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2011-01-27

'Feather' in Courier's cap

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor


Beginning Thursday, Feb. 3, William Feathergail "Feather" Wilson will join the Bandera County Courier as a science and agricultural columnist. Long a mainstay of Bandera County, Wilson's column will explore weather and its impact on the environment, agricultural and environmental issues and geologic insights, among other intriguing topics.
His professional background includes over 40 years experience in the sub-disciplines of exploration, production and environmental geology, not only in North America but also across the globe. In addition, he boasts a broad knowledge of business management and economics.
Wilson received three degrees from the University of Texas at Austin - a Bachelor of Science in Geology with honors, a Masters of Science in Geology and a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing.
The Texas native grew up in San Antonio and on a 1,500-acre ranch in Comal County. He graduated from New Braunfels High School. Prior to moving to Tarpley, he lived in Austin, New York, Houston, Midland, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston - again. Wilson has owned property in Tarpley for over 30 years and he and his wife moved there permanently in 1997.
The couple has three children. Following in their father's footsteps, the two boys are major company exploration geologists while a daughter became an attorney and prosecutes felony cases in Harris County.
Many people have expressed an interest in the derivation of Wilson's unusual middle name - Feathergail. As he explained, "The name 'Feather' really has nothing to do with being an Indian, although I did have an full blood Indian grandmother on my father's side. After teaching a class, I was given an 'official' Indian name by a Blackfoot Shaman - 'Flying Eagle Feather, Knowledgeable Man.' I don't know how to express it in the Blackfoot language."
Wilson has spent nearly half a century with as a technical writer and columnist, frequently serving as editor and writer for professional organizations and journals. Additionally, he was the former editor for the South Texas Geological Society, Houston Geological Society and Gulf Publishing.
"Communication is a strong personal asset that has enabled me to advance my career beyond what it might have been without these formally acquired skills," he said.
As a consulting geologist and hydrogeologist, Wilson assisted with the drilling of numerous monitoring wells and water wells in the Texas Hill Country, in addition to performing various water availability studies, pump tests and water well consulting services for private and public water well facilities. While an adjunct professor of geology for night classes at the University of Texas San Antonio, Wilson also taught in Pakistan, Venezuela, Moscow, Houston and London, as well as in 52 countries throughout Texas.
From the 1970s through the 1990s, Wilson served as consulting petroleum geologist to Exxon and as district exploration manager in San Antonio; chief geologist and chief geophysicist in Dallas; and as vice president in charge of exploration in geology-geophysics, also based in Dallas for Placid Oil Company.
While at Placid, Wilson was responsible for all of the company's worldwide exploration efforts - both onshore and offshore. He also worked basins and prospects in Africa, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, South America, Middle East, Far East, North Sea and the United States. During his stint with Placid, Wilson supervised more than 130 geologists and geophysicists and managed budgets ranging from $80-$300 million per year. At his retirement, he was serving as advisor to the president of Placid Oil Company.
Prior to becoming a geologist, Wilson briefly lived and worked in New York as a writer and a stockbroker. In the early 1970s, he became an account executive with Merrill Lynch in San Antonio, where he was licensed to trade listed and over-the-counter securities, as well as bonds, mutual funds and commodities. Not surprisingly, during his tenure as a stockbroker, he was never lower than third in opening new accounts in a 30-member office.
The Courier welcomes Wilson to its ranks of contributing writers and looks forward to sharing his expertise in the weekly column, "Hill Country Canvas," with our expanding readership.

Pictured: The Bandera County Courier's newest contributing writer, William Feathergail "Feather" Wilson, will pen his popular weekly column, "Hill Country Canvas," beginning Thursday, Feb. 3, in the newspaper's B Section.