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Governor Announces New Manufacturer will bring 350 Jobs to Kansas

by User Not Found | Jul 15, 2011

Newton – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced that Colorado-based New Millennium Wind Energy has chosen the Kansas Logistics Park in Newton as the site of its first manufacturing facility.  Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George, New Millennium founder and CEO Drew Thacker and the executive director of the Harvey County Economic Development Council Mickey Fornado-Dean joined Governor Brownback at the announcement Friday afternoon.

Gov. Sam Brownback said New Millennium’s facility will manufacture an innovative “point of use,” high out-put, vertical-axis wind turbine, adding to the emerging wind energy development cluster in Kansas.

“What a great day for Newton and Kansas,” Brownback said. “New Millennium represents an innovative company making exciting products in an expanding industry for the state. Kansas is beautifully positioned to create new good-paying jobs through alternative energy. This is more proof that Kansas can compete and win in the global marketplace.”

The new facility is projected to employ about 70 people in the first year of operations, and more than 350 in the next three to four years. The company expects to commit $20 million to $30 million in resources over a five-year plan. The plant is expected to be operational by July 2012.

“Newton was a logical choice for our manufacturing facilities,” said Drew Thacker, founder and chief executive officer. “Newton has a strong local workforce with the right skill sets, as well as good logistical support, including rail, barge and highway access. Those were key factors in our decision, as our product lines will ship worldwide. We wanted to be in the heartland of wind generation and believe that Kansas will lead the way in this field.”

New Millennium Wind Energy was founded in Colorado in 2009 to develop and manufacture the newly designed Next Generation Wind Turbine. The turbines range from 28 by 20 feet for the smaller units to 35 by 28 feet for the larger units.  Light-weight and designed to be installed directly on the rooftops of commercial buildings, it is a first-of-its-kind design for this range of power production. The Newton facility will produce 20- to 60-kilowatt systems. The company expects to see high-volume demand from big-box and smaller commercial users.

“Our point-of-use turbines will revolutionize renewable energy deployment,” Thacker said. “These systems can provide significant power to data centers, skyscrapers and big box retail stores but also to the most remote villages and locations to assure all people have energy for irrigation, clean water, sewage treatment, lighting and the ability to access remote learning opportunities at affordable cost.”

The first phase of the project, expected to be complete by the end of this year, will involve assembly and final testing of production designs. The turbines are planned to be made from high-tech, carbon-based composites. Future phases will involve increasing assembly capacity, composite fabrications and possibly advanced technology for high-rate composite manufacturing with assistance from the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University.

The project represents a strong collaborative effort by the City of Newton, Harvey County, the Harvey County Economic Development Council and the State of Kansas.

“The Harvey County Economic Development Council is honored to have the Kansas Logistics Park as the chosen location of New Millennium Wind Energy’s new manufacturing site,” said Mickey Fornaro-Dean, executive director of the EDC. “This project is an affirmation of the vision and partnership our leadership has been fostering. We have truly enjoyed working with New Millennium Wind Energy and our partners to make this a reality.”

With its focus on renewable energy, the company is looking for a sustainable facility. Suzanne Loomis, Newton city engineer and director of public works, said the new building will be LEED-certified.

The Kansas Logistics Park is located between interstates 35 and 135 and provides access to two Class 1 rail carriers as well as the Watco short-line railroads. The central location enables original equipment manufacturers and suppliers to minimize the burden of transporting large components into the heart of the nation’s wind resources. A cooperative agreement between the logistics park and the Port of Catoosa in Tulsa allows for inland access to barge transportation as well.

New Millennium Wind Energy will receive incentives through the Kansas Economic Opportunity Initiatives Fund, which is used to support state and local efforts to encourage companies to locate or expand operations in Kansas. The company also may qualify for additional incentives through Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK), High Performance Incentive Program (HPIP) and other economic development programs designed to grow the state's economy and create jobs.

“I look forward to watching New Millennium Wind Energy become a valued member of the Newton community and the state,” said Commerce Secretary Pat George. “Our economic development efforts to move the state forward as a desirable place to do business are certainly evident in today’s announcement.”