Geology Alumni Newsletter News Notes 2004
A Newsletter for Alumni, Students and Friends of the Geology Program Spring 2004
Bruce has summarized your letters, e-mails, and phone conversations. Thanks for updating us and telling us what you are doing. Please take a moment to tell us what you're doing if you haven't already. Information from you helps us assess the Geology Program. We do listen and appreciate your comments, whether critical or complimentary.
Graduates by Year:
Paul Wilderman (’88) We were saddened by the news that Paul passed away last year. His widow, Lisa writes: “Thank you for the enrichment and enjoyment you added to his life. Of course, I have numerous rocks and fossils to remember all of you!” Thanks Lisa!
Richard (Mike) O'Rourke has had quite a varied career. When he first graduated in 1961, times were tough in Geology and he went into the Peace Corps in Malaysia for two years helping with drilling projects along jungle rivers. When he came back he worked for Newmont Mining for several years looking for ore deposits in the Telluride/Ouray area which is his home territory. He then worked for Gardner-Denver for a few years selling mining equipment and advising mining companies concerning construction projects largely in Arizona. Finally, he took a job with what was then called the Colorado Game, Fish and Parks Department and worked in the State Park system for a number of years located in such places as Steamboat Springs, South Park, Durango and finally ended up as Assistant Regional Manager in Colorado Springs. He has been retired from the Colorado State Parks system for about 10 years now. He plans a trip to Costa Rica this winter to look at some of the volcanos there and is enjoying retirement. So do I Mike!
Gary Christopher is still having fun in Gunnison and participated in our Homecoming events. He enjoyed hooking up again with Dick Moyle, his old geology teacher here at Western.
Howard Fishman “continues to provide geological and geophysical application support.” Howard has been with Chevron Texaco for nearly 28 years now. His family recently traveled to Alaska and Prudhoe Bay admiring all that glacial geology. Just for a contrast they also went to the Caribbean and saw the coral reefs he heard about in class. Howard, you probably also saw some interesting ancient analogs in both the subsurface and surface in West Texas and New Mexico. We haven’t seen you for a while! Come on up and ski sometime this winter.
Gordon Richard (“Dick”) Jones reports in that he is happily retired. I know what you mean Dick! He works 2-3 cruises/year lecturing on bridge and running duplicate and party bridge games. He is now actively engaged in returning a mosasaur to Pioneer town in Cedar Edge where he helped excavate in 1975. Dick, come on over some time!
Jon Untiedt is still keeping busy with contract land work in the oil business – He puts it best: “I have been trying to slow down for several years, but the work just seems to keep piling up. I like the work. I like the money. I also like to fish and would like to take it a little easier.” I know just how you feel Jon – What you are going through is perfectly normal for someone of your vintage and will certainly resonate with your peers. My advice: Go fishing and come on up here!
Connie (Nuss) Knight is back to being a successful independent petroleum geologist. After several years of research and promoting she has recently sold a large Rocky Mountain gas play. Connie is also doing a consulting project for Sandia National Labs on fractured reservoirs in New Mexico, and furthermore, she is committed to do a property evaluation concerning severed mineral rights for a $10 million ranch. So, after a rather slow couple of years, (and a bad auto accident – not her fault!) things are picking up considerably. Congratulations, Connie! I hope this is a good sign for all our alums!
Ken Snyder is now retired but still enjoying prospecting and small-scale gold placering and throwing in a little consulting for gold companies in Nevada now and then. He’s even tinkering around with a placer gold retrieval system. Sounds like a perfect retirement to me. We had a good time exchanging emails about placer gold sites in Nevada. He was in Gunnison briefly this summer and got a chance to see parts of his famous dinosaur exhibited in the new wing of Hurst Hall.
Gary Dow was here for Homecoming in a last minute visit and made it to our big Homecoming bash. Gary is still with the Burec. in the Salt Lake City area. He says: “I’m still working, but may retire at any given moment. My wife Beverly and I want to move to Hawaii to enjoy scuba diving and the beauty of the islands. I tried to convince her to retire with me to Gunnison, but made the mistake of telling her about those minus 50 degree days”— Not any more Gary – I’ll send you the records for the past ten years, you’ll be surprised. If that’s all that’s keeping you, we’ll start looking for a place for you.
Dave Dagenhart has been MIA ever since we started trying to find our alums but we finally found him. After graduation Dave started out with the BLM and spent 6 years with them in Wyoming and Alaska. When an opportunity came up to take over a family ranch near Miles City, Montana, he jumped at the chance and has been there ever since. Dave allows that he's having a good year right now with the price of cattle being high, but it isn't always like that. Dave has a daughter, who was born here just before he left Gunnison, now 30 and a son 27 who just got out of the Marines. Good to talk to you Dave!
