also been populated at senior levels by his former students.

Brian is a proud Welshman, able to speak with the "hwyl", Welsh for passion, and was born in Swansea, south west Wales. After graduating from Swansea University, an institute renowned for its teaching and research in stratigraphy, Brian began his life long interest in the late Silurian-early Devonian continental "red beds" of the Old Red Sandstone.

His teaching career began in 1970 at the University of Bristol where Brian stayed until 1988, teaching sedimentology and hydrogeology, and where he also began supervising a string of highly successful PhD students. No one who attended Brian's lectures, practicals or field classes could fail to be enthused. The combination of his infectious enthusiasm coupled with the skilful manner in which so much information was imparted, provided his students with the desire and tools to tackle sedimentary successions; and many, many have done so for their whole careers. Another key aspect of Brian's teaching has always been his approachability and genuine friendliness, something so many of us have appreciated and still do.

In 1988 Brian took on the challenge of management and was appointed Chair in Petroleum Geology, Director of the Graduate School and co-ordinator of the M.Sc. course in Petroleum Geoscience at the University of Aberdeen. There he was instrumental in the development of the Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, and establishing a M.Sc. course in Petroleum Geoscience at the University of Brunei Darussalam. Brian's advice was much sought after by other academic institutions and the oil and gas industry around the world, as a teacher, an examiner and consultant.

Throughout all his career Brian supported local geology groups, as a lecturer and field trip leader, especially in the West of England and South Wales. He has always been willing to share his knowledge of not only mid Paleozoic and Triassic dryland sedimentary systems, but also glaciogenic successions from Australia and Oman. Since 2011 Brian has reached new audiences by lecturing on educational cruises covering NW Europe, Antarctic, the Pacific rim and in many other areas in between.

As an inspirational teacher and mentor, he is a very deserving recipient of the Grover E Murray Distinguished Educator Award.

V. Paul Wright


2021 AAPG Distinguished Service Award
Sam Akande
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Professor Sam Akande attended the University of Ibadan, where he completed the BSc Honors Geology in 1973. A Federal Government of Nigeria Overseas postgraduate scholarship in 1975 took Sam to the University of Western Ontario, Canada where he completed his MSc degree in 1977 followed by a PhD at Dalhousie University in 1982.

Sam's PhD dissertation supervised by Prof. Marcos Zentilli at Dalhousie University on the Depositional Environments, Fluid Inclusions and Isotopic characterization of carbonate hosted Mississippi Valley Type lead-zinc-barite deposits in the Fundy Carboniferous Basin of Atlantic Canada.

Sam's post-doctoral research supported by Canadian International Development Agency/ Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (CIDA/NSERC) in the continued research on the Hydrocarbon Charge Modelling focusing on the petroleum system evaluation in the rift basins of Atlantic Canada and applications to the West African Rift Systems (WARS).

An award by the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship led to the continuation of similar collaborations with other International Institutes in Germany from 1990 onwards. These long-term collaborations complimented his field-oriented research in the Nigerian frontier basins leading to completions of several MSc and PhD student's thesis.

Prof Akande's students at the University of Ilorin were some of the first set of participants from Africa to complete at the Global IBA competition. Since he took over the leadership of the Africa Region's Visiting Geoscientist Program, an average of 1,500 students were reached each year. This is despite the complexity of travel within the region, the diversity of languages and cultures and the fact that some of the country have minimal AAPG footprint. He has encouraged scores of distinguished professionals to share their experiences and knowledge with students through this program.

Professor Akande is recognized by his peers, and beloved by students Sam's passion to train and mentor young geoscientists is legendary and this led to his conferment of the prestigious Fellowship of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) in 2009 and the Fellowship of the Nigerian Mining and Geoscience Society in 2011, he was named the Petroleum Technology Development Fund- PTDF/ Rilwanu Lukman Outstanding Teacher in Petroleum Geoscience in Nigeria the same year. Sam Akande was also awarded the 2014 Nigerian Outstanding Earth Science Professor by NAPE and was a recipient of the Grover Murray Distinguished Educator Award from the AAPG in 2015.

It is indeed a great honor to document Prof's contribution to AAPG especially in the Africa Region.

Femi Esan


Maren Blair
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Maren Blair graduated in 2002 with a B.Sc. Specialization Geology from the University of Alberta. She spent the first few years of her career running wireline jobs for Schlumberger in Western Canada.

Maren transitioned from the field to the office in 2005, entering a career as a petroleum geologist with Sproule, specializing in reservoir characterization for reserve and resource reports. While working with Sproule, Maren was encouraged by her mentors to join AAGP, becoming a member in 2007.

In 2013, her mentor and colleague George Strother-Stewart encouraged Maren to run for a seat on the House of Delegates with the Canada Region. Maren served on the HoD for two terms from 2013-2019, holding several committee appointments, including the Nomination and Election Committee, the Credentials Committee, the Rules and Procedures Committee, and as HoD Secretary-Editor (2018-2019). During this time, Maren also served in several executive positions with the Canada Region, including Vice President-Treasurer (2014-2017), President (2017-2019), and Past President (2019-2021).

Currently, Maren is pursuing an M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Calgary and is excited to bring the conversation surrounding sustainability and the energy transition back to AAPG.


Marsha Findlay Bourque
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Marsha Findlay Bourque was pre-law while at Vassar College when she took a geology course. This changed everything. She found herself not just fascinated with geology, but after talking to a recruiter, she decided to join the petroleum industry. She acquired a master's degree from the University of South Carolina, where she studied Tunisian Mesozoic carbonate stratigraphy and the opening of the Tethyan seaway.

Her professional career began in 1976 with Chevron in New Orleans, assigned to Gulf of Mexico exploration. In 1981 she moved to Mobil Oil, where she gained experience in development geology, becoming Team Leader. In 1989, Marsha moved to Houston with BP Exploration. She was an exploration geologist for their Louisiana Deepwater and Upper Slope Teams and later, Operations Coordinator. In 1996 Marsha joined Statoil Exploration (US) Inc. as Senior Geologist, becoming Licence Coordinator for the Fuji Field. After Statoil closed their Houston office Marsha partnered with a petroleum engineer to develop technical training courses emphasizing collaborative skill sharing. This set a new path for her, training young professionals. While teaching over the next 15 years she enjoyed the international experience. Saudi Arabia was especially rewarding where she worked with young women new to the petroleum industry who were pioneers, as she had been.

