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Jim Johnstone retired from Contek & ERM on May 31, having spent 43 incredible years in the industry and working with hundreds of exceptional people.

"I leave Contek & ERM knowing that there are many talented people who will take the “reins” and create even more advanced solutions to the energy industry’s technical challenges," said Jim.

Jim started his career with ARCO Oil and Gas Company in Denver City, Texas following his graduation from Washington State University. "ARCO provided a wealth of opportunity enabling me to work in field operations, engineering and safety & environmental. During my 23 years with ARCO, I worked in nnie different locations. Besides giving me varied work experiences,I was blessed to know and work with hundreds of people all over the industry."

My network of friends and family helped to build Contek. It was most rewarding to see our younger employees grow professionally, start families and develop into keen, dedicated consultants - Jim Johnstone
Following the sale of ARCO in 2000, Jim worked for Mary Jane Wilson of WZI. "While at WZI, I truly learned the “business” of consulting with her mentorship, and in 2003, Georges Michaud and I formed Contek Solutions LLC," said Jim. "Contek was seemingly off to a slow start, but my network of industry friends and family started to kick in. Georges and I were able to build Contek with close to 50 employees. My chief personal goal was to make Contek a great place to work. Having a great place to work brought in top people, created a hospitable work environment and was naturally followed by clients wanting to use a great company of people. It was most rewarding to see our younger employees grow professionally, start families and develop into keen dedicated consultants that could handle any task. Contek was acquired by ERM in September of 2019."
ARCO provided a wealth of opportunity enabling me to work in field operations, engineering and safety & environmental - Jim Johnstone

A “Thank You” to those demanding bosses, work friends, clients who took a chance on me, professional societies who provided professional growth and mentoring; and of course my family for the past 43 years! Thanks to everyone for making my career so fulfilling and gratifying.

My wife Cindy and I will be splitting out time between fishing on Lake Fork, Texas and our home in Plano. Our future will also include a lot of traveling, time with the grandkids and enjoying God’s beautiful creation.




I thank everyone who made my career so fulfilling and gratifying - Jim Johnstone

Robert Langley passed away February 27, 2020. A memorial service will be held March 7 at 1:00pm at the Memorial Drive United Methodist Church at 12955 Memorial Drive, Houston, 77079.
Bob attended the November 7 Houston ARCO Alumni event. He was excited about his plans for retirement and enjoying his grandchildren.

"Bob was a joy to know and to work with" - Jim Sikes

"I saw Bob at a Houston ARCO alumni function in November," said Jim Sikes. "He was doing well and excited about his plans for retirement. Bob was a joy to know and to work with and completely devoted to his family. He will be missed. Please keep his family in your prayers."

"Bob was one of my valued friends" said Tim Bayles. "From the day he interviewed and hired me to work in Houston on St James, Bob was always available and willing to assist in anyway he could help you. Bob and I only “officially” worked together for less than a year, but our friendship never ended. The day I met Bob I knew he was one of the smart guys. He had several three letter acronyms following his name that he rarely mentioned, but he had a memory for details unlike few people I know. He was an avid outdoorsman, and he loved fishing, hunting, golf and just hanging out with people. He will be missed for a long time to come."

"The day I met Bob, I knew he was one of the smary guys. He had a memory for details unlike few people I know. He will be missed for a long time to come" - Tim Bayles

Read the obituary.

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!

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