Many volunteers work behind the scenes, ensuring that CSEG initiatives are successful. Those who want to volunteer, or to say thank you to those who do, often don’t know what committees and opportunities exist.

This column aims to bridge those gaps. In addition to the column, the CSEG website will be updated regularly with committee and volunteer information.
– RN

CSEG Past Presidents

Every December, the Past Presidents of the CSEG gather for a luncheon providing an opportunity for the current President, Vice-President and Foundation Chair to give an update on CSEG operations and also to learn from those who have walked in the same shoes. Later in the day, the President’s Advisory Council (PAC), made up of the ten most recent Past Presidents convenes to discuss specific issues of the day brought forward by the current Executive. For a full list of Past Presidents back to Jack Galloway in 1950 please refer to the CSEG website at

In this column we talk with at least one Past President from each decade – 1960s to present. Since this column was first drafted, we are saddened to learn that the two longest serving Past Presidents, John Hodgkinson (1966) and Peter Savage (1962), passed away. We are fortunate to have had a lively conversation with Peter three weeks prior.

Peter Savage

When Peter Savage took on the role of CSEG President in 1962 he was 35 years old. By that time he had already been on the Executive as the last Secretary-Treasurer, as Vice President, organised public science lectures and acted as the society Editor when he arranged for oral presentations to be typed up and printed in a local oil magazine. So now, 54 years later, Peter and Shirley’s kitchen table is full of magazines that they enjoy reading in retirement – and the RECORDER is near the top of the pile. Peter talks passionately about many aspects of geophysics and the industry, including the 1960s election of a CSEG President nominated because they thought he wouldn’t win. He advises ‘don’t do it’! Peter is full of advice and talked at length about the current economic downturn, mentioning that although they start to lose significance after a while, there is a problem with ‘worship of the quarterly report’ and companies quickly laying off thousands. On a personal note, Peter is also the proud owner of a Doodlebug scout (1958) which is important because he
joined the CSEG to get to the Doodlebug. Seriously! Yes!

Roy Lindseth

Roy Lindseth (1971) is known in the community for his contribution to seismic data processing and development of synthetic seismograms as much as he is for being the 1971 CSEG President, 1976 SEG President and 1979 APEGGA President. I was delighted to be able to join Roy for a Christmas lunch, along with Paul Anderson and Larry Lines, during which time Roy imparted some of his experiences and views of the industry. For those starting out in the industry, Roy recommends that an overseas assignment as being invaluable to both gain an understanding of other cultures and technology. Although retired for many years, he continues to be interested in technical developments, follows oil industry trends and is presently a Technical Advisor to CREWES at the University of Calgary.

He imparts the wisdom that the Executive should not try to make too many changes, but rather act on a few key ideas and
be a good steward to the society

Easton Wren

Easton Wren took on the role of President in 1981, having previously run for the position a few years earlier. He wanted to be completely involved as well as having the opportunity to ‘perhaps’ put his own stamp on things. He started volunteering as Assistant Editor for the CSEG Journal in 1972, co-edited the Proceedings of the First CSEG Convention (1973), became Editor in 1974 and co-chaired the Second CSEG-CSPG Joint Convention (1979). There were many challenges with the National Energy Program (NEP) in place and the effect of a plummeting oil price on morale – something that we now are currently facing. So the advice and experience of previous Presidents is all the more critical and I’d like to change Easton’s
feeling that once your terms are over you are on the shelf

John Boyd

John Boyd, 1986 CSEG President, is well known to the membership for his contribution to the industry and recent recognition by the 2014 CSEG Symposium.

Since joining the industry in the 1960s John has been involved with the society since representing the CSEG at an EAEG convention in 1973 then as CSEG Secretary in 1977. Since 2008, John has been involved heavily with the CSEG Foundation and is currently the fundraising co-chair. If not volunteering with the CSEG or Rotary, he can be found sailing through the Southern Gulf Islands or elsewhere! John was President during a major oil price crash and felt an obligation to lobby ministers in AB, SK and ON to stress the importance of geophysics in petroleum exploration and development. Additionally, during those times, the CSEG tried to link those looking for work with those offering work. Given the current dropping oil price, I specifically asked John (and Perry) for advice to the membership in tough times –
don’t become a recluse – get out to the luncheons, GeoConvention, DoodleTrain…

Nancy Shaw

1998 President Nancy Shaw has been a CSEG member since the early 1980s and was always on one committee or another: Ski Spree, Ladies Auxillary, Monthly Luncheons, CSEG Convention (including General Chair in 1992) and the Executive as Treasurer in 1993. After winning the election against John Peirce, Nancy became the second female CSEG President following 1983 President Valerie Nielsen. For twenty years the CSEG was a big part of Nancy’s life and she now finds that she measures all subsequent volunteer experiences against it – it was ‘a high water mark’. Although Nancy currently resides in BC she still has strong connections to the CSEG through the CSEG Foundation Outreach and enjoys talking to high school kids about geophysics because
a world with more science is better than a world with less

Perry Kotkas

Perry Kotkas (2000 President) has been active with the CSEG since 1980. He has served on many CSEG committees including the Convention, Doodlespiel, Doodlebug and, since 2007, the CSEG Foundation (Chair from 2008-2014, currently Past Chair and Secretary).

He observes that there is a fine balance between making changes and keeping the status quo – and Perry swayed towards the former when he felt there were improvements to be made. He was part of the team that established the PAC and reformed the Executive to include two-year terms for all Directors, primarily because the incoming Executive often didn’t know what was going on. Perry advises consulting with the PAC before embarking on anything big.

In tough times Perry suggests that this is a time for the CSEG to be visible, to be helpful to members and potentially consider reduced rates for courses and seminars. The oil price has crashed a number of times and we will recover, but for members who haven’t experienced one before –
this oil price crash will be an uncomfortable jolt

John Townsley

In 2010, John Townsley took the reins after making a commitment to ‘be focused on the CSEG mandate of promoting fellowship and science amongst those people interested in exploration geophysics’ and to offer his careful stewardship and enthusiasm. That said, he voted for his opponent Laurie Ross whom he felt would do great things for the society. John tried to not make too many changes to the society but supported a budget for rebranding and the online CSEG Journal, and facilitated CSEG-CSPG collaboration for Earth Science for Society (ESfS). He likes to volunteer to make a difference in the world and to do fun things with interesting people – the CSEG is perfect! I sense that we’ll see more involvement from John in the future. John observes that most of the CSEG’s work is done by the committees and advises
keep those volunteers enthused



Share This Column