The 22nd Induction Ceremony for the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame was held on March 20 in Charleston, West Virginia. The West Virginia Coal Mining Institute (WVCMI) and the West Virginia Coal Association (WVCA) presented the awards.
To be considered for induction into the hall of fame, members must have made a significant contribution to the development and growth of the coal industry in West Virginia as evidenced by documented accomplishments; devoted a minimum of five years of his or her mining career directly related to the West Virginia coal industry; and served as an operator, manager, owner, engineer, educator or other major contributor in the West Virginia coal industry.
The first two inductees were from the class of 2018 who couldn’t attend last year’s banquet, and the last two comprised the class of 2019.
The first inductee was Frank Calandra, president and CEO, Jennmar Corp. and subsidiaries around the world. Calandra thanked the Coal Hall of Fame committee for the honor. He first visited West Virginia in 1953 driving a truck for his dad. In 1972, he decided to build his first plant in Pennsylvania and was proud to have worked with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to change the roof-bolt specs. Later, he saw the potential in West Virginia, and invested further.
The next inductee was Joe Craft. He worked at Mapco, purchased it and formed Alliance Resources. Craft said he has been around coal all his life. His dad was an attorney with many coal clients.
“I am honored to be here and I wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t for our West Virginia team,” Craft said. “They are the ones that provide the results and I’m glad to represent them for what they have done to make our company what it is.”
The next inductee was James “Jim” Corsaro. He has worked with Eastern Associated Coal, Carbon Industries and Penn Virginia. He was general manager of the Wells Complex and advanced rapidly to other areas such as vice president of safety and training, and vice president of engineering.
“It is truly an honor to be included in the Coal Hall of Fame that includes giants of the coal industry,” said Corsaro.
Daniel D. Smith was the last to be inducted. Smith retired six years ago as senior vice president, Norfolk Southern. He became the leader of Pocahontas Land Corp. in 1995 and was involved in opening, overseeing, and defending more mining and timbering operations than anyone else in southern West Virginia. Under his watch, Pocahontas Land managed more than 1 million acres of coal, land, and timber across seven states. This included multiple coal seams from steam coal to some of the finest met coal in the world.
“Thank you for this great honor that I am sharing with my lovely wife,” Smith said. “It’s just amazing to be here.” Coal people are the best in the world, he said.