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Energy CEO and Change Advocate for Coal Appointed to Influential International Advisory Council

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A longtime proponent of alternative, non-energy and technology-oriented uses for coal, Randall Atkins has been appointed to the International Energy Agency’s Coal Industry Advisory Board

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of the global energy transition, political and business leaders are considering a future in which coal plays a role in non-energy, technology-forward applications. One of the most influential international groups mapping this future will be advised by a CEO who believes coal may one day become too valuable to burn.

“We have been working with the Department of Energy’s national laboratories, strategic industry peers, regulatory agencies and environmental stakeholders for many years to develop and advance a new direction for coal. A role that places it at the center of technological advances and environmental solutions”Tweet this

This week Randall Atkins — Chairman and CEO of public metallurgical coal producer Ramaco Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ: METC) and carbon technology company Ramaco Carbon — was appointed to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB). The CIAB advises the IEA on coal-related policies and projects around the world.

On the Board, Atkins will not only represent the United States coal industry, but also advocate for the international development of alternative uses for coal, such as replacing petroleum as a cheaper, more environmental feedstock in advanced materials such as carbon fiber, graphene, and graphite, a critical material in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries. His membership was advanced by the United States Department of Energy and approved by the White House.

The IEA is a Paris-based intergovernmental organization that provides policy recommendations, analysis and data on the entire global energy sector. The CIAB was established in 1979 to create deeper expertise at the IEA on the wide range of worldwide issues relating to coal. Its members comprise a group of high-level coal industry executives from the countries accounting for as much as 80% of world coal production and consumption, including the U.S., China, Germany, Brazil and Australia. Members are nominated by their host governments and appointed by the IEA.

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“We have been working with the Department of Energy’s national laboratories, strategic industry peers, regulatory agencies and environmental stakeholders for many years to develop and advance a new direction for coal. A role that places it at the center of technological advances and environmental solutions,” said Randall Atkins. “I am excited to join this group of influential global leaders to continue developing ways for industry to benefit from this vital and abundant natural resource.”

“Randy Atkins brings invaluable expertise and insight to the IEA’s Coal Industry Advisory Board,” said Katie Sweeney, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of National Mining Association. “Randy not only has his feet firmly planted in the coal marketplace, with a world-class understanding of the ongoing importance of coal to the world’s energy, manufacturing and infrastructure needs. But he’s also a leader in exploring new uses for coal, such as a source of critical minerals, as well as the burgeoning coal-to-products market. Randy is an excellent addition to the Board and brings just the type of innovative perspective that will help inform how the IEA thinks about coal today and its potential tomorrow.”

Besides founding metallurgical coal producer Ramaco Resources, Atkins also leads Ramaco Carbon, a vertically integrated carbon technology company that is helping pioneer “coal to products” research and development. It is partnered with two of the United States Department of Energy’s largest national laboratories — Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory — on advanced research into the development and commercialization of coal-based carbon products and materials, and is at the forefront of exploring coal’s use as a source of critical minerals. The company has research facilities in Wyoming and West Virginia.

Atkins was previously Chairman of the Department of Energy’s National Coal Council, a Federal Advisory Committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He chaired a task force that issued a white paper to former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in 2019 on advanced uses for coal, including in the manufacture of many forms of carbon products and materials, titled “Coal in a New Carbon Age.”

Atkins has testified before both the U.S. Senate Energy Committee and the House of Representatives’ Natural Resource Committee on the subject of national coal policy and uses for coal in manufacturing advanced carbon products and materials. He has been involved in various energy industries for more than 40 years, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the National Mine Association.

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Gov. Justice Appoints Jeffrey Stephens to fill Sixth District seat in House of Delegates

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Jeffrey Stephens

CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice announced Thursday he has appointed Jeffrey R. Stephens to the West Virginia House of Delegates Sixth District, which serves Marshall County. Stephens replaces Charlie Reynolds, who resigned earlier this month.

A John Marshall High School and West Liberty University graduate, Stephens is an educator with the Marshall County Schools system, teaching West Virginia Studies and serving as the athletic director at Sherrard Middle School.