Charlie Ponchak continues to be the dry cleaning king of the western slope of Colorado with home office (Kilbane’s) in Montrose and branch offices in Gunnison, Crested Butte, Ouray, Telluride and Delta. Charlie keeps pretty busy not only with his business but also doing a lot of consulting for mining and sand and gravel operations. He recently won a long-lasting and hotly contested case for some clients against the U.S. Forest Service on the Alpine Plateau near Uncompahgre Peak which makes for a very interesting story. Write Charlie for details. Charlie & Debbie have two sons, one in the military and one working for BMW.
Marty Wittstrom has retired from Chevron Texaco after 26 years. He is now “guiding software development for petroleum asset management” and is vice-president for business development for The Information Store in Calgary. The most recent information is that he has made the short list for the Presidency of Adams State College. That would be something!
Bob and June (Galvin) Just have been in the Gunnison country frequently this past year and are now enjoying life more as empty-nesters. June rode on the White Rim alumni bike trip in March accompanying good-old buddy Mary Jean (Nolan) Schwarzwelder. Bob and June were both up here this summer several times and we had one great mountain bike ride on the Dike Trail near Kebler Pass. Bob and June were also here for Homecoming and the field trip. June is still with Geographix in Denver and Bob is currently looking – anybody know of anything for an experienced –but not too old – geologist with main background in natural gas? June has this to add: “We have been swamped here at the office, but I did find some time to get away with Bob for a ride/hike to Capitol Reef, Bryce and Canyonlands. We camped, hiked, biked and geologized the whole way; it was a blast! We are enjoying life with children away at school; we think they enjoy being away as well. Strange how that all works.”
Pete Bergmann continues to live in Craig, Colorado where he is Superintendent of Schools for the Moffat County School District. You might recall that Pete originally taught Earth Science, then moved up to Principal of the school and has now been demoted to Superintendent of the whole district. Pete mentions that he is working with two other outstanding WSC Geology alums, Roger Spears (’84) and Norm Yoast (’89).
John Danehy was up here again for Homecoming and the field trip along with John Murphy (’75). They seem to have turned this into an annual affair, which is what we would like to see more of you do.
Don Graham was also here again for Homecoming, but seeing as he lives here it wasn’t too much of a problem. Don has had a busy year consulting for the Forest Service and doing a lot of geologic hazard analyses and conservation easements.
Peter Herzberg – “I can't think of much to say except that I have been traveling lots, in the U.S. and Europe and also Guatemala, and am enjoying living in western NY, skiing, playing handball and taking an occasional college course, to keep the spin on the ball. Tina is making a name for herself in the glass art world. Whenever we go to an art type function people are hovering around her like she is a celebrity.” Peter and Tina are in Corning, NY, glass center of the US.
John Brunel and his wife were here for Homecoming with his wife for the first time in quite a while. He continues to operate the Golden West shuttle service to DIA. Give him a call! 303-342-9300.
Peter Dea, as mentioned above, has been awfully busy what with being appointed to our new Board of Trustees and also President and CEO of Western Gas Resources. Peter has recently completed a beautiful “cabin” on Cement Creek that he, wife Cathy and family visit frequently.
Denis Hall is still in Crested Butte writing for the local paper and serving as the President for the High Country Citizens Alliance – an environmental group. One of his big-time passions now is photography. He’s also a very involved father, taking horseback lessons with his daughter and even conned me into a half-day of “teaching” a class up at Gothic for sub-teen kids (including his daughter). Fortunately, Denis came along too, helped me out considerably, and saved the day. His wife Nancy (Wallof) Nicolaisen (’75 – biology, but almost a geology major) helped us out in planning for our Alaska trip in June. Thanks, Nancy!
Dawne (Miller) Pennel sent me a 4 ½ page (handwritten!) letter so this will take some condensing, but I’ll try. Last year she resigned as partner/treasurer of her company Earthquest Technology with 3 geologists and one petrophysicist because - “working full-time, being a small business owner and having 3 partners is a pretty good way to lose your sanity and your soul.” After a nice, most of a year, sabbatical she started doing contract work and is now employed full time for Occidental as a Staff Geoscience Specialist for the Shale Team. She comments that although, more than a little overqualified for the position, she is “fully enjoying things like paid vacation time and direct-deposit paychecks that keep coming in like clockwork.” She has 3 boys, the oldest, Travis, is now at Ohio State University and is an alternate in the OSU marching band (very big league) and has played in some of the games. They just returned from a football weekend, which is quite an experience. She says the middle boy, Adam, is just like her (only kidding Dawne!) and is a great soccer player. The family went to England over Easter for a soccer tournament with Adam’s team and had a great time. All the boys seem quite musical – where did that come from Dawne?
