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Michael Haggerty

Vice President, Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with Cider, the family dog
Growing up, Mike Haggerty enjoyed the trips his family would take to the north shore of Lake Superior where he would collect agates and other rocks. Backpacking in the Canadian Rockies and canoeing in northern Minnesota as a Boy Scout exposed him to different geographies and geology across the continent.

“When learning how to rock climb in college,” said Mike, “it showed me a completely different way to interact with geology.”

At the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, his instructors’ passion for geological engineering and geology was contagious, but he found himself mostly working outside of his interest area after graduating. He decided he needed a change.

“My college classmate Jed Greenwood already work at Barr,” said Mike, “so I figured I’d see if there was an open position. There was, and I applied.”

Working at Barr has provided Mike the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines and travel around the United States and to Canada and the Netherlands. What he enjoys most are the technical challenges.

“I didn’t foresee the variety of work or the interesting challenges I’d encounter,” said Mike. “Every project is different. You have to dig deep sometimes to understand the problem so you can apply the appropriate solution. To understand broad technical aspects, you can never stop learning.”

He also knows the importance of organizing a successful team that trusts each other, especially when it comes to safety.

“As one of Barr’s safety coordinators, my goal is to empower employees to be aware and to make safe decisions in the field,” said Mike, “so that safety becomes second nature.”

That safety consciousness comes in handy when he performs tunnel inspections where access is often difficult and sites can be unpredictable. It also gives him a unique perspective when working on open-pit mine projects.

“Slope stability is a real issue with open-pit mines because the slopes are constantly changing,” said Mike. “That transient nature requires you to blend geotechnical engineering with general mine operations and safety considerations.”

And anytime he’s some place new—for work or pleasure—he strives to understand the geology.

“It’s not always as interesting to my family,” laughed Mike, “but it does give us a chance to get outside to walk, hike, camp, or canoe.”