Stephens also has coaching experience, having been the assistant girls’ basketball coach at John Marshall from 2010 to 2014, Sherrard girls basketball coach from 2014 to 2022, and Sherrard football coach from 2010 to 2022.

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Huntington Mayor Williams Files Pre-Candidacy for Governor

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City of Huntington

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Mayor Steve Williams took another step Thursday in his announced plan to run for governor by filing his pre-candidacy papers with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.

Williams is the only Democrat in that race so far. Cecil Silva of the Lincoln County community of Spurlockville filed pre-candidacy papers in April, but the secretary of state’s office lists his candidacy as terminated. The secretary of state’s website lists eight Republican candidates for governor; one each from the Libertarian, Mountain and Constitution parties; and one with no affiliation.

In his filing announcement, Williams pointed to his “diverse background spanning finance, service in the West Virginia Legislature, and three successful terms as Huntington’s Mayor.”

“I’m running for Governor because I believe the best of West Virginia is yet to come,” he said. “From revitalizing Huntington’s economy to combating the opioid crisis with innovative solutions, my track record speaks for itself.”

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More here: Williams files pre-candidacy papers to run for WV governor | News | herald-dispatch.com

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Coalfield Development Selects Jacob Hannah as New CEO

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Last week, Coalfield Development Corporation’s Board of Directors unanimously approved Jacob Hannah, current Chief Conservation Officer, to be the next Chief Executive Officer of the West Virginia-based nonprofit. Hannah will assume the position effective January 1, 2024.

The October 17th vote occurred after a month’s long search process involving more than 40 applicants for the position.

“I am incredibly honored and excited for this opportunity to continue to serve Appalachia in this dynamic and transformative role. And through the innovative succession model that Brandon Dennison has thoughtfully established for this role transition, I heartily believe that our organization is stepping into a new phase that will empower the momentum for a truly just transition,” Hannah said.

Hannah replaces Coalfield’s founder and current CEO, Brandon Dennison, who was named Vice President of Economic Development at Marshall University in July of this year. Dennison will continue supporting Coalfield Development as Executive President. In this new role, Dennison will help shape strategy, partnerships, and fundraising. Coalfield’s new leadership model resembles the CEO/Executive Chair model more prominent in for-profits.

“This is an important milestone for Coalfield Development. I am genuinely excited for the organization, and I have complete confidence in Jacob as the new CEO. He is going to lead this organization to achieve greater impact than ever before, but he’ll do it with integrity, compassion, and creativity,” Dennison said.

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Dennison added, “Jacob is the right leader at the right time for our region. He has lived the mission of Coalfield Development, growing up in a coal mining family. Since joining us in 2018 Jacob has served multiple leadership roles within the organization, standing up entirely new programs and supervising more than 25 employees. And Jacob has been instrumental in the ACT Now Coalition, which recently brought $100 million of new investment to southern West Virginia.”

Coalfield Development Board of Directors President Kenzie New Walker applauded the diligent efforts of the board’s search committee.

“I want to commend our search committee for shepherding such a strong hiring process. This committee was diligent and persistent in running a thorough search which connected our organization with high caliber candidates. Jacob rose to the top of this competitive group, and we’re we appreciate all the applicants who applied,” she said.  

Hannah has been an employee of Coalfield Development for five years. He previously held the role of Chief Conservation Officer.

“I come from three generations of coal mining in my family, and I am a 5th generation West Virginian. My leadership style is to integrate an empathetic and grounded approach to the strategy of triple-bottom line sustainability; balancing People, Planet, and Prosperity in harmony with each other with a lens towards a fair and just transition.

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Hannah’s work intersects the throughline of environmental considerations with social wellbeing and economic development.

“This is truly an exciting time to be at Coalfield Development and the work we are doing to better the lives of our Appalachian communities,” he said.

About Coalfield Development: Coalfield Development is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization headquartered in Huntington, West Virginia focusing on rebuilding the Appalachian economy through social enterprise creation, job training, and community-based real-estate development.

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