People You Know (January to March 2012)

 Luis Jaramillo is the Chief Technical Officer with Ireland-based Colombian Mineral Resources. He is a Colombian national and a Geologist from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He earned a master’s in economic geology from New Mexico Tech.

He has served as managing director of Ingeominas (National Institute of Geology and Mines of Colombia) and manager of the Planning Department of MINERALCO. He is also a member of the Colombian Society of Geologists and has occupied the chair of President of the Board of Directors for the Colombian Mining Chamber.

During his career in private companies, he was Head of Geology for Rio Tinto Colombia for more than five years on base and precious metals and coal. He has worked with other international companies in Colombia such as Anglo American, Billiton Developments and Western Mining Co. On the international stage, he has been a consulting geologist for the United Nations as well as the World Bank.


Dr. Scott W. Tyler (master’s in hydrology in 1983) was selected by the Foundation Professor Selection Committee at the University of Nevada-Reno as one of the 2012 Foundation Professors.

Tyler earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Connecticut in 1978. After earning his master’s at Tech, he joined the Desert Research Institute in 1983 and earned his doctorate at Nevada-Reno in 1990. He joined the UNR faculty in 1992 and became a full professor in 2000. Tyler has dozens of publications and varied research interests in hydrology and hydrogeology.


Bellhaven Copper & Gold Inc announced the appointment of Brad Yonaka to the position of Vice President of Exploration, effective March 12, 2012.

Yonaka has more than 20 years of experience as a mining and exploration geologist in South America and Africa. He has a bachelor's degree in geological engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a master's degree in geochemistry from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Yonaka comes to Bellhaven from Gold Reserve Inc., where he worked for 15 years as an exploration geologist, chief geologist and exploration manager. At Gold Reserve, Yonaka was responsible for building the geologic model and was instrumental in the drill out and management of the exploration program at the world class Brisas gold and copper deposit in Venezuela. He also directed evaluations and green field exploration on a host of other targets in the Guyana Shield. Most recently, he had been evaluating new opportunities throughout the world for Gold Reserve.

Patrick Highsmith CEO of Bellhaven said, “We are excited to welcome Mr. Brad Yonaka on board at Bellhaven. He brings a track record of drilling gold, tremendous intellect, extraordinary team skills, and a passion for discovery that are rare and infectious. He is also fluent in Spanish and Latin American culture. Brad’s skill set is well matched with our objectives and his experience is directly relevant. These are some of the core strengths that make Brad an ideal choice to lead our geological team."

Craig Corey was recently hired as marketing manager for HDR Inc.’s office in Albuquerque, according to the Feb. 3, 2012, edition of the New Mexico Business Weekly. Previously, he was the business development manager for Rinchem Co. Corey earned a bachelor’s in environmental engineering from New Mexico Tech and adegree in administration/marketing from the University of New Mexico.\


Lawrence Ira Cordray

May 28, 1943 – February 7, 2012

Lawrence Cordray died Tuesday, February 7, 2012, in Grand Junction, Colo. Born in Colorado Springs on May 28, 1943, he spent his growing up years in Colorado primarily in the Somerset, Paonia, and Grandby areas. He married Linda Moschner in Glenwood Springs in 1970.

After moving to Socorro, N.M., Lawrence attended the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and graduated with a bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering. He worked in the copper mining industry in Silver City, N.M., where he and Linda lived and raised their family. They moved to Colorado Springs in 1991 and then to Palisade in 1996.

Lawrence liked rock hunting, reading, and playing the cash five lottery. He is survived by Linda; daughter, Anne and Merlin Namuth of Broomfield, Color.; son, Lt. Benjamin and Jennifer Cordray of Charleston, S.C.; sister, Ruby Springsteel and husband, Jim, of Rock Springs, Wyo.; sister, Louise Humphrey of Colorado Springs, and sister, Rita Taylor and husband, Terry, of Grand Junction. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Gabrielle Namuth, and Margaret, Rebekah, Emma, and Samuel Cordray. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Mesa Funeral Service.


Jack H. Hunt (B.S. in Mine Engineering in 1950) passed away in Albuquerque on Nov. 9, 2011.

Jack graduated from Grants High School (N.M.) in 1943 and entered the U.S. Air Force. Upon discharge in 1946, he enrolled at New Mexico Tech. After graduation, he moved with his family to Carlsbad, N.M,, where he enjoyed a lifelong career in the potash mining industry.


Duane H. Williams, 77, passed away at his home in Capitan, N.M., on Tuesday, December 6, 2011. Born in Magdalena, N.M., on June 24, 1934, he grew up in Socorro. He earned degrees from New Mexico Tech: a bachelor’s in Physics in 1956 and a master’s in Earth Science in 1958.

He and his wife, Nadine (Stendel) Williams, moved to China Lake, Calif. Following a 31-year career in research management at the China Lake Naval Ordnance Test Station (currently China Lake, Naval Air Weapons Station), he retired from federal civil service in 1989.

In 1990, he returned to his native New Mexico, adopting Lincoln County as his new home. Williams was an athlete and outdoor enthusiast, and following his retirement to New Mexico, he became a dedicated participant in state and community affairs in active support of smaller, efficient, and open government.

He was preceded in death by his pareats, Daniel Berne Williams and Verna Marie (Overton) Wi1liams. He, is survived by his wife, Nadine Williams, of Capitan, N.M.; daughter Karyl Williams with son-in-law Craig Westbrook of Capitan; and son Marc Williams with daughter-in-law Danialle (Rodgers) Williams and stepson Dylan Meyers, of Ridgecrest, Calif.


Tech Graduate Finishes Second in America’s Longest Auto Race

 Ward Herst with his trophy and the Mazda Miata he and his teammates raced to second place in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill event in December 2011 in California.

Ward Herst (M.S. in Hydrology, 1986) won second place at the 25-hours of Thunderhill auto race held in Willows, Calif., on Dec. 3 and 4. The 25-hours of Thunderhill is the longest automobile race in America and draws racers and teams from around the world. Herst drove a 1999 Mazda Miata as part of a four-driver team. 83 cars took the green flag at this year’s race, and Herst’s team finished 2nd in the E3 class, racing for Hooverspeed from Sacramento, Calif. Besides Herst, the team included drivers from Houston, Chicago and Reno, Nev. The team completed 625 laps at the 3 mile, 15-turn circuit – 1,875 miles – during the race, with each driver racing for a little more than six hours. In addition to being the longest auto race in America, the Thunderhill race is unique in that it has no track lights. Racing during the night is done using the cars’ headlights to illuminate the track.

Since 1998, Herst has operated a consulting firm in St. Charles, Mo. Herst & Associates has 25 employees, specializing in environmental services, such as groundwater and soil evaluation, impact investigations, remediation and corrective measures, permitting and more.

Katanga Mining Announces Appointment of New CEO

ZUG, SWITZERLAND – Katanga Mining Limited announced that Jeffrey Best, the Company's Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Company to succeed Mr. John Ross as Chief Executive Officer and Director. Ross resigned to pursue other opportunities which will allow him to spend more time with his family. Ross will remain available to assist in an orderly transition. Best earned his bachelor’s in mineral engineering from New Mexico Tech in 1996.


Marylynn V. Yates (Master’s in chemistry, 1982) has been appointed the dean of the university’s the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of California-Riverside.

Dr. Marylynn Yates, Class of 1982
Dean, U-C Riverside

Yates joined the faculty of UC Riverside in 1987. She has served as the chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences; associate executive vice chancellor; program leader for the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; chair of the CNAS Executive Committee; co-chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel; associate co-director of the One Health Center, University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI); and UCGHI’s co-director of education.

“CNAS has outstanding faculty, dedicated staff, and excellent students,” Yates said. “Over the coming months, we all will be working together to redesign our college. Our goal is to better enable faculty to conduct cutting edge research, to foster interdisciplinary collaborations necessary to tackle the most difficult problems facing society, and to create an environment that will allow us to continue to attract the brightest students and the best new faculty.”

Yates’s research focuses on the transmission of human pathogenic microorganisms in environmental media, particularly water and wastewater. She serves on several advisory committees, panels and boards for water quality, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board Drinking Water Committee and the National Research Council’s Water Science & Technology Board. Currently, she serves as editor for Applied & Environmental Microbiology.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007) and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2011), she is a recipient of UC-Riverside’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2001-02) and was named Distinguished Teaching Professor (2006).

Yates received her doctoral degree in microbiology from the University of Arizona in 1984. She earned her master’s degree in chemistry from New Mexico Tech and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Colorado-based mining company General Moly Inc. announced that Robert I. Pennington has been appointed Chief Operating Officer.

Pennington earned a bachelor’s in environmental engineering from New Mexico Tech in 1979. He joined General Moly in October 2007 as Vice President of Engineering and Construction and has overseen Mt. Hope and Liberty permitting and development since that time. Previously, Mr. Pennington served as Chief Operating Officer of M3 Engineering & Technology in Tucson, Ariz. Pennington has 33 years of metal mine operations and project management experience, including 24 years in management of mine and plant operations. He previously served as President at the Phelps Dodge Tyrone operations and General Manager at Phelps Dodge Morenci in Arizona. Pennington’s project experience dates back to 1982 with the construction and startup of the Kennecott Chino concentrator, followed by design, construction, and startup of the Chino SXEW plant, the Phelps Dodge Candelaria operation in Chile, the Piedras Verdes SXEW operation in Mexico and various other projects while working in the role of project manager for M3. Pennington has extensive experience in base metal operations and design, molybdenum processing.


Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez (U.S. Air Force, Ret.) died peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, December 30, 2011. Marquez was a member of the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents from 1989 to 1994.

Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez
Former Tech Regent (1989-1994)

He is survived by his wife, the former Stella Alvarez of Las Cruces, N.M., and their children: Diana Marquez, David Marquez, Paula Hewitt and her daughter Alisa; Patricia and Allan Knighten and their daughter Adrienne; Phil and Susan Marquez and their children Marisa, Brittanae Brown and Michael Birner; siblings Ruben and Pedie Marquez, Jim and Helen Marquez, Mary Ann Greiner and sister- in-law Esther Marquez; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents Santiago and Emma Marquez, his brother Ben Marquez and sister, Carmen Baca.

He was born on January 27, 1932, in Peralta, N.M., and grew up in the farming village of Tome, N.M. Leo graduated from New Mexico State University's Air Force ROTC program with a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology. He also earned a Master of Science degree in business administration from George Washington University. He was a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the National Defense College and received a Master of Business Administration degree from the Advanced Management Program for Executives at the Carnegie Mellon University. He was named a distinguished alumnus and received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from his alma mater, New Mexico State University.

He proudly served his country for 33 years as a U.S. Air Force officer before retiring as a Lieutenant General. His many decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star with V for valor for combat in the Vietnam, Meritorious Service medal and Air Force Commendation medal with one oak leaf cluster. His last assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Engineering, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon. He was a pilot with over 2,000 hours in single engine jet fighters. His many noteworthy achievements include the approval and implementation of the Air Force Combat Ammunitions Center known as “Ammo U” and the maintenance badge that all Air Force maintainers now wear so proudly just above the heart.

The Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award of Maintenance Excellence was named and is earned by civilian and military Air Force maintenance personnel in recognition of superior service. Since retirement from the Air Force, he was an executive in several engineering and aerospace companies and served the state of New Mexico on the Kirtland Partnership Committee, New Mexico Military Base Planning Commission and as a regent of both New Mexico Tech and the New Mexico Museum Board.


Atlee Dean Beckerdite (B.S. in Geology, 1950) died December 28, 2011, in Houston.

Beckerdite was born January 9, 1926, in Larned, Kan. He was in the U.S. Army Air Force from January 1944 until May 1946 where he was a B-17 Tail Gunner with the 306th Bomb Group, 423rd Bob Squadron stationed at Thurleigh, England; Istress, France and Weisbaden, Germany. He flew 18 combat missions and reached the rank of T/Sgt.

Mr. Beckerdite married the former Arlene Ellyson in August 1946 and they raised two children, Beverly Dell Dracos of Houston, Texas and Jay Lee Beckerdite, who passed away in 1988. He attended the Colorado School of Mines, before transferring to New Mexico Tech. He graduated from Tech in 1950 with a B.S. Degree in Geology.

His career in natural resource economics and management is well known throughout the industry. He and Arlene pursued a career path that took them to Bismarck, N.D.; Borger, Texas; St Albans, W.V.; Denver; Glenview, Ill.; Menlo Park, Calif.; Houston; San Antonio, Texas; and Clearwater, Fla.

Dean's work also included assignments in Europe, Australia, Africa and South America. Prior to 1979 Dean worked for several companies including Stanford Research, where he was Director of Mining, Minerals and Materials Economics and Tesoro Petroleum, where he was a Vice President and President of their mineral producing subsidiaries.

In 1979 Dean and Arlene formed their own mine management consulting company, ADB Inc., which they operated and managed until his retirement in 1997. Their clients included "Big Eight" accounting firms, major utilities, investment bankers and other less specialized management consulting firms.

He was the author of numerous published articles and professional papers related to mineral resources economics and management. Dean was a member of the AIME and VFW. He is survived by his loving wife, Arlene Beckerdite, daughter Beverly Dracos and husband Steve; granddaughter Ellen Lesch; grandsons Thomas Dracos and wife Jennifer and Marcus Dracos and wife Melisa; sister Arlene Waite; and four great-grandchildren. Funeral services are at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, in the chapel of Klein Funeral Home in Houston. For those wishing donations could be made to the Parkinson's Foundation.