Reid Yano

Reid Yano

Biographical Info From a very early age I knew that I wanted to be a geologist.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in southwestern Washington, where sunny days could be few and far between.  When the weather cooperated, my parents did an amazing job showing me and my siblings what the world around us had to offer.  Most weekends we would spend at our cabin on the flanks of Mt. Adams, picking huckleberries or fishing in the summer, sledding and building snow forts in the winter.  My brother and I could usually be found camping in the yard, playing card games and telling scary stories into the wee hours of the morning.  Plus the regular camping trips around the NW, getting to experience campfires and sleeping in tents (except for my dad; car camping for him!).  All this exposure to the outside world instilled in me a great curiosity to the “why” of what I could see around me.  Originally, and thanks in no small part to Jurassic Park, I was interested in Paleontology.  At one point I even convinced a couple neighborhood friends to dig a hole in the backyard to look for dinosaur bones, much to my parents chagrin. This continued through high school including regular summer paleontology camps outside John Day, Oregon. I went to Washington State University for my Bachelors.  Admittedly, I wasn’t the best student as the distractions of college got the better of my studies, as well as a dedication to the Marching Band Drum Line through all 4 years.  It was during undergrad that I came to appreciate that, as cool as paleontology appeared, there was very little work in the field.  Fortunately, WSU had a very unique program in place to assist students in exploring new avenues, as well as providing an outlet to discuss issues with professors.  It was through this Alumni Advisory Board that I met one of the most influential people in my professional career: Jason Bressler.  Jason was an alumnus of WSU, one of two geologists running an exploration company in Alaska, and he was willing to take a chance on me. After completing my Bachelors of Science in Geology, I spent 2 months in Alaska working on a helicopter-supported drilling exploration program.  There was something surreal about jumping off the skids of a helicopter with a backpack, shovel, and shotgun that really struck a vibe within me.  The work was strenuous and the hours long, but I learned how far I could push myself and realized a passion for exploration.  More than any other possible career path it seemed to me that exploration represented the ultimate real-world culmination of all the fields within geology: structure, mineralogy, geochemistry, hydrology, petrography, etc.  And after that my path was set.  I returned to Alaska for a second summer, sampling soils and streams, mapping, assisting with logging, and of course cutting core.  I was also fortunate enough to meet the girl I would (eventually) marry while on this project! With my decision made and the course laid out, I began studying and prepping for grad school.  Ultimately I ended up at the University of Nevada, Reno under the tutelage of Tommy Thompson.  Through Tommy I was introduced to another of the truly influential people in my career, and this one many of you know: Jonathan Price.  Jon was the State Geologist of Nevada at the time, and he took me under his wing.  He set me up with a Masters’ thesis, and got me the funding to pursue my project. My project involved collaborating between the NV Bureau of Mines and Geology, the USGS at the Denver Federal Center, and a fieldwork component at Nevada Copper in Yerington, NV. Grad school was a blur of studying, lab time, writing, and of course socializing with my fellow classmates.  But it was also through grad school that Dr. Thompson encouraged all of his students to join and attend GSN, and did his best to impress upon us all the importance of networking in the mining industry.  I completed my Masters in 2012 and it was off to the races! The next few years I worked on a number of exploration projects across Nevada and Canada.  Some of them turned out great, others not so much.  But I can honestly say that I learned from all of them: good, bad, and otherwise.   I also came to fully respect the cyclical nature of our industry, taking odd jobs when times were slow, even working as a Lift Operator at Squaw Valley between projects.  Eventually, a contact reached out to me from my days in grad school.  That person was Hank Ohlin, and he would be the most influential of the people in my professional path.  Hank vouched for me and brought me on for a drill program with Nevada Copper at Pumpkin Hollow.  Out in Yerington I gained a lot of experience, both in the core shed and out in the field.  I also got my first taste of underground geology in both shaft and development mapping and sampling.  At the time I was hoping for a full time job but it wouldn’t be until years later that that particular opportunity presented itself. During another of the downturns, I had the opportunity to work as a geologist outside of the mining industry.  My wife was working on the Oroville Dam Recovery, and the project needed more (a lot more) geologists with rig experience.  Originally I was brought out to sit a core rig and do some logging and instrument installation, but over the course of about a year I ended up in charge of managing the geologists overseeing the drilling and installation of the Secant Pile Wall.  Somehow I ended up responsible for staffing 12-13 people 7 days a week for the duration of the project, as well as training, reconciling invoices from the drilling subcontractor, monitoring and resolving conflicts between overworked people, and being the primary point of contact for any of the half dozen governmental and construction inspectors on “The Wall”.  The project was exhausting but very educational.  After almost a year (and as construction began to slow) Hank reached out to me again with more work with Nevada Copper, and it was time to make my return to the mining industry. I returned to Yerington in early 2018 as a contractor to assist with their geotechnical drilling program prior to beginning sinking the secondary Vent Shaft.  As the drilling wrapped up, and underground development began to hit full stride, Nevada Copper brought me on full time as a Project Geologist, and the rest is history.  I’ve been pretty fortunate to be able to see, and be involved with, a project go from pure exploration in my grad school days all the way through to production. I’m admittedly still early in my career, but believe I’ve seen enough to say that I have no idea what the future holds for me.  If I had any advice to give, it would be to emphasize the importance of networking.  And to never let anyone ever tell you that your personal life is less important than a project. I’m grateful to both Kelsey Sherrard and Patty Capistrant for asking me to share my story, and to GSN as a whole for the opportunity it represents to all of us.

Email Address reidyano@gmail.com

Company Elko Mining Group

Position Project Geologist

Phone 408-402-1537


View All Members