Coal Age

MAY 2018

Coal Age Magazine - For more than 100 years, Coal Age has been the magazine that readers can trust for guidance and insight on this important industry.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 51

May 2018 15 news continued Dennis, were awarded scholarships through the A.T. Massey' manage- ment intern program. Upon his graduation from Virginia Tech, Hatfield elected to continue his career with A.T. Massey, accepting a position as project engineering at the Kentucky Wolf Creek Collieries operation. For the next 23 years, Hatfield served in various operations, and corporate management positions within Massey, culminating with his promotion to executive vice president, and COO for Massey Energy. In December 2001, he accepted a position of executive vice president at El Paso Corp.'s Coastal Coal subsidiary. In March 2003, he accepted a position with Arch Coal as pres- ident of Eastern Operations. In 2005, investor Wilbur Ross Jr. offered him the position of president and CEO of the newly formed Internation- al Coal Group, which consisted of two bankrupt coal companies and emerged from bankruptcy. Arch Coal purchased ICG and Ben Hatfield then joined Patriot Coal Corp. as executive vice president and COO. Nine months later, he was faced with navigating the company through Chapter 11 reorganization. Over the next two years, he managed to preserve the jobs of more than 4,000 workers, and the medical benefits for 10,000 retirees as well, while eliminating roughly $1.7 billion in liabilities. He left Patriot in mid-2015. Before his unexpected passing, he had been the principal of Coal Strategies LLC, and also served as an independent director on the boards of Foresight Energy LP and Minerals Refining Co. Castle said, "He was as comfortable in the boardroom as he was in the dinner-hole in the mine. Ben loved his miners." Laura Hatfield and Ashley Stelly, Ben Hatfield's daughters, ac- cepted the award. Bill Raney introduced Bob Murray, who he said took a single deep mine in Ohio and with blood sweat and tears, ingenuity, foresight and courage, and built the largest privately held coal mining operation, coal equipment manufacturer, river and ocean shipment company, in the world. In accepting the honor, Murray said it's a very close-knit group in the coal industry with very special people. Then emphasized that there were others who helped him besides his family and wife, his employees. "I've got some of the best most dedicated people," he said. "I want to thank you very much for this award and I'm very hon- ored and privileged," Murray said. According to Raney, the last inductee, Richard "Dick" Preservati and his dad were on the leading edge of modern surface mining with advanced and some said, "magical utilization" to keep their people working as well as being good neighbors. He has no time for bureau- cracy, particularly if it gets in the way of keeping his operations going, Raney said. He made an absolute success of mining coal larger com- panies thought to be unmineable. He made it work, which helped the bigger companies because they had already written it off. Preservati had his first surface mine job in 1946 in the Grand- view area near Beaver, West Virginia. After mining in that area for ap- proximately four years, the family moved to the small mining town of Matoaka, West Virginia. After high school, he got a job in a foundry. After a year, he began to work with his dad in Gilbert, West Virginia as a surface and auger mining contractor for A.T. Massey Co. After working in Gilbert for four years, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was dis- charged in 1966. He returned to Princeton, married his wife of 51 years, Karen Nicholson. In 1967, he started Preservati Construction Co. and with his dad, Geno, had a very small surface mining job at Pageton. Upon completing that job, his dad and his brother, Chuck, contracted some of their equipment to United Pocahontas Coal and Dick Preservati struck out on his own with an old $2,500 D-6 dozer and a Fiat Allis track loader, mining for CONSOL as a contract miner at their Pageton prep plant area. As time went on, he signed an agreement with the U.S. Steel to buy the sub-standard (out-crop) coal that was left on the surface mining operations and sold it to other large coal companies. In June 1973, he was surface mining full time as a contract miner for CONSOL and USS Corp. In 1978, he acquired leases from Pocahontas Land Corp. on the reserves that CONSOL and USS Corp. had released and at a later date, he formed Mid-Vol Coal Sales Inc. and Extra Energy Inc. companies. He continued to mine these leases with his son, Ritch until 1998 when A.E.I. (Addington) purchased his mining operations. In 2004, he purchased the mining operations back from the bankruptcy court and four years later in 2008, after going from 15 employees to approximate- ly 270 employees, he sold the mining operation to Arcelor Mittal, who is currently mining the property. His children presently have a surface mining operation in Mercer and McDowell County, West Virginia, that he visits from time to time. "I want to thank the West Virginia Coal Association and the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute for this great honor," said Preservati. "I also want to thank my family and friends in addition to my wife, Karen, of 52 years and my three children. They have been very instrumental to my success over the years." He said that in the coal industry it is easy to neglect the family with long hours travelling away from home. Preservati commended the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame for the inductees in the past. "I feel very honored to be considered for this great honor," he said. Bill Raney presents the Hall of Fame award to Robert E. Murray (right). Dick Preservati accepts the Hall of Fame award from Bill Raney (right).

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Coal Age - MAY 2018