GSN

Faces of GSN

Laura Rudd

So they finally talked me into being the Face of GSN for this month, although I think my face is best left hidden behind the GSN emails!

I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas to Jack & Eileen Nelson and was lucky #7 of their 13 children (a true middle child!). Dad and Mom both came from farming families in southern Indiana where we spent 3 weeks of every summer vacation exploring the woods around my Grandma’s farm. I fell in love with the limestone cliffs and layered sandstone creek beds there. Dad was a WWII and Korean War vet who got a Master’s degree in Geology from Indiana University on the GI Bill. His first and only job was as a petroleum geologist with Standard Oil of Texas (later to become Chevron) in Corpus Christi. When I was 2, my Dad was transferred to Midland, Texas where I have fond memories of climbing trees, playing with horned toads and millipedes, and occasionally running from scorpions, tarantulas and rattlesnakes! With 7 brothers and 5 sisters we were never bored. When I was 10, Chevron transferred Dad to Denver and I did the rest of my growing up years in Golden, Colorado. Our house had its own “playground” right in front of the abandoned Coors clay pits which have since been turned into a public “Triceratops Trail” and the Fossil Trace Golf Course. Who knew those vertical sandstone walls that we spent countless hours running around bore 68 million year old dinosaur tracks and other fossils?!

While attending Golden Jr. High in the mid-70s, I walked daily across the Colorado School of Mines campus. There sure were a lot of “men” on that campus and they were all so old, 18-22 years old! After graduating from Golden High School in 1979 I ruled out CSM as a college destination (way too close to the home that was still filled with my parents and 8 siblings) and CU- Boulder (my Dad didn’t want me to go that “hippie” school), and finally decided to attend Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison. Two of my favorite teachers at GHS graduated from there and thought it would be a good fit for me. Indeed it was. I enrolled in Geology 101 and within the first month decided Geology was the major for me. My WSC professors were incredible and made sure we got out of the classroom and into the geology as much as possible. Bruce Bartleson, Tom Prather and Fred Menzer were truly gifted Geology professors and the basics I learned from them were rock solid.

WSC is also where I met my future husband, Eric. He gave me and my friend a ride back to the dorms in his ’57 Ford after a “mineralogy exam” post-party at Dr. Menzer's house one cold night when the temperature was 20 below zero! My friend said I had to sit in the middle next to him. I thought he was so handsome, nice and funny. His nickname was "Mr. Social" in the Geology Dept. and I was hooked on him from there on out. We’ve been married 27 years now.

I graduated with a Bachelors in Geology in 1983 having focused my studies in Petroleum Geology. Unfortunately that was the same time that the price of oil was spiraling downward to under $20 per barrel and everyone was getting laid off in the industry. (Can anyone relate?) I applied at over 100 companies and no one was hiring. My parents were selling the family home in Golden and retiring back to the farm in Indiana so I had to get a job immediately to pay my bills and my college loan. I worked as a teller at 1 st National Bank of Golden, while always keeping my eye out for that chance to get a job in geology. My chance came in 1984 during a bowling league night where I met my teammate’s boyfriend who was the core warehouse manager of Surtek Oil (a secondary oil recovery company). He hired me on as his warehouse helper where I learned how to run a lathe, drill press, rock saw, porosity/permeability machine (that he built himself) and a crusher. It was all 6” and 8” diameter core that we stored in oil in these 5 foot long PVC pipes. Needless to say I was in good shape back then! We also photographed the sawn core for the clients and developed the film in the darkroom he had built in the warehouse. I learned a lot that Fall and in January 1985 the geologist at the company sent me to Kentucky to sit my first oil rig! I was there for 30 days and on call 24/7. We drilled 7 production holes on a farm in Utica just south of Owensboro where we had an existing polymer injection plant. The temperatures were below zero much of the time and I marked my first fresh core at 2 a.m. in freezing sleet and howling wind. It was so cold and I was so tired but I loved it! The next project they sent me on was sitting a rig in northeastern Wyoming just outside of Newcastle that May. The weather was much nicer and I really enjoyed my time there.

The oil field work dried up in December of 1985 so I decided to follow Eric (who I had married in Oct. 1985) to Reno in Jan. 1986. He had been transferred here with Cone Geochemical back in Dec. 1984 and we decided it was probably time to finally live together as a married couple in the same town. When I arrived in Reno, I again found myself looking for work as a geologist but I didn’t have the “right kind” of experience for economic geology. I went back to the teller business at Nevada National Bank on Mill & 395 (now B of A) where I remember meeting Anne Loring who was the Treasurer of GSN at the time. If I remember correctly, she was opening the first GSN checking account there that we still have today. After about a year and a half I decided that banking really wasn’t for me so I went to work for GD Resources, a South African refinery and assay lab on E. Glendale in Sparks, Nevada. I worked in the AA lab for 2 years and it was during that time that we had our first child, Alexander, born in June 1988. GD closed their lab in June 1989 and Eric hired me as the Office Manager at Cone. Our second child, Erica, was born in February 1990. Many of you have known our kids since they were born and watched them grow up into young adults. They are the light of our lives and we are so proud of them! Alex is working on a Masters in Computer Science while working part-time at Mine Development Associates in Reno. Erica is graduating from UNR on Dec. 8th with a degree in Nutrition/Dietetics. Although I was always working during their childhood, I was still able to volunteer in their classrooms, lead the Girl Scout troop, coach the soccer teams, served as PTA Treasurer and JROTC Booster Club President over the years. Those were crazy busy years but I treasure them now.

My first experience with the GSN was attending meetings with Eric back in 1986. My volunteering started in 1990-1992 helping Eric with his GSN Treasurer duties. When Eric's term was up, the GSN decided to hire me as the Bookkeeper as a permanent temporary employee through CGS Personnel. I have done the GSN’s bookkeeping almost continuously since 1990. Eric left Cone and went to Bondar Clegg in 1996 so I also had to leave Cone and found a job at Sierra Mining Engineering. That’s where I learned how to run a computer! I quit there in 1999 to take on the Office Manager position for the GSN Symposium 2000. After Donna Bloom quit as the GSN Office Manager in Sept. 2000 I was asked if I wanted the job (after not being chosen three months before). Of course I said yes. It was part-time, hourly pay, and no benefits back then but I was happy to have that job! When Eric was laid off by Chemex in 2002 after the “merger” with Bondar Clegg, our family needed health insurance so I unhappily resigned from my GSN job to take a full-time position with the Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology as an Administrative Assistant. I worked there until the Summer of 2005 when Andrea Robinson quit the GSN Office Manager job and I was asked to come back again to help them out in my old position. I transferred to a part-time job with the Renewable Energy Center on the UNR campus so I could retain my health insurance. I did both "part-time" jobs for 2 years and was overwhelmed with trying to get everything done in only 50 hours a week! The funding ended for the Renewable Energy job in 2007 and I was again without insurance so when I was offered a full-time job with benefits as the head Administrative Assistant for the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at UNR, I took it. At that point I left the Office Manager position at GSN once again but continued on as the GSN Bookkeeper, working after 5 pm and on weekends handling all of the books for them. In August 2011, the GSN was once again in need of an Office Manager and I was thrilled when they offered me the now full-time job with health insurance! I love working for GSN. I get to go on field trips and exhibit our publications at mining conferences. I really enjoy attending the Elko and Winnemucca Chapter meetings whenever I can too!

The best part of the GSN is its multitude of wonderful members! It is an amazing organization that is run by dedicated volunteers whose help I am always grateful for. I am so happy to be back at GSN and hope that I will be able to stay here for many years.

For fun, I love to ski at Mt. Rose in the Winter & Spring and explore Nevada in the Summer & Fall. But what I enjoy most in life is visiting my parents & siblings who live all over the U.S. in the states of Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Alabama and Indiana. There is always a wedding, birthday party or reunion to attend somewhere. Life is good!

Laura Rudd








Laura Rudd










Laura Rudd










Laura Rudd









Laura Rudd