On June 16, Dr. Richard C. Berg was named the new director of the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and 13th State Geologist. He succeeds Dr. E. Donald McKay III, who retired in May 2014. Berg has served the ISGS in various positions with increasing responsibilities during his 40-year career—from research assistant, to geologist, to section head, to chief scientist/principal geologist, to interim director, and now director.
“We are delighted that Dr. Berg has accepted the appointment as permanent Director of the ISGS,” said Dr. Brian Anderson, interim executive director of the Prairie Research Institute. “He began to move the ISGS into exciting new projects as interim director, and I have confidence he will continue to be strategic and forward thinking as he leads the ISGS into an exciting future.”
Berg’s research interests include environmental geology, glacial stratigraphy, geologic mapping, and soil genesis and geomorphology. He has led numerous multidisciplinary groups at the ISGS and made significant contributions to the discipline through his participation in the Geological Society of America in various capacities.
Since 1999, Berg has organized more than 800 meetings with Great Lakes states’ congressional offices in Washington, DC, and their districts; with more than 50 state legislative offices in Illinois; and with many county elected officials to interpret the ISGS mission and explore how the ISGS can assist its constituents with decisions related to economic development, water and mineral resource assessment, and environmental stewardship. Although the initial purpose of these visits was to seek support for a state and national 3-D geological mapping program, Berg has also addressed numerous issues regarding Illinois’ mineral and energy resources, flooding, sinkholes, earthquake susceptibility, and climate change scenarios.
Berg brings to the directorship his extensive institutional knowledge of the ISGS and his passion, enthusiasm, and interest in the entire breadth of the field of geology. His experience within the University of Illinois as well as with state and federal agencies and his ability to promote the mission and importance of the ISGS among stakeholders and members of the public will serve the Survey well. “Particularly important will be interdisciplinary research and service among the five surveys of the Prairie Research Institute and drawing upon specific expertise within the broad array of natural resource and engineering disciplines at the University of Illinois,” said Berg.