Geology Alumni Newsletter News Notes 2012

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Alumni News

Bruce and Allen have 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.

Contact Information:

Bruce Bartleson or Allen Stork
Geology Program
Western State College
Gunnison, CO 81231
email: or

We still have a few people that we can’t find.  If you have any clues contact us. 

 1960’s   Mike Arndt (‘66), Own Abdali (‘68), Sultan Al-Somali (‘69), Ken Carmichael (’69)Peter Buchanan (‘64), Thomas Schanefelt (‘69)

1970’s  Aboullah Baroun (‘71), David Dagenhart ’73), Richard Davis (’77), Larry Ecklund (’71), Jon Jezisek (‘79), Richard Snyder (‘74)

1980’s Sue Collings (’82), Tom Dalsaso (’85), Richard Klebanow (’84), Barbara McCabe (’83),Nancy McManus (’82),  Martin Muffich (83), Carol Willis (’82)

2000’s Brian Behn (‘00), Annie Owens (‘02), Deni Harshman (‘05)

Graduates by Year:

Graph of graduates by year

Class Notes


Richard (Mike) O’Rourke checks in from Pueblo West and is still enjoying retirement.








Connie (Trainor) Durand Connie was here this fall for Homecoming and we had great time reminiscing at dinner along with Patty Costar, Biol ’71.


Gary Dixon “Still trying to cut loose this consulting work and hope to clean up past due commitments this year and call an end to it. I keep running into WSC grads with this Nevada/Utah work. Don Sweetkind ‘81 is cooperating with USGS-Water Resources out of Nevada for the past several years and we seem to be on opposite sides of the water issues in our encounters. Don is working on developing a geologic framework model for the feds as I am for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. This work is winding down and will conclude this next fall when the State Engineer for Nevada conducts water right hearings for the eastern part of the state. These hearings are conducted in a court-room setting and are incredibly contentious.  This will be my sixth and last hearing!
Speaking of hearings, I came across Kirk Swanson ‘83 in the Granite Springs water right hearings in 2007. He was representing the Applicants for water and I represented the Protestants. He caught me in the hallway at break and we recounted for a bit about WSC, profs, course work, and Gunnison in general. He was a lot smarter than I was for he, like Sweetkind, persevered and got his PhD. Nothing new to report from the Snake River Plain. We’re snow-bound (sound familiar) and looking for relief from the cold and wind.”

Howard Fishman continues to work for Chevron in Midland, Texas, now approaching 34 years.  Howard continues to provide G&G application and technical computing support. During the past 3 years in addition he has been project manager and supervising as many as 8 contractors in verifying and loading all current and historical digital well log data into Chevron's corporate database. He continues to serve on the Western State Alumni Advisory Board and visits Gunnison at least twice a year

Jon Untiedt reports that he is “Very, Very, Thoroughly and Happily Retired” and also wanders around in his camper, fishing wherever the opportunity arises. Come on out Jon!


Dr. Connie (Nuss) Knight writes “For the past several years I have been associated with a couple of small companies, working as the exploration manager of each.  During 2006 I worked as Exploration Manager for Robson Energy.  Mr. Robson came from the real estate industry with lots of short-lived vigor.  As his exploration manager, I put together a portfolio of deals with various degrees of risk.  Upon Mr. Robson's hasty departure from the oil and gas industry, I purchased some of the deals back from Robson. 
One such deal was a small, infill drilling prospect on the Central Kansas Uplift.  A partner and I recently turned that deal to a small independent company.  Four producers were drilled toward the end of last year, and more drilling is planned.   I sold a second land deal (17,000 acres in Northwest Colorado) to a small independent company, True North Energy.  I am helping True North to develop that regional play. 
  I have two other (great) self-generated land plays.  I will be looking for investors for additional leases soon.  One of these deals I sold to Noble Energy five years ago.  Noble didn’t get the job done, so I am in the process of getting leases back.  This is a huge “sleeper” company maker play. 
  Lately I have been very busy with professional volunteer work.  I am on the RMAG board, I am the technical program coordinator for the 2009’ SIPES meetings, and I recently accepted a position on the advisory board for the new land management program at Western State.  My biggest commitment is that I will co-edit an RMAG special publication “Structural Applications to Rocky Mountain Hydrocarbon Accumulations”.  Please consider this an advertisement and feel free to submit abstracts folks.  The publication is scheduled to debut in 2011.  We will put out a “call for abstracts” soon.”

Jim Brown “The past 2 years have been rather uneventful just working keeping Dastardly Deeds Ltd, a very competitive, successful, landscape maintenance company in the Evergreen area. Lots of vacations (not enough) relaxing and diving on the Kona Coast and diving in Cozumel. Keeping in shape, still volunteering for the National Sports Center for the Disabled at Winter Park (my 20th year) Last week I had a group of amputees from Texas that had never skied and we were at the top of Mary Jane on the 3rd day (my feet were freezing but they were fine with their prosthetic feet) I have taught my 5 year old granddaughter to ski and she is beginning to push me. Life is good.”


Dan Larsen “In July '07, I retired and gave away everything non-essential to needy families, rented a small U-Haul and now live in a small cabin in Red Lodge, MT. I have again taken up skiing after a 21 year lull and spend the summers traveling and hiking in the Beartooth Wilderness. I just woke up one day with the last kid finally out of the nest, no debt, single, healthy, hating the city life I was trapped in for 18 years and I bailed.”


Gary Dow reports that “I retired from the USBR in January 2007. Then I got bored after a month or so and am now working for Paul C. Rizzo Assoc. in southern Missouri. We're rebuilding Taum Sauk dam that failed in Dec. 2005. Thankfully, no one was killed but it did cause a lot of damage.  I'm in charge of foundation preparation, mapping, and approval. Our next job may be in or near Brisbane, Australia.
  Do you recall helping Rusty and I dig my car out of the snow along the road about 1/2 way to Crested Butte?   Of course it was Rusty's faultJ”

Tim Kelly As a graduate of WSC and the Landman for the State of Colorado, Tim currently is a member of the Advisory Board for the Professional Land and Resource Management degree program.  Tim oversees the leasing and title records for the 4 million acres of state mineral rights.  He serves as the Mineral Leasing Manager for the State board of Land Commissioners.

George Podsobinski notes that he is now retired after 30 years of public school teaching in the Canon City School District. However, he is still an Adjunct Professor at the Pueblo Community College Fremont Campus teaching Geology and Physics.


Philip Petty “I’m still teaching math in a small school (K-12) in upstate New York. I live in the Adirondacks, an interesting rock sequence which is an extension of the Canadian Shield. Lots of glacial debris, but very little soil.”

Charles Ponchak still owns and operates Kilbane Cleaners with stores all over western Colorado. He also owns a geological consulting company, San Juan Geological & Mining Consultants, which does mining property evaluation; primarily gold and silver, narrow fissure veins. He takes properties from rank exploration to production including permitting.  Charlie still loves to hunt deer and elk.