Marsha's commitment to youth and diversity are exemplified by her work within professional societies. The American Geological Institute (AGI) created the Minority Participation Program, inviting her to join the Advisory Scholarship Program in 1977. For several decades Marsha mentored undergraduate and graduate Native American, Hispanic, and Black students. She continues to follow her proteges, who became academicians, researchers, hydrogeologists, meteorologists, and petroleum geologists. She led by example, reinforcing the concept of resilience. She wanted them to arm themselves with the best of skills, and the confidence to take or make opportunities throughout their career.

Marsha joined AAPG in 1977 and made a notable impact at ACE with the AAPG Teachers' Day Program. She dedicated 25 years to the Youth Activities Committee. The Houston Geological Society has enjoyed her contributions as a Director and on the Membership Committee. She was previously active in the New Orleans Geological Society.

Marsha was a member of the National Science Foundation Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering and collaborated on a report for the United States Congress in 1993. She was a member of the University of Houston Global Energy Management Institute in 2005 and was on the Geological Advisory Board at the University of South Carolina for two years.

Gretchen Gillis, a colleague working for Saudi Aramco, said of Marsha, "…her adaptability and interest in other cultures stood her well. She managed to make a full house of drilling engineers appreciate petroleum geoscience!"

Marsha Bourque and geologist Michael Bourque have been married more than 40 years. They take great pride in their independent and loving daughter Veronica, who lives in Houston.

Robbie Rice Gries


C. Elmo Brown
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

C. Elmo Brown has spent his professional career engaged in petroleum exploration and development, with a focus on the identification of sedimentary facies variations across complex structural settings, and petrophysical analysis of petroleum reservoirs. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology from the University of Texas, in Austin, in 1976. That was followed by coursework and sedimentary field research to earn a Master of Science degree in Geology, also from the University of Texas. In 1979, he began his professional career with Placid Oil Company, in Denver, where he had the opportunity to explore many of the sedimentary basins of the western United States, as well as thrust belts in Utah, Wyoming, and Canada. Following his tenure at Placid Oil, Mr. Brown worked as a consulting geologist, where he focused on generating and managing projects from inception to completion. As a consulting geologist, he advised exploitation teams on how to delineate field boundaries and high-grade areas of existing production. He also utilized these skills when he worked as an exploitation geologist for Voyager Exploration. Later in his career, he served as a Senior Geological Advisor for The Discovery Group, a highly respected geoscience consulting firm in Denver, that provided petrophysical evaluations and highly detailed field studies. He assisted many clients, ranging from small independents to major oil and gas companies. He is a Registered Professional Geologist in the state Wyoming (PG-3016).

Elmo's distinguished service to the geoscience community is visible by his extensive involvement with several professional organizations, including, the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (Secretary, 1990; Treasurer, 1998; First Vice-President, 2001; President, 2005, and later recognized as an Honorary Member), the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (President, 2014), and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (recipient of the 2003 Public Service Award). He has served multiple terms on the AAPG House of Delegates and was a member of the Public Outreach and Youth Education Activities Committees.

For many years Elmo was a science camp director with The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge, a world renown dinosaur track site on the Dakota Hogback west of Denver, Colorado. He has been a mentor to hundreds of future geoscientists and spent many hours presenting the science of geology to students from Kindergarten to High School. Elmo's engagement in public service is predicated on the belief that one should always reach out to improve one's profession and community.


William "Bill" DeMis
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

William D. DeMis has a long history of distinguished service to the AAPG and petroleum geology profession. He has served three terms as an associate editor for AAPG Bulletin: 2000-'03, 2004-'06, and 2015-'16. He also reviewed numerous manuscripts for the Bulletin and Memoirs in the intervening years, when he was not on the Bulletin's masthead. Bill served as co-chair and chair of AAPG's publications committee, 2002-2006. Bill served as Editor-in-Chief for the AAPG's book editorial board from 2015 to 2018. In 2017-2018, he co-chaired the Haynesville DPA Playmaker Forum.

Bill chaired a session for the AAPG national convention in 2006 and team-taught a heavily-attended class at the AAPG Annual Conventions in 2006 and 2008 on bypassed pays and plays. Bill served in the House of Delegates, 2007-'09, and Bill's enthusiastic support for the West Texas Geological Society earned him their Dedicated Service Award in 2001.

Bill has presented more than 30 technical papers to geological and engineering societies across the US. Bill's 1993 paper on production-controlling carbonate stratigraphy of the Upper Smackover Formation, co-authored with Jeff Milliken, earned the best paper award (Third Place) from the GCAGS. His ground-breaking papers on the effects of the US dollar's value on OPEC's price policy won best paper awards at AAPG National Conventions in 1996 (San Diego, DPA-Best Paper Award) and 2000 (New Orleans, EMD-Frank Kottlowski Award for Best Paper).

The beautiful geology of the Adirondack Mountains first inspired Bill's curiosity about geology. His 8th-grade earth science teacher in Missouri, Mr. Hugh O'Brien, ignited his passion for making geology his life's study. Bill recounts that learning geology was "like pouring water onto dry sand. It all went in."

Bill began his professional career in Denver, Colorado as an associate geologist for Pennzoil in 1983. In 1987, he joined Marathon Oil Company and worked in the Gulf of Mexico, International New Ventures, West Texas, Oklahoma, and held various technical and managerial positions. In 2008, he took a job as Exploration Vice President at Roxanna Oil Company. Bill joined Southwestern Energy's New Ventures group in 2009 as a Senior Staff Geologist and rose to Technical Expert Geologist. In 2016, Bill joined Goldman Sachs as a Senior Vice President and Chief Geologist. He now has a consulting company that occupies his time when he is not traveling with his wonderful wife of 35 years, Mary, and enjoying visits with his beautiful children and grandchildren.

Charles Sternbach


Scott Durocher
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Scott Durocher is a native of Windsor, Ontario. He has spent his career exploring for oil and gas, but this almost didn't come to be. In his youth Scott was torn between several paths to potential fame. First, he formed a rock band and recorded one album. This did not go platinum. Next, Scott was always a fanatical motorcyclist. This led him to ice track racing, culminating in two Canadian National Motorcycle Ice Racing championships. And finally there was geology, Scott's back-up plan. Thankfully, for all of us who have had the pleasure to work with him and everyone involved with AAPG, he chose plan C.

Scott undertook geologic studies at the University of Windsor and received his BSc in 1992 and MSc in 1994. His thesis was subsequently published in the AAPG Bulletin. In 1995 Scott joined Phillips Petroleum in Calgary and in 1996 was transferred to Houston. In 1997 Scott moved back to Calgary with Pioneer Natural Resources. He probably just wanted to return to a place where he could drive his motorcycles on ice again. In Calgary he moved to several different companies and in 2004 cofounded Argent Energy which he sold in 2007.

