Patrick Mangin got his job, in part, thanks to his son's love of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The retired, 23-year Army infantry officer, who lived north of Philadelphia, wanted to get him great seats for a game, so he fished around on LinkedIn to see whether anyone he knew had a contact at CONSOL Energy, which at the time had naming rights and a box at the arena in Pittsburgh.
A friend in Denver made an introduction that resulted in the tickets — and, in March 2013, a job as director of the CONSOL's port terminal in Baltimore, overseeing the export of millions of tons of Appalachian coal each year.
Mangin, 49, who had worked previously as a contractor and taught leadership at Princeton University, is the top official at CNX Marine Terminals' Baltimore facility in the Canton Industrial Area. He supervises his terminal managers, focusing on safety, environment, security, business development, supply chain, human resources, operations, maintenance and logistics.
"It's a nice mix because it's white-collar and blue-collar," he said. "The people here are so professional."
The coal is delivered by 130-car CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern freight trains from about a dozen mines in West Virginia, Ohio and Northeast Pennsylvania.
This month, his Baltimore terminal will receive 83 of those 1.5-mile-long trains and ship 1.2 million pounds of coal to Japan, South Korea, India, Brazil and Germany, where it is either used to make iron and steel, or to run steam turbines for electricity. It's one of five coal export facilities on the East Coast.
Environmental concern over the impact of burning coal and other fossil fuels has made the industry more volatile, but Mangin said renewable energy sources still lag far behind in their production power and aren't yet a plausible replacement.
"It's why I haven't left this job," he said. "Because I know it's here for years to come."
Mangin played college football at West Point for four years, during which his Army team went 3-1 against Navy, winning two Commander-in-Chief trophies and playing against Alabama in the Sun Bowl in 1988.
He's a Steelers fan — he's from Western Pennsylvania, after all — but roots for the Orioles and said he enjoyed living in Canton before recently moving to Middle River.
"As much as I enjoyed the city and all its amenities," he said, "I'm looking forward to getting to know the new neighbors."
Mangin and his wife, Theresa, are in a long-distance relationship. He moved to Baltimore for the CONSOL job during their engagement; she remained in Pennsylvania, waiting until her youngest son graduates from high school this year.
He said she was understanding when he took the job.
"It went over well," Mangin said. "We're both older, and we're trying to set ourselves up for retirement."
For him, that means overseeing the roughly 80 non-union employees — electricians, mechanics, heavy equipment operators, plumbers, railroad-inspecting teams, coal-sampling teams and others — and the mountains of coal traveling along conveyor belts to waiting ships.
"Every day has new challenges, which is the beauty of this job," he said. "It's not boring."