2019 AGI Medal in Memory of Ian Campbell

Presented to Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy
Clear Creek Associates


Citation by Douglas Bartlett, Principal Hydrogeologist, Clear Creek Associates

The 2019 recipient of the Ian Campbell Award, Barbara Murphy, richly deserves recognition for “Superlative Service to the Geosciences.” Over her 40+ year career as a geologist, she has dedicated herself to supporting the geosciences through her voluntary work for numerous geoscience organizations including AGI, AIPG, and GSA among numerous others. These organizations thrive only because people like Barbara give so much of their time and energy to make the organizations successful and of value to their members. Barbara’s efforts are a tribute to selfless support of one’s profession, in this case, the geosciences.

Barbara first became interested in geology from an Earth Science class in 9th grade at Wilmington (Delaware) Friends School. She continued her interest in college and earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Her senior research project was based on summer fieldwork mapping completed as part of the Nain Anorthosite Project in Labrador, Canada at a remote location where she was told that she was the fourth person in modern times to visit. After graduation from Mount Holyoke in 1975, she worked as a field and research assistant for the summer with one of her college professors, John Reid of Hampshire College, doing upper mantle research, studying ultramafic xenoliths with the Volcanology Research Group at Los Alamos Labs in New Mexico. Then she moved to Arizona and started graduate school at Arizona State University.

She initially worked for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management before joining the consulting firm Dames & Moore as a geologist in 1977 which is when I first met Barbara. While at Dames & Moore, Barbara worked on many varied projects including coal resource evaluations in New Mexico, geologic hazard investigations for highway projects, and investigation of groundwater solvent contamination.  In 1999, she joined our small hydrogeology firm in Phoenix called Clear Creek Associates where she has continued her work in geoscience projects in Arizona.

She is a former commissioner of the Arizona Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (appointed by the Governor of the State of Arizona). Barbara also serves as the chairperson for the Arizona Geological Survey State Map Advisory Committee.

Beginning early in her career, Barbara volunteered her time with geoscience organizations, most notably AIPG. She has held various National AIPG officer positions including President (2012), Vice President (2003) and Advisory Board Member (4 times) and she is currently a Trustee of the AIPG Foundation. Her leadership and organizational skills have greatly benefited AIPG. For instance, she was chairperson of the AIPG annual meeting (included the 3rd International Professional Geology Conference) in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2008. This was the first meeting that AIPG National took the lead and she was instrumental in working with headquarters staff in developing program formats, many of which are still followed. Other notable activities included:

  • AIPG representative to the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) Congressional Hazards Caucus and Geopolicy Working Group; and
  • An active member on several AIPG specially-tasked committees.
  • She represented geologists at hearings at the Arizona legislature on matters related to professional licensure and professional standards.
  • She spoke at committee hearings in support of the Arizona Geological Survey when the survey was threatened with closure.

Barbara took the lead for AIPG in developing a “white paper” for the American Association of State Geologists (AASG) entitled the Role of State Geological Surveys for the state surveys to use in gaining public awareness along with legislative and financial support. This was completed in 2010 and was well received.

She worked with AGI staff and AIPG headquarters to develop the Geosciences On-Line Initiative (GOLI) webinar program. As AIPGs President, she worked toward better contact with members by having the national advisory board members routinely contact section leaders and encouraging updates to web sites to promote what the sections are doing, and to encourage participation at AIPG annual meetings.

In addition to national service, Barbara has also participated in international geoscience organizations, most recently as vice-chairperson of the International Union of Geological Scientists (IUGS) Task Group on Global Geoscience Professionalism. Key activities included:

  • AIPG representative for the planning committee with Geoscientists Canada for the 4th International Professional Geology Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2012;
  • AIPG representative and presenter at the 34IGC in Brisbane, QLD, Australia in 2012;
  • Worked with colleagues at Geoscientists Canada and European Federation of Geologists and others on common professional matters.
  • Worked with the Geological Society of London in developing an MOU for comity between the organizations for CPG and CGeol applications.

To receive the Ian Campbell award, the recipient must have demonstrated “extraordinary service performed with the highest qualities of statesmanship.” Ian Campbell was a geoscientist, educator, administrator, and public servant, and was noted for his candor and integrity. I have known and worked with Barbara for her entire 40+ year career. She is a dedicated hard-working geologist and has selflessly given her time and energy to the betterment of her profession. She demonstrates the very best qualities of the unsung heroes that make organizations like AIPG and AGI successful. This award reflects well on AGI. I am very proud that she is receiving this most deserving award!


