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William R. Assenmacher


2016 Medal of Merit Recipient

Assenmacher was born in Monroe, Michigan and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1974. While at the university he was enrolled in a work study program and worked 2 years with Pan Am and 8 months with Santa Fe Railroad.  Assenmacher started with CAID Industries part-time as a fifth year senior in 1973. One year later, upon graduation, he decided to stay and to buy out Bob Caid over a 10 year period.

In 1982, Assenmacher was named President & CEO of CAID Industries, Southern Arizona’s largest industrial metal fabricator serving local and international mining customers. CAID Industries is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona with locations in Logan, Utah and Calama, Chile serving the various mining clients, especially smelters and SX-EW plants. The CAID family had roots in mining dating back to 1927 as a firm called Hearn & Caid (1927-1947).

The firm under Assenmacher’s direction grew from a one million dollar firm in 1974 to an annual sales volume of over $50MM, with 250 people in the U.S. and 40-50 working in South America. The firm has recently added industrial robotics and automation as well as fluid solutions as business units for its global customers. The firm will be celebrating 70 years (2017) in business as CAID Industries.

In addition to his role at CAID, Assenmacher is the Chairman of Commerce Bank of Arizona, the only locally owned community bank and U of A Tech Parks Global Advantage Partner.  Assenmacher has always been an active community advocate for mining and other business development opportunities and is heavily immersed in the Tucson community as evidenced by his involvement not limited to 162nd Fighter Wing Air Guardians, DM50 Member, AMIGOS Board Member, City of Tucson Planning & Development Services Advisory Committee, Centurion Foundation Board Member, Southern Arizona Business Coalition (SABC) Founder, Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) Member, State of Arizona Governor’s Workforce Arizona Council, Tri State Sheet Metal Workers Pension Plan Trustee & Finance Committee Chairman, Tucson Airport Authority Board Member, Tucson Metro Chamber Air Service & Business Development Chairman, Tucson Metro Chamber Board Member.

Justin Cross

General Manager, Bagdad Operations, Freeport-McMoRan, Inc.

Medal of Merit Under Age 40

Justin Cross currently serves as the General Manager of Freeport-McMoRan Bagdad Operations. After graduating, Cross began his career with Freeport-McMoRan as a Rhenium Production Supervisor at Sierrita Operations in 2006.  Since then, Cross has worked in a variety of operations and maintenance roles at various Freeport sites.  He became the Hydrometallurgical Manager and a member of the Morenci Senior Leadership Team in 2012 at age 31.  In 2014 Cross became Manager of Haulage at Morenci leading a department of 600 people.  Cross assumed the role of General Manager of Bagdad Operations in 2016.

Cross defines success as being a part of high performing teams, regardless of his role.  The opportunity to contribute to large scale mining operations and work side by side with people dedicated to meaningful work have been the biggest rewards of his career.

Cross has championed advances in the mining industry through several key initiatives, including new product commercialization serving the solar and specialty alloy industries and large scale cathode quality improvement efforts.  The cathode quality initiatives allowed Morenci to achieve LME certification for its three electrowinning tankhouses and led to best practice and cathode quality improvement across Freeport-McMoRan’s hydrometallurgical operations.

Contributing to improvements more locally has also been a focal point for Cross.  During his time as Manager of Haulage, Cross’ department led the charge in optimizing haulage efficiency while meeting increased mill ore requirements of Morenci’s recently expanded mill as it went from 55 to 125 ktpd.  His passion for enhancing development opportunities for young mining professionals contributed to notable results in the development of the internship program and improvements in the onboarding of young professionals.

A native of Tucson, Arizona, Cross received bachelor and master’s degrees in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.  He is a strong supporter of SME, serving as the Morenci Section chair for 3 years. During that time he led the organization in recruiting members across a spectrum of careers and fostered a positive environment for mentoring and career development for members.

Cross graduated from Canyon del Oro High School in Tucson, where he met his wife, Shawna Raikes, during his Junior year.  They are the parents of 3 young daughters and currently reside in Bagdad, AZ.

Michelle Lammers

Corporate Manager, Development Projects & Services, ASARCO LLC

Medal of Merit Under Age 40

Michelle Lammers, following her father’s footstep, attended the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and received her Metallurgical Engineering degree in 2001. She was a member of the Mining & Mucking Team and was on the only all-women’s team ever fielded by SDSM&T.  In her last year of participation in the annual Intercollegiate Mining & Mucking Competition, won first place in jackleg drilling.

Upon graduation, Lammers was immediately hired by ASARCO as a Control Room Supervisor in the North and South Mills at the Mission Complex.   Within 2 years, she was transferred to the Ray Complex as Supervisor over the Concentrator and the L-SX-EW (Leaching- Solvent Extraction- Electrowinning) processing plant.  She was named the Acting General Maintenance Supervisor in 2004 and was awarded the official title in 2005, a position rarely given to Metallurgical Engineers.  In 2007, in addition to serving ASARCO’s Ray Complex as the General Maintenance Supervisor, Lammers was given additional responsibilities as Acting General Operations Supervisor.  Under her leadership, the plant met all its safety, production and cost goals.

Lammers continued her upward career path and was named the General Operations Supervisor at the Ray Concentrator in 2008.  At the age of 31, she became the Manager of South Mill in 2010. During her tenure there, Lammers was also tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the South Mill Expansion Project.  Again, she exceeded expectations with South Mill increasing production by 33% and recapturing its capital investment within a short time.  After spending three years at Mission, she was assigned to the Tucson Headquarters to her current position as Corporate Manager of Development Projects & Services overseeing multi-million dollar expansion from concept through construction.   The Hayden Converter Retrofit Project and the Silver Bell Mammoth Heap Leach Facility are among her current responsibilities.

Born in Fresno, CA, Lammers was a scholarship varsity basketball player at SDSM&T and played on the squad reaching the NAIA Final Four!  The 1997-98 Lady Hardrockers basketball team with the 28-4 season, setting records with most points in a game (104) and with the highest season scoring average (81.0), unbroken to this date,  was inducted into the SDSM&T’s Hall of Fame in 2015.

Lammers has spent her entire working career at ASARCO and is an active SME member.

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