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Wind firm may bring jobs

A start-up wind company official said with federal stimulus funding and state permits, the doors to the former Bayliner plant at Mexico Farms could have local people back to work by the holiday season. John Congedo, president of AC~Wind, listed online with a Grantsville address, told the Times-News Tuesday that AC~Wind has contracted with Brunswick Corp., parent company of Bayliner, to use its facilities in Cumberland and Salisbury.

Turbine maker eyeing former Bayliner plant at Mexico Farms

CUMBERLAND - A start-up wind company official said with federal stimulus funding and state permits, the doors to the former Bayliner plant at Mexico Farms could have local people back to work by the holiday season.

John Congedo, president of AC~Wind, listed online with a Grantsville address, told the Times-News Tuesday that AC~Wind has contracted with Brunswick Corp., parent company of Bayliner, to use its facilities in Cumberland and Salisbury. The two locations have the potential to employ a combined 700 people, Congedo said, with the Mexico Farms location expected to come online first.

Cumberland workers would be tasked with building nacelles - cover housing for engines, fuel and other equipment - and hubs, to which the turbine blades are affixed.

The Salisbury location would build the blades, Congedo said.

"Our goal is to put these folks back to work,"said Congedo, who offered a personal Grantsville address but also owns a home in Cooksville, Howard County.

Congedo said if permits from Maryland Department of the Environment are approved, funding is received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and negotiations... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Turbine maker eyeing former Bayliner plant at Mexico Farms

CUMBERLAND - A start-up wind company official said with federal stimulus funding and state permits, the doors to the former Bayliner plant at Mexico Farms could have local people back to work by the holiday season.

John Congedo, president of AC~Wind, listed online with a Grantsville address, told the Times-News Tuesday that AC~Wind has contracted with Brunswick Corp., parent company of Bayliner, to use its facilities in Cumberland and Salisbury. The two locations have the potential to employ a combined 700 people, