Charles Snavely is the secretary of the energy and environment cabinet in Kentucky.
If you ask him, its just as important that he is a community college graduate.
Snavely, 60, was appointed to the cabinet level position earlier this year by Governor
This was an opportunity that I couldnt pass up, said Snavely. Retirement was just
not for me.
At the end of 2013, Snavely began to phase into what he thought was retirement. It
was the end of a successful 35-year span as a coal executive that included stints
with A.T. Massey Coal Company, James River Coal Company, International Coal Group
and Arch Coal, where he was President of Eastern Operations.
Thats when he got the call from the Bevin administration.
Opportunity knocked. And he answered.
Snavely, who graduated from Prestonsburg Community College (now Big Sandy Community
and Technical College) in 1975, completed his undergraduate degree in mining engineering
from Virginia Tech in 1977.
During his time as a coal executive, he decided to return to school as part of a new
Executive MBA program through a partnership with the University of Kentucky and the
University of Louisville. He was part of the programs inaugural graduating class in
I was once told that in life many things can be taken away from you, he recalled.
No one can take your education away from you.
Snavely said his time at Prestonsburg Community College was instrumental in influencing
his decision to become a mine executive. The mentorship of professors such as John
D. Sammons, Ken Fuller and Dr. Charles Robertson still influence him every day.
I know John D. Sammons mentored many, many engineers, Snavley added. It was not only
the instruction, but also the attention I received.
During his career, Snavely had many employees ask his advice on college. Those employees
were proud to have the opportunity to send their child to college and many of them
were first generation college students.
I always advised them to send their child to a community college, said Snavely. At
18 years old, children are not sure what they want to be. Its less expensive and students
get the attention they need at a community college. I got excellent attention in every
class I had at Prestonsburg Community College. That was very important.