With December 6th being National Miner’s Day, we are happy to feature today’s Industry Person of the Week who works with mining operations through Tech-Flow in the Las Vegas area. This is what Jace Church had to share!
Q. What has it been like working with the mining industry?
Q. How did you get started working in your field?
Jace: I got my start in the mining industry working on the utility crew at a Nevada underground mine the summer after high school. My father and grandfather had been in mining, sinking shafts and running underground mines for most of their careers, so I was naturally interested even though I did have my eyes on a different path. I wanted to go into construction management, so I did not intend to stay in mining forever. I went back to working construction after that summer and started taking college courses online. An unfortunate, non-work related accident took me out of work in construction. By the time I had healed and recovered, construction jobs were scarce. A family friend mentioned that the process group for a Nevada gold mines was hiring, so I applied. I started out as a mechanics helper, but by the time I had left, I was the crew lead man and nearly topped out with opportunities to advance even further with the company. I was approached by the owner of a process solutions company, was intrigued by the opportunity and decided I’d make the jump. It was tough to leave the great opportunity and people who had given me such a great opportunity.
Q. What do you love most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Jace: I love the problems and the process of solving them at the mine sites. We deal with individuals who “fight fires” on a daily basis trying to keep the process facilities running. Most of them do the work that normally require two or three people. I enjoy getting to the process facility and working directly with these guys to solve their problems. The most satisfying part is when somebody new contacts me to help with their problems due to a referral of somebody who appreciated what we had done for them.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Jace: Read up and never be satisfied with what you know today. I’ve seen people throughout my career that sort of ‘put the blinders on’ and do only what they need to get by. One of the men who gave me the opportunity to jump into the lead man role at 23 years old was always engaging in new material to learn as much as he could about the process and the ever-changing world of mining, specifically in process. I had the opportunity to witness this, and it stuck with me. I’m always trying to find new material to learn.
Q. Can you talk about a mining project you recently worked on?
Jace: There are several projects that come to mind, but one that stands out was process water return application. The customer had tried several other pumps, but they were failing in as little as 8 weeks at one point. The plant superintendent called me (we deal with them in several other parts of the plant) and told me that he needed something “now”. This was in the beginning of last December, and he needed a solution before the end of the year. We went out the next morning and walked the system, trying to get a good look at every aspect of the application. We made some recommendations and were fortunate enough to have a partner in Tsurumi who had a solution ready to go. The first two pumps of this size/type in the states. We were fortunate, but it has always been the business model of the owners of Tech Flow to have good relationships and partnerships with pump and process equipment suppliers. We helped with identifying key aspects of the installation and operation of the new pumps. They went from running 3-4 pumps and repairing each every 8-12 weeks to one single pump in operation that has held up for nearly a year and still counting.