GSA Medals & Awards

Distinguished Career Award

John A. Reinemund
John A. Reinemund
USGS Chief of Internation Programs

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Division Awards

Presented to John A. Reinemund

 Citation by Maurice J. Terman, George Gryc, and Richard J. Calnan

The International Division of GSA presents, posthumously, its inaugural Distinguished Career Award to John A. Reinemund in recognition of his outstanding career and contributions to the global community. John Adam Reinemund was a participant, supervisor, and consultant in a remarkable variety of projects worldwide during a career of more than 60 years. His geologic activities resulted in significant contributions to the collection and dissemination of earth science information especially for mineral and energy resources. His skill and creativity in solving problems successfully promoted earth science programs requiring cooperation and collaboration between academia, industry and government in the United States and in many countries and regions of the world.

John received a war service appointment with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in their strategic minerals investigations to determine the availability of domestic supplies of minerals that were increasingly difficult to obtain from overseas sources. After his military service, John was assigned to mapping and assessing the reserves of the Deep River Coal Field in North Carolina, and to provide geologic guidance for a U.S. Bureau of Mines drilling program. In 1949, John transferred to the USGS headquarters in Washington D.C. where he prepared a professional paper on the Deep River Coal Field and Triassic Basin.

From August to December 1949, John was sent to Korea, along with three other USGS geologists, to make an assessment of South Korea's coal resources under a project funded by the U.S. Economic Cooperation Administration. When John returned to Washington he was appointed Deputy Section Chief of the USGS Fuels Branch. In that capacity, he assisted in inspecting and reviewing projects in the eastern United States.

In 1956, under an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), John served as Principal Geologic Advisor to the Government of Pakistan. As Chief of the USGS team, he recommended the development of a national geologic and mineral program that included training the professional staff of the Geological Survey of Pakistan, preparation of a new geological map of Pakistan, identification and exploration of known mineral deposits, mapping of coal fields, and the establishment of engineering geology, photogrammetric, and publications programs. New national facilities were built in Quetta and regional facilities for East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were established in Dhaka.

The demonstration in Pakistan of John's exceptional scientific and administrative abilities led to his appointment in 1964 as Chief of the Foreign Geology Branch. Through his interpersonal skills and his understanding of the fundamental problems faced by developing countries, he was successful in restructuring the USGS' overseas programs in technical assistance.

In 1967, Augustana College awarded John Reinemund an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities in recognition of his achievements in international scientific, technical, and educational assistance to emerging nations.

Thus for 20 years, John Reinemund devoted his energy to developing and directing worldwide international programs in the earth sciences through technical assistance, scientist exchanges, local or regional sym-posia, research projects and professional development. John placed much emphasis on personal contacts; his friendship with officials in many countries and his extensive travels to guide negotiations, maintain contacts, and monitor the Survey's overseas progress have undoubtedly contributed to the high prestige with which the USGS is now regarded abroad. His innate diplomacy, along with his remarkable organizational skills, the foresight of his scientific judgment, and a calm human compassion have earned John the respect and admiration of all those who have dealt with him.

One of John's motives was to help the international community, whether it be a single individual, a complex government organization, or a major regional consortium, to achieve its geoscientific objectives rather than having the USGS doing it for them. Some of the principle successes of John's career include:

  • Unification of Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) countries into a scientific and technical cooperative.
  • Development of the Coordinating Committee for Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in Asian Offshore Areas (CCOP).
  • Helped create the Circum-Pacific Council on Energy and Mineral Resources (CPC), served as CPC Executive Director, and received its Medal of Merit.
  • Helped create in 1973 the Circum-Pacific Map Project (CPMP); served as lifetime Director.
  • Member of the Board of the International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP).
  • Treasurer of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).
  • Helped create in the late1980s the Circum-Atlantic Project; served as a lifetime advisor.

Throughout his long career, John authored a number of research publications on the geology of the mineral and energy resources of the U.S. and of countries such as Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and the Philippines. Also many administrative reports have been produced on the great variety of geoscience projects and problems that captured his attention. To recognize his significant contributions to furthering international geological research, especially in developing countries, John Reinemund received from the Department of Interior the Meritorious Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award, its highest honor. He also received the 2001 American Association of Petroleum Geologists Human Needs Award. The citation reads, "To John A. Reinemund, geologist to the world, for collecting and disseminating useful geologic information to fulfill human needs and promote collaboration between government, industry and academia." John will be remembered as a gentleman and a scholar who made an extraordinary contribution to the earth sciences in the international arena.