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Board of Directors & Officers

President

 Frank Pagura

Frank Pagura has been the Director of Mining and Major Accounts at Waukesha-Pearce Industries (WPI) since May of 2014.  Prior to his time at WPI, Frank spent 10 years at Komatsu America heading their Parts Operations including the parts support responsibility for Komatsu’s global fleet of mining trucks.

Frank is a New York native who graduated with Merit from the United States Naval Academy in 1995.  After serving six years as a Surface Naval Officer in the San Diego area, Frank started his civilian career in the offshore oil industry in Houston with Varco (now NOV) before moving to Chicago to join Komatsu in 2004.

Frank currently resides in Sugar Land, Texas, with his wife Trina and their three young daughters (Aimee, Abigail, and Avery).

Frank is an active member of the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA).

President Elect

Greg Mager

Greg Mager is the Director, Technical Services for Navajo Transitional Energy Company, based in Gillette Wyoming.  Greg began his career with Kennecott Energy in 1994 and has worked in the mining industry at several locations and within diverse disciplines, establishing significant experience in engineering, production and management. 

Over the past 27 years, Greg has held positions as Mining Engineer, Production Supervisor, Production Planner, Production Manager, and Technical Services Manager at the Antelope, Jacobs Ranch and Cordero Rojo mines and corporate headquarters.

Greg is Board of Director member for Rocky Mountain Mining Institute (RMMI).

Greg is an Idaho native, and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Idaho. Greg enjoys the Wyoming life and spending time with his three children Kendal, Samantha, and Cougar.  

 

Immediate Past President

Matthew S. Palmer

Matt Palmer is President and CEO of Rimpull Corporation overseeing all operations of the company with nearly 30 years of mining equipment experience.  Matt began his career with Rimpull in September of 1986 in Gillette, Wyoming as an inside sales representative and subsequently held multiple field positions for Rimpull in Indiana, Arizona, West Virginia, and New Mexico. 

Matt moved to Rimpull’s corporate office in Olathe, Kansas in July of 1999 as the Parts Manager, and has since held the Marketing Manager, Director of Operations, and Vice President of Sales positions.  Matt was named President of Rimpull in January, 2014.

Matt resides in Olathe, Kansas with his wife Michelle, and four children McKenzi, Nicole, Amanda, and Sam.

Matt is a member of the Rocky Mountain Mining Institute (RMMI), Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA), National Mining Association (NMA) and sits on the Manufacturers and Services Board of Governors of the NMA and is a Board Member and Immediate Past President for RMMI.

Director

Mark CollettJay Kost

Jay Kost was raised on a small family farm in central North Dakota.  He strives to bring the small town values of hard work and cooperation into operations at The Falkirk Mining Company, a subsidiary of North American Coal Corporation, where he has served as President since 2011.

Mr. Kost has a passion for incorporating the ideas of Falkirks’ employees to ensure safe and economic production coupled with outstanding environmental stewardship.  He enjoys learning and teaching “Servant Leadership” as a core skill that can help the mine to achieve those goals.

His 34 years of experience span mining disciplines that include engineering, environmental compliance, production, safety and maintenance.  He has had the opportunity to work in 4 different mines and learn from some of the best leaders in the industry. 

Mr. Kost graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Construction Management from North Dakota State University in 1982.  He and his wife Karen have 3 wonderful daughters; they enjoy music, soccer and spending time together at their home in Bismarck, North Dakota. 

Regional Director (CO/UT)

Wendell KoontzWendell A. Koontz

Mr. Koontz has 35 years in the mining industry working as a mining and exploration geologist. During his tenure at Coastal States Energy, Arco Coal, and Arch Coal he has worked at Skyline Mine, Dugout Canyon Mine, Sufco Mine, Bowie No. 2, and West Elk Mine. Since joining Bowie Resources, now Wolverine Fuels in 2013, Wendell is responsible for all the exploration, mine geology functions, and reserve reporting for the company. He is a Registered Member of SME and a Certified Professional Geologist thru AIPG with degrees from Hanover College and University of Alaska. Wendell has also served as Trustee and Mayor of his hometown of Hotchkiss Colorado and is excited to be part of the Rocky Mountain Mining Institute.

Regional Director (Texas)

John MillerJohn Miller

John was born and raised in Miami, Oklahoma and worked on the family farm through college.  He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering.

After graduation, he worked for Schlumberger as a Field Engineer for Frac Crews in Oklahoma and Texas. John has 32 years mining experience in East Texas with Luminant Mining and North American Coal, and has held positions from Engineer, Supervisor, Superintendent, Production Planner, Maintenance Manager. He is currently the Dragline Maintenance Manager at The Sabine Mining Company, and is focused on continuous improvement in the areas of equipment reliability, production, safety and cost.

John currently resides in Longview, Texas with his wife of 35 years, Denna.  He enjoys spending time with his children, 2 girls and a boy, and 6 grandchildren.  Additionally, he enjoys golfing and boating in his spare time.

 

Advisory Board Chairman

Scott Sturm 2Scott Sturm

Scott Sturm is Senior Vice President of Operations for Westmoreland Mining LLC, based in Englewood, CO.  Scott began his mining career in the gold industry while in college, but as a 1992 RMCMI Scholarship recipient has since spent over 20 years in “Rocky Mountain Coal”.  Scott worked his way through engineering and operations roles with Powder River Coal Company and Rio Tinto Energy, before joining Westmoreland in 2007, as Production Superintendent at the Absaloka Mine, where he also became the Production Manager.  In 2012 he became the General Manager of the Kemmerer Mine, before taking a corporate director role with Westmoreland in 2015.  He then transitioned to Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2016, before returning to his operational roots in 2018, in his current position.

Scott is a Montana native, and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mining Engineering from Montana Tech.  He and wife, Trisha, have two daughters, Caroline and Norah, who keep them busy.  He occasionally sneaks in a round of golf or motorcycle ride when not working or enjoying time with his family. 

 

Administrative Liaison Officer

Denise DragooDenise Dragoo

Ms. Dragoo is an equity partner in Snell & Wilmer’s Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Group. Prior to joining Snell & Wilmer, she was in private practice and served as Special Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Natural Resources, advising the Utah Board and Division of Oil, Gas & Mining and the Utah Energy Office. As Special Assistant Utah Attorney General, she was responsible for drafting the Utah Coal Mining & Reclamation Act. In 1985, she was named the Natural Resource Lawyer of the Year by the Utah State Bar. In 1996, she received the Utah State Bar’s Distinguished Service Award/Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section. She was the recipient of the 1997 Woman Lawyer of the Year award and the 2003 Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award (advancement of women in the legal profession). Her practice focuses on coal law, environmental law, water law, mineral title and public land matters. Ms. Dragoo practices before the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the Utah Board of Oil, Gas & Mining, the United States Department of the Interior Board of Land Appeals and other state and federal administrative agencies.

Ms. Dragoo is a trustee and former member of the Executive Committee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Chair of the Public Lands Committee, Past Vice-Chair of the Mining Committee, American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy and Resources and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors, Utah Mining Association. Ms. Dragoo is a Fellow of the America Bar Foundation and recently completed her fourth term on the Board of Bar Commissioners, Utah State Bar Association. Ms. Dragoo is listed in THE BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA (Natural Resources Law). Member of Salt Lake County, Utah State Bar and American Bar Associations.

President- Friends of Coal West

Ron DestefanoRonald E. Destefano 

Mr. Destefano is currently a Vice-President for CDG Engineers and has been employed with the firm for the past 8 years. CDG is a multi-discipline architectural/ engineering firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Ron manages CDG’s branch office in Sheridan, Wyoming which specializes in mine engineering services. Prior to joining CDG, Mr. Destefano was Manager of Project Engineering for Kennecott Energy Company (now Cloud Peak Energy) at their corporate office in Gillette, Wyoming focused on acquisitions and productivity improvement. Prior to assuming that position, Ron was Technical Manager at Spring Creek Coal Company in Decker, Montana and was originally hired as an entry-level engineer at the Spring Creek Mine by Dave Smaldone in 1980 when the mine was still under construction. 

Mr. Destefano is a graduate of the University of Wyoming’s civil engineering program and is a registered professional engineer in Wyoming and Montana.

Executive Director

Judy headshotJudy Colgan

Judy Colgan is Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute and Friends of Coal West.  Both organizations promote western coal through education and support the coal industry at various events throughout the west.  She is instrumental in delivering conferences and meetings to provide professional development and educational opportunities to RMCMI membership, and providing educational materials to mining industry organizations.

Judy has been involved in the mining industry for the past 16 years.  She was previously the Marketing Director for the Colorado Mining Association, where she was the principal architect of CMA’s public outreach and education program.  Prior to CMA, she worked with Queenstake Resources, Ltd. 

She holds active memberships in Denver Coal Club, Women in Mining, Women’s Mining Coalition, SME, and other state associations.

 

Treasurer

Tarra Gerlach

Tarra Gerlach is the owner and operator of a small accounting/bookkeeping firm located in Parker, Colorado.  She has 13 years’ experience in medical management and 15 years’ experience in accounting and financial management.  This includes the opportunity to act as the finance manager for hospital based physicians, including radiologists and anesthesiologists and as the practice administrator for an ophthalmology practice specializing in corneal surgery.  Tarra’s firm also specializes in QuickBooks consulting and coaching.  In addition to bookkeeping, accounting and tax services, Tarra has facilitated strategic planning sessions, budgeting meetings and performed analysis on office efficiencies, joint ventures and expansions.

Tarra earned her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska and her Masters in Business with an emphasis in accounting from Regis University. 

Tarra has enjoyed supporting and working with many non-profit organizations throughout her career.  In the past she has served as Treasurer for Flamenco Denver and Corporate Liaison for Colorado Medical Group Management Association. Tarra currently supports Rocky Mountain Mining Institute as Treasurer, as well as the American Academy PTO as Secretary.

Tarra cherishes her time with her son and daughter.  She and her husband enjoy attending sporting events, travel and providing their children with experiences that will leave lasting memories.