Archive for Friday, November 6, 1998


November 6, 1998


The Kansas Geological Survey is regarded nationwide as one of the top programs in the country, an official asserts.

A 10-member committee is continuing its search for a replacement for Lee Gerhard as director of the Kansas Geological Survey.

The search party met here Thursday for the second time since July, when Gerhard, 61, announced his intentions to retire next June. He will stay on as principal geologist at the agency he has headed since January 1987.

"Reports of my retirement are greatly exaggerated," Gerhard said. "I've always said that seven or eight years is as long as anyone should spend in these leadership positions before moving aside for someone younger with new ideas. I ended up staying 12 years. But now it's that time: Time for somebody younger."

Rex Buchanan, KGS spokesman and co-chairman of the search committee, said the group hasn't yet advertised the pending vacancy but expects to attract top-notch candidates for the job once it does. Committee members want to begin interviewing applicants in March or April, he said, and fully expect to have someone on the job by July 1.

"KGS is certainly recognized among state surveys as one of the top five in the nation," Buchanan said. "Maybe one of the top two or three. So, I think it's reasonable to expect some high-quality candidates for the job. The fact the survey is a division of Kansas University also makes the position attractive. The majority of state geological surveys tend to be stand-alone agencies."

Gerhard's successor will oversee about 150 geologists, researchers and support staff.

"I would hope that my successor would be first very flexible and focused on the future and on the role of science in service to the public," Gerhard said. "It will probably have to be a somewhat schizophrenic because our client base includes the government, academic and business communities, which are totally different from one another. You have to be able to move between those cultures.

Among the search committee members are: Bill Hambleton, KGS director emeritus and Gerhard's immediate predecessor as chief; Scott Ritchie, a Wichita oilman; David Heinemann, Kansas Corporation Commission director; and Robert Zerwekh, KU associate chancellor of research and public service .

-- Mike Shields' phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is

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