Mick Samples was added to the Charleston lab staff with the title of Special Projects Manager. Mick was a graduate of Carnege Mellon with a degree in chemistry. He assumed a number of positions throughout the years including Vice President and Technical Director and actually the heading of the profit centers Ashland Division, Seer Services and Coalscan Sales, Inc.
A major expansion occurred in 1977 when Utah Power & Light awarded the company a multi-year contract to design, build and operate an onsite lab in Huntington, Utah. The UP&L lab was not only SL's introduction to Western coal operations and nearby utility requirements but also set the stage for the bulk of new operations not begun as an acquisition throughout the 70's and 80's. This permitted Std Labs to become a recognized player in the western coal fields. Sudir Patel was sent from the Charleston lab to become its first manager. He later wanted to return to the eastern United States and was replaced by Buddy Carroll and eventually by Ray Sim. This lab served UP&L for many years until 1988.
It provided Std Labs with a lot of experience in dealing with the utilization side of the coal industry and set the stage for a later major acquisition of the Core Laboratories coal testing operations as well as some other of their other laboratory facilities which may have been the most important addition to the Std Labs enterprise.
1977 also brought about the establishment of a contract coal lab in Jackson, Ky for Falcon Coal Company which was managed by Mike Couch from the Whitesburg lab. Mike went on to become the manager of several facilities as the company expanded. He was followed at the Jackson lab by Danny White who served as the manager until the operation closed in 1980. In a company reorganization Delano Thomas was named Division Manager of the Southern Division and Israel Broome was named Division Manager of the Northern Division.