Now in its 31st year, Geotemps professionals know first-hand the ups and downs of the mining industry as a company focused on staffing for mines, exploration companies and mining-related contractors.
“I do think we’ve seen a slow uptick, and we will see slow, continuous growth over the next couple of years,” said Sarah Lightner, director of client operations for the Reno-based company and its offshoot, Geopros Inc., that recruits professionals for clients.
“There is a lot of exploration going on, and operators moving into production,” she said.
Yet she cautioned that mining employers are more careful with their money and hiring more slowly after experiencing a downturn in gold prices. The jobs in demand include electricians, millwrights, welders and equipment operators. There also is a demand for geologists.
Geotemps felt the mining boom in 2011 when the gold prices skyrocketed, and then experienced the downturn when the gold-mining industry slumped. However, the company is better prepared now for downturns.
“We’ve had big success in the industrial market,” Lightner said. “The industrial sector exists because of mining.”
Geotemps can help workers find jobs in the manufacturing industry using the skills they would use in mining, for example. These include electricians, welders and millwrights.
“Hard-rock mining was how we got started,” Lightner said, adding that the company’s spread can include environmental jobs, work in renewable energies and oil and gas, as well as employment with contractors that go to the mines. “We’re very flexible. We don’t just work with the mines themselves.”
Gold prices went from a London afternoon fixing price of $1,895 an ounce in September 2011 to $1,049.40 an ounce in December 2015, according to Kitco. The price has been in the $1,250-$1,290 range since this spring.
With technology and branch offices, Geotemps and Geopros can help clients across the country, Mexico and Canada. In Nevada, the company has offices in Elko, Ely and Winnemucca, as well as the headquarters in Reno. There also are branches in Fairbanks, Alaska; Tucson, Arizona; and Saskatchewan, Canada.
“We are able to have a bigger reach without being right there,” Lightner said. “We’re very mobile. We want to give our best assistance to our clients. We are open to going to a site.”
Although Geotemps has been around 31 years, Geopros was started more recently.
“Geopros handles direct recruitment and placement,” Lightner said, including for chief executive officers and managers. “Geopros helps people market themselves.”
Geotemps provides temporary staffing for jobs and does payroll and human resources services. Clients come to the agency to fill job slots for what may become full-time jobs later or for seasonal jobs and temporary projects.
“To employ someone is expensive,” Lightner said.
If a client hires a Geotemps worker as a full-time employee of the client, Lightner said Geotemps considers that a success.
The company has a large database built up over the years. Companies call Geotemps after layoffs, and representatives attend job fairs.
The late Lyle Taylor founded Geotemps in 1986 in Ely, and his son, Lance, is the president and CEO. The company has 20 to 25 employees.
“We look at this way. We are a small family operation with a large footprint,” Lightner said.
She said Geotemps keeps up with what is happening in the mining industry and is involved with mining organizations and universities, including providing scholarships. Geotemps also works to find jobs for those coming out of the military service.
“We really get out there and build our network of people,” she said. “That’s probably what makes us so successful.”
Geotemps has been a part of the Nevada Mining Association for many years, and for the convention this month will provide the plaques for all the mine safety winners for presentation.
“We do it because it is something we believe in,” Lightner said.
Lance Taylor is a member of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering Executive Advisory Board. He established the Gordon C. Frisby Excellence in Safety Innovation Award that goes to students whose academic work supports safe methods and practices in a mining or geotechnical environment. Frisby was a safety engineer for Kennecott Copper Corp. who helped the Robinson Mine near Ely receive a top national safety award in 1972.
“The Mackay School has strongly promoted the necessity of mine safety at a scientific level through the Department of Mining Engineer,” Taylor said at a Frisby award presentation earlier this year.
Geotemps also was recognized on the floor of the U.S. Senate last year for its support of the mining industry. U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., called upon his fellow senators and Nevadans to join him in honoring Geotemps.
“I am proud to honor Geotemps’ significant contributions to the mining industry in the state of Nevada, throughout the nation, and across the globe,” Heller said at the time, congratulating the company on its 30th anniversary.
Taylor received a signed copy of the Senate transcript at the American Exploration and Mining Association convention last December.
“Our corporate family is deeply honored by this recognition,” Taylor said. “We are proud to support economic growth and corporate sustainability, and we look forward to promoting necessary industry, and necessary industrial careers, for generations to come.”
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the accurate capitalization of the company names.