Charlie was born in Wandering River, Alberta. When asked where Wandering River is, he responded "it's about 125 miles southwest of Fort McMurray, not the end of the world but you can just about see it from there". Charlie grew up on a farm along with seven brothers and three sisters. Charlie is proud to relate that before he left home he was able to identify all his siblings by their first name.
The farm he grew up on consisted of one and half-quarter sections, a portion of which bordered the La Biche River. About 100 acres were planted with various crops. There was a vegetable garden and cattle, pigs and chickens that were mainly for domestic use. The remaining land, which was heavily treed, was logged, and the lumber processed at the family's saw mill. Heavy horses were used in the farming operation until 1965.
Charlie attended a four room schoolhouse for the first 9 years of his education. A wood stove at times heated the school (until a fuel burning stove was installed) and Charlie rode a school bus fifteen miles to reach the school. Charlie recalls when he was in grade one the teacher was teaching 5 grades simultaneously. It was very interesting as one minute she would be teaching them their ABCs and the next minute she was teaching grade 12 biology. Charlie attended high school in Lac La Biche, and graduated with a grade 12 diploma. While attending high school, he worked part time (after school and Saturdays) at the Tire Shop in order to pa y for room and board and school supplies.
In October 1969, on the advice of two elder brothers already working seismic, Charlie left Lac La Biche and moved to Calgary. He was hired by Canwest Explorations Ltd. and worked for two weeks on the recording crew and then as a rodman on the survey crew for seven weeks. In January 1970 they were conducting seismic data acquisition in the Cochrane/Jumping Pound area which required permitting landowners. The permit agent wasn't due to arrive for another four days. Charlie recalls asking the crew manager if he could try permitting (just because he figured he could do it). The manger's initial response was to laugh at Charlie' s request, until Charlie explained that he had been raised on a farm and understood landowners. The manager finally agreed to let Charlie have a shot until the permit agent arrived (Charlie still thinks he just wanted to get him out of his office so he could finish his paper work).
Charlie obtained 6 permits on the first day and 9 permits the next. It was as this point that the manager informed the Calgary office that they wouldn't be requiring the permit agent who was due to arrive the following day. Charlie spent the next eight months in the surrounding area permitting landowners. He found the work rewarding and quite challenging when faced with landowners that did not want seismic on their land.
In the fall of 1970 he attended an eight-week seismic surveyor course at Olds Agricultural School. He then spent until 1972 doing exploration surveying for Canwest and Overland Exploration when he decided to leave the geophysical industry and try something different (he explained that, "he was getting married and wanted something that wouldn't take him out of town all the time" ).
In September 1972 Charlie says, "I married my loving wife Sharon Schneider from L.A. " (Leduc, Alberta) and they have been blessed with two beautiful daughters Taya and Sara (his wife is also from a family of eleven, so some people ask why they only have two children). Charlie's heritage is Ukrainian and Sharon's is German so they call their children Geranium's.
From July 1972 until November 1973 he was employed with O.K. Tire Stores in sales and service. In the fall of 1973 he received a visit from the crew manager that had given him a chance at permitting in 1970 and was talked into taking a job (his first love being seismic after all) with him as a survey supervisor for Vibro-x Explorations. Charlie finds it funny that both brothers who talked him into coming to Calgary to work in seismic haven't worked in this field as they gave it up a very long time ago. From November 1973 until September 1985 he held the following positions, Survey Supervisor, Geophysical Operations Supervisor and Planning and Marketing Land Acquisition Manager, with Vibro-x and Sefel Geophysical.
During this period he was able to complete the Geophysics 1A course from Sait (December 1979) and obtain his Alberta Land Agent Licence (June 1983).
In November 1985 he formed Trefan Consultants Ltd. Where he contracted his services as a Geophysical Field Supervisor (Bird-Dog) to Noreen Energy Resources Limited until they hired him full time in December 1989 as a Geophysical Operations Specialist. Charlie currently manages the field geophysical acquisition needs for Noreen domestic core teams and also supplies seismic field expertise to Noreen's international team. He has traveled to Algeria, Argentina and Venezuela for the Noreen International Teams.
Hi s most frightening story happened while he was in Algeria working in 1992. The airport was bombed and nine people were killed and 124 injured. Although he was not at the airport two people from the contract crew he was working with were at the airport and were extremely frightened.
Charlie is an active member of the CSEG and has served on CAPP Geophysical, CAGC Geophysical, and the Doodlebug committees. Although Charlie has won his fair share of ceramics at the doodlebug (having attended since 1978), he did say he doesn't care if he ever wins another one so long as he gets to attend, as it is the best social event he can think of.
Charlie's hobbies include golf, which he took up in 1972 after his brother-in-law took him out to show him the game and Charlie beat him (he thought, "this game is easy and enjoyable") . He enjoys baseball and any type of handy-work (Charlie fixit), be it at home or at a friend's place. He enjoys a good sense of humor and is basically a self-learner (he says if he felt he could do it, he would do it).
He says he has really enjoyed 27 excellent years both on the geophysical acquisition side and presently in the Oil and Gas side. He says he has had a very challenging and rewarding career. He has met a lot of great people and also learned a great deal ("there isn't a day that goes by that I don't learn something"). With changes in safety, environment, new technology and "state of the art" equipment, dealing with governmental agencies, aboriginal communities, and landowners concerns makes this industry unique. He says that some of the many things he has learned in life are that if you are honest (VERY IMPORTANT), trustworthy, make fair decisions ("sometimes what looked like hard decisions at the time "), and work hard you will be successful. He says he won' t ask anyone to do anything he would not do himself.
Charlie enjoys a good sense of humor and enjoys seeing people laugh and smile. He also looks for the good in any person. He feels he has been fortunate to work with great people and he believes you should have a little sense of humor and make the workplace a fun place to work.
I asked if he could remember any specific incident that stood out as the best experience he had. He replied, all the challenges he has faced, especially with the landowners, other communities and working in other countries and having to adapt to their ways of doing things. Both have given him a challenge and a sense of accomplishment.
spoke with Charlie the week after he got back from holidays. His wife Sharon and he celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary by spending three weeks in Hawaii. Needless to say, Charlie appeared quite well rested and was very tanned. Sharon however, was not as lucky. She contracted a tropical bug, which made the trip home, and the week following quite uncomfortable. I hope this profile will give you a glimpse into the truly fun and wonderful person that Charlie is, as well as his spirit of being able to tackle anything that comes his way (and his amazing memory for dates).