SME Panel on Foundations of AI in Mining: Panellist Bios

Rob Johnston, Project Manager, CITIC Pacific Mining

For more than 3 years, Rob has led a major mining digital transformation program in CITIC Pacific Mining. He has over ten years experience in leading software teams in the resources sector, focusing on agile product delivery. As well as having a strong data and analytics background, Rob has a post graduate certificate in Data Science from Harvard University and is currently working towards a Master’s of Science (Specialization Machine Learning) from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Lia Walker, Manager – Innovation, Operational Improvement, Freeport-McMoRan

Lia Walker is the Manager of Innovation for Freeport-McMoRan Inc., a premier international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the business leader for integrating data driven innovation and technology transformation into Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Under her leadership, highly engaged business teams leverage agile and change management techniques to deploy technology and data science solutions that amplify business growth and profitability. In addition, Lia leads and collaborates with maintenance and operational process and technology development activities that align to a philosophy of promoting advanced analytics to enhance equipment performance and reliability. Among other patented AI solutions, RAMP (Remote Asset Monitoring Process), an enterprise-wide, standardized mobile equipment condition-based monitoring system, has been successfully developed and globally deployed. Lia has 27 years of experience in the mining industry and has functioned in various roles throughout her career. She holds several Master of Science degrees and multiple patents, received numerous certifications to include Master Black Belt, Statistician & Data Scientist and is a dynamic and accomplished Agile Coach.

Shahram Tafazoli, Founder & CEO, Motion Metrics

Shahram Tafazoli is an avid inventor, entrepreneur, and angle investor in the technology space. He received all his degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds a PhD degree from University of British Columbia and Master and Bachelor’s degrees from Sharif University of Technology in Iran. After graduating in 1997, he started a one-man technology consulting company based in UBC. This consulting company has since evolved to Motion Metrics International Corp. The company today has more than 80 full-time employees worldwide with its main operations in Canada and specializes in design, development, and commercialization of machine vision solutions for tough mining challenges leveraging latest artificial intelligence algorithms. Motion Metrics crossed $14M in revenue in 2018 and continues to grow globally with offices in Chile, Africa, Australia, Brazil and Russia. Shahram holds an adjunct professorship position with UBC and has offered courses in robotics, control systems, and digital signal processing. He is also an associate member of the Creative Destruction Lab at both University of Toronto and UBC and is an angel investor with investments in early stage tech ventures. He has co-authored many patents with other Motion Metrics engineers.

Scott Kimbleton, Director, Global AI Solutions Deployment, Natural Resources Industries, IBM

Scott Kimbleton is Director, Global AI Solutions Deployment for Natural Resources Industries within IBM. His passion, 20 yrs strong, is advancing industry adoption of analytics and AI. With experience spanning multiple industries, the last 10 yrs focused on chemicals, petroleum and mining. Scott co-designed and co-delivered the course, AI for Engineering in Chemicals & Petroleum, at CCNY. The course brought together students from three different disciplines for hands-on AI skills development, exposure to industry experts and a case study that included building a working AI application. Scott is a contributor to the Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT), Petroleum Review, IBM’s IBV Oil & Gas Cognitive Point of View, IBM Redbooks © and author of multiple white papers on data governance & management. He speaks and volunteers at various conferences including Petroleum Networking Education Conferences (PNEC), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) events.