Leonard R. Judd
2006 Medal of Merit Recipient
Leonard (Len) R. Judd, served as President, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Phelps Dodge Corporation. He was born 1939 in Butte, Montana, at a time when his father was a diamond driller in the Anaconda mines. Len attended the Montana School of Mines, but transferred in 1959 to the University of Arizona’s new aerospace engineering program. After one semester, the Dean of the College of Mines offered Len an attractive scholarship leading to his graduation with a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering in 1962. He later returned to the University of Arizona, where he completed his Masters of Business Administration in 1968.
Len and his new bride, Gloria, in 1961 journeyed to Douglas, Arizona, where he began his first job in the industry working as a summer student at Phelps Dodge’s Douglas Reduction Works. Phelps Dodge was researching copper precipitate agglomeration alternatives at the time. Upon graduation the following year, the work experience gleaned that summer provided Len a basis to join Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco. Bechtel was heavily involved in the design/construction of iron ore pelletizing facilities at the time. But two years later, copper called once again, and Len returned to the Douglas smelter. Over the ensuing years, Len‟s Phelps Dodge vocational journey included thirteen different operational and staff positions from Playas, New Mexico, to New York City. Although a health issue provoked his early retirement at the end of 1991, Len continued to provide consulting services to Phelps Dodge into 2002.
In the copper recession years of the early 1980s, Len was a major player in the development of Phelps Dodge’s “turnaround plan”. That plan included an aggressive commitment to solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) technology, which helped to pull the company out of its recession and remains a cornerstone in the Phelps Dodge operating portfolio worldwide today. As a result, Phelps Dodge became the first major copper company to adopt SX-EW technology. The success of the venture has caused this to be a major technological influence in copper production in the industry across the world. Len has served on various corporate boards in addition to Phelps Dodge, including Southwest Gas Corporation, Washington Group International, United Bank of Arizona, and Primerit Bank.