Jeff grew up in the small eastern Kentucky town of Hyden. While attending Leslie County High School, he excelled in academics, graduating second in his class of 172 students in 1987, and athletics, being named an All-State Honorable Mention in football. Jeff chose to attend the University of Kentucky, where he was accepted in the UK College of Engineering in the fall of 1987. During his time at UK, Jeff was active in the Norwood Student Chapter of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (“SME”), serving as Chapter President in 1990-91. In his senior year at UK, the “Old Timers Society” recognized him as the most outstanding graduate in Mining Engineering and he won the SME’s Student Paper Contest for his work on “Blast Casting in Surface Mining.”
Upon graduating from UK in 1991, with a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering, Jeff accepted a positon as mine engineer with Costain Coal Inc. in Oakman, Alabama. In 1994, he returned to Lexington, Kentucky to work for MAPCO Coal Inc, the predecessor to Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. Over his past 31 years in the coal industry, Jeff has served as heavy equipment operator, surveyor, Project Engineer, Manager of Permitting, and General Manager and Vice-President of Business Development. During this time, he earned this Master of Business Administration from Webster University in 1998 and provided testimony to the National Research Council – Committee on Coal Waste Impoundments in 2002.
Jeff continues to be part of an Alliance Management team – led by President and CEO, Joe Craft – that has grown Alliance from 20 million tons of annual coal production and 400 million tons of coal reserves in 2003 to over 40 million tons of annual coal production and 1.7 billion tons of coal reserves in 2018. As Alliance grew to become the second largest coal producer in the eastern United States, Jeff was integral in acquiring coal reserves for mine development projects such as the River View Mining Complex, which is presently the largest continuous miner room-and-pillar coal operation in the world, having an annual production capacity of over 11 million tons. He also served as a lead member of Alliance’s acquisition team in the White Oak Resources Transaction, one of the largest investments ever made by Alliance, providing more than $500 million to develop a longwall mining complex near McLeansboro, Illinois. Jeff served on the White Oak Resources’ Board of Directors, until Alliance acquired its investment partner’s remaining equity interest in 2015.
Jeff is a former Board Member of the UK College of Engineering Alumni Association, Frankfort YMCA Flag Football coach, and supporter of the UK Mining Engineering Foundation. Jeff, along with his wife, Beth, and his two children, Mattie and Garrett, reside in Frankfort, Kentucky, where they are members of the Buck Run Baptist Church.