James Turner Delivers Poundstone Lecture
Chief Operating Officer of American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc. James R. Turner, Jr. delivered the Poundstone Lecture in a private event at West Virginia University on Thursday, September 28, as part of the Mining Engineering William N. Poundstone Lecture Series at the Erickson Alumni Center.
Story by Kaley LaQuea, Communications Specialist
Photos by J. Paige Nesbit
Turner’s lecture was the latest in the cornerstone series, in which he highlighted
his extensive industry knowledge and business expertise. He shared career tips
and leadership advice with students, faculty, alumni and industry professionals
on his experience with large-scale mergers and acquisitions in various energy sectors,
as well as his predictions for the future of mining.
As a professional with over 25 years' experience and knowledge from industries in the US and South America, Turner explained the importance of mining engineers. He stressed the critical role they play in mining minerals needed to create tangible goods and materials and providing invaluable energy resources for West Virginia and the world.
“Jim is an exceptional industry leader with a significant experience in managing
some of the largest mining operations in the United States and internationally,”
said Vladislav Kecojevic, professor in mining engineering. “He has been a strong
supporter to WVU’s mining engineering students and faculty over the years, and
we were excited to have him share his extensive experience with all of us at the
Turner attended West Virginia University where he received Bachelor of Science degrees in mining engineering and computer engineering. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in both disciplines.
“A successful mining engineer who is a role model for us explained situations he had to pass through to get to this point in his career, which is inspirational to us as graduate students,” said Paubla Gallego, first year master’s in mining engineering student. “His advice was really easy to understand for our careers, so I’m really thankful for this lecture.”
Currently employed by American Consolidated Natural Resources, Inc., Turner has served as the Chief Operating Officer since 2020. Prior to his current role, he held a wide variety of positions at Murray Energy Corporation throughout his nearly 20-year career there. He started as a mine engineer and ultimately served as its Senior Vice President. He currently oversees coal mining operations in nearly every major US operating basin.
“As a young engineer, I was naive to the diverse opportunities in the industry for mining engineers. When I went to work for Mr. Murray, he threw many challenges at me, and others, which allowed us to experience many different aspects of the business beyond engineering. He allowed us to work across departments and encouraged us to treat his company like it was ours,” Turner said.
“As a seasoned professional today, my advice to you all is: Say yes to every opportunity, take advantage of opportunities to travel or to stay late to assist with issues, that is where you will learn a lot about your business.”
While working as a full-time employee at Murray Energy Corporation, he attended Ohio State University and received his Executive MBA from the Fisher School of Business. He is a member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, a member of the Old Timers Club and serves on the WVU Mining Engineering Industry Advisory Board.
Following the lecture, students and faculty members had the opportunity to ask questions and converse with Turner and other industry professionals.
“I thought the lecture points that stuck out were especially in the areas of the importance of mining,” said Trent Cavanaugh, junior mining engineering student and SME member. “Although we are an overshadowed industry, Mr. Turner stressed there is an important need for the industry.”
Thankful to come back to the university and speak to future mining engineers, Turner remembers the lecture’s namesake.
“It was an incredible experience to be able to speak at the William Poundstone lecture series,” Turner said. “There have been a lot of great folks before me that have given this lecture, so it is a real honor to be chosen to present. It is also a privilege to be able to honor the man, William Poundstone, that has done so much for the department and the industry.”
The William N. Poundstone Lecture Series was established in 2000 to honor distinguished mining engineering alumnus Poundstone to bring mining industry experts to campus to share their expertise with students and faculty. Poundstone, who passed away in 2015, was inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in 2016.
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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