Dr. van Sant is a 34-year oil industry veteran with particular experience in the areas of exploration and production research and technology. He began his career with Jersey Production Research Company, an Exxon Corporation predecessor in 1962. In 1964, he organized and lead Exxon’s technical services group in Bordeaux, France, which supported all Exxon exploration groups responsible for the North Sea, Europe and Africa. He transferred to Exxon Production Research Company in 1966, serving in positions of increasing managerial responsibility, including coordinating all technical training for explorationists, and becoming manager of the Exploration Research Division. He joined Pennzoil in 1980 and retired as Senior Vice President Technology & Systems in 1996. Dr. van Sant was responsible for geology, geophysics, reservoir engineering, drilling and technical computing in support of oil and gas operating units.
After retiring, Dr. van Sant was the Executive Director of the American Geological Institute Foundation which raised more than $20 million for certain AGI-sponsored educational and other national programs. The AGI is a federation of 52 Earth Science societies in the United States with a combined membership of more than 250,000 geoscientists. He is now Associate Director of the Foundation. Dr. van Sant also served as Assistant to the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston, and was a member of advisory committees at various times including the University of South Carolina, University of Utah, University of Kansas, and Rice University.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in geology from the University of Kansas. Additionally, he graduated from the Harvard University School of Business in Management of Industrial Research. He served in the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant for Special assignments in Korea, Alaska, and elsewhere.