“Relationships are what my job is about.”
Doing the right things as a company, according to Robin Bradford, is about being more than a good neighbor.
“It’s about being a positive contributor to society,” she says, “above and beyond the economies of copper.”
A Miami, AZ native, Robin and longtime Freeport-McMoRan employee, Robin works on community action with the decision-makers in her hometown. Although it can seem slow from the outside, she notes, progress is happening.
“Economic development and community planning is a long game,” she says, “but we’re all on the same road. It’s happening, and it’s real.”
Big Picture Responsibilities:
As the Senior Specialist in Community Development and Social Responsibility for Freeport-McMoRan’s Miami site operation, Robin helps identify and execute strategic and sustainable programs that positively impact both the community and Freeport-McMoRan’s workforce. Programs range from health and wellness, to education and training and economic development.
“ I get to learn and be part of all of the great things that are happening here,” she says, “ and look for ways that I can bring in resources that can help get things done.”
She cites progress on a community housing study as an example of the strong relationships that exist and team effort underway. “A lot of partnerships are coming together right now,” says Robin. “The communities (Globe, Miami, Gila County) are truly collaborating.”
Day to Day
⅓ Building positive and lasting relationships with a wide range of stakeholders
⅓ Managing relationships, partnerships, and social investments with community organizations
⅓ Managing potential social issues, impacts and risks that will or could affect operations
How did you begin your career in mining?
Growing up in Miami, Robin was always intrigued by the mines. Although her family didn’t work in mining, many of her friends’ families did. She was impressed by the expertise required in the industry.
“Mining professions seemed very prestigious,” she says., “I always thought it was interesting.”
Robin began her career in mining doing administrative work for an engineering firm contractor. When she was hired by Cyprus Amax Minerals Company in the Resource Recycling department, she was able to visit the smelter, work with customers bringing in precious metal feedstock, and began to understand the business of copper mining.
“I had the realization of how important the Globe-Miami mining district is to Arizona,” she says, “and how important copper is to the world.”
Robin worked for the President of Miami Operations and was executive secretary for three general managers. As they grew self-sufficient over time, she began to create her own niche in community relations.
During that time, Cyprus was acquired by Phelps Dodge, a company that supported a “quiet philanthropy.” Robin interacted with various managers — land, environmental, technical — and initiated studies in public relations. She got involved in community events; for one of her many projects in those early years, she chaired the Gila County Branch of Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
Freeport-McMoRan acquired Phelps Dodge in 2007, and Robin’s role in community relations expanded. Freeport-McMoRan has a major framework for community development and has been award-winning in their efforts, which include biodiversity projects, community outreach, and volunteer programs.
“I’m really proud to work with for a company with these resources to help out,” says Robin, “and the towns are matching the energy.”
Changes you have observed in the mining industry?
With 24 years of experience in mining, Robin has seen a lot of positive change in the industry.
“Industry standards and stakeholder expectations have evolved,” she says. “There is more environmental stewardship, more responsible operations.”
Advice for women interested in mining careers
“There is a lot of opportunity for advancement, for leadership,” says Robin. “Women are welcome – and needed.”
She lists the diversity of careers and work environments (indoor, outdoor, rural, urban, travel), the vitality of the work, and potential for top compensation as other draws into the industry.
“Mining is a vital field,” Robin concludes. “You can be proud of working in the mining industry.”
“Work hard and be nice to people.”
Born and raised in Miami, Robin now lives here with her daughter and grandson. She enjoys exploring antique shops, museums, and historic places.
A traveler, Patti Daley came to Globe in 2016 to face the heat, follow love, and find desert treasure. She writes in many formats and records travel scraps and other musings at daleywriting.com.