My name is Patrick Taylor. I'm the Emeritus Ansell Distinguished Professor of Chemical Metallurgy at the Colorado School of Mines. I've been going to SME since 1975 and I became a full member in 1981. I found it very valuable for my job. The contacts that I made in the industry have made me much more successful as a professor than I would have been if I wouldn't have been an SME member.
I started in the U.S. Army. Then I went to school and when I finished my Ph.D. unfortunately, the job market was not great. I had two offers. One was Inland Steel and in East Chicago, Indiana, and I didn't want to move my family there. And the other was the University of Idaho, in a beautiful part of Idaho. So I decided University of Idaho would be a lot better than East Chicago.
I've spent my whole career in academics. Having said that, I've done a lot of consulting and a lot of research for mining companies. I kept my industry experience through the consulting or the research that we do and the conversations with the industry.
I thought about the first time I ever went to an SME meeting, which was in 1975 in Las Vegas. I was a graduate student at the time and I gave my first technical presentation at that time. And out in the audience were some people who I relied on to base the research on. I was a little bit afraid but after the presentation, after the session, they all came up and congratulated me and made me feel very welcome as part of SME.
The second best part was when I went to the University of Idaho, my first job. The department head there was Jack Hodgkins, an old mining engineer, and he told me “If you really want this job, you become active in SME.” So I knew then that I really had to be a part of SME, and I have been.
The most rewarding part of it is training the next generation of engineers to go out and do something in the mining and metals industry. And you might imagine over 45 years of being a professor that I trained a lot of students who have ended up being part of the industry.
So I get a lot of joy from the education part, but also I do a lot of research or have done a lot of research, mostly industry relevant. I get a lot of joy out of the students working on projects that can be beneficial to the industry.
I tell them your education really begins here. You got to observe everything. Be curious, show that you're a good engineer and a good colleague. And I think if you're doing those things, you can be very successful in the industry. The mining industry is essential to the United States, and good engineers are essential to the mining industry.
And if you really want to make your contribution to the United States, I would say the mining industry is a good way to do that because we're always going to need resources, whether it's an electrical vehicle you want to drive or a computer you want to run. We have to have the material that goes into it and the mining people and the people who provide it. Without new engineers, the industry would collapse and there aren't enough of them. So we do an essential part of it, a real essential part. We have to train good engineers.
The mineral processing division of SME is dedicating two sessions at the next annual meeting as an honorary symposium, and that's named in my honor. Pretty proud that SME would take the time to recognize me by this symposium, and I hope everybody who is interested shows up to these sessions and maybe I'll get a chance to thank everybody for everything they've done.
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