Marty Wittstrom “I am in my third year as VP of International Exploration with Reliance Industries. I took the position because it was essentially a green field situation with a company with substantial resources. I spend most of my time in Mumbai, India, but I make it back to North America frequently enough for my family not to forget me. Mumbai is not as out of the way as it might first sound. I'm always bumping into people from grad school, or people I worked with at Chevron or Gulf, or some industry/university program. Haven't bumped into anyone from WSC yet though... that I know of. The last two years have been very busy, as you would expect, and this year is shaping up to be slow, which is not surprising. The slowdown since Q4 2008 has had its benefits though by allowing time for some needed organizational work. Last year I headed-up a corporate team to develop and implement a Corporate Reserves Reporting System to meet or exceed every international standard. This year I'm developing an exploration and portfolio management process for worldwide exploration. I am also putting together a comprehensive training program for the many young G&G folks that we have.
  In the last couple of years we have taken fifteen blocks in Australia, E. Timor, Kurdistan, Peru, Colombia, Yemen, Oman. I review deals constantly. I think I probably see more geology in a month than most geologists ever see. I even put in a bid for an old Barrett property in Peru. My favorite exploration area right now is Brazil. I had a lock on two subsalt blocks in Brazil in the vicinity of the recent big discoveries down there, but that deal fell apart when the government withdrew the blocks. I look at a lot of deals in North America, but have not pursued them aggressively, as the deal terms were too steep compared to what was available elsewhere.
  My wife, Jan, is a geologist/geophysicist and has taught geology at Mt. Royal College in Calgary for eight years. Intro Geology, environmental geology, geologic hazards, and intro to the petroleum industry, and she is now developing a hydrology course. Also, she's a great structural geologist. Whenever I have a critical question in that department, she's the one I depend on. You can see what her students think of her by going to
   I do not use MySpace or Facebook. Anyone wishing to contact me can use Recent info on what has been going on in my world can be seen at  For professional purposes my profile can be seen at
  I have a place at Lake Vallecito, near Durango. I'm not there very much, but in a few years I hope to be there a lot more. Sometime in the near future I need to start thinking about getting back to the US. I have been the exploration and subsurface manager for most basins in North America, so if anyone knows of an opportunity, especially the Rockies, please let me know.


Steve Craig Steve is back in Reno after a brief venture in Denver with Gryphon Gold, but the economy sunk that job. He writes “Basically, I am enjoying the quiet times that I am having.  I know that things will pick up and I won't have time to do dinky things around the house. I find that I enjoy reading my old text books and the latest news on other mining companies that are still operating.  I do expect, however, that I will be busy with some consulting work once we get into the new year and get our new president installed.” 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.
  Steve recently sent a bunch of pictures from our famous Oklahoma field trip in 1973 with Fred Menzer.  Write to me for copies!

Ray Hensley is a general contractor doing erosion control, storm water pollution prevention and other programs. He is enjoying his family and grandchildren and reports that life is good and he loves this country!

June and Bob Just and I got to do a little back-country skiing in the past few years and usually make it up here for the Alumni Ski Weekend.  June is still with Geographix doing technical support and Bob is with the Bureau of Indian Affairs after a brief  “retirement.”


Fred Conrath is a Program Manager for the BLM and supervises the inspection and enforcement branch of the Glenwood Springs Energy Office.   This staff performs environmental, human health and safety and oil and gas production inspections and they enforce regulations, policy and all applicable laws.  I have a staff of 12 people,
10 BLM and 2 USFS.  The staff consists of 1 administrative assistant, 2 land law examiners, 1 production accountability technician, 5 inspectors, 1 GIS specialist, and 2 petroleum engineers.

 John Danahey says Hello!

Peter Herzberg is still in Corning, NY and still does a lot of traveling with his wife to European countries and especially Scotland where they go every year.

Jeff Holway reports that after 27 years with JP Morgan and its predecessor companies he joined a group of associates who formed Water Street Healthcare Partners in 2005. “It is not as stimulating as being in the Gunnison Country, but is fun and keeps the lights on. I still like to ski, hike, mountain bike, etc.”

Kevin McAndrews passed away in March, 2008 of cancer. See the In Memoriam section.

John Murphy reports that John Murphy Millwork was rated the 37th fastest growing millwork company in the country.


Stuart Cohen has had a highly varied, multi-media career doing some exploration for coal and uranium, surveying for the BLM, computer programmer and more recently acting as a tax accountant.  He reports that he is now semi-retired living up on Vallecito Reservoir above Bayfield and enjoying a lot of backcountry skiing with a bunch of locals including Lauren (Hart) Ellison ‘77.

Peter Dea “In August 2006, we sold Western Gas Resources to Anadarko Petroleum Corporation where I had been President and CEO since 2001, following the sale of Barrett Resources Corporation to Williams in August 2001. Running two NYSE public companies was fun while it lasted but that era is over for me. Having a hard time keeping a job, in May 2007, I founded a small, private oil and gas exploration and production company based in Denver called Cirque Resources LP. As of early 2009 we have 18 employees and have leased nearly 500,000 acres, focused on resource plays largely in the Rockies. Approximately 25% of our staff is WSC alumni including Shannon Townley ‘06, Sean Hlousek ’97, James Taylor ‘08 and briefly over winter break, Brian Cribari. I continue to serve on the Board of Trustees at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where I was appointed Chairman in January 2009; Western State College; Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States (IPAMS); and American Geologic Institute Foundation. I serve on Advisory Boards of WSC Professional Land & Resource Management Program and University of Colorado-Denver Business School, Global Energy Management Program. In 2008 I joined the Colorado Forum which is a group of leaders across the state that address issues facing Colorado such as education, transportation, the economy and healthcare. Summers find me riding horses and mountain bikes and scampering up peaks in the Crested Butte area where Cathy spends the summer training our 7 horses. Each summer I ride my horse on the 100 mile week-long Roundup Riders of the Rockies ride in a different part of Colorado with 150 men including 5 WSC alumni. Last year we rode above timberline in the San Juan Mountains with spectacular views. Winter finds our family skiing in Vail, CB and British Columbia. Sons Drake and Austin are in college and Cort will join them next year. We get our annual beach fix either in Nosara, Costa Rico, the north shore of Kauai or Martha’s Vineyard Island.”

Jan (Polyasko) Bellis is now in Pinedale, WY, working for the BLM as a geologist. She recently was appointed to the local Town Planning and Zoning Commission. She has been in Pinedale for a year and 1/2 after spending 20 years in Boulder.

Fred Menzer reports “We moved back to Phoenix a couple of years ago when the Henderson Operations General Manager position changed to VP Global Operations for Climax Molybdenum.  Then in November 2007 I changed to VP Africa for Freeport-McMoran and have been involved with the Tenke Fungurume development project in Democratic Republic of Congo.  
As of January I have changed positions again and will be returning to Colorado as VP Colorado Operations for Climax.  I had the opportunity to relocate from the US to the DRC but declined.  With the year-plus of construction of the Tenke project the company has a functional team there in Congo now and the work that I could do from Phoenix by commuting was becoming less significant.  With this transition, I asked for a different assignment and was pleased to be able to return to the Climax Moly organization.  So, I will have an office at Henderson again and will hopefully be able to restart the Climax Mine again in the next few years when the metals markets revive.  

Warren Seeton died in May 2006. See the In Memoriam section


Al Clough writes “I am continuing with my latest career shift as a pilot for a regional airline that operates a variety of wheel and float planes providing scheduled service, air tours and charters throughout southeast Alaska. I had a great visit with Rod “sheep man” McCabe ‘77 and his lovely wife, Jan when they came through on a cruise last summer.”

Colleen (McShane) Cope says. “The past 3 years have been filled with lots of work, teaching Earth Science (buzz word now…“earth systems”) at the high school level, and, most recently, working on a project which involves creating science videos for the classroom using our own students as actors. I’ve had some fun adventures not just teaching and studying the geology I love, but living it too – one, after a suggestion from Bruce, was a family backpacking trip into the Sangre de Cristo Range which we had not explored much before – was stunningly beautiful, but after 65 switchbacks (we counted along the way) up a hanging valley, and 5 miles, we began referring to it as “Brokeback Mountain.”  So be aware that Bruce’s advices while still the best – will always take you from the ordinary!  Another no-pain-no-gain type of experience in the past 3 years was a train trip through the Copper Canyon in Mexico – much larger than the Grand Canyon, and a track that takes you through 84 tunnels and over 37 bridges.  I’m thinking we should talk about an alumni river trip down the Grand Canyon!”

