Tyler Priest is Associate Professor of History and Geography at the University of Iowa. A native of Billings, MT, he received his B.A. in History from Carleton College (1986) and his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1996). From 2004-2012 he was Clinical Professor of Business History and Director of Global Studies at the C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston.
Priest’s research and teaching interests are in the history of petroleum, energy, and globalization. He is the author of Global Gambits: Big Steel and the U.S. Quest for Manganese Ore (Greenwood Press, 2003), The Offshore Imperative: Shell Oil’s Search for Petroleum in Postwar America (Texas A&M Press, 2007), and co-author of Offshore Pioneers: Brown & Root and the History of Offshore Oil and Gas (Gulf, 1997). He has also published in the journals Enterprise & Society, Journal of American History, and International History Review. His dissertation research (Global Gambits) in Brazil was supported by the Social Science Research Council and the MacArthur Foundation. In 2008, he won the Geosciences in the Media Award from the Association of American Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) for The Offshore Imperative, and he won the Alice Hamilton Prize from the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) for his article published in Enterprise & Society, “Extraction Not Creation: The History of Offshore Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico” (June 2007). During 2011-2012, he was a guest co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of American History that explored the topic of “Oil in American History.”
Priest has fifteen years of public history experience, serving as chief historian on a Shell Oil corporate history project and chief historian on a series Department of Interior studies to document the history of the offshore oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, he was a co-recipient of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Partners in Conservation Award for his work on the Minerals Management Service study, “History of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in Southern Louisiana.” He is currently the principal investigator on two other collaborative studies for the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM): “Gulf Coast Communities and the Shipbuilding and Fabrication Industries,” and the “History of Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.” During 2010-2011, he served as a senior policy analyst for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Priest’s other public history and consulting work includes positions as member of BOEM’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Scientific Advisory Committee; member of the Advisory Committee and Technology Pioneer Committee of the Offshore Energy Center (OEC); and chief historian on the Association for International Petroleum Negotiators’ (AIPN) history project.
His ongoing research agenda continues to explore the history of oil and gas in the United States and around the world.