The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology at Montana Tech has named Thomas A. ‘Tad’ Dale as the recipient of the 2018 Uuno Sahinen Silver Medallion. The award is named after former Bureau Director, the late Uuno Sahinen, widely recognized for the Bureau’s growth. The Uuno Sahinen Award acknowledges “outstanding contributions in understanding and development of energy, mineral, or groundwater resources in Montana” and is given to an outstanding geologist each year. The award will be presented to Dale at the university’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5, 2018.
Tad was born in Sheridan, Montana in 1951 and graduated from high school in Twin Bridges, Montana in 1969. He was raised in a family that was involved in mining for 3 generations; his great uncles came to the Tobacco Root Mountains in 1900 to establish a boarding house and way-station. Tad grew up with 5 brothers who were always tagging along with their parents on prospecting trips and gold panning adventures.
Tad earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering from the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology in 1973. He worked in both the underground and surface mines of the Anaconda Company as a student miner while attending college. In 1971 he married his high school sweetheart, Marilynn, who was pursuing a degree in nursing from MSU in Bozeman.
After graduation, Tad and Marilynn headed to Inspiration, Arizona, where he started his career in copper mining while Marilynn worked at the company hospital. Tad served in several engineer-in-training positions and was promoted to Drilling and Blasting Foreman in 1975; in 1976, they left Arizona to return to their beloved state and family in Montana. Tad accepted the position of Mine Superintendent with Pfizer Inc., at their talc operation in Dillon. This was a very important time in their lives as they welcomed a daughter, Shannon in 1977, and son Jeremy in 1979. In 1981, at the age of 30, he was elected President of the Montana Mining Association (MMA). He is still a member of the MMA Board of Directors, he drafted legislation that was passed into law as part of the Metal Mine Reclamation Act, and served six years on the Environmental Quality Council.
Tad left Pfizer in 1988 and joined Pegasus Gold Corporation as a consulting engineer living in Butte and working for the operation at Montana Tunnels near Montana City. In 1989 he was hired as Senior Project Engineer for the construction and operation of the Pegasus Beal Mountain Mine near Anaconda. He left Pegasus Gold in 1995, to pursue the development of his own cyanide heap leach gold mine near Norris, Montana. In 2003, he took the position of Environmental Manager for Montana Resources LLP in Butte. He was promoted to Vice President of Human Resources in 2005 and took over the responsibilities of permitting, reclamation, human resources, and security of the mining operation.
Tad is a Registered Professional Engineer with a 42-year career in the business of mining before his retirement in 2015. He is also a member of the Society of Mining Engineers, holds a First-Class Blaster’s License, has been on the Executive Board of Montana Tech, the Montana Tech Foundation Board, and in 2000 received the “Distinguished Alumni” Award from Montana Tech. He also served on the State Groundwater Assessment and Steering Committee as an Industrial user representative. Tad has been active in support of a missionary training school, orphanage, and medical clinic in Tanzania, Africa. He is one of eight Dales to graduate from Montana Tech, all as Mining Engineers.