CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of the West Virginia Coal Association since 1992, the organization has announced that Bill Raney will retire effective January 1, 2021 following a long and impactful career.
“Bill Raney is an icon to those of us that have worked in and around the mining industry and to many throughout the state of West Virginia,” said Heath Lovell, chairman of the West Virginia Coal Association board of directors. “His passion for, and contributions to this industry over his professional career are unsurpassed. He is the original “Friend of Coal” and we wish him a long, fruitful and well-deserved retirement.”
“It has been a true honor to represent the coal industry, coal mine owners, managers, and miners over all these years, and the wonderful soldiers of the WV National Guard,” said Raney. “I am eternally grateful to the scores of wonderful people who have been so helpful, mentoring, patient, guiding and forgiving to get me through the years and for all of my unbelievable friends who are always there. I am truly appreciative and blessed. I look forward to enjoying time with my wonderful wife, Pam, and our children and grandchildren.”
Raney got his start in the industry in 1970 as a surface mine inspector in the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Reclamation. He was later promoted to Assistant Chief.
In 1977, he joined the West Virginia Mining & Reclamation Association as Vice President and served in that role until being named President of the West Virginia Coal Association in 1992. In 2000, the two organizations merged, and Raney retained his role as President of the combined organization.
Raney also dually served in the West Virginia Army National Guard throughout much of his professional life. He held several command positions, including Commander of the 1092d Combat Engineer Battalion as well as Commander of the 111th Engineer Group. Before retiring from military service, he served as a special assistant to the Adjutant General at the rank of Colonel. He has served as President of the West Virginia National Guard Association and continues to serve as Chairman of the West Virginia National Guard Foundation.
Raney has been and continues to be an influential voice in business, civic and philanthropical initiatives across the state and region. He served as former chairman and current board member of the West Virginia Business & Industry Council, current board member of the West Virginia Youth Leadership Association’s Youth in Government Program, former chairman and current board member of the West Virginia Kids Count Fund, advisory member of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Advisory Committee, West Virginia Special Reclamation Advisory Council, Coal Resource Road Transportation Committee, the WVU School of Engineering Mining Program Visiting Committee, and as a past Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Charleston.
Raney has received multiple honors and awards throughout his career, including: the Distinguished West Virginian award, Most Loyal Alumni by the WVU Alumni Association, Who’s Who in West Virginia, the Hope Award by the National Multiple Sclerosis Association, and the Lewis McManus Service Award by the West Virginia Youth in Government Program. He has been inducted into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame and the First Tee Hall of Fame. And, he and Pam were the founders of the Don Nehlen Fan Club supporting the Coach during his career at West Virginia University.
“While Bill leaves an amazing legacy and we are sad to see him go, the West Virginia Coal Association is being left in good hands and will continue on as the leading voice and advocate for the mining industry in West Virginia and our region,” said Lovell.
Lovell announced that Chris R. Hamilton, current Senior Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association, will succeed Raney as President and Chief Executive Officer. He begins his new position on January 1, 2021.
Hamilton has been instrumental in navigating every regulatory change and legislative program impacting the competitiveness and long-term viability of the coal industry over the last thirty-five years.
Hamilton, who received his master’s degree in business and economics from WVU, currently serves as Chairman of the West Virginia Business & Industry Council and Co-Chairman of the West Virginia Coal Forum.
For additional information, contact Chris Hamilton at (304) 342-4153.