Vestas adds facilities, jobs in Colorado

Workers at the Vestas blade plant in Windsor, Colo., discuss production issues.

Vestas says it has created more than 1,000 highly skilled manufacturing jobs to meet growing production needs at its three Colorado factories. The Vestas’ blade factory in Windsor, tower factory in Pueblo, and nacelle factory in Brighton have been hiring to fill a variety of new jobs to prepare for several recently announced orders.

  • Vestas Blades in Windsor now employs 650 people in areas such as engineering, purchasing, human resources, finance, administration, and production. The factory was hiring as of July 15, 2010, and looking for production and electro-mechanical workers.
  • Vestas Towers in Pueblo — the largest wind tower manufacturing facility in the world — has filled more than 180 new positions in the past few months, bringing the total to 283 employees. The tower factory continues its ramp up and seeks skilled workers in areas including plasma cutting, welding, and painting. The tower factory will recruit at the Southern Colorado Jobs and Career Fair at the Pueblo Convention Center on July 22, 2010.
  • Vestas Nacelles in Brighton, which opened July 7, 2010, employs more than 280 workers. Jobs there have included technicians, logistics personnel, production engineers, quality engineers, planners and team leaders.

According to Martha Wyrsch, president of Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc., the factories have been hiring but with care in response to a number of announced orders in the United States and Canada. This includes a 250-MW order placed by Enbridge/Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) for 139 V90-1.8 MW turbines for the Cedar Point Wind project in Colorado’s Lincoln, Elbert, and Arapahoe counties.

“This latest order in Colorado is especially significant because it is local,” says Wyrsch. “With this order, we will deliver local product — manufactured by a highly skilled, well-trained local workforce — that will be used to build the second-largest wind project in the state.”

“Vestas is employing people in many desirable jobs ranging from engineering to welding to painting,” says Anthony Knopp, VP for Vestas Towers America. “We have taken advantage of the downturn to hire a number of highly skilled employees who have been turned loose from other industries. We’ve hired all functions related to tower building including steel fabricators, finishers, welders, assemblers, and maintenance personnel.”

Vestas says that In Colorado, as is true elsewhere throughout the company’s global manufacturing operations, employees receive exceptional benefits and opportunities for professional training and development, as well as competitive wages. “The company pays 100% of the premiums for health-care coverage for its employees and their families making our health and wellness program more competitive than almost all other employers in the market,” says Gary Held, manager of People & Culture for the new nacelle factory. “Vestas offers an employee educational assistance program, four weeks of annual vacation, and a range of other benefits designed to enhance health, wellness, and career and job satisfaction. We believe this attracts and retains the best talent in Colorado.”

In addition to direct jobs created by the company, a number of indirect jobs can be attributed to its growth in Colorado, including more than 2,500 construction jobs that helped build the three factories and hundreds of service industry jobs that have recently seen a boost in areas such as security, sanitation and maintenance, food and beverage supply, and tooling and fixturing.

“We are taking the approach that it is important to build the communities in which our employees live and work, and this means we need to have a big picture view of jobs,” says Wyrsch. “With that in mind, we are exploring opportunities with businesses neighboring our factories. We are encouraging suppliers to build the wind industry’s North American supply chain that will help create even more jobs for the wind business.”

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