About Lara

I grew up a ranch kid in Wyoming. 
It was awareness and knowledge instilled in me…

…early-on that made me safe, confident, and entirely unintimidated by the potential dangers and unpredictability I faced daily in this environment. I now recognize this as the place my career journey took root, but it’s not where I landed immediately.

I went to college to be an educator because it seemed like a natural fit for someone who loves to empower people with knowledge. Teaching allowed me to tap into a core passion, but pursuit of this career would have required me to leave the lifestyle I loved in the wide-open spaces of the Western U.S.

While figuring out my next steps I navigated roles as a dude ranch wrangler and in a couple of coal mine warehouses. Shifting across various mining companies, I transitioned from paperwork and shipping/receiving activities to running large equipment, driving haul trucks, and working with blasting crews. With this came an increasing necessity to learn mine safety rules and regulations as well as a new opportunity to oversee health and safety training for a 600-person mine site. Here, I created a system organizing each crew member’s equipment qualifications, developed and taught annual refresher trainings, and became one of the first people in Wyoming to operate a 360-ton haul truck.

Suddenly, my love of teaching and empowering people presented in a new way, and I loved the work I was doing. For more than 20 years, Rio Tinto, Lundin Mining, i80 Gold Corp, and other mining corporations hired me to pioneer efforts in building, implementing, and evolving health and safety framework for 20+ mines with focus on preventing injury and loss, implementing processes and tools, educating teams, ensuring regulatory compliance, anticipating and solving problems, and preparing for successful audits.

Along the way, I honed uniquely specialized expertise in health and safety learning and behavior-based safety; engaged in in-depth hands-on leadership; completed several formal education and training programs; and resurfaced the belief that was instilled in me from a very young age: 

An unpredictable environment doesn’t have to be inherently dangerous.

Today, I partner with, advise, educate, and inform businesses in mining and other risk-laden industries to position health and safety as more than just a checklist but part of their organization’s DNA. I also serve as an instructor and curriculum developer for Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) Academy’s Mine Health and Safety Standards course at the University of Nevada-Reno. My engagement style is matter of fact, practical, and supportive. I appreciate diversity of thought and encourage brainstorming, which inspires others to be more open-minded and adopt new ways of thinking.

Career Highlights


  • Worked with a Wyoming mine to prepare for and run an initial internal audit that allowed them to meet certification-level quality requirements of a large client. 
  • Established a baseline health and safety management system in ongoing evolution for a junior mining company in Nevada.

 Nevada Copper

  • Established the baseline for an interdependent health and safety working culture.
  • Led 400+ employees and contractors in the safe construction of a multimillion-dollar plant and successful underground development, achieving 470,000+ man hours without loss of time injury.

Ouray Silver Mines

  • Provided guidance to management to achieve a zero-harm culture. 
  • Collaborated with a federal regulatory agency to resolve and vacate a long-standing, non-justifiable citation, which allowed for the revival of underground work.

OceanaGold | Haile Gold Mine

  • Built and implemented a company-wide Safety Strategy Plan that aligned with critical leadership directives. 
  • Assisted in creating a comprehensive principle hazard strategy to address the 23 principle hazards and the ISO 31000.1 standard. Retrained all key leaders for a unified Health and Safety front.

Lundin Mining | Eagle Mine

  • Transformed “near-miss” reporting standards to encourage preventative action, doubling the number of reported “near misses” and preventing costly, dangerous risks and incidences. 
  • Re-designed poorly operating MSHA Training system to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Oversaw annual MSHA Training for nearly 300 staff members and taught H&S classes to new hires. 

Rio Tinto

  • Pulled together Health, Safety, Environment, Quality and Land departments into one united and efficient team.
  • Led the mine to achieve a rate of zero lost time incidents. 
  • Increased Health & Safety initiatives and wellness activities engagement from 10% to 80%.
  • Assisted with obtaining ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications.
  • Led the Rescue team, the Health & Safety team, and Wellness Committees.
  • Boosted volunteer Mine Rescue Team participation to 100% for six consecutive years. 
  • Created a system to organize training specialties and ensure staff certifications were kept up-to-date.
  • Master’s degree in Safety Science
  • Certified Mine Safety Professional (CMSP)
  • Associate Safety Professional (ASP) Certification
  • Colorado Surface Coal Mine Foreman Certification
  • MSHA Oxygen Deficiency Certification
  • MSHA Surface and Underground Instructor Certification