General Maintenance Foreman
Here to Help
Kris Bidwell, General Maintenance Foreman, spends most of his day next to a radio, helping mechanics some 3,000 feet underground to maintain the huge machines that move through Empire State Mine’s tunnels and operate in its exploration and production areas. As General Maintenance Foreman, Kris is in charge of mobile equipment and the mechanical aspects of mine dewatering.
There are over 100 employees in ESM’s mining and maintenance departments, and they need machinery and equipment for their work – to get around, to drill into the rock face, to fix other machines, to help clear rock and to stabilize ground. Some of the pieces are big and complex, and all of them require maintenance.
That’s where Kris comes in. Kris balances the personnel, the parts and the scheduling to ensure that ESM’s trucks, loaders, drills and jumbos run in a timely and efficient manner. This means talking to the mechanics underground, ordering and expediting parts, working with vendors, and making sure the mine’s dewatering system remains operational. A lot of Kris’ work happens in the background, as he directs his crew, orders parts, and negotiates with vendors. He quietly ensures that things run smoothly.
In short, if it’s a machine at ESM, Kris knows its history and what to do to keep it running.
Kris is local to the upstate New York area. He grew up in a small town called Russell, near Gouverneur. He studied diesel and hydraulics and has worked in a mechanical capacity ever since. Kris joined the team at ESM in 2006, and was on site during the care and maintenance period between 2008 and 2017. He says that having a long history at the mine is serving him well.
“I like the challenges of building a plan and following through with it, and seeing the success of the hard work you put in to get where you’re going,” Kris said, “I’m here to help.”