The Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) is introducing a new leader to head up their organization.
Dr. Nicholas Hayman was recently named the director of the OGS, which is located in the Sarkeys Energy Center on the OU campus. Hayman said he is very grateful for this opportunity and looks forward to this new endeavor.
The OGS is charged with investigating Oklahoma’s land, water, mineral and energy resources. Housed at the University of Oklahoma’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, it partners with universities nationwide. Geologists study everything from Oklahoma earthquakes to educating K-12 students via outreach programs.
Hayman, who previously worked at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas, follows former director Jerry Boak after his retirement in 2019.
Hayman said his past studies have given him a strong background in geological sciences. He believes his knowledge will help him as he takes on this new role.
“The OGS is a science organization,” Hayman said. “It’s a state agency ... that focuses on my main [area of] expertise. I’ve been involved with a lot of other things nationally and internationally that deal with energy and the environment, including some management that I bring to the table to help with the challenges ahead.”
As director, Hayman said he wants to motivate the OGS to take advantage of the outside investments the survey has received.
“We’re responding to the acute crisis both in terms of energy and the environment,” Hayman said. “[We’ve received] some of the investments [from] the federal government, National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, so I want to be a good motivator to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Hayman said the OGS is not a regulatory organization, but he does report to Kenneth Wagner, Oklahoma’s secretary of energy and environment. Wagner does have some regulatory authority and then what he reports is communicated to Gov. Kevin Stitt.
The OGS monitors seismicity in the state and provides assistance to the regulatory Oklahoma Corporation Commission, other state agencies and the public.
“From a state standpoint, the OGS does have a direct information flow to the state agency for matters of public interest,” Hayman said. “But we also have a research component where we can pursue research programs, some with external funding and some leveraging of state resources.”
Hayman said the OGS has a lot of data that he wants to allow people the opportunity to learn about and have the ability to access it.
“I think there’s a lot of untapped potential for the OGS to contribute to people’s teaching in geology but more broadly in the earth sciences,” Hayman said. “There’s a lot of great data from the seismology group that has a lot of earthquake data … all these things have online geological data and one thing we need to start thinking about is how to really help people have access to that and there’s a lot of work on our end we need to do for that.”
Hayman said he’s most eager to use all the great data the OGS has along with an extensive knowledge of Oklahoma’s environment.
“I think we have an opportunity at OGS to really [use] basic geological knowledge and bring it into that environment of problem-solving, and I think that’s really what’s most exciting,” Hayman said.
Mike Stice, dean of the Mewbourne College, said he is really excited about finding someone as qualified as Hayman to lead the OGS.
“Nick Hayman is a proven leader and is already a well-known researcher,” Stice said. “We look forward to his leadership as the survey continues to provide excellence in service to the university, the state and the public at large.”
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