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WTOL 11 announces its next First Alert chief meteorologist

Robert Shiels leaves in July for a career in real estate. WTOL 11’s next leader of the First Alert weather team is Chief Meteorologist Chris Vickers.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Several promotions are underway at WTOL 11 in the First Alert Weather Center. In July, Chris Vickers will be taking the lead as the team’s chief meteorologist.

Vickers, who holds an AMS Seal, has been with WTOL 11 for 13 years. He’s been waking up at 2 a.m. each day to bring our morning viewers the latest weather developments.

"Starting your day with a forecast you can trust, a smile and a positive attitude has been an absolute joy the past 11 years," Vickers said. "Our warm and loving community has welcomed me into their homes each and every morning better prepared for our ever-changing weather and a positive outlook on the day ahead."

During his tenure he has achieved numerous awards including most recently, 2019 Ohio Associated Press Best Weathercast, two-time Emmy award winner for morning newscast coverage in 2019 and 2012, and 2018 St. Jude Champion of the year.

Very close to his heart, Vickers' passion for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital shows brightly. In 2017, he worked diligently to return the St. Jude Dream Home campaign back to Toledo, the hometown of Danny Thomas. So far, he’s helping to raise awareness about childhood cancer and more than $5.5 million for the children and families at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

"It's been the honor of a lifetime to represent our community in the national recognition we've received for our St. Jude Dream Home campaign. It was the dream of our hometown hero Danny Thomas that no child should die in the dawn of life," Vickers said. "Our community has come together beyond my imagination to embrace and support this cause and lead the charge to defeat childhood cancer."

RELATED: WTOL's Chris Vickers receives St. Jude Champion recognition

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Meteorologist Ryan Wichman will be taking on the next role in his career as he moves to replace Vickers as the morning meteorologist. Wichman will be joining the morning team with anchors Tiffany Tarpley, Tim Miller and traffic anchor Steven Jackson.

"I look forward to setting the right tone first thing in the morning. A positive mood plus the most up to weather data means our viewers will be the most informed and entertained," Wichman said. "We have a great team to back me up. Buckle up because we are going to have some fun. You won't want to miss it."

Outside of his work at WTOL 11, Wichman has been busy making a difference in the community. Wichman has been leading the charge on establishing an inclusive playground in Wood County.

"The mission for Wood County Plays is simple: Every child of every ability deserves the opportunity to play. That means building play spaces that are inclusive for all families regardless of size, mobility, or ability," Wichman said. "Adaptive and sensory equipment, smooth poured rubber surfacing, fencing, and ramping are a few of the features which allow all kids to play together, some for the first time independently in their lives. Thanks to generous community support, our first playground will open this summer."

The Perrysburg Inclusive Playground presented by Mercy Health will open this summer at Rotary Community Park.

RELATED: Inclusive playground breaking ground, barriers for kids in Wood County

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These changes come as Robert Shiels leaves his chief position for a career in real estate with the Rigali Grier Group at Danberry Realtors. Robert feels confident in the weather team he’s helped to build.

“Chris Vickers has made great contributions to WTOL and this community. He is a talented meteorologist, a great friend and deserving of the position,” Shiels said. "I am also happy you will get to see Ryan Wichman's talent on the air more often. He always goes above and beyond what is required with hardly a complaint."

These changes will take hold in the coming weeks.

RELATED: A bittersweet farewell: WTOL 11 prepares to say goodbye to Robert Shiels