Free-Wheeling

Warwood Armature manager is now vice mayor-elect, too

Wheeling, West Virginia has a new mayor, and his right-hand man will be an experienced armature shop salesman and manager. Chad Thalman, whose grandfather started Warwood Armature in 1927, was announced as the choice for Vice-Mayor to current Mayor-elect Glenn Elliot on June 15.

chad thalman

Chad Thalman, Vice-Mayor-elect of Wheeling, W.V.

“Working in a small business will be beneficial to my role on city council and as vice-mayor,” Thalman told EA, “I think the mayor-elect, that’s one of the reasons he asked me to serve as the vice-mayor. I think he wanted my business and financial experience, and my experience dealing with other people, to be brought to the table as vice-mayor.”

Handling the day-to-day at Warwood Armature is Thalman’s full-time job; he will now serve additionally on Wheeling’s city council and in the vice-mayor position in a part-time capacity. Wheeling has a population of about 28,000, so most of the public office positions aren’t full-time. It’s your archetypal Rust Belt town clawing its way back and staying afloat as the dust settles on the coal and steel industries that once thrived in the area. While both of those sources, as well as natural gas, aren’t doing as well as they once were, there is hope on the mountainous horizon. The city anticipates a cracker plant coming to the area in the next few years. Petrochemical or ethane cracker plants, as they are also known, take natural gas byproducts and convert them into materials that can be used to manufacture plastic. “Just to build a cracker plant is in the ballpark of 5 to 6 billion dollars, with a ‘B’,” Thalman clarifies without sarcasm.

“Then, anywhere there is a cracker plant, not only does the cracker plant have a lot of motors, but then you have plastic manufacturers that build plants in the vicinity of a cracker plant because they need the product that the cracker plant produces,” he explains.

Thalman admits the coal industry is troubled, as well as steel, and that gas drilling “isn’t taking place quite as much as it was a year or two ago…” but also says he’s optimistic that coal and gas are due for comebacks, even if they are slight. Regardless, the cracker plant is an important lifeline for the area. Thalman confirms that it hasn’t been finalized yet, but from what he hears, there’s about a 75% chance of it coming to the Wheeling area. “If it comes here, it would be a pretty big deal for us.” He says, “Not necessarily something that’s gonna help us in the immediate future, but within the next few years, that would help our business.”

A “one-stop source” for electric motor rebuild services, Warwood Armature also provides coil manufacturing and winding services, belt roller repair, and blast cleaning. The EASA-accredited company also has a fabrication shop and specialized gearbox department, and serves the tri-state area of West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania spanning from Philadelphia to Columbus.

As for his new civic duties, Thalman is truly a homegrown community networker.

Thalman grew up in Wheeling, attending St. Michael Parish School and graduating from Wheeling Central Catholic High School in 2000. In 2004, he graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He received his Master of Business Administration from Wheeling Jesuit University in 2009. Thalman also teaches in the business department at Wheeling Jesuit as an adjunct professor, as reported by Wheeling’s WTOV9.com.

Per the City of Wheeling charter, the vice-mayor shall perform the duties of the Mayor during the Mayor’s absence or disability. This appointment is subject to city council ratification on July 5 during the regular meeting. Council and the mayor will be officially sworn in on July 1.

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