Rick Milne has decided to leave the northwest and has bought some property in the town of Lewis, Colorado which is between Cortez and Dove Creek (type locality of the Lewis Shale). He is now working for American Bonanza Working at the Copperstone mine near Quartzite
Cathy Hedin –McNiel Cathy is a housewife, mother, rancher, musician and involved citizen down near Monte Vista. Here are her words: “Because we paid a fortune in estate taxes when my mother-in-law died, I became interested in conservation easements as a way to minimize our own estate taxes in the future (when I really will have a funeral). As a result of that interest, I ended up becoming the founding president of our local land trust, Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust kind of by default. I am no longer president, but still on the board, and have worked very closely with the Rio Grande Water Conservation District over the years on private lands water protection. So I attend their quarterly meetings, and have found the engineer's reports to be pretty fascinating, and thought I might like working with him. But I have become so busy with all of this volunteer stuff that my time is already over-committed. This saving the world sh_t becomes exhausting after a while. With the drought forcing us to reduce our cattle herd by about half, I might end up having to get a job anyway! Unless of course I can successfully market my newly released, self produced, CD of original music, entitled "Back From Venus" (Which has absolutely nothing to do with male/female stereotypes), and make money off of it.”
Colleen (McShane) Cope was here for Homecoming this year along with her brother Kevin and they were the life of the party at the wine bar. She has this to say: “My poor Physics grades came back to haunt me while completing a Masters in Education in Secondary Science (May, 2003). So, in the process of retaking Physics, I discovered I actually liked it and it could be a lot of fun. I guess some things just get better with age!” Editor’s note - How true, how true, or at least, I hope so.
Bob Dickerson was here for Homecoming this year and charmed everyone as usual. On October 4, 2003 Bob Dickerson wed Pam Fortner in an outdoor wedding along Bear Creek in the Front Range. They share skiing and ice-climbing in the winter, canoe-guiding, rock climbing, and motorcycling in the summer, and parenting year-round. After 11 years on the the Yucca Mountain project with the USGS, Bob moved to Stoller Corp where he continues to work on geologic projects in southern Nevada and the Texas Panahndle.
Mike Ford is still in California and checks in with the following: “Currently working in computer programming and software testing for EER systems.” Ok, I give – what are EER systems?
Fredric (Freddy) Frankel came to Homecoming a little early and we had a great time visiting, eating and reminiscing together. His old buddy Lorenzo Bonvicini also showed up and they spent a lot of time visiting their old haunts. I had hoped to use Freddy as bait to lure Nancy Molyneux, Mark Fernandes and Tom Pronold into coming for Homecoming, but they couldn’t swing it. But, we did get Brunel, Colleen, Lauren and Dickerson from that era so it worked pretty well. Freddy is still in Houston with Chevron-Texaco and now working in Brazil. He related that he is somewhat of an oddity in the company because he can still read logs, make paper cross-sections on his own, etc. because all the young kids coming in can only do computer work. He plans to spend some time here in Gunnison this summer with the family. Give me a call when you get in Freddy!
Kimla McDonald reports that she changed careers after working as an environmental planner and went into health care ten years ago. She is working on a degree right now in midwifery and her husband is an architect working on public housing for the city of Washington, DC. “My geology education at WSC was wonderful and produced talented and generous people like Paul Rady! I wish had $$$ to give back. Thanks Paul!!.”
Bradly Pendergraft “I sold my environmental consulting business in 1997. Went back to school and obtained my Masters in Education (editor – there’s a bunch of you doing this!). I now teach Earth Science at Salmon River Central School. Over half the students are Native Americans. My NY State Regents Test results are 98% passing with 65. I am also an Adjunct Instructor in the Geology Dept. at SUNY Potsdam. Now completing a new edition of a trail guide to the north region of the Adirondacks.”
Tom Pronold tried to make it to Homecoming to see many of his old classmates (see above) but pressing family affairs prevented that.
Lauren (Hart) Wolfe was up here again from Durango for Homecoming helping to brighten things up. She reports: “My current position is in Special Education. I help teenagers with disabilities transition from high school. For this, I am currently enrolled (once again) in WSC to get certification. Furthermore, my son Travis, age 17, will be attending WSC next year Who’d a thought it? My daughter, Hillary, is now 15. I just bought my 30th season ski pass, this time at Durango Mountain Resort (old Purgatory). I must tell a little story on Lauren. When she was talking to her son about coming to Western, she asked him why and his answer was (honestly) because of the skiing. Lauren snorted, “Why Travis, that’s not a good reason to go to a college.” Then she caught herself, realized what she had said and laughed. The chickens come home to roost.
Eric Bard came up to Homecoming with his son and had a great time. He writes: “Happily married for 18 years to Celia, a high school English and History teacher. I’m father to a fine son, Nick and am a skier, musician and bon vivant.” Way to go Eric!
Mark Fernandes almost came to Homecoming this year, but couldn’t quite swing it at the last minute. He reports that not much is new except that his son, Justin, started at Northeastern University in the Electrical Engineering program – come on Mark – that is big news, but how can this be? You were just here a few years ago and now you have a kid in college. Mark also sent pictures of a heliski trip in BC last year, but hopes to make it to CB one of these winters.
