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John Steven Metzger


Manager and Geomatics Counselor at AssetAssurance Monitoring

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Years in SME:


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Location: Fishers, Indiana

Q: What are a few of your favorite career highlights?

1. Introducing and supporting ground-based radar monitoring at numerous mines across the USA, Canada, and China.

2. Seeing the expansion of use cases in the mining environment shared and supporting new engagements in the civil and infrastructure monitoring sectors.

3. Adapting new techniques to managing hardware in challenging mine environments Arctic sub-zero, Canadian snowfalls, and Arizona heat -37C to 48C.

4. Working with all staff on a mine site to assure safety, operations, and continuing production despite highwall failures, ice-falls, and slope instability.

5. Receiving respect from professional engineers, geologists, and mining operators through dedicated service supporting their operations.

6. Pushing for multi-sensor data alignments and sharing across Geotech and survey teams.

Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect(s) of your job?

The environment, temperatures and daily work area activities are some of the most challenging aspects. Also, supporting the ongoing need for education and applied technology in the space between mining and natural resources departments and management.

Q: How have you seen the industry change since you first began your career?

The industry is more aware of safety and the intersection of Safety and Operational capacity and capabilities. When operations and engineering learned that “safety monitoring” was good for their metrics and the overall status of the mine, it instantly changed the onsite dynamic. It may have been awareness of slope instability before events or disaster. It may have been assuring another mining project, say a drill program, could be completed despite weather, ground control challenges, on time and under budget. That made your life-long friends and supporters.

Staffing diversity and collaboration between departments.

Another aspect, however, is the change that does not happen despite the technology access and success, despite the tools affordability and pervasiveness, & despite years of daily good works. Incomplete, poorly funded, or disavowed use of monitoring and instrumentation investments continues. Perpetuating the myths of the dangers of mining, and showing the beyond the mining loss and devastation, poor onsite decisions can cost.

Q: How do you help improve the image of mining?

I make it a point to engage local folks, remote colleagues, and cross-sectoral professionals in the benefits the mining sector brings through a use case, optimization of technologies, and raw materials we hold in our hands and that have become so essential to communication and educational/personal development.

Q: How have mentors played a role in your career?

The role mentors played was through urging patience, decisiveness, and completeness at a task, process, project, and execution. Also, holding responsibility close and ensuring it is a TEAM play, assuring success across groups in mine-site benefits.

Q: What member benefit(s) was/were the main reason you joined SME?

Information sharing, relationship development, participation as a vendor’s representative. I have not taken enough time to share with SME the real benefits of the association. Vendors and suppliers often have limited opportunities for this outside the annual events. Tech transfer and education need more opportunities for participation and focus.