Richard C. Adkerson
Richard C. Adkerson is Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
He graduated from Mississippi State University with a B.S. degree in Accounting with highest honors and an M.B.A. degree. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Mississippi State. He also completed the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School in 1988. Prior to joining Freeport-McMoRan in 1989, he was Partner and Managing Director in Arthur Andersen & Co. where he headed the Firm’s Worldwide Oil and Gas Industry Practice. From 1976 to 1978, he was a Professional Accounting Fellow with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Adkerson is a current member and past Chairman of the International Council on Mining and Metals. He is a member of The Business Council, the Business Roundtable and the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the Advisory Council of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States and as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He serves on the Arizona Commerce Authority, Greater Phoenix Leadership, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Dean’s Council of 100 for the Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National WWII Museum, serves on the Board of Visitors of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and was Campaign Chair of the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Cancer Has Met Its Match Campaign in Phoenix. He is a member of the Mississippi State University Foundation Board of Directors and served as its President. He chaired Mississippi State’s “State of the Future” capital campaign and serves on the University’s Advisory Board of the College of Business. He was named National Alumnus of the Year of Mississippi State University in 2011. He was inducted into the American Mining Hall of Fame in 2010, received The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers Charles F. Rand Memorial Award in 2011 and was named Copper Man of the Year 2009 by The Copper Club. He was named Executive of the Year by W.P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council at Arizona State University in 2011. He has been named Best CEO in Metals and Mining by Institutional Investor magazine every year since 2008. Mr. Adkerson has served on the FCX Board since 2006.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) is a premier international natural resources company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. FCX operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold, molybdenum, cobalt, oil and natural gas. FCX has a dynamic portfolio of operating, expansion and growth projects in the copper industry. FCX is the world’s largest publically traded copper producer, the world’s largest producer of molybdenum and a significant gold, oil and natural gas producer.
For information on our community development programs, including STEM, visit www.FreeportInMyCommunity.com.
We face a “perfect storm” with the STEM workforce. In the mining and energy industries, the U.S. is facing the loss of a significant number of experienced technical managers, workers, and academia, who will retire in the next decade. The current educational system is not producing a sufficient number of qualified individuals to replace retirees, fuel growth, and meet the requirements of a workplace that requires strong science and math skills.
Data indicate a bright present and future for mining and energy jobs. There is demand for workers at all levels and this demand is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future. In addition, research studies have shown that over 70% of occupations in today’s workforce require core STEM skills and employment in occupations related to STEM is expected to increase to more than nine million jobs between 2012 and 2022. These jobs are well compensated and offer exciting career paths. Nevertheless, STEM-related career opportunities in industry continue to go unfilled.
Hiring qualified people is a case of supply and demand – a concept at the core of all of our businesses. In the case of our workforce, demand is significantly outpacing supply, making qualified, well-educated workers increasingly more valuable. A qualified workforce is vital to the success of all of our businesses. If we fail to produce a larger STEM labor pool, the cost will be immense and could place the U.S. economy at risk.
Competitiveness relies on the ability of our nation to grow commerce and business activity and support the expansion and attraction of new business which is highly dependent upon ensuring a qualified workforce. Producing a qualified STEM workforce, which begins with a rigorous foundation in science and math from pre-K through trade or technical certifications or four-year degrees, means the U.S. will have a qualified workforce engine to help fill the unemployment gap, bring more jobs to the nation’s workforce and drive economic activity. A well-STEM-educated population will also help the nation’s economy compete globally, create jobs, and achieve the levels of economic growth needed to stay competitive in a vastly growing global marketplace. Additionally, STEM education will drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness by developing the next generation of workers that will produce new ideas, technologies, companies and even new industries.
The programs we support are designed or selected for their ability to advocate for system improvements, boost teacher quality and confidence, as well as spark student interest and achievement in STEM, with the goal of inspiring and preparing them to pursue post-secondary degrees or trade and technical certifications and ultimately careers in STEM professions.
We make a deliberate effort to seek investment and partnership opportunities that support our goal of building a future workforce, including finding ways to build clear, more effective and comprehensive pathways from K-12 to post-secondary educational institutions, including community colleges, universities, vocational technical institutes or training facilities, and apprenticeship programs. We further emphasize investments in programs and initiatives that help students acquire the skills necessary for success in a global, innovation economy and society.
We evaluate our hiring data, talk with educational institutions and experts and seek to identify positive and negative trends so that we can adjust our investments accordingly to be highly responsive to the real time needs in the STEM education arena and influence the outcome to meet future workforce requirements.
We have also found great value in coordinating our educational investments through statewide and national collaborations or collective impact initiatives that work to set a STEM-focused agenda among all partners involved to strengthen the impact of every partner’s individual efforts. Some of these partnerships include Science Foundation Arizona’s STEM Network, 100Kin10 STEM Teacher Collaborative, Change the Equation, and Discovery Education.
Over the past three years, Freeport-McMoRan has invested more than $15 million in a multifaceted approach to STEM education centered around four key strategies: Driving Change, High Quality STEM Teaching, Sparking Student Interest and Achievement, and Pathways to Certifications and Degrees. These strategies have a common goal of preparing students for high-paying STEM jobs, particularly those in our industry. Within each of these strategic focus areas, the Company partners with at least one national partner or a collaboration of partners in targeted states. For example, the Company’s partnership with 100Kin10 – a multi-sector effort to prepare, deploy and support 100,000 excellent STEM teachers in the United States over the next 10 years – has served as forum to explore best practices and solving big STEM education challenges using a combination of experts from all sectors to address the need for a greater number of high quality STEM teachers across the nation. This collaboration is an example of how financial resources, time, talent, expertise and leadership have been put to use to boldly address gaps in STEM teaching.
To date, the Company has committed $3 million to support 100Kin10 partners in expanding and scaling their high-quality, evidence-based programs into schools in the southwestern United States. To help develop innovative approaches for scaling quality programs to benefit more teachers and students, the Company has provided an estimated $1.1 million in awards, employee volunteering in classrooms and advocacy.
One of the most promising opportunities to advance STEM careers is eliminating the gender gap. Research data show that women earn a greater number of college degrees than men, both undergraduate and graduate degrees, yet they are not pursuing STEM careers at the same rate. Additionally, women make up about half of the U.S. population, however only 26% of STEM workers in the U.S. are women.
In order to help eliminate the STEM gender gap, we believe one of the first steps is to provide STEM opportunities to all girls starting at a young age, while fostering and maintaining their interest by overcoming stereotypes and ensuring STEM activities where girls can feel empowered. Companies can help advance this cause by supporting initiatives like STEMconnector which helps connect corporations, nonprofits and government entities to raise awareness and support young girls and women in STEM education. We can also work to engage in mentoring opportunities for girls and young women in STEM fields, and opportunities for them to relate to women in these careers.
We operate in regions of varying ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds and are often the largest employer in the local communities. The resulting diverse backgrounds and perspectives within our workforce are an asset to our business.
Our headquarters are in Arizona, where there is a significant Hispanic population that continues to grow. We are part of several initiatives to ensure that Hispanic and other underrepresented populations have equal access to a high quality education, and the opportunity to pursue higher education and well-paying careers. We cannot succeed as a company, state or a nation if we don’t ensure all students have access to education, particularly in STEM.
We also seek ways to recruit and foster career development for women in our Company, considering how women traditionally have been underrepresented in STEM careers, particularly in the mining sector. We work to address this through investment in education opportunities, employment training, mentoring and leadership development.