Backing a winner: AME Awards from the nominator’s perspective

Behind the bright lights and ceremony of AME’s annual Awards Gala: Celebration of Excellence, each January is the hard work of the Awards Committee, AME staff, and the members who nominate people for awards.

AME presents up to nine awards annually to recognize the remarkable achievements and contributions of individuals and teams in the mineral resource, investment, and mineral exploration industry. Nominations are welcome year-round but the deadline for consideration the following year is September 30. So, now is the time to start thinking about nominating the friends and colleagues who you think deserves recognition for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the industry.

For some, the nomination process can be overwhelming. So, we asked Sue Craig, Vice President Community and Environment, Kutcho Copper Corp., about the process she went through to nominate Ron Netolitzky, winner of the Murray Pezim Award in 2017, and her personal experience of winning the Gold Pan Award in 2016.

“The AME awards recognize the great depth, intelligence and caring in our industry,” said Craig, “So many in the industry are willing to share what they have learned, discovered, and to give back to the industry and to the communities near our projects.”

Craig first moved to Vancouver as a young geologist in 1990 and Netolitzky was her first manager. Netolitzky, said Craig, gave her and many others their first opportunity in the industry. Many of the people he took a chance on have gone on to run junior companies and make discoveries in the field or win awards.

“I told Ron he had his own unofficial ‘pay it forward’ program,” said Craig, “He took a chance on hiring me, and without that, I would have never had the career I have had or met all the wonderful people in the industry and the communities I have worked in.”

Netolitzky is an accomplished geologist and prospector who has made significant contributions to the mineral industry across Canada, notably for his role in developing Snip and Eskay Creek in northwest BC. He was recognized nationally by Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada with the Bill Dennis Award in 1990 and by AME with the E.A. Scholz Award in 1996 and was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 2015.

“A lot of his work was focused in BC, so I thought it made sense to nominate him for an AME award,” said Craig, “Ron also knew Murray Pezim, who the award is named for, and I had a chance to meet Murray myself while working for Ron. I thought that added an interesting note to the story.”

The AME award nomination process involves writing a letter of recommendation and securing support letters from at least two other colleagues. The nomination must clearly state the reason for the nomination and provide a brief synopsis of the nominee’s career.

Craig found the nomination process, outlined on the AME website clear. She advises other nominators to start soliciting support letters as early as possible, and that sharing the complete nomination letter with the people who write support letters makes the process a little easier. Complete sample nomination letters are available on the AME website or by contacting Savannah Nadeau, Manager, Events at AME and Staff Lead of the Awards Committee.

The Awards Gala itself is a good opportunity to gather and celebrate members of the industry, a rare opportunity to come together after a busy year, frequent travel and being away from home.  In January 2018, Craig gathered a group of people who had worked with her and Netolitzky some 25 years ago to celebrate his award.

“I felt very proud when Ron won,” said Craig, “We were all there to celebrate and went out together with Ron after the ceremony and we had the opportunity to tell stories of working with Ron. We all had quite a good laugh about the stories!”

“I believe Ron was quite honoured to receive the award from AME, due to his work in BC,” said Craig. The award was by presented by Michael Pezim, who remembered Netolitzky being in his father’s office years ago, and was able to add some interesting stories.

“Ron is a very humble geologist who will never stop looking for the next discovery,” said Craig, “He does it because he loves it, not for the recognition.”

“As an award winner myself, it was very humbling to receive emails, calls and congratulations in person at the event,” said Craig, “I was particularly honoured when the Chief of a First Nation whose traditional territory I had worked in came up to me after the Gold Pan Award and told me he wasn’t surprised I was receiving that award.”

“More importantly, it also gave me a chance to say thank you to all of those people who I had worked for, or worked with” said Craig, “There may be certain names on the award, but there is always a team behind those successes.”

If you know someone who deserves recognition for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the mineral exploration industry then please help the minex community by nominating them for their success today by clicking here.

By Kylie Williams