PITTSBURGH, April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- J. Michael Onifer, senior vice president of gas operations for CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX), was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Virginia Tech, Friday during the university's annual awards and scholarship banquet.
Onifer, a 1978 graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in mining engineering, has made his career with CONSOL Energy, having worked with the company for 34 years. Twenty-two years of that time was spent in coal operations management and the most recent 12 years have been spent in management on the gas side of CONSOL Energy's operations.
The award was presented by Dr. Michael Karmis, the Stonie Barker Professor for the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering and director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) at Virginia Tech.
"This prestigious award is presented to honor alumni based on their professional career and accomplishments," Karmis said in presenting the award to Onifer. "Your contributions and commitment to the department, the VCCER and the university are appreciated."
Karmis noted it has been Onifer and CONSOL Energy's Virginia gas division which have made contributions to ongoing research into carbon capture and storage in the Virginia coalfields, donating the use of wells and staff time to explore the opportunities that might be there. He recognized Onifer and CONSOL Energy for that partnership.
In accepting the award, a bronzed statue of a miner, Onifer thanked the department for selecting him for the honor and remembered what the study of engineering was like 34 years ago when engineers used slide rules and computers were first added into the mix. The tools used in the profession have changed through the years, but he said looking out over the room packed with student scholarship winners that they were the future of the profession and he urged them to vigorously protect that future as they moved forward.
"Things changed for me through the years and they will change for you as well," Onifer said. "Be an agent of change."
In addition to earning his degree from Virginia Tech, Onifer also completed the Harvard Business School program of management development in 2004.
He is also a member of the board of directors of the Virginia Oil and Gas Association, a board member of the Virginia Mining Institute and is an advisory board member of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research.
Dr. Greg Adel, professor and head of the department, noted the distinguished alumnus award recognizes the many contributions Onifer has made to the mining field, his service to his chosen profession and his dedicated support of his alma mater.
CONSOL Energy Inc., the leading diversified fuel producer in the Eastern U.S., is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 Equity Index and the Fortune 500. It has 12 bituminous coal mining complexes in four states and reports proven and probable coal reserves of 4.4 billion tons. It is also a leading Eastern U.S. gas producer, with proved reserves of over 3.7 trillion cubic feet. Additional information about CONSOL Energy can be found at its web site: www.consolenergy.com.
SOURCE CONSOL Energy Inc.