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Tech Names Finalists For Bureau Directorship

SOCORRO, N.M. May 11, 2015 – A search committee of nine faculty members, administrators, and Bureau of Geology staff reviewed application materials and interviewed candidates to settle on three finalists for consideration by President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez for the position of State Geologist and Director of the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

The candidates are 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. (Click on the finalists' names to view their c.v.'s). 

Each candidate will spend a full day on campus, which will include a meet-and-greet with Bureau staff and a 10-minute presentation. Rhoades will be on campus Monday, May 18, and speak at 9 a.m. Dunbar will interview Tuesday, May 19, and present at 10 a.m.  Leetaru will be on campus Wednesday, May 20, presenting at 9 a.m. Dr. Lopez will then interview with each candidate and select the new State Geologist/Bureau Director.

Leetaru earned a bachelor’s from SUNY-Fredonia in 1975, a master’s from Syracuse in 1978 and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1997.  He worked in private industry and as a consultant in Houston for 11 years before starting at the Illinois Geological Survey in 1989. He joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 2000 as an adjunct, a position he still holds, along with senior petroleum geologist.

Dunbar earned her bachelor’s from Mount Holyoke in 1983, then both her master’s and Ph.D. from New Mexico Tech, in 1985 and 1989. She spent 1½ years at Oak Ridge National Laboratories before returning to Socorro as a staff scientist at the Bureau. She is now the deputy director, senior geochemist and an adjunct faculty member.

Rhoades earned a bachelor’s from the University of Missouri in 1981, a master’s from Washington State University in 1984 and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix (in Denver) in 1992. Rhoades has worked for private companies and as a consultant, most recently as the principal geologist for WorleyParsons in Denver.

The Bureau Director/State Geologist position is a cabinet post and reports directly to the university president. Greer Price is the outgoing director, announcing his retirement in mid-2014.

The Bureau recently moved its laboratories and offices into the new Headen Center, a $24 million facility on the corner of Leroy Place and Bullock Avenue. (The Mineral Museum has not completely moved yet).

– NMT –