L.A. Gates Company was established in Beckley, West Virginia, in January 1985, to provide civil and mining engineering services. Our company continues a tradition of dedicated and continuous service to the mining industry which spans three generations of the Gates family. It began in 1920 when Lauren A. Gates joined Merrill-Ferguson Engineering Company (started in 1905 as E.M. Merrill Engineering Company).

In 1920 Lauren A. Gates established a reputation of providing dependable high quality consulting services to the coal industry in southern West Virginia. After World War II, his son, Leslie C. Gates, joined the firm and continued the Gates philosophy of supplying professional services on time at a reasonable cost. In 1961 the name of the firm was changed to Gates Engineering Company and was incorporated in 1962.

Professional services were expanded to include civil engineering and architectural services both functioning independently, but in addition, provided adjunct services to the mining division in the development of coal properties. In 1972, L.A. Gates, Lauren's grandson, joined Gates Engineering Company, Inc. enhancing the Gates tradition of service. In 1976, services were expanded internationally with a branch office in Sydney, Australia. In 1980, Gates Engineering Company, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ebasco Services, Incorporated, a company started by Thomas A. Edison in 1905. In September 1985, Ebasco dissolved the subsidiary. L.A. Gates Company was formed in 1985. The rest of Ebasco went out of business in 1994.

Today, L.A. Gates Company continues to offer the same professional service which started over 100 years ago.

Leslie C. Gates Family Endowment

  • This fund was set up through the Beckley Area Foundation for Raleigh County students who are interested in an engineering major at Virginia Tech. For more details, application materials, and up to date information regarding this fund please contact the Beckley Area Foundation and Virginia Tech's Engineering Department.

    • Raleigh County high school graduates attending Virginia Tech and majoring in engineering.
    • Award one or more.

Gates Family Biographies

  • Leslie C. Gates, P.E.

    Born: November 17, 1918, Dorothy, West Virginia.
    Education: B.S. Civil Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

    Military: 300th Engineer Combat Battalion, U.S. Army, Commissioned Officer 2nd Lt to Major.

    • 1941 to 1946: World War II, European Theater of Operations.
    • Crossed the English Channel and entered Normandy on D-Day plus 3.
    • Participated in five (5) battles and was a Purple Heart recipient.

    Profession: Consulting Engineer

    • 1946 to 1954: Associate, Ferguson-Gates Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.
    • 1955 to 1958: Partner, Ferguson-Gates Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.
    • 1958 to 1961: Owner, Ferguson-Gates Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.

    • 1961: Owner, Ferguson-Gates Engineering Company changes its name to Gates Engineering Company.

    • 1961: After securing a large mining contract, Gates Engineering Company opens offices in Charleston, Denver, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and later Sydney, Australia.
    • 1980: Gates Engineering Company becomes a subsidiary of Electric Bond and Share Corporation (Ebasco).
    • 1985: Chairman, L.A. Gates Company, Beckley, West Virginia.

    Memberships: AIME, National Society of Professional Engineers, among many others.
    Died: September 7, 2008.
  • Lauren A. Gates

    Born: February 15, 1887, Pine Grove Mills, Centre County, Pennsylvania.
    Education: Mechanical Drafting and Civil Engineering at International Correspondence School, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
    Profession: Civil and Mining Engineer

    • 1907 to 1910: Transitman and Draftsman, Latrobe Connellsville Coal & Coke Company, Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
    • 1910 to 1911: Draftsman, Pittsburgh-Buffalo Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    • 1912 to 1917: Division Engineer, Four States Coal & Coke Company, Dorothy, West Virginia.

    • 1917 to 1920: Chief Engineer, Western Pocahontas Fuel Company, Dorothy, West Virginia.
    • 1920 to 1923: Chief Engineer, The Ernest M. Merrill Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.
    • 1923 to 1928: Chief Engineer, Merrill-Ferguson Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.

    • 1928 to 1942: Partner, Ferguson-Gates Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.
    • 1942 to 1955: Owner, Ferguson-Gates Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.
    • 1955 to 1958: Partner with Leslie C. Gates, Ferguson-Gates Engineering Company, Beckley, West Virginia.

    Memberships: AIME, West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers.
    Died: November 24, 1958.

Historical Biographies

  • John M. Ferguson

    Born: 1880, Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
    Profession: Civil and Mining Engineer

    • 1917: Moved to Beckley, West Virginia.
    • 1926: Formed a partnership with E.M. Merrill.
    • 1928: Formed a partnership with Lauren A. Gates.

  • Ernest M. Merrill Engineering Company

    If you have any information about E.M. Merrill or his company in Beckley, that you may freely share, please contact us.