Mark O’Dea, Founder and Chair, Oxygen Capital Corp.

Mark O’Dea, Oxygen Capital Corp. | BCBusiness

From the 2013 Influencer Index: The founder of Oxygen Capital Corp. makes it his mission to mentor future mining leaders

O’Dea is the geologist/financier who led Fronteer Gold Inc. through $370 million in financing before the company was sold to Newmont Mining Corp. for $2.3 billion in 2011.

When he took the helm as president and CEO of Fronteer in 2001, O’Dea considered mentoring tomorrow’s leaders as much a part of his mission as developing mineral properties. He points to Matt Lennox-King, a geologist fresh out of university who was one of O’Dea’s first hires at Fronteer. Today Lennox-King is CEO of Pilot Gold Inc., a spin-out from Fronteer. O’Dea also points to Will Lepore, a recent university graduate when he joined Fronteer in 2006. Fronteer funded Lepore’s master’s degree and today Lepore is a project geologist working at Pilot Gold’s exploration site in Turkey.

“After Fronteer was sold we had this pool of talent we’d amassed,” O’Dea explains. “Talented individuals in the executive team need strong mentors and we wanted to create a culture where these individuals could grow, could advance in their careers.”

So O’Dea formed Oxygen Capital Corp., a kind of incubator for mining companies. At its inception, Oxygen took three juniors under its wing: Pilot Gold, True North Nickel Inc. and Blue Gold Mining Inc. Within a year it had scored its first success when Blue Gold merged with the much bigger Riverstone Resources Inc.