Neil McKay (BA Earth Sciences, 1998)

Dad & Project Geophysicist in Corvallis, Oregon

Who I am...

The father of Gwen and Scott McKay. My kids are 4 and 1 now, and getting home to be with them is the goal every day (and every geophysical survey that takes me away from home). I dabble in surfing, hiking, and recently indoor soccer (shall we rename this pinball with feet?). Mostly, I just goof off with my kids.

What I do for a living...

I work as a project geophysicist for Northwest Geophysical Associates (NGA) in Corvallis, Oregon. The work is done everywhere but Corvallis - OR, WA, AK, CA, NV, and PA in the past year alone. I really enjoy the challenge of performing near surface geophysical surveys (seismics, ground penetrating radar, magnetics, electrical methods) for geotechnical and environmental applications. NGA is small enough that I get to do a bit of everything - field surveys, report writing, contract examination, marketing, etc. Consulting really is where science and business come together.

After leaving CWU in 1998, I was a middle school science teacher in Washington and Hawai`i. During a surf session in 2001, I became a geophysicist. That day I bumped into Erik Johansen (BS '99) in the water - which eventually led to my recruitment into an employment pyramid scheme/remediation project which ensnared several other CWU Geology alums. I enjoyed UXO geophysics so much I did some more on a second project on the Big Island. From there I moved on to do consulting geohpysics in Oakland, CA and now in Corvallis, OR. I hope to stay here for a long while.

My CWU Geology experience was memorable, and I often rely upon the fundamentals learned in my geology coursework to constrain the interpretation of the geohpysical data I collect and analyze. The connections to CWU Geology students led me to where I am today - so for that I am thankful. Thinking of CWU Geology in retrospect - mostly I think of the geology field trips (near and far) I took while in the department. I spend most of my current vacation and weekend time trying to capture those types of landscapes.