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J. Chris Adkins, BSMNG 1993
Inducted in 2024

J. Chris Adkins, BSMNG 1993

For over three decades, J. 'Chris' Adkins has exemplified leadership and innovation within the engineering profession. As a visionary in his field, Adkins has driven significant advancements in safety and operational excellence within the mining industry. 

Adkins began his career in mining in 1984. He began working for Massey Coal in 1985 and spent over 27 years with the energy company. During his tenure at Massey, he steadily advanced through roles, while earning his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1993. By 2003, Adkins had worked his way through Massey, from an underground general laborer to chief operating officer and senior vice president. During this time, he always chose to reside close to his operations in Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia, as well as Australia, China, and the Navajo Indian Reservation in Four Corners, New Mexico. 

Adkins held this pivotal role overseeing all aspects of Massey's extensive operations, including underground and longwall operations, surface mining, preparation plants, and high wall miners until 2011. He was part of a team that took Massey from a privately held and family-owned company to a publicly held Forbes 200 company, employing over 10,000 people. His leadership lead to several groundbreaking safety advancements, including the development of reflective safety stripes, which revolutionized worker visibility and saved countless lives across mining and construction industries globally, in addition to proximity safety control devices, and numerous other mine safety improvements.  

After Massey’s $7.6 billion sale in 2011, Adkins utilized his expertise as a consultant within the mining and rock industry. He also designed, constructed, operated, and sold a family amusement complex in the Smokey Mountains, and successfully restructured operations in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In addition, he earned a certificate in human resources from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

In his current role as CEO and partner at Clintwood JOD, Adkins is expanding and rebuilding the mining company with his storied commitment to site safety, resulting in zero lost time accidents on the property over a two-year span. 

Adkins' philanthropic endeavors have left an indelible mark on communities in Southern West Virginia and beyond. As president and design engineer of the Driven Knights Sports Complex, he spearheaded the construction of vital recreational facilities, and through the 501-C, has donated over $1 million to the area’s youth. His dedication to his community is further underscored by his past service on the board of governors for Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, various other local boards and his contributions to local youth and athletics.  

Throughout his career, Adkins has maintained a strong sense of service to the profession—evidenced by the countless young engineers he has mentored within the mining engineering industry—and to his surrounding community. He has earned numerous honors, including the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Award of Excellence, Kentucky Colonel, and an Honorary Citizen of Hazard.

Adkins says his greatest accomplishment is being a husband to Cindy and father to Kierstin and Hunter.