New format for award recipients welcomes all at MINEXCHANGE

Nancy Profera

February 5, 2024

There’s a new format for awards recognition at the MINEXCHANGE 2024 SME Annual Conference & Expo in Phoenix, AZ. Beginning in 2024 and in an effort to be more inclusive, the awards presentation will now be open to everyone and is included in attendees conference registration. There is no separate charge or sit-down dinner with the new format. More than 70 awards are presented at MINEXCHANGE each year, and this new format will allow everyone to hear about the great achievements of those who are titans in the mining industry. Gather your colleagues together and be sure and join in the celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.

SME award recipients represent the highest level of professionalism and expertise in the mining and minerals industry. Awards are given for individual and group achievements.

“Even though our industry builds the world, it isn't often that we as miners are celebrated for our contributions. The SME awards are an opportunity to recognize the commitment and achievements of not only the award recipients, but of everyone who has dedicated their career to advancing our mining industry. The new format for the awards program will grant an opportunity for an even larger celebration of the leadership, teamwork, and passion that propel us forward and evolve our industry to meet our world's needs,” said Julie Lucas, who will receive the Cindy Moore Courageous Impact Award at the ceremony.

Why the change in format?

According to 2023 SME President Marc LeVier, SME leadership and staff were concerned about dropping attendance at the awards banquet in recent years. In 2022, a task force was established to look at the program and make recommendations to the SME Board of Directors on ways to improve attendance while maintaining proper recognition of SME members receiving awards.

“Recognition of members by their peers for their career achievements that improve the mining industry is one of the greatest benefits that SME provides to its members,” said LeVier.
“SME staff were challenged with the goal of revamping the awards banquet into an awards program that provided the highest respect and recognition and a simplified and shortened program while keeping the story lines moving, and maintaining the traditions of the presidential gavel exchange between the outgoing and incoming SME Presidents. The staff has met the challenge and a new awards program has been designed to achieve those goals,” said LeVier.

An important aspect of the new format is that it is designed to allow members to mingle with all the award recipients after the program and to provide a personal congratulations. “We want more participation from all levels of members, from students to Legion of Honor Members, and we feel the new program can achieve this goal,” said LeVier.

Why should people attend?

This is a great opportunity to honor leaders and icons of the industry and to hear the story behind their success. “As a young engineer, I always wanted to hear the stories of achievement in whatever discipline or position. I found them motivational. The program is targeted to run approximately 75 minutes, which shortens it and allows for more time for interactions and networking at the reception afterward and all are welcome to attend. Bars will be open as well as light food fare. The exciting part is that there is still time to arrange a final dinner outing with friends, clients and/or family,” said LeVier.

“The easy part is to just check the box indicating that you will attend so that SME can have an estimated head count and anticipate the size of the group that will be served,” he said.
“The seating will be theater style -- no tables to be stuck under for hours. We only ask that those in attendance provide their full attention to the program on the stage, no side conversations please. All reception libations will occur after the program. We promise the program will be fun, lively and moving. Please help us make this a huge success and attend with your member friends and colleagues,” said LeVier.

You can find out more about the variety of awards presented by each SME Division at

You can read the bios of the 2024 award recipients for SME, SME Foundation and AIME in Mining Engineering (Jan., 2024) and read about SME Division award winners in the February issue of the magazine.


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