Patrick V. Cagle has been named the new president of the Alabama Coal Association, succeeding Jasper resident George Barber, who has elected to retire after seven years of service to the coal group.
The Alabama Coal Association, which was formed in 1972, said in a release about the move that it serves as the unified voice of its member companies to address issues impacting the mining industry. The association currently represents companies producing 92 percent of all coal produced in the state of Alabama.
“We are pleased to have Patrick joining the coal association as its new president,” said Walt Scheller, a member of the Alabama Coal Association Board of Directors, in the release. “The background and experience he brings related to coal issues will make him a valuable asset to the association. We wish George well in his retirement and we thank him for his steady guidance of the association during some difficult years for the industry. George has always been a true friend of coal.”
Barber took over the role of president seven years ago on an interim basis and continued to serve in that role until his decision to retire. He has also been a member of the board of directors and is a past chairman of the board.
“I enjoyed my time there and working with our member companies on the variety of issues which have confronted the industry in the past several years,” Barber said. “I am looking forward now to just sitting back at my place on the river and enjoying the peace and quiet.”
Cagle, 34, who has worked with the association on legislative matters in the past, has more than 10 years of experience in navigating Alabama’s political landscape. As executive director of JobKeeper Alliance, a 501c(4) nonprofit whose mission is to protect and create quality jobs, he previously worked hand-in-hand with the coal industry to oppose onerous, job-killing regulations.
“I think my legislative and regulatory experience has prepared me to be an effective advocate for Alabama’s coal industry,” Cagle said in the release.
He said to the Daily Mountain Eagle, "The coal industry is important to Walker County and many of our association members live in and around Jasper so I will be spending a lot of time there. On a personal note, my parents (Patrick Cagle of Wichita, Kansas, and Marilyn Lavanna of Montgomery) grew up in Jasper and I have a lot of family in the area, which is one of the reasons I sought the job" with the association.
Cagle and his wife, Molly, have a 15-month-old son, Bankston and live in Pike Road, outside of Montgomery. They are active members at Church of the Highlands. Cagle is an avid outdoorsman and a member of the Conservation Advisory Board, which assists the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with the formation of hunting and fishing regulations.
Cagle said he would be traveling extensively around the state to work with those communities and companies which deal with the coal industry, including those in Walker County.
“One of my goals as the new president of the Alabama Coal Association is to ensure that elected officials, community leaders and the general public have a greater understanding of the Alabama coal industry and its benefits to our communities and our state,” Cagle said in the release. “Not only is Alabama coal a valuable resource in terms of energy production, but it’s use in steel making and as an export commodity make it of further value in helping to offset trade imbalances at the national level.”
Cagle noted that Alabama coal is also valuable in terms of the jobs it provides in the state which go beyond direct mining jobs and extend into support jobs, suppliers and other jobs in the communities in which coal is mined in the state.
He credited Barber for successfully helping the association and its member companies to navigate through difficult times and difficult issues in the past seven years.
“I look forward to the new challenges ahead,” Cagle said, adding, “I appreciate the hard work that others have done before me in the association and I hope to be able to build on that to continue to move Alabama’s coal industry forward.”