Bob Dickerson “I have been with S.M. Stoller Corp, an environmental consulting company, for about 10 years now.  Since leaving the U.S. Geological Survey Yucca Mountain Project Branch I have largely stayed busy in southern Nevada doing structural and mineralogy studies in support of groundwater modeling efforts on the Nevada Test Site, volcanic stratigraphy for other DOE projects in Nevada, and geomorphology and paleo-climatology studies for the U.S. Air Force in support of their archeological studies program on the Nevada Test and Training Range (formerly the Nellis Bombing Range).  Mapping surface features in a valley filled with unexploded ordnance is quite the thrill.  The Yucca Mountain work resulted in about 30 published articles, geologic maps, and abstracts.  The Nellis Air Force work has resulted in another 10 or 12 published reports and abstracts.  On the home front Pam, my lovely bride of 5 years, and I continue to guide canoe trips in the summer, climb frozen water falls in winter, and ride our motorcycles together for most of the year.  Our son Will shares our love of river trips and snorkeling adventures in Hawaii, and loves to ride in our sidecar outfit”

Lauren (Hart) Ellison “I've had some good things happen!  I moved from Durango down the road to Bayfield to have my horses with me, I was married last year to Carl Ellison (a music teacher in Durango) and I retired to 3 days a week doing the same job, working with high school kids with disabilities in the region. I'm still skiing at Purgatory and also doing a lot of backcountry skiing. Summers are filled with riding horses as fast and as much as possible. This summer we vacationed with the horses in the beautiful La Garitas, and were graced with a visit by Bruce B.  A day early, but hey, he brought trout and margaritas!  We have a camper on the truck and plan on spending even more time around Gunnison this summer - I'm still in love with Gunnison County.”

Freddy Frankel “I’m still in Exploration and International New Ventures with Chevron in Sugar Land, Texas. The past couple of years have kept me busy with Libya, both wildcat exploration and business development efforts.  Recently I have also been looking at certain parameters of “unconventional” shale and “tight gas sand” plays in the US.
All the while really enjoying some great field trips to look at rocks in such places as:  Book Cliffs of Utah (shallow water sands), Caicaos Islands (carbonate platforms), Karoo Basin-South Africa (turbidites), Northern California (fault seals), Mut Basin in Southern Turkiye (reefs), Nuevo Leon Mexico (salt diapirism), Grand Canyon (just for fun), several trips to Libya and of course a great hike with the Bartlesons on Monarch Pass! 
Mary is an avid oil painter (, Lauren is studying engineering at Texas Tech and will be in Spain for 10 weeks this summer, and Sophie is starting high school after canoeing the Boundary Waters this summer.”

Brad Pendergraft “I will be starting my 10th year of teaching at Salmon River High School where I teach Earth Science. I also teach night classes at SUNY Potsdam as an adjunct professor. I hope to publish a trail guide for the Northern Adirondacks soon through the Adirondack Mountain club.”

F. Doug Taylor says Hello!


Eric Bard continues to work as a geophysicist at Western Geco in Denver. His wife Celia is a teacher at St. Mary’s Academy and his son Nicky goes to the Denver School of the Arts.

Greg Embery “It was good to hear that you and Doc Prather are alive and well and still kicking about the Gunnison hills. If I could have made a living there, I would probably still be there as well. I am a 1978 graduate, and you were my advisor at the time. You guys taught me well and I've been actively employed in the oil and gas sector for 30 years. Saw some lean years between '86 and '92, but managed to get through them ok. I'm still married to Heather; I married her in '74, up on Gothic Peak. Although we own a home on the Navaho River, south of Pagosa Springs, I’ve spent the last few years working out of Kansas City. I miss Colorado badly. For the past two years, I've been working on large CBM projects, first in Chile, South America, and now in Botswana, Africa. The plane ride to Botswana is way too long! I've been meaning to get back to Gunnison for a visit for some time now and I still hope to get it done. When I do, I'll look you up.”

Mark Fernandes “Mark and Donna are now officially empty nesters; spending free time skiing and traveling; son Justin is in a fellowship program for a PHD in Electrical Engineering at NE Univ. doing research under a grant from Dept of Homeland Security; Elise in Vermont getting a degree in Ski Area Management!!; Mark hanging on (actually looking forward to being set free) in the construction business; Donna in her 16th year teaching HS Science. I’m all ecstatic about the prospects of equality, opportunity, and prosperity expected under our new administration.”

Vicky Hutchinson reports that she transferred from Washington D.C. to Lagos, Nigeria in Aug. 2007. “I have a new appreciation for traffic.”

Myra (Vaag) Lugsch  “Myra has been consulting for an oil and gas database company in Denver (Suhaka Consulting, which just became Wofda LLC) the past couple of years and says it's fun to be back into geology again. She squeezes in a few hours of work in between volunteering in the classroom and attending PTA and Accountability meetings at school. Twins Mitch and Dean are now 10. Myra, Bill and the boys enjoy skiing, bicycling, golf and hanging out at the pool. Bill and the boys are also into cars, motorcycles and go-carts, but generally leave their mom at home when pursuing these activities. Myra has attended Auto Mezzi (an Italian car show in Denver) and spotted Eric Lipinski ‘81 in a Pantera last summer and Bob Dickerson ‘77 on a Ducati motorbike the summer before. The Lugsch family hopes to make it to Gunnison one of these days”

Bruce Norton “When we last spoke I was working for Colorado-Ute Electric in the IS department - building and maintaining computer networks.  Colorado-Ute was bought by Tri-State Generation and Transmission in Thornton, CO and after a period of transition, I was given the option of moving to Thornton or going on food stamps.  Having lived in Denver during the energy boom of the 1970's I knew that welfare was a much better option than living in the city.  So Jan (significant other, still gainfully employed in the mortgage industry at the time), the 3 huskies and I remained in Montrose. 
I soon found another computer networking job at Scaled Technology Works (STW) in Montrose.  This was a Burt Rutan (the space plane guy) company that manufactured composite airplane parts.  It was a good job but most of the employees were engineers (aeronautical, no less) which compelled me to drink copious amounts of cheap wine after a hard day at the office. Jan's job required her to deal with the general public, who can be almost as obnoxious as engineers (aeronautical or otherwise).  So one evening, after imbibing several large goblets of cheap wine, we decided to retire! Cheap wine is a wonderful invention. Soon after I left STW, the company went belly-up, no doubt due to some engineering blunder. 
We are currently spending our golden years sipping cheap wine and blissfully contemplating the granodiorite formations visible from our backyard.  We consistently invest in our Powerball retirement account which should hit any day now (did Western offer a statistics class?) and as soon as we receive those funds you should be able to establish another chair for the Geology Dept.”


 Jon Ake “Geez, it has been so long since we talked I'm not sure where to start with any kind of update. I recently changed jobs and am now living in the metro Washington, DC area (outside the Beltway I might add). After 18 years at the Bureau of Reclamation (3 of which I was on "loan" to the DOE Yucca Mountain Project) I'm now with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the Office of Research. It has been pretty interesting so far, doing some of my own research and also responsible for getting  other research projects going at several of the National Labs as well as with some different Universities. I'm still working on seismic hazard and risk analyses for critical structures. There is a lot of activity right now as several license applications for new nuclear power plants have been submitted to the NRC, the first in about 30 years. The NRC (as with most other regulatory bodies) is changing from a deterministic,
 narrow-scope design approach to a more probability-based, risk-informed design and analysis approach. From a hazard analysis perspective, it makes the questions more challenging.
 Part of the reason I came out here is that my wife (Barb) has a 2-3 year detail at the headquarters of the Bureau of Reclamation in downtown DC. She is a civil engineer and has worked for Reclamation for about 25 years. We were married in 1993.  It has been kind of interesting living in the DC area, there is a lot to see and do here, but I can't see staying here too long. The sun just doesn't shine often enough, and I’ve concluded that there is absolutely nothing to like about 90% humidity in the summer (there isn't anything quite like a packed subway car ride home on a hot summer afternoon- a regular symphony of smells).

The kids: Philip is now 28 and lives in Denver. He graduated from CSU a number of  years ago in biology and chemistry and after a couple of years at the FDA now works at a large medical company helping to work the regulatory process of bringing new medical devices to market. Jeff is now 24 and lives in New York. He is on some sort of undefined hiatus from CSU, as a parent I'm a little worried- but at least I'm not writing tuition checks for a while. He has a variety of partial jobs-writing business plans, a little bartending, standup comedy on occasion and anything else to try and pay the bills in NYC.” 


