Full Name: Jan Abram Maritz
Position: Senior Lecturer
Company/Organisations: University of Pretoria
Date and Place of Birth: 5 July 1978 – Welkom
Education: MEng (Mining Engineering), COM REC, MMC
First Job: HTH Sales Rep
Personal Best Achievement/s: Advancing through all the spheres of Mining at a young age.
Philosophy of Life: Life is too short for cold coffee
Favourite Food/Drink: Good steak and beer
Favourite Sport: Athletics
1. How did your career in the mining industry begin and where are you now?
I was recruited by a gold mining company whilst still at school in Bloemfontein. On the application form, I chose CIVIL ENGINEERING as my first and only choice. At the interview they offered the Mining Bursary and I accepted. After graduating, I completed the training programme and my responsible mining contracts under the graduate programme.
Following a whirlpool of activities, I am back in academia, lecturing Strata Control and Rock Engineering and related modules in other subjects.
2. Why did you choose Rock Engineering?
I did not choose RE, it chose me. In my Production Supervisor promotion course, the vacancy opened up for a Strata Control Officer. Having had Prof Handley as my lecturer at varsity, and enjoying the challenges of the specialist field, I saw the opportunity to get out of the repetitive nature of the production cycle.
3. Please tell us a bit more about your career journey?
Started as a learner graduate, completed my production training, and moved to a Rock Engineering Department. Completed the Strata and Rock Engineering ticket exams and sat in the Shaft Rock Engineering chair for a big gold producing company. After completing my Mine Managers Certificate, I joined a mining consulting firm sub-contracted for an international firm on mining projects (all commodities) globally, with the plan of expanding the then mining-only consultancy into also delivering Rock Engineering advisory services. When the expansion idea got shot down, I started my own Rock Engineering Consultancy business. In 2010 at an alumni meeting for the Tuks Mining graduates, I noticed the vacancy for a Rock Engineering lecturer and seized the opportunity to apply, and was appointed in 2011. One learns about a subject twice, while studying for it and while teaching it.
4. What are some areas that you believe will become of increasing importance in the near future of the rock engineering discipline?
Technical skills will always remain of utmost importance, although the ability to manage people and positively influence their decisions will start to step to the fore. As the Rock Engineer will in future experience more responsibility, he/she needs to learn the ability to manage people reporting to the Chair, directly and indirectly.
5. What advice would you offer people aspiring to be in your position?
You are responsible for yourself. People in your life can provide guidance and coaching, yet that is what it is – guidance. One can learn from others’ mistakes, but experience is gained by living life. Having all the necessary qualifications does not guarantee success or position – it is gained by being competent in what you do.
6. Who is your role model/mentor?
I do not follow a single person or model. My take on life is to allow the good in all to rub off and stick.
7. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
If you break a stick daily, you do not need to break them all on due date, meaning that if you do something every day, you do not have to do everything on the last day.