I was born and raised in the Skagit Valley of Washington State where my love of the outdoors and science grew from an early age. Our family spent holidays camping, hiking, and exploring the Pacific Northwest. When we weren’t enjoying the outdoors I stayed extremely busy; I was involved with swimming, music, and shooting sports. Outside of school I earned a black belt in TaeKwonDo and rebuilt a ’67 Mustang.
With such diverse interests when I started college at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, I was unsure of what field I wanted to pursue. I was still involved with swimming and music and though I loved those activities I couldn’t see myself doing either as a career. In my second quarter I signed up for intro geology, it clicked and I declared a few weeks later. Through my time at Central I was highly involved in the Geology De-partment, serving as Geology Club and Honor Society President, invited to TA Introduction to Field Methods, and performed undergraduate research in igneous petrology. I had amazing professors who taught with intensity and expectations of excellence. Not only did it grow my passion for geol-ogy, I made the most amazing lifelong friends in the process.
After being the first in my family to graduate with a college degree, I moved to the Seattle area and to work in environmental consulting performing soil and groundwater assessments and monitoring all around the Pacific North-west. Although I enjoyed the work and the conveniences that can only be found in the big city, there was something about the concrete jungle that I wanted to escape. A good friend of mine was working in explo-ration and suggested I check it out. Three weeks later I moved out of my apartment, loaded up a storage unit and caught a southbound plane to Saltillo, Coahuila, with a final destination of Concepcion del Oro, Zacatecas. Working in Mexico was an exciting challenge, not just in learning the ins and outs of exploration and skarn geology, but I got off the plane with a handful of Spanish nouns in my vo-cabulary and little ability to form a sentence. It was an invaluable experience, I learned to speak Spanish by immersion, which lead to the ability to read and write as well. I also fell in love with the com-plexity of skarns and overcoming the challenges drilling sometimes presents. Through that love and connections by virtue of the great people I worked with I got an amazing opportunity to work at Pump-kin Hollow in Yerington, Nevada. Aside from a short hiatus, which I spent as a Mine Geologist at Mesquite Mine in Southern California, I was at Pumpkin Hollow from 2008 until the beginning of this year.
Amazing is not a strong enough word to describe my time there. So many opportunities to learn and grow along with the project. I was privileged to be involved with many steps and processes far beyond that of a typical exploration setting. Hydrology, geo-technical studies and evaluations, geologic other considerations and logistics of shaft sinking and lateral development, academic research, truly understanding a project’s geol-ogy and so much more. Most of all, working under the guidance and mentoring of Greg French and Hank Ohlin, have not only ex-tended my family, but given me the ability to be the geologist I am today, and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.
Outside of geology, my interests and hobbies remain diverse and plentiful. Some of my fa-vorite things to do are lifting at the gym or practicing yoga and have even competed in bodybuilding competitions. Riding my Harley presents a refresh-ing and unique perspective of the world and nature. I am an avid photographer, mostly landscape, though I enjoy shooting the occasional event or portrait session. I still love to play the flute, although I have not partici-pated in performance since college. I also enjoy shooting and hunting, with both firearms and archery. I can be found exploring roads less traveled, hiking, or camping, and participating in any number of outdoor activi-ties. I cannot imagine my life without geology and the people I have connected with along the way and I look forward to what the next chapter holds.
John Winton Erwin*
Erin L. Hart
Greg T. Hill
Joseph Kizis, Jr
Brooke J Miller
Justin and Ajeet Milliard
Mia (Cowgill) O'Neal
Shea Clark Smith
Roger C Steininger