Brian Russell

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Brian Russell
Brian Russell headshot.png
Latest company Hampson-Russell
President year 1998
Membership Honorary Member
BSc Geophysics
MSc Geophysics
PhD Geophysics
BSc university University of Saskatchewan
MSc university University of Durham
PhD university University of Calgary

Brian Russell is a Canadian geophysicist and entrepreneur, past president of SEG (1998) and CSEG (1991), and recipient of the Cecil Green Enterprise Award. He started his career as an exploration geophysicist with Chevron in 1976, and worked for Chevron affiliates in both Calgary and Houston. He then worked for Teknica and Veritas in Calgary before co-founding Hampson-Russell in 1987 with Dan Hampson. In 2005 Brian received Life Membership from SEG. He holds a BSc in geophysics from the University of Saskatchewan, an MSc in geophysics from Durham University, UK, and a PhD in geophysics from the University of Calgary. He is registered as a Professional Geophysicist in Alberta.

Biography Citation for Honorary Membership

Brian Russell is receiving Honorary Membership for his distinguished contributions to the advancement of the profession through service to the Society and for his distinguished contributions to exploration geophysics. Brian has served as President of CSEG (an Associated Society), as SEG Second Vice President, as President-Elect, and as President (1998-99). He is a longtime SEG Foundation Trustee Associate and a current member of the SEGF Board of Directors. Brian was instrumental in moving SEGF towards the goal of forming cooperative arrangements with other foundations (in other taxing jurisdictions), with similar objectives. A tireless instructor in seismic rock physics, for SEG and for Hampson-Russell, he has represented SEG's leadership at many international venues.

Honorary Membership for Brian Henderson Russell

Contributed by Larry Lines

Brian Russell has often been described as "Mr. SEG" by many of the colleagues who know him. Th is title is certainly warranted by his countless contributions and tireless service to the Society of Exploration Geophysicists for more than three decades. Brian has a solid geophysical education that includes a BSc from the University of Saskatchewan, an MSc from Durham University, and a PhD from the University of Calgary. His industrial career began with Chevron as an exploration geophysicist in the Calgary and Houston offices. Brian was also employed by Teknica Resource Development and Veritas before he and Dan Hampson formed Hampson-Russell Software Services in 1987. As a result of their company's wide-ranging contributions in seismic software development, Dan and Brian jointly received the SEG Enterprise Award in 1996.

Brian's many SEG technical publications on AVO, seismic inversion, neural networks, and attribute analysis are widely recognized throughout the industry. His ability to simplify complicated mathematical concepts through lucid explanations make his continuing education courses extremely popular with exploration geophysicists. Brian is always determined to clearly communicate geophysical ideas in his lectures. His excellent lecturing ability led to his appointment as CSEG Distinguished Lecturer. In fact, it is unlikely that any individual has made as many contributions to SEG and CSEG.

Brian was CSEG President in 1991, received the CSEG Meritorious Service Award in 1995, the CSEG medal in 1999, and CSEG Honorary Membership in 2001. His SEG activities include serving on The Leading Edge Editorial Board, Technical Program Co-Chairman for the 1996 Annual Meeting, Second Vice President (1993?94), President-Elect in (1997-98), and President (1998-99). Under his leadership, SEG enjoyed some very productive years. His many contributions were recognized by selection for SEG Life Membership in 2005.

However, all of these awards and contributions do not tell the complete story of this remarkable individual. Brian Russell has always had the courage to pursue new geophysical horizons. When he could have remained comfortable in his job as a vice president of a company of international stature, Brian embarked on his PhD research on the applications of neural networks to reservoir characterization. As his PhD supervisor in 2003?04, I was continually impressed by Brian's ability to apply advanced mathematical concepts to difficult exploration geophysics. He would inevitably carry theory through to software applications. His intensity and determination might leave some with the impression that Brian has a "short fuse." During his PhD candidacy and thesis defense, I would send hand signals, much like a football coach, to Brian to "keep going, everything is going fine" whenever the temperature was rising in the heat of discussions. However, his intensity simply reflects Brian's determination to always achieve the best in any project that he might undertake. Brian's energy and zest for science are unquenchable. Following the completion of his PhD, Brian has continued to use these skills as an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary. His geophysical activities receive the constant unwavering support of his wife, Elaine, and their family. Brian and Elaine are in constant communication with their son, daughter, sonin-law, and two grandchildren. Brian maintains a work-life balance with an interest not only in science, but also in international travel, guitar music, golf, and tennis. (It is believed that his secret, perhaps not-so-secret, ambition is to play in a rock band.) Brian's tremendous energy has led to his many contributions and accomplishments within the international geophysical community. Therefore, it is totally appropriate that SEG Honorary Membership be awarded to Brian Russell, an outstanding geophysicist.

