Young Leaders Committee

The Young Leaders Committee (YLC) develops and strengthens young professionals in the mining and underground construction industry while adding value to the entire SME organization.

As a member of the YLC you will find opportunities for personal development, chances to gain and share professional knowledge, and professional network growth, as well as the ability to provide development opportunities to others. YLC members work within SME to reach student chapters, the general public, and provide value to SME members throughout the year.

Organizational Structure

See how the YLC is organized and how you can get involved.

Meet the Class of 2024

The Young Leaders Committee Class of 2024

YLC Alumni Page

Many notable SME members got their start in the YLC.

Purpose: The Young Leaders Committee (YLC) exists to develop and strengthen young professionals in the mining and underground construction industries while adding value to the entire SME organization.  Working in subcommittees, members of the YLC are given opportunities for personal development and are in the position to gain and share knowledge as well as provide development opportunities to others while expanding their professional network.

Core Values:
Leadership – Recruit and develop a diverse community of individuals with strong leadership potential to grow into effective leaders and positively represent the industry within the general public.
Service – Provide meaningful and actionable activities to help with SME outreach and philanthropy.
Engagement – Present opportunities to engage in all aspects of the society leading to professional and personal development growth.
Vision – Provide forward looking content to support the long term growth and development of the industry and aid in the incorporation of these fundamentals in the SME.

Mission: To support and develop motivated young professionals to be effective leaders within SME and the mining and underground construction industries and to create a professional community.

YLC Members:

  • Join a growing professional network in SME.
  • Represent and encourage a critical demographic in our society.
  • Develop and promote professional development activities and content.
  • Support students and student chapters entering the industry as young professionals.
  • Gather and share technical information.
  • Foster long-term SME engagement.
  • Engage the mining industry and local communities

Applications for the class of 2025 are now closed. We will open again for the class of 2026 in March of 2025.


Each year, energetic young professionals who have demonstrated leadership abilities and the desire to become more involved with SME join the YLC. Members of the YLC serve a term of four years and work with other members of the committee to develop critical components of SME and the YLC. Applications are open to all members of SME who are 35 years of age or younger and meet at least five of the leadership criteria listed on the application form.

Young Leaders Committee Yearbook

What's your story?

Michael Karl spent his formative years in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas and Seattle, Washington and now currently resides in Arvada, Colorado. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a Bachelor’s of Mining Engineering in 2018 and is back at Mines to complete an Underground Construction & Tunnel Engineering Master's program, expected to graduate in December 2024. He has been an SME Member since 2016, is member of the YLC class of 2023, and took over the YLC chair position in 2024.

He found the mining industry after taking a geology class during undergrad and at the recommendation of a lifelong friend. Since that time, it has grown into something that will never not be a part of his life as the mining industry has provided him with a challenging and very rewarding career so far. One big aspect of the mining industry is the depth of knowledge about all scopes that can be learned, and you pretty much never stop learning because there is always something new that people figure out. He believes that the most valuable feature of any industry, especially the mining industry, is the people that work in it whether it’s a colleague at your company, a peer at another, or a senior leader you may not have spoken to much, they all are willing to help you out to further our cause. In the short amount of time he has been working he has been a part of projects in three US States and one Canadian Province. These projects have primarily been for water conveyance, a tunnel for a hydro-power plant, a tunnel to release water from a dam, remediation of an irrigation tunnel, and even a tunnel for salmon to swim through. As a fan of the great outdoors these projects have allowed him to spend the time he is not underground exploring nature and hiking mountain peaks.

He recommends recent graduates to join YLC because YLC and SME is a family above all else and the relationships that one will gain by being a part of SME and YLC will last a lifetime. Everyone is different and we come together for an industry that provides so many things to society. He is proud to be a part of the mining industry, SME, and YLC. YLC is simply a gateway to becoming more involved in SME and the Mining Industry.

He has learned that it is up to you to become involved with SME/YLC and no one else. Just jump in and take on a task or multiple tasks. The mining industry needs you for the future, and humanity needs mining to survive even though some people are vehemently opposed to it. Do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone but remember to have fun along the way.



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