At a glance
• Jim Mattern hired as Trapper Mining Co. president and general manager after working for the mine for 26 years.
• Mattern replacing Ray DuBois, who resigned to take a position at a gold mine on the Front Range.
• Mattern graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering, and earned a master’s degree in mineral economics in 1989.
• Mattern started working at Trapper in 1983 as a senior project engineer.
• Mattern moved to Steamboat Springs in 1982 and then to Craig in 1994.
After working for Trapper Mining Co. for 26 years, Jim Mattern, 57, will take the reins as the coal mine’s new president and general manager.
The Trapper Board of Directors decided Wednesday to officially promote Mattern to the position, which he has occupied since former president and general manager Ray DuBois left the mine July 1.
DuBois resigned from the position to become the vice president and general manager at Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co., in Teller County, near Colorado Springs.
“I am ecstatic to have the job,” Mattern said. “I am
humbled by being chosen and I am going to give every effort I can to make the board pleased with their decision.”
Mattern started working at Trapper in 1983 as the senior project engineer. In that position, Mattern assisted in long-range planning of mine operations and permitting.
In 1989, Mattern became chief engineer, responsible for overseeing the engineering department.
In 1994, he became engineering manager due to a shift in the mine’s organization, Mattern said. He also served as the mine’s corporate secretary for nine years.
Mattern graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering, and he earned his master’s degree in mineral economics in 1989.
He worked for Morrison-Knudesen, a contract mining company, for two years before taking a job as a staff mining engineer at Phillips Coal Co. in Dallas in 1981.
Mattern moved to Steamboat Springs in 1982 and then to Craig in 1994. He has three grown children, and is an avid hunter and fisherman, he said.
He said he originally took the job at Trapper because he wanted to work at an operating coal mine, or “where the action is.”
“It’s just a little bit more exciting,” he said. “You get to see results in the field, results of your designs and permits, and those sorts of things.”
Mattern has always been attracted to mining and construction-related industries because his father was in the construction business, he said.
He contends there is a “romantic element” to mining.
“Romantic in the sense that there is a rich history of mining in Colorado and other places,” he said. “It’s the old pick and shovel.
“It is just a great business and I really enjoy being in it.”
Through the 26 years he has worked at Trapper, Mattern said his co-workers keep him coming back to work every day.
“It’s a great group of people here,” he said. “I also love the location.”
Mattern said he was “very excited” to continue working at the mine and taking on more responsibilities.
“I look forward to working with the people here and keeping the train on the tracks,” he said.
In the future, he hopes to work with Trapper’s employees to keep the mine a strong member of the community, continue making it a great place to work and continue its role as a reliable supply of coal, he said.
Mattern said he doesn’t have any specifics goals in mind for the future, but said he wants to work with the mine’s employees to make it the “safest place to work in the industry,” and continue to improve the mine’s operations.
Mattern is also concerned with changing mining operations, he said, and hopes to stay current with new technologies.
“I think that history has shown that taking advantage of new technologies is a very cost-effective thing to do,” he said.
Mattern is also keeping an eye on the future of the coal industry in the area, which he described as “challenging.”
“I think the industry needs to continue to be proactive in educating the community on separating the facts from the fiction on a lot of this stuff,” he said.
However, Mattern thinks Trapper is in a good position to be mining for years to come, he said.
“As long as our coal is competitive, and it is, we should be very secure, but nothing is totally secure,” he said. “I feel really good about the future here at Trapper.”