After two decades of North America experience Scott wanted to go international and joined TransGlobe in 2014. As Egypt Exploration Manager he started to visit Cairo and this is when we first met. We soon discovered that we shared two deep interests: field geology and the AAPG Africa Region.

In 2016 Scott was elected Africa Region VP and Region Secretary in 2018. Scott helped organize or chaired two AAPG Geotechnical Workshops in Egypt and one in Morocco, and the AAPG Africa Energy & Technology Conference in Nairobi. But Scott's deepest commitment and real passion was to geoscience students across Egypt and North Africa. Scott routinely made presentations at student chapter meetings and served as an able mentor. Scott's dedication to the young geoscientists of the Region will have long-lasting impact and he was a role model to us all.

In 2016 Scott joined Apache. Scott made contributions to many Western Desert discoveries and brought his broad experience in carbonate reservoirs into play. In 2020 Scott was transferred to Houston where he is now the Houston-Egypt Geoscience Manager. Scott is still focused on exploration in Egypt and I'm sure he will continue to make important contributions to the Africa Region far into the future.

Bill Bosworth


Ana Maria Goncalves
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Ana Maria was born in Guayana - Venezuela, place of the oldest formations in the planet and an extraordinary geology. She spent her childhood and youth there, climbing mountains and raising animals. Her father always encouraged her curiosity and fully supported all her decisions saying that there were no barriers for women. This outdoor lifestyle and the support of her parents took her to study Geology.

She moved to Ciudad Bolivar – Venezuela to pursue her aspirations an obtained Geological Engineer Degree from Universidad de Oriente (UDO) in 2007 occupying the rank number one within the cohort of graduates. She also holds a Master of Science Degree from Universidad Simón Bolivar, Venezuela (2015) and a Master's in Business Administration in Oil Industry Management from Caribbean International University of Curaçao (2016).

Ana Maria started her career in 2007 in Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. PDVSA as a seismic interpreter and structural geologist working for exploration team in Venezuela. In 2009, she was transferred to Bolivia to evaluate the exploratory potential in the Sub Andean zone as secondee of PDVSA in YPFB Petroandina S.A.M. where she performed construction of balanced structural models and restoration in compressive systems as well as prospects volumetric estimations. Since 2016, she is seismic interpreter and structural geologist in YPFB Chaco S.A., Bolivia. She is leading high technical level exploration studies in Sub Andean zone.

Going further in her professional career, she joined AAPG in 2009. Ana Maria found in AAPG a place to serve with motivation and passion. She was a co-founder member of Young Professional Bolivia Chapter in 2016, part of the Geosciences Technology Workshop 2018 and AAPG Specialized Workshop Bolivia 2019 Organizing Committees, she is Delegate of Latin-American and the Caribbean Region (2018-2021), and since 2019, Foreman Delegate. As Delegate, she has supported the foundation of three student chapters in Bolivia and is speaker of the Visiting Geoscientist Program.

Beside her professional career, she holds a master's in yoga, and she is a certified Professor of this discipline. In addition, she enjoys practicing rock climbing, caving, trekking, hiking & outdoor - mountain related sports.

Ana Maria is an extraordinary and humble human being. She has always showed passion and professionalism in whatever she carries out. She has put all her energies to grown in her professional career being an example for many students and young professionals. For all above she has well deserved the Distinguished Service Award.

Andrea Lopez


Stuart Harker
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Stuart is one of those people who is enthusiastic about whatever he does. Since gaining a Geology BSc from Kingston (London, UK) in 1972 he has demonstrated that by continuing to encourage those around him to enjoy the employment of their skills – particularly anything related to Geology in its broadest sense. After gaining his PhD he joined the global search for oil and gas through a succession of jobs with major, national, and large independent oil companies. He then moved to consultancy and subsequently transferred to a role as a senior manager of a small oil company. There he was material in establishing their exploration portfolio and production base across north Africa and the Middle East. Following that he set up his own consultancy working from his Edinburgh home.

Stuart joined the AAPG in 1981 and from 1991 onwards contributed on various Committees including as Associate Editor of Publications. From 2005-2009 he was on the Advisory Council representing the Europe Region and from 2011-2013 he was on the Executive Committee as VP Regions. He was also a Vice-Chairman of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) and has contributed to many papers on UK North Sea Geology and presented on other topics at AAPG ACE and other events. Stuart won "Best Paper" at the Geological Society of London Conference in Bath (UK) 1991, and won the Total Innovation Award for the Development of the Otter Field (UK North Sea) in 2003.

He has always shared his innovative skills with those around him, mentoring junior staff and participating in regional meetings. He lectured in the AAPG Visiting Geoscientist Program at the University of Aberdeen in the Hydrocarbon Experience MSc programme, and more recently as Honorary Professor at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh developing and delivering part of their Petroleum Geology and Reservoir Engineering MSc classes.

Stuart has cultivated an extensive network of contacts and developed friendships in many places through his career. He is known for composing poems and was co-organiser of the Geopoetry 2020 virtual event for the Geological Society of London.

I have had the pleasure to work with Stuart on and off since 1981. A dedicated team player he has always insisted on letting the rocks speak for themselves and the value of field observations. With his career and the time he has given the Association he thoroughly merits this Distinguished Service Award.

Adrian Burrows


Michael Vanden Berg
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Michael Vanden Berg grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned a B.S. degree in geology from Calvin College in 2000 and a M.S. degree in geology from the University of Utah in 2003. Mike joined the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) in 2003 where he has since excelled as a petroleum geologist, program manager, and major contributor to AAPG and the entire geo-community.

In his 18 years at the UGS, Mike has become an expert on lacustrine deposition, especially the Eocene Green River Formation, a major oil producer in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah, and the modern Great Salt Lake. His research includes Green River facies analysis, outcrop reservoir analogs, horizontal drilling targets, and microbial carbonates in the Uinta Basin. Mike's recent work on Holocene microbialites in Great Salt Lake has received international attention. However, Mike's research also involves other projects and areas including carbon capture and sequestration, surface geochemical surveying, and the Cane Creek horizontal drilling play in southeastern Utah. Mike is the program manager for the Energy and Minerals Section (oil and gas, coal, metals, industrial minerals, geothermal resources, the Utah Core Research Center, etc.) of the UGS where he is an excellent supervisor and mentor to younger staff as well as university students. Mike's enthusiasm for our science and work ethic endears himself to his colleagues, staff, and students making them all better geologists.