Pam Klessig is still with the Nevada Highway Department as an engineer, but fortunately got transferred to the Reno office from Carson City so she now has a 15 minute commute instead of 45 minutes. She writes “Currently I’m in charge of the Road Operations Center for Northern Nevada that entails overseeing the crew of dispatchers and learning about and helping ITS technology. Now here’s the kicker – that stands for Intelligent Traffic Systems”, which I know what you’re thinking – “well that’s an oxymoron, could there be such a thing?” To make a long story short – it does work pretty well, doing such things as lighted message boards, automated chain and weather advisory boards, etc. Pam says “it is quite interesting and I am learning an enormous amount. I don’t think it will ever have quite the same appeal as exploration geology, but it is a steady paycheck and you usually aren’t laid off from the State!” She closes with a note about a ski trip to McCall, Idaho. “Wow, is all I can say – don’t miss it.” OK Pam!
Chuck and Ann (Mcdonald,’79) Mcwethy are in Loveland, Colorado where Ann is teaching in the local school district in the lower grades. Chuck still has a summer fishing business off Kodiak Island and then markets his salmon and does remodeling the rest of the year. Ann and Chuck have 3 kids, with the oldest now 18 and the youngest 11.
Carol Ostergren continues to work with the USGS out of Menlo Park and still works in business trips to Hawaii now and then, but will probably focus on duties in Nevada and California dealing with watershed management. I like her closing sentence: “Looking ahead, I see short work/pleasure trips around Nevada, swimming every day when the temperatures reach 90, Ryan’s graduation from UC Davis, new paint and roof for the house’ and weekend trips to Tahoe and Capitola. We wish happy adventures and good health to everyone.”
Paul Rady is kept very busy what with being president of the Western State College Foundation, on our new Board of Trustees for the college and serves on the board of directors for Chinese Children Adoption International. Paul is also chairman and CEO of one private and two public oil and gas companies in Denver. And just a little over a year ago, his wife was trying to get him out of the house.
Steve Reynolds is still doing well with Infinity Oil and Gas Inc and was here for Homecoming and had a great time visiting with many of his old buddies from the mid-70s.
Ken Nibbelink is still doing hard time in Houston with Devon Energy and working the Atlantic Basin, but bought some property near Steamboat Springs and recently finished a very nice home up there. He will be in Colorado for Thanksgiving, attend Rockbuster’s Ball and then on to Steamboat. He reports that he is on year 12 of a 20 year plan to get back to Colorado. He plans to come up every couple of weeks during the ski season. Hope to see you Ken!
Mark Stewart and his family were up for Homecoming again (How many years in a row does this make Mark?) from Houston and had a good talk with Jim Coogan. When are you going to move up to your Quartz Creek property Mark?
Myra (Vaag) Lugsch reports that she is busy as a chauffeur for her twins who are now 4 (going on 5) years old. Myra joined a nine-hole ladies golf league at Fox Hollow and reads voraciously for two book clubs. This is quite a change. I remember when all you did for recreation was ski Myra!
Brian Johnson reports that his life has once again taken a different course. He is back in Australia as of August 2002, this time in Melbourne. He says “After spending nearly 3 years in England we had enough of the sun and warm weather. Actually it was not so bad as we lived up in Cambridge, about 50 miles north of London. There, I was directing the non-regulatory energy and utilities activities of a strategic consulting firm called Caminus. Gained some great experience advising a range of different European and Scandinavian clients”
Glenn Jones says hello from Elizabeth, Colorado.
Carol (Mooney) Hogsett reports that she and husband are both pretty busy at work for Los Alamos National Laboratory – Vic doing homeland security stuff and Carol still recruiting hot science and engineering talent. She and Vic are big into lapidary and jewelry now and spent a vacation rock hounding for Nevada opal, Oregon sunstones, California obsidian needles and beach agates.
Scott Mossman checks in for the first time in a long time – Welcome Scott! Here is his news: (I Am) a senior geophysicist for small consultant geophysics company that specializes in potential fields (gravity & magnetics). I am in charge of all airborne geophysics contracts and most of the interpretations. We’re making a living off of the crumbs that the big boys in Houston toss us – but, we don’t have to live in Houston!” Scott, do you and Jon Ake (’79) ever get together?
Marta Baxter I finally tracked down the elusive Marta and surprised her with a phone call this fall. Long-term readers of this Newsletter will know that this is her first appearance on these pages. Here is her story: Right after graduation (remember that was still in the late stages of the great oil boom?) she worked for Rocky Mountain Engineering doing mud-logging. She then went to Rangely Community College for a short time teaching Petroleum Geology, Geophysics, Physical and Historical Geology. – editors note- the sad news is that Rangely no longer has a petroleum program - Marta then went to UNC in Greeley and got a Masters in Earth Science. Next, she moved to Pennsylvania and taught high school earth science for 13 years in the Central Buck School District. (I think that’s a big time high school football hot-bed) She is now teaching 8th grade science in Middle School in the same district. Really good to hear from you Marta!!
