Director of Extension and Outreach and Associate Director of the Mining Extension Program at West Virginia University, Jim Dean, was appointed acting director of the West Virginia Office of Miners’Health, Safety and Training (MHST). The post takes effect immediately, said Gov. Joe Manchin.

Dean, 41, a native of Rowlesburg, is filling the post being left vacant by the retirement of Doug Conaway.

He will join MHST Deputy Director C.A. Phillips and Administrator Terry Farley in continuing the investigations into January’s mining disasters at the Sago and Alma Mines, as well as the ongoing underground and surface mine inspection schedules.

The appointment of Mr. Dean during this period of transition solidifies our commitment to the families of our 16 lost miners that West Virginia will continue to make mine safety our No. 1 goal,Manchin said.His knowledge, combined with the experience and background of both C.A. and Terry, will allow us to continue in Doug’s absence without skipping a beat until a permanent replacement is found.

Dean earned an associate degree in engineering technology-mechanical and a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology-mining from Fairmont State , and a master’s degree in engineering of mines from WVU . He has also completed coursework for a Ph.D in mining engineering from WVU .

He has been at WVU since 1994, and in his positions has been responsible for the administration of a wide range of training programs for coal miners in West Virginia and surrounding states, in addition to programs that provide technical assistance to other West Virginia industries.

He is a Certified Mine Safety Professional (CMSP) through the International Society of Mine Safety and has MSHA IS IU Instructor Certification. His specific areas of expertise are mine safety and mine management. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Holmes Safety Association, and is a member of the Society of Mining Engineers and the Society of Explosive Engineers.

The MHST team already in place is extremely experienced and professional, and I look forward to working closely with them on the state’s comprehensive mine safety efforts until an extensive search for a permanent appointee can be completed,Dean said.

Joe Spiker will replace Dean at WVU on an interim, six-month basis. Spiker has worked in the WVU Mining Extension Department since 1993, and is currently director of the Emergency Preparedness Centerwhich works with mining companies to develop emergency response systems and training programs for mines.

Spiker earned a bachelor’s degree from California University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in safety and environmental management from WVU . He has an MBA from Waynesburg College . A native of Greene County , Pa. , Spiker has 18 years underground mining experience, including operational, supervisory and management experience. He is also a certified safety professional and will work to continue developing the programs of the Mining Extension Service during Dean’s appointment in Charleston .