Jack Pashin

Jack Pashin
Oklahoma State University

2014 Gilbert H. Cady Award

Presented to Jack Pashin

Citation by Jingle Ruppert

Jack C. Pashin’s level of technical expertise is vast and covers sedimentary geology from soup to nuts (petroleum and coal, CO2 sequestration, sedimentary and structural geology, basin analysis, hydrology, and geochemistry). He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Kentucky in 1990 and began his professional career at the Geological Survey of Alabama in 1988. He is currently employed as Professor and Devon Energy Chair of Basin Research, Boone Pickens School of Geology, Oklahoma State University, where he develops advanced geoscience curriculum, seeks grant opportunities for students, and runs competitive, multi-institutional research programs.

Jack has produced more than 300 publications in venues ranging from peer-reviewed books and journal articles to abstracts and field trip guidebooks, and he is not slowing down. He is a powerful and clear speaker and communicator as evidenced by his invitation to be an American Association of Petroleum Geologists Distinguished Lecturer: in total he has given more than 185 invited talks.

Jack’s research is innovative and award-winning and focuses on the geological aspects of exploration, development, and environmental management of unconventional and conventional hydrocarbon reservoirs and geologic carbon sinks. He is an excellent teacher who immerses himself in his students, mentoring them, and providing sponsorship and guidance. He has served on more than 50 thesis and dissertation committees at nine major U.S. and Australian universities and supported over 30 B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. students on research grants.

And he doesn’t stop there. He chairs and participates in research, program, and outreach committees of AAPG, GSA, USGS, and other organizations. He is an Associate Editor for the AAPG Bulletin and is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Coal Geology. He has served in leadership positions in the Energy Minerals Division of AAPG, GSA Coal Geology Division, and the Alabama Geological Society.

Jack C. Pashin has received numerous awards from AAPG and other organizations. He was elected a GSA Fellow in 2011 and was the Chair of the Coal Geology Division from 2009-2010. It is time that Jack C. Pashin receive the highest honor of our organization – the Gilbert H. Cady Award.

top2014 Gilbert H. Cady Award — Response by Jack Pashin

It is a great honor to be considered for the Gilbert Cady Award, and I am grateful and humbled to be this year’s recipient. My interest in geology was kindled as a youth while hunting fossils in Ohio. My career path began crystallizing at Bradley University in Illinois, where I was educated by Merrill Foster, Don Gorman, and Henry Helenek. There I studied the Desmoinesian section at the Wolf Covered Bridge, which includes the Colchester coal. This is my earliest link to coal geology and the legacy of Gilbert Cady.

I whiled away the break before graduate school trudging the deep gorges and waterfalls around my birthplace near Cleveland, Ohio. Tom Lewis of Cleveland State University informed me that some great, unsolved geologic mysteries were lurking right under my nose near the Devonian-Mississippian boundary. And so I had my research topic well in hand by the time I arrived at the University of Kentucky under Frank Ettensohn’s tutelage. Frank is as great an advisor as a student could have because he teaches how to tackle diverse geologic problems. And with teachers like Jim Cobb, John Ferm, and Sue Rimmer, I couldn’t help but get a great background in coal geology.

Ernie Mancini passed through the geology department at Kentucky looking for somebody who could interpret paleoenvironments in coal-bearing strata. Thus began my employment at the Geological Survey of Alabama, where I found myself on the ground floor of the coalbed methane boom and, incidentally, met my wife, Janyth. My background was insufficient for solving the puzzle of coalbed methane reservoir geology. If I wanted to have any impact, I needed to explore the finer points of structural geology and basin hydrology; and I thank Walt Ayers, Rick Groshong, Bill Kaiser, and Steve Laubach for bringing me up to speed. I was fortunate to serve under three state geologists during my tenure at the survey (Ernie Mancini, Don Oltz, and Nick Tew), and all three afforded me the freedom to pursue any opportunity that emerged—from offshore petroleum systems to fractured reservoir characterization and clean coal technology. Clean coal technology has dominated my career since 1998, and I am pleased to have been involved in several CO2 injection projects. Thanks to Richard Esposito at Southern Company, we are hooking coal-fired power plants to wells, thereby pointing the way toward commercial CO2 storage and expanding opportunities for enhanced hydrocarbon recovery. I will always fondly remember my colleagues at the Geological Survey of Alabama, whose ideas and efforts were essential to the success of each research project we took on.

In 2013 I joined the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University, where I find mentoring students highly gratifying and am discovering a range of new research possibilities. In accepting the Cady Award, I would like to thank all of my mentors, colleagues, and collaborators who, alas, are too numerous to name here. In the modern world, after all, the most meaningful scientific contributions are achieved by teams.