SME and executive director Dave Kanagy recognized as association of the year

June 14, 2024

At the Colorado Society of Association Executives’ (CSAE) 2024 Annual Awards Luncheon on June 6 in Fort Collins, CO, SME was named Association of the Year and David L. Kanagy, SME Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors the individual whose enduring contributions have shaped the association profession and left an indelible mark on the CSAE community.

Kanagy has worked in association management for more than 40 years, the last 20 of which have been with SME as executive director and chief executive officer. He will retire from SME in March 2026, leaving behind an organization that has blossomed into the world’s premier mining membership society under his remarkable leadership.

“I am beyond humbled to receive this recognition from my good friends at CSAE,” said Kanagy, who served as the 2012-2013 CSAE president. “Serving SME’s thousands of members across the globe and supporting the association business at large has been my greatest professional honor.”

Kanagy’s tenure at SME is marked by a multitude of signature achievements, including helping to amass more than $39 million in assets through astute strategic planning, financial management, mergers, and new product and service development. This level of growth has allowed SME to better serve its more than 13,000 members by increasing full-time staff from 23 to 55 individuals since his arrival. The staff increases have equipped SME with the ability to cater to the many needs of its growing membership, consisting of professionals in the mining, tunneling and underground construction sectors.

Kanagy also oversaw the development and implementation of, which went live in 2008. is the most extensive online research library for mining. Today, 14 mining societies collaborate to add content to a database consisting of more than 40,000 documents and over 2.5 million searchable pages.

SME’s philanthropic initiatives, led by the SME Foundation, have also flourished during Kanagy’s tenure. Through the collaborative work of members and staff, Kanagy helped implement vital Ph.D. Fellowship and Academic Career Development Grant programs. These programs have resulted in more than $7 million for 38 individuals to advance toward tenured faculty status, addressing long-term challenges that threaten the sustainability of U.S. mining and mining-adjacent degree programs. In addition, he has helped build key fundraising strategies such as the Corporate Roundtable Partnership to support the many successful SME Foundation programs and K-12 outreach efforts.

To this day, Kanagy attends meetings all over the country and world to meet with and encourage the work of SME’s local membership sections. His unique accessibility also extends to long-distance communication, meaning that all SME members can call or email him directly, with everyone getting an answer.

Association of the Year Award
SME received the CSAE’s “Association of the Year Award.” Recognizing organizations that excel in driving industry innovation, member engagement and community impact, this accolade highlights the exemplary contributions of associations across diverse sectors. From fostering collaboration to advocating for important causes, recipients demonstrate outstanding commitment to their members and the broader society.


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