Carol (Mooney) Hogsett is still with Los Alamos National Labs and writes. “I'll be heading down to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in a couple of weeks.  Love looking and hunting down specimens! I am doing the choreography for the upcoming Los Alamos Light Opera production of the Sound of Music March 6-8, 13-14.  The show is coming together nicely with a cast of about 45.  Not a lot of dancing scenes, which is good for my time management...  I am the president of the Los Alamos Light Opera board, busy doing some archiving - LALO has been around for 60 years!   The first production was HMS Pinafore 1948, and Fredreich Reines played Dead Eye Dick.  Reines discovered the neutron and got a Nobel Prize for that one before he came to Los Alamos!  I know that if I look at all of the programs for the past 60 years, there are some other pretty famous scientists that either played instruments in the orchestra or were in the cast. See:

Brian Johnson   “After spending the last 20 years largely focusing  in on commercial issues in the energy and utilities sector, I was able to  get my hands dirty in the world's newest country, Timor Leste.  A few of us from Australia were invited up to evaluate the merits of onshore energy
resources and to the extent they could be used for power generation.  This  entailed bumping along the broken down infrastructure for a week (reminded  me of Pearl Pass at times) visiting numerous oil and gas seep sites, as  well as assessing previously drilled exploration wells.  It was great to fly the flag of ignorance on how to get good gas samples out of gas seeps from my Western colleagues while on the road.  The team was impressed with  the response from people I went to college with some 30 years ago and
 the subsequent effectiveness of sampling.*  We have been slightly delayed  on development plans for developing these resources due to a few problems  occurring in the financial sector, but confident that things will move  forward.  Another interesting resource we have run into while evaluating  opportunities in Timor Leste is the Methane Hydrates that occur and  accumulate all along the trench areas, as well as in any pipelines that  would look to transport LNG or gas liquids through the trench areas.
 Maybe this is a science where Oceanography meets Geology - Geonography doesn’t quite sound right though!
*Editors Note – Brian asked me about sampling an open gas seep and knowing nothing about this myself, sent it out to the Western petroleum alums. Steve Reynolds ’78 and Larry Moyer ’78 both came up with good advice. Remember, Western State Geology gives cradle to the grave service!

Bob King wrote us last May and said; “Hope all is going well.  Just want to let you know that I have recently accepted a position with Cooper Energy in Perth and will be leaving New Zealand Oil & Gas in Wellington in a couple of days.  New Zealand has been great but the industry is booming in West Australia and was simply made an offer that was difficult to refuse.”

Kim Mauch reports “I’ve been working in the wine industry as a sales representative the past year, first for a wine distribution company and now also for an Amador County winery. With this bad economy, I feel lucky to have both jobs, especially in an industry that this economy hasn’t adversely affected.  Still live in Auburn with 4 dogs and a husband, and that’s about it.  Better than nothing, I hope.”


Bryan Roberts writes “We have been building upon my company's successes since 1999.  Excalibur Group, LLC provides environmental consulting, engineering, and remediation services to the mid-Atlantic region and professional recruiting services (  We have placed mostly professional engineers and senior marketing and program managers with firms having offices around the world.  As one of the principals, we have 20 full and part-time professionals working from their home offices (virtual office space) in five states.  I manage environmental projects as a senior hydrogeologist (strike and dip are crucial in Pennsylvania) dealing with petroleum hydrocarbons (Peter Dea's ‘76 class), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, metals, and volatile organic constituents (Yes, Dr. Stein's Chemistry class was worth the efforts), physical geology (Dr. Bartleson), structural geology (Dr. Prather's class skills are still used), as well as record pay roll, manage our invoicing, and provide administrative support to our staff.  Retirement is at least 10 years away.
  In addition, I am a professional parent with five children, two of whom attend Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and my oldest is graduating in May 2009.  He was on campus the morning of April 16, 2007 when the massacre took place and since he is an EMT with the city of Blacksburg, he supported the rescue efforts from the fire station for the entire day. Within 24-hours of the shooting, I received over 60 phone calls from family, friends, and associates checking on his welfare.  A tragedy that was beyond belief.  My youngest son and I are strong Broncos fans and we love watching them each weekend.
  My wife, Kathleen is an adjunct professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA in the Business School of Management.  Activities for the family include hiking, biking, skeet and trap shooting, bird hunting, traveling and photography. Generally, we live the American dream and look forward to our time together.  Wishing all of my friends and associates from Western State success and peace as we approach the challenges of our changing world.  

Gary Skipp is still with the USGS in Denver.


Kristen Andrew-Hoeser “I’m still working at Entech where I’ve been doing geologic hazards and unstable slope remediation for 15 years. I taught for awhile at Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs (Physical Geology) while working at Entech, but it turned out to be too much work. So, now I’m just at Entech and have more time to enjoy my family and get the housework done.”

Dennis Beaver “I’m now 3 years into the solar business and still at it! I recently attained NABCEP certified solar PU Installer Certification and am staying busy installing and servicing PU and solar thermal throughout Colorado.”

Dave Hill writes “I’ve been working in the environmental cleanup industry for 20 years, the past 15 of which have been spent cleaning up soil and groundwater contamination and unexploded ordnance at the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod. I’ve been blessed with a happy, healthy 12 year old daughter, two adult stepchildren and two grandchildren. I still ski when there’s snow, and play poker just like the old days (remembering Chino and Tom Prather at field camp!).  Beers to Dennis, Smiley, Sue, Kris and all from that era.”

Phil Mulholland “I still live in southwestern Montana and have been for the last 23 years. My wife and I raised twin daughters, both of whom are enrolled in college; one is studying geology at U of M. I've been working as a geologic consultant for the past three years for various mining/exploration companies.  Most of this work focused
on developing surface mineable porphyry moly deposits, underground gold skarns, breccia pipes and talc deposits.  Due to the recent financial problems throughout the world, consulting work has dried up for me so I had to take a real job.  I am currently the Chief Geologist for Yukon Zinc Corporation.  We are in the development stages of
constructing a new underground mine (Wolverine Project) 275 km northeast of Whitehorse, YT.  The mine is centered on a relatively high grade VMS deposit with a current mine life of approximately 9 years.”

Eric and Laura Ruud write “Laura changed jobs in June 2007 and is now the full-time Administrative Assistant of the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at the University of Nevada, Reno.  She stays very busy with 11 Faculty, 367 Undergrads and 40 Grad students in the department.  She stays connected with the Geological community in Nevada through her part-time bookkeeping job with the Geological Society of Nevada.  She enjoys skiing on the weekends (after she gets her work done of course!).
 Eric is working with Geobrugg, a Swiss company that deals with Natural Hazard Mitigation. Debris flows, mud flows, rockfall hazards and slope stability are his main focus. He travels to Switzerland and other locations in Europe for work. He works primarily in California on the coast, like Big Sur, Malibu, San Francisco, San Diego and in lovely Los Angeles.  In his spare time he is the Reed high school ski team coach. Last year one of his girls on the team won State finals in the Giant Slalom. He is also the Director of Snowsports at Sky Tavern Junior Ski Program in Reno, NV. This is a great volunteer program where they teach about 1,500 children to ski and board every weekend. This program has been teaching kids for over 60 years. If you wish to donate to the program, check it out. Being a non-profit, they can always use funds.
 Eric has also been teaching skiing at the Mt. Rose ski resort for the past eight years to fill in some of his extra time. Eric really enjoys this because he also tries to teach in Spanish; that can be quite funny at times. He practices his Spanish at the Toastmasters club that he sponsored. It is good to challenge yourself in different areas. He is no longer the District Governor for Toastmasters International in Nevada. It was cutting into his skiing time.
 In the field of Geology, he is the Co-Chair of the upcoming GSN Symposium in May 2010 which will cover the Gold industry primarily on the North American Continent. They are also accepting papers from other countries. This will be the fifth symposium that he has helped organize. It is a great opportunity to bring new concepts and discoveries to the industry. 
He is still driving that old car from high school, a chopped 1969 Mustang. Someday he will have to buy a new car; perhaps when the kids are out of college.
Our son, Alexander, 20, is attending the University of Nevada studying Computer Science. He continues to excel in school. He will likely go on to get a Masters degree after graduating next year. He is involved in some very exciting projects. He is about 6'4" now and has grown into a great adult.

