Larry Mewhort - 2008

CSEG Meritorious Service Award Recipient Citation for Larry Mewhort
by David Emery

Larry Mewhort The CSEG Meritorious Service Award is given to a member who has made an outstanding contribution to the geophysical Society and Industry.

Larry Mewhort is both a highly gifted geophysicist and someone who has contributed to my understanding of the geophysical society. I first met Larry 21 years ago when he appeared at my office door asking about Husky's geophysical computer application. Earlier that same day Husky had acquired Canterra Energy, the firm that Larry had joined several years earlier. Larry has always been innately interested in learning everything he can about geophysics and how to use every available tool. While it was still several months before the corporate group was merged into a single geophysical team, Larry would periodically appear to see what innovative methods we were using and would share what had worked at Canterra.

I believe Larry's instinctive interest in learning, teaching and helping others stems from his upbringing on a small farm in Northern Saskatchewan. Like all individuals from Saskatchewan, Larry has been full of stories about walking to school in – 40°C weather and his hours spent on a tractor, but I still remember the day he talked with pride about volunteering to flood the small school rink. It wasn't as much about the subsequent hockey game, it was about the jerry-rigged Zamboni you had to push around the rink and the joy he received when everyone would stream out of the one room school to spend the day skating on a perfectly smooth outdoor rink. While farming chores taught Larry the value of hard work and school taught him the power of knowledge, Larry also learnt that volunteering has it's own rewards.

Larry eventually left the farm to get an Engineering degree in Geophysics at the University of Saskatchewan and migrated to Alberta to work for Hudson Bay Oil and Gas. After leaving HBOG for Canterra, Larry settled into working in the geophysical special project group, a position he still holds today at Husky. Larry still finds the time to personally assist all his peers including new hires, summer students and even the older geophysicists. Larry realized that the knowledge he gained meant nothing if he could not pass it on to others. Like most geophysicists, public speaking wasn't the easiest thing for Larry, but instead of shying away he faced the problem head on and joined Toastmaster International, an activity he continues to this day.

The late 80's was also the time most industry research groups closed and by the early 90's, the testing of new concepts in geophysics became concentrated within various Universities and seismic contractors. The problem facing researchers was a shortage of funds to acquire seismic data and an insufficient ability to publish results when data had been donated by industry. The Husky-Talisman Benjamin line, a volume that has been given to over 200 geophysical groups, is just one example of Larry (et. al.)'s innovative solutions to this problem. The volume contained a high quality foothills line with full publishing rights, widely distributed so various solutions could easily be compared, not just at Husky, but within the Industry as a whole.

The 90's also brought a substantial change at the University of Calgary Geophysics Department with the start of CREWES and the addition of new professors with experience in the now defunct industry research groups. Larry started his second education in geophysics taking post-graduate level evening courses and slowly turning his home office into a bastion of geophysical research journals and books. He accomplished this while still putting 40+ hours into special projects at work, attending Toastmasters and raising 4 teenagers.

By the end of the 90's Larry had established himself as the de facto Chief Geophysicist at Husky but when management attempted to give him the title and the attached responsibilities, he quickly let it be known that he would prefer to clean the washrooms. He just wanted to help others and not determine who got promoted, hired or fired.

The new century brought about yet another new period in Larry's geophysical activities. While Larry had chaired and participated in SEG and CSEG conventions throughout the 90's, in 2001 Larry put his name forward for assistant Director of Educations Services at the CSEG. Education services is responsible for arranging the technical and continuing education programs at the CSEG. He was duly elected and served on the executive for 2002 and 2003. Larry, along with others, was involved in expanding the DoodleTrain (now in its 7th year), establishing the CSEG Distinguished Lecture Tour and improving our overall luncheon speakers. Not being one to shy away from work he continues to sit on the luncheon committee, help out on an ad hoc basis throughout the society, and after leaving the executive 6 years ago continues to put countless hours into the CSEG.

I have been most fortunate to work with Larry over the last 20 years and to call him both mentor and friend. I see Larry as truly deserving of the CSEG Meritorious Service Award. I'm very thankful that Husky didn't make him either Chief Geophysicist or the men's room janitor but let him continue to further his study of the science of geophysics and let him continue to enlighten others in our great occupation.