Hector Alfredo Alfonso Acero

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Hector Alfredo Alfonso Acero
Hector Acero 2020 headshot.png
BSc Civil engineering
MSc Geophysics
BSc university Universidad Nacional de Colombia
MSc university University of Houston

Memorial 2020 [1]

by Jaime Checa


Hector Alfredo Alfonso Acero received his civil engineering degree from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1987. In 1988, as he began eyeing the labor market, he was attracted by an opportunity offered by Ecopetrol where young professionals from various disciplines were invited to participate in a scientific training program in collaboration with the Colorado School of Mines. After a stringent selection process, he was admitted to a program that would convert him into a geophysical exploration expert. There he began a 30-year career that would lead him to be an authority on geophysics for the Colombian National Oil Company.

Hector Alfredo Alfonso Acero (1962-2020)

Hector spent his entire professional life at Ecopetrol, a company for which he had a lot of affection. His first assignments led him to quality control of both land seismic acquisition and processing projects. For Hector, it was a wonderful time as he had the opportunity to explore all of Colombia and immerse himself in the practical aspects of seismic acquisition and the many challenges involved therein. Throughout his career, he maintained a lasting interest in obtaining the best quality seismic data possible and doing so with inexhaustible energy. His manner and solid ethical values enabled him to maintain excellent relationships with everyone with whom he interacted, including maintaining a balance between personal and contractual relationships.

From 1998 to 2000, Hector carried out his studies for a master's degree at the University of Houston where he had the opportunity to work with renowned geophysicists such as Robert Sheriff and Kurt Marfurt. They would have an important influence on his technical education, which served as a foundation for his subsequent assignments as he led the analysis and evaluation of prospects in Colombia, Brazil, Africa, Peru, India, Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico among other areas.

Hector had a continuous interest in transmitting his knowledge to young professionals and anyone else interested in reducing exploration risk through the use of geophysical methods. His internal courses at Ecopetrol, his talks at conferences, and his willingness to explain his points of view using real-world examples will be long remembered. As such, he took most satisfaction from the well-deserved accolade of model instructor granted by Ecopetrol.

His personality could be characterized as truly multicomponent. He was a consummate sportsman and was known for his strength in kicking a ball toward the goal, a trait inherited from his father who had been a member of the Colombian national football team. Dancing was another of his great passions, accompanied by a wide musical knowledge. He was known to please his friends with personalized musical selections and customized recordings made under the Tico Records name. There are numerous people who treasure these recordings. Over time, he added to his recording studio a drone, microphones, special mixers, and professional sound and lighting systems. A close friend described Hector thusly: “Hector was definitely a special person who left an imprint on all who knew him. At CGG (formerly Veritas) in Houston, we affectionately named him ‘the Tornado,' because of his positive energy, smiles, and embraces, which were well known industry-wide, particularly at conventions and in business meetings.”

At an early stage in his geophysical career, Hector joined SEG and other professional associations where he was active in supporting the growth of student chapters and offering his unconditional counsel to all who consulted him with technical questions. He was one of the tireless volunteers who helped with the translation of Sheriff's Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Geophysics to Spanish and was extensively involved with the Latin American group within the Global Affairs Committee, which subsequently became the SEG Latin America Regional Advisory Committee of which he was the first chair. The SEG Latin American Regional Advisory Committee held an online memorial for Hector on 19 August with more than 60 participants, including family, friends and colleagues

His ease in socializing enabled him to establish a large network of contacts with whom he maintained frequent correspondence to discuss technological advances and the best way to resolve the challenges in obtaining reliable subsurface images. He would not miss an opportunity to encourage industry professionals to build robust collaboration networks highlighting the talent within the world of geophysics.

Amid the special circumstances the world finds itself in at this time, his wife María Beatriz and his son Alejandro are bearing with valor this unexpected loss and have received the support and best wishes of thousands who share their regret for what has occurred. Hector's memory will always remain in our hearts.

Editor's note: The original Spanish version of this memorial is available as supplemental material in the SEG Library at https://library.seg.org/toc/leedff/39/9. It also accompanies this article in TLE's Digital Edition at http://www.tleonline.org.


  1. Memorial, (2020) The LEADING EDGE Volume 39, Issue 9, p. 685.