New Geology Faculty: Dr. Dave Marchetti



New Geology Faculty: Dr. Dave Marchetti
This is now our 6th Geology
Newsletter. It’s been a great few years
with good enrollments and great
opportunities for students in graduate
school, oil and gas, mining, and the
environmental industry. Hopefully the
downturn is not too deep or long.
Here is a brief recap of the news for
• Western State Geology with 60-70
majors has more majors than any
time since 1983!
• We have a new faculty member
Dr. Dave Marchetti. Dave is a
geomorphologist with expertise in
cosmogenic dating;
• The department continues to be
involved in a number of student
research projects that have shed
light on some very interesting
aspects of regional geology
including the West Elk and NineMile Hill volcanoes, the Moenkopi
Formation in the salt valleys of
Utah, local glacial geology etc.;
• Students and faculty have been
involved in the geologic mapping
of another local quadrangle -Signal Peak -- and with geologic
and Quaternary mapping near Fish
Lake in Utah;
• The department has been able to
purchase new petrographic
microscopes, an X-ray
diffractometer, a X-ray
microanalysis attachment for the
SEM, corer for lake sediments, and
a shallow seismic refraction
• And finally, the news just keeps
getting better. W.A. “Tex”
Moncrief donated another $1.5
million to the department to
enhance our already very
successful petroleum geology
New Geology Faculty: Dr. Dave Marchetti
Dave Marchetti came to
Gunnison in the fall of
2007 as our new
geomorphologist /
hydrogeologist and is
thrilled to be at Western.
Dave is originally from a
small village southeast of
Rochester NY called
Penfield. He grew up with
thick piles of glacial till in
his back yard and outcrops
of the Lockport Dolomite,
which makes up part of the
Niagra Falls escarpment, a
short bike ride away.
Dave attended SUNY
Geneseo for college and
after a brief stint as a
biology, geography, and
then chemistry major he
switched to geology
ultimately ending up with a
somewhat odd
undergraduate degree in
geochemistry. Like many
other upstate New Yorkers with a
fascination with geomorphology (think
G.K. Gilbert – who was from
Rochester; and John Wesley Powell –
who came from Mt. Morris which is
only a few miles from Geneseo) Dave
headed west to the University of Utah
for graduate school. For his MS
project he worked on applying the
then relatively new technique of
cosmogenic exposure age dating to
some debris-flow deposits in Capitol
Reef National Park. He stayed at Utah
for his Ph.D. where he incorporated
surficial mapping and cosmogenic
dating of glacial and mass movement
deposits to understanding the
Quaternary history of the Fremont
River drainage basin.
Towards the end of his graduate
time at Utah he started a project with
several USGS mappers on the age of
lake deposits in the San Luis Valley
and was introduced to western and
central Colorado.
After grad school, Dave taught at
Colgate University in central NY for a
year and remembered why doing
geology was easier and more
rewarding where one could see the
rocks and the sun shone more than
once a month.
Dave has several current research
project that involve Western students
including additional cosmogenic
dating of glacial deposits in central
and northern Utah mountains and
Quaternary mapping of more 7.5
minute quadrangles than he’d like. In
his free time he takes advantage of the
great outdoor opportunities around the
Gunnison Valley including skiing and
fishing, and just plain old walking
around and looking at stuff. On his
desk in Hurst Hall is what may be one
of the best collections of shark teeth in
western Colorado.
Annual Geology Awards and
We have held two geology banquets since the last
newsletter. In 2007, we graduated ten new alumni at a
barbeque in Jim’s backyard. In 2008, eleven new alumni
joined your ranks.
At the banquets we handed out our annual awards:
The RMAG “Hammer”, awarded to our outstanding senior
went to Jeramy Harshman ‘07 in 2007 and to Chuck
Samra ‘08 in 2008.
GEOLOGY, awarded to our outstanding junior went to
Andrew Payton ‘08 in 2007 and to Tyler Patrick ‘09 in
The MENZER SCHOLARSHIP, awarded to encourage a
beginning student to think about a career in geology was
awarded to Sarah Ablel ’08 and Andrew Payton’08 in
2006 ant to Katherine Schuller ’09 in 2007.
for summer field camp went to Ray Gerrity ‘09 in 2007.
The annual graduation banquet is held each spring the night
before graduation. All geology alumni are invited but please let
us know in advance if you plan to join us.
Bartleson-Prather Geology
Research Scholarships
The Bartleson-Prather Fund for Excellence in
Geology is going strong. As we described in past
newsletters, the fund provides a scholarship and research
supplies for students, on a competitive basis, between their
junior and senior year.
