2014 Distinguished achievement award: Ryan Bennett

// Civil & Environmental Engineering

Tags: alumni, Engineers' Day, GLE E-Day, Ryan Bennett

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Bennett-Ryan-T-100pxWRyan T. Bennett
Senior Partner
Resource Capital Funds
Denver, Colorado

A member of the first-ever class to graduate with a UW-Madison geological engineering degree, Ryan Bennett has gone on to experience the mining industry from both the technical side and the investment side.

After earning his UW-Madison bachelor’s degree in 1990, Bennett, a Sun Prairie native, moved to Denver, where he worked as a mining engineering consultant for Caterpillar and a geologist for the United States Bureau of Mines. He soon shifted his focus to the business aspects of the industry, joining the banking group NM Rothschild & Sons. He spent six years there in various executive roles, including a stint in the company’s Sydney, Australia, office.

In 1998, Bennett joined, at its inception, Denver-based private-equity firm Resource Capital Funds, where he still works and is currently a senior partner. His proudest professional accomplishment, he says, was serving on a team that built up a $2.04 billion fund for the firm. The firm invests heavily in mining companies, and Bennett’s technical background still comes in handy.

“GLE provided me with a diverse set of skills that I still use today,“ he says.

Bennett continued that technical education even after he joined Resource Capital Funds, earning a master’s degree in mining and earth systems engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Even though he’s spent so many years on the investment side, a knowledge of and passion for the science of mining itself remains crucial to Bennett’s career. To ensure success for all stakeholders in a mining project, investment firms rely on understanding the challenges and potential rewards of extracting specific kinds of minerals in all manner of different geographic locations. The firsthand experience of team members like Bennett, then, is a big part of what enables Resource Capital Funds to attract new limited partners.

Bennett serves on the boards of several mining companies and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration; the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits; and several other professional organizations. He also is a member of the Board of Visitors for the UW-Madison GLE program and the Industry Advisory Committee for the Colorado School of Mines Mining Engineering Department. His hobbies include large-format photography, fishing, hunting, and mining history. He lives in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, with his wife, Jennifer, and their sons, Jonathan and Tye. His father, Philip Bennett, was a professor in the Department of Engineering Professional Development for 34 years.