Mike has shared the results of his research with his fellow geologists through his many presentations and publications, and by conducting numerous core workshops and leading field trips as part of AAPG meetings. Mike served as an excellent RMS Section President in 2013, was co-General Chair of the 2013 RMS meeting in Salt Lake City, and later as General Chair for the 2018 AAPG ACE in Salt Lake City. In both cases, Mike was heavily involved in all aspects of the planning and running these conventions. In addition, he instituted innovative new ideas and activities to attract more participants to the "non-oil city" of Salt Lake. While running both the section meeting and ACE, Mike still made time to present his own research (as he has done at regional and the ACE year after year) as well as lead field trips and conduct core workshops.

AAPG has truly benefited from his leadership, creative ideas, long volunteer hours, and extensive technical contributions. Mike is truly worthy of AAPG's Distinguished Service Award.

Tom Chidsey


Stanley Wharton
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Stanley Wharton is like a racehorse that only needed "free rein." Not only has he excelled at his petroleum geoscience endeavors, but he has also been a natural leader, instigator, and enthusiastic volunteer. His first job as a geologist was with the Trinidad & Tobago's Ministry of Energy (1983-1990). Stanley next worked with Petrotrin, Trinidad and Tobago, in the early 1990's on field and prospect evaluation. In 1996, Stanley joined AMOCO and during his 12 years with bp Trinidad and Tobago, his expertise grew to include geophysics as he introduced innovative new seismic facies mapping technology and successful prospecting.

From 2008 to 2019 Stanley worked in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Aramco prospecting first in Paleozoic reservoirs and shallower horizons in South Ghawar. Upgrading exploration software was a priority for him. Working on the Central Playfairway mapping team broadened his knowledge to Mesozoic reservoirs and applications of semi-automatic seismic mapping and seismic facies mapping techniques for resources assessment. In his last years, he helped the Exploration Resource Assessment team efforts with business planning and reservoir characterization. Stanley formed his own company in 2006, Subsurface Imaging Company Limited, which combines resource assessment with prospect generation.

Stanley's world has also always included exceptional contributions to professional societies. Hard work within the Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago propelled him to the office of President. He was active in the AAPG Latin American Regions and served as Secretary/Treasurer in 2002-2006. He helped co-convened two AAPG Hedberg Conferences, 2006 and 2008. Stanley served on the International Distinguished Lecturer, the Visiting Geoscientist Program and the Student Chapter committees for AAPG. Stanley has mentored and guided countless young earth scientists throughout his career.

Also active in the Middle East with the AAPG and SEG, Stanley has been a proposer and co-chair for two joint workshops with SEG and EAGE. In 2020, he was Keynote Speaker and organizing committee member for EAGE's first conference on Machine Learning in the Americas. In 2020 he participated as co-convenor and session chair for AAPG on Southeast Caribbean and Guiana Basins.

Publishing since 1985, Stanley has an impressive list of papers and talks to his credit and includes volunteering as Assistant Editor for the Seismic Chronostratigraphy Special Section in the Interpretation Journal, 2015.

Colleague, Anthony Paul, says, "Stanley's impact is a lot more than just geoscience though. His love for music led him to excel at two of the indigenous forms. His calypso writing and singing were featured during the Carnival season. As he and, his wife, Christine, raised their three lovely daughters, they managed to integrate them into his love for music, performing traditional Parang music at Christmas time, bringing joy to their community."

Stanley Wharton received his bachelor's degree in geology from the University of the West Indies, 1982, and his MS degree in geology from the University of Windsor, Canada, 1989. He completed a Management Program at the Jesse Jones Graduate School of Administration, Rice University, Houston, Texas in 1997. A lesser-known accomplishment, Stanley represented Trinidad & Tobago (1983-1986) on their Men's National Hockey team at the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela.

Robbie Rice Gries


2021 AAPG Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award
Marie Francoise Brunet
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Dr. Marie-Françoise's genuine singular achievement in petroleum geoscience research lies in regional integration. She handled multi-disciplinary projects already during "analogue" times when integration tools like GIS were not yet available; nowadays all is fully digital. The projects resulted in paleogeographic atlases of the Peri-Tethys, MEBE and DARIUS programs. They are still widely used and essential for many regional petroleum geoscientists.

Her PhD in 1981 examined the subsidence history of the Paris Basin. After that she deployed her expertise in French basins and later in superregional areas, from the Mediterranean Sea to Central Asia.

It is impossible to refer to all her achievements, but it is worth stating that for about 35 years the research was undertaken in the framework of global industry-academia collaboration. Very early in her career, she was accepted by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). In that role, at ISTEP (Institut des Sciences de la Terre de Paris) of the Sorbonne Université she worked very closely with her co-honoree for the 2021 AAPG Robert-R. Berg Outstanding Research Award, Eric Barrier. She is an excellent scientist, university teacher, author and editor, at the same time thoroughly driving the incredibly efficient administration and co-ordination of mega-projects involving up to 350 scientists from 150 research institutions of 25 countries.

These enormously ambitious multi-year research consortia spanned about 30 years combined field-based as well as applied research. The integrated approach was aimed to build a vast, systematic geological, paleogeographic and paleoenvironmental database available to all the partners. The detailed and updated knowledge about remote and difficult to access regions was the basis for the digital palinspastic atlases.

She presented the results widely, e.g., at AAPG European Region Conferences, ICEs, Hedberg Conferences and ACEs when she also (co)chaired some sessions. She joined AAPG in 1995 and served the association 1990-2001 as European Delegate.

Almost all of her 150 articles that she published/edited are in peer-reviewed journals, among them AAPG Studies and Bulletin. Several turned into regional geology landmark papers with a remarkable number of citations. Key papers on the Greater Caspian region came with Sedimentary Geology and on the Black Sea and Central Asia with GSL Memoirs/Special Publications.

Marie-Françoise's unprecedented legacy lies in bringing scientific communities from unalike worlds together, allowing for exchange of ideas, enabling and (co-)supervising PhDs as well as post-docs. The workflows and networks established by her tireless commitment will survive and keep giving results beyond those innovative projects.

Citationist – Karen Wagner Weise


Eric Barrier
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Eric Barrier was born in Tours, in the Loire Valley, in the southwest Paris Basin, lying between the crystalline Armorican and Central massifs to the northwest and southeast, respectively, and a good base for touring throughout Europe. The seed was planted for a life of geology at a young age and, after a first degree at the University of Orléans, scholarships and graduate studies at Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC) in Paris beckoned. Lately UPMC has become part of the Sorbonne University and this is where Eric has invested most of his geological career, most of which has been strongly focused on fieldwork. A conservative estimate is that Eric has spent 8 full years of his geological career in the field. That's a lot of meticulously filled field notebooks as it is well known that Eric made and kept copious and clear notes in the field. Field areas included Greece (PhD thesis at UPMC "Tectonics and Neotectonics of Kasos and Karpathos islands"), Taiwan ("habilitation" thesis at CEA "Tectonics of an active Collision Range: Taiwan") and, since then, all across the Middle East, Central Asia and Peri-Mediterranean domain (north Africa, near East, the Levant and southern Europe) as well as Southeast Asia (Taiwan, Philippines and South Korea) and Central America (Mexico and Guatemala).

