2018 IW Winners

Tradeswoman of the Year - Timmins

Armanda Quinn

Armanda Quinn

Raised on the family-owned farm outside of Timmins, working in the mining industry didn’t seem to be in Armanda Quinn’s longrange plans.

After a short time at university in Ottawa, undecided as to what to do career-wise and feeling adrift, Quinn landed at a job as a mill shift labourer at Goldcorp’s Dome Mine site in January 2008.

Sitting on the bus on the way to the mill, she reminded herself that this was only a temporary gig.

“I’m working in mining,” she laughs when remembering. “It was the thing we always said in school that would never do.”

But the robust work ethic nurtured on the farm quickly translated to the shop floor.

According to her nominators, Quinn’s self-motivation and dedication advanced her to the position of Mill Operator 1 in just over three years.

She works at the Hoyle Pond Mine as the health and safety coordinator.

“Safety is where I always wanted to go,” said the mother of two young children.

“I think I knew that from my first year working in the mill.”

In 2012, Quinn became the first female in the company’s history to be selected to the mine rescue competition team.

But to qualify, she had to transition from surface to underground operations.

“I rallied hard to get my common core, and I fell in love with working underground.”

Quinn advanced to the position of Miner 3 on a service crew installing and maintaining underground track.

“Once you’re underground, you have to be resourceful. You always have to think outside the box. It’s something that resonates with me.”

Her drive to join mine rescue was never to about trying to prove she belonged.

“I saw mine rescue as something that was bigger than me and an honourable thing to do.”

The responsibility, the preparation, the training, and being counted upon was something that deeply appealed to her.

It proved to be mentally and physically taxing.

Quinn had to build stamina to wear the bulky 30-kilogram breathing apparatus.

“I was struggling to wear it, let alone carry a basket with a full-grown casualty in it. But I eventually overcame that.”

Quinn is praised by her colleagues for her mental fortitude and ability to handle the physical rigours in doing what is required. With her positive outlook, sense of camaraderie and competitiveness, she quickly gained the confidence of the team.

“You have to put yourself out there to be judged in competition with the potential to fail in front of an arena full of people,” said Quinn.

When not in training, Quinn is coaching the team, often perusing the mine rescue handbook, or thinking about new training techniques.

“I didn’t realize how much of a passion it would become for me. I really do respect that work.”

Regarded by her peers as someone who learns and advances quickly, Armanda has served on the executive of the United Steelworkers; been a facilitator in the Growing Choices program to encourage women in the industry to reach their full potential, and, as a Metis Nation member, she participates on the Porcupine Gold Mines Cultural Competency Committee to educate the workforce about Indigenous issues.

A decade into her career, Quinn has witnessed positive changes in the industry’s workforce diversity, something she wants to continue to advocate for.

“If my actions, and the way that I conduct myself in my career, can help progress the landscape for others, that’s my goal. I want to be an ambassador.”

She deflects her accomplishments to the quality of the people she’s met along the way and the mining veterans who were accepting of her early on.

“Anything that I’ve achieved in mining is because somebody along the way gave me a chance to do something that wasn’t, maybe, the norm. But it wasn’t a given, I always had to be relentless in it.”