Geology Alumni Newsletter News Notes 2006
A Newsletter for Alumni, Students and Friends of the Geology Program Spring 2006
Bruce has summarized your letters, e-mails, and phone conversations. Thanks for updating us and telling us what you are doing. Please take a moment to tell us what you're doing if you haven't already. Information from you helps us assess the Geology Program. We do listen and appreciate your comments, whether critical or complimentary. ( Editors Note! - Keep in mind that you have to send in those little orange cards or at least talk or email me to get into the Newsletter.)
We still have a few people that we can't find. If you have any clues contact us.
1960's Mike Arndt (‘66), Peter Buchanan (‘64), Own Abdali (‘68), Sultan Al-Somali (‘69) , Thomas Schanefelt (‘69)
1970's Aboullah Baroun (‘71), Jon Jezisek (‘79)
2000's Jason Chapman (‘01), Andrew Lockman (‘02), Annie Owens (‘02), Sarah Dougherty (‘05)
Graduates by Year:
Dr. Frederick Menzer – see article in the 2006 Newsletter
Dr. Frederick Stein – I'm sure many of you remember Dr. Stein who taught Chemistry and (to some of you) Physical Chemistry in the 1970s and 1980s as well as serving as Department Chair in the 1980s. I regret to say that Fred also died of cancer in the fall of 2005
Gil Noice reports that is still with the National Park Service in the Southeast Region Lands Office as a surveyor and cartographer. He has had some “tough” assignments such as in St. Croix and St. Thomas , but is thinking of retiring and returning to Colorado .
Gary Christopher is still having fun in Gunnison and participated in our Homecoming events. He enjoyed hooking up again with Dick Moyle, his old geology teacher here at Western.
Linda (Powers) Barrett has had a few momentous events in her life in the past few years – like becoming the best looking grandmother in Grand Junction last year and her younger son Colby was discharged after a 41/2 year tour with the Marines. Linda reports that husband Bob spends about 340 days a year working with his own engineering geology company (after retiring from the Colorado Department of Transportation), they travel a lot, and that they recently bought a home on Vancouver Island .
Connie (Trainor) Durand - Many of you will remember the delightful Connie Trainor who took many Geology classes and field trips with us in the late 1960s. We finally tracked her down in New Mexico . She writes: “While I didn't pursue a career in Geology I still raft the heavenly canyons of Utah and Colorado and wonder at the rock formations. On weekends I hike with friends in the Santa Fe Group looking for bones of camels, oreodonts, gomphotheres (an elephant ancestor), deer and rodents. This is WSC Geology Department's legacy in my life.”
Dan Pavey - After retiring as Chief Geologist from the Alaska Highway Department a few years ago, Dan and his wife Linda (Ashbaugh) have done quite a bit of traveling in the past few years. Dan and Linda were here for the 2003 Geology Homecoming party and field trip and then came back through again in the summer of 2005 for a nice visit. Dan and I keep in frequent contact by email! A hint for all of you.
Gary Dixon - I've been trying to find Gary for at least seven years and just missing him in various places. So what happened? He finally found us by looking on our website and checked in. Welcome back Gary ! Here is a synopsis of his career since leaving Western:
Gary spent 33 years working for the USGS mostly in the Las Vegas , Nevada area originally working on the Nevada Test Site for radioactive disposal and working his way up to the Program Manager for that project and supervising over 40 employees. Later he became Project Chief for the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, Las Vegas Urban corridor Project and coordinated 15 project scientists in the geologic mapping (1:100,000-scale geologic mapping) in the Las Vegas and Lake Mead quadrangles. “The purpose of the mapping was to record the geologic, geophysical, and hydrologic history of the quadrangles before urbanization destroyed the record. The study resulted in over 50 publications, which was concluded in 1999 with the publications of the two maps. Worked closely with the Las Vegas Valley Water District, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Virgin Valley Water District, National Park Service-Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology - Las Vegas , Nevada .” Upon retirement from the USGS in 1999 he was named Scientist Emeritus in the Geologic Division Regional Geologist Office, Menlo Park California and provides scientific and technical leadership and guidance to USGS scientists and staff as needed. Not one to wither away in retirement, Gary has founded Southwest Geology, Inc. whose focus is primarily in the desert southwest specializing in geologic framework studies related to geologic hazards, the potential of ground-water resources, geologic mapping, geophysical investigations as applied to solving aforementioned framework studies, and working closely with other geosciences in solving modern urban problems. He has consulted for the Virgin Valley Water District as expert witness for the protestant in the Tule Desert water right hearings and for the Southern Nevada Water Authority in matters of geology, geophysics, and hydrogeology as needed. Currently working on the geologic framework of the White River Flow System. Whew!! Tom and I would like to take credit for some of this, but Gary has done it all by himself!
Howard Fishman We have seen quite a bit of Howard lately. He was here for a talk to our departmental majors in 2004 concerning working for a major oil company and now Howard and I are both on the Western State Alumni Board of Directors together. Howard recently celebrated 30 years with Chevron. He has been in Midland , Texas for 20 years and is now the project manager for the UNOCAL G&G integration project for the Mid-Continent Business Unit. He continues to provide support for seismic and geological applications. Last summer he and his family journeyed to Alaska for the second time and enjoyed the great geology and the wonderful wildlife.
Jay James has recently (June, 2004) formed his own business, James Environmental Consulting Inc., “specializing in permitting for the mining industry.” You may recall that Jay formerly worked with Montgomery Watson, an environmental firm based in Steamboat Springs.
Gordon (Dick) Jones is still having a good time running bridge games on cruise ships and chasing dinosaurs in his spare time. Dick and his family are indeed renowned dinosaur hunters and are credited with some major finds including the famous Supersaurus found at Dry Mesa near Delta, Colorado .
Jon Untiedt writes that he is “Retired-Mostly” Jon has been toying with retiring for some time from his contract land business.
Dr.Connie (Nuss) Knight along with her husband Roger, very kindly allowed us the use of their beautiful backyard in Golden in the fall of 2004 for a really great alumni reunion. Connie has recently taken a new job has VP for exploration for Robson Energy, a new company. She will have a long commute to her office in Golden, across the street from her house.
Jim Brown was, once again, the hit of the day when he brought his famous deep-fried turkey to the alumni reunion in Golden in October, 2004. Thanks again Jim! He also reports a visit from Paul Crews, famous WSC skier of the 1960s in 2004. Remember him?
Tim Kelly is still with the State Land Board and reports “ We have been busy here at the Board with all of the run up in oil/gas prices. I bet I know every operating company in Colorado these days- at least the land side of the business.”
George Podsobinski is now a member in good standing of the informal WSC geology online chat room. George recently retired from teaching high school Earth Science, Geology and Physics after 30 years. Now, that is exceptional! But, just to keep from getting too mossy, George is teaching 2 classes of Geology per semester at Pueblo Community College . For fun, George motorcycles all summer to national parks and geologic areas. George, I should put you in touch with Jeff Littfin, '83 who is also a motorcycle enthusiast.
Steve Taylor is still working as a geologist with an emphasis on GIS applications in mining mostly working on properties in Alaska and Mexico .
Dr. Dave Lageson is working with Jim Coogan on the structural geology of the Elk Mountains near Crested Butte and is mentoring one our students, Justin Tully '02 , for his Master's thesis on that subject. They were both out here for a few days of recon. field work in 2005. Dave keeps busy with other projects in Montana and Wyoming and in his own words; “Still having fun!” Dave wrote this last year: “Well, I'm the department head again. This is my second term (I was department head for about 5 years in the early 1990s) and I guess I'm not smart enough to avoid the damn job. Here are some highlights of our program:
We have around 220 majors in five undergraduate degree options (geology, geohydrology, paleontology, geography/GIS, and snow science). I think offering students some academic diversity is the key to success, like you guys have done over the years. We have a new PhD program with about 5 new grad students starting this year. Our master's program continues to thrive, with about 30 students. We've added four new tenure-track faculty positions this year in dinosaur paleontology, geomicrobiology, Quaternary climate change, and petroleum geology.
“So, it's been a good time to be department head! We've received a lot of support from the upper administration for growth, despite terminally bad state funding in Montana for higher education. Of course, in return they are expecting more research and external funding from the faculty. We are slowly turning into more of a research-oriented department.”
Marty Wittstrom was here for Homecoming in 2004 and visited the department and enjoyed talking with all the new staff.
Steve Biesman celebrated 25 years in business of Biesman Construction in Bend Oregon in 2005. Steve and Tricia continue to be active in their spiritual community of 30 years.
