Paul MacKay - 2014

CSEG Special Commendation Award Citation for Dr. Paul MacKay
Citation by Dr. John Varsek*

Paul MacKayDr. Paul MacKay, now a past-President of the CSPG, brought just the right combination of vision, diplomacy, leadership and career experience to help bring about the new GeoConvention Partnership agreement with the CSPG and CWLS in late 2013. His main partner in achieving this significant agreement was Rob McGory, past-President of the CSEG. He was recognized with a Special Commendation award in 2013. The new GeoConvention structure has the potential to improve and expand the delivery of leading and practical geoscience and technology to members.

A confluence of career tracks made Paul just the right person for the CSEG to work with in developing and concluding the new arrangement. Those pivotal experiences were: multi-disciplinary geo-science, entrepreneurship, and managing partnerships.

Early in his career Paul, who obtained a BSc in geology from Queens, was cross-trained as a geophysicist by Amoco Canada. He worked many of the classic plays of central Alberta. Later, after receiving his PhD from the University of Calgary in 1991, Paul became a frequent contributor at our joint conventions, particularly on the petroleum geology of structural belts. A highlight was winning the Best Paper Award for Integrated Geology and Geophysics at the GeoTriad Convention in 1998. Meanwhile, Paul had immersed himself in the business of exploration and development, from strategic planning and budgeting, to acquisitions and investor relations, to management of development teams, with Morrison Petroleums and Northstar Energy.

His interests shifted again in the early 2000s when he merged his entrepreneurial, research and teaching interests. He led junior resource players, first K2 Energy as President, followed by a VP Ex position at Sunshine Oilsands, and today is President of Shale Petroleum. He accepted an Adjunct Professorship with the University of Calgary in 2005. His research is about naturally fractured systems and he is an important liaison to the Industry. He is well known in Industry for field courses in structural geology and geophysics that are conducted in the Canadian and Wyoming Rockies. He served as President of the CSPG in 2013 and, importantly for this citation, co-chaired the much admired 2011 GeoConvention with Rob McGory. Their approach to developing relevant technical program was to recruit distinguished practitioners and managers in various ‘hot’ plays and have them employ their networks and influence to create practical multi-disciplinary sessions.

With these experiences Paul acquired a deep understanding of the needs of members and recognized the urgency of improving the effectiveness of GeoConvention for showcasing Canadian energy geoscience. He anticipated, with Rob McGory, that any successful agreement would have to meet a number of challenges: respect the distinct cultures and practices of the participating Societies, streamline management and governance of the convention so that it takes up less time for the Societies executive teams, provide for convention management continuity and building of best practices, and create a consistent marketing brand for exhibitors, sponsors and contributors with the goal of improving the visibility of GeoConvention in the North American market. He thinks a good agreement, managed with goodwill by all three Societies, will have as an outcome the financial performance that each Society deems necessary for continued operations.

By putting the educational interests of members first and for demonstrating the highest standards of partnership and leadership, the CSEG is proud to award Paul McKay this Special Commendation Award.

* John Varsek, Past President of the CSPG, and John Townsley, Past President of the CSEG, were responsible for a transitional GeoConvention agreement in 2010 that was evolved into the current arrangement.