Caren (Sanford) Koll has been another recluse, hiding from us all these years. What was it about that class of 1981?? Here is Caren’s report: “I’m still in the environmental geology business. No, I don’t do “tank yanks.” Yes, I work long term CERCLA, RCRA projects and I’m certified in MA as a licensed Site Professional in New York.” Ok, Caren, thanks and really good to hear from you after all these years, but please send in a translation of all the acronyms. Do you still play pool??
Tom Shrake is still going strong with Pacific Rim Mining and now pursuing a very attractive gold prospect in El Salvador. You might check out their web page:
http://www.pacrim-mining.com/s/Home.asp - His wife, the former Anne Bouchet has been a great help to us in recruiting for the college in the Reno area as well as hosting alumni parties for the Reno alums.
Dennis Beaver got married on June 19, 2003 in Jorgensen Park in Gunnison during his “rest day” on the famous “Ride the Rockies” bicycle trip. Dennis has done this (riding – not getting married) for many years now. He and his new wife Lea Anne Dobbins are “blending” their families in Centennial (Arapahoe & University Blvd. Area).
Eric and Laura (Nelson) Ruud have had some trying times, but as noted in several letters above, things are looking up. After working 30 years straight (are you that old Eric?), Eric was laid off by his assay company after a merger, but landed on his feet within 6 months and is now in marketing for Geobrugg, a Swiss company that makes rock fall barriers. He travels a lot, but----. He is also a ski instructor at Mt. Rose Ski Area and got a bunch of skiing in last year. After working 2 jobs for a while, Laura recently landed a full time job with paid vacations, retirement and most of all, health insurance –important for a family with two teenagers in sports. She is now an administrative assistant for the State Geologist within Nevada’s Bureau of Mines and Geology, but still works part-time for the Geological Society of Nevada as a bookkeeper. She stays busy but still finds time for the Middle School PTA and is Treasurer for the JROTC Booster Club. Both of their kids are quite tall; Alex, only 14, is already 6 feet tall and Erica is 5’ 5” and only 12 and very active in both soccer and basketball and runs in 5 K races – Good luck guys, you’re going to have to raise the height of the doorways!
Steve and Nancy (Wharton) Carpenter say hello from Littleton, CO.
Rod Graham was here last winter on vacation from Mongolia (I guess Gunnison in the winter looks pretty good next to Mongolia) and we got together and did some ice fishing on Taylor Reservoir. Steve Bussey (’79) visited him in Mongolia last year and they sent in some pictures of huge trout they caught. The next hot adventure tour site?
Jeff Littfin reports that he is now doing plasma sculpturing in metals and will take consignments. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for pictures of his work.
Dale Marcum was here for Homecoming along with old buddy Bob Twiddy (’83) and had a great time bopping around the Gunnison Country and returning to the scene of crimes too numerous to mention. Dale gave the department a great talk on the Monday following Homecoming on various geologic hazard sites he has worked on in California for Wm. Cotton and Associates. He is still living in Los Gatos, CA, has 2 boys now and spends most of his time on PG&E (editor: you may have heard of them in the CA energy scandals) hydro projects in the Sierras. Dale frequently gets together with fellow 1983 classmates Brad Boshetto, Elliot Lips, Jeff Littfin, Kent Wheeler and Bob Twiddy and their families.
Rebecca Miller is a registered geologist working in Arizona as an environmental manager. She is contracted to the state as: R.A. Miller, RG,LLC. She is the chair of the SME, Maricopa Section and is certified for work with MSHA, OSHA, NICET III and HAZWOPPER. I like the last one best! Ok, you guys, cut it out! You’ve driven me to the web to find a list of government abbreviations and acronyms – for the rest of you just google in “government abbreviations” and you’ll find all the alphabet soup you ever wanted. Unfortunately HAZWOPPER wasn’t there.
Bob Twiddy was here for Homecoming and had a great time with Dale Marcum. Bob is in sales working for an outfit called Timken that manufactures industrial bearings for the mining industry and power plants. He reports: “I spend a lot of time in the Powder River Basin …Wow, are those draglines (for coal mining) huge! Also get into some gold and platinum/palladium mines in CO,SD and MT. It’s hard not talking rocks with the customers!”
Andy Allen is now a lawyer operating in the Gunnison courts. Imagine my surprise when I was called for jury duty in October and saw that one of the attorneys was Andy. I didn’t get selected to serve. P.S. He won the case for his client.
Rick Graff finally resurfaced (with help from Bob Twiddy (’83) and a little cajoling. He finally sent me a long letter and I will edit since this is mostly a PG publication. “I just retuned to my (in-home) office from a little field work in the wet soggy cold of a short northwestern fall day. I was out collecting a few samples of a run-off from a medium sized dairy farm operation near Butteville, Oregon. My passions still remain with geology and I spend my billable time playing with water or writing about water.” Rick has been an independent geological consultant for over 12 years now, but laments over the conflicts concerning water resources vs. human development and the tight-rope he has to walk between pleasing a client and being honest. Amen Rick! Rick also had a very rough time and rehab. after a nasty accident where a pick-up truck broadsided him on his bike – broken neck, skull and spinal cord injuries – he is lucky to be alive. Fortunately, Rick is also lucky in having a wonderful partner, Kari, who is a civil engineer and works in the drinking water field. They both have been working together with an organization called “Water For People” which provides funding for water and sanitation projects in emerging third world cultures. Way to go Rick!