Steve Craig reports that he “has left Reno , Nevada for a new job in Lakewood Colorado . He was appointed Vice President of Exploration for Gryphon Gold Corporation with responsibilities back in Nevada . So, he is already planning to add a lot of air miles to his seat rather than truck miles. On weekends he heads back to his old home town of Leadville to visit his folks. He makes sure that both parents remain healthy by insisting they continue to shovel snow (mom is 82 and dad is 90). He gets the snow blower out to get rid of the bigger piles lying around. Steve still has interest in high speed skiing and hiking and he is looking forward to getting back into the spirit of the Colorado Rocky Mountains again.”
Ray Hensley sent in this biography after a WSC alumni meeting in L.A. in 2004 with college president Jay Helman and Duane Vandenbusche. “I was raised in, and my family managed, two small ski areas in the San Gabriel Mountains about 35 miles north of Pasadena . I attended a one-room school- house with 16 children spanning 12 grades, until I met up with big La Canada High School. After 7 years of skiing before, during and after school, I did well competing nationally and it naturally became a focus of expression and passion. Unfortunately, my academics did not receive the same energy. I naturally wanted to attend an institute of higher learning with a ski team. I applied to D.U., C.U., Utah , Wyoming , and Western. The reply from all went the same, athletics (GOOD), academics (BAD). All suggested that I attend a Junior college and try again. That was until Coach Ken McLennan wrote and offered to me the opportunity to come to Gunnison , Colorado and take an entrance examination that if I passed would allow me to attend Western State College on probation and try out for the ski team. Ken wanted down hill skiers. My parents and I scraped together enough money to get me on a Continental Airline flight to Grand Junction , and a private flight to the Great Divide, darn near. The long story, short. I passed. I got on the team. Got my full scholarship. Got the two-time NCAA All American Awards, alpine ski team (thank you Ken). Got my geology degree, (thank you Tom and Bruce). Graduated with 3.2 gpa. Got a great education. At your introduction Jay (Helman, President), "It's all about people," never wiser words spoken.” Editors note: As many of you are aware, the college decided they could no longer afford to fund our skiing program and decided to try to keep it going by alumni contributions. Fortunately, many stepped forward and the program will continue. Ray was one of those who made a significant contribution and helped keep the program going. Way to go Ray and Harbottle says hello!
June and Bob Just have been involved in a number of our alumni functions including our road bike trip through western Colorado last year and the alumni reunion in Denver . June, still with Geographix, has had several spectacular biking and hiking trips to Switzerland and Bob was recently induced to come out of “retirement” and is working as a geologist with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We had a nice hike together up the Copper Creek valley above Gothic last summer.
Elliott Crist sends in the following : “ Thanks for the message about Fred Stein. I didn't actually have any classes from him, but he was part of that great era at Western State .” In regards to Fred Menzer Elliott suggests that perhaps at some point, Fred's students, professors and friends should get together. “We could plan a raft trip, hike up a geologically interesting cannon some place or ? “ A good idea Elliott!! Let's work on that.
“Things have been quite busy the last three years or so. I've been working for a lot of Canadian Juniors and some majors as well. I've managed to stay in Nevada for the most part and avoid the month + trips to foreign lands. The down-cycle in the gold prices was actually quite good for me. It was nice to spend some more time with the family and I did a couple of interesting jobs. I worked for the Census Bureau for about 9 months as a Crew Leader. I trained my own crews of 25 or so and got my own area. I think I found out why I wouldn't want to work for the government full time. I also mud logged over in the California gas fields. I started a training program that was supposed to last 6 months and 10 days later was out on my own. It was interesting to study the gas business and culture. Gas prices took a hit in the fall of 2001 just as minerals started to recover. I've had numerous calls since then to go back to mud-logging. If I go back to oil and gas, I think I'll try to do it as a geologist. The things that they do are not that complicated compared with some of the things that we do in minerals. There are several small consortiums composed of a geologist, a geophysicist, a land man and a money guy. That's it! It's nice to hear from you. I'll try to keep in touch.” Please do!
Don Graham continues to make a living as a consultant geologist in Gunnison . Most of his work consists of conservation easements and other environmental type geology as well as being an occasional partner to me in various forms of recreation such as back-country skiing, mountain biking, etc.
Peter Herzberg is in Corning , New York and enjoying a lot of traveling with his wife to various European countries including Scotland , where I'm going to join him one of these years. Relations with the U.S. will never be the same again.
Kevin McAndrews is still in Austin , Texas and watching various business enterprises in mining and oil.
John Brunel reports that his oldest son graduated from Colorado School of Mines and that his daughter is a straight “A” student at Regis College in Denver- and as he puts it (before I could) “not exactly a chip off the old block.” His youngest son is a sophomore at Golden High School and is contemplating coming to Western. John's final words are that he is “trying to live life large and enjoy this interesting planet.” John – good for you and you know; we all, your fellow students and the faculty, enjoyed the planet a little more when you were around.
Peter Dea wanted me to condense this, but I kind of like it the way it is. Here is his report (from the upper levels of the corporate world):
“On Jan 6, 2006, I participated in and sponsored the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) celebrate it's 100th anniversary by ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange with Pat Grant and the NWSS executive team and NYSE CEO John Thain. We may have been the first ones to ring the bell dressed in cowboy hats!! (It made for a classic photo in the Denver papers and the fodder of endless kidding from friends - "why were you wearing the bad guy black hat!) As we entered the trading floor after opening up the 21 trillion dollar market, the traders yelled out yeehaw, yeehaw as they spotted our hats. The yeehaws rippled and resonated across the floor as Mr. Thain escorted us through the organized mayhem. I also rang the opening bell in May, 2005, exclusively for WGR, (Western Gas Resources) celebrating a record year and was interviewed live on CNBC Squawk Box and Bloomberg in 2005 as national interest in energy escalated.
Western Gas Resources, (NYSE: WGR) was recognized in the Jan 9, 2006 Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 Oil and Gas Companies in Forbes "Best Managed Companies in America" issue citing a 29.9 percent five year annualized return to shareholders. This is second year in a row for this recognition for us. We delivered our shareholders a 62 percent return in 2005.
Elsewhere on the media circuit, I was interviewed on Bloomberg Moneyline TV show on Jan 3, 2006, quoted in TIME Magazine Jan 16 and will participate in a national media blitz with Denver Mayor Hickenlooper Jan 23 and 24 to NYC and Wash. DC to promote Denver as the Balanced Energy Hub of the West. The tour in part is derived from my role as Executive Chairman of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp, Energy Committee.
We will be on CNBC Sqwawk Box Jan 23 at 7:10 or 8:00am, Bloomberg at 12:45pm ET, and have interviews with Time, Business Week, WSJ, Financial Times, Economist, etc pending final schedule.
I have been asked to give the keynote address at the AAPG Annual convention in Houston April 11, 2006 on "Perfecting the Search for Unconventional Resource Plays" and the Keynote speech on August 7, 2006 at the RMAG Annual meeting in Denver.
In my spare time I have been skiing up a storm in Vail and Crested Butte with well above average powder days and keeping up with the twins, Drake and Austin, freshman at DU and WWU and Cort, freshman at Colorado Academy . Cathy and I are co-chairs of a gala event, "Museum After Dark" at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science later this year where I am on Board of Trustees.
PS – Peter is also on the Board of Trustees for Western State College !
Cathy Hedin-McNiel sent regrets about the Golden alumni party last year but sent me this message: “ Have lots of fun, and remember the days when everyone was a lot less uptight about everything, ------ Amen Cathy – and thanks!!
Fred Menzer III was the General Manager of the Henderson molybdenum operations in Colorado from April, 2004 till November, 2005 at which time he was named Vice President for Global Operations for the Climax Molybdenum branch of Phelps Dodge (officially a “business unit” of PD). Fred and Vicky celebrated becoming grandparents in October, 2004 when granddaughter Obbie was born. Daughter Heather is in her 4 th year at CSU in mechanical engineering and pre-med.
Dawne (Miller) Pennel is now a Development Geologist for Aera Energy in Bakersfield , CA working on the Belridge Asset that is in a diatomite section in the shallow, upper Mio/Pliocene with light oil. She previously had been with Occidental doing practically everything. Her son Travis is in the Ohio State band and Dawne and family went down to the Fiesta Bowl (Notre Dame vs. Ohio State) to watch her son play but as she says: “ He's in E Row toward the center. I can never spot him as they all look alike. Son Adam will be going to UC San Diego next year (and playing soccer-a star, according to the newspaper reports) while Erik in the 10th grade made the Kern County honor band playing tuba. Seems like Dawne has fostered a family of musicians.
