Mining Advocate and Supporter
2021 Medal of Merit Recipient
Sydney Hay is a champion for the mining industry -- a wealth creation engine for Arizona. An Arizona resident since 1979, Sydney was born and raised in a small town in Colorado. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Kansas Newman College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. She spent the next several years teaching elementary and high school students, both in Kansas and in Arizona.
In the 1980’s Hay was inspired to become involved in public policy and has been a tireless fighter for the citizens of Arizona ever since. She became a skilled political organizer and an association management executive and established her own firm, Southwest Policy Group, in 1990.
She has served for the past 27 years as President of AMIGOS (Arizona Mining and Industry Get Our Support), a trade association of small to mid-size businesses with members in over 20 states that supply Arizona's vital copper mining industry. This well-known and effective group makes mining industry views known to legislators and other government entities and keeps Arizona suppliers in the political process by using their collective clout to provide a pro-business, pro-mining point of view. Sydney leads the way in standing up for issues important to mining.
From 2005 to 2010 she was President of the Arizona Mining Association. She served a 5 year term on the Board of Governors of the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources including a stint as Chairman of the Board.
Politics is also in her blood. She has advised political candidates for local, state and national office. She was the Republican nominee for Congress from Congressional District 1 of Arizona in 2008. The Arizona Daily Sun described Sydney Hay as like "Martha Stewart with high-powered weapons."
Sydney lives with her husband Dan, a dog, two goats and is a proud horse owner.
Sarah A. Strunk
Chair of the Board, Fennemore
Business and Mining Attorney
2021 Medal of Merit Recipient
Sarah Strunk is Chair of the Board of Directors of Fennemore Craig, a Mountain West Law Firm. Strunk has represented numerous clients in the mining and natural resource industry over the past 3 decades and has been involved in many exciting development projects. She practices in business and finance law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, international sales contracts and exploration projects.
Prior to joining Fennemore, Strunk was Corporate Counsel to the copper and molybdenum division of Cyprus Amax Minerals Company. Ms. Strunk’s first day at a mine site was her second day of work at Cyprus Amax. On that day she visited the mine and smelter in Miami, Arizona. She absolutely loved the industry and people, describing the experience as “coming home”.
Ms. Strunk has served on the Board of the Arizona Mining Association. She has been a long-time trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF), was the Mining Co-Chair for an Annual Institute and currently serves on their Investment and International Committees and acts as the regional annual institute program co-chair for Arizona. She has presented papers at RMMLF special and annual institutes, including on Corporate Audits and Investigations and International Mining Due Diligence.
Ms. Strunk was the Chair of the Board of Brio Gold, now part of Equinox Gold and a member of the Audit, Compensation and Governance Committees.
She is been consistently recognized in the International Who’s Who Legal®, Mining Law (2011-2021), Chambers USA®, leading lawyers for business (2005-2021), Best Lawyers in America® for Corporate and Mining law (2011-2021), Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Securities/Capital Markets Law (2016) and Mergers and Acquisitions Law (2017), Southwest Super Lawyers®, for Mergers and Acquisitions (2007-2021) and their Top 25 Women in 2017, listed as one of the Top 100 Lawyers (AZ Business Magazine, 2018), Outstanding Women in Business (Phoenix Business Journal, 2019) and 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business (AZ Business Magazine, 2014).
When she is not working or speaking, Sarah enjoys gardening, cooking and entertaining at home with her husband of 30+ years and their English Labrador dog, Wyatt, a/k/a “The Marshal.” Both Sarah and her husband are avid scuba divers, having been all over the world. Some of their favorite dive spots are the Fiji Islands and Palau.
Manager Underground Engineering
2021 – MEDAL OF MERIT UNDER 40 RECIPIENT
Angela Watt holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Arizona. While seeking her degree, Angela helped establish and lead the university’s Engineers Without Borders student organization.
Watt received a Rio Tinto Scholarship while attending university which lead her to start her career with Rio Tinto’s Resolution Copper Project in Arizona as a mining engineer. She was responsible for the study team’s block caving design and mining schedule, and using lessons shared by operations groups, she created a blueprint for extraction level construction scheduling.
Wanting to put her experience into action at a developing mine, Angela transferred to Western Australia to work at Argyle Diamonds with a data-focused approach to resolving underground construction bottlenecks. Watt subsequently returned to Resolution Copper’s No. 9 Shaft Deepening Project. With an eye for capitalizing on project schedule opportunities, she worked alongside shaft crew members and engineers to implement risk-mitigated designs and execution strategies for dewatering systems, deep-shaft ventilation and refrigeration changeovers, and a unique “bucket-in-a-bucket” mid-shaft loading arrangement.
In 2018, excited by the prospect of building a greenfield multi-generational underground mining project in her home county, she joined South32’s Hermosa Project in Southern Arizona as Chief Mining Engineer. In May 2020 she was promoted to Manager Underground Engineering and is now responsible for the team performing Hermosa’s mining study work and overseeing technical input to construction projects.
Watt grew up on a cattle ranch in Southern Arizona and developed an early passion for rock-collecting. She graduated from Nogales High School, excelling in academics, competing in school sports and embracing leadership roles including being elected to serve as the Arizona State President for the Future Business Leaders of America organization.
Guided by her enjoyment of math and science, she joined the University of Arizona’s Engineering College. However, it was a visit to the university’s San Xavier Mining Laboratory, a student-run underground mine, where she found her calling to underground mining.
Watt attributes a lot of her success to her wide-ranging interests, continuous curiosity and love of learning. She strives to influence the younger generation with her knowledge and experiences, as so many generous professionals within the mining community have done for her. She is an active SME member and resides with her husband, Mathew, in Tucson, Arizona.