Energy experts say green businesses will boom
Richard Larson, president of Manitowoc-based GreenSky Energetics, said the industry for energy-efficiency products is growing and will continue to do so.
"The future holds higher energy costs, and might I be so bold to say you'd have to be stupid to not look at these devices, because they will definitely lower your energy costs," he said.
Larson said GreenSky, which installs solar heating systems throughout the state, does not anticipate hiring more employees in the near future, but he thinks the industry as a whole will continue to expand.
"GreenSky is not anticipating hiring more, and it's because there are more contractors now that are installing them," he said. "So, there is more competition. I think overall the industry is going to hire more. It's a win-win all the way across the board. There are no losers in this green-energy job sector scenario."
Promising future Jenny Heinzen, wind energy technology instructor at Lakeshore Technical College, said she has witnessed many students get jobs out of school in both "small wind," which includes residential, small business and farm projects, and "big wind," or utility-scale projects.
"Three graduates are working on large wind farms in Wisconsin, and a few are working on large wind farms in other states," she said. "Additionally, at least six are employed in small wind and working in Wisconsin.
"I do believe wind technology and other forms of renewable energy will provide jobs and economic growth in an otherwise stagnant atmosphere."
A California-based vehicle recycling operation expects to open a plant within the next year in Sheboygan's former International Automotive Components factory.
Green Envirotech Corp. likely will hire about 100 people to start, with expectations of growth, CEO Gary DeLaurentiis said.
He anticipates equipment will begin being installed about four months from now, which will take between six and eight months, and the majority of hiring to take place in the summer.
"If we're lucky, I'd say maybe by the end of the year we'll be producing products at the plant," DeLaurentiis said. "My goal is to do it as quickly as possible. They need jobs desperately in Sheboygan. They got clobbered pretty bad when the economy tanked."
Lou Perches, chief operating officer for Green Envirotech, said Sheboygan is an ideal location because of its the close proximity to Miller Compressing Co. in Milwaukee, where materials will come from.
"We actually have looked at a couple of different sites and we found Sheboygan seemed to be, not just the most advantageous, but also the most friendly in wanting us there," he said. "There was a lot of enthusiasm from the city of Sheboygan."
Perches said the experience area residents already have in similar fields is another reason Green Envirotech wants to move into Sheboygan.
"That's one of the key things we found that Sheboygan has," he said. "There is a pool of talent there."
Green Envirotech expects to open two more facilities in the United States in 2012.
Continued growth Kevin Crawford, Orion Energy Systems senior vice president of governmental affairs, said the energy technology company employs about 240 people and often molds to meet the changing needs of the industry.
"We move very fast and are very agile, and we will always adapt to the market place," he said. "Our strategy is to keep the customer satisfied and resolve their needs."
Mike Potts, president and chief operating officer of Orion, said the future of energy-efficiency producers is promising because energy rates are increasing and the country needs to find cost-saving measures to adapt.
"Our appetite for energy as a country does not subside, and we are not building traditional forms of energy," he said. "Businesses over the last 20 years have analyzed everything they do in business. They have programs in place where they will scrutinize paper clip purchasing, but they have never looked at energy. Now they're starting to see this is a controllable cost and if they don't manage it, they may be out of business."
Information from: Herald Times Reporter, http://www.htrnews.com