SunCoke, Cincinnati State training partnership brings results

July 9, 2014

Robert White
Media Relations/Communications Coordinator
(513) 569-4775 (office)
(859) 468-6640 (cell)

SunCoke, Cincinnati State training partnership brings results

The massive SunCoke plant in Middletown represents the current state of the old industrial art of 
refining coal for use in the blast furnace of a steel mill.

Opened in 2011, the $400 million facility uses a proprietary process that not only burns the impurities 
out of coal, but also uses residual heat from that process to generate significant amount of electricity. 
Though streamlined and far more efficient than earlier generations of coke plants, it remains an 
operation that relies on team members who understand how to operate and maintain equipment that 
operates at high pressures, under high temperatures, and with high expectations for safety and 

Last year, SunCoke officials contracted with Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center to provide 
specialized training at the plant for a group of team members who sought to prepare to take the state of 
Ohio examination for licensure as a stationary engineer. To run the class, the WDC turned to Dr. Michael 
Posey, a veteran instructor who happens to be an ordained minister, a 9th degree black belt and the 
husband of Cincinnati State Academic Vice President Dr. Monica Posey.

By all accounts, the class went well. According to Jim Bax, the WDC business manager for Middletown, It 
ran for 26 weeks, meeting once a week over three different shifts, with three to four people 
participating from each shift.

After the training was over, every single participant passed the state test needed to earn a Third Class 
Stationary Engineer’s license.

 It was, as such classes often are, a mixed group — some had engineering degrees already, some had 
advanced college degrees, some didn’t. What they had in common, Dr. Posey said, was a desire to fully 
understand what it takes to properly run the big boilers at the Middletown plant.

SunCoke officials are finalizing plans now with Cincinnati State and its Workforce Development Center to 
launch another training class later this month at the plant.

Cincinnati State ( offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate 
programs in business technologies, health and public safety, engineering technologies, humanities and 
sciences and information technologies. Cincinnati State has one of the most comprehensive co-op 
programs among two-year colleges in the U.S. 

Cincinnati State officials meet in “Power Island” at the SunCoke plant in Middletown with plant manager 
Ralph Kremer (front row, second from left) and team members who successfully completed training and 
passed state tests to earn Third Class Stationary Engineer’s licenses. Pictured in the back row, left to 
right, are Cincinnati State Workforce Development Center Business Manager James Bax; SunCoke team 
members Terry Fike, James Weatherly, Bill Hammond and Jon Lienesch; and WDC instructor Dr. Michael 
Posey. Seated in the front row, left to right, are SunCoke team members Jeff Siegrist, Kremer, Will Walker 
and Tom Manley.