New York Times: At the Right Intersection - Tito Beveridge

From New York Times:

I’M a fifth-generation Texan, named after my grandfather, Bert. But I didn’t know my real name until kindergarten. My family used to call me Bertito, which means Little Bert in Spanish. Then they shortened it to Tito, so when the teacher called the roll and said Bert, I didn’t know she meant me.

I started in pre-med at the University of Texas at Austin but decided I didn’t like being around sick people. When I switched to data processing, I found that I didn’t care for sitting behind a computer. One summer during college, I worked on oil rigs as a roughneck, a jack-of-all-trades.

Once, a visiting geologist gave a couple of bottles of liquor to the driller and the rig manager, and a co-worker told me the man was worth millions. After that, I decided to study geology and geophysics, and realized I thoroughly enjoyed the sciences. It became almost a spiritual quest to learn how the world works.

After graduating in 1984 with two science degrees, I started in the oil business, helping to find untapped oil reserves through seismic interpretation and surface mapping of oil wells. But I was laid off about a year later.

In that decade, the Texas oil industry suffered from a world oil glut. I tried opening an oil exploration company but that didn’t work out, so I worked in seismic data processing for Western Geophysical. That didn’t appeal to me, so I asked to transfer to Venezuela and worked on a crew exploring for oil that drilled holes and planted dynamite at 25-foot intervals, blasted each station and recorded the energy reflected off the rock layers below. I’d compare it to performing a sonogram of the Earth. I worked my way up to head of the group, supervising 300 workers.

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