Event Rialto 2019

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Update: Little did ARCO Alums in Houston know when they braved a torrential rainstorm November 7, how special this gathering at Fratelli’s was. As we enjoy the summer, we recognize how 2020 is not a year for get togethers. We had fun asking when each attendee joined Advancial Federal Credit Union. Bob Langley joined in 1973, but Lawrence McNiel who joined in 1965 took the prize! Bob Casady and Sandra McNiel won the raffle prizes generously provided by Advancial.

In anticipation of the happy hour, we reached out to members who listed Houston as their residence. Following are some updates from the happy hour and from the emails we were sent. If you have an update, send us an email at

Susan Alonso shared that “As fate would have it, my son returned the favor of me getting him an internship at W&T offshore by getting me a job with the company he is working for! I have been consulting for Cantium LLC for the last year.

My son got me a job with the company he is working for Susan Alonso

In other news in the industry, Chris Alonzo is Subsurface Manager with Surge Energy, Vincent Caldarera is working deepwater facilities for Equinor (formerly Statoil) in Houston, Jim Ciarrocchi is consulting, John Gillespie works for Sierra Hamilton as a consultant to Chevron, Jim Sikes and Johnny Rau are both at Hilcorp and Deborah Richardson is a landman at ConocoPhillips working the Eagle Ford Shale. Jeremy Greene shared that “We are still growing our private E&P. We now have 22 employees and operations in Oklahoma and North Dakota.”

Mark Casady is living in Houston and seeking new opportunities.

Greg Hanson is currently working and living in Israel.

BP employees who shared an update include Gavin Mason who continues to enjoy working for BP in Houston. “Life is good,” he reports.

David Neill said that “After spending most of my career working in operations, I am now with BP’s global projects organization working as the lead Instrument Controls & Automation engineer for a large offshore compressor project in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Tim Speirs lives in Nebraska and works for BP in Houston. He is an Operation Specialist and finds the 21/7 lifestyle is working well.

Bette Smart retired from BP. “I started at Arco in January 1980, transferred to Vastar in 1994 and went to work for PriceWaterhouse/IBM when BP bought out ARCO in 2001. I was hired by BP in 2005. Arco hired some of the best folks. I continued to work with a few former Arco/Vastar folks at BP until I retired. What a blessing,“ said Bette.

I continued to work with a few former ARCO/Vasar folks at BP until I retired. What a blessing - Bette Smart

E. Larry Cantu retired (again) after 10 years at Anadarko. “I try to spend as much time as possible with my 10-year old twins while they are still under the impression that I am God and are still happy to spend time with me. In a few years they will realize that I am not God and conclude that I am probably the ambassador from Planet Dork. After that, they won’t want to be seen in public with me anymore,” shared Larry.

J David Clyde is “semi-retired”. He enjoys doing some occupational medicine consulting projects to keep his mind engaged and share some of his experience. He and his wife enjoy traveling.

Rusty Riese retired from Rice University in 2015 and is lecturing for AAPG.

Gilberto Royo shared that they sold their interest in the No Label Brewery last year.

Barry Shelden retired from Noble Energy in 2017 and is living with his wife at Table Rock Lake in Southwest Missouri. They often visit their daughters who are living in LA, Minneapolis and Dallas.

Steve Uchytil retired in September after nearly 40 years in the Petroleum Industry, with his last 17 years working with Hess Corporation for nearly 17 years.

Jim Hewlett was visiting Mark Gresko and so both were unable to make the happy hour.

The ARCO Alumni community continues to thrive in large part thanks to our sponsors who enable us to gather in various cities and remain connected. Thanks to Advancial and BP for its ongoing sponsorship of the ARCO Alumni networking events. Pictured at the Anchorage happy hour are Bre Homestead, Advancial, Katy Neher, Chip Derrick, Becky Schumacher, and Angie Seibert, Advancial. Advancial kindly donated prizes and Chip was thrilled to win as it was his wife Georgina's birthday that day!

At the ARCO happy hour at O’Malley’s in Anchorage Randy Ruedrich recalled his time after leaving ARCO when he worked for Doyon as the principal driller for ARCO. After 20 years, the Alpine drilling rig in which Doyon invested has been replaced. Their investment for what was initially a one-year contract was a huge success.

Our members still in the oil and gas industry are employed by BP, COP, the government, and a number who wished to remain in Alaska are working for themselves. In addition, a growing number of ARCO alumni have joined Oil Search where they are working on one of Alaska’s largest oil prospects in decades.

Six ARCO Alumni are at Oil Search in Anchorage and another is with Oil Search in Papua New Guinea

Oil Search exercised the Armstrong option to double its interests in the Pikka Unit, Horseshoe Block and other exploration leases in Alaska, for US$450 million. Oil Search and Repsol entered into arrangements to align ownership interests across their shared Alaskan portfolio. First production is expected in 2022. Their team’s newest ARCO alumnus is Andy Bond, who left his position as Senior Subsurface Manager with Caelus Energy Alaska to join Oil Search.

