Joseph Michael Reilly

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Joseph Michael Reilly
Joseph Michael Reilly headshot.png
Latest company ExxonMobil
BSc Geology
MSc Geoscience
BSc university University of Rochester
MSc university Virginia Tech


Joseph M. Reilly has rendered a number of important contributions to the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the geophysical community as a whole. He has served as a guest editor and contributor to THE LEADING EDGE and represented SEG at different organizations and societies. He served as the chairman of the SEG Technical Program Subcommittee for the 2008 Off shore Technology Conference and was SEG Co-chairman of the 2009 IPTC. He was an invited speaker for the SEG 2008 International Showcase. He chaired and made important contributions to the SEG Constitution and Bylaws Committee. In 2008 he gave the keynote speech at the KL Applied Research Workshop. He also served as a session chair in many SEG and AAPG conventions, including AAPG’s 2001 Best of SEG session. Joe also served as the Technical Program Co- Chairman of the SEG/Hagi international meeting.


Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership 2011

Contributed by Michael Loudin


During 31-plus years of mutually interwoven careers, Joe has been my friend, colleague, protègè, advisor, deputy, talent scout and mentor. I know that I have had much the better part of all of these relationships, and so Joe truly honored me when he asked that I write this citation.

I first met Joe in 1980 as a new hire at Mobil, where he was brilliant in the Geophysical Development Program, diagnosing and correcting a vibroseis correlation problem that had stumped veterans. Our paths crossed again at Mobil North Sea Ltd. in the late 1980s, where our exploration and appraisal teams were the benefi ciaries of the astonishingly accurate predrill depth predictions that his depth-conversion paradigms yielded. It was in London, too, that my family and I had the pleasure of getting to know Joe’s wife, Nan, and their son and daughter.

Following the merger of Exxon and Mobil in 1999, we worked together once more, as our new management team combined the people and geophysical technology of two great companies. Joe’s technical leadership and vision were indispensible to the success of these efforts, and his insights and advice were also key to the development of a new generation of geophysical technology leaders, who are now coming into their own. Throughout all of these experiences, and indeed throughout his career, Joe’s commitment to technical excellence, hard work, and integrity have shone through every single day.

Perhaps, though, Joe’s most extraordinary trait has been his utter versatility. For starters, he earned his undergraduate degree in geology at the University of Rochester, followed by graduate study in geophysics at Virginia Tech mapping metamorphic terranes. This makes him pretty unique – there aren’t all that many people who can understand the rocks as well as the waves. Over the following 30 years at ExxonMobil, he has enjoyed a rich exposure to a variety of geographies, business stages, and roles.

Joe’s versatility extends well beyond the professional world, too. Not only is he an avid scuba diver, he’s also held an instructor rating for more than 25 years. In his younger days he was an avid marathon runner. In the last several years, he has switched to endurance horse races, which span more than 50 miles through large ranches and wilderness areas. Those who know Joe get tired just thinking about all of his activities.

If someone were ever to step into Bob Sheriff ’s shoes to publish an updated Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Geophysics, I would suggest that he or she add an entry for “Versatility in applied geophysics” which might read something like this: (long version) Effectively deals with hostile seismic recording, processing, imaging, and interpretive environments on six continents (as well as in various boardrooms!).

Experienced in potential fi eld methods. Stays networked inside and outside of industry. Steps into roles as leader, manager, advisor, and individual contributor seamlessly. Makes highly valued contributions across exploration, development, production, and research business lines. Writes or edits hundreds of papers, mostly highly technical in nature, but on occasion dealing with arcane but important topics like governance of leading technical societies. Continually and unselfishly finds time to contribute to SEG on an international basis as a committee member, committee chair, Best Paper selector, author, guest editor, keynote speaker, session chair, and ambassador to other important societies and conferences. (short version) See career synopsis of Reilly, Joseph M.

Thanks, Joe, for all of your contributions to our profession and to the SEG, and congratulations on this occasion of a very well-deserved award. Here’s hoping that you keep right on going strong.