Al Cough writes that: “Life is good- Working full time as Deputy Commissioner of Alaska Department of Commerce in Juneau . I teach skiing part time in the winter and fly commercially for a local float plane airline in the summer.” Sounds good Al – Why not fly down to Gunnison some time and land on Blue Mesa Reservoir – we'll pick you up.
Colleen (McShane) Cope - After getting her Master's in 2003 and several years of substitute teaching, Colleen landed the big one – a permanent teaching job in Ft. Collins . Here are her impressions of her first semester of teaching:
“It's been exhausting and challenging and overall it's definitely a “keeper” job (if they hire me back!). And the way it works here is that there are no guarantees and you must reapply for a position every year. Then on the first day of your 4 th year you walk around with a halo because, you have tenure and no worries (unless you really screw up!). I, of course, am teaching the courses no one else wants to teach, but they are all perfect for me: Geo-space (astronomy/geology), Environmental Science (Tragedy of the Commons; ecological disaster at Rapa Nui; Population growth; Ecology: Energy and Fossil Fuels; Atmosphere/Water; Alternative Energy), and the Intro to Chem, Phys, and Earth Science, ICPE (which is a year-long course and covers lots of great concepts). It's not the content of these courses that teachers are not attracted to, but the population of the kids. Like I've mentioned, the geology and environmental science courses are geared for students who have low math skills, not motivated, etc. So they become the science credit options for kids who can't handle the chemistry or physics (or ICPE, even). So, overall some challenging students (pink hair, tattoos, etc. not uncommon) but once you get to know them, they are just as capable as anybody. (Editors note – sound familiar to some of you?) And, of course, there are many students who are just typical kids who are taking the class because they have a strong interest in the subject. Yeah, we like those!! My philosophy has been to have high expectations with intensive and meaningful class-work, but grade easy. I still had about 12 D/Fs in a class of 29 in geo-space and environmental science, and about 4-5 in ICPE out of a class of 34. Anyway, it is just an amazing world to be part of -- a large, dynamic high school. WOW! Sometimes it's like being in another country with its own culture and language. I feel privileged in so many ways -- not the least of which is that I know that if I don't do well enough, there are 100 people waiting in line to take my place. Sounds radical, but in this town it is true.”
Colleen was also one of the alums who attended Fred Menzer's funeral in Vail, driving in from Ft. Collins – Really nice to see you there Colleen!
Jim Douglas sends in this note: Jim was recently promoted to “Executive Engineering Assistant to the Chief Engineer” at Caltrans (CA's DOT) following a year as a Project Management Coordinator for the southern part of the state. In the past year, he completed the Caltrans PM Certification program as well as obtained his Project Management Professional certification from PMI. After 18 years with Caltrans, Jim relishes spending time with his wife on their 5 wooded acres in the Sierra foothills remodeling the home, working with wood, and
just keeping up with the weeds, well, when he is not trying to ride the edges off the tires of his BMW K1200RS. He recently received his 200,000 BMW -Miles award and is a confirmed motorcycle road-racing fanatic working as a turn marshal at regional, national and international races.
Bob Dickerson writes that “in the past two years I have completed numerous geologic studies for the DOE, including volcanic stratigraphy in Nevada , secondary mineral studies, dust deliquescent studies and Quaternary geology studies. I remarried two years ago to a wonderful woman who climbs and canoes with me.” What more can you ask? Bob presented o paper at the GSA meeting in Gunnison last May.
Freddy Frankel is still in Houston with Chevron- Texaco but had an exciting adventure during Hurricane Katrina. Here is his report. “ We're fine - no damage to property –It was a Class 5 with cross hairs directly on Sugar Land . I secured the house as well as could be expected - windows, doors, etc, paintings and valuables in closet and turned circuit breakers off (except refrigerators). The 4 of us (and doggie) left Wednesday evening at about 7 p.m. to go to Fort Worth where I had booked one of the only available motel rooms in Texas (about 200 miles away). Approximately 18 hours later we arrived there - after pushing the car in neutral with the motor off, for about 3 hours (to save gas). We were only moving 10 feet at a time anyway - it worked and we bought gas on some back-country roads later. We stayed there 3 nights and left to return via the back roads Sunday night. It was much cooler in the night (over 100 degrees day temp) and I had two 5 gallon gas cans strapped to the roof of the car. Made it home in about 6 hours. The pool and yard was a mess - house is fine. Freezer defrosted - no big deal.”
Greg Liller just checked in with a bunch of photos of him fishing and a big mine he helped develop in Mexico . Here is his report:
I have changed my job title somewhat and I now am a sculptor specializing in large media. The first photo is of the leach pad at Gammon Lake Resources' Ocampo gold silver mine in Chihuahua , Mexico . For some reason they made me V.P Exploration and Development. It's a combination open pit underground mine with both heap leach and conventional milling. Production should be around 200,000 oz gold and 8 million oz silver. I have been working on this project for 9 long years. Managing and planning it from the first drill hole in the district until I turned it over to the engineers for construction. I have also learned to watch engineers like a hawk. This is my 5 th baby to go to production and I know they tend to screw things up as only engineers can. I also run exploration and development for a second company, Mexigold Resources. Whereas the Ocampo mine is in the middle of the Sierra Madres, with an accompanying lack of creature comforts, Mexigold has three mines in Guanajuato Mexico . I can take a cab to work. How many mining/exploration projects can you say that about?
Rod McCabe and Jan came down from the hills to come to the Golden alumni event and as usual, brightened the place up. Good to see you guys!
Kimla McDonald - “I'm just out here delivering babies as a midwife employed by a birth center and hospital in Annapolis , Maryland . Still living in DC and taking part in as many regime-change rallies as I can, aided by my daughter Rosa, 17, my son Kevin, 13, and my husband Michael Kelly, former San Francisco mime troupe member and current director of housing in the District of Columbia. Glad you're doing well. Thanks for keeping me updated re: Gunnison winters. I don't miss those.”
Nancy Molyneux lives in a beautiful old home near Newport , Rhode Island that she and husband Rich fixed up over the past few years. They have been having a fun time like biking trips in Spain . Deirdre and I went down to visit them last summer, ate lobster, clams Casino and had a fine time – what a great place!
Lauren (Hart) Wolfe reports in that: “I'm still lucky (or stubborn) enough to be living in the San Juans and enjoying my passions of skiing and riding horses. I have a great job working with high school kids with disabilities who are preparing to transition to adult life. Between this and my two kids, I think I've earned a PhD in Teenaging. They are both, right now, training to be Ski Patrolers. Hope to see you soon Lauren!
Eric Bard writes the following: “I turned 50, got a 15 year pin at WesternGeco and had a 20 year wedding anniversary. To celebrate I drove a boat down the Canal du Rhone across the Etang de Thau up the Canal du Midi.” I'm sure most of you will, of course, know that this a beautiful area on the southeast coast of France west of Marseille. How did you find out about this somewhat off the beaten path area Eric?
Mark Fernandes was out here in the winter of 2004 trying to relive his youth and skied a few days at Crested Butte (with Don Graham,‘75 as local guide) and Monarch. I asked him what he was doing this winter and this is his reply: “ With my broken arm; (multiple fractures skiing; had an MRI last week; looks like it was broken in 4 places; plus rotator cuff damage; ouch!!); I haven't been able to do much this winter. But I am working; and will be spending a week in the Caribbean next month with my son exploring the Bahamas on a 45' Catamaran. We have an extra berth if anyone is interested!!”
Pam Klessig is still in the mining business but has switched gears from the gold industry and is now running an energy company, Western Uranium Corporation, focused on uranium exploration and mine development. The company began trading publicly in April on the Canadian TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol WUC. “Other than business trips, I made very few other excursions during 2005. I made a few short trips here and there but nothing all that grand and exciting. Most of my spare time during the past year was spent hiking with the pooch up in the Sierras. Both the dog and I put in many miles last summer on a variety of trails.”
Myra (Vaag) Lugsch - “ Myra , her husband Bill and their twins Mitch and Dean live in Applewood on the west side of Denver . Myra thought she would have time to catch up on projects at home now that the twins are in 1st grade. However, she is serving as Secretary of the PTA at Stober Elementary, is in charge of the After School Spanish program and is helping with the Race to Read program and various field trips, book fairs, etc. at the school. So, nothing is getting done at home. Myra is also still involved in Twin Connection, which is a support group for mothers of multiples. Myra runs, lifts weights, and plays a little tennis and golf in her spare time. On weekends, Myra and the boys ski, hike South Table Mountain , go on bike rides, or play golf. Myra has a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol Ostergren is still hanging on at the USGS working on partnerships to build out geographic/spatial data in California . “I'm starting to take my 8 year-old son river rafting – He's a natural!
Paul Rady - “ I am busy in Denver coaching two of our three little daughters' soccer teams, and we're building a barn to spoil them with a pony. Also, I'm constantly training on the road bike to try and fight the (losing) battle of slowing down. Just like a "peak-bagger" for Fourteeners in Colorado, I have been bagging all the majors "cols" (high-mountain passes) in Europe the past 5 or 6 years while following the Tour de France, and only have about 20% more on the list. I'm working hard to build the next Antero Resources after selling the last one in the Barnett Shale of North Texas. We're drilling now in the Piceance Basin near Rifle and Silt, and hope it'll work, although nothing's quite like the Barnett. We have four "young bucks" from the WSC Petroleum Geology Program working for us now in Denver , and I tip my hat to Jim Coogan, as well as Alan and Rob, for the fine job they do in preparing the young bucks for industry . Jason Elliassen ‘03, Andrew Wood ‘04, Josh Shaw ‘03 and Jeff Jackson ‘03 are outstanding, and continue to take on more and more responsibility. Great job Western!!!
Thanks Paul and by the way – Where do you find the time??
Steve Reynolds writes by email: “I'm still the Vice President of Infinity Oil and Gas, Inc. We are an unconventional gas exploration company with over 800,000 acres of active leasehold across the US producing over 130 million cubic feet of gas a day. Work is still a joy that I give much credit to WSC preparing me for. With my three daughters, ages 12, 11 and 8, life is full. I'm still the President of the 1500 kid soccer club, watch lots of "cheer" competitions and horse training. Skiing and cycling are still my two passions.” Thanks for everything Steve!!
Robert Spencer is still in Stevensville , Montana
Rick Stefanic is with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (that makes two WSC geology alums: see Bob Just,‘74 ) in Billings, MT and checks in with the following: “The past couple of years have been filled with preparing and contributing to environmental documents for oil & gas, coal bed methane, timber sales, water impoundments, housing and CASINOS. I still get to play geologist sometimes, but primarily its economics.” He has one son in Engineering at the University of Idaho and one still as a freshman in high school, so he's not quite an empty-nester yet. Rick also relates that his very patient wife still puts up with his beer-making, but is already looking forward to retirement.
Jeff Wingerter is a partner with RDG Oil & Gas, which is based in Coeur d'Alene , ID. “I live just north of Spokane ; WA (Can't afford Coeur d'Alene ).
RDG is going strong; I joined them in September, 2004 as a geologist/partner. We have purchased the North Tisdale Lakota field near Kaycee , Wyoming (which is a fluvial sandstone reservoir at a whopping depth of 270-300 feet. Conoco discovered the reservoir in the 1950's and began a ‘Gravity Drain Program' in the 1980's by sinking a shaft into the reservoir for subsurface originated drilling. New Tech bought the field from Conoco in the late 1980's and did some more underground drilling. We bought into the New Tech position last year. It is amazing to stand in the middle of a reservoir and to watch the oil ooze out of the sandstone. The problem is that the reservoir is under pressured (no pressure). There is approx 15 million BO (29 gravity, sweet) in place, 1 million produced to date. The reservoir is oil wet and we are treating the reservoir with non-ionic surfactants to change the wettability to water wet in preparation for a water flood. We desperately need a reservoir engineer to help design a water flood.”
Huntly Boyce-Armstrong checks in with the following: “Hi Bruce!” Myra e-mailed me about the alumni gathering in Golden. “If I were still as free and independent like years ago, I'd be there . My 8 and 10 yr. old daughters are taking up my weekend time with soccer and dance classes this fall. My role as a mom has been the best part of my life since good old geology/WSC days of yore. And now I get to turn my girls on to minerals and rocks and any other geologically related topics of interest. I am teaching high school Sciences-Astronomy, Geology, Environmental Science, Health, and Anatomy-a variety of subjects at North American Hockey Academy . This is a high school in Stowe , VT that offers a session from Oct-March for female Ice Hockey players from USA and Canada , who are fostering their talents in pursuit of the Olympic Ice Hockey Teams. The girls are both dedicated students and athletes! Meanwhile, my girls are in the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club Jr. Alpine Racing program and enjoying the competitive races!” Huntly, you really would have enjoyed the party in Golden – sorry you couldn't make it!
Tim Hall is still with Kennecott Minerals working with the Kennecott Greens Creek Mining Company in Juneau , AK .
Bill Heffron wrote in last year with a nice note. “I want to thank you for the invitation to the Geology Alumni party in Golden on Oct. 9th. My daughter unfortunately has a volleyball tournament then and I won't be able to make it. I also wanted to say that I'm very impressed and
appreciative that you and Dr. Prather take the time to do these kinds of events. My wife (Melinda, who also graduated from Western with a major in biology) is somewhat jealous because she never hears a thing from the biology alumni. When I get together with old friends from Western we usually talk about the great days we had there (with the exception of a few of your tests). It's always great to hear news about Western and thanks again for keeping in touch.” Thanks Bill. Much appreciated. Hope we get to see you again one of these days!
Mark Stewart put together a great tour of the Rangley area for our Petroleum Geology class last fall and initiated Schlumberger interviewing some of our students – Thanks again Mark!!
Kevin Taylor was up here a few weekends ago with Ken Tornquist, ‘81 for their annual ice-fishing expedition. Sorry I missed you guys!! Kevin's son James is now a geology major at Western.
Dave Colburn has his own company called DC Services doing consulting and field services operating out of Mead, Colorado. In case you're wondering, like I was, Mead is just north of Longmont .
Doug Dennison - “I'm sure like some other alumni of the WSC geology program. I've found my way back into the oil & gas business. I joined Oxy in Grand Junction in mid-November and am responsible for their regulatory and governmental affairs activities in this area. Prior to that I spent about 2 ½ years with Garfield County in Rifle as the liaison between the County, citizens and the oil & gas industry to try to resolve issues, provide education, etc. It was a fun stint, but I'm glad to be out of the “complaint department” business. I've been running into a number of WSC alums the last few years, including Scot Donato, ‘81 and Mary Bergman,‘81. I see from the recent news that the petroleum geology program at WSC is stronger than ever. Even though I'm not doing “real” geology anymore, I'd also like to offer to help with any needs the program may have. If the program would ever like tours of drilling and completion operations or guest speakers on specific topics, let me know. I put together a “Drilling 101” presentation while at Garfield County that was designed to educate the public on the whole process of drilling, completion and production and would be happy to present it to students if there's any interest.
Peter Dwelley left Meridian Gold in November, 2004 and took a position with Granite Construction in Sacramento . “I will be directing their acquisition and permitting group to develop new material sources for aggregate...should be a great experience and more stable than the cyclical gold business...also a great opportunity to blend my geologic background with more recent regulatory experience. How are you doing? Hope you are healthy and enjoying life. My family is doing great...kids are big into sports...skiing, football, basketball, baseball...and on the honor role at their schools; now that the kids are older (10 and 13) Joan is going back to school to get her nursing degree.”
Carol (Mooney) Hogsett reports that “Vic and I both pretty busy at work (Los Alamos National Labs.), Vic - Homeland Security stuff, and I'm still recruiting hot science and engineering talent. Our vacation last summer turned out great! We found NV opal, OR sunstones, CA obsidian needles and beach agates. We are into lapidary and jewelry now! Fun stuff! We will be heading to Exhuma Bahamas in May for a 1 week dive/snorkeling trip on a catamaran - live on boat. Can't wait!”
Brian Johnson is back in Australia . Here is his report: “Took a slight tangent from the geologic profession after starting professional life as a field geologist in the petroleum sector. Since then, I have had stints in: New York as research director at the NYMEX; commodity treasury advisor in Sydney at Oakvale Capital; in London as a strategy advisor to energy companies with a consulting firm called Caminus, and now running the Melbourne Resources Practice. I continue to bring in projects to the firm as well as get pulled into projects on the basis of a level of technical understanding. I have branched out from just oil and gas and cover coal, refining, electricity and the pipeline industry as well as the water industry. I plan to try and get back to Gunnison this next year to check up on the 40 acres I bought some years back just west of town a mile off Highway 50 and the current tenants - about 40 deer. Brian adds that he and his partner, Shelley now have “almost” 3 kids – Shiani, Mitch and one due in June! Quite a career, Brian!
Kim Mauch came up to Gunnison from California in the fall of 2004 for a visit and took a tour of the new building and, of course, the new brew pub in town.
Glen Ortel built and owns a new Ace Hardware (13,500 sq. ft.) in Tucson , AZ. He adds that his daughter is in the engineering program at the University of Arizona and “Thinking of getting back into the oil business – Just Joking!”
Scot Donato is now the Manager of Environmental Health and Safety for the Bill Barrett Corporation. Many of you will recall that both Paul Rady and Peter Dea worked for Barrett Resources before Williams Production bought them out a few years ago. Bill is back at it again with a new company exploring for oil and gas in the Rockies . Way to go Scot!
Caron (Sanford) Koll reports that she is “married with two wonderful daughters, Carly and Sarah who are supportive of my passion for my geologic consulting profession. I have worked with current employer, Blasland, Bouck & Lee Inc. for 23 years.” (Editors note – This is a pretty big outfit with offices all over the U.S. and ranked very highly by Engineering News Record's ratings of environmental science firms – look them up on the web – very impressive!) Caron has a CPG and PG license in Pennsylvania and a Licensed Site Professional in Mass.
Bryan Roberts couldn't make the alumni bike trip in spring, 2004 but he did respond: “ Give Tom and Bruce my best regards and wish them well on their bike trip. I wish I could join them; however, family and client requests have clogged my agenda. Visions of the Rockies are still bright in my mind.”
Tom Shrake continues to develop a gold property in El Salvador that is progressing towards mine development. Tom and Anne (Boucher-formerly of the Red Dolly among many other accomplishments)) visit Bonaire every Christmas for snorkeling and wind-surfing. Son Robert is now at Montana State University where Dave Lageson ‘73 is Geology Department Chair – Hope they get together one of these days! Tom and Anne's two girls, Katie and Mariah, are both great soccer players (I know- they beat me up pretty good!) and turning into beautiful young ladies. Tom is the coach of the soccer team and club president.
Kristen Andrew-Hoeser is “still doing geologic hazard and slope stability studies at Entech Engineering. The Colorado Geologic Survey Landslide Susceptibility maps documented many of my studies and mapping in Colorado Springs . I wrote portions of AEG's “Engineering Geology in Colorado , available from the CGS. Also teaching Geology 101 at Univ.of Colo. , Colorado Springs .” Kristen has been a loyal alum, drove up from Colorado Springs for our Golden event and attends practically everything in Colorado Springs . Thanks, Kristen!
Dennis Beaver came to the Golden alumni party last year with his wife Lea Anne who charmed everyone. Dennis reports as follows: “I quit working for the military-industrial complex on January 1, 2006 (sort of a New Year's resolution) and am plunging into solar energy! Anyone on the Front Range interested in photo voltaic systems give me a call @ Beaver Solar (303) 507 9748.
Eric and Laura Ruud Laura is back working with the Geological Society of Nevada for 25-30 hours/week, but also has a position with the Renewable Energy Center at UNR for another 21 hours/week. And just to make sure she doesn't get lazy she is still volunteering with the 10 th Grade Confirmation class, the homeless family program at church and now is President of the NJROTC Boosters Club. What are you going to do when you retire Laura? I believe the NJ stands for National Juniors and you know the rest. Both of their kids, Alex, 187 and Erica, now 16, are involved with the ROTC while Erica is the only female cadet on the armed drill team. Alex, now almost 6' 4'' (and bigger than his dad), is big into the Run & Shoot biathalon. (Remember Josh Thompson?). Eric continues working with Geobrugg, (a Swiss company that makes rock-fall barriers) a job that keeps him traveling much of the time, but still finds time to ski quite a bit at Mt. Rose just above the Shrake's house.
Sue Barrett has given up the bright lights of big cities and is living near Meeteetsee , Wyoming . “Our newest ranch, Flying River Ranch, is now an USDA Certified Organic beef ranch. With this holistic thinking, I also started my own business, the Vibe Center Ltd., in Cody , Wyoming . I have found my calling and truly love what I am doing. Finally! In the oil business, thank goodness, just oil of different molecular compounds. See: www.thevibecenter.com
Steve and Nancy Carpenter “ Steve is working like a madman at INEL site up here in Idaho Falls, I am working not so much after selling my business in Littleton . Starting back up takes time and I am enjoying some time off. Austin (8) and Logan (6) are both very busy with sports of all kinds through out the year. Hockey right now and Logan wants to try out for a part in Aladdin. They both are playing piano and I am getting pretty good at shuttling. It reminds me a lot of Gunnison up here. COLD!!! Yellowstone and the Tetons make for a nice backyard and daytrips are awesome. Hope you are all well.”
John Evans “ Married for the past 18 years to Liz. We have two kids, Alex, 13 and Lillian 4 in Broomfield where we both work in commercial real estate. I worked in well-site geology and sedimentology (John has an M.S. from CSU) until the early 90s when the environmental field beckoned for about 8 years until that too, cooled off. Now we have a small commercial real estate business that keeps us busy. It's exciting to hear of the success of Peter Dea and Paul Rady – Congratulations! Hearing news of the boom times in the oil and gas patch makes me think, “maybe I can get back in the game?” But really, life is good here, raising kids and being grateful for what we have. Greetings to all.”
Rod Graham is still working in Mongolia for various mining interests, but comes back to Gunnison every year for ice fishing and looks us up. We had a nice chat over breakfast one day in January. Rod is absolutely timeless and looks just like he did when he graduated – maybe better.
Craig Holsopple checks in with the following : “ The first job (summer) I had with the FHWA was in 1980. The division within FHWA that I worked for was the Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD). CFLHD manages highway construction projects on Federal Lands in 14 western states. My duties were highway inspection, surveying, and materials analysis. I worked for them until late 1984. I made enough money to pay for my education and also worked in some incredible places (Glacier NP, Sequoia NF , Rocky Mountain NP, Yellowstone NP, and Teton NP). In 1990 I returned to college and earned a degree in Environmental Management. Upon graduation I worked in construction management at DIA. After DIA was completed I worked on the construction of a landfill in California and then accepted another position in DIA's construction branch.
In 1997 I returned to CFLHD where I accepted a position in their environmental department where I worked on NEPA compliance. I transferred to the construction branch in 1999. My responsibilities are construction management but most of my time is spent working on construction claims. One claim you may find interesting occurred on a project in Taylor Canyon . The project involved the construction of three bridges over the Taylor River . The contractor submitted a differing site condition claim, stating they did not expect to encounter large boulders during construction of the bridges. My first thought was "you have got to be kidding". As you well know there are numerous large boulders throughout the canyon, especially at the bridge sites. The claim was eventually resolved to a fair settlement. So, life is good, I get to use my Geology training every once in a while and work in some of the nicest places around.
Andrea Heller “ I have been teaching and working with young students teaching and enriching their reading and mathematics. I have been successful with many private tutorials and work with 2 to 5 students a day. One family has me teaching enrichment and overseeing their two elementary students organization and work. I see their family 5 to 7 hours a week. One parent told me I was not unlike an Olympic coach! I loved that compliment. He loves the coaching and enrichment I bring to his son. I love teaching. It's helpful to be busy to pay the bills. Gunnison County can be a challenge in the economics department. One family pays me to go to their child's classroom twice a week to work with whoever may need help. They want the classroom to roll smoothly. Their child is a pretty good student. I will undergo major surgery this St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. I found out in Dec. 05 that my hip socket never fully formed at birth. It has chosen the last year to dislocate and curtail my mobility and flexibility. So, I has a hip replacement at Porter Hospital in Denver by Dr. Dennis! Wow and yes I am fearful, yet excited to have my range of athletic ability back. I am so young and there are so many places to go hike, ski and bike!”
Jeff Littfin - “I just returned today from 14 days in Belize . We rented a 38ft catamaran "bareboat" and sailed from San Pedro to Placencia with two other couples. I recently became certified in diving. I dove 5 times in different areas and saw loggerhead turtles, moray eels, spotted rays, swam with the sharks and feasted on conch and lobster and beer. "The Most Remarkable Reef in the West Indies " So Charles Darwin referred to the Belize Barrier Reef in 1842, in his study of the origin and evolution of coral reefs. Since then it has become renowned as the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere . Nearly 20km long, it runs from the northern border of the country, where it is only about 1km offshore, south to the Sapodilla Cayes that lie some 40km offshore.
I have been doing some work in eastern and western Montana at several rock quarries for a company called Montana Rockworks. My work consists of design, planning and development, mapping boundaries and elevations during extraction stages used for Environmental Impact Studies for the EPA. The rock is used for landscape and building purposes. Troubleshooting computers and networks keeps me busy full time when I'm not out skiing, kayaking, dirt biking, waterskiing, diving, fishing and hunting. I recently built a shop for my metal sculpting, wood work and music studio. The past year has been great. I got to go deep sea fishing off the tip of Vancouver Island, touring the Juneau Icefields, Hubbard Glacier and Misty Fiords Wilderness in Alaska, and harvested another 6X6 bull elk.”