Outside of oil and gas, Alaska’s flourishing peony market includes Troy Weiss who is farming peonies. With 128 peony farmers in the state, there is a growing market for the flowers. The harvest might reach 1.3 million stems within the next five years. "The industry's about to explode," said Jason Floyd, president of Alaska Peony Broker. "There's a number of farms getting ready to come online in the next few years." The flowers bloom later in the season in Alaska than elsewhere, creating marketing opportunities.

The peony industry is about to explode

Thanks also to our members who help spread the word about these events and continue growing our attendance. We appreciate James Posey, Tina Suellentrop, Pat Thompson and others.

In addition, some of our members were out of town but reported catching up with other ARCO alums. Kevin and Mary Hall were at their Sand Point, Idaho home and enjoyed visiting with Von and Jan Cawvey, and then caught up with the O'dell's and Bolkovatz's in Spokane for lunch one day. Dallam Masterson was in Anchorage but missed the happy hour as he was on a ferry from Valdez to Whittier.

For those who have retired, and the number grows each year, time is spent traveling, on the golf course, and in a variety of interesting activities. Ken Elmore is busy working with other 557 Restoration Company volunteers who hope to restore Alaska’s last steam locomotive and see it running on the AK Railroad again in the future.

Katy Neher retired in 2013. After taking some time to decompress from her 25 year career in the finance side of the oil industry (ARCO, Phillips, COP) she wanted something to do that would challenge her mind, but allow her to work on her own schedule. "I’ve sewn and quilted since I was very young and after attending a conference decided that longarm quilting would be my next “career”," said Katy. Katy runs ktBugg Quilting. She finds that her computerized machine (think CAD) makes the quilting fun and challenging. "I’ve found the program keeps my brain challenged and helps me cope with the Excel withdrawal I suffered after retiring." she shared. in addition to visiting her grandchildren and family in Chicago, Katy counteracts the winter blues by playing hockey in two leagues.

I have found the program keeps my brain challenged and helps me cope with the Excel withdrawal I suffered after retiring. - Katy Neher, ARCO 1976-2000

Sigurd Colberg is happily retired spending time with his family, traveling, flying and remodeling his home in Palmer.

Speaking of careers, Stewart McCorkle's son Taylor is working at the Mat-Su hospital in Alaska. Stewart and Tyler drove to Anchorage to get Taylor set up in his new home and the timing coincided with the happy hour.

Log on and read what other members are doing.


CarlYoungCarl Ray Young, 83, of Farmers Branch, died July 24, 2019. Carl worked at Atlantic Richfield and was also on the board of the ARCO credit union, chairing Advancial's credit union in later years. Mike McKee worked with Carl at ARCO and also served on the credit union board with Carl. "I met Carl when he taught my Super School class in 1977," said Mike. "Two years later he brought me to Dallas to work on his staff and soon I was teaching and helped develop the reserve system we used.  Then in ‘91 I came back to Dallas and eventually took over for him doing reserves for ARCO. In ‘96 he asked if I was interested in a Board of Directors position for Atlantic Federal Credit Union, now called Advancial. I am proud to have served with him since that time. His leadership has allowed the credit union to grow to a $1.7 billion institution while serving ARCO employees along with hundreds of other groups. He was a mentor and friend that will truly be missed."

Carl was born in Tulsa on July 2, 1936, the son of Raymond and Gladys (Eskridge) Young. He leaves his beloved wife of 61 years, Margaret (Bell) Young; daughter Cynthia, her husband David Sanders; son Carl; son Michael and his wife Mary Elizabeth; and son Marcus and his wife Michelle.

He was a mentor and friend that will truly be missed. - Mike McKee, ARCO 1976-2000

Carl lived an amazing life. Starting out with almost nothing but a strong mind, a healthy dose of discipline and a big heart, he excelled in school and athletics, receiving wrestling and track scholarships that supported his education at the University of Oklahoma where he earned a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Petroleum Engineering (Boomer Sooner!). He went on to become a highly valued professional working at Atlantic Richfield Company. Thereafter, he served as a private consultant in the oil and gas field until retiring in 2006. In retirement, Carl served as acting Chairman of the Board of Advancial Federal Credit Union. Carl joined Advancial in 1963 when he was a young executive at Atlantic Richfield. He began his service to the credit union more than 40 years ago when he was asked to serve on the Supervisory Committee in 1977. A few years later, he transitioned to the Board of Directors and rose to Chairman, serving in that capacity for the remainder of his life.

Throughout his life, Carl served others, working with youth in the Junior Achievement, starting the W. T. White high school wrestling program and receiving coaching awards in youth football, baseball, soccer and wrestling. He and Margaret loved nature, hiking, camping, card games, volleyball and traveling. Their love of world travel took them to all seven continents, all 50 states and 70+ countries, sharing treasured memories with their traveling companions, many of whom they met at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, their spiritual home for more than 50 years. Together, Carl and Margaret have developed many, many lifelong friendships with so many people who love them dearly. Above all, Carl loved his family deeply. Words cannot describe their love for him. We will miss his kind spirit, but know that he will always be with us, within the very heart of us and our community. He might have been quiet, but he was mighty!

