The GRA Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to individuals for their exemplary contributions to the ground water industry and for contributions that have been in the spirit of GRA's mission and organization objectives. Individuals who receive the Lifetime Achievement Award have dedicated their lives to the ground water industry and have been pioneers in their field of expertise. The 2002 recipient is longtime geologist Thomas W. Dibblee Jr.
Tom Dibblee is a legendary field geologist who still occasionally walks the central coast's backcountry with students and fellow geologists at age 91. He has devoted 75 years of his life to mapping California geology - crisscrossing one fourth of the state on foot.
John Powell, President of the Dibblee Geological Foundation, has been quoted as saying, "Most field geologists aspire to produce one map or a small section of a map in their career. Mr. Dibblee has mapped more than 500 quadrangles of California geology." Joe Birman, GRA's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 2000, stated, "I can't think of anyone who has contributed more to those of us who must try to figure out where the ground water comes from, where it is and what happens to it on its way through the geology. My first reflex when starting a new ground water project in California is to ask, 'Has Tom Been Here?'"
Tom Dibblee previously received the U.S. Department of the Interior Distinguished Service Award (1967) presented by Stewart Udall, then Secretary of the Interior, who praised Dibblee's highly accurate geologic maps, technological papers in some of the nation's leading scientific journals and a wide spectrum of contributions in the publications series of the state of California and the Geological Survey. He also has received the Presidential Volunteer Action Award in 1984 from President Reagan (for volunteer work in mapping the entire Las Padres National Forest for the Forest Service) and the Human Needs Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.