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Mariuzza’s speech inspires

We were impressed by the talk given at this week’s Economic Club of Marquette County meeting by Ishpeming native Kristen Mariuzza, the general manager of Eagle Mine.

Mariuzza was personable and articulate in addressing the club, speaking about the career path that’s led her to this key position with Eagle Mine, which is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corp. and one of the only primary nickel mines is the United States.

A graduate of Westwood High School, Mariuzza was named mine general manager in September 2017. She was formerly the mine’s health, safety, environment and permitting manager.

As detailed in a Tuesday story by Journal Staff Writer Jaymie Depew, Mariuzza started her mining career as a Michigan Tech University college student working at the currently closed Empire Mine in Palmer, both as an environmental intern and then in the pit as a vacation replacement.

“Who would have ever thought that that experience that year would pay off and been so important to me later in my life with the career that I chose,” she said. “It taught me that I can take on those challenges and do those things. And the other thing that it’s given me is credibility in my role today. So when I go out and talk to miners and talk to the maintenance folks or the mill folks, they know that I’ve seen the business through their eyes as well, and that I worked in that environment.”

Mariuzza earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Tech and along the way, developed a passion for leadership in her field. She first was a regulator for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, assisting communities with water treatment system engineering and design. Mariuzza participated in the review of new and innovative treatment technologies that help protect water resources.

As her career advanced, she held an integral role on Michigan’s stakeholder advisory board. This board crafted new mining legislation and became the Water Division mining specialist. In this position, Mariuzza served on the mining team responsible for reviewing a precedent-setting mine permit application under Michigan’s new mining law.

Mariuzza has climbed high but has remained humble.

“In my eyes, I’m just a girl from Ishpeming. A girl who grew up spending my summers on the Dead River Basin, and I still do,” Mariuzza said. “I like to eat cudighis and pasties and Congress pizza. I love hot saunas, especially on a Saturday night listening to Elmer (Aho).”

Initially, Mariuzza said, she had concerns about accepting the job as Eagle Mine’s general manager.

“There are a lot of environmental disasters that happen because of mining, I think we all know that. I honestly believed we could do it right and I wanted to be a part of that changing story,” she said. “I personally believe that we need manufacturing and things like mining. That’s our economic engine. We need those things in our country, but at the same time we need environmental protection, and we have to find where that balance is.”

Among the positive feedback from the community after accepting the position, Mariuzza said one woman complimented Mariuzza and said her young daughter was inspired that a woman was put in charge of the mine.

We believe Mariuzza’s success should inspire local children of all genders as she has gotten where she is through determination and hard work. We appreciate her sharing her perspective on women and leadership: “The only advice I have to give is women don’t try to lead like men. We shouldn’t — we should be leading like women. We look through a different lens, we see things differently and that’s OK because when men and women are both at the table, that’s when we get the broadest perspective of what we’re seeing and that’s where we get the best solutions.”

As we said, we are impressed.