Meet the next SME Board Intern

2 May 2024

During the MINEXCHANGE 2024 SME Annual Conference & Expo, the SME Board welcomed a new president-elect, two new directors, and a board intern. In this edition of the Drift we introduce board intern Nick Gow.

Gow will serve a two-year term as a board intern. Below, he shares his busy journey to becoming a board intern, and offers some invaluable advice about the process all the while having a great time!

Homyack: Please explain your SME path to becoming an Intern with the SME Board of Directors, i.e., past committee and chair positions:

Gow: My path has not come without the help of numerous people. I joined SME as a student member 20 some years ago now, and was greatly encouraged to give presentations and join the student poster contests. I was initially asked to join the Student Members Affairs committee in 2015, after which I eventually chaired the committee. From that role, and with the help of SME education coordinator Mona Vandervoort, I was able to champion the creation of the Metallic Student Design competition. I became chair of the Young Leaders Committee with the help of SME technical program specialist Raven Refuerzo. Shortly after, I was nominated to join the MPD executive committee, and am currently in my third year. Since then, I have participated in numerous other committees and most recently have been assisting with the MM&E Journal as an associate editor and with PE Review efforts, training as an ABET Evaluator, and serving as the Co-Chair or Technical Chair for the Hydrometallurgy 2024, Copper 2025 and World Gold 2025 conferences. I am reminded at times that I have to learn how to say "No,” advice which I always keep in my mind, but I have yet to take.

Homyack: What are your goals as a SME Board Intern?

Gow: As I continue my path to the Chair of the MPD Executive committee, I am taking in the leadership styles and methods of everyone that I work with in order to find what works best for me. There is no better way to learn the ins and outs of SME than to jump head first into the deep end with the SME Board. I will take the experiences I have over the next two years to help me down my own path as I continue to find ways to get involved with SME. I definitely look forward to it and think it fortuitous that I joined the SME Board at the same time as Courtney Young, who was my academic advisor for way longer than I'd care to admit.

Homyack: What advice do you have for someone just joining SME or the mining industry?

Gow: Find your niche. There are many different aspects that are needed within the industry and within the society, but the best efforts come when you find something that interests you. If you don't feel that what you can offer is something that exists, create it. If you don't know where your passion is at, try until you find it. If you need help coming up with something, find someone in the industry that can help you out. They may not be within your immediate industry or academic circles, but there are numerous people out there who would gladly serve as a mentor for the younger engineers. I've found that opportunities and learning in this industry don't typically come in straightforward opportunities, but when you are open to it they will come to you.

Homyack: What are your thoughts about the near-term future of SME and the mining industry?

Gow: After the SME conference in Phoenix earlier this year, it is apparent that the society is as strong as ever, and the future outlook should continue to be outstanding. Activity levels for new and developing mines continue to be strong and the race to secure pathways for critical minerals will drive new technologies and partnerships. The industry will have to continue to push forward best practices in safety and environmental stewardship and will need to develop new technologies that unlock additional resources to keep the industry thriving. For those coming in to the industry now, there will be plenty of opportunity.

Homyack: Do you have anything else to add?

Gow: "Do strange things with weird people." This has been a quote I've heard elsewhere, but one that has stuck with me, and I've applied it to the MPD community (although it can likely be applied throughout our industry). As a mid-career member of SME and one that has gone through recent transitions, I'd advise that for those looking to get enjoyment out of a career, find ways to make it your own and have fun. The cyclical nature of this industry can make it hard to enjoy, but we have a small and close-knit community. Grow when it is good and bridge the bad times with good people. I've always pushed those that I know to get involved somehow. Raise your hand, push your limits, do something different.


Tags: SME Board