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Tech Taps Matthew Rhoades As New State Geologist

SOCORRO, N.M. June 23, 2015 – New Mexico Tech announced Friday, June 19, that the Matthew Rhoades has been selected as the new State Geologist and Director of the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

“In Mr. Rhoades, we’re getting an individual with broad experience,” said Dr. Daniel H. Lopez, university president. “We’ve found an individual who will continue the excellent work at the Bureau for many years. He has a strong science background and strong grasp of finances that are required for the continued growth and success at the Bureau.”

Rhoades has been the principal geologist at WorleyParsons in Denver since 2011. He has experience in ground water, surface water, soil, soil gas, solid waste leachate, mine waste and mine tailings projects. In addition to projects in several states, Rhoades has worked on a variety of projects in foreign countries, including Ecuador, Colombia, Afghanistan, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

Rhoades earned his bachelor’s from the University of Missouri in 1981, a master’s in structural geology from Washington State University in 1984 and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix in Denver in 1992. He is a licensed Professional Geologist in six states.

Rhoades worked in operations as a well site geologist from 1984 to 1986 with Analex Inc. He then spent 11 years with Harding Lawson Associates. There, he spearheaded a successful initiative to pursue Department of Energy projects, including a geophysical investigation at Hanford Nuclear Researvation in Richland, Wash.

From 1997 to 2005, Rhoades was the principal hydrogeologist and operations manager for the Denver office of Maxim Technologies. He oversaw remediation projects for ConocoPhillips, Lockheed Martin Aerospace and TotalFinaElf.

Rhoades then joined Golder Associates from 2005 to 2006, where he worked on mining issues in Arizona. From 2006 to 2011, he worked as an independent consultant, targeting mining projects.

“Mr. Rhoades background is not specific to a university setting, but he’s worked directly with industry on science questions related to extractive industries,” Lopez said. “He also has a strong background in the area of securing external funding. I am confident that Mr. Rhoades will maintain the strong foundation of the Bureau. He’s well equipped to pursue other opportunities for expanding the role of the Bureau within New Mexico, as well as reaching out beyond the borders of the state.”

Lopez said he was impressed with Rhoades during the interview process, particularly his management experience and skills.

“He’s a good listener and problem-solver and he will be highly supportive of the Bureau staff,” Lopez said. “He has a clear vision about how the Bureau can expand its role and add value to its existing excellent work.”

Rhoades was selected from three finalists. Initially, a search committee of nine faculty members, administrators, and Bureau of Geology staff reviewed application materials and interviewed candidates to settle on three finalists. The candidates were Dr. Nelia Dunbar, deputy director of the Bureau; Matthew Rhoades, principal geologist with WorleyParsons in Denver; and Dr. Hannes Leetaru, senior petroleum geologist with the Illinois Geological Survey.

“We were very fortunate to have three excellent finalists,” Lopez said. “It was very difficult choice because any one of the candidates would’ve made a great director. Mr. Rhoades brought the right mix of talents and experience, which should prove beneficial to the Bureau and to New Mexico Tech.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech