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A Sikh IN USA 1950's
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A SIKH IN USA - 1950's


Circular letter sent by the University to market Swarn to the Mining Industry

During summer research field visit in 1959, Swarn met the Senior V.P. of Hanna Coal, a Division of Consolidation Coal, and was offered a position on graduation. However no concrete offer was forth coming with graduation fast approaching on 31st January. On a somewhat desperate telephone call, the V.P. said "Of course we have a job for you - just come over." So the day after graduation Swarn drove to St Clairsville, Oh, and met with the V.P. in the late afternoon. As a starter,he asked Swarn if he wanted to rise in life to which the obvious answer was "Yes, of course". The V.P. advised that in that case I should forget that I have any degree and start learning the mining practices from the bottom. There was a background about which Swarn got to know later. The V.P. had no formal degree and so was the case with many senior Mine Managers. However, the Company was known in the industry for its record breaking efficiencies and some of the largest equipments industry had were first introduced at Hanna Coal, including transportation of coal as a fluid through pipeline to the ships several hundred miles away at the port. The V. P. called the G.M. of Ireland Mine in W.Va, to tell him that Swarn was to work there. By the time I reached the mine several miles away with heavy snow fall, it was dark. I was told to report at 7:00 next morning at the pithead for going underground with the foreman. No one offered help on where to stay nor did I ask for help. I was no more a pampered foreign student in the University but in the rough and tumble of industry. So I booked myself in a Motel in Moundsville, a town fifteen miles away. I had to buy a lunch box as I was expected to stay eight hours underground. On reporting to duty next morning, still dark and snowing, I was assigned to the foreman for studying a continuous mining machine, a latest acquisition by the company. This machine cuts the coal like a shaving machine in vertical and horizontal movements. As the coal is cut the roof can fall down. The work place was really scary, dusty and noisy at the front end of the mine like a real war zone. I was to evaluate, using time and motion study, maximization of the machine utilization. The fore man had a gang of four people. No one talked to me except during lunch break on the dirty mine floor...

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