Montana Tech Announces Distinguished Alumni Awardees

Montana Tech will honor four alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the university’s 118th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5, 2018. This year’s awardees are: Brad Archibald, Katherine Arnold, Dr. Ron Layton, and Joe Micheletti.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to alumni of Montana Tech, who established a professional career of at least 20 years, of which five years have been in a responsible capacity, and who has either contributed in an outstanding manner to the furtherance of his or her profession and/or has been an outstanding contributor to Montana Tech.


Brad Archibald '87
Since 2004, Mr. Brad Archibald has been President and CEO of Pioneer Technical Services, Inc., a nationally recognized, regional leader in engineering and environmental services, particularly the remediation, restoration, and re-use of land and streams impacted by historic mining. During that time, he has guided the company through the strains of growth and the stresses of recession, with positive outcomes through both.

Reared in the rust belt, and all these years later an unapologetic Buckeye fan, he immediately felt at home when he arrived in Butte for college after graduating from Whitmer High School in Toledo. After graduating from Montana Tech with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering in 1987, his career took him to stints with the South Dakota Department of Water and Natural Resources and Black and Veatch. After returning to Butte and Montana Tech in 1990 for graduate school, he was fortunate to land a job at MSE, which allowed him to remain in Butte. In 1993, he became one of the inaugural environmental engineering PEs. He joined Pioneer in 1995 as an engineer and project manager, until his promotion to CEO in 2004.

Brad and his wife of 29 years, Francene (B.S., Technical Communication, 1986, see “return to Butte” above), are the proud parents of Zach (18) and Sophie (13). Beside his many avocations and community contributions, Brad has dedicated most of his efforts to Charities Through Jeremy and their support of southwest Montana youth, the Butte Soccer Club, and the Montana Tech Foundation.

Katherine Arnold '87, '03
Ms. Katherine Arnold is the Director of Environment for Hudbay Mineral’s Arizona Business Unit, where she works on permitting, mitigation, planning, and compliance activities for the Rosemont Copper Project. As part of her duties, she directs operations for the 30,000-acre Rosemont Ranch. She also leads the Corporate Affairs Team that manages communications, stakeholder management, government affairs, and community giving. Kathy graduated from Montana Tech with B.S. degrees in Mineral Processing Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics as well as an M.S. degree in Project and Engineering Management.

Raised in Butte, Montana, Kathy has lived in Arizona since 1988, working in the mining industry. She held numerous positions with Asarco at their active mining operations and in their corporate office. During her tenure with Asarco, she worked with the Development Projects Group on projects in Bolivia, Chile, French Guiana, including an in-situ mining project in Casa Grande, Arizona. After leaving Asarco, she worked as a Senior Environmental Project Engineer for Tetra Tech and then joined Rosemont Copper Company in February 2008.

Kathy has been a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Arizona since 2006 and is on the Industry Leadership Board for Montana Tech’s Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. She is a member of SME, is on the Environment Committee for the National Mining Association, participates in the Arizona Mining Association as well as in the American Exploration and Mining Association. Kathy was also a Foster Care Review Board volunteer in Pima County, Arizona for the Supreme Court System for 9 years.

Dr. Ron Layton '89
Dr. Ron Layton is the Deputy Assistant Director of the United States Secret Service; Office of Protective Operations where he is responsible for the protection of all living former Presidents and former first ladies. Dr. Layton is also responsible for the protection of all foreign Heads of State who visit the United States.

A 26-year veteran of the Secret Service, Mr. Layton served in numerous supervisory assignments. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Assistant Director, Mr. Layton was the Special Agent in Charge of the White House Technical liaison section, responsible for the daily operations and long-term strategy for information systems provided to the President of the United States.

Mr. Layton began his career in the Philadelphia Field Office as Special Agent. He was subsequently assigned to several positions in Washington, D.C. to include the Presidential Protective Division, the Counter Assault Team, and Criminal Investigative Division. Mr. Layton’s supervisory career began as the Deputy Director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security, the Program Director of the Secret Service Electronic crimes task forces; supervising 17 task forces across the United States. Mr. Layton also worked as a supervisor in the Special Operations Division, commanding counter assault teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, in direct support of the President. While serving in the Special Operations Division, Mr. Layton was the chief tactical architect of several National Special Security Events; to include, the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Convention, the Visit of the Pope to the United States and the G-20.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Layton is a long-time martial arts practitioner and competitor, holding the rank of 8th degree black belt in Karate and Jiu-Jitsu; as well as the winner of 8 AAU Gold Medals among many other awards.

Prior to his appointment with the Secret Service, Mr. Layton worked as an electrical engineer, writing software in the automation and controls industry; in addition, Mr. Layton worked as an adjunct instructor of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Layton holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, a Ph.D. in Business Administration along with a B.S. in Engineering Science in 1989 from Montana Tech.

Joe Micheletti '87
Mr. Joe Micheletti is currently Chief Operating Officer of Westmoreland Coal Company. Mr. Micheletti is the officer responsible for day-to-day operations of Westmoreland’s (19) mining operations across Canada and the US. Westmoreland’s cornerstone/core value of “Uncompromised Safety” and a culture of always treating people right, are the attributes of Westmoreland that he is proudest of. Joe joined Westmoreland in August 1998 and he overflows with great admiration and pride in leading a committed and dedicated workforce of 3,000 employees. From 2012 through 2016, Joe was key to growing Westmoreland’s business platform fourfold, having led due diligence, business plan development, and overseeing integration of multiple acquisitions.

A mineral processing engineer by education, Joe graduated with honors from Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology in 1987. Joe started his mining career in the gold mining industry, but has now spent most of his career with Westmoreland in the coal sector. He has worked in the production, maintenance, processing, and engineering disciplines of the mining industry for 31-years. Joe previously served as President of the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute, an association of nine western US states dedicated to the promotion of western coal through public education and youth scholarship.

Joe is a 4th generation Montanan and an Anaconda kid. He and his beautiful wife Jenni reside in Billings, Montana and are blessed with three children: Joey, Alyssa and Nico. The Micheletti’s favorite hobbies revolve around enjoying Montana’s Big Sky, especially boating, fly fishing, water skiing, snowmobiling, and above all just spending time at the family’s Georgetown Lake cabin.

For more information, please contact Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828 or