We have awarded two scholarships since the last
newsletter. Christoper Dorian ’07, working with Jim
Coogan, conducted a gravity survey of the Jacks Cabin area
to look for subsurface faulting. Chris actually got good data
out of the old Worden Gravimeter some of you might
remember from taking geophysics with Ray Ruhle. This
past summer Andrew Payton ’08 working with Dave
Marchetti studied the glacial sediments near East Beckwith.
In addition to doing a fair chunk of surficial mapping and
relative age dating, Andrew was able to estimate
paleoclimatic conditions during the Last Glacial maximum
from glacier reconstructions and simple climate modeling.
Andrew’s work may be expanded upon during the next
Research in Quaternary class.
New Geologic Maps
We completed the Signal Peak quadrangle in 2007 and it
is now available from the Colorado Geologic Survey at:
Signal peak was mapped by Jim Coogan, Rob Fillmore and
Allen Stork with the help of Joe Nicolette ’07 and Andrew
Payton ’08.
We have proposal into the Colorado Geologic Survey to map the
Cement Creek quadrangle and the Parlin quadrangle.
In Memorium —
Kevin (Tex) McAndrews ‘75 died in Austin, Texas in
March of 2008, just short of his 59th birthday. Kevin moved
here from Texas, was an outstanding student here and in
fact, was the 2nd recipient of our RMAG hammer award in
1975. He was well known for his intensity and excellence in
everything he did from geology to hunting in which he was
without peer. Kevin went on to earn a Master’s degree at
Colorado State University and worked for Bear Creek
Mining and later for Kennecott in Tucson, Reno, Salt Lake
City (where he was District Manager) and finally
Guadalajara up until 1998. He was highly respected by his
peers and colleagues in the mining industry. He was most
proud of his two daughters (who are quite successful in their
own right) and of his new house in Manzanillo, which he
bought upon retirement in order to do some deep-sea fishing,
which he loved. I consulted for Kevin in the summers of
1988 and 89 looking for placer gold prospects. After some
initial research and office work, I was ready to go into the
field. Upon asking him for some advice, Kevin replied
“Bruce, Just follow your nose!” which was excellent advice.
Kevin was a good friend and I will miss him.
Warren Seeton ‘76 was 55 years old upon his death and
worked in the mining industry all of his life. He mostly grew
up in Taylor Park where his dad, Ross Seeton, had many
placer mining claims. If anyone ever had “gold fever”, it was
Warren. I remember Warren well as a very kind, bright and
engaging young man who was quite intense about mining.
He was in poor health for a number of years prior to his
death and periodically he would call and ask me what I
thought about the “meaning of life.” It was rather unsettling
and, as fate would have it, since Warren had a deep respect
for Kevin McAndrews ‘75, I asked Kevin to call him and
talk to him, which he did, much to his credit.
Paul Maniaci ’04 – Paul was killed in an avalanche near
Jackson Hole, WY on Saturday, March 10, 2007. Paul was
an extremely avid mountain biker, rock climber, skier, and
adventure racer. At the time of his death he was teaching in
Steamboat Springs. While at Western, Paul was a member
of the Mountain Search and Rescue Team as well as a
member of the Adventure Racing Team. After graduation,
he worked in the WSC Student Services Center and taught at
the Gunnison Valley School before moving to Steamboat.
Ellk Volca
ano –Fa
all 2008
8 Resea
arch in Volcan
Thanks to aluumni giving, laast fall’s researrch
cllass had a greatt experience. The
T spring befo
thhe class – Saraah Able ’08, Ch
hris Nash ’08,,
Heger ’08 and JD Ru
umbaugh 08 –
deecided they waanted to study West
W Elk Volcano.
W this pre-plaanning they weere able to com
baack to Gunnisoon two weeks early
for intense
fieeld work on thhe volcano. Th
he logistics werre fun
– the field area was
w in the centter of the West Elk
so we
w arranged witth a local outfiitter
paack in our gearr and supplies (small
world – the
ouutfitter was Johhn Nelson the father
of Keri
‘03). Frrom our base we
w were then abble to
sppend six days sampling
the laava flows exposed
onn the south andd southwestern side of West Elk
Peeak – shown beelow.
It was a typiccal Gunnison August
in the high
coountry with snoow and clouds one day and
beeautiful clear skies the next. The approximately
20000’ of vertical relief each daay was also funn –
paarticularly for old
o knees.
on a typiical flow
Andrew, JD
D, Allen’s chairr, Sarah and Chhris relaxing
Andrew and Chris tryinng to find “goood” rock.
