Oral Histories

Barbara A. Filas

Barbara A. Filas - SME

Produced by AIME, 2020

In this interview, Barbara Filas speaks about her upbringing, her current roles, and everything in-between. She begins talking about how she unintentionally took a geology course in college, that in the long run, would decide her career. This, of course, was not before she hit a few bumps in the road. With a father who worked in mining and traveled often, it seemed like this was always the road Barb was destined to take. She transitions into the beginning of her professional career working at Exxon and all of the stories that accompanied that experience. Always proactive, she experienced a good deal of bias (unconscious and conscious) in the mining industry, but this never slowed down her determination. Subsequently, she moves into her time with Knight Piésold.

Having an interest in travel, Barb was able to visit six of the seven continents during her time with Knight Piésold. As her career progressed, her interest in the social and environmental side of engineering grew. Later, her career transitioned from industry to academia, and Barb served as the first female President of SME and as an AIME Trustee. Her strong leadership at critical junctures helped these organizations shift gears to continue providing mission-driven value to the members.