Dale Marcum As mentioned in the past, a group of the '83 alums frequently gets together in an adventure known as Destinations Unknown or simply DU. This year Dale was in charge and here is his report ” The DU group got together last year. Everyone made it, including the wives and kids. It was my turn this year, so we did a trip to the Central CA coast. We couldn't get a camping reservation for the first night, so we spent a day and evening in Los Gatos . 18 people camping in the backyard! (we've got a big yard...for CA anyway). That evening we watched an outdoor 'movie' on a 10-foot big screen in the backyard. The 'movie' was a DVD Jeff Littfin made of our past DU trips. We then drove south, crossed the San Andreas Fault, and down the Salinas Valley, took a right and went up and over the Coast Range. Camped, surfed, frisbeed, boogie boarded, bacci balled, skim boarded, drank, sang...all the typical boring stuff for the next several days.”
Rebecca Miller remembers the cold winters in Gunnison this way: “Well my thermometer in Gunnison was the car seat in the Jeep (always exposed to the elements). I could always tell when it was -21 degrees (not -20, not-22) because the vinyl in the seat froze at that temperature. I did almost get frostbite on my fingers driving in from the airport after landing after Christmas vacation one winter. The Jeep never had any windows and I had forgotten my gloves. I had to clean the snow off the Jeep to drive and by the time I got home I had some pretty frosty fingers. I miss Gunnison and always brag about suffering the cold weather. I did participate in a WSC alumni reunion here in Phoenix (April or May? 2005) and donated the sum $400 at the time. I am currently past chair and program chair for the Maricopa Section of SME in Phoenix , Arizona . I will be chairing a session on mine waste characterization for the joint SME/7th International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage (ICARD) conferences in St. Louis , MO at the end of March 2006. My company (sole proprietor) is currently busy preparing submitting storm water pollution prevent plans to the AZ Dept of Environmental Quality for City of Phoenix and Arizona DOT projects. Still no mining-related work but I bet things will pick up soon in that category as well. Rebecca now has a website which can accessed at: www.ramillerrg.com
Rebecca thanks for everything and I am still so impressed that you came all the way from Phoenix for Fred Menzer's funeral!
Joe Winston reports that “I own my own law firm, “Winston Law Firm, P.C.” After working as an engineering geologist for 6 years I went to law school at Denver University and have now been a practicing attorney for 15 years.” Good to hear from you Joe – Hope you can make it to one of the Colorado Springs alumni functions.
Rick Klebanow sent us a card, a picture of lady friend and dog and a nice letter: “I am working on my 4 th career – Real Estate investment – fixer uppers, flippers, property management, and rentals. So far so good, at least until the next bubble popping. As you can see from the holiday card, I am teamed up with a beautiful woman, Tana Leach, and Shadow, the Wonder Dog. We've spent the last year building a house for Tana. My closest connection to geology these days is buying gold bullion coins with rental income. Thanks for the Geology Newsletter. I still get a smile on my face and warm feeling in my heart when I hear from you folks and know that I am still connected to WSC Geology.” Nice Rick!! It is a lifetime membership.
John Lamborn “I want to stay off the bad boy out of touch list so here is an update. I finished mining the gravel pit and could not get another pit going. Water prices in Colorado are not worth the hassle. Last fall I got on the horn and landed a short- term job on an exploration project in Nome , AK . Things worked out and they invited me back this year. The reclamation is complete at the gravel pit; we sold off all the equipment and are disbursing the proceeds. (That's the fun part.) Since then we sold the house, buildings and ranch and moved to Sterling AK . Our new home is located 2.5 miles from the Kenai River . I have been fishing a little, like every waking moment I am home. Things are really busy in Nome , I am working for a Canadian company called Nova Gold. It is a new company started in 1999. They have some spectacular deposits and seem to be very marketable. I am having a great time trying to unravel the geologic secrets of the Seward Peninsula . I have taken my gold pan and shovel to the beach in Nome and sure enough the beaches are truly golden. That is still a hot spot even after +100 years of mining. I have to get going, I think my reel has cooled off by now and the silvers are supposed to be in at Seward.” And not too long ago, John adds: “Things are going well in Alaska . My contract ended in Nome and I have taken a job working at a small prospect in central AK near McGrath called Nixon Fork. Some Canadians are trying to reopen the old mine. It is a nice change to see lots of work for geologists out there.”
Nick Demos - “Bruce, it's been a while since I've seen you, I assume all is well because you keep us (quiet ones) well informed with the mailings. I enjoy the readings and hearing of your trips etc. I've been a geologist at the Rocky Flats Plant since '89. Yes I've seen some --- in that span and it's been great. We are tearing this place to the ground at present.”
J.Scott Honodel “ Hello, Western! It seems so incredible how time flies. I still have just my Bachelor's degree from Western and I have worked various positions in geology from early on. Most work was seasonal, with an underground geologist job in Wallace , ID lasting 13 months until mine shutdown. Recent work has involved radon gas abatement both indoor and outdoor. I work as an argon analyst here in Coeur d'Alene doing monitoring work and compliance inspections. I named my oldest daughter Katie after Dr. Prather's daughter – she is now 11 years old.” Good to hear from you Scott – Stay in touch!
Carol Gallatin is still in the environmental business with more or less the same company whose name has changed so many times, she get confused. Right now it is Tetra Tech EC. Regardless, she has recently moved back to Colorado . Here is what she said in March, 2004 while still in New Mexico . “ As a consultant, your job borders on "prostitution" to a certain degree, and I don't remember such a degree program at WSC. Needless to say, that after 15 years with my company, I still truly enjoy my job. Really! Well, what am I up to these days? Still just over 5 feet. A few wrinkles and a few gray hairs. Puffy eyes after too much office work. Living in Albuquerque and working for Tetra Tech FW; my company was the 42nd "acquisition" of a poorly-sorted (well-graded) conglomerate of a company dominated by a moderately-cemented matrix consisting of financial terms which prove I was meant to be a geologist and not an accountant. In my spare time I volunteer in the fossil preparatory lab at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. A great place to meet interesting people and learn more about New Mexico throughout geologic history. Currently, we are preparing Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Saurophaganax (allosaurid) specimens taken from a quarry site within the Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation 40 miles west of Albuquerque . I am quite at home with this site as a child of Morrison , CO and have "brushed" up on my sedimentology and stratigraphy of the area. I even re-wrote my sedimentology paper on the Brushy Basin Member, and I am sure Bruce would be pleased with the state of my improved writing style. Honestly, the criticism I received in college truly paid off in my career. After all of that, I get out as a rabid hiker and snowshoer, occasional bicyclist, sporadic skier, and avid dinosaur hunter.”
After moving back to Colorado , she sent us this note: “My work responsibilities will change somewhat now that I'll be the company's marketing representative for Department of Defense clients in NM and CO. Of course I'll continue my other project management and technical oversight. My volunteer position with the NM Museum of Natural History will remain unchanged as well as my co-chair position of Field Programs with the NM Friends of Paleontology. It is field season and I'll journey to NM for field digs and mapping adventures. Work on the Morrison Fm. is coming along and I hope to do some work this summer on the local Jackpile Member as my schedule allows. I may not have been the brightest in Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, but I certainly enjoy the work, research, and knowledge they both provide when working in the field. Not to be idle, I already have two volunteer positions awaiting me in Denver . I'll return to Dinosaur Ridge as a guide and hopefully help get their fossil preparatory lab going; and the Morrison Museum of Natural History is interested in having me do fossil prep and field work. Should be exciting since Robert Bakker is the museum's director and he's reopened some of the original quarry locations in the Morrison area discovered by Arthur Lakes and O.C. Marsh.
And finally the really big news: “ Not married yet but thinking of something impromptu in late spring. Got engaged in July, at Dinosaur National Monument
where Terry surprised me (understatement) with the proposal. Just celebrated my 17th anniversary with the company in January. My paying job is still captivating. My only volunteer position has been at the Morrison Natural History Museum. Knew the first day of volunteer duty that this is where I want to spend my time, especially when I got to dig in Quarry 10 with Bob Bakker on the first day. Pretty thrilling. Since then, I keep busy with fossil prep, fossil casting, and exhibit development and set-up. Stop in for a tour!!” Carol in now married
Scott Effner As usual Scott and wife Sue's life is full of biking and environmental work. Scott joined us on the alumni bike trip last year and of course, we all had to wait for him frequently. Deirdre and I stopped by in La Veta last spring and saw his place and had a nice visit – Sorry we missed Sue. “Sue spent about 10 weeks drilling, testing and installing pumps for an industrial water supply near Moab . The hours were long, but the accommodations were good – she stayed in a luxury condo and ate smoked salmon, Caesar salads, roasted vegetables, almond-crusted trout, etc. at any of two dozen restaurants in Moab . Scott spent 11 weeks drilling and testing monitoring wells in southeast Idaho . The hours were long and accommodations were less plush – he stayed in a cramped motel room (filled to the brim with field equipment) and dined on the fine cuisine of the Ranch Hand Truck Stop.”- Such is life!! For fun last year they put together a Mountain Madness bike tour of 14 days doing 1200 miles, climbing 85,000' (6,071/day) over 21 passes and crossed the continental divide 8 times. The route covered such places as Trail Ridge Road , Loveland Pass, Vail Pass , Independence Pass , McClure Pass , Nine-Mile Hill to Powderhorn, Slumgullion Pass to Monte Vista and so on.
