Dr. Sam Gibbs, Midland, TX
1932 – 2019
Born in Lufkin, Texas, Dr. Sam Gibbs attended both Stephen F. Austin State College and Texas A&M to obtain his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. Soon after starting a job with Shell Oil, Gibbs was drafted into the U.S. Army. After his return to Shell, he earned his M.S. in mathematics from Texas A&M and was assigned to Shell’s Research Facility in Houston, Texas. While there, he earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Rice University. Early on, Gibbs recognized the need for improvements in sucker rod pumping technology. He developed, and Shell patented, a mathematical method for analyzing rod-pumping operations using the wave equation, which would be the foundation of Gibbs’ career. Gibbs left Shell in 1969 to start Nabla Corporation, and was given a license by Shell to use wave equation technology to offer diagnostic services to the oil industry. Through research, teaching and innovation, Gibbs’ company offered the very latest in artificial lift technology to the industry worldwide. One such invention was the SAMTM well manager, which is the most popular pump-off control in the world today. He also developed the first on-site diagnostic computer. Gibbs sold Nabla in 1997 and became a consultant, speaker, inventor, and published writer. He continued to develop innovative tools and services for the industry, working in 2015 with Pioneer testing two new patents.