Inspirational Women from Nevada Part 3

Published: 16/07/2014

Amanda Steensen of Barrick Gold Corporation Followed Family to Nevada Mining Career

So far in our “Meet Your Miners” series, we have introduced you to first-time miners, mining sisters and multi-generational mining families. But one thing many in our community have in common is that they’ve come from far reaches of the country, having travelled many miles to find themselves working in Nevada. However, today you will meet mining-country native Amanda Steensen of Barrick Gold Corporation, nine-year veteran of the industry, born in Elko, Nevada.

“I was born and raised in Elko, as were my parents,” said Steensen. “My dad worked at the Jerritt Canyon mine for nearly 26 years, so mining has played a huge part in giving me the resources I’ve needed for my entire life, from spirit pack money in high school to scholarship money for college.”

Putting that scholarship money to good use, earning her bachelor’s degree in biology, Steensen followed in the footsteps of her father, participating in three years of summer student programs at Jerritt Canyon Mine. She spent two summers on crew in mill operations and worked her final summer in the environmental department, doing field sampling activities.

“I got to be outside for the entire summer; sampling, hiking, four-wheeling. It was kind of the dream,” Steensen recalled. “I realized during this

time that the environmental realm has so many facets to learn and that I really liked mining. I wanted to be a part of the industry.”

Following  three years spent at Jerritt Canyon Mine, Steensen joined Barrick Gold Corporation’s Bald Mountain Mine in 2008 . She is now the Environmental Superintendent at the operation, where her duties include oversight of compliance programs, completion of federal permitting activities, coordination with external stakeholders and general administrative activities, such as budgeting and personnel development, which Steensen says, “makes it sound so simple, but it’s a huge challenge that I enjoy every day.”

Facing important decisions on a daily basis, Steensen meets the challenge of making what she deems, “the right call,” as far as sound compliance and business decisions, but this is a large part of what motivates her team, ensuring they are continuously learning.

“Every day, I try to come in with a good attitude and a generally positive outlook. I’m a huge collaborator, so I encourage open feedback and idea generation as much as possible and hope that people appreciate the same from me.”

Collaborative outside of work as well, Steensen enjoys helping her sister, the varsity volleyball coach at Elko, prepare the team. She admits, though, that this isn’t entirely altruistic.

“I have a three and a half-year-old daughter who keeps me busy! I always said that volleyball was my life’s passion, but that was before I had her!”

Steensen credits her career in mining for the opportunities she has been given, the life she has been able to build, and the time she has been able to spend with family, including taking the camper out and spending time with her husband “wherever there’s water.”

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Donna Peske of General Moly

The mining industry in Nevada functions as a result of many individuals executing a variety of high-skill tasks on a daily basis. From those that work within the mines themselves, to those who perform other on-site operations, the system works because of each individual playing their part. Our ongoing ‘Meet Your Miners’ series continues to educate and inform you about these very individuals and what their respective careers in mining entail and have meant to them.

In this installment of ‘Meet Your Miners,’ we introduce you to 32-year mining industry veteran Donna Peske of General Moly.

As Information Technology (IT) manager for General Moly, a mineral company engaged in the exploration, development and mining of molybdenum, Peske provides support for the entire IT environment including network, telecommunications, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and applications. And while her job is very much rooted in technology, working for a newer, smaller mining company allows her to occasionally get out of the office and perform hands-on work in the field, including installing new CAT6 cabling to the Exalt microwave radios that provide network connectivity from a point in Eureka to the Mt. Hope mine site (pictured at right).

“I have been really blessed to work in mining because of the opportunity to do a wide variety of work and learn new skills,” said Peske. “It has always presented me with new learning challenges and accomplishments.”

These opportunities to learn and to achieve have been plenty for Peske. Like many in the industry, her career path was a long and winding road. Before achieving her current IT position with General Moly, Peske has worked as a blaster, operated heavy equipment and worked in warehousing in the supply chain area where she received her Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) certification. Eventually, she wound up working toward her Bachelor of Science in IT. She talked about the opportunity she had to work abroad in her time with Newmont Mining Corporation.

“Those were perhaps the best seven years of my life because I could immerse myself in a new culture. My daughter attended 3 years of international school in Indonesia and four years in an international boarding school in Thailand. The education and life experience that we all received were beyond compare.”

Donna enjoys being involved in so many aspects of the business and the challenge of interacting with the various operations groups required by her position. She believes in teamwork and a willingness to help out in any situation, job-related or otherwise, and is a leader above all else.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Pam Franks and Julie Vance Define the Nevada Mining Sisterhood

There are many different areas of the mining industry that are of interest to people. The inner-workings of some of the most intricate technologies, the detailed attention to safety and on-site performance and the incredible relationships formed by the people who work together to make it all possible. But every so often, relationships that begin outside of mining carry over into side-by-side careers.

This was the case with Julie Vance and Pam Franks, the subjects of this edition of “Meet Your Miners,” whose relationship began long before they got into mining. Vance and Franks weren’t college roommates, high school buddies or even playground pals.

They are sisters.

Now, with more than 70 years of combined mining experience between them, their relationship continues to grow, facilitated by another common bond – the love of mining.

Vance began her mining career at Round Mountain Gold Corporation (RMGC) in 1976 as a Payroll Clerk in the mine department and later transferred to maintenance clerk. After some time off to take care of family, she rejoined RMGC in 1985 in the assay lab.

“Back then, women started in the office,” said Vance, noting how time has changed the industry. “But I showed them that I could do that job, and any other one they could throw at me.”

Vance is now the senior technician in the assay lab. Among other responsibilities, she runs the ICP spectrometer, a device that ensures the process facilities are running correctly by checking gold and silver levels in solution.

“Quality is important to me, but getting it right is important to every department on the site,” said Vance, who loves comparing her work against third-party results. “It’s a great way to confirm a strong work ethic and to ensure attention to detail is paid.”

Franks began working at RMGC in 1978, two years after her sister. She was drawn to the industry by the friendly community and a tempting offer to become a haul truck driver.

“I had tried the city life. I wanted a good paying job and a nice place to raise my kids,” recalls Franks. She started on the utility crew but moved to the mine department for 15 years. Later, she worked in the assay lab for 12 years – 10 with sister, Vance. For the past six years Franks has worked in engineering as a short-term planner, breaking down the yearly production plan into day-to-day and two-week plans for the production departments to follow.

“Part of what I love most about my job is all the different people I get to work with, especially those I formed bonds with in the mine department early in my career,” explained Franks. “After you work with people as long as I have here, they become part of your family.

“RMGC and the mining industry have provided me with great education, wages, a retirement plan and lifestyle for my family,” stated an enthusiastic Franks. “I like telling people what I do for a living. There’s pride in that.”

Her sister agreed.

“It is nice to go home feeling good about what you did during the day. I get to train people and help them upgrade and advance in their career because that’s what it is. It’s not a job, it’s a career,” said Vance.

Both Vance and Franks have advanced through their careers at RMGC while bringing up their families in the Big Smoky Valley. They attribute their success to a positive attitude, attention to detail, strong work ethic and their focus on safety, though we suspect having a sister there when you need her helps too.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 4th, 2014