The 2005 SME Distinguished Member Award
Awarded To: George W.Luxbacher
In recognition and appreciation of outstanding service to the minerals industry and to the Society.
Luxbacher is a Registered Professional Engineer and a Centennial Fellow of the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Earned BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Mining Engineering from Pennsylvania State University; gained empirical knowledge from years of working for, managing and directing companies in the mining and mineral industries; and most importantly, acquired an incalculable wealth of information from esteemed associates in the industry.
Experience - 24 years with Occidental subsidiaries: Occidental Research Corporation (mining research), Island Creek Coal Company (progressing from Manager–Technical Data and Engineering Support to Director–Mergers and Acquisitions), and Glenn Springs Holdings (Island Creek Coal legacy liabilities; environmental remediation ). Glenn Springs functions as a small entrepreneurial unit within a large company structure.
Luxbacher is currently serving as Vice President, Operations of Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc.
Initially directed the reclamation liabilities for coal properties excluded from the sale of Island Creek to CONSOL; currently manage Occidental RCRA and CERCLA liabilities related to the oil and gas, chemicals (including the infamous Love Canal) and former mining business segments. Directing the cleanup of a chromic ore processing facility in North Carolina, including the closure of a quarry/process tailings disposal site. Administering environmental litigation related to historical copper mining activities in Arizona. He managed and directed a variety of projects including an 8-million-ton-per-year bulk material terminal, former chemical landfills, and plant sites.
Co-inventor of a process to mine (dredge) and refine phosphorus-bearing sludge into a marketable product. Developed, designed and constructed a phosphorus recovery plant in Tennessee, which is one of only two phosphorus-production facilities in North America (the other is a conventional thermal plant). As an outgrowth of this assignment, serve as the business manager of the Phosphorus and Phosphorus Derivatives Group, responsible for sales in a highly competitive market. This Group also markets Ferrophos®, an iron phosphide recovered from slag, ground in a ball-milling operation, and sold worldwide for unique and diverse applications.
SME Activity highlights: He is extremely proud of the success of the C&E Division Scholarship Auction and Luncheon Speaker programs, which have contributed to make our luncheon the largest of all the Divisions. The auction has grown to where contributions are over $9,000/year to SME’s scholarship program. He served as one of the few industry participants within the educational committees of the Society until recently when simplification of the committees’ structures increased participation, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Central Appalachian Section of SME for a number of years and continues to participate within the Section in the planning of activities.
The Distinguished Member Award, established in 1975, is presented to a select few who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating significant and sustained contributions to the minerals industry and to SME. There must be some contributions to both the industry and SME, though significant and sustained contributions can be to either one.