Albert Wegelin, P.Geol., received his bachelor's and master's
degrees from the University of Utrecht in his native Holland
before moving to Canada in 1980. Originally trained as a hard
rock geologist, specializing in the high-metamorphic Precambrian
of Southern Norway, he switched to hydrocarbon exploration
in the generally more porous and significantly younger environment
of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. The 49-year-old's
interests range from reservoir characterization to frontier
exploration, and he is currently working for Pioneer Natural
Resources Canada in Calgary.
Why do you volunteer with APEGGA?
I believe in promoting geology as a career or hobby, especially
to younger kids. The Outreach program of APEGGA has the resources,
a well-organized structure and network to link professionals
with various educational institutions. In a more general sense
it is important to communicate that a technical profession
such as geology does not only provide a potentially lucrative
career, but can also be an extremely interesting journey of
discovery with many unexpected challenges and rewards.
What value do you get from being
an APEGGA volunteer?
It's wonderful to see the excitement in a Grade 3 classroom
when you show "just" an ordinary piece of granite.
Curiosity has no limits at that age and I find that very motivating.
It keeps me in touch with the basics that we so easily forget.
Communicating with children and young adults sharpens your
presentation skills, which is helpful in your career.
Can you recall a particularly
memorable volunteer experience?
Two particular events come to mind. Following a presentation
on rocks and minerals a Grade 3 student asked me: "Where
does the earth come from?" I'm sure that was not meant
philosophically, but to answer that in 20 seconds was a bit
of a challenge. At a junior high career fair a Grade 9 student,
a girl, wondered: "If you have to travel a lot as a geologist
(this was one of the interesting career aspects I mentioned),
why are you married?"
Have you received an award or
special recognition that is important to you?
My best reward over the years has been the many letters and
drawings I received from school children.
Is there a person who has or had been
helpful in your development as a professional?
My father, a telecommunication engineer, encouraged me all
the way through university in Holland and was an inspiring
example of professionalism. Unfortunately he passed away three
months after I started my career in Canada in 1980.
What are your other hobbies and
I much enjoy classical music and jazz. One career I (very)
was musician. I play various keyboard instruments ranging
from synthesizer to mechanical pipe organ (a.k.a. church organ).
Woodworking is my latest fad and a few years ago I build my
Sailing is high on my outdoor list, which includes biking
Who is the one person in the world you
admire the most and why?
I've always had great admiration for Andrei Sacharov. He
died in 1989, but left a legacy of integrity, compassion and
the willpower to speak out. His publication, Progress, Coexistence
and Intellectual Freedom, and his Memoirs (I didn't understand
most of the quantum physics chapter unfortunately) are a great
testament of exceptional moral and intellectual development.
If you could travel to anywhere in the
world, where would you go?
I would love to travel through Russia: Start in St. Petersburg
(culture/history) and end on the Kamchatka Peninsula (scenery,
What is your favorite chemical?