Each year, AME’s annual Roundup conference attracts more than 6,000 attendees to Vancouver from across Canada and some 39 countries around the world. The masterminds behind this huge event are members of the AME Roundup Organizing Committee, the hard-working team responsible for shaping the themes, speakers and content of your favourite Roundup sessions and events that bring you back to scenic downtown Vancouver in January year after year.
The Roundup Organizing Committee is one of the association’s largest committees, comprised of approximately 25 members who meet throughout the year. The committee’s primary responsibility is organizing the sessions, displays and events that reflect the current trends, challenges and interests of the mineral exploration community in B.C.
The greatest challenge for the committee is “staying relevant and finding those new success stories and leading technical content that will appeal to attendees,” says Roundup Organizing Committee chair David Gale. “There is such a great importance on the conference for AME because it is the association’s flagship event and ensures that other initiatives can be run for the year.”
Gale, senior geologist with SSR Mining and explorer at heart, has worked in the mining industry in Vancouver for over 20 years. Gale originally joined the Roundup Organizing Committee almost 10 years ago to be more involved in the Vancouver geology community, improve his own technical skills and to grow his network. He began the transition to chair in 2014 as committee vice-chair, shadowing his predecessor, Kendra Johnston, president at Independence Gold Corp. and vice-chair of AME, for two years before becoming chair in 2016.
This two-year transition from vice-chair to chair is a part of a formal succession plan that is unique to the Organizing Committee. “It’s a pretty structured committee,” says Gale. Committee members are divided into pairs and each team is responsible for developing content and finding presenters for their specific session and event at the conference. For example, there is a separate team of committee members for the B.C., Yukon and Alaska technical sessions.
Gale was excited to lead the committee in introducing the Project Generator Hub and Innovation Hub in 2018. For 2019, the committee has bought back the Project Generator Hub and introduced changes to select technical sessions. To stay dynamic and meet the needs of members, the committee has introduced new technical sessions that are commodity-based, rather than geographical. In 2019, Base Metals and Precious Metals sessions have replaced the Canada and International technical sessions. The well attended B.C.-Yukon-Alaska session has returned for Roundup 2019.
As with any large, annual event, the planning process for next year’s Roundup starts soon after the last event is complete. At monthly meetings throughout the year, Roundup committee members debrief on the previous conference and begin taking the pulse of the industry for the next iteration.
The committee’s hard work peaks in the final quarter of the year and by late January the annual AME Roundup conference is underway. “The final result is very satisfying,” says Gale. “You can’t deny it, looking out at the crowd; you feel proud and pleased to see all the conference attendees and that the show has come together.”