Alum's Efforts Brings Recognition to Power Plant


September 4, 2014

A department alumnus was recently honored for having her plant named PRB Power Plant of the Year. Tracy Ortiz, who earned her B.S. (1999) and M.S. (2004) degrees from Virginia Tech’s Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering, is the Fuels Superintendent at the Springerville Generating Station in Apache County, Arizona.

The award is sponsored by the PRB Coal User’s Group--a national nonprofit organization focused on the safe and efficient use of subbituminous coals--and is awarded annually to a plant demonstrating safe and efficient use of Powder River Basin coal. According to Bob Taylor, secretary and past chairman of the PRB Coal User’s Group, Springerville was recognized for its implementation of best practices and its focus on continual improvement and worker safety. Ortiz, who came to the power industry with 15 years’ experience in the mining industry, notes the many improvements her team made at the plant, including updating conveyor belts, installing a new magnetic separator and replacing 30-year-old air and water lines.

Right aligned image, portrait orientation, 150 by 200 pixels

Tracy Ortiz (5th from left) with the Springerville Team after receiving
PRB's Plant of the Year Award (photo from Coal People, Aug. 2014)


Ortiz and her team accepted their award at PRB’s Plant of the Year Open House Party in New Orleans in June 2014, and a story on the accomplishment was recently featured in the August 2014 issue of Coal People Magazine. Accompanying Tracy at the event was Chelsea Barrett, a department senior who performed an internship with Springerville this summer.


Related Links

Coal People

PRB Coal User's Group