By Donna Parker
Annell Bay ’77 is now the Americas regional exploration vice president for Shell E&P but she has a different spin on what made her Trinity experience unique. The Cretaceous, fossil-rich limestone cliffs that rim the Trinity campus and occur throughout the city of San Antonio were daily reminders that provoked her curiosity and interest in the earth sciences.
“After I started studying geology, I knew I wanted to work in oil and gas,” says Annell, who adds, “I didn’t know I’d be in exploration, but I’ve enjoyed it. My persistence and hard work have afforded me many opportunities.”
Her love of rocks has taken Annell and her family, husband Robert Suchecki and their children, a 19-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, on a journey around the world including residences in Dallas, Colorado, Jakarta, Indonesia, and now Houston.
“I’m doing what I love,” says Annell. “Really, we should all be so lucky. Many people work 8-12 hours a day, which makes for a long work day. Even though the job may change, if you like what you do, that strong desire will always be there to motivate you.”
Annell equates her exploration job as solving a puzzle with many pieces and then interpreting how that puzzle fits together. It’s a field she’s enjoyed for many years, now including more involvement in the earth sciences education field for young people.
“We’re simply not graduating enough scientists out of the colleges to fill positions and replace retiring baby boomers in science jobs across the country,” she explains, then adds, “Searching for more oil and gas and becoming less energy dependent are both critical right now for the U.S There are now and will be in the future jobs and careers for geoscientists in the oil and gas industry.”
She cites several professors as having had a profound impact on her career including Walt Coppinger, Ed Roy, and Bob Freed in geosciences, although she did branch out to study handmade pottery and read the works of Shakespeare with David Middleton in the English department.
“I was encouraged to take courses in non-science subjects, since Trinity is a small liberal arts university,” she says. “It was nice to get away from my major area and do other things that interested me.”
But for right now, Annell can’t imagine working anyplace other than the oil and gas business – a passion that’s driven her for 26 years and one that stemmed from something very basic – her love of rocks.