HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Dr. Wael Zatar, dean of Marshall University’s College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE), has been named the Fletcher Endowed Chair of Engineering at the university.
“Being named the J. H. Fletcher & Co. Endowed Chair of Engineering is so special to me, as I have absolutely been honored to get the opportunity to partner with the J. H. Fletcher & Co. for the past 10 years,” Zatar said. “During these years, the Fletcher leaders and I have had lots of opportunities to discuss, plan, achieve and successfully reap wonderful benefits from many initiatives of interest to both of our organizations.”
Zatar has been dean of CITE since April 2012, after having served as the interim dean for the previous eight months. He has been at Marshall since 2006 and previously worked at the University of Kentucky and West Virginia Tech.
As endowed chair of engineering, Zatar will continue to develop and lead the partnership between Marshall University and J. H. Fletcher & Co. He will lead a group of investigators who will actively participate in quality research aimed at finding innovative engineering solutions for the region’s and nation’s challenges through utilizing the furnished equipment by J. H. Fletcher & Co.
James H. Fletcher began his company intent on developing technology that would greatly improve mine productivity and reduce personnel risk by using rubber-tire, non-track-mounted vehicles in underground applications.
In 1938, the company showed its first products at a coal show in Cincinnati; a rubber-tire tractor and drop-bottom conveyor. Since that time, J. H. Fletcher & Co. has operated with a singular vision: to work with a vigilant focus on finding ways to improve mining processes and reducing risk for the people who work there.
J. H. Fletcher & Co. is a world leader in the design and manufacturing of roof drills, bolters, scaling machines, drill jumbos and specialty equipment that improves safety and productivity in underground mines.
The first company office was established in Chicago. In 1947, the operating office moved to Huntington. The plant at 707 W. 7th St. was occupied on Dec. 1, 1950. As additional space was required, the plant expanded and presently, the J. Robert Fletcher Industrial Facility in Huntington is approximately 154,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 28,000 square feet of office space.
“Our goal is to manufacture equipment for underground mining that increases safety and production through engineering innovation, quality control, experienced service and ownership stability,” said Chairman J. Robert Fletcher.
Zatar said, “I am convinced that the J. H. Fletcher & Co. has been the perfect partner to the College of Information Technology and Engineering, and I enjoyed working with them. Some of the success stories that CITE enjoyed recently could be attributed to the wonderful spirit of partnership that was mutually developed with recognized companies, like J. H. Fletcher & Co.”
The most recent partnership goal was to collaborate with CITE to plan equipping one of the most advanced labs in the region, the Brickstreet Lab for Engineering and Safety. The J. H. Fletcher & Co. assisted in designing and manufacturing state-of-the-art equipment that would be used to find innovative technological engineering and safety solutions. The lab will not only be used to train thousands of undergraduate and graduate engineering and safety technology students, but to provide the latest training for thousands of practicing engineers and technicians.
The lab facility is housed in the newly constructed Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex on Marshall’s campus in Huntington.