“I wanted to be able to impart some of my experiences to a pre-industry graduate and cover the intangibles that are not always understood at the University level”
Rick Stroud is a mining engineer with over 44 years worldwide experience in the mining industry; exposure from Operations to Corporate, most mineral commodities, open pit and underground and consulting to contracting. Rick’s specialist skills are in strategic and project management, operational optimisation and innovation. Rick is currently, Chairman of Fodere Mining (private), Project Director of Alchemy of Air (private), focusing on commercialisation of the SSAS process for producing Green Ammonia and a Non-Executive Director of Cleveland Mining (ASX:CDG). Rick has also been appointed to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) Theme Advisory Committee and is a PhD student mentor with the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) as part of the School of Engineering program at the University of Western Australia.
Why did you participate in the IMNIS program?
I wanted to be able to impart some of my experiences to a pre-industry graduate and cover the intangibles that are not always understood at the University level. I also wanted to be a part of the mentoring I was lucky to experience when I was a young graduate. There is a narrowing gap between Research, extra study and industry but more still needs to be done to help students choose what is not only a good fit for them but for industry and their career.
Do you have a mentor(s)? What is the most crucial aspect of this professional relationship for you?
I currently don’t, but have had a few mentors throughout my career who have not been mentors in the formal sense but people I have been able to turn to for unbiased advice. The most crucial aspects of the relationships was the non-threatening environment, the ability for me to choose my path or outcome, the wealth of experience before me.
How often did you meet with your mentee and did you prepare for these meetings?
My PhD student last year was a chemical and materials engineer from West Africa and we did not meet at all face-to-face but only on the phone due to work load, travel and not being able to co-ordinate meeting times effectively enough due to a medical situation I was faced with. The maturity with which he handled the time we did have was a very positive sign for his future prospects. The focus was mainly on application, time management and acceptance that in reality life will not go the way you had neatly planned it.
Would you recommend participating in the IMNIS program to your colleagues?
I certainly would. I have mentored people on mine sites quite a few times and like last year enjoyed the interaction. I would emphasise to those who would be willing to participate to make sure they make time to meet on a regular basis but no more than necessary. Mentoring should be a service that people should feel comfortable with. It is not an advisory service but an opportunity for a student (in this case) to have access to an experienced hand that is more a bouncing board for all sorts of questions and insights.
What was the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you?
The opportunity to see the caliber of PhD students today, how they see the world, their expectations and the challenges they think they might meet. The maturity and expectations certainly didn’t let me down.