Bart Davidson retires after more than three decades at KGS
While studying geology at Eastern Kentucky University in 1985, Bart Davidson took a coal geology class taught by Jim Cobb, who headed the KGS Coal Section at the time. Cobb, who later became KGS director and state geologist, invited Davidson to apply for a job as a student worker in the section. When he was hired, Davidson began working in UK’s Bradley Hall, on Washington Avenue, just across Rose Street from the Survey’s current location, the Mining and Mineral Resources Building. “I recall when the area currently occupied by the MMRB was a gravel parking lot,” Davidson says.
After 32 years of working at KGS, Davidson retired in January with plenty of memories. “I’m proud to have been a part of KGS when maps were made by hand, using Zip-a-Tone sheets to cut and paste sections of various lithology types on our maps, Kroytype lettering machines to create map labels, and Rapidograph ink pens to draw figures.” He worked on several coal resource evaluation projects in eastern Kentucky and answered public requests regarding coal thickness, quality, and production in Kentucky.
He left the Coal Section in 1991 for a year and a half to do environmental consulting with Groundwater Technology Inc. of Lexington. There he supervised the drilling of more than 100 monitoring wells at gas stations across Kentucky and wrote environmental reports and remediation plans. He returned to KGS the following year and went to work in the Water Resources Section, helping with development and management of the Kentucky Groundwater Data Repository.
Davidson also managed the KGS Office of Geologic Information, now known as the Public Information Center, from 1996 until 2002. There he supervised several employees involved in serving the public with many types of geologic information, including water, oil and gas, and general geology. The OGI, as it was then called, housed all the paper oil and gas records for Kentucky—records that are now scanned and available online. For the last 26 years, he has worked as a hydrogeologist with the Water Resources Section. He managed the Kentucky Groundwater Data Repository, working with other KGS staff to get records on thousands of wells and springs available online, and to educate the public about the repository with presentations, publications, and posters. Davidson created numerous statewide maps on water quality, and assisted in field work for many Water Resources Section projects across Kentucky. These included water sampling, aquifer testing, GIS work, and answering public service questions.
He has served for the last 7 years on the Kentucky Water Well Certification Board, and has compiled the annual report for the Kentucky Interagency Groundwater Monitoring Network for the past 9 years.
In retirement, Davidson has several projects he plans to work on, including woodwork, enhancing his musical skills on the mandolin and banjo, playing bagpipes for weddings, graduations, funerals, and other events, scanning the family slides his father had taken since the 1950s, and visiting his children and grandchildren in Massachusetts and Mississippi with his wife, Deb, who is also retired.