Dr. Michael Karmis is the Stonie Barker Professor of the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering and the Director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech. His broad research interests are in mine planning and design, ground control and the sustainable development of energy and natural resources. He has authored more than 150 scientific papers, reports, Proceedings volumes and textbooks and has directed numerous research projects funded by government agencies and the private sector. A Professional Engineer in the U.S.A. and a Licensed Engineer (Eur Ing) in Europe, Dr. Karmis has been active in consulting with the minerals industry, consulting companies, government organizations and legal firms. He served as the 2002 President of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) and the 2002/03 President of the Society of Mining Professors. He is a Distinguished Member of the SME, a Fellow of the Institute of Quarrying and a Fellow of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He has received numerous recognitions and awards by major scientific, professional and industrial organizations.