Faculty News
Inactive (old, retired or escaped) Division:
Scott Effner ‘88 and wife Sue in January, 09, two
memorable days fly-fishing on the upper Cebolla with Tom
Shrake ‘81, as well as showing Tom and Anne's daughter,
Katie, around campus as a potential student, having supper
(and Margaritas!) way out in the La Garita’s with Lauren
Hart Ellison ‘77, bumping into Rebecca Nanni ‘96 and
James Porter ‘97 at the Firebrand (again), lunch with Lynn
Padgett ‘97 and having a great Continental Divide hike near
Monarch Pass with Freddy and Mary Frankel '77 and I’ve
probably forgotten somebody.
Oh yes, I also have a Facebook site and you can see many
of our alums there. It’s always fun to see you, so be sure to
call if and when you ever get back to Gunnison
And finally, one of the milestones of my life was reached
in 2006 when I attended my 50th college reunion in Beloit,
Wisconsin and then afterwards flew to Switzerland to visit
my daughter and family and spent two weeks hiking in the
Austrian and Swiss Alps.
Tom and Bruce skiing Monarch
Bruce Bartleson (1965-1998) continues to have an active
retirement with far too many committee meetings – one of
the things I really hated while at Western. But now I’m the
president of the town Library Board (trying to build a new
library) as well as on the Western State Alumni Board and
the Scenic Byway Committee. On top of that I’ve gained
quite a bit of local fame by becoming (by default) the
unofficial custodian of Gunnison weather records. On the
other hand, I do still have a lot of time for fun things like
traveling, mountain biking, hiking, back-country telemarking
and fly-fishing.
We’ve had some great trips in the past few years. Since I
talked to you last we have been to: 1) New England for the
fall colors and met Nancy Molyneux (’77) and Rich at Little
Squam Lake in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and
had a great tour of a part of the world I had never seen; 2)
Hawaii in March of 08’ for 2 glorious weeks near the end of
one of the worst (or best – super snow fall!) winters we have
ever had here – we did both the Big Island and Kauai; 3) the
French Riviera at Le Lavandou, a very nice little coastal
town southwest of Cannes, and a tour of the Grand Canyon
du Verdon – really spectacular. 4) a really remote and
acrophobic Anasazi ruins west of Blanding in Canyonlands.
For several years now Duane Vandenbusche and I have
been putting on a historical and geological tour of the mining
camps of the San Juan Mountains including, Lake City,
Ouray, Telluride, Silverton and Durango. We go for a week,
stay in nice hotels and take Western State vans (not nearly as
fun as the old weenie wagons). The trip has been a sell-out
now for 5 straight years and is run through the Extended
Studies department of Western. We’ve also done a fundraiser tour for the Crested Butte Center for the Arts by
leading tours (70 people) into Taylor Park and the Crested
Butte- Irwin areas.
I’ve had the good fortune to spend some time with some of
you alums, such as; having dinner with Rod Graham 83’ on
his annual ice fishing expedition to Gunnison, hiking in the
Ouray area with Colleen McShane Cope ’77 and family,
skiing with Bob and June Just ’74, several times, as well as
Mary Lou Bevier (1982-85) is still at the University of
British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Here is her report: “I've
been transforming my courses so as to increase student
learning and engagement, with help from geo-science
education experts hired for the Carl Wieman Science
Education Initiative at UBC. We are two years into a fiveyear project which we hope will change science education
at UBC and then percolate out to other institutions.” She also
found some live brachiopods at a May low tide and sent me
some pictures. (Yep, they’re not extinct, yet) She also spends
a lot of time sailing from her Salt Spring Island retreat cabin.
Holly Brunkal (2005-2007), former lecturer in the
geology department, is currently working on her PhD in the
Engineering Geology department at the Colorado School of
Mines. Her dissertation research will include an examination
of the geology, geomorphology, vegetative regime, and other
factors that influence channel sediment recharge in areas that
have been burned by wildfire and have experienced debris
flows. The goal of the project is to find a debris channel
recharge rate that will calculate the timing of when the “gun
is reloaded” for the next debris flow event. Field work for
the project will be done in Colorado, New Mexico and
Southern California. Holly continues to represent the Rocky
Mountain section on the board of directors of the
Association for Women Geoscientists, and is the vicepresident of the student chapter of the Association of
Environmental and Engineering Geologists at CSM. She is
also employed by the USGS to work on research specific to
post wildfire debris-flows, estimating run-out and inundation
areas. Holly spends her summer months in Gunnison,
enjoying mountain biking, hiking and going to Blue Mesa.