Eric's fieldwork activities were mainly guided by structural geology – brittle deformation and paleostress – but his goal was always integration by means of tectono-stratigraphic reconstructions. This was the natural basis for his 25 years involvement in a succession of international consortia based at UPMC and supported by oil companies and national research organizations – namely, the Peri-Tethys, MEBE and DARIUS programmes. Eric was co-leader and leader, respectively, of the last two of these programmes and was therefore the main cog in the wheels that produced the MEBE and DARIUS paleotectonic-paleogeographic atlases, 14 and 20 map sheets, respectively, in 2008 and 2018. These atlases represent an enormous and invaluable resource not only for the programme sponsors, initially, but, eventually, for the wider Earth Science community generally and they are widely cited in the scientific literature. In addition, Eric co-authored some 20 papers in top-ranked international journals during this time and more than 70 during his research career. Eric Barrier's role not only as a leader and driver of research but as a contributing geologist as well, is recognized and honoured by being awarded the Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award.


Alexei Milkov
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award is named for one of the most quintessential geoscience scholars of the 20th century. I see no more fitting a tribute to those who established the award than to give this 2021 award to Dr. Alexei Milkov, a 2001 graduate of Texas A&M University, whose professional career has, like Dr. Berg's been in service of exploration for energy resources and education of young geoscientists.

Dr. Milkov, 2001 doctoral graduate of Texas A&M, has authored or co-authored no less than 24 papers in gas hydrates, methane seeps, mud volcanos and global methane hydrate resource volumes.

In 2003, Dr. Milikov began a successful career in the energy industry, holding positions with multiple companies (BP, Sasol and Murphy Oil). He continued to publish extensively on the petroleum systems of global basins, and began delving into how people were moved to make choices and decisions in energy E&P.

In 2016, Alexei began the second phase of his career, taking a Professorship at Colorado School of Mines, where today he is the Director of the Potential Gas Agency (PGA), supervises research and teaches in his technical specialties – petroleum systems analysis and risk and volumes assessment of plays and prospects.

As Director of the PGA, Alexei leads a premier organization in conventional and unconventional national resource assessment, from a position of knowledge in alternative resources. His body of research work (>60 peer-reviewed papers) holds over 7000 citations, with one paper receiving >1000 citations since its publication in 2004.

His ideas and tools for decision-making analysis have been broadly adopted by industry and governments. His documentation and quantification of natural geological sources for methane received acknowledgment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and these sources are now included in global methane budget calculations. His refinement and improvement in how we use geochemistry in the study of basins and natural systems has changed our understanding of how hydrocarbons are generated, migrate and reservoir in the Earth. Alexei has presented dozens of papers at conferences around the world and his research has had a profound influence on the global science and policy communities.

In closing, I have no doubt that the awarding of the 2021 Robert R. Berg Outstanding Researcher Award to Dr. Milkov is a recognition of the quality of the Berg award and of Dr. Alexei Milkov's research impact, and a decision that Dr. Berg would approve.

Leslie Wood


2021 AAPG Norman H. Foster Explorer Award
John A. Parker
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

John earned his Master of Science degree in Earth Sciences from the University of New Orleans in 1983. John began his professional career with Shell Oil in New Orleans 1983 working the mid-dip Lower Tuscaloosa stratigraphic play, transferring to Houston to work with Pecten International exploring offshore Trinidad. John left Shell and later joined Gryphon Exploration as one of their first geologists culminating in numerous successes including High Island "HI" 52, HI 119, and MI 721. John and his partners launched Phoenix Exploration in 2006, with private equity funding. Their strategy was built around acquisitions as a route to exploration instead of immediate exploration, the working model with Gryphon. Three successful discoveries of note were made including Potomac, Thermopylae, and Marathon.

After the successful sale of Phoenix Exploration, John was instrumental in founding Talos Energy in 2011, along with his partners Tim Duncan and Steve Heitzman. Upon the opening of Mexico's oil and gas fields to the outside, Talos bid in the 1.1 Licensing Round. The lure of underexplored terrain in the Sureste Basin beckoned John and his team despite hiccups including poor seismic data quality, scant subsurface basin control, and maps replete with mislocated wells. The drilling of the Zama exploration well commenced in May 2017 reaching total depth in July 2017. The well was drilled to 3380 meters in water depth of 160 meters and encountered over 341 meters of gross oil pay and stands as one of the largest shallow water discoveries globally in the past 20 years. As a result of the success of the Zama exploration effort, Talos Energy and partners were awarded the 2017 Global Discovery of the Year by Wood Mackenzie. In 2018 in an AAPG ACE Discovery Thinking Forum, John stated, "One can always find reasons not to drill a well. But successful oil finders have a vision of a discovery in mind and they focus on compelling reasons to get the well drilled that finds the next giant discovery".

Through John Parker's technical and commercial leadership, the giant Zama discovery happened, but not without excellent integrated geological, geophysical, engineering and operations work by a motivated and "success-case" thinking team. "One of the most important parts of any exploration strategy is to hire/assemble a great team of geoscientists with the right balance of explorationists and geoscientists with excellent field development skills."


2021 AAPG Honorary Membership
Misfir Azzahrani
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Having known Misfir as a colleague and friend for 30 years, it is my pleasure to write this biography from first-hand experience. Misfir began his high-impact geological career upon graduation from King Saud University in 1982, joining Saudi Aramco and developing deep understanding of Arabian geology and hydrocarbon systems.

Misfir's passion for geology began in childhood in a remote, mountainous region of southwestern Saudi Arabia. He enjoyed meeting strangers visiting in helicopters, examining rocks and answering his questions with smiles — geologists from the United States Geological Survey conducting studies for the Saudi Ministry of Oil and Minerals. This passion is visible in the huge regional cross sections Misfir has created to illustrate the geology and tectonism of Saudi Arabia.

Misfir's outstanding leadership became more visible in 2002 when he commanded exploration programs in the southern area that resulted in numerous discoveries.

Misfir's technical expertise, strategy development, and decision making next earned him Manager positions in Reservoir Characterization Department in 2005, undertaking massive field expansions; Manager of Upstream Joint Ventures, coordinating frontier gas exploration in the Empty Quarter for Saudi Aramco with Lukoil, Sinopec, Shell and EniRepsa in 2010; Manager of Area Exploration in 2011, and General Manager of Saudi Aramco's expanded exploration frontiers in the Red Sea and other remote areas in 2013. Misfir became the Executive Director of Exploration in 2019. In April 2021, Misfir attained the position of Vice President of Exploration, which is the title he now holds. Misfir's leadership has led to a significant number of discoveries of oil and gas fields and reservoirs.

