Mark Myers

Mark Myers

After a rough few months in late 2005 that led to his resignation as Alaska’s oil and gas agency director, Mark Myers took a break with his family in South America. Then he got the call. He’d been chosen to lead one of the federal government’s premier scientific agencies — the U.S. Geological Survey.

Myers took the job and served three years as director of the agency, which is based in Reston, Virginia, a western suburb of Washington, D.C. It was a prominent pinnacle in a career spent largely working in Alaska for the petroleum industry and state resource management agencies.

Myers, who grew up in Wisconsin, first came to Alaska to hike the Chilkoot Trail when he was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He always wanted to return. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology, he explored for oil with Arco in Texas and Louisiana in the early 1980s. He met his wife, Alice, a fellow Arco employee. They moved north to Alaska with the company in 1983 and later had two children.

A few years after arriving in Alaska, Myers began a doctorate program at UAF. He finished a dissertation on the geology of the Mackenzie River delta region in 1989, then went to work for the state as a petroleum geologist. After eight years, he rejoined Arco, where he helped discover Meltwater, a 50-million-barrel satellite of the Kuparuk field.

Myers returned to state employment in 2000, becoming director of both the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas and the Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey. That job put him in the midst of discussions about the state’s role in a proposed natural gas pipeline, but he resigned in late 2005 after disagreeing with then-Gov. Frank Murkowski’s approach.

A few months later, President George W. Bush nominated him for the top job at the USGS. When Bush completed his second term in early 2009, Myers returned to Alaska to work for then-Gov. Sarah Palin on natural gas development. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers hired him as vice chancellor for research in 2011.

State government called again, though, and Myers became natural resources commissioner under Gov. Bill Walker after the 2014 election. Myers retired from the position in 2016.

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