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Dixon is named coordinator of local mining academy

Murrel Dixon, with nearly four decades of working in the coal industry, has been named coordinator for the Southeast Mining Academy. The academy -- one of four located inKentucky is operated locally by Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College.

A native of the Letcher County community of Blackey, Dixon assumed the leadership role recently following the retirement of Ed Wright.

Dixon is named coordinator of local mining academy

Dixon has been affiliated with SKCTC for 17 years and will head a team whose mission is to provide quality safety and workforce training to miners throughout the region. Over 3,000 coal miners were trained by the academy in 2009.

The local academy is a component of the Kentucky Coal Academy which operates from sites at community colleges in Cumberland, Hazard, Prestonsburg and Madisonville.

Dixon began his career as an employee of the International Harvester-owned mine at Benham where he worked 15 years. He would then work for Arch of Kentucky for five years, and he worked for Drummond Mining in Alabama for two years before returning to Kentucky.

As the chief of the Southeast Mining Academy, Dixon and his team of J.P. Campbell, Wade Smith and Ruby Maggard provide instruction and retraining opportunities for novice and veteran miners. At the academys location in Cumberland, state-of-the-art training simulators are used to demonstrate and teach safe and proper procedures for key mining jobs such as roof bolting, truck driving, front-end loader operation, shuttle car operation and the operation of a continuous miner.

Dixon noted he was happy to be chosen to direct the local academy. He also paid tribute to his mentor and former boss, Ed Wright, who retired earlier this year. Ed always put safety first, and I will certainly do that as well. We always believe that a trained and educated coal miner is a safer and more productive miner, he said. Our mission is to keep abreast of the ever-changing technology. We hope to always have the most up to date equipment in order to provide the very best in training and education for those working in the industry.