Bob Rice

BobRiceI was never interested in geology as a kid. I grew up on Lake Erie and always liked the water and water sports. I was a competitive swimmer so I gravitated to the “fad of the day” Oceanography. When I spoke with my first college counselor he informed me that Oceanography was a graduate level discipline, and I needed to take a basic science in undergraduate school. He suggested I try geology, which sounded better to me than chemistry or biology.

I went to Denison, a small school in Ohio where the professors actually taught the introductory courses. It happened that I drew one of the most dynamic professors at Denison for Geology 101. He hooked me, and I worked very hard to get the GPA necessary to get into Grad school, so I could then pursue the Oceanography dream.

I eventually discovered that with a geology degree my type of Oceanography would be Marine Geology, and I attended the University of Southern California that had a geology department that had a good reputation in Marine Geology under Dr. Don Gorsline. During my first meeting with him he asked the question that changed my life i.e. “What are you gong to do for a job?” Reality had finally struck.

Fortunately I roomed with a Texan who had already spent two summers interning for major oil companies. He advised that we get our Master’s degrees as fast as possible and get a job in the oil business. As someone born and raised in Ohio, I had never considered the oil business, but by this point I was totally disillusioned with graduate school. Therefore when the recruiters for the majors came to campus, I was ready to give up the illusion of Oceanography and get a job.

Texaco hired me, and in 1971 I went to work in New Orleans working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. I was immediately hooked; interesting work, good money, service company entertainment, and no professors. The 1973 oil embargo came along and geologists became hot commodities, perfect! We have all been through many ups and downs since that time, but I have never regretted meeting that special professor or rooming with that Texan.

Bob Rice