Colorado Section

The Colorado Section is a legally constituted unit of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME), encompassing a specific geographical area. Our members are given the opportunity to network with their peers and hear valuable presentations through our activities.

Colorado Section Officers:

Chair: Heather Lammers

Heather is a mining engineer with Golder Associates and a Ph.D. student at the Colorado School of Mines. Her goal with SME is to promote professional development, networking, and knowledge share opportunities for students, young professionals, and mining industry experts.

Vice Chair: Melissa Chalona

Melissa Chalona is an environmental engineer with Engineering Analytics in Fort Collins and has been practicing for 21 years. She is excited to join the Colorado Section of SME as the Secretary to encourage collaboration and outreach to those in the mining sector.

Secretary: Amanda Davis

Amanda is a Technical Services Manager for Maptek in Golden, CO. She graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering and a minor in business and economics. She has been on the SME Colorado Section Board for over 10 years in a variety of positions and remains involved with the Colorado School of Mines SME Student Chapter as the Industry Advisor.

Treasurer: Philip S. Martin

Phil Martin is a Investor Relations Analyst at Resource Capital Funds. His goal is to expand the outreach of SME with younger members in the community and find ways to increase the scholarship funds.

Publicity: Kelly Donahue

Kelly Donahue is a geochemist with Brown and Caldwell in Denver CO. Her goal with SME is to grow the Colorado section’s presence on social media to increase awareness of the importance and benefits of mining in Colorado.

Programs: James R. des Cognets

James is a private equity analyst with Resource Capital Funds. He hopes to raise a broader awareness of SME in the Denver community and bring a fresh perspective to programs as someone recently arrived to the mining industry. He studied Mechanical Engineering and French at Vanderbilt University and holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Director-at-Large: Eric Poeck

Eric is a mining rock mechanics engineer at SRK Consulting with a PhD from the Colorado School of Mines.  He joined the SME Colorado Section leadership in 2020 with the goal of encouraging local participation in events and promoting the scholarships that benefit students in the mining discipline.  

Director-at-Large: Dennis Rugg

Dennis is a geotechnical engineer at Golder Associates focused on mine waste management. His goal with SME is to raise capacity and awareness regarding best practices in tailings management with a focus on outreach to our Colorado Student Chapters.


Past Chair: Richard Schwering

Richard is a Resource Geologist with Hard Rock Consulting, LLC. His goal at SME is to encourage participation within the community as well as outreach to the public.

Golf Tournament:
Alex Holtzapple

Alex is a metallurgical engineer by background, currently serving as the Managing Director at Metsim International.  As the Golf Chair, his goal with the Colorado section of SME is to continue to build upon the already great fundraiser golf tournament, bringing in new sponsors and players each year, and increasing available scholarship funds.

View the list of past section chairs here. (PDF)

SME Bylaws:

SME & DRMS Collaboration:
The SME Colorado Section and the State of Colorado Department of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) developed a website, Reclamation Colorado, to provide information on regulations governing the reclamation of mine sites in Colorado that were active after 1975, as well as currently active mine sites in Colorado. The site includes descriptions of the various mining phases along with some of the regulatory and permitting requirements for each phase. Additionally, the website includes pictures of the successful mine site reclamation project in Colorado.

Minerals Education Coalition (MEC) Committee:

  • Contact MEC Chair, Dick Beach at
  • Regular meetings are 1st Friday of each month. Location is determined by the Committee Chairperson
  • If you would like a speaker to come to your classroom or civic group, contact the Section's MEC Committee at

Minerals Processing Division (MPD) Committee

Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Student Chapter:

  • The CSM SME student chapter is an active organization on campus working to raise awareness about mining within the community, as well as on campus.
  • The section organizes many different activities to improve networking with industry professionals as well as to build relationships between companies and our members.  
  • Officer meetings on Mondays from noon to 1 PM on the CSM campus.
  • If you have any questions, contact the Student Chapter President, Indira Gregorio, or the Industry Advisor, Amanda Garcia,

Links and Current News: