WYOMING – As state geologist Tom Drean gets set to ride off into the sunset, his replacement Erin Campbell is ready to become the first woman to hold the position.
Campbell will have a short move from her current office to her new one when she assumes the role as state geologist and head of the WSGS on November 21. She currently manages the survey’s energy and minerals division on the second floor of the Laramie-based office. When she transitions to her new position, her office will be on the first floor.
Gov. Matt Mead appointed Campbell as Drean’s replacement, who is retiring after six years on the job.
“Erin’s experience and her knowledge of Wyoming are impressive,” Mead said in a news release. “I am confident she will do a great job leading the agency.”
Campbell has more than 20 years of experience in geology in a variety of capacities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geology with a minor in mathematics from Occidental College in Los Angeles and a doctorate in structural geology with a second emphasis in geophysics from the University of Wyoming. She spent four years with Chevron Corporation in Louisiana and California before returning to Laramie to teach at UW for 15 years. Campbell joined the WSGS in 2016.
“I love Wyoming for its people as well as its geology, and I am honored to have been chosen by the governor to serve the state and its citizens as the next state geologist,” Campbell says.
She says geology is a fantastic career because every aspect of this science is related to our lives, from the water we drink, to the oil and gas we consume and to the ground on which we build our homes.
“Being a geologist in Wyoming is especially rewarding because of the geologic variety and incredible rock exposure. As I travel around this state and see rocks that I recognize, I feel as if I’m surrounded by old friends, and I can envision the billions of years of history recorded in them,” she adds.
Campbell says she plans to work toward raising awareness about the work being done at the WSGS. She also intends to continue the strong direction established by Drean and will keep the WSGS focused on projects that directly benefit the citizens of Wyoming.
“The Survey conducts studies on topics such as water, minerals, and oil and gas, to name just a few. With the downturn in the state budget, we have had to minimize work in some areas, such as geologic hazards,” she explains. “I hope to be able to revive our hazards work because we live in a state that is vulnerable to geologic hazards such as earthquakes and landslides, and our citizens should be aware of risks as well as safety measures.”
She adds she is looking forward to serving on the many commissions and boards in the state that is required of the state geologist.
“The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Wyoming Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) play crucial roles in the financial stability of the state, and I will ensure that the strongest geologic information is presented at those meetings,” Campbell says.
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