How did you get started in the mineral exploration industry?
I was raised near an operating gold mine in Northern Ontario. It was easy for me to move into the industry as an older teen looking for work as a summer student. The open pit mine where my dad worked when I was in high school offered students positions during the summer months. My jobs ranged from clearing washrooms to helping electricians and mechanics to work in the engineering department. It was a great place to cut my teeth in the industry and help me focus on an area that held a lot of interest for me – exploration. I liked exploration because it allowed me to get well paying work, allowed me to travel to some of the most remote and beautiful regions of Canada and I was still able to be working close to nature. Working in the bush is something I still value today.
What are some of the positions you’ve held over the years?
I worked as a geophysical technician and also as an independent contractor doing prospecting, line cutting, camp management, claim staking, geophysical surveys, sampling and more. I moved into corporate roles as an Executive, Director of a junior company, consultant and advisor to companies in Canada and internationally.
To what do you credit your career advancement?
They are all very simple things; hard work, a love of the industry, listening, being open to others’ ideas and a real need to engage with Aboriginal people.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned while working in the industry?
Ours is great industry that offers tremendous opportunities if you are willing to work for it. You have to be flexible and willing to adapt to sometimes rapidly changing circumstances.
Given the cyclical nature of the industry, you must have faced a downturn – how did you weather your way through it and what advice would you give to young geologists and recent graduates that are facing the current slump?
Be open to change and consider taking on other contracts/jobs outside your area of expertise even outside geology. All experience is good experience – consider diversification to make yourself more marketable and don’t limit yourself to one geographic region. The world is your playground and the time to travel and gain as many different experiences as you can is while you’re young and with little commitment. Be willing to travel to find the job. The industry is cyclical but there will be positive change and new areas for growth during the downturn.