Montana Tech Assistant Professor Chris Roos Receives Stan and Joyce Lesar Professorship


chris-roos.jpgMontana Tech Mining Engineering Assistant Professor Chris Roos has received the Stan and Joyce Lesar Professorship beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year. The professorship was created to support programming and research designed to enhance the ability to develop and responsibly use natural resources while working to ensure an environment that is supportive of their continued development.

As the second recipient of the professorship, Roos noted, "I am extremely grateful to the Lesar family for providing this opportunity to faculty at Montana Technological University directly contributing to our institutional mission." The funding will allow Roos to expand his research interests and his professional development related to teaching. His goal is to ensure natural resource education, specifically mining engineering, at Montana Tech can adapt to our industry's new challenges and realities and ensure that we remain relevant for the next 120 years.

Roos is very passionate about mining, especially mine planning, and considers it a privilege to pass that passion to future generations of mining engineers. He teaches courses related to surface mine design and planning, mine surveying, proper selection of mining methods, and engineering economics. He also works to ensure the students at Montana Tech have access to the most current mine planning software and techniques. Roos is currently serving as the Intercollegiate Mining Team's faculty advisor and has contributed to the Underground Mine Education Center's advancement.

Roos has used the funds to support Montana Tech graduate students. The students are:
  • Kezia Jetmore, Red Lodge, Montana, BS May 2020, MS Expected December 2020
    Development of a simplified mine planning technique to allow mining companies to quickly analyze and optimize underground mining operations.
  • Race Owens, Ennis, Montana, BS May 2020, MS Expected May 2021
    Research into the advantages of autonomous haul trucks in large open pit mines and analyzing the opportunities to optimize mine designs by leveraging automation and data analytics. While completing his MS degree, Race is also pursuing the new Minor in Data Science offered by Montana Tech.
  • Madison Akers, Homer, Alaska, BS December 2020, MS Expected May 2021
    Research into the effect of modern communication techniques employed by mining companies while permitting “controversial” natural resource projects. Specifically, Madison is researching the history of the Pebble Deposit in Alaska and the challenges that project has faced in public perception and what methods they chose to counter the negative publicity. She will compare that history with more successful projects such as Sandfire Resource’s Black Butte Copper project in Montana

"I would like to thank the Lesar Family, specifically Dave and Sherry, for their support of Montana Technological University and their investment in sustainable natural resource development within Montana and beyond. I am humbled to receive a professorship that honors Mr. Lesar's parents. I recognize how personal that is to their family," noted Roos.

Scott Rosenthal, department head of Mining Engineering, added, "Chris Roos is the type of faculty that makes Montana Technological University a special focus institution. He exemplifies what the Lesar Professorship challenges its applicants to strive for: 'support programming and research designed to enhance our ability to develop and responsibly use our natural resources, and to enhance and ensure an environment that is supportive of continued natural resource development.' Chris proposed three areas for improvement in the Mining Engineering department: teaching, research, and proposal development for the Institute for Mining Innovation, Education, and Research (iMiner). Though hampered by COVID restrictions this spring, Chris is pushing forward with innovations in the teaching area by developing his first online Mine Planning class. He recruited several young enthusiastic master's students to progress research in the area of modern technology and data analytics which could lead to more responsible natural resource development."

Roos is the second recipient of the professorship. Montana Tech Geological Engineering professor Chris Gammons received the award in 2019-2020.