Likewise for the night shift operator, who has returned to work after suffering heart problems.
The night guy is not Andy, but he is determined to master the mighty machine. Meanwhile, the owners worry about the lower level of productivity on his shift.
"Coal" depicts the owners not as greedy, but as men who have sunk all they have and more into developing this mine.
They worry constantly about producing enough coal to cover the payroll and their $4 million investment. They exhort the men to work safely, but they also make the need for production beyond clear.
The men, in turn, seem to understand that their livelihoods are at stake.
"Coal," at least in its first episode, does not weigh in on industry issues that dominate the news pages. So far there is no talk of carbon dioxide emissions, no reference to the tragedy at Upper Big Branch.
It is simply a depiction of what it is like to run a coal mine and work in it.
With more episodes to come over the next nine Wednesdays, I hope the series will attract a wide audience.
Perhaps it will cause viewers to think about the difficult, dangerous work behind simple acts they may take for granted: flicking a light switch, turning on the AC, powering up the computer.
Coal provides 98 percent of the power used by West Virginians and 45 percent of the power used by the nation.
Or, since this particular mine produces metallurgical coal, maybe people will appreciate the effort that goes into making the steel structures we all depend upon.
Whatever you may think of coal, it has made a huge contribution to modern life and remains a vital resource.
"Coal," the series, shows us the people willing to enter dark, damp underworlds to provide the rest of us with that resource and to earn a decent living for their families.
They are a crew worth meeting, and this show offers us the rare opportunity to do so.
Friend is editor and publisher of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-5124 or nan...@dailymail.com.