Response by Barbara Murphy

I am deeply honored to have been selected as AGI’s 2019 recipient of the Medal in Memory of Ian Campbell for Superlative Service to the Geosciences. This is an honor I never imagined or thought of receiving. It is such an honor to be recognized with the distinguished career of Ian Campbell and to join the list of other awardees, quite of few of whom I know personally or know of, and admire greatly.

My involvement with AGI over many years was initially through the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG). Being involved with AIPG at the section and national levels and working with other member societies and international geoscience organizations has been a pleasure and rewarding, professionally and personally. I learned early in my consulting career of the importance of being involved with professional organizations such as AIPG for continuing professional growth, networking opportunities, speaking and making presentations at conferences and to the public, and volunteerism in the community. 

Working at the large international consulting firm of Dames & Moore for 22 years, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with other geologists, engineers, and other scientists on a broad variety of projects including coal resource evaluations in New Mexico, major dam siting/design and flood control projects in central Arizona, highway projects, transmission lines, landfills, mining projects, military projects, resource management plans for various Federal agencies, and major Superfund and other remediation projects throughout the west. After Dames & Moore was bought out, I joined Clear Creek Associates, a small consulting firm, as it was founded in 1999, and continued to work with colleague and friend, Doug Bartlett. I have appreciated the project opportunities focused on environmental geology and hydrogeology, and the continued encouragement of involvement with professional organizations. Throughout my career, the variety of projects and experiences has continued to show me what an amazing profession is available in the geosciences.

For several years, I served on the Geological Society of America’s (GSA’s) SAGE program, volunteering to go in the classroom and at career fairs to speak about geology and earth sciences. I continue to participate in career workshops at colleges or geology departments as an AIPG member. I particularly enjoy conveying the broad range of opportunities in the geosciences, how college prepares you with knowledge from the classroom, but it is then up to the individual to use that knowledge, continue to learn, and take on project work. Even if the type of work is new, it is a great experience to learn more, ask for assistance, and grow professionally.

I appreciate the many opportunities through AIPG to do meaningful work on various committees. One project several years ago was to develop a “white paper” for the American Association of State Geologists (AASG) in support of the State Geological Surveys to use in gaining public awareness along with legislative and financial support. This effort was of benefit to all surveys, including the Arizona Geological Survey, with which I have had a long history of support and working relationships. Also through AIPG, I have served as its representative on AGI’s Geopolicy Working Group and Congressional Hazards Caucus committees, working with other geoscientists and talented policy interns. Other AIPG committees led to associations with Geoscientists Canada, the European Federation of Geologists, and other international organization members. The work with these members was truly valuable and resulted in many years of work together for the geosciences.

Several years ago, I was fortunate to attend the International Union of Geological Sciences’ (IUGS) 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane, Australia. As AIPGs national president that year, I was invited to present a keynote speech on the role of professional organizations in communicating what geologists do. That session and others at the conference highlighted the need to encourage geoscientists to better explain what we do when communicating with the public, and the need to promote professional standards particularly for those types of work where human health and environmental protection are involved.  Clearly, the public and government leaders needed to understand the types of work geologists do and assurances that geologists have professional standards for that work.  Other presentations in so many varying fields of the geosciences were very interesting and further illustrated common issues and some innovative approaches and resolutions.

Our profession truly is global. Success in any endeavor is from serving with a great group of people. I have been very fortunate to have worked with dedicated staff and other volunteers. It is nice to know that many of the projects have helped increase public awareness of the importance of the geosciences and the profession. Moreover, I think we have encouraged students and young professionals to pursue studies in the geosciences, to start their careers, be open to new challenges, to become engaged by service to the community, and to share in the enthusiasm for the geosciences.

I want to recognize my husband Casey and our two daughters, Erin and Kelly, for their support and encouragement. They were good sports to go on site visits as part of a weekend or vacation trip and were understanding of work ethic and family balance. I know they also inherited a love of the out-of-doors and for travel to interesting places.

This award is truly an honor. I was not anticipating receiving this and am very pleased to be so honored.

Thank you.