December 19, 1945 Hafford, Saskatchewan – September 23, 2017 Calgary, Alberta
Barry attended the University of Saskatchewan enrolled in Engineering and in third year, Barry got a summer job at Shell Oil in Calgary as a Reservoir Engineer Trainee. He graduated with a BSc in Engineering Physics in 1967.
In January of his fourth year, Barry had six or seven job offers in various industries but a phone call from a good college friend who had joined Chevron Oil, resulted in Barry’s career taking an unexpected turn toward geophysics in the oil patch. Barry moved to Calgary in the spring of 1967 and started work as geophysicist.
Like most major oil companies at the time, Chevron had a rigorous training program. Barry’s initial geophysical training started with eighteen months working as Computer on the Chevron company seismic crew. As the name suggests, without modern day computers or electronic calculators, Computers were junior geophysicists responsible for calculating all manner of corrections on field seismic records so horizon time structure could be plotted on maps (up-hole corrections, first break and weathering statics calculations).
With the invention of digital recording systems in in the mid 60’s, most majors started processing their seismic data in the head offices. At the end of Barry’s field training, he was immediately sent to the Chevron Processing Center in Houston for an addition three months. The following year, Barry spent ten months working in the Chevron Calgary Processing Centre in addition to doing some interpretation.
In early 1971, Barry needed to make an appointment for some dental work. Upon showing up at the dentist’s office, Barry met a young dental hygienist by the name of Laureen Davis and life as a bachelor was soon over. Barry and Laureen married in November of 1971 just before Barry was sent back to Houston for a three year stint at the Chevron Processing Center. He worked as a group supervisor, on program evaluations, and about seven months as client representative on numerous marine surveys. Upon returning to Calgary in August 1974, Barry became Party Chief of the Chevron seismic crew.
In October, 1975, Barry was facing a third training stint in Houston when he happened to see an ad posted by Wes Rabey at Sigma Explorations looking for a geophysicist. Several conversations with Mr. Rabey resulted in Barry joining Sigma.
Although Barry had good experience in the acquisition, processing and interpretation of seismic data, his knowledge of the seismic data brokerage business was limited. Barry recalled that in 1975, brokerage training was “Go sit with Barry Johnson and he will tell you what to do”. The two Barrys’ at Sigma became good friends and to this day are known by the nicknames of BK (Korchinski) and BJ (Johnson). In the late 80’s, Norm Jones was looking to retire and BK assumed the position of President of Sigma Explorations, a role he held for the next 13 years until he retired from Sigma in 2001. Barry did remain on the Sigma/Rayquest Board of Directors to provide assistance until 2017.
Early in his career, Barry became a member of APEGA as well as the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG) participating in the technical luncheons, conventions and various social events. In 1982, Barry was elected to the position of Secretary of the CSEG. Later he served as President of the society in 1995 as well as serving on various other committees of the CSEG and the Canadian Geophysical Brokers Association. Barry was heavily involved in the initial work on the CSEG Master Seismic Agreement which set out standards by which seismic data could be viewed, sold or traded within the industry. For all his tireless support and work for the CSEG, Barry was awarded the CSEG Meritorious Service Award in 2001.
About the same time as he became President of Sigma, Barry also took on the role of Chairman of the CSEG Doodlebug Golf tournament. Barry actively participated in many of the CSEG social events – Doodlebug, Ski Spree, Spring Ball, and Doodlebouy. In the early 90’s after son Neil had joined Cottonwood Golf Club as a junior, Barry decided to also join. Everyone who knew Barry and Laureen was shocked that it was Laureen that turned into the golf fanatic of the family.
The OPEC oil cartel in 1973 brought many U of S graduates to Calgary as the demand for manpower skyrocketed. As a faithful alumni, Barry became involved with fundraising for U of S trying to gain support for U of S Engineering programs and equipment purchases. In 1986, the U of S Engineering Advancement Trust was started and each year a golf tournament and luncheon are organized in Calgary for the Dean of Engineering to address U of S alumni. Barry was a member of that organizing committee for many years.
Throughout his career in Calgary, Barry Korchinski was a strong supporter of his alumni, his geophysical community, friends and colleagues and most of all his family. While President of Sigma Explorations, the company supported just about any CSEG event looking for financial sponsorship. Sigma was seldom the top sponsor for any event, but consistent with the man himself they had a presence at all events.
Following retirement in 2001, Barry and Laureen took many trips across Canada and to different countries around the world enjoying the fruits of retirement. Barry Korchinski is survived by his wife of forty-six years, Laureen; son Neil (Tarah, granddaughter Isla – Calgary); daughter Amy (Vancouver); sisters Bernadine, Linda Weimer (Ken) and brother Les (Phyllis).
Barry’s honest and pleasant manner earned him professional respect and many friends over the years. The Calgary geophysical industry and his friends will truly miss the quiet, always smiling, always supportive man, who created many years of fond memories for those who knew him.