Ucore Rare Metals has announced its new chief operating officer; and he has Ketchikan connections.

Michael Schrider, who was previously Ucore’s vice president of operations, was chosen to be the next COO of the company.

Schrider previously worked at the Ketchikan Shipyard in the late ‘90s when, according to a press release, he was an “integral part of the team that oversaw the operations and management of the Alaska Ship and Drydock facility.”

He said that he was introduced to Ucore a few years ago by way of Randy Johnson, the former head of Alaska Ship and Drydock and current president of Tyler Rental. Johnson is also a managing member of Orca Holdings and a Ucore Advisory Board member.

Schrider told the Daily News that after working as an employee at the shipyard in from 1997 to 1998, he stayed involved with the shipyard in an advisory role.

“Since that time, I was a consultant to the shipyard for going on approximately 13 years,” Schrider said. “I knew Randy Johnson from the shipyard, and then Randy introduced me to Ucore probably in 2015.”

Ucore recently announced that it selected Ketchikan as the location for its first facility to process rare earth minerals from a number of potential sources in the region, including its Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project.

“We’re very excited for the opportunity to build our first plant in Ketchikan,” Schrider said. “We think the Ketchikan area is ideal for us and hopefully we’re a good fit for Ketchikan.”

Schrider said that he would be working on the project in his new role as COO.

“I will be working with the team at Ucore to actually get the engineering done through our partners and various consultants,” he said.

Ucore CEO and President Jim McKenzie said in a Monday press release that he was excited to have Schrider in his new role and looks forward to Ucore’s expansion into Ketchikan.

“I’m delighted to announce Mr. Schrider’s appointment to this position at Ucore,” McKenzie said. “He is a welcome addition to Ucore’s senior executive team and will ensure that Ucore’s technical and production related issues continue to be well managed as we transition to commercial production of individual rare earth oxides in our Ketchikan, Alaska strategic metals complex.”

Schrider said that his new role started on Monday, and that it entails similar responsibilities to his former position with Ucore as vice president of operations.