Misfir's thirst for knowledge is demonstrated by his insightful overview of Saudi Arabian basins in the 2020 AAPG Global Super Basins event and his assistance with the geoscience curriculum at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

An early advocate for technology and industrial revolution taking geosciences forward, Misfir and the Executive Committee sagely proposed digital transformation as a theme for the upcoming GEO conference, where Misfir will be the recipient of the Middle East Leadership Award.

Meanwhile, Misfir's role in AAPG has evolved to guiding the Association on the AAPG Corporate Advisory Board and representing AAPG on the IPTC Board.

On a personal level, Misfir is kind, considerate, and a good listener with a great sense of humor and an irresistible laugh. Misfir is pleased to receive the Honorary Member Award from the AAPG, which has been a hallmark throughout his professional career.

Citationists: Sa'id A. Al-Hajri and Gretchen Gillis


Hernani Aquini Fernandes Chaves
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Born in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Professor Hernani Chaves graduated in Agronomy from the Federal University of Pelotas, in 1958. He then joined Petrobras, obtained a specialization degree in Petroleum Geology from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), and taught Stratigraphy and Sedimentology at UFBA, from 1966 to 1968, and Quantitative Stratigraphy, at Petrobras´ Academy for Geologists (Petrobras University), from 1964 to 1965.

At Petrobras, Professor Hernani Chaves was part of the early development of the oil industry in Brazil, worked with geomathematics, and pioneered the use of computers in Geology, implementing the first data bases for wells, gravimetry and geochemistry in Brazil.

His studies later resulted in seminal works, such as the 2015 assessment of the yet-to-find oil potential of the presalt trend in Brazil, published with his mentee, Cleveland M. Jones, which achieved great international repercussion.

From 1972 to 1978, Professor Hernani Chaves was Manager for Petrobras of the Brazilian Continental Margin Survey Project (REMAC), still considered one of the most important research efforts to date, on the immensely prolific Brazilian continental margin.

In 1973, he was transferred to the "Centro de Pesquisas Leopoldo Américo Miguez de Mello," the famous Cenpes research center. He obtained a master´s degree in Informatics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC), in 1978, and then taught Statistics Applied to the Geosciences, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), from 1979 to 1989.

In 1990, Professor Hernani Chaves joined longtime friends Jorge Della Fávera and Rene Rodrigues at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), and was one of the founders of the Graduate Program of the Faculty of Geology.

Professor Hernani Chaves retired from Petrobras in 1994. In 2000, he obtained a doctoral degree in Geosciences from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). He retired as Adjunct Professor of the Faculty of Geology at UERJ, but continued teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, and teaching and serving as Scientific Coordinator of the Specialization Course in Seismostratigraphic Interpretation, a joint industry-academia initiative.

Professor Hernani Chaves has tirelessly promoted AAPG, helping establish a new Student Chapters, increasing participation in the AAPG Imperial Barrel Award competition, and serving as IBA team adviser.

Professor Hernani Chaves and his wife Eloá have two daughters and two grandchildren. He continues to write and work on several projects, regarding petroleum exploration, unconventional resources, geoeconomic assessment of energy mineral resources, energy geopolitics, and geoeconomic analysis of the oil industry.

Cleveland M. Jones


André Coajou
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

André was born in August 1942 in Brest, Brittany, France. He graduated from the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne, spent eighteen months in the French Marines, and after a short period with a mining company, was hired by Elf, the French National Company (now Total).

His assignments bear witness to a career marked by a constant dedication to geosciences, as well as the business side of the profession, which he considers as an essential part of exploration.

Regarding geosciences, he developed a broad international experience as geophysicist, which allowed him to apply the lessons to a long list of prospective areas in Nigeria, Colombia, Iran and Cameroon, with success in every one of them, like in Iran with the multi 10 TCF gas discoveries of Kangan, Ahar, Nar.

He then started developing a strong team spirit and practice as Geoscience Manager for Africa in Paris, improving the efficiency of multidisciplinary work, ending up with several offshore discoveries in Angola (Palanca, Pacassa) and making the country a prolific core area (1 Billion bbls).

The 1987-93 period was one that counted most in André's achievements. As Exploration Vice President Africa and head of a 20 expert team he supervised all aspects of operations, new ventures and planning on the continent, discovering and appraising several offshore major fields: Amenam, Ofon, Nigeria, N'Kossa, Congo (all as operator). He pioneered an ambitious strategy focused on accessing new uncharted deep water plays and resulting in many giant discoveries: Usan (operator), Bonga (partner), Nigeria, Girassol, Dalia etc. in a "golden block" of Angola. A 10% interest in the whole Shell operated OML of Nigeria and a 10% interest in the producing Cabinda area were also evaluated and purchased.

As Vice President New Ventures and Negociations he could add a significant interest in a block that provided the giant Shah Deniz discovery . He was General Representative for Asia and the Pacific in Singapore and after retirement became President of Styx Energy, France, and was busy consulting and teaching.

He had a long time involvement in AAPG activities with Hod Europe Region and as sponsor chair of various meetings. He received a Best Poster Award in Nice 1995 and has been one of the 101 Honorees of the Heritage of Petroleum Geology in Houston 1997. In summary a very successful career of petroleum geoscientist and manager, driven by a strategic vision, and remarkable negociation skills.

Bernard C. Duval


Thomas Ewing
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Tom Ewing's dedicated service to the AAPG and its Divisions, Sections, and Affiliated Societies has been immense, long-term, and much to our delight, ongoing. He has served the AAPG as Vice-President for Sections, Annual Convention General Vice Chair, and HoD Vice Chair; the DPA as Treasurer, Vice-President, President-Elect, and President; the EMD as President-Elect and President; the Gulf Coast Section (GCAGS) as Vice President, President, Annual Convention General Chair and General Vice Chair, and Editor of the GCAGS Transactions; and in leadership roles in the South Texas Geological Society and the Austin Geological Society.

Tom earned a B.A. degree in Geology from the Colorado College, an M.S. degree in Geochemistry from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of British Columbia. In late 1980, Tom joined the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, where he began his many contributions to the geology of Texas. Since his BEG work, he has continued to be a top-tier researcher and prolific author, having written over 180 articles, reports, book contributions, abstracts, and field guides. He has generously shared the results of his research through not only his publications, but also numerous oral presentations. In recognition of his work, Tom has received the prestigious A. I. Levorsen Memorial Award three times, as well as several other best paper awards.

