Gene Sparkman

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Gene Sparkman
Gene Sparkman headshot.png
Membership Life Member



Gene W. Sparkman has fully distinguished himself through his significant service to the Society. SEG members know Gene’s leadership as chairman of the SEG Foundation Trustee Associates for three terms (1996-99), treasurer for the SEG Foundation Board of Directors, SEG Secretary-Treasurer (1990- 91), chairman of the TLE Editorial Board, chairman of the SEG Finance Committee, and chairman of the SEG Foundation Scholarship Committee. He is also a current and very active member of the Development and Production, Geoscience Center, Interpretation, and Research committees. Gene is one of a handful of SEG members who has provided “institutional memory” and sage advice over many years of continuous and sustained participation. In addition, he has contributed over a dozen articles to TLE, identifying current themes and trends of the day.


Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership

Contributed by Gordon M. Greve


Dedication to his job, profession, and family are three qualities that make Gene an outstanding addition to SEG’s family of Life Members.

Gene began his professional career in 1962 as a “computer”–i.e., then a member of the office staff who processed/interpreted data from a seismic crew. His dedication and work ethic were soon recognized and he became a computer on one of Amoco’s first vibroseis crews where many of his tasks were just evolving. Thus, his skills and intelligence were used to solve many new problems associated with vibroseis crews at that time.

Gene realized that to advance beyond computer status, a college degree was required so he went to night school and continued working during the day. After earning a degree, he moved into interpretation and supervision of acquisition and processing. He steadily moved up the ladder to become exploration manager for Mitchell’s MidContinent Region and finally vice president, Geophysics with Mitchell Energy. Currently, he serves as director of the Energy Research Clearing House. Gene’s involvement in SEG activities began after he had the duties and responsibilities of his career well in hand. He served first as student liaison officer for the Oklahoma City Geophysical Society, an early indication of his lasting interest in student affairs and the educational side of geophysics.

He subsequently served as vice president and president of that society. Student liaison continued to be of interest so he became involved with the SEG Scholarship Committee.

The committee’s responsibilities, at this time, included raising about $100 000 for scholarships and awarding about 100 grants. Imagine the time required to do all this—make calls for money, sift through scholarship applications, and balance funds with scholarships awarded. Gene performed so well on this committee that he soon was named chairman.

His outstanding performance on the Scholarship Committee was one reason that he was elected SEG secretary-treasurer for the 1990-91 term. During his term as secretary-treasurer, he arranged for the Scholarship Committee’s duties and responsibilities to be placed under the auspices of the SEG Trustee Associates. After serving on the Finance Committee for three years, he helped with this transition. He soon realized he would have to be a full-fledged member of the Trustee Associates in order to ensure the scholarship efforts of the SEG were on a sound footing. After this was accomplished, he concentrated on other activities of the Trustee Associates and soon became the Chairman of the Trustee Associates Steering Committee. After several years in this capacity, he was elected to the SEG Foundation Board of Directors. Through all of this, his commitment to student affairs and education was his hallmark.

Meanwhile, Gene was involved in other SEG committees that meshed with his interest in education. He worked on several organizing committees of the D&P summer forums; he was a member of the Geoscience Committee and worked to build a comprehensive museum program (he still chairs that committee); and he served on the Interpretation Committee and chaired three of its postconvention workshops. Finally, he served on THE LEADING EDGE Editorial Board and, in typical fashion, became chairman in 2001. However, through all this job and society effort he did not forget his family.

Beginning, with his first job as a computer during which his responsibilities were compounded by the addition of three daughters, through juggling work and school, and finally managing work and SEG activities, Gene has kept his family first. Without his wife Carlene and his four daughters (Tami, Denise, Amy, and Krista), Gene would not be the happy man he is today