The oil sands first champion

The Globe and Mail profiles Ned Gilbert, once a low-ranking employee in the early '50s in a remote field office in Alberta who saw great potential in the oil sands.

His office didn't see it. Gilbert went around his immediate supervisors and sent a note to the head office in Philadelphia telling them that the company should take a look:

Born in Madison, Wis., the son of the head of the botany department at the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Gilbert joined Sun Oil in the 1940s and, just after the Second World War, was posted to its tiny Calgary office in the ornate Palliser Hotel. There was a staff of just two – one manager and himself. Mr. Gilbert spent his days typing geological reports to be sent back to Philadelphia.

But then, as a land man, he got a front-row seat to Canada’s emergence as an energy power after the Second World War.

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