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William N. Poundstone​
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William (Bill) Poundstone is recognized for his significant contributions to the development of improved underground coal mining technology. His engineering accomplishments in coal mining equipment, conveyors, drilling techniques, and safety systems are second to none.  An outstanding coal industry executive and representative, he was a respected coal industry spokesman at numerous Congressional hearings on environmental and mining research matters.​

Born on August 12, 1925, Bill started his mining career in 1947 as a timberman at the Arkwright Mine before joining Christopher Coal Company upon graduation from West Virginia University (WVU) in 1949. At Christopher, he came up through the ranks and was appointed Superintendent with responsibility to open the Humphrey Mine in 1955. He was promoted to General Superintendent of the Arkwright, Osage, and Booth mines in 1960. In 1961, he took the position of Assistant to the Vice President of Operations at Consolidation Coal Company and, in 1965, was named Executive Vice President of Consol, in charge of all of Consol’s service functions until his retirement in 1982. These included engineering, exploration, land, environmental services, long-range planning, mining research, and the design and building of all new mine functions.​

An inventor and problem-solver, Bill was awarded 34 patents, primarily for mining equipment and conveyors. He authored numerous technical publications. The North American Coalbed Methane Forum recognized his pioneering work in the development of drilling techniques for coal seam degasification, mine safety, and coalbed product. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by WVU in 1981.​

Bill served in leadership roles for the Coal Mining Institute of America, Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania, Bituminous Coal Operators Association, Western Pennsylvania Coal Operators Association, and Bituminous Coal Research, Inc. He also served on various energy policy committees. He was highly recognized for his accomplishments, including the ASME-AIME Percy Nicholls Award for achievement in the field of solid fuels, SME Distinguished Member, and AIME Honorary Member, and was inducted into the West Virginia Coal Miners Hall of Fame. In March 1977, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions in improving underground coal mining technology.​

Through the creation of an annuity trust, Bill endowed the William N. Poundstone Professorship in Mining Engineering at WVU. In 2000, the Mining Department established the William N. Poundstone Lecture Series, which brings mining industry authorities to campus to share their expertise with students and faculty.​

Click here to watch a video about him.