Our daughter, Erica, 18, is studying at UNR also. She is taking Nutritional Sciences as a pre-med option and is considering becoming a Geriatric physician (which would be great for our aging group!). She still loves to ski with Eric and helps him with the ski team when she finds the time.  She is really enjoying the college life with all of its challenges and the social activities.


Nancy and Steve Carpenter “Hockey - Hockey - More Hockey. Steve is the Travel coach for Squirts (9-10 year olds) and Logan's on the team. Nancy is the Squirt Director and plays on the Women's team every chance she gets. Austin plays Travel for the Peewees (11-12 years old). Both teams have been winning big time around the 4 state region we play in. Then Baseball - Baseball - More Baseball. Both boys played on the same team last year, Steve and I and another friend, coached -took the City Championship. Austin went on to play in the State Tournament, Steve and I were asst. coaches. Steve is a board member for Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball. Tennis somewhere in between, picked up golf, trying to stay ahead of the boys. Bought season passes to Kelly Canyon this year. Boys snowboard and Steve and I strapped on our 10 plus year old Tele skies and smiled all day - Kinda like riding a bike. Eyes are bigger than what our legs could handle.
Work? Oh yeah, Steve's the expert for the AMWTP at INL for off-site disposal of radioactive waste. Loves his job and the people he works with. Nancy is doing Massage part time now and substitute teaching part time at the boy’s school. Looking forward to spring as you probably are in Gunny as well.

John Evans “Not much change in the past three years.  Liz and I are still raising our two kids in Broomfield, Alex age 16 and Lillian, age 7. Not much happening on the geology front for me as I got out of it about 10 years ago.  Real estate and property management pay the bills now and let us stay in one place to care for several generations of family.  I enjoy reading the newsletters about what some of my old classmates are doing”

Rod Graham usually comes up here every winter to do some ice fishing, but we missed him this year. The last I heard from him was in August and he was in Hong Kong negotiating a contract with a Russian company that bought up his old outfit to continue exploration in Mongolia.

Ed Light “Married with 2 children, Max 21 and Marlo 18. Worked in IT for 26 years in Colorado Springs, currently with Verizon as a Quality Assurance Manager. I’m still running, fishing, golfing and enjoying Colorado outdoors whenever possible. I still enjoy returning to Gunnison to camp and fish.”

Jeff Littfin “All is well up here in Whitefish. You know me, just trying to live the dream. Skiing, kayaking, dirt biking, water skiing, camping, mtn. biking, hiking, hunting and still trying to do some work in my spare time. I'm staying busy with computer consulting -- trouble shooting problems with viruses and spyware and helping people upgrade systems. I handle an array of problems with software-hardware and networking. This last year one of my bigger projects was to install wireless internet access in three buildings at the ski area (Whitefish Resort). It’s a Wireless Distribution System which entails flashing routers with new firmware and making routers communicate with each other to share a single connection from an Internet Service Provider helping to save condo owners monthly internet expenses. 
  We had some great Destination Unknown trips in the past few years. The DU 2006 which I hosted entailed hiking in Glacier National Park and rafting/fly fishing an uncharted canyon in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. We also achieved a Canadian record by flying Brad Boschetto ‘83 30ft in the air on a kite tube on Shuswap Lake and he only dislocated a toe!  Ed. Note: If you want to see how crazy this is just search Kite Tubes on UTube. Moonlight waterskiing, waterfall hiking and beaching/anchoring a houseboat in a storm where just a few of the stories which can be told. We had a special appearance by Nanook (Mark Winters ‘83) on the house boat extravaganza. 
  The 2007 trip was composed of hiking in the Cement Creek area up Hunters Hill, taking the ridge line over to Mt. Tilton. then over to Lambertson, and onto Italian Mt. It was a stellar trip down memory lane. It was like a 25 year field camp reunion seeing you Tom and Peter. The second half of the trip down the Black Canyon was real pucker fest. Plan (A) Swimming down through the canyon with just life vests and a rope was Kent Wheelers ’83 idea. Comparable to running Niagara Falls in a barrel!!! Kent's plan (B) was to rappel off the North Rim of the B.C. When he made us look over the edge he realized he didn't bring enough toilet paper for the group. Plan (C) (which we attempted) was to load up the gang (or mules) just before dark (good timing, eh Kent) with 90 lbs packs, stuffed with inflatable kayaks, fishing and camping gear and of course plenty of beer and watch them twist their ankles and fall down S.O.B. gully. After we all had a full body sweat going and Elliott Lips ‘83 just about broke his ankle, we bailed out and made the midnight run over to Chucker Trail and resumed our true passion of drinking beers and driving around in the van telling lies. It turned out to be a spectacular trip kayaking and landing lots of brown trout with our fly rods.

Dale Marcum “Weather here has been unbelievable, but we are going to pay for it this summer (water restrictions, fires, all the typical CA stuff).  Right now, it is about 70 degrees or so.  Don’t know if I told you, but I am now a part owner of Cotton, Shires & Associates.  My official title is CFO and Principal Geologic Engineer.   The boys are getting big.  Sam, at 12.5 years, grew 2 ¼ in the past 4 months.  He is now 5’8” (size 12 shoes), which is a full 6 inches taller than I was when I was 12.5 (my dad the engineer kept track on the furnace door), and I was never a small kid.  Jack (8 years) is slightly above my growth curve, so he will be the shrimp.  Jen had a stroke last winter (hard to believe it was only a year ago).  The short story is there were no lasting effects, but things were pretty intense for a while.  She had an irregular heart beat (genetics) that was not identified.  Eventually her blood clotted (as it tends to swirl around in the heart instead of getting pumped in and out quickly) and she had the stroke.  She is on a cocktail of drugs, and we are getting different answers from different doctors, so we are still sorting through things…but…life is good.”

Rebecca Miller, R.G., has been working as Principal Geologist for MHW Americas Inc in Tempe, Arizona. She is responsible for project management and marketing the mining industry mostly in Arizona. Recently her team has completed a project scoping study to evaluate the scope, schedule and costs required to build six new leach pads at Freeport-McMoRan's Morenci Mine in eastern Arizona. 
  Rebecca currently serves as Industry Liaison for the Maricopa Section of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration and will chair 2 sessions at the National Meeting on Environmental Management Systems.
Chuck Place notes that this is his first check-in in 25 years. “I graduated in ’83 and worked as an oil company geologist for 4 or 5 yrs, then in the environmental field for the past 20 yrs.  I currently own a company that specializes in design- build of large scale industrial wastewater treatment facilities that clean the water to produce methane gas.  The “biogas” is used to fuel the facilities.  Many of my projects make more than 1,000 MCF of natural gas/day.  It’s easier than looking for gas wells….  My projects have won several National & State awards for benefit to citizens and the environment.  
I own a 2nd waste-to-energy company that is in the R&D phase, creating a method of refining waste into a usable fuel.  It is unlike any other technology that exists on the market today, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I also stay active using my geology skills as I continue to explore for oil & gas prospects in KS & OK and plan to drill at least 2 wells in 09.”  Welcome back Chuck and good going!!

