SEG Cecil Green Enterprise Award 2020
Gary Tubridy started his career as a field engineer and spotted a niche opening when he was young and brave enough to take the risk and step away from a high-paying job to be a founding partner in Avalon Sciences Ltd. Starting from scratch and risking its own capital, Avalon developed its analog Advanced Seismic Receiver and then the digital Geochain system in various size, pressure, and temperature configurations. Tubridy became sole owner of Avalon in 2008, growing the company to 70 employees based mainly in the company’s headquarters in the United Kingdom. Operating throughout the world with bases in Houston, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, and Beijing, Avalon ploughs back considerable resources into research. Tubridy and Avalon are committed to the seismic service sector and are proactive with novel seismic solutions. Tubridy and Avalon provide expertise to major players and service providers in the oil and gas industry.
Biography Citation for the SEG Cecil Green Enterprise Award 2020 
The Cecil Green Enterprise Award is not an annual award bestowed by SEG. It is an award that is bestowed “from time to time” to an exemplary candidate. Gary Tubridy is such an exemplary candidate. The requirements to be considered for the Enterprise Award are unique and severe. Candidates not only must develop a product or service that is important to the geophysics profession, but they have to have done so by risking their personal resources. In doing this, a candidate exhibits those qualities of ingenuity and courage that are essential for sustaining our profession.
Gary meets every qualification required for receiving the Cecil Green Enterprise Award. He was the first in his family to attend college and worked in construction projects to support himself as he studied at Kent University in the United Kingdom. He left Kent with two valuable assets — a degree in electronic engineering and a lasting relationship with his future wife, Sarah. He worked 10 years as a seismic field engineer for Seismograph Service Ltd. (SSL), acquired vertical seismic profile (VSP) data in many countries, learned the value of VSP applications, and began to envision how to build downhole data acquisition systems that would improve VSP data quality.
After his 10-year period of learning hands-on how to utilize VSP field equipment, Gary and fellow field engineer, Colin Humphries, made the bold decision to step away from secure jobs at SSL and establish their own company, Avalon Sciences Ltd. (ASL). This new company began to build next-generation VSP data acquisition systems and microseismic monitoring systems. Gary and Colin literally worked out of their back bedrooms as they established ASL. In 2008, Gary bought out his partner and became sole owner of ASL. The company employs more than 50 people at its headquarters in the United Kingdom and has operating bases in Houston, Abu Dhabi. Singapore, and Beijing. In 2015, ASL built the Avalon Research Centre in Somerton, England, at a cost of £2-million, a significant improvement from the small back bedrooms where ASL started.
While I was at The University of Texas at Austin, I learned the value of having a field site, such as the university’s 100-acre Devine Test Site with its wells dedicated to deploying downhole seismic technology for research purposes. I did numerous experiments in isolated peace and quiet at the Devine site. Upon reflection, I have realized that almost all downhole seismic data that I, and others, acquired at Devine utilized Avalon equipment. I make this observation to indicate how widespread Gary’s technology has become. Regardless of which VSP service company you use to record downhole seismic data, that company will usually arrive at the well site with Avalon equipment.
The last project I did at Devine before retiring was an enjoyable day with Gary, who piggy-backed onto my experiment so he could check out some new hardware/software improvements that ASL was introducing to industry. Gary now has purchased his own test site, the Rosemanowes Quarry site, from Camborne School of Mines.
Gary (and Sarah) took great personal risk to build Avalon Sciences Ltd., and our industry has benefitted greatly from technology developed there. I can think of no better-qualified person to receive SEG’s 2020 Cecil Green Enterprise Award than Gary Tubridy.
- (2020). ”Honors and Awards.” The Leading Edge 39(12), 845–924. http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/tle39120854.1