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Golf scramble to help Borg-Warner museum

Ralph Chambers becomes emotional when describing Borg-Warner Chemicals as a great place to work.

Tom Wiseman and Bill Neal echo his sentiments.

The three Wood County residents are trying to keep the memory of Borg-Warner Chemicals alive in the Mid-Ohio Valley by promoting the first Borg-Warner/Marbon Chemicals Museum Charitable Golf Scramble at 10 a.m. Sept. 20 at Woodridge Golf Club in Mineral Wells. A reunion of former Borg-Warner Chemicals employees will take place after the golf scramble at 3 p.m.

Proceeds will be used to maintain and possibly expand the Borg-Warner Chemicals exhibit on the second floor of the Oil and Gas Museum, 119 Third St. in Parkersburg.

Chambers wants to see the Borg-Warner display expand at the museum.

“My goal is to find a way to educate people about what Borg-Warner did for the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Chambers, president of the Borg-Warner museum committee. Chambers worked at Borg-Warner for 30 years as a technician in research.

Chambers, 80, said Borg-Warner gave him and other employees incredible opportunities in the workplace. The employees’ voices mattered and employees could grow in their job responsibilities, he said.

“It was a great place to work,” Chambers said. “A fun place to work. More than a job.”

Borg-Warner’s Woodmar Plant at Washington, W.Va., pumped millions of dollars a year into the local economy in wages and by providing work for small companies, Chambers said.

About 2,000 people worked at the local Borg-Warner plant at one time. The plant opened in the late 1950s and was sold to GE Plastics in the late 1980s.

Borg-Warner produced Cycolac ABS plastic, used in making telephones, automotive products, computers, home appliances, LEGO, white suits and helmets for “Star Wars,” road reflectors, and other products.

Wiseman, 75, a member of the museum committee, worked in research at Marbon/Borg-Warner for 18 years. He said Borg-Warner was a great company that made many contributions in the plastics industry. The company was filled with smart people, Wiseman said.

The Borg-Warner group has collected items associated with the company, such as safety and training films, reports, lab equipment, advertising materials and photographs, and is storing them in an area building.

Museum group members have obtained a Cycolac Research Vehicle (CRV), the type of vehicle which was used in the television series “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” They want to restore the vehicle — Borg-Warner was involved in its design and construction — and place it on display.

Wiseman said he can envision the Borg-Warner exhibit expanding at the Oil and Gas Museum or moving into a larger building someday.

“I want the museum to reflect Borg-Warner in the future,” Chambers said.

Neal said it means a lot to him for the Borg-Warner Chemicals charitable golf scramble and reunion to be held at Woodridge Golf Club.

“It’s where I worked. I am excited to have it here,” said Neal, who has owned the Mineral Wells golf club since 2013.

Neal, 77, worked for Marbon and its successors Borg-Warner Chemicals and GE Plastics in Wood County for 30 years before retiring in 2001. He worked in the technical and raw materials areas and with the leadership team.

“I enjoyed working at Borg-Warner very much,” Neal said. “It was a super place to work; you were treated well; it was like a big family,” he said. “It was a sad day when it closed down.”

The four-person team golf scramble, open to anyone, on Sept. 20 will provide cash payouts for first-, second- and third-place team, 50/50 drawing, door prizes and food for $50 a person.

Those interested in signing up for the scramble can contact Bill Baxter at 304-863-3802 or Tom Lambiotte at 304-488-4685.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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