Kent Wheeler “I am staying very busy running a 60 person consulting company (IHI Environmental); however, to balance it out I still find time for backcountry during the winter and climbing most of the rest of the year.  I have been very active in the back country of Utah, using geologic maps to find the next great climbing areas in the west desert and southern Utah, as well as staying very active at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  Fly-fishing and river running seem to take up any spare time. 
Susan, my wife and I, have been raising two daughters (Maya who is 12 and Mica who is 5).  They are great, and it’s kind of fun being the oldest dad in preschool.  They are also becoming strong skiers and climbers, to no one’s surprise.  
  The Class of 83, Destination Unknown (DU) is still going strong.  Brad Boschetto ‘83 is in Alaska managing Health and Safety Program for Shell’s exploration projects.  Dale Marcum ‘83 is a partner in a geotechnical consulting firm in Los Gatos (Cotton and Associates), Elliot Lips ‘83 is a consulting engineer in Salt Lake City (Great Basin Consulting), Bob Twiddy ‘83 is selling bearings for Timkin to mining companies in Wyoming, and as best as anyone can tell Jeff Litfin ‘83 is still on vacation in Montana.
A visit the Gunnison which included circumnavigation of Cement Creek with Tom and Bruce, with a night in Peter Dea’s ‘76 cabin in Cement Creek, kayaking the Gunnison Gorge old style (think of how we used to do it in college), and a week floating Desolation Canyon.  This year the destination in known (Alaska), but as Brad says Alaska is a big place.

  I ran into Peter Thurston ‘81 at the top of Cardiac Pass skiing several weeks ago.  He is working with Kennecott/Rio Tinto.

Joe Winston is practicing law in Colorado Springs and watching his three children grow up – ages 19, 16 and 10.


Leslie Percival says hello from Castle Rock, CO.


Andrea Heller “Hello my fellow geology alums, I just celebrated a fun birthday weekend in the sun and snow here in Crested Butte. This winter I am using non- work time to be as active as I can. I have studded snow tires on my town bike, and cross-country trails out the back door. I am teaching and tutoring k-9th graders in math, reading and writing. I have become an excellent reading teacher for kids who have missed anchoring the rules of the English language. Some of my students receive enrichment and some remediation. Teaching satisfies me and challenges me to stay a lifelong student learner. I send you my best, Andrea”

John Lamborn “From 2001-2005 I started and operated a custom sand and gravel products company in Penrose, CO, but sold it in 2005 and moved back to Alaska. I am currently Exploration Manager for Geoinformatics Exploration working on a copper-gold porphyry deposit in the Alaska Range 100 miles northwest of Anchorage at Rainy Pass.”



John Axelson “I had been working on various remediation projects at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal for five years.  As things were starting to wind down, I applied for a job with the COGCC a little over two years ago and have been working with the Commission as an Environmental Protection Specialist since that time.  I have gotten to do some interesting baseline groundwater studies and reclamation projects.  I also have a lot of interaction with O&G operators working with them to get spills/releases cleaned up properly. 
I still live in Brighton with my wife Dorothy and two daughters Sydnie (9) and Emily (6).  I’m still an avid bow hunter and fly fisherman in my spare time.  I recently went on my first safari bow hunting plains game in South Africa – it was a great adventure.  I also recently updated my book Big Game Hunter’s Guide to Colorado, which was released in its second printing in Oct 08’.  I still love the Gunnison area and fly fish the Gunnison & Taylor River at least once every summer.”

Tom Claeys “I’ve been working at Amgen as a Chemist since 2001, primarily as a GC/MS and FT-IR analyst. My wife, Christi, and have been married for 14 years and have 2 boys, ages 9 and 6. Still skiing, windsurfing and golfing as avidly as possible. And yes, Geology is still on the brain, but as a hobby.”

Jon Kaminsky is now in Lander, Wyoming working for the BLM.

Gregg Smith “I have been completing oil and gas wells for XTO in the San Juan and Piceance Basins for the past three years. Also doing some geological consulting in the Uinta Basin and Las Animas Arch. I expect to be a grandpa by the end of January. Can’t believe how time flies!”

William Mallory “I’m currently starting my 20th year teaching middle school science in Hugo, Colorado. I also teach a freshman level science course for Morgan Community College. Taught Physical Geology in fall 2008 and will be teaching Historical in spring, 2009. Thanks Drs. Bartleson and Prather!”


Craig Boeckman “I am the Regional Geologist at Alaska DOT&PF Central Region Materials Section. We perform geotech investigations in Kodiak, Aleutians, and western Alaska (along and south of the Kuskokwim River). I am finally trying to get my masters here at UAA (Anchorage).  We have Dan Pavey’s son working for us!  As you know Dan Pavey ‘68 is a former WSC Alum and retired Chief Geologist from this section. Hope all is well with WSC, staff, and alums. Call me if any of your students want to try to locate work up here. I might be able to give some suggestions. I understand there are a few WSC graduates who currently work in Alaska.”

Scott Effner and his partner Susan are gradually moving their successful environmental business (Whetstone Assoc.) from La Veta, CO to Gunnison, so we’ll see more of him in the future. As usual they did some intense bike tours, this time in Italy with Scott knocking off 11,000’ and 60 miles in one day. Scott, Susan and I had a great backcountry ski up one of the gulches above Ohio City this winter.

John Gamble We haven’t heard from John for a while, so were to happy to hear that he is still alive and well in Illinois. He says that he is real estate broker in the western suburbs of Chicago, but still skiing and biking a lot and still gets out West now and then.

Carol (Gallatin) Rieger “Let’s see, lots of major changes in Carol’s life lately. She got married to Terry Rieger in May, 2006 at the Garden of the Gods (on the Fountain Formation!) in Denver. She and her husband went on a great tour of the Canadian Rockies and took a guided hike up to the Walcott Quarry to see the Burgess Shale – “just chock full of fossils including more trilobites than you can shake a stick at.” She has some great pictures of all of this, so just contact her.  Then just to make life interesting after that, Carol had a baby girl, Samantha, who is now 2 years old. She writes: “Being a mother is wonderful! All is well here in the Denver area. Work is busy and still challenging and fulfilling with my 20-year service anniversary approaching. My family life is more fun that I could have imagined.” She also still does volunteer work for the Morrison Natural History Museum working with Bob Bakker and found some very good adult Stegosaurus tracks.”


Annie (Clements) Eckman is now located in Colorado Springs and recently took a job with as an environmental consultant with Tetra Tech, mostly marketing consulting services to the oil and gas industry.  She is doing lots of camping with the girls (now 5 and 8), skiing, riding motorcycles, and enjoys cocktails and following her favorite band – Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Christine Peak “For me life has been travel, travel and more; some to Australia but mostly within the USA, to Oregon, California, Texas, New York. We have Kara in Houston working for NABORS International Drilling as a financial analyst. Jefferson (lizard man) lives actively in Santa Cruz doing photography Take a look!    Husband Jim had triple bypass surgery last November and is recovering well. We are presently in Texas so that he can go on a pig shoot. Looks like pork in the freezer. My big news is that I am now a citizen of the USA. I wanted the privilege to vote in 2008 and hold/express an opinion on politics. It was a laborious but worthwhile process. Montrose remains my home. Jim and I plant a large neighborhood veggie garden each year. Life's great.”

Norm Yoast “I am in Craig still teaching, this being my 19th year teaching middle school science, 17 of those in Craig. I teach physical and earth science as well as a River Watch class where we collect data for the Division of wildlife. We are one of the most active schools in Colorado for River Watch with over 3300 samples taken in 15 years on the Green and Yampa Rivers.
My wife Deb is still teaching middle school math; Linsey is a junior at Moffat County High School and Colten is a big 7th grader.
I still coach football, basketball and track for Moffat County schools and in my spare time fish, hunt, camp and take long relaxing back road motorcycle trips though remote parts of western Colorado.”


Mark Larson is now the field coordinator for a biological station in Virginia. I finally got out from the isotope lab and away from Wyoming.  I don’t much care for the degree of bureaucracy in the Commonwealth, but the climate, the vegetable garden and all the live old time and bluegrass music more than make up for it.  I live over in Floyd County which is one of the places the counter culture decided to retire.  It’s definitely a different degree of relaxed out that way compared to the rest of this wired-too-tight state.  I work at the station on top of Salt Pond Mountain (such as it is).  About half the year, it’s just me and the caretaker.”

