Elaine discovered her passion for the mining industry while an undergraduate student at Gonzaga. “I was working in the computer lab for my work-study program,” she said. “At that time, the Bureau of Mines was using the computers for statistical analysis.” She was soon offered a job with the Bureau, writing computer code and analyzing accident and injury statistics.
Elaine was the first woman in the United States to work in an underground coal mine doing research in 1972. For more than 35 years, Elaine served as the communications chief for the Spokane Research Laboratory, a federal agency that is part of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and the Centers for Disease Control. It was there that she, along with assistant Ted Teske (’00), developed a series of safety training videos for miners that have since been circulated to more than 30 countries. Her Sunshine Mine video documentary won a coveted national Telly Award for Excellence.
In 2009, Elaine founded her own safety consulting company, Prima Consulting Services. Her company’s objective is to “use our energy and knowledge to create training and safety awareness materials for people in high-risk environments.” Prima is a leading online provider of accredited continuing education for the international mining and geosciences communities.
In 2011, Elaine was honored at the 2011 American Society of Safety Engineers Professional Development meeting as one of the “100 Women of Safety.”