American Geosciences Institute Announces 2017 Award Winners

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October 17, 2017
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is pleased to recognize the recipients of its 2017 awards: Professor Iain S. Stewart with the AGI Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding of the Geosciences; Mr. Richard M. Powers with the William B. Heroy Jr. Award for Distinguished Service to AGI; and Mr. Russell G. Slayback with the AGI Medal in Memory of Ian Campbell for Superlative Service to the Geosciences, its highest award. All three awardees will be presented with their awards next week at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Seattle.
Over the past decade, Professor Iain S. Stewart’s work as a presenter of popular television documentary programs for (mainly) the BBC have made him familiar to TV audiences and has given geology a recognizable & distinctive persona. Most notably, Dr. Stewart has enhanced the public’s geoscience understanding through his contributions as presenter for a series of widely acclaimed television programs for the BBC. His television series “Earth: The Power of the Planet” was nominated for a BAFTA award, exemplifying its effective outreach. His nomination stressed that, despite his work in television, he has remained steadfastly dedicated to geoscience; his title at the United Kingdom’s University of Plymouth – Professor of Geoscience Communication – highlights his outreach efforts.
From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Richard M. Powers served a cycle as President-Elect, President, and Past President on the AGI Executive Committee, overseeing the release of several important AGI products and the Institute’s efforts to market its products, mission, and value. During this period, AGI launched EARTH, the successor publication to AGI's long-running Geotimes; AGI's GeoRef surpassed 3 million references; AGI re-established itself as a leader in geoscience workforce data with its release of Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2009; AGI published Living with Unstable Ground, the 10th publication in AGI's Environmental Awareness Series; AGI published the revised fifth edition of the Glossary of Geology; AGI published the revised fourth edition of the Geoscience Handbook: AGI Data Sheets; the Mineralogical Abstracts (MinAbs) website was launched with 130,000 entries; AGI made its first foray into social media; and – most notably – AGI changed its name from the American Geological Institute to the American Geosciences Institute. After serving on the AGI Executive Committee, Powers became an AGI Foundation Trustee, serving as Foundation Chair from 2013 to 2016. A strong financial supporter of AGI, Powers was an inaugural member of the AGI Foundation’s Legacy Society.
Powers writes, “I am greatly honored and humbled to have been selected as AGI’s recipient of the 2017 William B. Heroy Award. My involvement with AGI over the last decade provided the opportunity to participate in and observe AGI’s growth and evolution which was extremely satisfying both professionally and personally. Working with AGI’s exceptional staff and leadership was a reward in its own and now receiving the Heroy Award is just fantastic.”
Mr. Russell G. Slayback’s professional career at Leggette, Brashears & Graham, a pioneering hydrogeologic consulting firm, documents the steady progression of an outstanding and innovative geoscientist. Furthermore, his commitment to the geoscience community is exemplary; he has consistently nurtured the roots of geoscience in professional and scientific societies and in educational institutions, notably serving the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) in some 20 different offices and positions, including President. Mr. Slayback brought the same energy and dedication to AGI, serving as AGI President, Member at Large on the Executive Committee, as an AGI Foundation Trustee and Chairman of the AGI Foundation. During his term as Foundation Chair, Mr. Slayback was integral in the establishment of the endowed AGI William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellowship, which brings exceptional geoscience communicators into the halls of Congress. 
“Throughout his career, Mr. Slayback has been dedicated to strengthening the geoscience community,” said AGI Executive Director Allyson Anderson Book. “And on behalf of all AGI Congressional Fellows, I am immensely grateful to Mr. Slayback’s generosity and foresight in establishing the Fisher Endowment. AGI congratulates him wholeheartedly on this well-deserved honor.”
The American Geosciences Institute directly, or in cooperation with its Member Societies, makes a number of awards each year to recognize particular excellence in the geosciences.  In addition, AGI works with its Member Societies to foster nominations of deserving geoscientists for consideration in a number of National Science Awards.  To learn more about AGI awards, go to