APEGA has existed for almost 100 years, and for every year of its existence, there has been a president of Council to uphold the pillars that APEGA stands for: integrity, accountability, innovation, and service. Through the decades of change and growth, the men and women listed below led APEGA’s Council.

They have worked across the globe, from Mississippi to Venezuela, but all settled their talents here in Alberta. Each came from different walks of life, from serving in the Second World War, to teaching aeronautics, to instigating first-time overseas ventures. This incredible group made its mark on the world and on APEGA.

All of these outstanding people helped make APEGA what it is today, and all were thanked for their service with an Honorary Life Membership award—a framed medallion memento—inducting them as life members of APEGA.

1947: Joseph S. Irwin, P.Geol.


A native of Louisiana, Mo., Joseph Irwin graduated from the Missouri School of Mines in 1912 with a bachelor of science degree in mine engineering, remained as a geology instructor until 1914, then taught geology for two years at LehighUniversity in Pennsylvania. After serving as a geologist for Carter Oil Company of New Jersey for one year, he joined the U.S. army.

He was discharged in 1918 with the rank of second lieutenant, then for 13 years worked for Denver-based Producers and Refiners Corporation. He took leave in 1922 to obtain an engineer of mines degree from the Missouri School of Mines and returned to become chief geologist in 1926. During this period Irwin became enticed by Canadian petroleum opportunities and convinced Producers and Refiners Prairie Group to enter Western Canada. He headed the company's exploration work from 1930-32, then operated his own consulting office in Calgary for several decades.

Irwin was a member of council of the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta (APEA; now The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta) from 1943-45, elected association vice-president in 1946 and president in 1947.

He also served terms as president of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists and the Rocky Mountain Association of Petroleum Geologists. He was a founding member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and held membership in what is now the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, the Geological Association of Canada and the Engineering Institute of Canada.

Demonstrating his philosophy that the mind is the only tool which is not dulled, but sharpened by use, Irwin continued working well beyond his 80th birthday. He passed away in 1979.