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The Drift: Former SAMSSA director Dick DeStefano named Science North honorary life member

‘As a result of his efforts, Northern Ontario continues to be recognized as a world-leading centre for science, mining, business, and innovation’
From left are Ashley Larose, Science North director of development; Kirk Petroski, CEO of Symboticware; Dick DeStefano, retired SAMSSA director (now known as MineConnect); Jennifer Booth, interim CEO of Science North; Julie Moskalyk, director of science at Science North; and Jim Lundrigan, vice-chair of Science North’s board of trustees.

Science North recognized a leader of Northern Ontario’s mining industry as an Honorary Life Member on March 25.

Dick DeStefano, now retired as the executive director of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (or SAMSSA, which has now been renamed MineConnect), is a community leader who has contributed a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the fields of mining, according to a press release.

With a strategic vision of a united mining service and supply sector across Northern Ontario, DeStefano has worked hand in hand with Dynamic Earth and Science North for many years as a champion of our vibrant and progressive mining community.

When DeStefano discovered there were over 25,000 people working in the local mining industry and that eight per cent of the population in the City of Greater Sudbury worked in the supply sector, generating $5 billion annually in sales, it seemed obvious that the businesses working together collectively could be very powerful.  

He credits his background as a generalist with experience in education, community development and communication technologies for his success.

Today MineConnect represents a membership of 190 mining-related companies across Northern Ontario. Members are globally recognized for their innovation, and the essential role they play in advancing the mining sector.

“I would like to congratulate our distinguished honoree and celebrate Dick’s contributions to mining innovation,” said Dr. Stephen Kosar, chair of Science North’s board of trustees.

“As a result of his efforts, Northern Ontario continues to be recognized as a world-leading centre for science, mining, business, and innovation; for developing future generations to pursue careers in these fields; and for the possibilities that emerge when we dare to dream big. We are inspired by Dick’s efforts and accomplishments and pleased to honour him with an Honorary Life Member award at Science North.”

“Dick has worked in partnership with Science North for over 20 years and is extremely deserving of this honour,” said Jennifer Booth, interim CEO of Science North.

“His long-time support and involvement in key projects have contributed immensely to the success of Dynamic Earth. 

“He has been a lifelong educator, business leader, connector and relationship-builder whose legacy continues to thrive and grow our integrated, diverse and sustainable mining sector.”

The Honorary Life Member Award was instituted in 1984 by the Board of Trustees of Science North to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to science and/or to Science North.

To make a donation in support of the establishment of the Dick DeStefano Accessibility Fund for Dynamic Earth, visit,