Full Name: Dirk Venter
Position: Consulting Rock Engineer
Company/Organisations: Open House Management Solutions
Date and Place of Birth: 12 December 1988, Boksburg

Education: BSc. Physics and Mathematics
First Job: Sales Assistant at CUM Books
Personal Best Achievement/s: Completing a marathon at a depth of 3.4km underground on Mponeng's 120 level in 2011
Philosophy of Life: Life is too short for bad wine or bad coffee
Favourite Food/Drink: Cheese, anything with cheese, and any type of cheese. Good wine, Weisse beer and good coffee
Favourite Sport: Mountain biking and running

How did your career in the mining industry begin and where are you now?

My career started when Lourens Scheepers gave a presentation on Rock Engineering at the Physics de-partment of the NWU during my second year of study. At the end of that same year, I applied for vaca-tion work at AngloGold Ashanti, through the MQA program. Following completion of my degree, I start-ed as a trainee at Mponeng mine. I'm currently working as a consulting rock engineer at OHMS.

Why did you choose Rock Engineering?

During my studies at university we conducted small scale lab experiments to understand the fundamental laws of physics. When I was introduced to rock engineering, I pictured a mine as a large laboratory where you can observe and experience the forces of nature first hand. This sparked my interest in rock mechanics.

Please tell us a bit more about your career journey?

My career started in 2010 with AngloGold Ashanti in the West Wits region. From 2010 to the end of 2012 I worked at Mponeng, TauTona and Savuka mines, gaining experience in deep level mining. I was fortunate to work with numerous experienced RE's during this time. I completed my COMREC at the end of 2012. Thereafter, I joined New Concept Mining's research and development department, focus-sing on support product design. I was appointed as international business development manager in 2014. At the end of 2016, I joined Open House Management Solutions as a consulting rock engineer.

What are some areas that you believe will become of increasing importance in the near fu-ture of the rock engineering discipline?

In order to remain internationally competitive, mining operations are challenging conventional design and practices to improve safety, efficiency and productivity. To improve our designs, we need to increase our understanding of the fundamental rock mechanics principles. Experience is good, but a sound under-standing of the mechanics at work is better. We need to be able to provide customized solutions for each unique geotechnical environment. The rapid development of monitoring technologies, big data pro-cessing capabilities and numerical simulation techniques are providing the tools needed to achieve this. A pro-active, rather than a re-active, design philosophy is needed.

What advice would you offer people aspiring to be in your position?

You are responsible for your own career path and development. Do not be afraid to make difficult choic-es. Make career moves for the right reasons and always treat people with respect.

Who is your role model/mentor?

Martin Cawood

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Do not be afraid to make mistakes. When you do make a mistake, learn from it, and do not repeat it.