Ron Hill (2007-2008) Ron Hill came to us from the USGS
as the first Moncrief Chair in Petroleum geology. After a
year he moved on to become Senior Geochemist for
Marathon Oil. Ron reports that he and Pam “are cruising
along in Houston and adjusting to our new life. Kids are
great, Andrew is talking and walking and Alex is Alex, a
wild three year old. They are great fun.”
Tom Pratherr (1965-1999)-T
Tom is currenttly wimping ouut
byy spending all of February an
nd March in Tuubac, Arizona,
a fancy golfing resort
but send
d us this report::
"I’ll break thiss down into seaasons:
Summers - sttaying around the
t Gunnison country
- hikingg,
cllimbing, bikingg, fishing, golf,, camping. I ennjoyed seeing
thhe Destinationss Unknown gro
oup (’83) and hiking
around the
uppper Cement Creek
Valley lo
ooking at our olld field camp
arrea in August, 2008.
Fall - Again, there's nowherre like the Gunnnison country to
bee in the fall. We
W take lots of fall
f color viewiing trips mostlyy
byy bicycle with some camping
g and fishing thhrown in.
- A good
d time to travel.. We took
Late fall to winter
trips to Tennessee, Colorado Plateeau and
Soouthern Arizonna. Winter trip
ps to Southern Arizona
Teexas. At homee in snow coun
ntry I still do loots of cross
coountry and dow
wnhill skiing an
nd this winter added
snowshhoeing (a terriffic workout).
Spring - Backk home for morre of the usual activities.
O a sad note I need
to report the passing of Pokie to his
friends. Thhe highlight off Pokie’s year was
w always fieeld
caamp - he lovedd the hiking and
d being aroundd the students.
Y may remem
mber that when
n it was time to break camp,
Pookie would go hide in the wo
oods not wantinng to leave.
Richard Moyyle after retirem
ment from the University of
U has kept buusy. He assisteed in the transffer of the Naturral
m from Union Station
in Ogdeen the Ecoles
Park. Lots
L of cleanin
ng, cataloging, inventory but
thhe job is finisheed. He’s a volu
unteer guide onn Thursdays soo
stop by. He andd Belva celebraated their 50th wedding
annniversary and had their 1st grreat grandchildd – Ellie in 20007.
H is doing fieldd trips with eleementary and high
school kids.
says, “W
We are pleased
d about our scholarship grant to
yoour departmentt – It is a pleasure to realize it
i might help a
biit to further geoology at Westeern.” We wholleheartedly agrree
thhank you Richaard and Belva!
Active (currrently emplloyed) Division:
Jim Coogan – Moving from
m the morning headlines
to thhe
yooung geologistts in my 8:00 class, I’m struckk by the
coonnection betw
ween boardroom
m and classroom. This is no
ivvory tower operration here in Gunnison,
and the
unncertainties thaat pervade our profession
in Denver,
and Washington
are starting to show
w up on the
faaces of our majors. It is intereesting that, at a time when all
seectors of the prrofession are taaking a “wait-aand-see” posturre
tooward hiring yooung geologists, Western studdents are
streaming into our
o ever-more dynamic
program. Our classees
haave been full over the past few
w years. This semester,
deemand for our upper-division
n geophysics cllass exceeded
thhe supply of computers and so
oftware licensees. Not bad in a
that used to be marked by
b an avoidancce of math and
phhysics! So, I’m
m starting out with
w a pitch to all
a of our loyal
allums: when youu see a part-tim
me or full-time opportunity thhat
be filled by
b a Western Geology
studennt or recent alum
– let us know! The
T constant feedback from employers is thaat
thhey are continuually surprised that our majorss out-perform
Jim draw
wing structurre contours on
o the
studentts from all otheer undergrad (aand some M.S..) programs
in the state
and regionn. Let’s put a larger
sample out
o there
and proove them right!
On a personal notee, I’m enjoying the great snow
w that the
last twoo winters havee blanketed oveer the Gunnisonn Country.
I now understand
whhat you ‘70’s grraduates have been
about all
a of these yeaars. I’m also ennjoying the cam
that Daave Marchetti and
a Denny New
well have addeed to
alreadyy congenial tradition that Alleen, Rob, and I inherited
from Bruce
and Tom
m. The irreverennt humor is stilll alive,
thoughh the material iss necessarily updated
from Bruce’s
preP.C. reepertoire.
