LYBURN – Walker Machinery Co. has acquired an extensive line of underground mining products from Caterpillar Inc., a major investment that recently was celebrated at Walker’s Logan County location.
Monty Boyd, owner and CEO of Walker Machinery Co. parent Boyd Company LLC, met with employees, customers and community representatives on Wednesday, Nov. 14. He said he was pleased to be investing in underground mining at a time when many people question its future.
“The business is a little tough right now,” said Boyd. “We’ll manage our way through this because we think there are brighter days ahead.”
Boyd said that before the additional equipment lines were added, Walker and Caterpillar were able to fulfill just 25 percent of the overall mining equipment need. Caterpillar completed its purchase of Bucyrus last year, and those lines now have been sold to Boyd Company.
The company created a new division, Whayne-Walker Underground Mining, and a new tagline: “Wherever there’s mining, we’re there.” In addition to Walker Machinery, Boyd owns Whayne Supply Co., which handles the Caterpillar lines in Kentucky and Indiana.
Tim McLean, executive vice president of Walker Machinery, called this a “historic moment.”
“We think we have staying power,” he said. “We also think the coal industry has staying power.”
The Lyburn location currently has about 100 employees.
Among those attending Wednesday’s announcement was Debrina Williams, executive director of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce; W.Va. Sen. Art Kirkendoll, and Raamie Barker, representing Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Williams said the jobs associated with Walker Machinery and the coal industry in general are vital to the region.
“We’re excited to have gainful employment,” Williams said. “It adds pride to the lives of people to be able to provide for their families.”
She added that Whayne-Walker is very involved in the community, from the chamber of commerce to events such as Relay for Life.
Kirdendoll noted that he once played baseball on the current Lyburn site of Walker Machinery, and he’s supported coal just as long.
“There is a demand for coal,” he said. “I don’t think we should be ashamed of energy. West Virginia is blessed with it.”
Barker said the announcement represented part of a “great future for Logan County.”
“Coal is more than just energy,” Barker said. “There is an enormous economic opportunity here. Whayne-Walker’s investment is an endorsement of the future. They’re putting their money on a good bet – coal, Logan County, and West Virginia.”
Walker Machinery Company and WalkerExpress – The Cat Rental Store is the authorized Cat dealer for most of West Virginia and southeastern Ohio. Walker sells, rents, and services the full line of Cat products through six divisions: Mining, Heavy Equipment, Material Handling, Engine, Truck, Forestry, and Building Construction. In addition to its headquarters in Belle, Walker offers customers seven additional branches in Beckley, Huntington, Logan, Nitro, Parkersburg, and Summersville and Jackson, Ohio.