Looking Under Rocks

Geologist Paul Rady has a talent for finding oil and gas beneath the surface. He got his start with a crucial mentorship at Western.
Window magazine staff

While earning his bachelor’s degree in geology in Colorado, Paul Rady, M.S., '80, became fascinated with plate tectonics, convergent margins, and blueschist facies metamorphism along the continental margins. He also learned that E.H. “Ned” Brown of WWU was a respected expert on the subject.

So Rady applied to Western to graduate school.

Under Brown’s mentorship, Rady did lots of mapping, petrology and geochemistry. He spent more than 50 days in the field and mapped 25 square miles of rugged, steep terrain in deep rain forest with over 100 inches of rain per year. On one trip with Brown, they climbed Groat Mountain and discovered a previously unrecognized blueschist fault block wedge which turned out to be of Permian age.

After finishing his degree, Rady started his job search at the library, as one did before the internet. “I looked up companies in Denver, in the Yellow Pages,” he says. “I photocopied many pages and sent my resume and cover letter to about 70 companies.”

Unfortunately, Rady got all rejection letters, so he went to Denver to knock on doors. The first interview landed a job at Amoco, where he stayed 10 years. Ironically, Amoco was one of the companies that rejected him just months earlier.

Rady honed his gift for not only locating oil and gas reserves by analyzing geological formations, but also predicting new sources from the data. A gifted prospect geologist and oil and gas finder, Rady realized this was going to be his calling.

“In reconnaissance geology, I’m a detective, piecing together clues, correlations and relationships among surface and subsurface features,” Rady says. “In many ways, this is similar to my WWU work, learning to think regionally to creatively piece together the puzzle.”

After 10 years at Amoco, Rady was recruited away by Barrett Resources, a small company where he became chief geologist and, ultimately, CEO.

In the early 2000s, Rady and his business partner, Glen Warren, founded Antero Resources, now the seventh-biggest natural gas producing business in the country, a success they credit with Rady’s ability to read the geology and see around corners.

Along with his professional success, Rady is an avid cyclist who rides the course of the Tour de France annually. He also supports Chinese Children Adoption International and he and his wife Katy have adopted four daughters through the program. At Western, he supports the Geology Department, funding the kinds of research opportunities that made such a difference for him.

“We’re fortunate to be able to give back,” Rady says. “I want to plant a seed that can help develop young people in such a way they will be inspired to also give back at Western. Most importantly, I want to start a self-sustaining research program that recognizes Dr. Ned Brown and all his accomplishments, and establishes lasting research dollars to underpin a continued graduate level research program.”