Area Manager, Arizona and New Mexico, Southwestern Energy
2017 Medal of Merit Under Age 40
Born in Kingman and raised in Wickenburg, Eben Robinson wanted to design cars from concept to production. At Wickenburg High School he enjoyed wood shop, football and wrestling, graduating as Salutatorian and earning a scholarship to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona.
Confronted with the reality that his scholarship would not extend for a second year and his education might be halted, Robinson reached out to friends he had made in the UA Mining Department and was awarded a Phelps Dodge scholarship to study Mining Engineering and ventured into an unexpected new vocation. At UA Robinson met Irene Ramsey, and they married in 1996 over Christmas break. The couple was determined not to incur school debt, so Irene served banquets at Tucson hotels while Eben worked for Modern Engineering LLC, drove haul trucks at ASARCO Silver Bell, and built custom furniture in a small wood shop.
In 2001 Robinson joined IMC Potash (later Mosaic) in Carlsbad, NM, where he worked in all aspects of underground engineering, served on the Mine Rescue Team, ran continuous improvement programs, oversaw a core drilling campaign, supervised a 16-man production crew, and chaired the Potash Section of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) In 2005, Robinson returned to Arizona for Phelps Dodge (later Freeport-McMoRan) as Senior Engineer in the Mine Technology Group. He left in the copper crash of 2008 as Program Manager, working on innovation projects in haulage and mass material transport in the US, Chile, and Peru.
Following a stint as Maintenance Manager at Marco Crane and Rigging, Robinson joined Southwest Energy LLC in 2010 as Technical Services Engineer. He was soon promoted to Innovation Manager, working to improve safety and efficiency in commercial explosives used in mining. Robinson is now Area Manager in Arizona and New Mexico, where he looks after mining accounts for Southwest Energy, as well as forecasting and logistics for Apache Nitrogen.
Viewing responsible resource extraction as the most basic means of defeating poverty and improving living standards globally, Robinson once chaired the Tucson Chapter of SME for three years consecutively and has served as Treasurer, Vice President and President of the Mining Foundation of the Southwest. He is currently a member of the Industry Leadership Board of the Mining Department at The University of Arizona. Robinson was a recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award in Mining Engineering at the UA, the SME Outstanding Young Professional Award and the SME Program Area Manager Award.
Robinson resides in Tucson, where he and Irene home school their three children Laura, Emma, and Caleb. He enjoys coaching youth wrestling, small-scale logging and sawmilling, and building the next prototype.