Julie (Coleman-Clark) Singer had another busy year packing in as many adventure trips as is humanly possible and still working full-time for the Forest Service in Durango. Most of her adventures were river trips such as paddling the Dolores, the Chama, the Rio Grande, the San Juan and even a trip on the Snake River in Yellowstone country. She was able to raise $800K in grant money including a Congressional windfall for the ruin stabilization at Chimney Rock in southwest Colorado.


Elizabeth (Wallner) Francisco “I've been working as an archaeologist for Mesa Verde National Park for close to ten years, specializing in post-fire effects to cultural resources
 (specifically standing architecture).  Most recently my duties at the Park  involved grant writing and management, large scale archaeological project  management, report writing, condition assessment of standing architecture,
 site monitoring, dendro sampling and analysis,  High Definition  Documentation (Laser Scanning) of cliff dwellings, GIS data management, serving as the fire archaeologist for the southwest zone,  and a bunch of
 other not so glamorous stuff.  I left the Park in the fall of 2008 and was hired on here in Gunni as the BLM archaeologist in December 2008.  So far the job is awesome and I'm so happy to be living in the Gunnison Valley.
 Currently I'm working out all of the possibilities that this year’s field season could bring, including several interpretive events - this is the 150 year anniversary of hard rock mining in the Lake City area so there will be
 tours and events along the Alpine Loop.  I'll be working with Western on an excavation out Six Mile Lane and assisting USU with their field school on a site near Blue Mesa.  Currently I've got two Western students working on
 different projects: Nick Ross is finishing up the data entry for the work he did last summer on grazing allotments and Jocelyn Jensen is working on the Cultural Resources GIS database adding data and cleaning up old data.

Greg Hill writes: “It's been a long time since we've been in touch.  Here's a brief update on what I've been up to.  Laura, Alaina (now 7), and I moved to Lake Tahoe about a year ago, between Tahoe City and Homewood.  We love living in the mountains and forest and spend lots of time outdoors, hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.  In May, I completed a term as president of the Geological Society of Nevada and am now on the board of directors until May of this year.  I'm currently president of Harvest Gold Corp. (US) and look after US exploration activities for our Canadian parent company, Harvest Gold Corp.”


Elizabeth (Budzien) Toivonen “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in touch. Since my last update a lot has happened (though not much of it terribly interesting). 
The small Australian-owned environmental consulting company that I work for (HLA-Envirosciences) was purchased by ENSR AECOM (a large US-based company) a couple of years ago. The transition has been pretty painless and overall I think it has been beneficial to all concerned. I have moved into contaminated sites auditing fulltime, which I really enjoy, but it can also get really frustrating. It still amazes me that Australians aren’t taught grammar, spelling, etc. Some of the reports I review are so difficult to read, the technical aspects of the assessment/remediation jobs get lost in the red pen. (Beth, you should talk to Rob Fillmore about this!)  
My husband (Trevor) and I finally decided it was time to leave the hustle and bustle of life in Sydney, so in November we moved to Canberra (approximately 3 ½ hours SW of Sydney). Even though Canberra is the nation’s capital, it is like a country town. Sydney has a population of approximately 4 million, while Canberra is closer to 400,000. Of course, we picked the worst time in history to put our Sydney house on the market, but it has sold, so there’s no going back (not that we would ever want to). Canberra is about 2 hours from the Snowy Mountains (one of our favorite get away spots), 2-3 hours from the coast (never really liked beaches, but at least we know it’s there if we want it) and there are various wineries scattered around. 
We spent Christmas in Oklahoma with my parents. The cold was great (I have never gotten used to Christmas in summer!), but we were a little disappointed not to get any snow – oh well, maybe next time.”

Tom Woosley writes “I still live in Boise, with my wife and two kids.  Sam is 9 and Shaely is 4.
I recently purchased a small rock quarry in a small town near another small town in Idaho, just east of Hells Canyon on the Little Salmon River.  We have a lot of fun playing with rocks and large equipment. Our products are made from boulders we quarry, slice, polish and sandblast.  The main varieties we work with are Columbia River Basalt, granite and various metamorphic rocks.  The favorite being the “Salmon River Jade”, serpentine schist from the Riggins Group.


Dave Lazorchak “When did I graduate- 1993? – Boy, it stinks getting old!  Well, short and sweet, still here at the BLM Gunnison Field Office as now just the geologist and AML specialist (Abandoned Mine Lands). Enforcing regulations and compliance with miners (not minors!), disposing of mineral materials, etc. In addition, I'm now closing and cleaning up those mines from the past that are causing problems on our public lands, ranging from hazardous openings to acid mine drainage issues in order to improve the quality of the land and waters around Gunnison and Lake City. Miss those limericks, Bruce.”

 Bob Richardson (Our all-time favorite van mechanic) tells us that he is officially retired as of August, 2008. “Some say that I’ve been retired ever since I first went up to Gunnison and met Tom and Bruce, who showed me that life is all about having fun no matter what it gives you.”  Very nice Bob, Thank you!!


Suzanne (Schauer) Carmody writes that she is teaching Earth Science at Widefield HS.  She teaches part time, then helps with her older daughter’s class, and takes her younger daughter to preschool and music class.  Her two daughters are Kiri (9) and Cambria (4). She says, “I appreciate geology more now than ever since I teach it!”

Jason Eckman “I am currently working as a contractor for EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. in the Parachute Field Office. I am the Permit and ROW Coordinator for the North Piceance and Paradox Basins. I'm responsible for permitting for Compressor Stations and selecting pipeline routes for well connects and trunk pipelines as well as obtaining the necessary County and BLM permits and coordinating Land Surveyors and Resource surveys (Arch and Bio) and geotechnical studies. It's a pretty interesting job but it can also be frustrating when dealing with the Counties and BLM. I've been working for EnCana since May of 2007.
 I have moved from Palisade into Grand Junction and my wife and I bought a house near the Chipeta Golf Course. I did all of the landscaping myself and I spent all spring and summer working on it.  So I didn't get out in the mountains as much as I wanted to. 

Chris Lawson “I got married in April, 2008 to Jessica and we had a baby girl, Charlotte Elizabeth Lee Lawson on December 29th. Everyone is doing well. I’m still working for Bentley Systems (12 years now) and still learning software development technologies.”

Dr. Peter Stelling “Life is going really well.  My family and I are in Bellingham, WA, where my wife Jackie and I teach in the geology department at Western Washington University.  I'm teaching a lot, and have just started getting into geothermal energy.  We're trying to get out as much as possible (which isn't much these days), and I've recently gotten into cyclocross.  I've been trying to get my 4-yr old twins to join me, but the dismounts / mounts are hard with training wheels.  If anyone is passing through Bellingham, stop in and say hi!

Kelli Trujillo is living in Laramie, WY after having completed her MS in 1999 and her PhD in 2003 at the University of Wyoming, both in Geology with emphasis in Vertebrate Paleontology. Her research focuses on the Upper Jurassic Morrison Fm. She works for Uinta Paleontological Associates, Inc., a consulting company that works mainly with the energy industry. About 2 years ago she found a dinosaur bone bed in a pipeline trench in the Morrison Fm. south of Laramie, and she currently supervises the preparation of the fossils in the UW Geological Museum. She is also working on a long- term project to date the Morrison Fm. using U/Pb techniques, with good results so far! For fun she plays mandolin and sings in a non- traditional bluegrass band and works on her house.


Eric Jordan “I’m still in the big apple (six years now), chasing tunnel boring machines and making swiss cheese of Manhattan. This past year was eventful. I started a new project (now mapping the new Long Island Railroad Tunnels into Grand Central Terminal), won a silver medal at the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Greece, and got married!! Super happy. My wife is from Philadelphia... one of those six degrees of separation stories. We are looking forward to starting a family. 
 Gunnsion is still very much on the radar. I've stayed in close touch with numerous friends, plus we still try to visit the land up at Irwin about once a year, which, by the way has seen a huge jump in property taxes.. I don't understand it. I’m also, possibly the longest renter at Plotts mini storage: +10 years now…and I thought I’d be back in two….
Looking forward to the newsletter and reading about all my fellow classmates….


