Troy Williams

Bachelor of Mining Engineering

Vice President of Software Development

iRing Inc.

Why a career in mining?

I am a professional mining engineer (P.Eng.) with 20 years of experience. I work for a company called iRing Inc. in North Bay, Ontario. Our software helps underground drilling and blasting engineers (a specialty of mining engineering) design better blasts underground. www.iring.ca

 

It was never my plan to enter the mining industry when I graduated high school. My only goal was to take engineering. I was good at math and science and wanted to continue studying math and science. I knew engineering was the only path for me.

 

Engineering is such a broad field. I wasn’t quite sure what discipline to study or where to study it. I grew up in a small town about an hour east of Sudbury. I wanted to stay and learn in the North. I attended Laurentian to study mechanical engineering. At the time, it was a 2-year program at Laurentian, with the final 2 years completed at another university. By the end of the first year, I was enjoying my time in Sudbury and at Laurentian. I decided to switch to mining engineering and stay in Sudbury. With 20 years of experience, looking back, I realize how fortunate and fateful my decision to transfer to mining engineering was. It was the correct decision for me.

Why do I love my job?

I know it is cliched, but everyday is a new challenge, and there is something new or exciting to learn! I never dreamed as an undergraduate that I would be involved in cutting-edge work and research like this. I never thought that I would be involved in work that would potentially affect a lot of people, technical and highly trained people.

 

My work has allowed me to travel to all continents (except Antarctica) and visit every major mining district globally. I work with fantastic like-minded people that share a passion for the tools we create.

Benefits to a career in mining:

I discovered my passion for software and writing programs at Laurentian. I realized that the computer could do the calculations in my course work much faster, and more importantly, more accurately than I could. I just had to instruct the computer on what to do. So, I started down the path of learning to program on my own.

Programming is generally part of the curriculum for mining engineering. It is usually one course in a programming language that isn’t suitable for the type of work we do regularly. This doesn’t appear to have changed. Most graduates have little to no experience coding. Taking mining engineering at Laurentian and learning how to program (I was self-taught) has opened up a world of opportunities for me.

 

There is no shortage of problems or innovation in mining. Mining is moving very quickly into the future, surpassing traditional “high-tech” industries. With the adoption of battery-powered vehicles underground and “Big Data,” mining is very much a high-tech industry! It requires and encompasses many different disciplines, both traditional and non-traditional. They include: Engineers, Geologists, Computer Scientists, Biologists and many other fields.