Mark Owens checks in for the first time in years: “I finished my M.A. in Anthropology this year at New Mexico State University . I am currently the lead anthropologist for the U.S. Army at Ft. Carson , Colorado . Married (finally) in 2003 to a historian named Pam.” Congratulations on all of your accomplishments Mark!! Still do any fishing??
Christine Peak has returned from sheep ranching in Australia and is back in Montrose! It was getting too tough and all of her kids were here anyway. She also reports that her son Jefferson (the lizard king of the San Juan River) continues studies at the University of California but seemingly does not plan to finish and wants to live simply. On the other hand, daughter Kara graduated from Colorado School of Mines went on for a Masters, is married to a Columbian, lives in Houston and is one of the 14 financial analysts for Mobil Exxon. Quite a contrast – one again proving that genetics trumps environment!
Doug White is now married and living near Lake George but still working as a Senior Mine Geologist for the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company. Here is his update. “I did get married. My wife Michele is also a geologist / freelance writer/ bassoonist/ substitute teacher and general all around good gal. She writes under her maiden name Michele Murray and has short stories published in the Mountain Gazette. Some of our vacations are the subject of her short stories; they do have a certain amount of color added for entertainment purposes. See: http://www.mountaingazette.com/index2.php . She is currently working for Golden Star Resources in Denver . We are living on the east side of Wilkerson Pass or ten miles west of Lake George, just outside South Park . So I am slowly inching my way back to the western slope. I think we are almost at the geographic center of the state. I do remember the winter of 88-89. Two mornings in particular when the temp was - 50 and the suspension on my truck was non functional and the seat was also rock like. Somehow I remember it very fondly and I tell the story of my frozen truck whenever it gets cold.” Doug hired one of our recent graduates last summer and is looking for another one this year. Thanks, Doug.
Mark Larson is still at the University of Wyoming at the stable isotope facility.
Julie (many names) Coleman Singer “ Got married in Peru December 21, 2004 and did it again in Silverton on June 2, 2005 for all our friends and family. I served for two years on the BLM National Preservation Board. Just got a job with the Forest Service/BLM in Durango- I will be the Heritage Team Lead for the San Juan Public Lands Center . In essence this means I'll be in charge of all of the archaeology for SW quarter of Colorado except for Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, and Canyon of the Ancients. I'll be leading a team of six BLM and Forest Service archaeologists! Yikes, that's enough to scare the daylights out of any sane person!! I'll be living in Durango and Silverton starting April 2. Come down and visit sometime!! We are leaving for Costa Rica in a week, and are going back to New Zealand and Tahiti in November.”
Thornton Mount is still in Gunnison working in construction, has two kids and is currently building a house near Hartman's Rocks.
Liz (Wallner) Francisco has been an archeologist ever since graduation and a Supervisory Archeologist at Mesa Verde National Park since 1999. Liz is married to Jon Francisco who was a WSC Geology Minor. . “Very proud to be a Western graduate.”
Elizabeth (Budzien) Toivonen writes in December “ Bruce, I thought I would send you an update before I become a "lost geologist" again. Since we corresponded last I got married, changed jobs and moved. I did receive an alumni update card in the mail, but with all that goes on around Christmas it's gone missing (a very Australian phrase). Trevor and I moved into our new house last January and we were married last March. I now work for HLA-Envirosciences, in the Contaminated Lands Audit Group. NSW EPA accredits Auditors to act as their representatives (trying to avoid liability issues of course). HLA has 4 of the 20 or so accredited auditors in the state. I am really enjoying working at this end of the field, but it is extremely disappointing and frustrating to see the extremely poor quality of work (both on the technical side and the communication/writing side) put out by so many environmental consultants in Sydney .”
Suzanne (Schauer) Carmody is teaching Earth Science and Geology at Widefield High School in Colorado Springs . She and husband Shaun Carmody have two daughters, Kiri, aged 6 and Cambria about a year old. Suzanne, Were you thinking of the Cambrian Period??
Sonia (Hutmacher) Cunningham has a number of big-ticket items in her update: Married in 2004 to another Western alum. Completed a paleoenvironmental analysis of the eastern Great Basin . Promoted to Senior Archaeologist overseeing all archaeology done in the Great Basin for AMEC E&E. And finally, the big one, she adopted a rescued Brittany Spaniel in July, 2005.
Eric Dillenbeck checks in with this: “Beautiful weather here in Houston, not often we can say that. Starting my 4th year now with Exxonmobil and enjoying it. This is an exciting time in the oil patch, lots of jobs. Of course the minerals industry has really picked up as well. All in all a great time to be a geologist. I'll be coming through town in June for my annual trip to the Black Canyon with Todd Shaw (owner of the 1/4 Circle) and a couple other friends from Western. Maybe we'll catch up then. I hope all is well.
Chris Lawson is a software engineer with Bentley Systems Inc. out of Englewood . He came out to the West Elks to do some hunting last year
Kirsten (Forkner) Sanders is still working at Six Points in Gunnison managing the Residential Program of Services. She is “happily divorced for almost 2 years now and still enjoys skiing, hiking, climbing and looking at rocks.”
Dr. Peter Stelling “So, some big things have happened to me since we last met. I've been working at the University of Alaska Anchorage for a few years, and I have managed to work myself into a full-time term position. They have been trying to get a tenure-track position for me, but funding is always tight (despite record oil prices of late). Last year about this time, my wife and I had twins, Naomi and Tucker. They came out pretty early (about three months early), so we spent many long months in the neonatal ICU. In fact, yesterday was their first birthday. If you're interested, you can check out the whole story at www.thestatus.com , the patient name is "stelling" and the password is "stelling2". . Also, my wife Jackie and I have gotten jobs at Western Washington University in Bellingham , WA . We're moving Dec. 15, 2005 (driving to Haines and then taking the ferry to B'ham). We're really looking forward to the move, but we're awfully sad to be leaving Anchorage and Alaska . Both Jackie and I will be teaching full time in the geology department there. It sure will be nice to be on the road system again!
Rosemary (Hart) Carroll - “ Tor and I would love to eventually work our way back to the Gunnison Valley in 4+ years. The key word here is "work". It seems I have worked myself into a profession that is difficult to apply to the Gunnison/Crested Butte area. Life is busy with two boys (Ethan is 4 and Maxwell is 1.5 yrs) but they are pride and joy. I hope semi-retirement is not keeping you too busy.” Rosemary and her husband Torrey are living in Crested Butte and Torrey is teaching math at Western.
Kurt Feltus has a construction business in Crested Butte – Double Top Frame and Finish. Kurt writes: “My wife Mindy and I have a baby girl named Morgan born Oct. 16, 2004. I've been splitting my time between Crested Butte building houses and the Great Salt Lake , brine shrimping.” OK Kurt, I give- are you selling or eating the shrimp?
Rebecca Nanni and husband, James Porter, ‘97 came into town to visit Phil VanZale , ‘97, before he went off to New Zealand (see below) and we all got together for a mini-reunion at the Firebrand (formerly the Epicurean for you old-timers) including messaging in Tom Prather by cell phone! Hey, we're thoroughly modern here. Rebecca and James still live near Taos in an earth home they built and Rebecca is teaching at a Waldorf School in Taos .
Rebecca Biglow is in Architectural school at the University of Oregon . Here is her latest report: “ This winter my classes were all about technical passive solar design of buildings and passive cooling, alternative materials and energy and resource conservation. In my class discussions, a person could forget that there was any other kind of building going on! It was great! I had fun, and I'm looking forward to more for the spring term. I'm still going strong here in school here in Eugene, OR - more than half way through the 3-year M. Arch. program, which feels like a major accomplishment! It's exciting and frightening at the same time to think of myself out there in the working world of architecture and finished with school after next spring. Architecture school is an insane amount of work, but it's fun work - more fun than plowing through a steady diet of technical scientific papers - or worse, having to write them! I've been enjoying (as much as I can) skiing Oregon 's deep thick snow, the great people I'm in school with, and the perpetual springtime in Eugene (always green grass, rain, and flowers!). I'm really looking forward to moving back to the Rocky Mountains , though. I'm thinking Bozeman , MT might be my next stop. I haven't totally abandoned geology-related work. In summer 2005, I contracted to the Forest Service in Asheville , North Carolina doing mostly road/stream crossing engineering, and general erosion-control consulting. It was a great job, and I'd like to continue to work in that arena from time to time. Lots of people ask "How can you marry the fields of hydrology/geology with architecture?" My answer is that I can do both structural and landscape design. New horizons!