Wheen not in Gunniison, I’ve enjoyyed running innto many of
you onn 17th Street whhere I still mainntain a healthy connection
to induustry in the “off
ff-season”. Alissa is still doingg great work
for the USGS, and we’ve been com
mpensating for the
commuute over Monarrch and Kenosha passes by taaking some
extended vacations inn the past few years.
We try to
t get up to
the Sellkirk Mountainns of BC every spring for som
me steep,
deep skkiing at backcoountry lodges. We enjoyed a three-week
Grand Canyon kayakk trip in ’07, as well as a “sum
mmer” ski
trip vissiting friends inn Argentina annd Chile.
I keeep a hand (som
metimes two) inn research – witth yet
another geologic mapp coming out laast year from my
m work
with thhe Utah Surveyy. I also particippated in an NS
scopingg conference for
fo and Internattional Continenntal
Scientiific Drilling Prrogram proposaal to drill the Sevier
Desert detachment off central Utah. Closer to Gunnison, I’m
still inttrigued with foollowing up on the 7.5’ maps that Allen,
Rob, annd I have beenn able to put ouut with the helpp of student
coauthors, and we hoope to begin cooperating in thhe next year
with a proposed USGS initiativ
ve for completting the
and Leadville
1:100,000 quads.
Casey Dukem
man I’m still teeaching Geologgy and
att WSC. My wiife, Ruth, is woorking with thee
County and son Jacob, now 13
3, is in Gunnisoon Middle
Scchool. I’m alsoo the Field Direector at the Moountaineer
site, a 10,450 yearr old (carbon years)
on top of “W” Mo
Robert Fillm
more ‘ 86 – I am
a still thorougghly enjoying
teeaching and living here, and watching
my booys grow up,
litttle time lines that
t they are. Everett
(11!) iss in the 5th graade
annd Henry (8) iss in the second grade. I am am
mazed at how
quuickly 11 yearss can pass. In fact,
as fast as those years haave
paassed, it makess me think that maybe a million years isn't all
thhat long after alll. This happen
ns, I think, as you
y get older.
I finished myy book on Cany
yonlands and Arches
sppring - many off you may rem
member me worrking on it. It
toook me seven years
to finish the
t damned thiing. The first
boook only took three
years. I guess
I'm slow
wing down in my
olld age - or som
mething. It may
y also have som
mething to do
w kids, and thhe abundance of
o wonderful meetings
we have
heere at Western..
I continue to work on the Moenkopi
mation and the
efffect of salt upllift on its sedim
mentation in thee salt anticline
reegion of Coloraado/Utah. The more work I do
d on it, the
cool thingss I'm finding. This spring (099) the Researchh
inn Basin Analysis class will ag
gain be workingg on it, althouggh
affter this year, I think we will have exhaustedd all the good
exxposures and itt will be time to
o write somethhing up.
Things are hoopping in the department
studdent-wise. Ouur
ennrollment has grown
considerrably. Many sttudents are
cooming in speciffically to study
y Petroleum Geeology, and it
apppears that the word has gotteen out. For insstance, last yeaar
booth Sed/Strat and Mineralogy
y were forced to
t offer two labb
seections. It lookks like this sum
mmer's Field Geeology course will
allso be divided into
two sectio
ons. We'll see if
i it continues.
n Stork – I’m still teaching and
a having a grreat time.
It’s beeen fun integratiing X-ray diffrraction and
microaanalytical technniques into the Mineralogy annd
Petroloogy classes – more
stuff to huurt their brains with. Rob
and I are
a also teachinng new classes designed for elementary
school teachers as paart of a college--wide reform inn
educatiion. Maybe soomeday your kiids will have a teacher
who knnows minerals,, rocks and fossils.
I’vve continued my
m research on local
volcanic rocks. The
mappinng we did for the
t Gunnison and
a Signal Peakk
quadraangles produce fascinating paatterns of interbbedded
gravel and ash flows as the San Juaan volcanism coontinuously
disruptted the Tomichhi Creek and Gunnison
River drainages.
The exxposure is goodd enough to prooduce a detaileed
topograaphic map of thhe pre-volcanic surface with 40’
contouurs. The maps are
a spectacular! My last Reseearch in
Volcannology and Pettrology classes continued studdies of the
post Saan Juan basaltss. In 2006 we studied
9-Mile Hill
volcano – on the Lakke City road and in 2008 studiied sections
of Wesst Elk volcano exposed on West
W Elk Peak. I am also
still woorking on Fijiaan plutons withh Jim Gill and his
collaboorators in Japann.
