A team from Wellmore Coal took top honors at the recent Virginia Governor’s Cup Mine Rescue and Safety Contest. Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Energy.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

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Wellmore Coal team wins Governor’s Cup at mine rescue and safety competition

Wellmore Coal Co.’s mine rescue team took top honors in the 38th annual Virginia Governor’s Cup Mine Rescue and Safety Contest last week at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

The mine rescue teams competed to conduct rescue and recovery operations in a staged mine disaster scenario laid out in the university’s David J. Prior Convocation Center, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Energy.

The teams were judged on their thoroughness in recording mine conditions on a map as they advanced into the “mine” and their ability to identify and respond to hazards that could endanger the team or trapped miners.

Individual miners also competed in two categories. The preshift competition is designed for mine foreman, who are judged on their ability to identify hazardous conditions and take corrective action. The bench competition has miners looking for problems in the breathing apparatus their team uses to go underground in situations where oxygen is limited.

The contest is hosted by the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association and the Virginia Department of Energy.

The last major mine emergency in which mine rescue teams responded was in 2003. Teams have been used to explore mines for reopening or after fires since that time.


Virginia Governor’s Cup: Wellmore Coal Co.; second place, Paramont Contura.

Bench: First place, TimTurner, Inmet Mining; second place, Casey Mooneyhan, Paramont Contura.

Preshift: First place, Joey Sykes, Paramont Contura; second place, Brian Keith, Paramont Contura.

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IALR in Danville announces new EVP of operations

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research has hired John Hughes IV as executive vice president of operations.

John Hughes IV. Photo courtesy of IALR.

Hughes, who was most recently assistant city manager in Lynchburg, brings nearly two decades of experience in government operations, administration and service, according to a news release announcing his appointment.

Hughes will serve as the institute’s chief business and operations officer. He earned a Master of Business Administration in 2009 and obtained his doctorate in education from the University of Lynchburg in 2023. Hughes also holds bachelor’s degrees in social science and business administration from the University of Lynchburg.   

While in Lynchburg, Hughes spearheaded a poverty-reduction effort through public-private partnerships, grants, workforce development and soft-skill development, continuing education and job placement programs. Hughes previously worked as a foster care social worker and senior family services specialist before spending nearly a decade as the Children’s Services Act coordinator for the city of Lynchburg.  

The Danville-based IALR describes itself as a catalyst for regional economic transformation and has five divisions: applied research, manufacturing advancement, advanced learning, economic development and conference services. Its footprint focuses on Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg and the cities of Martinsville and Danville.

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Mountain Gateway CC hosts cybercamp for high schoolers

Mountain Gateway Community College will host an AFA (Air Force Association) CyberCamp from July 24-28 on the school’s Clifton Forge campus.

The camp will introduce high school students to cybersecurity principles, online safety, cyber ethics, virtual machines and cyber threats, among other topics.

The camp will culminate in a team-based competition that puts the campers in the role of IT administrators tasked with finding and addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated network environments.

The camp is free and open to all rising ninth through 12th graders in the Mountain Gateway service area, which includes Alleghany, Bath, Rockbridge and northern Botetourt counties, as well as the cities of Covington, Lexington and Buena Vista.

Attendees do not have to have any prior knowledge of cybersecurity. Basic knowledge of computer hardware is helpful but not necessary. Campers will need to bring a lunch each day, with pizza provided the last day.

To register for CyberCamp, visit http://www.mgcc.edu/cyberpatriot-campus-2023. For more information, contact Tamra Lipscomb at 540-863-2896 or email tlipscomb@mgcc.edu.

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Emory & Henry names VP for advancement

Robert (Rob) Parker Jr. has been named as vice president for advancement at Emory & Henry College, effective June 8.

Parker served as vice president for college relations at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he and his team had one of the two best fundraising years in that school’s history, according to a news release from Emory & Henry. Under Parker’s leadership as senior associate dean for development in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, he and his team raised $523 million. At Agnes Scott College, Parker planned the largest campaign in that school’s history and led his team in raising $85 million.

Parker earned a doctorate of philosophy in theology and a master of arts in divinity from the University of Chicago and a bachelor of arts in history from Baylor University.  

Emory & Henry is currently running the Collective Connections Campaign that kicked off in the fall of 2022 to raise $25 million.