Annie Tooley

Travis Brown

Operations production manager

A childhood dream

As a little kid, Travis knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. He said, "At that age, most people want to be firemen, policemen, doctors, or lawyers. I wanted to run equipment.”

Travis grew up in Indiana, the son of a retail worker and a laborer. He spent lots of time on farms and started operating farm machinery at an early age. “I’ve been operating ever since I was about six years old. When I was that young, obviously I wasn’t very good. I was just running farm equipment and stuff like that every chance I got,” he said.

Skipping school

When it came time to get a job, he became a foreman for a local landscaping company right out of high school. Then, he joined the union as an operator.

“School wasn’t for me," he explained. "I knew I wouldn’t do well in college. Operating pays well, and it’s mainly hand-eye coordination, plus a little bit of knowledge.”

Building a career

In addition to operating equipment, Travis has been a foreman, a project manager, and a superintendent over the years. He later became a production manager for Turner Mining Group.

“I was employee number six with Turner. I was with them since the company started. I bounced around a lot. I covered the whole region of Northern California for a while. Before that, I was in Michigan for three months. I traveled, and I got to see the world for free," Travis said. Not only for free, but for pay. 

Room to grow

Travis didn't have any regrets, but he did think he could have done some things better along the way.

He said, “If I could go back in time, I probably would have paid a bit more attention in high school, instead of focusing so much on sports and thinking I was going to be a badass football player. If you want to keep growing in this industry, you have to have a little bit of sense and some general knowledgeeven just high school stuff, like English and math. You need things like that to be able to go higher up in this industry. You need a little more smarts.”

Travis' advice for starting out

“I wouldn’t say it’s all about mining. For example, you can go into the electrician field and get an apprenticeship for free. There’s all kinds of apprenticeships out there. The biggest thing is that you need to work smarter, not harder. Other than that, I would tell people to wake up and piss, because the world’s on fire. Get off your ass and on your feet. Let’s go! Let’s make some money!”

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