Kim Coburn has been a reclamation specialist with the Minerals Program since 2018. She is a mine inspector ensuring operators mine within the permit boundaries and follow applicable rules. She is skilled in geographic information systems (GIS) and uses her knowledge to obtain accurate boundary maps to confirm operators have accurate bonds, which protects the state from operator liability. Kim assists the Minerals team with mapping, bonding, and hydrology reviews. She is a wealth of knowledge and respected by staff as a go-to person. Her favorite part about her job is the opportunity to travel throughout the state and seeing gorgeous and unique areas. 

Kim Coburn

Kim is a licensed professional Civil Engineer and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering with a minor in astrophysics from the University of Toledo. Prior to her employment with the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, she was a consultant focusing on municipal engineering where she learned mapping software and project management. 

When Kim isn’t working, she enjoys exploring with her husband and two dogs. Recently, she’s ventured into the world of kayaking.


Steve Demczak works in the Division’s Coal Program as a reclamation specialist III and mining engineer. He has been with the Division for almost 31 years. His main responsibility is conducting environmental inspections of Utah coal mines to ensure compliance with laws and rules. Steve also performs inspections with the Office of Surface Mine (OSM), a federal agency. He is the sole reviewer of minor coal explorations notices of intent to mine. Recently, Steve was assigned to assess violations for the Minerals Program including environmental impact and financial penalties.

Steve’s favorite part of his job is providing his knowledge and experience to operators looking for recommendations for solving problems and issues. He also enjoys exchanging ideas with co-workers and those in the industry.

Steve received an associate degree in Pre-Engineering from the College of Eastern Utah and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Utah. He has worked underground in coal mines in Utah as a foreman and mining engineer.

When Steve is not working, he enjoys traveling with his wife especially to Ukraine, her native country, to sight-see and learn Russian. He loves home remodeling projects and is a sports car enthusiast.

Photo of Steve Demczak


Josh Payne is the compliance manager for the Division’s Oil and Gas Program and has been with the Division for 15 years. He is responsible for ensuring compliance with Division rules and regulations and monitoring and resolving outstanding issues or problems. He credits program teamwork and the framework of Division rules and regulations as successful tools used in protecting the public and the environment while promoting responsible development.

The best things Josh enjoys about his job is the flexible work schedule that creates a good work-life balance and the people with whom he works.

Josh’s career started in petroleum supply in the Army in 2001. He is a standardization instructor and maintenance pilot in the Utah Army National Guard, which requires extensive compliance with regulations. He has flown for the military for the past 15 years and is always in awe when looking at the world from above.

Josh is from Utah but has lived all over the world. He enjoys spending time outdoors, especially with his family. His to-do list is never ending and usually includes a new home project or woodworking hobby.


Chris Roher is a senior reclamation specialist with the Division’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program. He started with the program as a graduate school intern in 1982 and moved to a full-time division employee in 1983.

Chris Roher

As a senior reclamation specialist, Chris manages projects from the initial abandoned mine inventory to construction and closure. This planning process can include budget estimating, National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) compliance, procurement of construction and professional services, construction inspection, and contract management. Chris has been project manager for 49 construction contracts totaling $9.4 million, including reclamation at 100 coal mine sites an installation of over 1,880 non coal closures.

Chris enjoys his work for numerous reasons including being able to hike and explore areas of the state. With Utah’s vast mining history, his work has taken him every corner of the state. He is also proud that the AMR has an exemplary record of thoughtful project design and execution in sensitive environments that has earned the respect of land managers.

Chris has a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology/Environmental Studies from Butler University and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Indiana University.

When Chris is not working, he enjoys watching independent films, world travel, and global cuisine and music.


Wayne Western, Mining Engineer, Utah Minerals Program

Wayne Western is a mining engineer with the Division’s Minerals Program. He started with the Coal Program in 1991 and moved to the Minerals Program in 2007.

He is the lead for Carbon, Emery, Juab, Wayne and eastern Garfield counties. Wayne conducts technical reviews for small mines and exploration projects as well as engineering and bond review for large mines. He provides technical and regulatory support to operators ranging from calculating reclamation cost estimates to assistance in filling out small mine permits. He conducts routine inspections of mines and exploration projects ensuring operators are mining within their permits. 