Kurt Feltus is still doing contractual work in the Crested Butte area and has his own company, Double Top Frame and Finish.  He is currently working on major addition to his own home in CB South.

 Matt Hohne is President of Eagle Environmental LLC in Burlington, WA and writes: I’m still performing due diligence on commercial properties throughout the West. Business is great and never busier. I have been spending my free time gardening and enjoying the north Cascades/Mount Baker. Thank you Western State Geo! You Rock.!”

  Rebecca Nanni and husband James Porter, ’97 always seem to run into me at the Firebrand Restaurant (formerly the Epicurean for you old-timers). Rebecca is teaching in a charter school in Taos and James is doing construction and carpentry.


Ryan Bagby “I now work for Schlumberger Technology Corporation and have worked for them since December 2006.  My family and I now live in Lafayette, LA and we are loving the weather (YEA NO SNOW!!) and the food”

Becky Biglow “I tried to abandon geology, but geology is currently winning!  I finished my Master's of Architecture in 2007, but one summer between semesters in architecture school, I had a fantastic experience working as a consulting hydrologist on a hurricane recovery effort in North Carolina. That job was so fun that it brought me back to geology-related work.  I've been taking advantage of the flexibility in my life to travel with work at a moment’s notice, and working on various wild fire rehab endeavors - many trips to California this past year.  When I wasn't at a fire, I worked in Bryce Canyon National Park this past year doing a myriad of things as a "physical scientist".  Chances are I'll be back in Bryce Canyon this spring - please stop by and visit if you're in the neighborhood!

 Eric Bjornstad is my across the street neighbor and computer consultant. He is currently working for an engineering/surveying firm in Crested Butte and right now is working on a project involving the new Western State Union. Eric and wife, Jennifer have a girl, Emma, 5 and a baby boy Evan who is 5 months old.

  Amy Crawford We got this from Amy a year ago, “I'm back in Alaska and teaching high school at a small school in a Native village called Angoon.  It's kind of like the home-grown Peace Corps--very challenging, but also rewarding.  The town is right on the ocean--a gorgeous setting.  You can only get here by ferry or float plane. Anyway, I'm teaching mostly English but I also teach on Earth Science class.... so after all these years, I have to recall what I learned in geology!  My brain's a little rusty, but it has been fun.
 And this summer we got this email:I'll be moving in about ten days to a new teaching job in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor (in the Aleutians), but I don't know that address yet.”

Casey Dukeman -- see the faculty listing

Sean Hlousek “Elaine and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year and are traveling to Europe for that!  First time over there for both of us and we are very excited.
  I also have news regarding work.  I have moved on from Premier Data Services to an oil and gas company called Cirque Resources which is run by Peter Dea ‘76 - who I understand is still in touch with the Geology department up there. I'll be their Lead Data Coordinator working with just about everyone to help them produce lease maps and other geographic products.  I'll also be assisting them with their business work-flow with respect to the data they are using. I expect it will be challenging but also rewarding.  I'm looking forward to it!
  Outside of work I'm busy with all of the outdoor activities I can fit into any given weekend!   August 2nd-3rd, I'm coming up there to camp, visit town, and float the river.  If you'll be around we ought to get together for coffee or a beer to catch up.” 

Lynn Padgett Lynn is still doing the work of 5 people all at the same time, only now the big news is that she was elected County Commissioner in Ouray County running as a Democrat in a strongly Republican district. She’ll find time somehow.

  Andi Sullivan “I’m currently an Archeologist with the BLM in Socorro, NM. I acquired my MA in December, 2006. I’ve worked in state and federal government positions since graduation from Western in 1997.”

Phil Van Zale writes us from Boulder where is wife is getting a Masters. “I’ve been working as a software engineer for a little over a year now at Wall Street on Demand. I’ve managed to stay out of trouble mostly. Still enjoying skiing, biking, hiking and most things mountains. I get to visit with James and Becca sometimes and I make homemade hand-cranked ice cream. I don’t remember the last time I was called a slimy bastard.”


Stephanie (Foggia) Lovell is up in Alaska and writes: “I currently am playing a dual role as Mommy to my beautiful 3 ½ year old daughter, Billi Elizabeth, and working as a Mine Geologist for Kinross at their Fort Knox gold mine just north of Fairbanks.  It's an interesting position, responsible for releasing the ore, tracking the progress of the shovels in the dig faces, and monitoring and mapping the high walls.  I just went back to work this past July, after staying home for 3 years with Billi.  Needless to say after 3 years of Sesame Street, Teletubbies, etc... I needed some refreshing on my geology!  :-)  My husband is due to retire from the Alaska Air National Guard next January, so this has played a big part in me returning to work.  We plan to stay here in Alaska after he retires. 
  Sounds like things are very exciting down there!!!  Hopefully, we'll make it down there one of these years... introduce Billi to Colorado snow!!!  My current boss is from the Grand Junction area, so we chat from time to time about the area.”

 Katye McConaghy “I was promoted to Senior Geologist for the Freeport-McMoran Santa Rita Mine in New Mexico. Two months later, the mine was shut down. I am still there working on resource models but it is awfully lonely. Shelby is finishing his Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology & Food Studies. Hopefully, this year we will start a community garden here in Silver City. Everyone is welcome to visit!”

 Zach Reynolds is now in Canon City, CO and writes “”I have 3 great kids: Emily- 8, Megan - 6 and Owen – 3. My wife Carmen and I are still enjoying beautiful Colorado and all it has to offer.


Ralph Falsetto got married in Homer, Alaska in 2006 but is temporarily in Utah with the Forest Service. He writes: “I am on a 2 year detail working for the Forest Service Washington office. I am on a team of mostly computer geeks that are working with the Forest Service to move all of their data to the Kansas City Data Center. I am a virtual employee.  All of our communication is through conference calls, video teleconference, email and instant messages.

 Ryan Field is now in San Diego

 Dr.  Nathan Goodale writes “I’m currently a faculty member at Hamilton College in upstate NY. I have been working on several research projects in Jordan, Ireland and British Columbia. All of the projects center on the origins and dissolution of villages. I was married to Alissa, my partner for the past 5 years, in Oct. , 2008 in NY.”


Duncan Drummond is based in Chico, CA and writesI am currently working for an environmental consulting firm of about 50 employees. I am working towards my Professional Geologist Registration in the State of California. California requires 5 years of working experience under a profession geologist. I have about 2 years left and I love my job!
  I have been married for 4 years (wife-Nicole) and we have 14 month son named Leif. I don't ski as much as I would like!   I want to thank you and the rest of the faculty for an education and experiences that still resonate clearly in mind, today. I hope all is well with the staff and yourself. Please send my regards to everyone.

Ryan Murphy writes “I'm still living in Houston and enjoying it as much as could be expected for a place that is so "topographically challenged".  After leaving ExxonMobil in 2006 I am now in my third year working deepwater Gulf of Mexico exploration for the mid-size independent Hess.  The work is a lot of fun and Hess is a great company.  I've also somehow managed to keep my field boots dirty with trips to look at salt tectonics in Mexico, do some fieldwork in extensional systems in Greece and Egypt, and trek around South Africa studying turbidites.  Other than that I still manage one or two ski trips each season and come back to Colorado every summer to check another Fourteener off the list.”



Jason Eliassen has been working at Antero Rescourses for the past five years along with fellow WSC grads Andrew Wood ’04, Josh Shaw ’03, Kelly Bruchez ’07, Woody Webber ‘08, and of course CEO Paul Rady ’78. We regularly meet up with other WSC grads who are also working the downtown Denver area.

Jeff Jackson is working for XTO Resources in Fort Worth after finishing his master’s degree at Colorado School of mines.


Kain Leonard is in town and just married Stephanie.  Congratulations.




Casey Dick is currently living in Norman OK with his wife Julie and daughter Emily – born Oct. 2008.  He is working on his master’s degree in civil engineering, focusing on water resources.  Emily keeps us very entertained.


Jack Helmsing is a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army.  He is currently assigned to the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division as an Airborne Ranger.