When it comes to finding oil and natural gas in the Texas Panhandle, thorough research and motivation are crucial. And that’s something Thomas Cambridge ’57 knows a lot about.
“What we do is subsurface geology,” Cambridge said of his family company, Cambridge Production, Inc. “We study old records of wells, create image formations of depths and drill for oil.”
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Cambridge has always had an interest in research and being outdoors, and the combination of those passions led him into a career in geology — and finding his way to become a leader in the oil and gas industry in Texas. He said it was professors at Simpson College who nurtured his abilities and honed his skills to do research. He said the faculty stimulated his “interest and desire.” “Even though I am a scientist and was trained as a scientist, I feel that my liberal arts background at Simpson prepared me for a varied career that has involved business, science, art, history and church and public service.”
Cambridge came to Simpson from Atlantic and studied geology as well as other subjects. In fact, it was at Simpson that he had his first exposure to philosophy, which he attributes to his care and interest in protecting the environment, too.
“Philosophy made me think about the larger world instead of my isolated science projects,” he recalled. “I’m very much involved in protecting the environment, and I developed that responsibility at Simpson.”
Since Cambridge entered the oil industry in 1960, both the business and the technology have come a long way. New and improved resources and abilities allow Cambridge and other oil companies to drill horizontally, for example. “Horizontal drilling and geophysics are very expensive but (it is) better than dry holes,” Cambridge said. “There is much more data of these underground reservoirs and we’ve enjoyed more success. It’s something that has been helpful.”
Cambridge is currently the chairman of the board and owner of Cambridge Production, Inc. in Amarillo, Texas.