Hal Schlicht has a busy time doing geotechnical work for a small outfit out of Steamboat Springs, but occasionally does work around here and works with Don Graham (’75).
Dirk Vandervoort writes “after I left WSC in 1985 I moved to Bozeman for a Masters at Montana State University. From there I moved to upstate New York and got a PhD at Cornell University - it was an excuse to do field work in the Argentina Andes, which was more like Death Valley at 15,000 feet than a snow-capped alpine paradise. In between the degrees I generally hung out and skied and rode my bike. After the degrees I worked for a spell at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. The overhead costs got too high to support my emergence from dirtbag to perfessional, so I moved into the world of consulting - first as a defense contractor supporting marine environmental projects and currently as a GIS consultant for energy utilities. Most of my geology these days is recreational, which is okay - I don't have to write any more papers about it. I've been married for 15 years and have a daughter in second grade whose science fair project is about "Why do different sands have different colors?" (Bruce Bartleson take note...). Currently we're living in Boise. I've stayed in distant contact with some WSC alumni. Last summer Peter Thurston (’81) (La Cabeza de Alfiler) dropped by and we spent a weekend bouncing around the Boise foothills on our mountain bikes.”
John Lamborn has probably had the most varied career history of any our graduates. Can you top this?: After graduation he started out roughnecking on oil wells in Oklahoma; came back briefly to work as my field assistant doing stratigraphic work for Amoco near Chama, NM; joined the Nevada gold boom of the 80s working for USMX for several years; ran a tire shop in Durango for a year; went to Alaska for a few years on gold prospects; came back to his home near Canon City a few years ago for some ranching and is now owner, operator and salesman for a sand and gravel operation in Florence, CO and is also running a small herd of cattle. John and Kit have two daughters who are now 15 and 12.
Dave Chapin writes “I am married to a wonderful woman from Guatemala. After living in Vail for 14 years we moved to Denver. I went back to school 2 years ago and received a 2nd BS degree in computer networking. I am working for Gart Sports as a Computer Tech.”
Lisa Cole-Starkebaum has her hands full raising 2 boys along with husband, Neal who works for the County Planning Department. As noted earlier Lisa & Neal kindly offered their house for Geology Homecoming Party which was a great success, partly due to the great setting overlooking the Ohio Creek Valley from the Cranor Hill area. Lisa also went on the alumni White Rim bike trip and was a great help getting the food together – a real professional shopper! Thanks again Lisa!
Mike Luksic reports in from Modesto, CA where he is working as Registered Geologist for ATC Associates, Inc. He says he is still into rafting/kayaking –no surprise there Mike!
Dave Mauz reports than after spending some time after graduation farming and then in the IT world, life has come full circle for me and I'm currently COO for a company "Verdisys", that provides petroleum enhancement services. Namely, lateral drilling of existing wells using a patented method of fluid jetting (low volume, high pressure)." Dave has also offered to explore the idea of internships for WSC students with his company. Dave, that is great and thanks for thinking of us!
John Axleson showed up in the Denver Post for his newly published book Big Game Hunter's Guide to Colorado. I’m sure all of the hunters already have a copy. If not go out and get one.
William Mallory has been teaching Middle School Science classes for the past 13 years. He also teaches freshman science courses for Morgan Community College. William ran into Allen Stork at a Boy Scout Camp in summer 2002.
Scott Effner I mostly communicate with Susan Wyman, his wife, since Scott is the strong, silent type (I still remember the “Berfield Mauler” episode) and besides Susan is a wonderful writer. Here are excerpts from her letter: … “We both logged thousands of road bike miles, hundreds of cross-bike miles and dozens of mountain bike miles. Scott spent July and August working in Southeast Idaho. When he wasn’t spending 12 hour days at the drill rig, he took his road bike out on the Idaho pavement. His memorable experiences included getting three flats in one afternoon and having to hitch a ride back to town with an Idaho rancher, and on a separate occasion being attacked by a badger! He was just riding along, minding his own business, when a snarling ball of fur flew from the borrow ditch and chased him down the road. Luckily, Scott has a pretty good sprint and the badger, though fast, lacked endurance.” The big trip and vacation of 2002 for them was the America by Bicycle cross country ride from Newport Beach, CA to Savannah, GA: 2900 miles in 26 days – editors note: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that is over 100 miles/day – Susan rode EFI (biker-nut for “every fabulous inch”) and Scott rode every other day, since he was also co- mechanic. Finally, we learn that Scott is a Town Board Member (Trustee) for the town of La Veta, CO. “It’s a volunteer/service position, and so far the small town politics haven’t driven him crazy, but he wishes Sue would knock off with the politician jokes. (The word politics is derived from the word “poly”, meaning many, and the word “ticks” meaning “blood sucking parasites.”) Scott and Sue have their own environmental company, Whetstone Associates.
