Meet Our Expert Speakers

The SME Minnesota Conference is proud to present speakers who are experts in their respective fields with a focus on industry developments, trends and innovations specific to the Midwest.


Phil Hopwood

Global Leader - Mining, Deloitte

Global Trends in Mining & Metals 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 | 9:00am-10:00am | Opening Plenary

Phil Hopwood leads the Deloitte Global Mining & Metals team. With over 30 years of professional experience he has worked in the Mining & Metals industry for over 21 years with clients in Australia, China, Singapore, South America, Canada and US. Key areas of focus include M&A advisory, business transformation, and value extraction from technology. Phil has lived and worked in Canada, UK, and Australia, and is currently based in Toronto. Phil regularly speaks at mining conferences globally on trends in mining and leads the annual production of Tracking the Trends in Mining, Deloitte’s premier mining thought leadership report, now in its 11th year of publication.

Phil will cover the major global Mining & Metals trends in 2019. For the past 11 years Deloitte has published its global trends report focusing on the drivers of change in the industry. Areas that will be discussed will include: the impact of digital technology, attracting talent, the need for the industry to show its value to stakeholders beyond simply complying with regulatory requirements, the impact of electric vehicles, and what is the role of strategy in Mining & Metals companies in 2019. Additionally, Phil will cover his views on where Mining & Metals is right now in the Commodity cycle.


Confidential Guest Speakers, Federal Prison Camp

Ethical Erosion

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | 8:00 am – 9:00 am  | Ethics Course

This year’s one hour ethics session will feature a presentation by a community outreach program from the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth. Take this opportunity to hear the perspective of a registered professional engineer, whose career of contract oversight with the Department of Defense spanned 26 years, and a former senior vice president of investments, who ran a well-respected investment management team--both now incarcerated at the prison in Duluth. Learn how and why their ethical lapses evolved over time, as well as what steps you can begin to take as an individual and as an organization to prevent unethical behavior. Most importantly, take advantage of this unique chance to have your questions answered from those who have seen both sides of ethical boundaries.


Isaac Orr

Policy Fellow, Center of the American Experiment

Promoting Prosperity: Building Public Support for Non-Ferrous Mining in Minnesota

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | 10:30 am – 11:15 am | Closing Plenary

Isaac Orr is a policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment where he specializes in energy and environmental policy, particularly mining and electricity policy. Prior to joining American Experiment, Orr was a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, where he wrote extensively about hydraulic fracturing, frac sand mining, and the importance of coal-fired power plants to ensure low-cost, reliable power for the United States. Copper and nickel mining in Minnesota is controversial, but is it more controversial than child labor?

Isaac Orr will discuss the findings of Unearthing Prosperity, a 45 page report by Center of the American Experiment detailing the massive economic, environmental, and ethical advantages to mining in Minnesota. Orr will then talk about the techniques American Experiment is using to promote the findings of the study with an advanced multi-media campaign to build broad-based public support for non-ferrous mining.



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