Local Heads To Nova Scotia In August
Geologist, financial marvel, published journalist, and QM16 rider, Sam Epstein is a Rockaway resident worth learning about.
In mid-August an international conference detailing work on hydrocarbon exploration in the Central America conjugate margins will take place in Nova Scotia.
Epstein has written a paper on that arcane subject, and has become the conference's main speaker, primarily because he discovered the great gas potential offshore New York and New Jersey.
But being the main speaker and star of the scientific conference, known as Halifax 2008, is just one major accomplishment on Epstein's long list.
Most would agree that he is a man pushing towards the word "extraordinary" in every area that he tackles, mastering both the physical and financial worlds.
Working in Houston for an oil company, he lost his job in the '80s. "They didn't need as many geologists," he nonchalantly claims.
"I had to eat, so I just jumped in," he says. Now, he is the first vice president and financial advisor in Penn Plaza for Morgan Stanley, the financial advisement firm.
"But I don't live in the past," Epstein claims, changing the topic and not dwelling on how he jumped amazingly into the financial world and landed a 23-year career, in which he is still engaged. "Let me tell you about the fish."
While riding the express bus to work each day, he often saw a man who was reading a diving magazine, igniting once again his interest in geology.
Epstein, after some research on marine life, dove into the waters off Beach 134 Street. He found a juvenile spotfin butterfly fish, which is indigenous to waters of the Caribbean, Florida and the Bahamas.
Epstein's discovery, that a fish native to those areas appears in our Rockaway waters each summer, led to the publication in 2006 of a paper about the errant fish, and thus began his 're-debut' into the world of highstakes geology.
Living on the beach block of Beach 134 Street, the sea level rise is "something I always think about," Epstein claims. He therefore went to work, studying sea level for a year, and publishing a thirty-page report. The paper confronted the question of whether the rate of sea level change is significant or just a natural part of a cycle.
The paper was hailed international- ly and so well-received that "a light bulb went off in my head."
Epstein was now ready to undertake one of his biggest studies yet.
"This is the bottom line. Are you ready? Are you listening?" Epstein asks. "This paper is a synthesis - a culmination - of 26 years of work." He explains that twenty years ago, his research was on the "backburner." But now, considering the oil crisis, the need for his findings and expertise has skyrocketed.
He explains what his last publication, the one that snagged him the role as main speaker at Halifax, was about. In the early 1980s, 32 wells were drilled in the Baltimore Canyon (located offshore of New York and New Jersey) with the drillings reaching 14,000 feet deep. But with the help of new technology and information, he claims to have discovered that there is a high possibility of finding more gas if drilling goes to 20,000 feet. "The bull'seye is 60 miles off the coast of Atlantic City." More information on the conference can be found at www.conjugate margins.com.
"Pretty nuts, right?" he asks calmly. "It's hot stuff, it really is." Hot stuff hardly begins to describe his theory that gas could be found so close to home, as we all are currently scrambling for ways to conserve.
But, before he heads off to Nova Scotia, Epstein has a variety of other things he is currently stuffing under his belt. He is in the process of working with Touro College, creating a syllabus relating to environmental and oil issues, and has been on the board of overseers since 2001.
He also is the founder and president of Geoval Consulting, based in Rockaway. It aids investors in evaluating energy related business opportunities.
And to top everything off, he is married with three children, living in a beautiful home. He is a family man as well.
"It took 26 years for us to be in the same place again," he says, "and the reason why I am active again is the fish!" he says with a laugh.
Actually, the reason he is active again is because of the bus to Manhattan, which he ironically says he took "because of the price of gas." Little did he know that he would be the one to find gas close by, and speaking about it in Nova Scotia.
The certified petroleum geologist has come a long way, graduating from Brooklyn College and then Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution for his graduate degree. He has done work in the Red Sea, Texas and California to name a few.
But as he told The Wave, he doesn't like to dwell on past achievements, but focuses on the present. "I like things to be current." He presently is working on yet another paper to be published, claiming the research has already been done. "I just crank them out." Seems as if Epstein doesn't need to dwell on the past when the present is filled with activity.
"Do you know anything about PR speaking?" he asks, regarding possible careers teaching or lecturing at universities. It seems that Epstein wants to take on more. The man is, in the best way possible, unstoppable.