The College of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2006 is Michael Jack Quillen, president and chief executive officer of Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (ANR) of Abingdon, Va., the Commonwealth’s largest coal producer with revenues in excess of $1.6 billion annually. ANR is one of only two billion-dollar companies based in western Virginia.

Mike Quillen “is one of the most tested, experienced coal mining executives in the United States today…(he) emerged from a battered coal industry to forge Alpha Natural Resources, almost overnight, into Virginia’s largest coal producer – and one of its largest, most profitable companies,” according to Virginia Newswire’s editor, James Bacon.

Quillen received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech’s Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“Our College of Engineering is blessed with many alumni who fit the high standards we have for naming our Distinguished Alumnus. It is clear that Mike Quillen is in the top ranks of those who have helped build the positive reputation of our college through his good works and outstanding accomplishments,” said Dick Benson, dean of the College of Engineering. “The economic development Mr. Quillen has fostered in Virginia is phenomenal. His Abingdon-based Alpha Natural Resources is already considered to be one of the top coal producers in the country, and his prowess as a mining executive is nationally recognized.”

Quillen joined the Alpha management team in 2002 as president and the sole manager of ANR, LLC, its top-tier operating subsidiary. He has served as the CEO of ANR, LLC since January 2003. He has also served as the president and a member of the board of directors of ANR Holdings since December 2002, and as its CEO since March 2003.

Quillen led the formation of ANR in 2002, along with the affiliates of First Reserve Corp., a private equity firm. ANR acquired the majority of the Virginia coal operations of Pittston Coal Co., a subsidiary of The Brink's Company, in December 2002. On January 31, 2003, ANR acquired Coastal Coal Company, and on March 11, 2003, it acquired the U.S. coal production and marketing operations of American Metals and Coal International. Alpha continues to grow through acquisitions.

Quillen got his start in the coal industry in 1974, working for Q.S.H.E., Inc., of Gate City, Va., as an operating official for the family owned surface mining company. In 1976 he became president of Paramont Coal Corp., of Wise, Va., a position he held until 1989. For four years, from 1982 to 1986, he was also president of Rapoca Energy Co., of Abingdon, Va. Simultaneously, from 1983 to 1986, he was the chief operating officer of the Eastern Coal Group of W.R. Grace and M.A. Hanna of Wise, Va. From 1986 to 1989 Quillen was also the senior vice president of Pyxis Resources Co., of the Pittston Co.

In 1989, AMVEST Corp., of Charlottesville, Va., named Quillen its senior vice president of Corporate Development, responsible for corporate acquisition activities and business development with particular emphasis on the coal, oil, and gas industries. In 1990 he became vice president of the Central Appalachian Region for NERCO Coal Corp., of St. Louis, Mo. Two years later, Addington, Inc. of Ashland, Ky., named Quillen the president and COO of all of its coal subsidiaries.

In 1994, the executive became president of six of Pittston Coal and Maxim Management Company’s operating subsidiaries in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, representing 15 million tons of production. A year later, Pittston promoted him to executive vice president of Sales and Marketing and president of Pittston Coal Sales for the Pittston Coal Co., of Lebanon, Va.

In 1997, Quillen joined a family-owned metallurgical mining company, Mega Minerals of Princeton, W.Va., and expanded its production and sales by some 300 per cent. Within 14 months, the company was sold, and he joined American Metals and Coal International of Gate City, Va., as its executive vice president of operations. His responsibility included the company’s operations throughout the world, including China and Australia. After four years, he created ANR.

Quillen is the past chair of the Virginia Coal Association, the Virginia Mining and Reclamation Association, the Tri-State Coal Operators Association, and the Coalfield Economic Development Authority. He has held appointments on the Mine Safety Advisory Board, the Virginia Community College Board, and the Commission on Transportation in the 21st Century, among other civic duties.

Quillen is married to Sherry Payne Quillen, a graduate of Virginia Tech. They have three children, two of who have graduated from Virginia Tech.