A new named grant honoring the memory of an AAPG Honorary member – a pioneer and giant in the world of geological-geophysical integration – has been established by the AAPG Foundation.
The R. Randy Ray Memorial Named Grant, intended to support students in petroleum geology, has been started by his family and by me and fellow AAPG Member Donna Anderson.
It honors a geologist who was hailed during his career as being “a tireless volunteer,” praised for his efforts to advance integrated geoscience knowledge and training, and honored for having a “vision energized by optimism and enthusiasm.”
Enthusiastically sharing his knowledge “was his passion,” his wife Kathy wrote after his death in December 2017, and he is still remembered as “a consummate professional, whether in the field wearing jeans and boots, or (wearing) a coat and tie in the workplace.”
‘A Whirlwind of a Volunteer’
R. Randy Ray – R3 to his friends – joined AAPG in 1975 as a graduating geology student with honors at the University of Texas at Austin. Born in Wewoka, Okla., his father was a petroleum engineer working in Dallas and Midland, Texas and Calgary, Canada. He graduated from high school in Calgary, spent two summers working as a roustabout in west Texas – he “liked the smell of oil around pumping wells” – before receiving his bachelor’s degree.
Significantly, he attended the Cities Service’s geophysical training program in Tulsa, where he learned to interpret seismic.
He soon transferred to Denver to work frontier exploration groups for Alaska, California and later Rockies’ basins, then earned a master’s in geology at the Colorado School of Mines in 1983 – with a seismic stratigraphic thesis in the Wind River Basin, Wyo., which was published in AAPG Memoir 32.
During this time, Randy also was becoming an important dynamic throughout AAPG – he eagerly became “a whirlwind of a volunteer” through active involvement in the House of Delegates, AAPG committees, conventions and publications, not to mention his efforts on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists and the Rocky Mountain Section of AAPG.
In a career-defining decision, Randy started Denver-based R3 Exploration Corporation in 1980, working as a seismic interpreter who integrated geology and geophysics. His professional career included consulting for numerous oil and gas companies and many activities that focus on bringing together geologists and geophysicists to better understand subsurface geology.
His success with fostering discipline integration was not only impressive, but continuous.
He was the founder and past co-chair of the hugely successful annual Denver 3-D Seismic Symposium, which is now in its 25th year and attracts more than 600 participants; past chair of the AAPG/SEG Geophysical Integration Committee; past editor of the AAPG EXPLORER’s popular Geophysical Corner; deputy editor of the inaugural 2013 AAPG/SEG Interpretation journal; and was instrumental in the creation and success of the new SPE-AAPG-SEG Unconventional Resources Convention, URTeC, first as an AAPG committee member and as co-chair in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Randy considered professional service as part of his responsibility as a geologist and thrived on the interaction with other like-minded volunteers. As a long-time participant in AAPG activities, he took on leadership roles in publications, was chair of the House of Delegates and served on the Executive Committee and Advisory Council.
And that meritorious dedication and service was recognized by his selection to be the recipient of numerous AAPG awards, including Honorary Member in 2011, Honorary Member of the House in 2017, Distinguished Member of the House in 2016, Distinguished Service in 2005, and Certificates of Merit for Denver 2001 and 2009 ACE Meetings, where he served as general vice chair and general chair, respectively.
R. Randy Ray Memorial Grant
The Foundation’s R. Randy Ray Memorial Grant, intended to both honor the memory of a “truly great geologist/geophysicist” while supporting students – an initiative that Ray himself loved – is now available for specific contributions. To contribute, or for more information, contact the AAPG Foundation at (918) 560-2644 or [email protected].