David N. Skillings, Jr. was born into and spent his entire working career in the publishing side of the mining business. Dave logged as many as 100,000 miles per year visiting and reporting on mining operations for Skillings Mining Review. His reports were always comprehensive. His tenacious regard for accuracy and the truth won him respect throughout the mining industry.
Dave Skillings’ grandfather, Charles D. Skillings, founded Skillings Mining Review in Duluth, Minnesota in 1912, and the publication appeared every week from that time forward. Charles Skillings’ initial objective was to provide coverage of the iron ore and copper mining industries of northern Minnesota and Michigan, which were under-reported elsewhere in the mining press. The magazine established and, through the years, maintained an unmatched reputation for its coverage of iron ore. Under Dave’s leadership, coverage was expanded to include reports on all aspects of mining throughout the world.
Charles Skillings headed Skillings Mining Review until 1943, when his son, David N. Skillings succeeded him. David’s son, David N. Skillings, Jr., joined the magazine in 1958 after earning a BA in economics from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He became Editor and Publisher of Skillings Mining Review in 1975 and continued in those roles until his death in 1999.
Dave’s extensive travel and reportage attracted wide national and international readership. He was always rushing to wherever the next mining story was evolving. Language barriers notwithstanding, he covered mines everywhere and conducted interviews incessantly. His reports on iron ore mining in Brazil, Venezuela, and Australia were widely read in the U.S. iron ore industry and are credited with helping make the U.S. industry more competitive.
Dave Skillings was rather reserved and a man of few words, an unusual combination for a working reporter. However, his travels to remote mining locations won him many lasting friendships.
Dave originated the universally acclaimed “Skillings Annual World Iron Ore Conferences” in 1996. These highly successful conferences attracted the cream of the world’s iron ore industry, and a broad range of relevant topics were aired. Dave died in Venezuela shortly after the fourth “Skillings Annual World Iron Ore Conference” at Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela in November 1999.
Dave Skillings had a broad view of the world and of the vital role of mining in modern civilization. He was a staunch supporter of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, one of its Founders, and a Life Member. He served on its Board of Governors from 1988 until his death.
David N. Skillings, Jr. was widely respected for his clarity of vision, his enthusiasm for his work, his dedication to the mining business, and his loyalty to his friends. His was a prolific voice for the mining industry.