Education: HBSc. Geophysics, Western University, Ontario
Past positions: Area Manager/Senior Geophysicist at BG International (2008-2010), President/Chief Geophysicist at Sheehan Energy Inc. (1998-2007), Senior Geophysicist at Ulster Petroleum Ltd. (1993-1997)
Current Position: Managing Partner/Chief Geophysicist at Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd.
As a managing partner of Petrel Robertson Consulting in Calgary, Canada, I lead teams of geoscience professionals consulting to industry, government, and financial institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. I work all aspects of oil and gas geoscience, from reservoir analysis, through to property evaluations and strategic assessments, to forming the exploration and development groups for companies.
Why did you choose a career in earth science?
I choose a career in Earth Science because combining my interest and strengths in math and physics with the day to day operations of the Oil and Gas industry seemed ideal.
I had the academic wherewithal but was interested in the applied applications of my science background. The possession of that knowledge and expertise in an industry where technology is front and center is and has been very rewarding and has opened up opportunities for advancement, challenging projects and interesting travel.
How did you get into the job that you're in now?
I had started my own geoscience consulting company in the late 1990’s and was very successful for 10 years with the entity, but needed a change. An opportunity came up with my current company to take on a similar role but working with an expanded group of geoscientists to draw from including geologists, petrophysicists, structural experts as well as other oil and gas specialists. I seized the opportunity to join my current company for this reason as well as for the opportunity to expand my business and technical expertise into the broader international arena.
What is something early-career geoscientists can do to make themselves more likely to get a job?
I would recommend a few things to help improve your likelihood of getting a job as an early career geoscientist. Network regularly and as much as possible, particularly with people that are related to your field of interest. This may be facilitated by volunteering for an industry related group or by attending industry information, training or social events, often which are free or at minimal cost. Offer to take on a challenging problem for a potential employer – this gives you a chance to show the employer your skill set and expertise (and also your initiative!) so when they can hire they are more likely to hire that highly motivated, known quantity person or will be willing to recommend you to an associate.
What is one of the more interesting places that your work has taken you?
I recently went to India and was part of a Canadian Trade Mission delegation to that country. We were looking to expand our oil and gas business in other countries so the Mission involved many technical presentations to Indian oil and gas leaders, a conference presentation to encourage Indian women to pursue a career in the local industry and considerable travel to various parts of the country. It was a fascinating experience to see the similarities and differences between our two countries and the challenges/opportunities this presents from a business point of view.
Views expressed in blog posts reflect those of the author, and not necessarily those of the CFES.