In 1985, Tom began his work in the petroleum industry, and since then, has been a partner and then owner of Frontera Exploration Consultants, Inc. in San Antonio. From 1985 to 2003, he was first a consultant to Venus Oil Company and then Senior Explorationist for Venus Exploration, Inc. Since 2007, he has also been a partner in Yegua Energy Associates, LLC. Tom's greatest achievements in petroleum exploration came during his association with the Venus group, when he played a significant role in the discovery of large gas condensate reserves in the Yegua Trend of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Tom has been honored previously with the AAPG Distinguished Service Award, EMD Honorary Membership, EMD Distinguished Service Award, DPA Life Membership, GCAGS Don R. Boyd Medal for Excellence in Gulf Coast Geology, GCAGS Honorary Membership, GCAGS Distinguished Service Award, and STGS Honorary Membership. Now, it is time to recognize Tom Ewing for his exemplary service to the AAPG and his outstanding contributions to geoscience research by bestowing upon him the AAPG Honorary Member Award.

Bonnie R. Weise


Lee Krystinik
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Dr. Lee F. Krystinik uses integrated geoscience and fit-for-purpose technologies to explore for oil and gas. He earned his Ph.D. in geology from Princeton University and began his career as a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Over the years Krystinik served in various geological positions, rising to Chief Geologist for Union Pacific Resources and Global Chief Geologist for ConocoPhillips before founding Fossil Creek Resources, a private equity funded start up, successfully sold in 2014. He is presently principal and founder of Equus Energy Partners, LLC, pursuing low-cost oil targets via advanced technologies.

Krystinik has won a number of awards for technical and presentation excellence, has been an AAPG distinguished lecturer in North America and in Latin America and has had the honor to serve as president of both SEPM and AAPG.


Fiona MacAulay
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

If Fiona ever found time in her agenda to be an Avenger, she would be Captain Marvel: smart, brave, born to lead but above all else she knows what to do and gets it done. She represents the core of AAPG membership – hardworking, committed, a mentor to all and a cool head in a storm. For all these qualities and for leading AAPG Europe as President from 2017 to 2019, she well deserves the AAPC Honorary Member Award.

From a professional perspective her career has put Fiona at the front of a small but thankfully growing cadre of powerful women professionals. And she has earned her rightful place as a leader, and now mentor for Oil company boards by working from the geological bottom (wellsite geologist) to the top as Chair of a fast-moving aggressive gas exploration and producing company. She has done this by being very good at her job.

On joining the oil industry Fiona rapidly showed a flair for the practicalities of operations organizing flawless drilling programs for Mobil and BG around the world. In 2010 Fiona joined Rockhopper Exploration, the Company discovering and Appraising the 1 billion Barrel Sealion discovery in the frontier North Falklands Basin, and became Chief Operating Officer in 2013. At the same time as taking on the role of President of AAPG Europe, in 2017 she joined Echo Energy PLC as CEO. Quickly she completed a significant acquisition, diversified and completed the reverse takeover on AIM. Transitioning to a Non-Exec Career in 2019 she has now developed a broad NED portfolio. In 2019 Fiona was voted Female Executive of the Year by the Oil and Gas Council.

In 2017 changes were taking place in AAPG Europe's management and Fiona played a key role to give the new organization a purposeful trajectory. Fiona skillfully guided AAPG Europe through a successful series of Conferences and GTWs, developing a strong AAPG professional team and an innovative and challenging events programme including the visionary Energy Transition Forum. As President she always made time for AAPG and selflessly gave time to the other members of the ERC.

She is not only known and admired for her ability to get it done, but also her fairness and thoughtfulness all applied thankfully with lashings of humour. Her leadership role model is her real legacy, leading in diversity and empowerment that is a great example to our industry and beyond. AAPG Is proud to offer Fiona the Award of Honorary Member, as she is an inspiring example to us in the AAPG and indeed in our Industry.

Neil Hodgson


Randi Martinsen
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

To Randi Martinsen, for her exemplary contributions to the profession and dedicated service to AAPG. As a petroleum geologist and an educator who inspired future gen-erations of petroleum geologists, Randi embodies the best of the organization that she has served with distinction. The respect of her industry colleagues resulted in her elec-tion as President of AAPG in 2014, only the second female to attain that honor. Her ca-reer accomplishments and commitment to the Association make her worthy and de-serving of Honorary Membership in AAPG.

Raised in New York City, Randi pursued studies in Earth and Space Sciences at Stony Brook University. She graduated with a B.S. degree in 1971 and headed west to Northern Arizona University where she earned an M.S. degree in Geology in 1975. Randi joined Cities Services Company in Denver as a petroleum geologist in 1974. Her work in the Hartzog Draw oil field in the Powder River basin, in collaboration with Rod Tillman, earned her the A.I. Levorsen Award for Best Paper after her presentation at an AAPG meeting in 1978. Randi married Jim Steidtmann, a geology professor at the University of Wyoming. To raise a family together in Wyoming, Randi became a consultant in 1979 and moved to Laramie. Shortly afterward, the University of Wyo-ming invited her to join their faculty in the Department of Geology and Geophysics and develop a program in Petroleum Geology. Randi taught classes, conducted research, and supervised graduate students, while continuing her industry consulting.

Among those in her career who recognized and fostered her potential were Pete Rose, Rod Tillman, Bob Colby, and Vernon Hill, all of whom she feels a special debt of gratitude. She indeed attained the professional stature they anticipated, attested by the widespread recognition and admiration among her geologic colleagues. This industry-wide respect was demonstrated by her election to President of AAPG in 2014.

Randi's passionate love of geology and irrepressible sense of fun also inspired the next generation of geologists. She is well regarded for her industry and academic achievements, and counts her three remarkable children as her greatest accomplish-ment in life. I am certain that Randi's many friends and colleagues will join me in ex-pressing our delight as she is awarded Honorary Membership in AAPG, an organiza-tion she has dedicated her time, professionalism, and energy to during her outstand-ing career in petroleum geology.


Daniel Schwartz
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Dan contribution to the geoscience profession is a positive influence on AAPG.

As a kid, Dan developed a passion for geology exploring LA's mountains and canyons, and during many family road-trips. Dan earned his bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley in 1974 and his PhD at UT Dallas in 1978 and began his professional career in 1978 at Shell's Houston Research Center. He delivered reservoir studies for challenging exploration discoveries. Transferring to California in 1985, he led geologists working Shell's Coastal assets and continued a career filled with mentorship and training geologists (inside and outside of Shell), eagerly sharing his passion and expertise.

