Charles E. Price, retired founder of Charah Solutions and former chairman of American Coal Ash Association, was selected as the seventh recipient of the ACAA Champion Award. The award was announced March 4, 2021, by outgoing ACAA Chairman Kenny Tapp at ACAA’s Winter Virtual Meeting.
ACAA established the Champion Award in 2012 to recognize extraordinary contributions to the beneficial use of coal combustion products. The recipient is selected exclusively by the Chair of the ACAA Board of Directors and is known only to the Chair until the moment the presentation is made. The recipient may be an individual or individuals; an institution—private or public; a member of the ACAA or a non-member; living or deceased.
Charles Price founded Charah in his Louisville, Kentucky, home with his wife Janet in 1987. He came up with the name Charah by using the first letters of his son’s name (Charles) and the last letters of his daughter’s name (Sarah). Using his grandfather’s and father’s previous business models, Charah started out completing public bid general contracting work and then eventually civil construction jobs for local surface coal mines. In 1992, Charah performed its first coal ash project, completing a pond excavation project for Big Rivers Electric Cooperative in western Kentucky. Charah primarily focused on coal ash pond and landfill projects throughout the 1990s, expanding outside of Kentucky with projects in the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Charah moved into fly ash and bottom ash marketing in the early 2000s.
Charles was always focused on new and inventive ideas for performing work, which resulted in three patents related to processing coal ash for beneficial use. In 2012, Charles directly oversaw research and development of the first synthetic gypsum pelletizing plant in the United States to allow for easier and more efficient use of synthetic gypsum in agricultural applications. At the time of his retirement in 2019, Charles had overseen the growth of Charah from a ground zero startup to a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange that employed over 1,000 people.