Episode 70: Celebrating Interpreter Sam with Don Herron

In this special episode, host Andrew Geary brings a longtime SEG member and scribe of the “Interpreter Sam” column – Don Herron – to the podcast to reflect on his 16 years writing for The Leading Edge. The December 2019 issue published the final “Interpreter Sam” column. In this back-and-forth conversation, Don shares the original idea for the column, the best feedback he received, the future of interpretation, what he’s most proud of with Interpreter Sam, and so much more. This is a must-listen episode for all interpreters and geophysicists!


Is Don Herron, Sam?

One question that didn’t come up in our conversation is “am I, Don Herron, Sam?” Of course, I’m the author of the column, but is the Sam character me, and are the stories I told all based on my own first-hand experience? The answer is that a majority of the stories are my own, but sometimes I was a major character and other times an innocent bystander. Another question is, who is Sam’s “good friend Jack” who figures in a number of the stories? Is he a real person or simply a literary construct? I’ll leave that unanswered. – Don Herron


Don Herron has enjoyed a career as a seismic interpreter at Texaco (1973–1977), Gulf (1977–1984), and most recently Sohio/BP (1984–2008). At both Gulf and Sohio/BP, he taught in-house courses in seismic interpretation and was co-instructor for the SEG public course “Seismic Interpretation in the Exploration Domain” from 1995 to 2007. He was chairman of the SEG Continuing Education Committee (1998–2001) and a member of the Editorial Board of The Leading Edge (2002–2007, chairman in 2006–2007). He is an active member of SEG, AAPG, and Sigma Xi, and he always has taken the time to observe and write about the world around him.

Editor’s note

Special thanks to all the individuals that provided questions and stories for this episode. I (Andrew Geary) had the privilege to work with Don on the EVOLVE Technical Committee in 2019 as a small part of his many roles at SEG, and it was a pleasure to speak with him on this major achievement built over a decade-plus.


Original music by Zach Bridges. 

This episode was hosted, edited, and produced by Andrew Geary. Thank you to the SEG podcast team: Jennifer Crockett, Ally McGinnis, and Mick Swiney.

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