The 5 new members of the Petroleum Hall of Fame will be formally inducted in November.
Robert Brown Sr.: From the early days of electrical power in New England at the turn of the 19th century, Brown came west in 1906 to Calgary as superintendent of the Northwest Electric Company and enjoyed a variety of roles, including head of Calgary’s electric light department. As one of the charter members of the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta, he became its president in 1921. Like many at the time, Brown was intrigued by the opportunities emerging in Turner Valley, south of the city. Ultimately, Brown and his son became some of the most important players in the province’s first oil boom.
Keith McPhail: This native Albertan began his career early in the gas fields of southern Alberta, eventually enrolling in SAIT’s petroleum technology program and then Montana’s College of Mineral Science. His corporate career took him to CNRL’s senior ranks and eventually to the head of his own company, Bonavista Energy. His $10 million contribution to SAIT – whose energy school now bears his name – was the largest gift to a Canadian college at the time.
Allan Nelson: It wouldn’t be a stretch to describe Nelson as the “engineer’s engineer”. Like many of the oilpatch’s great engineering talents, Nelson was called to the west by the lure of adventure and opportunity. He launched what is now Allan R. Nelson Engineering in the mid-1960s – which he still practices his discipline. One of his early claims to fame was acquiring a World War II flash welder used to weld hubs to propellers and converting it to weld tool joints to drill pipe, thus starting the country’s first drill pipe manufacturing program.
Alexander Palynchuk: They say Alberta’s best imports are Saskatchewan’s exports when it comes to oilfield talent. That’s the case with Palynchuk, who knew at age 12 he wanted to be an engineer. A background in farm machinery and a natural aptitude for things mechanical all pointed to an innovation that would help define his life: the coiled sucker rod system, which was granted more than 10 patents. For those whose job it is recovering conventional and heavy oil, Palynchuk’s efforts have made life immeasurably easier — and that system bred many other oilfield innovations, including service rigs efforts and operating techniques.
Robert Peters: Peters’ contributions to the petroleum industry came from a blend of financial acumen and a vision for a specific investment niche. Thus, Peters & Co. was born. Partnering with a petroleum economist, Peters borrowed $20,000 against his home and become the first Alberta-based member of the Toronto Stock Exchange. Their goal: to attract much-needed investment dollars to Calgary’s dynamic junior sectors. Many companies owe their financial success to the vision and passion displayed by Peters and his growing team.
(Source: Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame)