Nomination Deadlines

International Awards
15 February

Regional Awards
1 March

✉| Email

SPE Stephen A. Holditch Visionary Leadership Award

The Stephen A. Holditch Visionary Leadership Award recognizes individuals that have devoted significant time, effort, thought, and action and have demonstrated exceptional visionary leadership resulting in a lasting and momentous impact on the Society of Petroleum Engineers and/or the oil and gas industry.

View past recipients.

SPE Stephen A. Holditch Visionary Leadership Award Nomination Process

The nomination process for the Holditch Award is exclusive to current members of the SPE Board of Directors. If an SPE professional member would like to recommend a candidate for the Holditch Award, they must notify a member of the Board on or by 15 February. The Board member has the discretion to either move forward with a nomination or not.

Candidate Eligibility

  • Award nominees must demonstrate impactful visionary leadership and broad significant influence, reflecting the qualities exemplified by Stephen A. Holditch.
  • Candidates must be living professional members of SPE.
  • Deceased members may not be nominated for SPE Awards. If a previously nominated candidate dies after 1 January in the year of presentation, and if duly selected for the award, the presentation shall be made posthumously in accordance with special procedures to be prescribed by the SPE Board of Directors. Posthumous award presentations are otherwise prohibited.
  • The recipient of the Stephen A. Holditch Visionary Leadership Award shall be ineligible for any other SPE major award for a period of five years. If nominated for the other awards, nominators will be informed as to the ineligibility of the candidate. Additionally, the nominators will be required to resubmit the nominations with updated materials covering the intervening five years.
  • Members of the SPE Board of Directors are ineligible for nomination during their term and for an additional two calendar years.
  • SPE Honorary Members are ineligible to receive this award.
  • Past recipients of the award are ineligible to receive it a second time.
  • Self-nominations are not permitted.

Award Criteria

The candidate should embody dedication, showcasing their commitment through significant investments of time, effort, thought, and action. Additionally, they should demonstrate exceptional visionary leadership, leading to a lasting and influential impact on the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and/or the oil and gas industry. It is essential for the candidate to demonstrate a profound and enduring effect, substantiating their contributions as truly transformative.


Should Board members choose to nominate a candidate for the Holditch Award, they are required to submit a comprehensive nomination packet by 1 June. The complete nomination packet should include the following:

  • A letter from the board member, proposing the candidate, is required. This letter should include comprehensive justification and reasoning as to why the candidate deserves recognition for the Holditch Award.
  • Multiple supporting letters for the candidate from colleagues who are familiar with their body of work are required. These letters should provide additional insights into the candidate's accomplishments and contributions, further strengthening their nomination for the Holditch Award.
  • Support letters may be provided by both SPE members and non-members.

Additional Nomination Guidance

  • The nomination should primarily focus on the candidate's visionary leadership, emphasizing its significance for their qualifications for the Holditch Award. While technical and service contributions can be mentioned, it is crucial to highlight how these contributions align with and complement the candidate's visionary leadership qualities.
  • The required letters should begin with a brief introduction and proceed to discuss the relationship between the writer and the candidate. It is important for the letters to provide context regarding the nature of their professional association and any pertinent collaborations or interactions that highlight the writer's knowledge of the candidate's qualifications for the Holditch Award.
  • The letters should provide significant information about the candidate's professional and industry leadership achievements, firmly establishing their worthiness of the award. It is essential to highlight specific instances and examples of their exemplary leadership, showcasing the significant impact they have made in their field. The letters should effectively demonstrate the candidate's outstanding leadership qualities and direct contributions to the industry. 
  • The letters should explain how the candidate's leadership has influenced SPE, technology, and the oil and gas industry. Concrete examples and evidence should be provided to showcase the candidates’ impact on these areas. 
  • Please provide measurable results that demonstrate the candidate's visionary leadership and how they have been a "game changer."
  • Please provide details about the originality of the candidate's visionary leadership and its impact, highlighting what sets them apart from others in their field.
  • The letters of support should specifically address examples of the candidate's work that align with the award criteria, providing concrete evidence of their qualifications. 
  • Statements regarding the candidate's leadership capabilities must be supported by tangible evidence and specific examples to substantiate their merit.
  • It is important to avoid using copied letters from other sources, as they may not adequately serve the purpose of the nomination. Original and unique letters are essential for providing an accurate and comprehensive representation of the candidate's qualifications.

Nomination Submission

The Board member must submit the complete nomination packet to on or before 1 June.

Selection Process

  • Nominations will be presented to the Board Committee on Membership and Engagement (BCME) for review.
  • Following review of each nomination, the BCME will make a formal recommendation to the Board of Directors.
  • The Board of Directors will make the final decision at their July meeting.
  • The selected award recipient will be notified and announced following the July Board meeting.

SPE Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award

(No longer available)

The SPE Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award recognized contributions to SPE and the E&P industry that exhibited such exceptional devotion of time, effort, thought, and action as to set them apart from other contributions. This award was given to relatively few individuals whose contributions to the industry stood out even above their excellence of services to SPE.

2017 - Amin Nasser
2015 - Zhou Jiping
2014 - Maria das Graças Silva Foster
2013 - José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos