Partnership between industry halls of fame endures

By |  May 11, 2023
Replica plaques of the 36 individuals enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame are on display alongside plaques commemorating those inducted over the years to the National Mining Hall of Fame. Photo: P&Q Staff

Replica plaques of the 36 individuals enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame are on display alongside plaques commemorating those inducted over the years to the National Mining Hall of Fame. Photo: P&Q Staff

Thirty-six individuals have been enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame since the magazine established it back in 2013.

The last individuals to be enshrined were Ted Baker, EJ Burke, Nathan P. Stedman and Dave Thomey, who entered the ranks of the Hall of Fame in 2022 during a black-tie ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee.

While there is no induction ceremony in 2023 because it’s a ConExpo-Con/Agg year, the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame continues to have a regular presence at the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum in Leadville, Colorado. The museum, which is the only national mining museum with a federal charter, gives the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame a home, showcasing replica plaques of P&Q’s 36 inductees alongside plaques commemorating 257 National Mining Hall of Famers.

The partnership between Pit & Quarry and the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum dates back to 2015, when Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame plaques were first housed in Leadville. Elizabeth Dinschel, executive director of the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, says the partnership has been beneficial to the public, as many first-time museum visitors know little or nothing about the critical role aggregates play in society.

“People don’t really consider aggregates when they think about mining,” Dinschel says. “They think about coal, gold and diamonds. Aggregates for them is the most surprising thing they learn about when they come through, because that’s what they find most in their daily lives.”

About the museum

The National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, located in Leadville, Colorado, attracts about 30,000 visitors per year. Photo: P&Q Staff

The National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, located in Leadville, Colorado, attracts about 30,000 visitors per year. Photo: P&Q Staff

The museum, which spans 25,000 sq. ft, consists of three buildings that contain a variety of exhibits for visitors to explore. The Magic of Minerals exhibit, for example, touts the minerals that contribute to items used in everyday life – toothpaste, milk, cat litter – and educates visitors about mining’s necessity.

“We’re going to be putting more aggregates with Magic of Minerals, too, because we’re talking about solar panels and where those come from,” Dinschel says. “Aggregates are critical there.”

Kids especially enjoy the museum, she says. The museum aims to educate them about the many jobs available in mining.

“Mining engineering is the eighth-highest-paying college degree right out of college,” Dinschel says. “We don’t have enough mining school applicants. There are tons of mechanical engineers, though.”

Part of the mining’s recruiting problem is rooted at lower educational levels, she adds.

“High school counselors are telling their students all about chemical engineering, and they’re skipping mining engineering even as an option,” Dinschel says. “There are scholarships for these kids to go to college, and they just don’t know about them.”

According to Dinschel, the museum draws between 24,000 and 30,000 visitors each year. The museum attracts about one-third of the people who come through Leadville, she says, and about half of all visitors learn about the museum through word of mouth.

“That means 15,000 of those 30,000 visitors are telling their friends: ‘You have to go see this place,’” Dinschel says.

The museum is actively pursuing new funding in order to modernize, refresh exhibits and indefinitely support operations. The museum recently hit the halfway mark for a $6 million endowment, according to Dinschel.

“We have a one-to-one match through June 2024,” she says.

Nominate someone for induction

Similar to the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame, the National Mining Hall of Fame hosts a regular banquet where its inductees are enshrined. The National Mining Hall of Fame inducted five individuals in 2022 during a banquet outside of Denver, including Timothy Haddon, Pierre Lassonde, Thomas O’Neil, Syd Peng and Sheldon Wimpfen. Yet another class will be enshrined later this year.

Pit & Quarry, meanwhile, will enshrine its next Hall of Fame class in March 2024 during an induction ceremony that will be held in conjunction with AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo in Nashville.

Aggregate producers, equipment manufacturers, dealers, association leaders and allied trade representatives are all eligible for induction to the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame. The magazine accepts nominations from the industry at-large at pitandquarryhalloffame.com/nominate. A neutral board comprised of various industry segments reviews all nominations and determines who ultimately earn induction to the Hall of Fame.

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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