Paul Wilderman We were saddened by the news that Paul passed away last year. His widow, Lisa writes: “Thank you for the enrichment and enjoyment you added to his life. Of course, I have numerous rocks and fossils to remember all of you!” Thanks Lisa!
Annie (Clements) Eckman has recently re-located to Ft. Collins. She is currently home with a newborn (5/8/03) daughter, Fiona and her 3 ½ year old sister Laurel. She says that she “would sacrifice another bra to the camp fire if we would get another alumni raft trip going!” She is referring to the famous Gray and Desolation alumni raft trip of about 1990 – those who went will know what she means. You’re right Annie, it is about time. We’ll work on it, but permits are getting harder and harder to come by.
Anthony (Doc) Doctor I talked to Doc on the phone not too long ago and found that his other business interests in Pagosa Springs have forced him to resign as head of the Wolf Creek Ski Patrol. Doc will recall the alumni river trip mentioned above.
Norm Yoast writes that he is still a teacher for Moffat County schools doing 8th grade science and “river systems” (and working under Pete Bergmann (’75), who is Superintendent of the School District.) Norm and wife Deb have 2 kids, Lindsay, 11 and Colten, 7. Deb teaches math at Craig middle school and Norm coaches girls basketball. He adds that he “still enjoys fishing/hunting/archery/ camping.” You’re in a good place for it Norm!
Julie (many names) Coleman Julie is with the BLM in Montrose as the Archeologist for the Uncompahgre Field Office. In recent years she has been very busy (and successful) writing grants to support projects such as restoring the famous “hanging flume” along the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers between Uravan and Gateway. The flume was constructed in the 1890s as part of a placer gold recovery program which never really worked. She also is involved in the Uncompahgre Plateau Archeology Project that deals with habitat reconstruction. Julie also continues to rival Tom Prather as a champion world traveler with trips to Africa, Belize, Guatemala and Scotland in the past year.
Elizabeth (Beth) Budzien disappeared after graduation – her peers will recall that she commuted from Salida (sound familiar Katye?) – and we have not heard a word from her ever since. Surprise, while surfing our web site (at least someone does it) and putting off a report she was supposed to be doing she discovered that she was one of the “Lost Geologists.” No longer lost Budzien reports the following: After graduation (1992) I worked for P.E. LaMoreaux and Associates (PELA) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as an environmental geologist, doing a variety of things including site investigations, remediation, geophysical logging of boreholes and working in our environmental laboratory when required. While with PELA I was able to travel all over the country (PA to CA) on projects. From 1994 to 1995 I worked for the State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management. I mainly conducted inspections of solid and hazardous waste facilities (landfills and treatment plants) as well as general industry (to inspect their waste management practices). I've always wanted to go to Australia and in December 1995 I had the opportunity to move to Sydney (when asked, I always say that a big mistake brought me here, but when the big mistake disappeared I still had a good job so I stayed). In February 1996 I was hired by BP Australia as the Environmental Engineer for New South Wales, Queensland and Northern Territory. Basically I was responsible for all environmental issues/programs across the 3 states for all retail, depot and terminal sites. I ended up specialising in demolition and remediation of fuel terminals. I became a dual citizen (US and Australia) in 1998. In January 1999 due to a restructuring of the organisation I was retrenched and immediately got a job as a senior environmental scientist with CMPS&F (which was later bought out by Egis Consulting). I left Egis in mid 2001 for the position of Operations Manager - Contaminated Land Management section at Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia (PB). I am currently managing a team of 5-6 scientist/engineers working on projects ranging from Phase 1 ESAs (desk top historical studies) and Phase 1 and 2 ESAs (intrusive investigations) of a variety of sites (including industrial, rail, residential and bushland) to remediation of sites from country NSW to right on Sydney Harbour. Now that’s an impressive and interesting bio! Way to go, Beth, welcome back!
Mark Brown relates that he is currently working at Rocky Flats as a geologist/soil sampling technician. What would geologists have done in the past 20 years without Rocky Flats, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and the Nevada test site??
Kathleen Kelly has also been MIA for years but was found this summer in a most unusual manner. While walking down the back streets of Talkeetna, AK this summer, we were suddenly accosted by a young man running out of a bar (really) shouting my name. It turned out to be Eric Larson, who just happens to be Kathleen’s husband. Kathleen is now a masseuse operating out of Telluride and having a great time. We had a nice phone conversation not too long ago and it was good talking to her again. Eric by the way, is a world class mountain guide and leads clients to Mt. Denali (Talkeetna is the jumping off place for such expeditions) and also in the Himalayas.
