James Polanco is a third-generation miner who currently serves as the Process General Supervisor, Coeur Rochester. James is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Process department which includes the process plant and leach pads. James is also responsible for the short- and long-range planning for both critical areas of the mine’s operations. Known for his leadership, James fosters an environment, with his peers and his team, that drives accountability and growth across the organization.
Q: You’ve had a successful career in mining. How does your current role impact the business?
A: My role impacts the business on the key measurable targets of safety, environment and production. My position allows me the opportunity to influence others and offer guidance to my peers and the employees I lead and supervise. My goal is to lead with integrity, consistency and excellence not only at Coeur but in my personal life as well.
Q: Why did you join the mining industry?
A: I am a third-generation miner who was influenced by my father and grandfather. Mining provided their success in life which in turn allowed me and my children to be successful. Mining impacts the world, our country and most importantly our communities where mining exists. Mining provides jobs, support, charitable contributions and opportunities to all members of the community. Finally, mining provides a future for the next generation to be successful in life.
Q: You’ve worked at a few other mining companies. What’s it like working for Coeur?
A: With the perspective of having worked for other mining companies, I can say working for Coeur has been the best experience and opportunity for me. I say this respectfully of the other mining companies and the opportunities they provided to me. They provided me the experience to be able to get hired and make an impact here at Coeur Rochester. Highlights include the opportunity to work my way from an assistant operator to the process general supervisor, having the support to change the culture in the Process department, and expanding and growing the work environment to a higher level. The Coeur team recognizes the talent and potential that exists across the employee base and there’s a culture of promoting within the company. This has allowed me the ability to fill our supervision vacancies due to retirement, promotion, or opportunity, from within our department, while continuing to produce a new generation of high-performing operators and future leaders.
Another team accomplishment that I am very proud of is, since 2016 at least one process employee and in most cases, two employees have won the Nevada Mining Association, or NVMA, Safety award for their respective category. This is an achievement we wish to make a legacy of process department excellence.
Q: Any advice you’d give to someone considering joining our industry or our company?
My advice would be to join the industry and especially our company to succeed greatly in life. The opportunity for sustained and prosperous life and future is in your hands. Be accountable, strive for knowledge, have the courage to ask, lead, fail and succeed and most of all represent yourself and the company with a pride born of hard work, sacrifice, and consistent ethical behavior. The consequences of this approach and behavior are a successful and happy career and life.
Q: You are known for your leadership in growing your teams. Why is this so important to you?
A: Growing people is a passion first and a responsibility second. Implementing and maintaining a growth environment with consistent clear expectations, a detailed progression plan, accountability and consistency is a constant both at work and outside of work. Generating leaders and providing a growth environment is a responsibility I am passionate about and own to my core.
I was fortunate to have been chosen as an IMPACT mentor (Coeur’s leadership development program). Nothing is more rewarding than having the opportunity to influence a person’s life, career and future. The IMPACT program provided me the platform and curriculum to be a more impactful leader and provided me the platform and ability to mentor my mentees for life and not just here at Rochester.
A bit more about James: James is a lifelong learner and has completed various leadership and training courses throughout his mining career. James continues to serve as a mentor to members of the Coeur Rochester team.