By Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member
Mayor Matt Quattro is a busy man to say the least. Yet, every time I see him he has a smile on his face and a calm demeanor.
The mayor has a love for his hometown, with ties that go back to the 1890's when his paternal grandmother came to Thomas at the request of her sister who had earlier immigrated here. His grandmother grew up at an inn in the Italian countryside with her aunt and uncle before she took a boat to Ellis Island and arrived on a late-night train to Thomas with the burning coke ovens covering the city in soot.
Thomas was a bustling city until after World War II, Matt says. After the war, the extractive coal and coke industries slowed and businesses declined in the following decades. Folks started looking for work elsewhere, including Matt. Matt joined a WV Department of Highways' work-study program while he earned his Civil Engineering degree at West Virginia University. He worked for the Bureau of Public Roads in Washington, D.C. and then for Chevron. He moved 15 times in 27 years, living all over the country.
After retiring from Chevron and then from the asphalt company he started in New York, he retired once more before moving back to Thomas. "Retirement" became a relative term for Matt. Even after moving back to Thomas, he helped run the old Davis Shop 'n Save and then worked with New Historic Thomas in the 1990's to improve arts and education in the city. During his time with New Historic Thomas, he made it possible for 21 local teachers to earn their Master's Degrees in Education through a satellite program at the Thomas Education Center. He also organized remedial Summer classes at the Education Center so that high school students would not fall behind in school. He eventually got involved with City Council and is currently in his third term as Mayor.
It's clear that when Mayor Matt sees a need, he works hard to bring people together to get the job done. That is true leadership, and leadership never truly retires.