Lynn (Padgett) Connaughton “ I've been up to a lot as always. Planning & Zoning Commission stuff for Ouray County has been eating up a lot of time, as Ouray County is feeling development pressures from Telluride and Montrose, and from within, as our property values continue to soar. There has been quite a bit of discussion about creating a land use code section to deal with oil and gas exploration, drilling, and production. I just finished giving a talk to the land trust community about severed mineral rights and concerns for land trusts and conservation easements. Today I spoke to a smallish conference put together by the San Juan Corridors Coalition and Black Canyon Land Trust in Montrose. Last week I spoke to the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts conference in Glenwood Springs. My mantra is that severed mineral rights need to be identified early in the conservation easement project process because a finding of "remoteness" from mining ("the probability of surface mining is so remote as to be negligible") is not guaranteed. A minerals assessment needs to base conclusions about the mineral and mining potential on geologic data and economic factors , not public policy, the "they would have found it by now" rationale, and "public outcry" rationale for mining remoteness. So far these ideas have been viewed as a radical change to the way land trusts do things (kinda scary) and have been well received.
I'm still consulting with BIO-Logic Environmental as a geologist/GIS & wetland scientist. We finished a large GIS project last year with the Division of Wildlife assessing sagebrush ecosystems in Colorado . We modeled the current extent of sagebrush communities, the historic extent of sagebrush, how species rich the current sagebrush is, and sagebrush at high, moderate, or low risk from weed infestation, pinon and juniper encroachment, residential development, and energy development. I had to upgrade my computer to do some of the raster calculations, which would run over night and even over a weekend.
I've been appointed to the Gunnison Basin Round Table as the Ouray County representative that brings me in contact with a lot of prominent members of Gunnison country. And it's now official, I own my own web design and services company at www.mtngeogeek.com . I designed the Town of Ridgway website last year which I continue to update. I've also worked on a few small business websites, and am working on other websites for nonprofits and an artist; mtngeogeek offers "solar powered web design" services, and "solar powered web hosting" on a high-speed solar powered server located in southern California , and a slew of other digital data and photo services.
Cutler will be three years old early next year and Anza turned 5 in December. Anza & I are both going to be playing soccer (in different leagues!) this spring.
Amy Crawford wrote before she left for a Peace Corps assignment in Mongolia . Mail is a little slow by camel. “ Bruce, I think I told you I'd keep you updated on the Peace Corps. It turns out that I did get a Mongolia placement (which is what I requested) and I'll be setting off in early June, 2004. I'm quite looking forward to it and am trying to learn the Cyrillic alphabet--more difficult than you might think. I'll be teaching English among other things while there (for at least two years) and hopefully traveling around with Bactrian camels and living in a ger. But you never know... Meanwhile I'm studiously avoiding real work--I've just finished a long ski coaching season with 50 adolescents (high school) and about the same number of women over 50. A nice mix! Then, some more wilderness guiding and on to Mongolia .” For those of you who want to write her, here is her address: (Note her name!) Arkhangai Aimag, Tsetserleg, Humuun School #1 Amy Teacher Mongolia (Via China )
Casey Dukeman wins the prize for being the first person to respond to our card mailing. Of course he has an office in Hurst two doors down from Allen Stork so it was a bit of a fix. Here is his story: “Received a M.A. from Univ. of Wyoming in 2001 and taught high school Science for 4 years in Greeley and Boulder where I implemented and still support Anthropology Focus Programs at 3 Colorado high schools. Casey is currently of Lecturer in Anthropology and Geology at Western.
Sean Hlousek is with Premier Data Services and writes: “Elaine and I are still in Denver and doing well. I'm beginning to travel on business and am involved in setting up GIS systems and providing land records data and information for Indian Tribes, the National Park System, and other branches of federal, state and local governments”
James Porter (see Rebecca Nanni, above) is doing carpentry and construction work near Taos , NM . He said he was trying to write something clever and witty, but it never came to him, so he came to visit Gunnison instead.
Phil VanZale came back to Western a few years ago majoring in Computer Information Science and, get this, graduated Summa Cum Laude. Wow Phil! Phil has been around the block a few times, went down to the Bahamas to teach for a while and is now in to New Zealand to seek his fortune in the world. Good luck Phil!
Katye McConaghy You might recall that Katye was teaching part-time for us the past few years, but with a little help from Fred Menzer III, ‘76, she landed a new job with Phelps Dodge as a mine geologist in Silver City , NM . She married long-time boyfriend Shelby Cox on December 31 st , 2005. “We bought a home that we are renovating and have a happy puppy named Sin Vaca. I miss all my friends at Western!” We miss you too, Katye and by the way, I saw your wedding pictures via Janneli – very nice and absolutely charming!
Zach Reynolds is still in Carbondale working as a photo editor for Climbing Magazine for the past 3 ½ years. He has two beautiful daughters, Emily, 5 and Megan, 3 and a new son Owen born in December 7, 2005. Zach is married to Carman (Shoults) Reynolds of the class of 2000.
Rebecca Bailey is finishing up her M.S. in Geology at the University of Alaska , Fairbanks , working on fold geometry. In the summers she guides tours up the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay . Last summer she was a geoscience intern with BP Petroleum in Anchorage . “I'd love to hear from people, please call if you're in Alaska .” Rebecca, did you know I started my career with Amoco (later acquired by BP)? Of course many of our alums worked for Amoco at one time, like, Connie Knight,‘70, Paul Rady, ‘78 and Ken Nibbelink, ‘79 , just to name a few.
Brian Coven reports that his wife, Kimmy, gave birth to Ruby Louise on July 14 th . Brian was out here last summer looking at some rocks for Encana Petroleum and we had a chance to bounce around a little together.
Ryan Murphy is in the Big Leagues with ExxonMobil Exploration in Houston . Jim Coogan was glad to have a friendly Westerner in the crowd during Jim's invited presentation at ExxonMobil in July. Ryan also stopped by Hurst Hall after skiing Crested Butte this winter.
Jason Eliassen is a Geologist with Antero Resources where he has worked since 2003. He is learning the joys of overseeing multiple rigs at all hours of the day.
Jeff Jackson is in his second year as an MS candidate at Colorado School of Mines following an adventurous post-graduate record that included internships and employment with Western Gas Resources and Antero Resources as well as a stint doing surface sampling in northern Canada for a mining company.
Jennifer McHarge writes that she is pursuing her MS in Petroleum Geology under Randi Martinson at the University of Wyoming . “ Wyoming is great and very well connected with industry!” “Hoping to graduate in
December, 07 or January, 08.” I guess I have told you Jen that Randi is an old buddy of mine from way-way back – Say hi for me!! (Bruce).
Josh Shaw migrated from his long time Gunnison hometown to Denver where he is employing his famous computer wizardry as a Geologic Technician with Antero Resources.
Justin Tully is in his second year as an MS candidate at Montana State University working with Dave Lageson ‘73 on the structure of Elk Range in the Pearl Pass area. He has been very busy since graduation with internships for Western Gas Resources and Ansbro Petroleum.
Ben Jackson is a Geological Technician for Savant Resources in Denver keeping the data flowing on a number of projects in Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Washington.
Andy Wood has been working at Antero Resources, Denver since graduation where was recently promoted to Geologist. He's enjoying the city life and LoDo work setting when not glued to his desk.
Jake Baker completed internships with the Colorado Geological Survey and Berry Petroleum over the past year. He is living in Denver recovering from shoulder surgery and looking forward to his next career move.
Perry Hooker is living in Elko , Nevada where he works for Miranda Gold. He writes: “ Give my regards to the upcoming graduates. Let 'em know that if I can hold down a job, they DEFINITELY can.” We knew he could.
Briana Lamphier recently began work as a Data Analyst/Field Engineer with Ticora Geosciences of Arvada which specializes in core analysis in unconventional gas plays.
Monica Stoeber successfully sold her home-grown Gunnison business – Mountain Mutts, and has taken her entrepreneurial skills to Denver where she is cutting her teeth in the oil business as a geological intern with Ansbro Petroleum.