Two giants of the industry and the profession are being honored this year for their extraordinary support of the AAPG Foundation and its programs.
- John F. Bookout, an influential and much-honored leader in the industry for nearly four decades, who is this year’s recipient of the L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal, the Foundation’s highest honor.
- John Silcox, a longtime executive for Standard Oil Co. of California (now Chevron) and active, passionate supporter of the AAPG Foundation, who is the recipient of this year’s Chairman’s Award.
Bookout was recently recognized during the awards ceremony at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in San Antonio. Silcox will receive his award at this year’s Foundation Trustee Associates annual meeting in Kohler, Wisc.
John Bookout Jr.
Bookout was unable to attend the awards ceremony, but a message from him was played in San Antonio:
“I’m so pleased and honored that the trustees of the AAPG Foundation selected me to receive this prestigious award,” he said via his recording. “This recognition is even more significant coming from the AAPG Foundation, a long-standing organization that represents the industry in which I dedicated most of my life … I honestly hope that I am worthy of this honor named for Mr. Weeks. Thank all of you who support AAPG and its many programs, which encourage and assist those following in our footsteps.”
The Weeks Medal is the latest in a long line of industry and professional honors that Bookout has received due to his long record of excellence and exemplary service to the petroleum industry and its related institutions.
Perhaps best known for his nearly four-decade-long tenure with Shell Oil, including 13 years spent as president and CEO, Bookout today is an active and passionate supporter of civic and philanthropic organizations, including the AAPG Foundation.
He was specifically honored in San Antonio for his generous gifts to the AAPG Foundation through what is called the “Bookout Initiative” – his ongoing support of a fund that he started nearly a decade ago to provide training in the Earth sciences for K-12 teachers across America.
Thanks to those gifts, the Foundation has been able to partner with the Ellison Miles Geotechnology Institute to offer workshops and conferences that have provided geoscience training to hundreds of teachers and, as a result, have impacted thousands and thousands of students.
“John Bookout is one of geoscience’s best friends and supporters,” said Foundation Trustee Chair Jim Gibbs. “For many years he has consistently and generously contributed to schools and Earth science organizations for education and student support. He is respected and admired by all who have had the privilege of knowing him.”
His contributions also support the Foundation’s Military Veterans Scholarship Program, making a career in the geosciences more accessible to men and women who have served their country.
The Chairman’s Award is given to remarkable people for their significant support of the AAPG Foundation and its programs – in other words, it is a perfect descriptor of for the valuable and valued contributions made over the years by John Silcox.
A member of AAPG since 1950, Silcox has been an AAPG Foundation Trustee Associate since 1990, serving in all Trustee Associates’ leadership positions at various times through today. And that relationship reached a generous milestone in 2010, when he and his wife, Colleen, funded a Grant-In-Aid for the benefit of geoscience education – and the future of the profession
It’s no exaggeration to say that he literally was born into the industry.
His father was a pioneer oil field chemist with Standard Oil Co. of California (now Chevron) when John was born in Whittier, Calif., on July 26, 1926. He moved with his family to Taft, Calif., when he was six months old, and together with his four siblings the family lived on a Standard Oil lease in a company house. Like his mother and father, the five children attended the University of California after attending grade school and high school.
Silcox received his bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of California-Berkeley in 1951, and soon started his career with Standard Oil Company (Chevron) as a field geologist in southern California. He also had assignments in Washington, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Anchorage and again in San Francisco at the company headquarters.
Perhaps it was inevitable, but worth noting: Joining Standard in 1951 was the start of a long and successful relationship for both parties, with Silcox steadily rising through the ranks. In 1973 he was named vice president of exploration for Standard’s Western Operations Inc. In 1980, he was promoted to exploration vice president for Chevron Overseas Inc.
In 1984 Chevron Corp. was formed after merger with Gulf Oil Co., and Silcox was named president of Chevron Overseas Petroleum Inc., with responsibility for Chevron’s worldwide production and exploration, directing operations in 30 countries and all continents except North America.
Later, as Chevron’s representative on the multi-industry American Trade Consortium, he led negotiations with the Soviets and Republic of Kazakhstan over exploration and development of oil rights. As a result, the giant Tengiz oil field, in Kazakhstan, doubled Chevron’s proven reserves.
He retired in 1990.
His association with AAPG and the Foundation has been equally as fulfilling, for both parties.