The Vale Medal is presented as a mark of distinction and recognition to the person who has made a meritorious and practical contribution of outstanding importance to the mining and metallurgical industry of Canada.
“In recognition of his many years of service in the Canadian mining industry, of his long-time leadership of CAMESE, and of his volunteer work with CIM and other leading mining associations.”
Jon Baird, managing director of the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export (CAMESE), started his career in the mining industry in Canada’s North, working as a field geophysicist. He transferred to the business side of the industry and, almost 50 years later, has worked all around the world, marketing and developing supply chains. Baird’s travel experience has allowed him to see diverse places and people and to face various issues in the mining industry. It also enabled him to understand the vital role collaboration and communication play in the industry’s success.
“It is important how the Canadian mining industry collectively tackles problems that affect everyone,” says Baird. “The mining industry in Canada is very balkanized, due to factors such as geography, natural resources falling under different provincial jurisdictions, and distinct professional associations and advocacy groups working separately on different issues.” Baird saw value in encouraging cooperation among Canada’s mining industry players – companies and associations — and started to play a leadership role in making it happen.
Baird’s career moved to focus on developing business opportunities for Canada’s mining equipment supply sector – and also moved geographically. He joined Scintrex Limited, a Toronto-based consulting firm and manufacturer of instrumentation used in mineral exploration and other applications, and took on the responsibility of marketing and selling Scintrex’s products and services worldwide. Baird’s accomplishments include establishing the Scintrex brand in more than 100 countries, developing and managing a dealer network in more than 55 countries, and negotiating major sales in many countries including Mexico, India, China and Russia.
Baird has been to more than 70 countries. And he speaks several languages, including English, French, German, Swiss-German, Spanish and Russian, as well as “smatterings of greeting words in all kinds of languages.” There are, Baird says, various dimensions to speaking “if you want to communicate with people, the best thing to do is to be able to speak their language.” This also applies, says Baird, to the specific language of mining and mineral industry terms.
Through work and travel, Baird both developed the ability to communicate with a variety of people and realized the benefits of doing things in a collective way. According to Baird, his greatest strength is the ability to “communicate to bring people together and achieve consensus.” This skill is demonstrated in his record of building CAMESE from 28 member firms in 2003 to over 330 in 2013.
Baird has worked in the Canadian mining industry – both at CAMESE and with other associations such as the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and CIM – to foster the understanding that he believes will help bring disparate groups together to most effectively grow and advocate for Canadian mining on a global scale. Baird says that encouraging cooperation in the mining industry can be “like herding cats a lot of the time.” “The trick to herding cats is to get them all interested in one thing, however narrow it is.” Baird’s work has focused on figuring out what stakeholders in the Canadian mining industry would be most interested in and on bringing people together to figure out how to put those interests to work in policy and programs that benefit the industry.
“I plan to continue to manage CAMESE,” Baird says, “work with mining supply companies to help them sharpen their business practices, diversify and grow, and participate where I can in helping the Canadian mining industry to progress through collective efforts.” On winning the Vale Medal, Baird says the recognition only strengthens his desire to keep Canadian mining industry members talking and marketing themselves to the world.
Jon Baird is a Canadian-born professional engineer, who graduated in geophysics from the University of Toronto in 1964. His business career has spanned 28 years with Scintrex Limited, a Toronto-based consultant and manufacturer of instrumentation used in mineral exploration and other applications. Responsible for the marketing and selling of Scintrex’ products and services for over 20 years, Baird led a worldwide campaign which helped make the company a world leader in its field. Since 1993, Baird has been the managing director of CAMESE, the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export.
He has also served on the board of directors of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada from 1995 to 2010 and was president of that organization from 2008 to 2010. He was a founding board member and first treasurer of the Canada Mining Innovation Council. Baird has visited 71 countries on business and speaks several languages. He is interested in marketing, geopolitics and global issues. He is happily married to Martha and resides in the country, north-east of Toronto.