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McAteer and Associates

J. Davitt McAteer
Davitt McAteer, a native of West Virginia, 1966 graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University, and a 1970 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law, has devoted much of his professional efforts to mine health and safety issues. He worked with consumer and environmental advocate Ralph Nader on efforts to enact the landmark 1969 Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. During the 1970s, Mr. McAteer worked on safety and health programs for the United Mine Workers and founded the Occupational Safety and Health Law Center. He served as Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health at the United States Department of Labor (1994-2000) during the Clinton Administration. During two of those years, he also served as the Acting Solicitor of Labor. Today, Mr. McAteer is Vice President of Sponsored Programs at Wheeling Jesuit University, leads several national centers that impact economic development, education, and mine safety, including the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center and the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies, which houses the NASA Sponsored Classroom of the Future. He is director of the University’s Coal Impoundment Project, which identifies and develops methods of stabilizing or removing coal impoundments throughout Appalachia, and is consultant to the University’s Clifford M. Lewis, S.J., Appalachian Institute. In 2008, Mr. McAteer was honored by the American Public Health Association with the David Rall Award for Public Health Advocacy.

Katherine Beall
Katherine “Katie” Beall is a recent graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law. Prior to law school, Beall obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Masters degree in Accounting from West Virginia University. Ms. Beall’s prior experience includes working for three years as an auditor for Arnett & Foster in Charleston, WV, obtaining her certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and clerking for the Honorable Ronald Pearson, United States Bankruptcy Court Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia.

James A. Beck, Jr.
Mr. Beck’s career in the coal mining industry started in 1971 as a general laborer for Pittsburgh Coal Company, now Consol Energy, in southwestern Pennsylvania. After becoming a certified first grade mine foreman in Pennsylvania, he progressed through the management ranks, holding positions as section foreman, general mine foreman and superintendent of safety. He has served as a mine superintendent in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. His management experience also includes serving as vice president of safety and training, vice president of operations, and president and CEO in the Central Appalachia coal region. Mr. Beck has extensive operational and mine design experience in longwall mining, continuous miner room and pillar, surface mines, highwall miner operations and preparation plants. He is a two time recipient of the West Virginia Coal Safety Leader of the Year award given by the West Virginia State Council of the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association. Mr. Beck is currently employed by Wheeling Jesuit University as a Project Director at the National Technology Transfer Center working on mine health, safety and technology innovations. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from California University of Pennsylvania, an Associate degree in Mining Technology from Penn State Fayette campus and completed the Management Development Program at the Kellogg Graduate school of Management of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Mr. Beck resides in Danville, West Virginia with his wife Lisa.

Patrick C. McGinley
Patrick C. McGinley is the Charles H. Haden II Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dickinson College and a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law. Professor McGinley teaches courses in administrative, environmental and natural resources law. He served from 1972 to 1975 as Counsel to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Office of Deep Mine Safety where he enforced coal mine safety laws. He was co-editor of the five-volume treatise Coal Law & Regulation and of the annual proceedings of the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation (now Energy and Mineral Law Foundation) of which he was a founder. He also has served as chair of the American Bar Association-American Law Institute course of study: “Legal issues in the Coal Industry.” He is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Celeste Monforton
Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH is a professorial lecturer at the George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services. Her research includes evaluation of worker health and safety laws and policies, and their effectiveness in protecting workers from illnesses, disability and death. Her research has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, Environmental Health, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Public Health Reports, and the Journal of Law & Policy. Prior to earning her doctoral degree in 2008, she was a career federal employee at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA, 1991-1995) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA, 1996-2001). In 2007 Dr. Monforton received the Lorin Kerr award from the American Public Health Association and in 2010 the Tony Mazzocchi Award from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. She is on the advisory board of United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities, a not-for-profit advocacy group for family members who have lost loved ones from workplace hazards.

Debbie Roberts
Debbie Roberts is a paralegal with nearly 30 years of experience working for law firms in Virginia and West Virginia. She joined Wheeling Jesuit University and McAteer & Associates, Shepherdstown, WV, in February 2005. Ms. Roberts’ project management skills were instrumental in the Associates’ investigation of the Sago mine explosion (2006), Aracoma Alma mine fire (2006) and this report on the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Beth Spence
Beth Spence is the coalfield specialist for the American Friends Service Committee, a humanitarian organization which has operated programs in the Appalachian region since the Great Depression. A native of Logan County, WV, Ms. Spence has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. She has written extensively about housing, education and health issues in coalfield communities. Ms. Spence worked with community groups on housing, recreation and redevelopment issues following the Buffalo Creek disaster, and she later helped create two non-profit housing organizations in southern West Virginia. She was the lead writer for this report, which she also designed.

Suzanne M. Weise
Suzanne M. Weise is a Lecturer in Law at the West Virginia University College of Law and also serves as a supervising attorney, West Virginia University College of Law Child and Family Clinical Program. In private practice, Ms. Weise specializes in environmental and administrative law, as well as law relating to public access to information. Her trial and appellate court experience includes litigation of issues involving federal and state environmental regulatory statutes, access to public information, and state open governmental proceedings laws. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University and Juris Doctor from West Virginia University. Ms. Weise has been a member of the West Virginia Bar since 1986.

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