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Mining the Intermountain West: From operations to consulting

Mining the Intermountain West: From operations to consulting

Emily Rose is a mining geotechnical engineer in Barr's Salt Lake City, Utah, office. Emily came to Barr in June of 2019 after spending several years working as a geotechnical engineer at an open-pit gold mine on the Carlin Trend in Nevada. Here, we learn more about what brought Emily to this stage in her career and how she stays involved in the mining community.

Did you always want to be an engineer—especially one focused on mining?

Growing up, I had always planned on becoming a marine biologist. I never thought I’d be an engineer. I wasn’t good at math, but science was my favorite subject. I fell into an undergraduate geological engineering program and still felt like I couldn’t find my place. I took a field trip to the Ray Mine in Arizona as part of a conference my senior year of college. Once I got to the site, I was completely mesmerized by the size and scale of everything—the big trucks (the tires alone were 12 feet tall!), the shovels, and the way you could see all the geology in the highwalls throughout the mining process. I was completely hooked.

I knew nothing about the mining industry at the time or how to get into it. Being ignorant to the industry, I assumed that to work in mining, I needed a master’s degree. I researched graduate school programs for mining engineering and was fortunate to earn my master’s degree from Montana Tech. I have been in the industry since 2015 and can now confidently say the mining industry is open to everyone—you do not need a master’s degree to find a place here.

On your path to becoming an engineer, how did you overcome any obstacles you faced?

I think people face multiple challenges when they’re obtaining their education, so it’s important to recognize that this isn’t unique to my situation. One of the obstacles that I faced (and still face) is inclusion in engineering. Peers in my classes did not think I would be capable (mentally and physically) of performing as a geotechnical engineer. I had to constantly demonstrate that my talent and expertise was just as good as theirs and that I could bring something to the table.

Looking back on my younger self, I don’t know that I overcame this specific obstacle—I just never backed down and I kept pushing. I wanted to show that I had a seat at the table, and I wanted to make room for others as well. It is one of the reasons I am passionate about DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in my professional career. I am grateful to have a core group of advocates and allies throughout my career who have supported me in this journey.

What brought you to Barr?

I was looking to transition out of working in mining operations, and I met Vice President and Senior Geotechnical Engineer Bethany Kelly at a national Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) conference where I was presenting. She encouraged me to apply at Barr, and I’ve been here ever since!

You’re active in industry organizations. Can you talk about your roles and why you participate in these groups?

Being part of an industry organization is so crucial for young professionals, regardless of your profession. It allows you to engage and connect with people who have been in your field for a while.

"Being part of an industry organization is so crucial for young professionals, regardless of your profession."

I’m active in SME and Women in Mining (WIM) organizations. I have held a number of committee roles within SME over the years, including being an executive member of the Young Leaders Committee and serving on the Rock Mechanics Award Committee.

I am also the current content creator and editor for the Mining & Exploration Division’s monthly article, “Rock in the Box,” in SME’s Mining Engineering magazine. I‘m very thankful to be a member of SME. I started out as a student member while in grad school, and the organization has provided me with an avenue to get involved and collaborate with top-notch industry professionals. I work with individuals across the globe and have friends from China, Turkey, India, Colombia, Peru, Canada, and more whom I never would have met if it weren’t for my participation in SME.

Currently, I’m the president of WIM’s Utah chapter. I’m responsible for helping to support our committee progress—the Utah chapter’s primary initiative is education and outreach, which means helping students, teachers, and the community in Utah learn more about the mining industry. I also run our social media pages.

What is your favorite part of your work?

I love the people in the mining industry. There is an eclectic blend of people who serve in a variety of roles on-site and in consulting. Our industry would not be able to survive without operators and technicians. I would not be able to do my job if it were not for the equipment operators, blast technicians, electricians, mechanics, or surveyors that keep the mine running.

What is your day-to-day life like at Barr?

My days look different depending on whether I’m out in the field or in the office. If I’m working in the field, I could be at the drill rig logging core and collecting samples, performing site inspections, helping with instrumentation installations, or calibrating equipment after installation. If I’m in the office, I’m performing slope stability models, writing reports, collaborating with my project teams, checking invoices, talking with clients to schedule field visits, etc.

What motivates you to succeed?

I want to make my project team members and mentors proud. I am very lucky to have mentors who have invested their time in teaching me, and I want to show them how grateful I am that they took a chance on me; I want to do great things with all the knowledge I’ve learned from them. Barr’s flexibility and its people make it a great place to work.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I crochet and practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Are you a student or young professional interested in a career in mining operations or consulting? Join us at the 2023 American Exploration & Mining Association (AEMA) Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nevada, for Emily's presentation “Operations vs. Consulting: A Chaotic Neutral’s Perspective” the morning of December 7. Plus, visit us at Booth #211 on December 3–8!

Interested in joining the Barr team? Check out our open positions.

About Emily Rose

A mining geotechnical engineer at Barr, Emily Rose has over six years of experience and a background in open-pit gold mining. She focuses on projects that involve large-scale slope stability, geotechnical monitoring instrumentation, ground-control management, and more.

Image gallery (below):

  1. Emily hikes the Pipeline Trail in Utah with her husband, Stewart.

  2. Emily core logging for a geotechnical exploration project in Nevada.

  3. On site at a foundation investigation project in Wyoming, Emily shows off a 5-foot core run.

  4. Emily and her husband attend the SME annual conference in 2022; Emily was recognized for her service as program area manager for SME’s Mining and Exploration Geosciences division.

  5. Volunteering at a STEM festival, Emily and colleague Christy Miller serve as representatives of Barr and the Women in Mining executive committee.


Emily Rose, Mining Geotechnical Engineer
Emily Rose
Mining Geotechnical Engineer
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