In Attendance From MSHA


Wayne Palmer

Previously worked on Capitol Hill for 13 years, serving as Senator Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) chief of staff and Senator George Voinovich’s (R-OH) legislative director. Outside of government, he worked as the senior manager for congressional relations at the non-partisan Center for Presidential Transition, focusing on improving the presidential appointment and Senate confirmation process. He also worked as a lobbyist handling healthcare issues. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Penn State and a master’s in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Brett Barrick

Twenty years as the Director of Safety and Health with REXCO Inc. a Port Lavaca, Texas based company servicing The Alumina Industry. Specializing in raw material handling, process maintenance and civil construction activities. Two years as Senior Safety Advisor with Bullock, Bennett Associates an Aus-tin, Texas based engineering firm. Specializing in geotechnical, environmental and civil construction activities for the mining industry. Four years as a MSHA Inspector in the San Antonio Field Office. Four years as a Dis-trict Conference and Litigation Representative. Current position is the Supervisor Special Investigations for the South Central District.

Timothy Watkins

Prior to this SES position, Mr. Watkins was the Deputy Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health MSHA, within the Department of Labor. He is a Mining Engineer with extensive practical experience in mining. He has held several positions from a Ventilation Specialist, Mining Engi-neer, Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Specialist, to an Assistant District Manager to a District Manag-er within MSHA. He also served as the coordinator of MSHA’s National Coal Mine Rescue Contest. Since 1997, he has spent time at fatal mining accidents, both as an enforcement staffer and as a member of ac-cident investigation teams. Mr. Watkins, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Kentucky. He is also a registered professional engineer.

Nick Gutierrez

A third generation miner who has been in the mining industry for 19 years. He start-ed at MSHA in 2010 and currently holds the position of Acting Assistant District Manager in the South Central District. Previously, he has held positions such as health & safety specialist, training coordinator, business unit advisor for emergency management, and emergency response & preparedness. During his career, he was a mine rescue team member for over eight years and served as a team trainer for three of those years. He instructed mine rescue, wild land firefighting, confined space rescue, and rope rescue. He recognizes the great health and safety contribution MSHA provides to the mining industry and wishes to continue his journey in health and safety for our nation’s most precious resource – the miner.

Will O’Dell

Current Acting District Manager and great grandson of John Haney. His great grandfather was a miner at a rock crusher plant South of Chico, Texas. In, July of 1948, John was fatally injured ten minutes before the end of his shift, leaving behind his wife and multiple young children. Will followed in his families footsteps becoming the 4th generation to work in the North Texas mines. In 2005, he started his career with MSHA and has held positions of Inspector, Field Office Supervisor, Accident In-vestigator, CLR, Health Specialist and Assistant District Manager. His experiences throughout his career have furthered his belief that operators of mines with the assistance of the miners have the primary re-sponsibility to prevent the existence of unsafe and unhealthful conditions and practices in their mines.

Mac Burriss



Kendell Whitman



Richard Gates



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