Juddy and I are now
w empty nesterrs. Peter graduuated in
2006 and
a is attendingg classes at Weestern but out of
o the house
living with
w friends. He’s
H working part time at the Gunnison
Brewerry. Right now he is majoringg in anything but
b geology
– I stilll have hope thoough. Judy is doing
“art quiltts” and
keeping active workinng in the yard and around thee house.
We hoppe you will stoop by if you aree ever in town.
Allen Stork
– the “olld grey beard”
Alumni News
Gary Dixon “Still trying to cut loose this consulting work
and hope to clean up past due commitments this year and
Bruce and Allen have summarized your letters, e-mails, and
call an end to it. I keep running into WSC grads with this
phone conversations. Thanks for updating us and telling us
Nevada/Utah work. Don Sweetkind ‘81 is cooperating with
what you are doing. Please take a moment to tell us what
USGS-Water Resources out of Nevada for the past several
you're doing if you haven't already. Information from you
years and we seem to be on opposite sides of the water
helps us assess the Geology Program. We do listen and
issues in our encounters. Don is working on developing a
appreciate your comments, whether critical or
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
Bruce Bartleson or Allen Stork
Engineer for Nevada conducts water right hearings for the
Geology Department
eastern part of the state. These hearings are conducted in a
Western State College
court-room setting and are incredibly contentious. This will
Gunnison, CO 81231
be my sixth and last hearing!
email: [email protected]
Speaking of hearings, I came across Kirk Swanson ‘83 in
[email protected]
the Granite Springs water right hearings in 2007. He was
We still have a few people that we can’t find. If you have
representing the Applicants for water and I represented the
any clues contact us.
Protestants. He caught me in the hallway at break and we
1960’s Mike Arndt (‘66), Own Abdali (‘68), Sultan Alrecounted for a bit about WSC, profs, course work, and
Somali (‘69), Ken Carmichael (’69)Peter Buchanan
Gunnison in general. He was a lot smarter than I was for he,
(‘64), Thomas Schanefelt (‘69)
like Sweetkind, persevered and got his PhD. Nothing new to
report from the Snake River Plain. We’re snow-bound
1970’s Aboullah Baroun (‘71), David Dagenhart ’73),
(sound familiar) and looking for relief from the cold and
Richard Davis (’77), Larry Ecklund (’71), Jon
Jezisek (‘79), Richard Snyder (‘74)
Howard Fishman continues to work for Chevron in
1980’s Sue Collings (’82), Tom Dalsaso (’85), Richard
Midland, Texas, now approaching 34 years. Howard
Klebanow (’84), Barbara McCabe (’83),Nancy
continues to provide G&G application and technical
McManus (’82), Martin Muffich (83), Carol Willis
computing support. During the past 3 years in addition he
2000’s Brian Behn (‘00), Annie Owens (‘02), Deni Harshman 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
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
Richard (Mike) O’Rourke checks in from Pueblo West and
planned. I sold a second land deal (17,000 acres in
is still enjoying retirement.
Northwest Colorado) to a small independent company, True
North Energy. I am helping True North to develop that
Connie (Trainor) Durand Connie was here this fall for
regional play.
Homecoming and we had great time reminiscing at dinner
I have two other (great) self-generated land plays. I will
along with Patty Costar, Biol ’71.
be looking for investors for additional leases soon. One of
these deals I sold to Noble Energy five years ago. Noble
WSC Geology Graduates by Year
Alumni News
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 Browne “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 UHaul 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,
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 fault☺”
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 [email protected] 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
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
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
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
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-nogain 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
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
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 worriedbut 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
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 parttime 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 nonprofit, 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
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 designbuild 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
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
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
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
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 nontraditional 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
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 geologyrelated 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 homegrown 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
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 handcranked 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 writes “I
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
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
Kain Leonard is in town and just married Stephanie.
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.
Laccoliths – Volcanoes and a College
Your donations have been critical to the development of the Geology Program
If you give to the college remember that you can designate a gift or pledge directly to the Geology
Department through one of the funds listed below.
Geology Fund – for general use by the department (equipment – field trips …..)
Bartleson-Prather Geology Research Scholarship (for student research)
Valerie Ann Mitchell Memorial Geology Scholarship
Richard W. and Belva R. Moyle Geology Scholarship
Fred J. Menzer, Jr. Geology Memorial Scholarship
Rady Endowment in Petroleum Geology
Moncrief Endowment in Petroleum Geology