David (Blotto) Lazorchak has actually joined the ranks of government bureaucrats by taking over Julie Coleman’s old job and is now the Archeologist/Geologist for the BLM in Gunnison. Welcome back (full time) to Gunnison, Dave!
Bob Richardson has been up to Gunnison several times this year, one time surprising me by knocking on my front door out of the blue and in uniform. Bob is with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office and he was up here to “escort” a prisoner (not me!) back to Denver. He and Melissa were here again for Homecoming for at least 5 times in a row – right Bob??
Dr. Pete Stelling How about that, Pete is now a PhD! We had lunch with Pete in Anchorage last summer. Pete worked with the Alaska Volcano Observatory and is starting a teaching job this fall at the University of Alaska at Anchorage. And a minor side-bar is that he got married this year. Congratulations Pete!
Jason Eckman is working for Alpine Archaeological Consultants and reports, ”it has been a busy year in the field. I excavated a nice Fremont site near Cedar City, UT and an incredible late Paleoindian/Early Archaic site near beautiful Kemmerer, Wyoming. Now I am back stuck in the office writing reports. My wife and I are still living in Palisade and I am not looking forward to the daily commute to Montrose”
Rosemary (Hart) Carroll announces the news of the arrival of their second son, Maxwell, born on March 8, 2003. Ethan is now 3. She is still working for the Desert Research Institute doing research hydrology and enjoying all the recreation of the Reno area. It’s hard to believe I taught you your first course in hydrogeology. Rosemary – You’ve come a long way despite that handicap!
Eric Jordan With the help of many of our alums Eric went on an all-out search for an Environmental Geology position this year and finally landed a good job. The only bad news is that it is in New York City – Could be worse – like Baghdad or Kabul.
Renee Brekke gritted her teeth, left the bright lights of Boulder (and a teaching job) and came back to Gunnison last year for the quality of life. For awhile she was doing all kinds of odd jobs, including construction, but this summer she landed a big prize and is now an Admissions Counselor for Western State. She says she is thrilled to be back and so are we. Congratulations Renee!
Sean Hlousek has come to Homecoming, I think, every year since graduation – Right Sean? At any rate he is now with Premier Data Services in Englewood and the big news is that he and Elaine just celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary!
Sonia Hutmacher is now in Salt Lake City after finishing her Master’s degree in Anthropology (with a strong emphasis in geomorphology and soils) at Eastern New Mexico University.“ In 2000, I completed my thesis research using GIS, geomorphology and soil chemistry and plant growth requirements (edaphic and environmental factors). I am currently working with SWCA Inc. Environmental Consultants as a geoarchaeologist and geomorphologist. Most of the work that I do involves assessing geomorphological change to archaeological sites over time. I conduct both chemical and physical tests on archaeological soils and sediments to determine the location of the best areas for excavation, and am also called upon for questions regarding rock type and mineral content (for some reason archaeologists have a hard time with vitrophyre, ignimbrite, and obsidian). I am also responsible for overseeing a significant paleoenvironmental study of the hydrographic Great Basin.” She is now working on becoming a licensed geologist in Utah and most of all, plans to be married in September, 2004! Good to hear from you Sonia!
Katye McConaghy is back from the “wilds” of British Columbia and most important of all is teaching Geology 101 for us this fall as an Adjunct Faculty and in her words “Lovin it.” Just like when she was a student she is commuting from Salida. Nice to have you back Katye, you add something that was missing.
Zach Reynolds has resurfaced after 5 years of being underground. He is now living in Carbondale, working for Climbing Magazine as Photo Editor and is married to Carman (Shoults) Reynolds. They have two girls: Emily Claire and Megan Elizabeth who are 3 and 1 years old, respectively.
Tessa Watson came through Gunnison this summer with a surprise visitor – a baby boy! Nikodemus Alexander was born Dec.26, 2002. “I am a stay at home Mom for now, so not much besides not sleeping, playing with the baby, etc.” Her big excitement of the year, besides coming back to Colorado, was getting out and seeing a Warren Miller film. Your perspective changes with a baby, doesn’t it Tess?
Brian Coven reports that he and Kimmy just bought their first house (in La Porte, CO) and he is working on his thesis from NAU.
Nathan Goodale writes as follows: “I have been busy. I finished my M.A. at the University of Montana in 2001. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at Washington State University. My work is centered on lithic (there had to be some geology in there!) technology during the forager to farmer transition in the Middle East. Hope all of you are doing well.” Nate, does this mean you get to go to Iraq for field work?
Duncan Drummond is currently living in Northern California near Mt. Shasta, teaching Community Day School. Duncan – pay off your education yet?
Dave Kozlowski looks like he is becoming a permanent Gunnison resident. He recently bought a house here and is now working for Furey Land Surveying Inc. in town that also employs Phil Van Zale (’97) and has employed several other of our alums over the years.
Betsey (Wagner) Johnson is still working for Dr. Schlegel, (or was) but more importantly, after getting married this year, she just had a baby on November 26. Congratulations Betsey!