Interview with Phil Rumford, TX A&M University
July 1, 2009 Profile: Phil Rumford, Superintendent Gulf Coast Repository Interviewed by School of Rocker, Cheryl L. Hammons Phil received his Geology/Chemistry Degree at E. Anglia, UK with the intent of going into research. He then attended Halfield Poly in the Masters degree program and was in charge of the running the geo-chemistry lab. There was a gynormous XRF machine that Phil was training undergrad students to operate. Unfortunately, one of the students didn’t get it plugged in all the way and yes, the machine blew up. Since there was no money for a new machine, Phil was out of a job. From there he went to work for Calmic International, in charge research and development in the hygienic department. Six months later the company was bought out and again, he was looking for work. He decided to get his PGCE in education at Cambridge University and taught high school for a year. During this time his old supervisor called and asked if he’d want to go work in Texas for the Ocean Drilling Program. This turned out to be a technician position on the JR, which would be sailing from Yokahama, Japan in 5 days! His first of what would be 15 cruises so far. Phil sailed to Victoria on this expedition as the chemistry lab tech using equipment he had never used before. With only 3 days to confer with Chieh Peng (the JR’s current Lab Officer) on this equipment, he was mostly self-taught! This was his first 2-month cruise. From there, he flew to Texas A&M with Bob Olivas to see where he would be living soon. With only 6 weeks until the next cruise, Phil flew back to the UK to get his wife and kids packed up and moved to College Station. He has been working for A&M since then in a few different positions – currently in charge of the repository and sailing on many expeditions. They are presently in the process of recataloguing on a quarter of a million cores, along with sending out 20-50 thousand core samples worldwide per years. They also conduct tours for local public schools – spreading the word about the Ocean Drilling Program. His next project? Beginning a masters program in Psychology – with cruise personnel being the subjects of study. People can get crazy at sea!!!