This is the first installment of crew profiles from our Mountain Mindful team. The second installment will be published December 2021.
When Coalfield Development launched 10 years ago, we could not have anticipated the success that was to come. Today, as a staff of over 100, we take pride in providing a supportive forum through which our team can grow and develop professionally and personally and cultivate meaningful work relationships.
At the root of it all, it’s our crew that makes us what — and who — we are as an organization.
Each crew member brings their own unique touch and personality to their role, and whether they’re with us for two years or 10, they leave lasting impacts on us as a team and us as individuals.
As we approach the end of the year and enter a period of reflection, we want to do things a little differently. Over the next two months, we’ll be shining a light onto crew members at our newest enterprise: the Mountain Mindful team.
Based out of Huntington, West Virginia, Mountain Mindful joined the lineup at Coalfield Development in 2021. Through the merging of two existing enterprises — Saw’s Edge and Sustain U — Mountain Mindful became a one-stop online shop where visitors could find all of their favorite Appalachian handcrafted goods in one place.
From screen printed items and apparel, to handmade home furnishings, to self care products, the Mountain Mindful team specializes in producing quality, sustainably-sourced and -built Appalachian-made goods. Our Mountain Mindful crew is now six months into business, and we think that’s worth celebrating!
So, without further adieu, let’s meet the crew.
Crew member: Katie Reed
Role: Graphic Designer
Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio
Katie Reed is a graphic designer on the Mountain Mindful team. The mom of three has a passion for Cirque d’Art Theatre, her church, and playing video games. She has two canine companions and a cat.
Since joining the Mountain Mindful crew, Katie said she’s become more confident in herself and her designs, and she’s especially proud of an apparel design collaboration she and her daughter created.
“One of the designs that I’ve done is actually a drawing my daughter did that I took and
digitized,” Katie said. “It turned out to be a really cool design, and now she can tell people she has a tshirt that she designed.”
In the new year, she hopes to continue polishing her design skills and branch out into other facets of the Mountain Mindful enterprise.
Crew member: Chancellor “Chance” Wooding
Role: Woodshop crew & photographer
Hometown: Huntington, West Virginia
At Mountain Mindful, Chance Wooding can usually be found in the woodshop. While at Coalfield, he has also served as the team photographer, capturing product shots for the website and occasionally modeling in them. In his free time, he hangs out with his family and friends.
Watching the progress of his Mountain Mindful colleagues, he said, has been a highlight of his work experience.
“Over the last 6 months I have witnessed a lot of growth within our crew members and
there’s no better feeling in the world!” Chance said.
Moving forward, Chance said he hopes to expand his role as a photographer at Coalfield.
Crew member: Jaron Ekers
Role: Woodshop crew
Hometown: Prichard, West Virginia
Jaron Ekers is a crew member in the Mountain Mindful woodshop. He is married with a 14-month-old daughter, three dogs, and three cats. At Mountain Mindful, Jaron handcrafts various wood products for retail, and most recently, he said he’s proudest of producing 19 cutting boards.
For Jaron, honing and developing new skills with alongside colleagues has been a highlight.
“I think we have collectively improved our woodworking skills as well as I feel we have all grown as people in our professional and personal lives,” Jaron said. “We are like a family here in Mountain Mindful.”
Jaron plans to take the fire marshal exam in early 2022 to become a licensed journeyman electrician.
Crew member: Megan Mounts
Role: Mountain Mindful apparel crew
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
In her role as an apparel crew member, Megan works with screen printing preparations and productions. She is also involved in assessing quality control for products. Prior to her time with Mountain Mindful, Megan was a Fairfield WRAPS crew member who focused on outdoor labor. She has a son and two pets.
Overall, Megan said she appreciates the inclusive and open environment at Mountain Mindful.
“Mountain Mindful is completely different because there is meaning behind everything involved,” Megan said. “It is more than just a paycheck here. They care about our futures, they motivate us to further our education, and become more than we’ve been. The atmosphere is almost like a home and everyone is accepted for who they are,have been, and will become.”
She hopes to complete her behavioral science degree in the near future.
Crew member: Ashley Cain
Home state: Florida
Prior to her time at Mountain Mindful, Ashley spent seven months with the Fairfield WRAPS crew. Now, she does a little bit of everything at her new enterprise. In her spare time, Ashley hangs out with her family and cat, shops, plays video games, and dabbles in woodworking.
She credits Coalfield with teaching her several new skills and how to be more patient.
“We all work to help each other and work together to get the job done. This, I believe, is what makes our enterprise different.”
Ashley will be starting classes in the spring and plans to become a veterinary technician.
Crew member: Heather Tincher
Role: Mountain Mindful Apparel crew
Hometown: Rainelle, West Virginia
For Heather Tincher, Mountain Mindful isn’t just a workplace — it’s a space where she and her coworkers have been given an opportunity to better themselves and their communities. Heather is involved in the printing portion of t-shirt production, and in her spare time, Heather explores the outdoors by camping, hiking, and traveling.
Heather said her time at Mountain Mindful has helped her become more accountable.
“Since being at Mountain Mindful, I have kept more commitments,” Tincher said. “I have completed a recovery program, got my license back, got an apartment and a car and have become a part of a new family and crew.”
Heather’s goals for 2022 include completing her behavioral health studies degree and becoming a full-time employee with Coalfield.
Crew member: Amanda Whitlock
Role: Mountain Mindful woodshop crew
Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia
Amanda Whitlock wears a lot of hats: She’s a woodworker, mom to a two-year-old, fiancee, and technical studies student at Mountwest Community and Technical College. At Mountain Mindful, Amanda handcrafts various wooden products from In her spare time, she watches football and tests out new recipes.
Amanda said she feels most proud of her progress at work, where she receives support, encouragement, and accountability from her Mountain Mindful colleagues.
“Since working for Coalfield I have developed a brand new passion and skills for my trade being a woodworker,” Amanda said. “I have grown to be more responsible and independent.”
Amanda looks forward to using Mountain Mindful’s new CNC equipment in 2022.
Crew member: Jim Caldwell
Role: Operations Manager
Hometown: Flatwoods, Kentucky
Jim Caldwell is at the helm of Mountain Mindful’s operations, leading crew chiefs, managers, sales and design team, crew members and trainees. In his free time, Jim enjoys supporting his daughter’s musical, educational, and athletic pursuits, and he’s passionate about supporting Veterans Affairs-oriented endeavors.
Jim said he considers it a privilege to mentor and help shape the next generation of leaders and professionals. He described his crew as the “dream team.”
“The thirst for knowledge and continued education is palpable and contagious here,” Jim said. “This team in its entirety continues to grow in a relentless quest for excellence through education.”
In the new year, Jim said he hopes to focus on continued growth through expanded product offerings, new revenue streams, new crew members, and strengthened communication and marketing.