Please share condolences and sweet memories at

Curtis Blount passed away Sunday, May 12. Curtis was living in Houston, where he was a Senior Fellow, Global Wells Technology for ConocoPhillips. He is survived by his wife Shari, his children Chris, Trevor and Sarah and his grandchildren. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Bergren was with Curtis the day he passed away. "Curtis was a close friend since 1980 when we were Electrical Engineering lab partners at UAA. We worked together on projects at Prudhoe and ended up living in the same neighborhood in Katy decades later," said Frank.
"My wife, Sharon, and I were on our 2 mile morning walk this morning when we met Curtis and his dog Cooper. Curtis and Cooper joined us and we walked the remaining mile back to our house and then went to our patio to have a cup of coffee. When I came out with the coffee, I saw that Curtis was obviously in trouble, not moving and unresponsive. I felt for a pulse and could not detect one, so I picked him up out of the chair and laid him on the patio and started CPR. I shouted for Sharon to call 911 and kept doing CPR until the paramedics arrived 10 or 15 minutes later. Shari, Trevor, Sarah and Cliff and Cathy Crabtree joined us at the hospital, where the staff worked on Curtis for about an hour.  The doctor then came out and told us that they never revived his pulse," said Frank.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Shari, and the rest of Curtis’ family. They will certainly miss Curtis as will all of his friends in the oil patch. The world is a different place without Curtis stirring things up. He was an incredibly talented individual and a good man," shared Frank.

The world is a different place without Curtis stirring things up. - Frank Bergren, ARCO 1983-1998

Curtis specialized in advancing technology applied in challenging and harsh environments. He was active in CT and well intervention research and applied technology development for more than 25 years and worked in the industry for 40 years. He coauthored more than 30 technical papers, holds over 20 patents and actively participated on numerous SPE committees. Curtis active participated on numerous SPE committees. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer on CT Drilling technology for 2002-2003, SPE Alaska chapter’s Engineer of the Year for 2003, and was SPE’s Drilling and Completion award recipient for 2007.

Mike Haas shares that when he arrived in Anchorage in 1979, he met Curtis during the perforation and testing of the Drill Site 6 wells to raise the field rate from 1.2 to 1.5 MMBOPD. There were two Dresser Atlas polar prowlers on the drill site leap frogging from well to well. "Curtis was this skinny young completion engineer with braces," remembers Mike. "He never slept and was like the Energizer bunny, just running 24 hours a day while I caught cat naps sleeping in the truck. I will never forget those days and how he was so full of energy and zest for life. I understand why his career was so successful because of that great attitude," said Mike. Mike was fortunate to catch up with Curtis a couple years ago when Curtis was in Dharain. "I was lucky to see him again and reminisce about the old days," said Mike.

Curtis was like the Energizer bunny, running 24 hours a day... - Mike Haas, ARCO 1974-1994

Denise Ganopole worked with Curtis before he transferred to Houston. "It was a privilege and delight to work with Curtis.  A very smart and dedicated man, with a great sense of humor.  I could never walk away from an encounter without a smile on my face," said Denise.

Michael Mooney shares that he and Curtis met when Michael was fresh out of college as a roustabout in 1983 and Curtis was a Wireline Supervisor. “He loved to tell the story of our first time working together in Prudhoe,” shared Michael. “On my first job, he told me to go up on the wellhead tree and close a valve, so I scrambled up and turned it the wrong way – “hey kid, righty tighty, lefty loosey” he laughingly yelled which kept him off my BFF list that day. After some time, I began to recognize that this guy was really smart, and I was going to learn from him. We ended up working together over the years and that close work relationship turned into a great friendship.”


At work, Michael recalls that Curt was often the go-to guy for the big challenges and well/downhole knowledge. He always amazed Michael with his impact and dedication to the industry. “Everywhere we traveled he was a super star with his unique presentations, his story telling, generosity and natural talent at keeping all entertained,” remembers Michael.
“Reflecting back over the past 36 years, we did a lot together such as rock-climbing classes, multiple water ski camps in Washington, camping, fishing, white water rafting (Curt went swimming that day), hiking, global work travels and endless days water skiing on Wasilla Lake. Some days we would just hang out and try to solve the world’s problems. We were very compatible at golfing and both agreed once was enough.
Known as Uncle Curt to my boys, our families were close and watched each other’s kids grow up. We had many excellent meals and fun times at Curt and Shari’s homes in Alaska and Texas. There might have been a few times that Shari had to put up with shenanigans from Curt and myself.
I always told Curt he knew how to live each day to the fullest extent. He will be sorely missed by many people and certainly our family,” said Michael.

Michael 'Mick' Kraly, said "This is a sad, sad day with wonderful memories of Curtis back in Prudhoe when I was a roustabout and he was the Wireline Supervisor. I cannot think of a time when Curtis didn’t have a smile on his face. He loved what he was doing. It makes us all thankful for each day we have to enjoy life!" said Mick.