In the Minerals Program he’s known as Bond, James Bond because he helps establish the current bonding practices and procedures used by both the coal and minerals programs and drafts technical directives on how bonds are to be calculated.

Wayne works with a number of operations with the most significant mine in his area being the Materion beryllium mine west of Delta. Materion is the world’s only primary producer of beryllium which is used in many high tech applications that make the modern world possible. He ensures mining is done in a way that it protects public safety and preserves the environment.  

Wayne Western, Mining Engineer, Utah Minerals Program

Wayne says the best thing about his job is his fun, professional and helpful co-workers. He also likes being able to visit many out-of-the-way areas including the Henry Mountains and west desert.
He has Bachelor of Science degrees in geology and mining engineering and a Master of Science in mining engineering.

Wayne Western, Mining Engineer, Utah Minerals Program

In Wayne’s leisure time he enjoys traveling with his wife to visit his children who live in the United Kingdom and takes annual trips to England and Scotland. He is a hunter education instructor and has been honored twice as Instructor of the Year. His wife is a fantastic baker and he enjoys reaping the benefits.


Todd Miller is a biologist with the Coal Program and oversees the active coal mine operations in the state. He has been with the program for 2.5 years.

He ensures coal mine operators are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations relating to biology including the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). 

His position makes certain that active coal operations are able to function and fulfill their role in energy development without creating undue negative environmental effects to wildlife and vegetation. He also ensures that when coal mines are reclaimed, they are done so in a way that enables the land to fulfill its highest and best post-mining land use. Usually that means the mine is reclaimed in a way that is best suited to encourage and aid wildlife but it can also be for grazing, recreational or other uses.

The best thing Todd likes about his job is the people he works with and the time he gets to spend outdoors. 

Todd Miller, Biologist, Utah Coal Program

Seeing a coal mine that has produced untold amounts of energy for the state in its lifetime and is now completely reclaimed and blended in to the point of being unnoticeable is pretty good too.

Todd went to school at Dixie State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology as well as a Bachelor of Science in Human Communication. Prior to his position with the Coal Program, he spent 2.5 years working as a contractor for the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management in southern Utah and Arizona.

He is the proud father of three little girls ages 1-7. When Todd isn’t working, he enjoys getting outdoors as much as possible whether that is hiking, canoeing, riding motorcycles, nature photography or playing sports. He also likes to dabble in woodworking and outdoor cooking.


Richard Powell is an environmental scientist/field inspector in the Oil and Gas Program. He’s been in the program for 15 years and is based in the Vernal field office. As a Uinta Basin oil and gas field inspector he monitors, inspects and advises operators in all aspects of oil and gas activity from initial pre-site inspections and drilling to final well plugging and reclamation.

Richard brings expertise and experience that gives him the skills necessary to ensure oil and gas development is done properly. Regulatory oversite is needed to make sure oilfield operations, such as produced salt water disposal, spill cleanup and drilling, are completed while protecting the resources of the state.

The best thing Richard likes about his job is working in very remote areas of the state. Because his truck is his office, he often deals with extreme temperatures, weather, potential flash flooding and lots of dust. 

Richard received his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Utah State University.  Before joining the Division, he worked as a service supervisor for BJ Services, a worldwide oilfield pressure pumping service provider and as a licensed environmental health scientist for the TriCounty Health Department.

He is married with four children. He is active in church and community activities including youth sports coaching and most recently assistant coach for the Uintah High School mountain bike team the Rollin’ Utes. Richard has numerous hobbies including leather work, raising registered Black Hereford cattle and registered 100% New Zealand Kiko goats, archery, Dutch oven cooking, gardening and mountain biking.


Kent Phillips, Project Manager, Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.

Kent Phillips is a project manager for the Division’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program. He has been with the program for approximately two years.  He works to reclaim and restore lands that were mined before the Surface Mining Control Reclamation Act of 1977 was passed. Since starting with the Division, he has overseen reclamation of several large projects including the $2 million dollar Kenilworth project and $230,000 Chief One Subsidence project in Eureka. 

