GSN

Faces of GSN

Dustin Holcomb, Junior Hydrogeologist, Reno, Nevada (Published in February 2017 GSN Newsletter)

I have not always been interested in geology. In 2010, I was working as a snowboard instructor in Tahoe, tired of being a broke ski-bum I decided to try my luck at a summer gig in the booming mining industry. By the luck of the draw and the kindness of those in charge I stumbled into a summer job as a geotech with Nevada Copper.

At first it was difficult, logging core for structure, in a hot, dusty, core shed was not my idea of fun but I stuck with it. Soon I began to acquire more diverse work as the exploration project began to grow into a mine development project. Eventually, I graduated to the position of an environmental scientist, where I became involved with permit compliance and groundwater monitoring.

After that first year, I was hooked, it was nice not being a broke ski-bum. However, I was limited on how far I could progress in the industry without an applicable degree. The choice to go back to school to pursue a degree in geology was not immediately obvious. It took another three years, working with some great geologist, before I decided to enroll in the geology program at the University of Nevada Reno.

While in school I continued to work for Nevada Copper, in varying capacities. Even though work and school took most my time I still tried to stay involved in extracurricular activities. I ran the Mackay Rockhounds for four semesters as the de facto president. The Mackay Rockhounds is great student organization primarily focused on providing students, of the geologic sciences, the outdoor experiences and field trips that they may not get in regular classes.

Last year, I graduated with my bachelors of science in geology from UNR. Immediately after graduating I picked up some temporary work with McEwen Mining, where I collaborated with consultants to identify sources of potential growth media to facilitate the development of a reclamation plan, contributory to the development of an EIS at their Gold Bar property.

After the summer project ended I struggled to find work. Thanks to some inspiring and helpful people, I continued to push my job search on. Last month I was hired by Piteau Associates, a hydrogeological and geotechnical company. Piteau has been well established in Canada’s mining industry for over forty years but is just now getting its start in Nevada. I am fortunate to have been brought in on the ground floor and help contribute to Piteau’s success in the Nevada.

One of the many aspects I like about the mining industry is that it is a global industry, yet it still maintains a small community of workers. I found it is important to network and stay involved in such a small community and being a member of GSN is a great way to do that.