UMS Group Chief Operating Officer Robert Hull is quick to acknowledge that a company’s success relies on its people, and he has been fortunate to work with some of the best in the mining industry. Of course, like-minded individuals usually gravitate towards to each other so it stands to reason that Rob Hull is part of the executive team of people who have transformed United Mining Services into a group of world-class engineering and contracting companies servicing the global mining industry.

In his role as COO at UMS, he oversees the company’s project implementation, from initiating, planning, managing and monitoring, to controlling and closing of mining projects. He is passionate about solving customers’ challenges together with teams of knowledgeable people who share his enthusiasm for making projects succeed.

“I love problem solving, and that’s exactly what the project environment is all about – finding solutions to challenges as a team. Every mine and project is different with unique challenges, and every day is an opportunity to find new ways of solving these challenges. This is what I thrive on,” says Hull.

“Sometimes problems come up on projects that seem unsurmountable, but with input from everyone, we can always find a solution. UMS is in the unique position to work across multiple projects in multiple locations across the world, with diverse people and skills who all pull together to overcome any obstacle. I enjoy being challenged to think differently, and love the diversity of thought and ideas that my job and colleagues present.”

Hull says he is proud to have been involved in many different mining projects during his career, from installing of headgears that stand tall in South Africa and elsewhere in the world, to big complex mining projects that will sustain communities for decades into the future.

Right from the start, Hull was determined follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in mining. Not even visits to some of the most daunting mines arranged by his father put a damper on his enthusiasm; it only served to fuel his passion for the mining sector. This single-minded focus earned him several prizes during his studies at WITS including the university’s Mining Engineer’s top Prize for the final year student obtaining the highest mark. After graduating, Hull spent five years with De Beers working his way up from graduate engineer to mining engineer and section mine manager. He had the opportunity to join TWP where his integrity and passion for solving problems earned him the company’s trust to manage multi-billion rand mining projects at an early age.

Hull’s career path continued to go from strength to strength and his positions have included Managing Director of Worley RSA, and Director Operations / Vice President – Mining, Minerals and Metals – Africa .

He joined UMS three years ago and says he is incredibly excited about the company’s achievements and its future. “It really is an awesome story of how an old company that nobody thought would survive has been rebuilt to become a thriving, well respected and sought-after international organisation, thanks to a team of exceptional people.”

Throughout his career, Hull says he has had the privilege of working with some of the brightest minds in the industry, and has always been compelled to help others fulfil their potential. “Every person has a story and background beyond their company number. I love mentoring people, and giving people who are up and coming the chance to get involved and ‘get dropped in the deep end’. I was privileged to be given many opportunities, and was trusted at a young age with a portfolio of big projects, some of which were among the major mining projects in South Africa and globally at the time,” says Hull. “My experiences serve as a reminder to me to give other young people the same opportunities, and it is fantastic to be part of a company that shares this sentiment. At UMS, we are excited to be employing a lot of junior engineers who are eager to learn and are thriving in this environment.”

He says that UMS is also investing in bursaries, graduate training programmes, and training of artisans, especially in the communities in which they work. “We want to make a difference, and not just look at our bottom line. On local and international projects, we are mindful of the importance of skills transfer and creating opportunities for the communities. Whatever we’re building today is for the benefit of tomorrow, and we’re doing it with integrity, honesty and respect.”

As passionate as Hull is about all things underground, when he’s off duty he tries to spend as much time outdoors as possible, enjoying camping, hiking and fishing with his wife and three children. He also dedicates at least an hour a week to mentorship in his private capacity.

“Rob is one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated professionals I know. He is not scared to take a challenge on and he then focuses on the detail tirelessly to make things happen. Congrats to Rob for being recognised for the real value he adds to the global mining industry.” Digby Glover – CEO UMS Group