The CSEG is organized to promote "the science of geophysics, and the fellowship and cooperation of its members." The Profile column is based on this premise. How better to foster fellowship among members than by focussing on the members themselves? Several long-standing members have been involved with the CSEG in 'behind the scene' positions. We hope to introduce these people to you in this column. We will try to let you know more about them including their background and how they became involved in the industry. If you know someone we should feature, please contact Jocelyn Bradley, Recorder Technical Editor.
Heather has been the Office Manager and sole staff member for the CSEG for more than 15 years. She has provided a framework of continuity that counters the yearly changes of Executive and Convention Committee members. The membership has come to count on Heather to keep up-to-date on all aspects of the Society. A such, she functions as a key source of information for the Society and the industry. Many members have had direct contact with Heather through their involvement with Society activities. However, many will not be aware of the full scope of Heathers involvement and responsibilities within the Society. This story of Heathers involvement with the CSEG, documents how the Society has increased its services over that 15 years.
Heather was born in Didsbury, Alberta and spent her early years on a farm southwest of Carstairs, near the Home Oil Gas Plant. As a child she saw pictures of her Dad beside unusual looking vehicles which her Dad had helped build for use in the oil industry. It wasn't until her work began with the CSEG that she made the connection between this early family tradition and her subsequent career.
The accompanying photos were taken near the old Sunset Drive-ln, and show one of the first tracked trucks ever built. This particular test vehicle for the oil industry was built in the spring of 1957 for Bruce Nodwell Inc., which later became Robin-Nodwell. Heather's father, Frank Bales was the Welder, and Harry Swazey was the Mechanic. This truck was a forerunner for the Army's Tracked Carrier. An article in the Calgary Herald of October 11, 1962 reports that 34 of these vehicles were supplied by Robin-Nodwell. The CSEG has published photos showing these vehicles working in the arctic. (See "Traces Through Time" by David Finch, 1985, available through the CSEG Office).
Heather graduated from Hugh Sutherland High School, Carstairs in 1978. After graduation, Heather moved to the big city of Calgary and started working with AGT as a directory assistance operator. In 198 J, she decided on a career change, and contacted a placement agency looking for an opportunity with more challenges.
In September 1981, Heather was hired by the APEGGA Office where her responsibilities entailed looking after the CSEG. Everything was done manually – hand writing receipts for membership dues, using an old typewriter to type reports and letters. One hoped one wouldn't make a mistake at the bottom of the page that required retyping the entire page. The membership updates were typed in the office and then sent to Digitech Information Services to be computerized.
In 1985, at the peak of the Society membership with approximately 2500 members, the CSEG decided to purchase one of the new PC computers so the membership listing could be maintained in-house. Heather's duties included address updates, invoicing for dues, printing address labels for mail out and producing an up-to-date membership listing for publication as a membership directory with the Annual Report. It was also decided that there was enough work to require having a full time staff person, so Heather was hired by the CSEG directly, to manage its own office. The Society opened this office on the 5th floor of the Old Herald Building adjacent to the CSPG Office.
In the same year, led by Dave Paterson, Recorder Editor, the Recorder received a face lift from the folded letter size sheets to the magazine format it is today. Advertising was solicited with direction from the Executive to make the Recorder a self-supporting publication. Using the resources of the Office, the Recorder was typeset by Heather and sent to Western Graphics for layout and design.
In 1986, Heather married and by 1987 a bundle of joy was on the way. Due in late October. Heather decided on October 16 as the date to close the office to give her a couple of weeks to prepare for the newcomer. Well, the baby was early, her daughter was born on October 19, the infamous "Black Monday." Following a week in the hospital, the CSEG office was relocated to her residence, computer and all, for four months of maternity leave. The Business Manager, Art Baptie, provided assistance (as babysitter, postman, taxi) through these months that helped to keep the society office running smoothly.
Upon returning to the office full time, further upgrades were made to the office equipment. Heather took on the additional responsibility of posting the Recorders and Journals which could not be delivered by courier in the downtown core. The CSEG leased their own equipment in place of what had previously been shared with the CSPG Office (photocopier and postage equipment). Heather labelled each item manually when the envelopes were too thick to fit through the meter.
Additional upgrades to the computer equipment included adding Desktop Publishing capabilities and Heather took on the task of doing the page layouts for The Recorder and The Journal of the CSEG. The Geophysical Atlas was also nearing publication. Heather did the page layout and the Atlas was ready for distribution at the Joint CSEG/CSPG Convention, in June of 1989.
During 1988, the Executive decided to computerize the accounting of the Society. Bedford Accounting software was purchased for use by the Treasurer. Each year the package was passed on to the next Treasurer, and each Treasurer took on the task of keeping track of the financial affairs of the Society. Heather would do the invoicing for Recorder advertising, and then pass the information on to the Treasurer who then had to re-input each of the invoices. In 1991 the Executive decided to reduce this duplication of effort by maintaining the financial records on the Office computer. Heather did the invoicing directly through the accounting software, and the Treasurer came into the Office do the remainder of the postings. By 1992 Heather had become proficient on the Accounting program, and managed all the accounting for the Society. In 1996, Heather completed an accounting correspondence course through SAIT.
In 1991 the Recorder received another facelift, and a consultant was hired to take over the publications. This helped to alleviate some of the ever increasing workload for Heather, but after several issues were published, the Recorder was no longer paying for itself, so through discussions with the printers and direction from the Executive, Heather regained the responsibility of typesetting the Recorder, while the layout, printing and postage was undertaken directly by McAra Printing.
In 1991 the Executive again decided the Office needed expanded floor space. The previous storage space was minimal, the Society needed a Boardroom that could accommodate large group meetings, and wanted space to set up a reference library. After a review of several options, they chose to relocate to the 4th Floor of the Herald Building while the CSPG expanded into the old 5th floor CSEG office suite. For a few months Heather worked out of boxes from a temporary site on the 3rd Floor while both the old and new office suites were being renovated.
In 1996, the Executive again decided to relocate the Society Office. The need for yet a bigger boardroom, more secure premises, direct plus 15 access, even more storage (for publications, convention booths, SEG books), and a more central location to the industry, prompted the move to the current location 90S, 510 - 5th Street S.W. Heather took on the task of packing boxes, and organizing the move.
The Convention Committees have also kept Heather busy over the years. With the Office being the central location for most activities, Heather has accepted any responsibilities the Committees has delegated to her. Over the years these functions have included preparing mail outs, typing (the Exhibitors Packages, Abstract Books, Programs), and collecting Registrations. She attends the various Committee meetings held at the Office. In 1996, the Convention financial records were transferred to the office for Heather to maintain under direction from the Auditor. Heather has manned the CSEG Booth and book sales during the yearly CSEG Convention for many years, and for the first time at the SEG Convention in Denver '96. She met with many of her counterparts from the SEG and other Societies as a preparation for the upcoming SEG Convention in Calgary in 2000.
Heather loves country living and spends most of her free time juggling her husband between Village Council and Lions Club meetings, and her daughter to Guides. She is a Director of the Pioneer Drum Corps of lrricana, where they have lived since 1990. Her family also enjoys camping, golfing and swimming in Sundre on weekends.
Heather's continued enthusiasm has gained great respect from those that know her, for her dedication to her Family, Career and Community.