Miners honor Borell, appoint Paraday
Dignitaries pay tribute to resigning executive director who led Alaska Miners Association during two decades of strong growth
Last updated 11/20/2011 at Noon
The winter convention season is upon us, and the first of many such events is sponsored by the Alaska Miners Association each November. This year's convention was filled with the customary excitement. The papers were excellent and well received. Attendance was at record levels. The conversations were focused on the successes of the past season and the plans for next year. In brief, the convention was similar to all recent ones, save the banquet, which was unique.
After 22 years, Steve Borell, executive director of the Association has resigned, indubitably at the top of his game.
The Friday banquet was a testimonial to Borell's many accomplishments during that tenure.
In a nutshell, Steve has led the Association successfully in diverse areas during a period when the industry has been gathering strength.
His unique skill-set was at the right place at the right time.
Due to a positive political climate, the mining industry has been emerging as a powerful political and economic force since the mid-70s.
It gained traction with the opening of the Red Dog and Greens Creek mines, and by the time the Fort Knox and Pogo mines hit stride, the industry had emerged as the second largest in the state's private sector.
Borell was everywhere during the recent two decades of this exciting period, spreading a message that the industry was strong, safe, healthy and a positive force for the future of Alaska.
In D.C. he was advising the delegation and pitching the administration while building respect for AMA within the National Mining Association.
In Juneau, he was painting the picture of a progressive and responsible partner in the development of resources for Alaska's future.
Throughout the West he was bonding with other mining associations and their leaders to build strategic alliances.
All across Alaska, he was conferring with small and large mine operators and exploration teams, constructing a solid and united front.
At the miner's banquet, a parade of speakers crossed the stage, sharing words of gratitude and good wishes for Borell's future. The respect tendered to Borell was overwhelming, but it was frequently punctuated with the word "friend." Borell clearly made many trusted friends for the industry and by extension for himself through his integrity and credibility.
In addition to the festivities for Borell, his successor was introduced to the membership. Fred Paraday comes to the post of executive director with impressive credentials. Paraday has worked at Point Barrow for the past several years after a career in the coal mining industry in Wyoming and a stint in the Wyoming State Legislature. He and Borell will overlap for four months in transition, but it appears that Paraday will hit the traces running. According to Borell, Paraday's resume could not be improved upon when trying to find a fit for his replacement. Paraday brings the right mix of professional experience and depth of knowledge to the job.
Paraday takes over direction of the mining group at a critical time. New mines at Chuitna, Donlin Creek, Wishbone Hill and Pebble will soon take their place next to the six mines now in production. No matter what happens with the oil and gas industry in Alaska, mining is going to become an increasingly relevant and important force, especially in remote areas.
Although the resignation of Borell comes at a time when his contributions are optimal, the smooth transition to a qualified successor will result in a continuation of policies and practices that will extend the positive trend. Steve Borell has served the industry and the association well over the past two decades and Fred Paraday will have an excellent opportunity to build on a sound foundation.