Alison Small

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Alison Small
Alison Weir Small 2017 headshot.png
BSc Geology
MSc Geophysics
BSc university Southern Methodist University
MSc university Pennsylvania State University

SEG Life Membership 2017

Alison Weir Small is awarded Life Membership in recognition of her service to the Society during her term as treasurer of the SEG Board of Directors and subsequently on the Finance Committee. Small volunteered for multiple committee assignments and could always be counted on for thoughtful and incisive comments on business brought before the Board.

Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership 2017 [1]

by Christopher L. Liner

Alison Weir Small, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, earned a BS in geology from Southern Methodist University in 1984 and an MS in geophysics from Pennsylvania State University in 1986. Alison began her career at Mobil E&P US Inc. in the production division of the Midland, Texas, office where she worked for five years focusing on seismic interpretation related to carbonate reservoir development and step-out exploration. After leaving the industry for 10 years to focus on family, Alison returned in 2003 as senior geophysical consultant at Parallel Petroleum LLC in Midland where she worked until early 2016.

Alison is a member of that small group one can describe as exceptional volunteers who bring creative energy to the table. I was very fortunate that Alison served as SEG treasurer (2014–2016) during my term as SEG president. At that time, the oil crash of 2015 picked up steam and rolled through the industry and SEG. As treasurer, it fell squarely on Alison to plan, analyze, and scrutinize the SEG budget as we sailed into very choppy waters. But you can always count on her to be cool in a tight spot and to offer well-reasoned advice. These characteristics were also much needed during her time as treasurer when there was rapid change in SEG accounting staff and software. No one worked harder than Alison to ensure these changes did not affect SEG operations.

As chair of the Geophysical Resource Center 2 Financing Task Force (a joint task force with the SEG Real Estate Committee), Alison worked through the complexities of financing a second building on the SEG Tulsa campus that serves as a source of long-term financial strength for the Society. Wordsmithing SEG Bylaws changes, participating in the strategic planning process — no corner of the SEG Board’s broad mission was untouched by her enthusiasm.

One area of strategic importance to SEG was Alison’s attention to the organization, classification, and ranking of SEG activities. As chair of the Continuous Innovation Portfolio Committee, Alison, a team player par excellence, emerged as the clear leader in trying to understand the functioning structure of SEG and quantify the cost/impact of each activity in relation to SEG members. She posed what appears to be a simple question, “Who are we, what do we do, and why do we do it?” but is quite complex in detail. The results were guideposts in the difficult process of refocusing SEG to be successful in an evolving and increasingly competitive landscape. In addition to this admirable SEG volunteer service, Alison has served as a board member and as president of the Permian Basin Geophysical Society (PBGS).

She has represented PBGS at SEG Council meetings and, while PBGS president, served as the 2008 representative at the General Assembly in Tulsa.

Alison is a thoughtful listener and a strong advocate (who argues the point not the person) who can discuss the toughest issues in a breezy, elegant tone. High-level volunteering for SEG alongside Alison has been a delight, and I can say without reservation that she is deeply deserving of SEG Life Membership.


  1. (2017). ”Honors and Awards.” The Leading Edge, 36(10), 806–819.

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