Speech by Peter Duncan

from an address by Peter M Duncan

To step from the security of an executive position in an established company to pursue your own vision takes courage and daring. To make that vision a reality and, through it, to contribute to the economic and scientific vitality of an industry takes knowledge, intelligence, diligence, and self-sacrifice. To build at the same time both a successful company and a worldwide reputation as a great teacher of geophysics, a major contributor to SEG, and one of the most pleasant dinner companions in our industry requires a singular love for our science and the people who practice it. Brian Russell has achieved all these things while building Hampson-Russell Software.

Brian was brought up in Vancouver, British Columbia. A move in his senior year of high school brought him to Saskatchewan where he entered the university as a physics major. Hearing some inner call—perhaps to help his fellow man or perhaps simply to see the world—Brian joined CUSO in 1973 and spent two years teaching high school in the back country of northern Zambia. When he returned to Canada in 1975, Brian was ready to improve his standard of living. He remembered that an uncle, who happened to be a bit of a dabbler in mining stock, had told him "geophysicists make lots of money" and his career path was set. He completed his honors degree in geophysics at the University of Saskatchewan and was immediately hired on by Chevron Standard to be an interpreter in their Frontier Division which was then working the Northwest Territories out of Calgary.

Brian remained at Chevron from 1976 to 1981, moving to Houston with Chevron Geoscience and then back to Calgary. During that time he also took a one-year leave of absence to get a master's in geophysics from the University of Durham in England, choosing that location largely because Durham had an excellent program and was close to his mother's home town.

In 1981 Brian left Chevron to join Teknica Resource Development as a senior explorationist. He moved to Veritas Seismic in 1982 as a research and training geophysicist, eventually becoming vice president of Marketing and Training for Veritas Software. In 1987 he and Dan Hampson formed their now well-known partnership which Brian serves as vice president.

In the last nine years, Hampson-Russell Software has grown from a start-up to a company of 27 employees with offices in Calgary, Houston, London, and Hong Kong. Their products cover highly specialized niches within the processing and interpretation systems. Their productsScovering such areas as refraction statics, AVO modeling and analysis, zero offset inversion, and geostatisticsSare known not only for being mathematically rigorous but also for being flexible, user friendly, and almost intuitively obvious in their user interface. Hampson-Russell has a gift for creating software relating to complex, even esoteric subjects, that is approachable by the non-specialist. In areas where complexity and confusion abound, they create a clear and correct path to practical and useful solutions. This has been the key to their acceptance by both majors and independents around the world.

Despite the energy he has invested in growing a company, Brian has continued to build upon his reputation as a luncheon speaker, teacher, and advocate for SEG. He has spoken and lectured around the world at regional, national, and international meetings. His courses for the SEG Continuing Education Program are consistently rated among the best. He has served as president of CSEG, Vice-President of SEG, Chairman of the TLE Editorial Board, and Co-Chairman of the Technical Program for the 1996 SEG Annual Meeting.

In the remaining hours of the day, Brian finds time to be a devoted husband to Elaine and father to Michelle and David. He shares with David a particular love for playing the guitar. In fact, although Elaine travels with him whenever possible, Brian is never on the road without his Martin guitar and never misses an opportunity to sit in with musical friends.

To Brian, I say a hearty well done on the enterprises of your past. I look forward to your leadership in the future.

Biography for SEG President Elect Candidacy

The Leading Edge, June 1997, Vol. 16, No. 6

Brian Russell, candidate for President-Elect, began his career with Chevron Standard in Calgary in 1976, after receiving an honors B.Sc. degree in geophysics from the University of Saskatchewan. Following two years of interpretation work, Brian took a leave of absence to complete an M.Sc. degree in geophysics at the University of Durham, England. He was the transferred to Chevron Geosciences in Houston, where he worked on a variety of processing assignments.

Brian returned to Calgary with Chevron in 1980 and the left to join Teknica Resources, where he gained valuable experience working with Roy Lindseth. In 1982, Brian joined Veritas, where he held a number of positions over the next five years. In 1987, Brian and Dan Hampson left Veritas to form Hampson-Russel Software Services Ltd., a company that develops and markets geoscience software. Their company has grown to a worldwide organization with offices in Calgary, Houston, London, and Hong Kong.

Brian became involved with SEG in the mid-1980s as an instructor in the Continuing Education program, for which he still teaches a seismic inversion course. From 1991-95, Brian was a member of the Editorial Board of THE LEADING EDGE, serving as its chairman in 1995. He also served SEG as Second Vice-President on the 1993-94 Executive Committee and, most recently, as Co-Chairman of the Technical Program Committee for the 1996 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Denver.

Brian and Dan Hampson were 1996 recipient's of SEG's Enterprise Award, presented to individuals for their contributions to the business side of our industry. He has also been very active in the Canadian SEG, serving as president in 1991, and receiving the 1995 Meritorious Service award. Brian is also a member of EAGE, ASEG, HGS, and DGS, and is registered as a professional geophysicist in Alberta.

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