Michael J. Styzen, GCSSEPM Honorary Member
Today we bestow an Honorary Membership in the GCSSEPM to volunteer, officer and trustee Michael J. Styzen. Mike was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 4, 1953. He was toughened by Midwestern winters and a Catholic school education but managed to survive both.
He received his B.S. degree from Illinois State University (Normal, Illinois) in 1976. In 1978 Mike enrolled in Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois, and began working on his M.S. He joined a research group studying Antarctica and the Southern Oceans, completing a M.S. thesis on the foram biostratigraphy of Deep Sea Drilling Project core holes between New Zealand and the south polar continent.
In 1980 Mike joined Mobil Exploration and Production Services in Dallas as a foram micropaleontologist. There he worked on projects from the Gulf of Mexico and many basins around the world. Mike has always been an industry leader and he led the biostratigraphy community by being one of the first to be reorganized out his job in 1983. Subsequently he joined Shell in January 1984 in New Orleans and began a new specialization in nannofossils. From the onset, Mike's focus was on the Neogene nannofossil biostratigraphy of the Gulf of Mexico and he found himself deeply involved in the emerging deepwater plays of the gulf. A prominent offshoot of Mike's groundbreaking work in this area was publication of the famous "Shell Chart," The Late Cenozoic Chronostratigraphy of the Gulf of Mexico, by the GCSSEPM in 1996. This chart has proved to be a standard for the GOM and one of the section's most popular publications.
Mike made major contributions critical to understanding the stratigraphy of prospects such as Bullwinkle, Auger and the Nakika. In 1995 he worked the pioneering subsalt Enchilada prospect followed by important analysis of other subsalt plays such as Salsa and Mars. Mike has been involved in nearly every Shell subsalt prospect ever since, usually contributing essential well-site monitoring in addition to his shore-based studies. Most recently he has been on well site for ultra-deep water Paleogene wildcats. In 2000-2001 Mike supervised biostratigraphic support for Shell's renewed exploration in the Campos and Santos Basins offshore Brazil.
Mike's deep involvement with the GCSSEPM began in 1994 when he sat on his first GCSSEPM Foundation Bob F. Perkins Research Conference committee. He has been on four other Perkins Conference organizing committees since then. That same year he first became a section officer and served as the secretary for the next two years. He took on another thankless job, that of section Treasurer, in '97 and '98, before serving as GCSSEPM President in 2000 and Past-President in 2001. As if all that wasn't enough, Mike has been a Trustee of the GCSSEPM Foundation since 2002. In the middle of all those section activities, Mike served as the GCSSEPM Program Chair for the GCAGS Convention in 1997. He also coauthored a paper on Enchilada Field with other Shell geologists. That paper was the 1997 Levorson Award winner at GCAGS.
Clearly Mike is a glutton for punishment but he takes his inspiration from two individuals, Ed Picou and Bob F. Perkins, who are legendary for their service to the Gulf Coast geologic community in general and the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM specifically. It is abundantly clear that Mike's selfless contributions and unflagging leadership have been instrumental in sustaining the well-known quality of the Perkins conferences and continuing growth and success of the Gulf Coast Section of the SEPM. It is for these reasons and many other unsung accomplishments and contributions that we present him with an Honorary Membership in the section.