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Dr. Walter Spring

The 2021 POAC Founders Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Walter Spring.

Dr. Walter Spring

Dr. Walt Spring has had a long distinguished career. His remarkable achievements over the past 40 years have been cornerstones for many of the advances in Arctic offshore engineering.

While working on his graduate studies in physical oceanography, Walt joined Mobil R&D Co in 1975 and started his long career in the oil and gas industry. He soon after became attracted to the emerging activities in the Arctic. He carried out and directed several pioneering projects dealing with issues such as measuring ice pressures, computer modeling of ice islands, ice forecasting, iceberg detection and construction of platforms in ice environments. Back then, those issues were big unknowns. Walt was at the leading edge of establishing the knowledge base that made Arctic offshore development possible. At Mobil, Walt was responsible for numerous major Arctic projects over the Grand Banks, Alaska, the Barents Sea, and the Caspian Sea. 

In 2000 Walt moved to Exxon Upstream R&D Co where he stayed until 2006. At Exxon, Walt’s work was central to major Arctic developments. His contributions dealt with ice forecasting, alert systems, establishing environmental criteria for the design of offshore structures, and ice basin test programs for icebreaker and lifeboats. The projects covered most Arctic regions including Sakhalin, the Caspian Sea and Alaska. Following his long career at Exxon, Walt headed his own consulting company, Bear Ice Technology, from 2006 to 2016. At Bear ice tech, Walt provided consulting to major Oil and gas Companies and continued his involvement in many high-profile Arctic projects.

Throughout his busy and remarkable career, Walt was always a fervent supporter of POAC. He started with attending the first POAC conference in 1977, and has attend most of the following conferences. He was instrumental in attracting a strong representation from the oil and gas industry, which made POAC a primary forum for Arctic Engineering. Walt was always active in charting the direction of POAC through participating in the International Committee and organizing special sessions on significant topics. He also developed concepts for POAC Awards (Founder's Lifetime Achievement Award and Best Student Paper awards).