His position protects public safety by sealing off hazardous mines and addressing issues affecting the environment and resources. “Development is a necessary component of our society, albeit with inherent potential for significant impacts to the environment and public safety if carried out irresponsibly,” commented Kent. “I believe that abandoned mine lands have left us with prime examples of what exactly these potential impacts are if resource development is left unregulated.” 

He says the best part of his job is working with a diverse array of stakeholders – from the public to government agencies across all levels, his knowledgeable co-workers, and private contractors and consultants. 

Kent has a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Appalachian State University and a Master of Science in Mining Engineering from Virginia Tech University. Before joining the AMRP, he was a consultant at URS/AECOM consulting firm where he worked with program staff on reclamation projects. 

In his free time, Kent enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, and trail running with his dog Tommy.

Employee Highlight – Summer 2019

Peter Brinton is a reclamation specialist with the Minerals Program. He has been with the Division for nine years. 

As a reclamation specialist, he reviews mine and reclamation plans, evaluates environmental impacts, educates industry about permitting and reclamation, inspects sites for compliance, and enforces the Utah Mined Land Reclamation Act. His review responsibilities often include mine waste management/disposal (e.g. tailings, waste rock), hydrology, engineering, and bond calculations. Peter enjoys the occasional opportunity to review archaeology reports and inter-agency documents (EISs and a Species Status Assessment), and to manage/implement bond forfeiture reclamation projects.

The permit review work Peter does helps operators plan for final reclamation and aids in the mitigation and avoidance of environmental damage. Inspections and enforcement actions can help avoid or minimize unplanned environmental impacts.  The goal of reclamation is that a sustainable post-mining land use is achieved (like wildlife habitat or grazing).

According to Peter, the best parts of his job are the exposure to lots of unique operations and reclamation scenarios, the field time and job autonomy, and working in a multi-disciplinary environment with good co-workers who are willing to share what they know and their senses of humor.

Peter has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Utah and a Master’s of Science Degree in Hydrology from the Colorado School of Mines. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time outside, especially in the Uintas and Grand Teton National Park. He also likes time with family and friends, playing soccer, anything science and history-related, and staying fluent in his Spanish. 

Employee Highlight – Spring 2019

Mark Reinbold joined the Oil and Gas Program in January 2009 as an environmental scientist/geologist. His responsibilities have included writing permits for water injection wells in the Monument Butte waterflood project near Myton, in the Uintah Basin. When oil prices were high, there were numerous applications, but when oil prices decreased in 2014, his responsibilities changed. Since then his focus has shifted more to the field, still largely involving Monument Butte and nearby fields in the Basin, but now the primary responsibilities are well inspections for water injection wells and production wells. There are more than 1,300 water injection wells in the Monument Butte Field. Also, he witnesses mechanical integrity tests (MITs) on the injection wells.

Mark has worked on various other projects including writing permits for various saltwater disposal wells and the Oil and Gas Program’s Standard Operating Procedures and Guidance documents for field inspections and permitting procedures. 

Mark’s job ensures responsible resource development, while also protecting the environment by protecting groundwater and surface waters from contamination by the oil field. Mark works with operators to address little problems before they become larger issues. 

Mark likes that his job is largely independent, but that help is always available when needed. He enjoys having been given opportunities to see some beautiful areas and great geology in the state, even some beyond the Uintah Basin. 

Mark is native to southeastern Illinois and grew up on a farm. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Science Degree in Geology, specializing in stratigraphy from the University of Illinois. In the past, he has worked at the Illinois State Geological Survey, ARCO Exploration in Denver, the Colorado Geological Survey, and environmental engineering companies in Minnesota. He moved to Utah from the Twin Cities, Minnesota and as bad as this winter has been, he still doesn’t miss the Minnesota winters.

Mark has two grown children, a son in Phoenix and a daughter in Madrid, Spain. Mark met his wife Hang Dao in Salt Lake City in 2013. She is from Hanoi, Vietnam and they have taken several trips to visit. Mark says it is a fascinating place.

In addition to traveling, they enjoy hiking, biking, and camping.