GSH Volunteer

With over 100 events a year, the GSH offers
unparalleled opportunities to volunteer
and network with like-minded people.

Outstanding GSH Volunteer

The many social and technical opportunities offered by the Geophysical Society of Houston (GSH) for the geophysical profession of Houston and beyond are due largely to many dedicated volunteers.  The GSH wants to recognize some of these dedicated volunteers and will do so through this series of articles where we will present a monthly selected volunteer and provide our readers with some of the volunteer's professional and volunteer background.

Russell Jones was born in Leamington Spa, England and raised in Wirral, near Liverpool.  After obtaining a Bachelor's in Geology from Oxford University, he saw the error of his ways and then acquired a Masters in Exploration Geophysics from Leeds University.  Russell went to work for Ensign Geophysics in Addlestone, England, in 1993.  He moved to Houston in 1997 in what was supposed to be a six month assignment, but as fate would have it, he ended up staying much longer.  Russell changed employers to Geotrace in 2002 where he became General Manager of Marine Operations.  After obtaining a Green Card, Russell went to work for Seitel in 2008.  After holding a position of Processing Manager for six years, he moved to his current position of President of Seitel Data Processing and Seitel Solutions. 

Russell and his wife Giuliana, who is from Venezuela, both became US citizens in 2013, and Houston is their home for the foreseeable future. 

Russell has been a long time member of the GSH, and he became much more active in the GSH six years ago when he became the Chair of the GSH Tennis Tournament.  He still chairs and organizes the annual tennis event that is very popular.  Russell says he continues this organization task because he is gratified to see the participants have such a good time and because he wants to stay heavily involved in the GSH.  Plus, he says that he has made some great friends through the tennis event and he looks forward to making many more.  The GSH is very grateful for Russell’s continued integral involvement in this event that provides a very entertaining activity for its members, and that also raises funding that helps the GSH continue to provide technical events for the Houston geophysical profession and inspiring outreach to many youth in the greater Houston area.

Russell’s support of the GSH is not limited to the tennis event, however.  Perhaps of even greater value to the GSH, he very actively promotes others to get more involved in both technical and social activities of the GSH activities..  Russell’s employer, Seitel, is one of the great corporate supporters of the GSH.  Seitel, in addition to providing sponsorship to many GSH events, is a corporate member..  (Credit also must be recognized for Liza Yellot, who helps coordinate this significant funding for the GSH.)  Russell is not satisfied with just his employer providing very important funding for the GSH, he heavily encouragesSeitel employees to become involved in GSH activities.  Russell ensures that the individual memberships that go with Seitel’s corporate membership are distributed to Seitel’s employees along with his influential and strong promotion for those employees to attend GSH events and to volunteer their help for the GSH.  He helps his fellow employees, particularly the younger ones, new to the profession and industry, recognize the many benefits to be gained by their active involvement in GSH (and other) activities.  He encourages them to broaden and deepen their technical knowledge by attending the technical events.  Russell tells them that maybe even more importantly, they should take advantage of the networking opportunities and get to know other geophysicists that may help their career someday in the future or more currently provide good contacts that may benefit them in their current assignments.  In addition to making contacts, the interaction with other geophysicists helps young new professionals become more comfortable around other people in technical discussions.  Russell also encourages his employees to take clients with them to both technical and social events.  Russell strongly promotes the premise that companies, particularly service companies, will benefit from these contacts.  And if it helps the GSH, so much the better.

When asked to provide advice for other geophysicists he, of course, mentioned the potential benefits described above of getting involved in professional activities.  Then Russell had strong advice for other companies as well.  He said that other companies should not be content to tolerate its employees participating in professional society activities; the management of these companies should strongly encourage the involvement of its employees in professional societies because companies stand to benefit as much as the individuals.  Many employees are often reluctant to get involved in these activities because they think it takes time away from their jobs, which may be frowned upon by their supervisors.  Russell says that supervisors and management must make their employees recognize that their involvement in professional activities is not time away from their job, it is an important and beneficial part of their job.  This encouragement will help the employees and their companies benefit. 

Russell’s generous sharing of his time is not limited to professional activities.  He also is dedicated to helping the youth of our community.  Russell, and other employees of Seitel, are frequent workers and mentors at events for the Spring Branch School District.  They work at school Field Days, undertake middle and high school mentoring, and participate in the annual Dr. Suess ‘Cat in the Hat’ performance, in English and Spanish, which aims to promote literacy within the community.  When asked what he gets out of this nonprofessional volunteering, Russell says that this volunteer involvement makes himself and the person he is helping feel better. 

We are all very grateful for all that Russell has done for the GSH and for us as individuals.  If you are a tennis player, be sure to tell Russell that you hit an ace for him.  If you are not a tennis player, be sure to tell Russell that you are grateful that he has helped make the GSH a better organization for all of us.