Plastics pioneer Charles "Chuck" William Thiele Sr., the holder of six patents related to auxiliary equipment, died July 17 at age 80.
Thiele was introduced to the plastics and chemicals industries by relatives in Germany when he was stationed there after joining the U.S. Air Force following high school. The relatives were involved with manufacturing pneumatic conveying and blending equipment.
After his enlistment was complete, Thiele stayed in Germany and joined Gebrüder Grün.
He later returned to the U.S., joining Whitlock Inc. in 1973 as a national sales manager. Soon after, Thiele and his wife, Nancy, started their own rep company.
Thiele then moved his career from sales to inventing products and technology by starting Kenvey Systems to manufacture pneumatic conveying systems. In 1986,he was awarded his first patent for the filterless vacuum receiver, which later became known as the "Silver Bullet" and opened doors for him around the world.
Thiele eventually joined forces with German-based Motan Holdings, forging a life-long partnership with its then-CEO, Walter Kramer. He started the U.S. division, Motan Inc., and worked alongside the Motan team to develop new products, open up new markets for the company and mentor future industry leaders.
After retirement, Thiele continued to invent more products to solve problems and minimize wear in material conveying lines. He was awarded his last patent in 2022.
Thiele also launched other companies — Getecha and Vactec — and continued to consult with numerous organizations like Novatec, Conair, Piovan, Matsui and Ampacet.
In addition, Thiele was a long-serving board member with Bekum America and he and his wife were active members of the Plastics Pioneers Association.
Outside of the industry, Thiele enjoyed cooking, fishing and traveling.
A celebration of life service is planned from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 22 at O'Duffy's, 804 W. Vine St., Kalamazoo, Mich. Memorial donations may be made to the Brian Thiele Memorial Scholarship.