In 1992, Dan transferred to Aberdeen, Scotland as Head of Geology and Geophysics. In 1996 he returned to Houston for technical and financial director roles. From 1999 to 2003 Dan led Basin Modeling and was Exploration Manager for Offshore Morocco. In 2003 he was named Chief Geologist for Shell Oil, and in 2005 was named Chief Petroleum Engineer for Shell International. He was responsible for technical disciplines, and project assurance and resourcing for deepwater and unconventional teams. In 2009, Dan returned to California, as lead of Aera's exploration team building a land position and a portfolio of exploration prospects for an unconventional play.

Dan retired from Shell in 2014 and from Aera in 2016, and is actively consulting, leading field and training courses, continues to mentor, and presents his ongoing work at Sectional and National meetings.

Dan's involvement with AAPG is varied and enduring. Dan was AAPG Vice President, Sections (2016-2018), a member of the AAPG Executive Committee, and represented Pacific Section on many AAPG committees (education, technical, conventions). He has contributed to convention committees, core workshops and short courses. He received PSAAPG's A.I. Levorsen, Victor Church, and Distinguished Service Awards; and contributes to IBA, and scholarships, and was PSAAPG President working to improve alignment of the Section with its Affiliated Societies and improving communications between the Sections and National AAPG.

He established a scholarship fund at University of Texas at Dallas, where he was awarded Alumni of the Year in 2015. He also races vintage sports cars.

The Pacific Section and AAPG have benefitted tremendously from Dan's activities. He has been a role model for contributing to our profession, and we are honored to contribute to this citation for his Honorary Membership.

Cynthia Huggins, Jon Schwalbach, Jeff Sande, Jeff Milton, Citationists


2021 AAPG Michel T. Halbouty Outstanding Leadership Award
Mahmoud Abdulbaqi
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Mahmoud Abdulbaqi has had a distinguished career as the leader of exploration for hydrocarbons, and as a founder and leader of professional geoscience societies at the Middle East and worldwide.

Mahmoud was born in 1944 and graduated from the University of Baghdad 1966 with a BSc degree in Geology. He started in 1971 his 34-year career with the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco). He worked in various upstream departments and completed executive programs at Georgetown and Columbia. He was elected in 1991 to Vice President of the Exploration Organization, responsible for exploration and the geology of the world's largest reservoirs.

After the incorporation of Saudi Aramco in 1987, Mahmoud's organization was charged with exploration throughout Saudi Arabia. Mahmoud built a world-renowned Exploration Organization, adopted the latest technologies, set high standards of integrity and technical excellence, created a fertile culture for creativity and teamwork, and fostered the training of young professionals. This resulted in the discovery of 36 new oil and gas fields in diverse geologic settings. The success of the exploration effort is also measured by the effective replacement of Saudi Aramco's substantial oil production of about 3 billion barrels/year and the addition of more than 49 TCF of non-associated gas reserves. After retiring from Aramco in 2005, Mahmoud chaired the board of the Arabian Geophysical and Surveying Company (ARGAS) until 2020. During those 15 years the company grew to an integrated geophysical company active throughout the Middle East in land and marine seismic acquisition, processing, and interpretation.

Mahmoud is a founding member of the Dhahran Geoscience Society in 1987. He has been a member of AAPG since 1983, served on its Advisory Council in 1999-2002, served as first President of AAPG's Middle East region in 1999, and was awarded Honorary Membership in 2003. He also served on the board of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) and became chairman of its board and its first non-European president in 2009. He helped establish and support the EAGE Student Fund and continues to chair its Advisory Council. Mahmoud initiated and chaired the first Middle East Geoscience conference, GEO-94, which grew into a major biannual event. He also joined the board of the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) upon its creation in 2005 and is its current chairman.

Mahmoud and his wife Abiyya have been married for 47 years and live in Dhahran, surrounded by two sons, daughter and grandchildren. He enjoys swimming, jogging, yoga, travel, reading and the theater.

Abdulkader M. Afifi


2021 AAPG Sidney Powers Memorial Award
Leslie B. Magoon
AAPG Honors and Awards 2021

Les Magoon's co-workers acknowledge that he had a creative vision of how source rock geochemistry could impact resource assessment, a persistence in seeking clarity of concepts, and a collaborative approach to merging the appropriate elements and processes essential to constructing the Petroleum System methodology.

Upon graduation from the University of Oregon in 1966, Les joined Shell Oil and was 'challenged' to become a petroleum source rock expert because he had more chemistry than the other Shell geologists. In 1974, Pete Rose, USGS Oil and Gas Branch Chief, hired Les to be part of the Survey's resource assessment team working Alaska. Les organized a 1983 research conference on Alaska North Slope Oil/Rock Correlation Studies involving 15 oil companies and 15 research or service laboratories each presenting their oil-to-source-rock correlation. Les realized "…how difficult it is to incorporate geologic information into the assessment process…[and that]… it would be worthwhile to develop a scheme that would better serve our purposes."

Between 1987 and 1991, Les integrated elements of published research from Dow's 'oil system', Perrodon's 'petroleum system', Demaison's 'generative basin', Meissner's 'hydrocarbon machine', and Ulmishek's 'independent petroliferous system'. Les took his distillation of concepts on tour visiting many oil companies where technical talks and extended discussions helped him formulate his holistic petroleum system composed of geologic elements and geochemical processes, the focus AAPG Memoir 60, 'The Petroleum System.' This volume consisted of the Magoon and Dow lead chapter defining the Petroleum System methodology with carefully edited case histories of basin assessment.

As technical computing advanced, the Petroleum System methodology evolved from a two dimensional basin model to a three-and-four dimensional fluid flow model. When in 2004 Les retired from the USGS, he joined as a co-founder the Stanford University Basin and Petroleum Systems Modeling (BPSM) Industrial Affiliates Program, another collaborative effort this time with Ken Peters and Steve Graham. At Stanford Les is mentoring a new generation of professionals skilled in dynamic basin modeling.

Charles Hope (2001) states that "…the Growth of Knowledge [is] a cumulative and collaborative process." Les Magoon envisioned a better way to understand petroleum genesis and creatively organized the geologic elements and geochemical processes into the Petroleum System methodology. Having collaboratively involved a diverse user-group from exploration and research communities, Les demonstrated the foresight and perseverance to establish the now widely applied Petroleum System concept for which he is receiving AAPG's highest honor, the Sydney Powers Memorial Award.

John Armentrout

All Awards

Overview Pages

Headquarters Contacts

Vicki L. Beighle
Vicki Beighle Adminstrative Team Lead, AAPG +1 918 560 2615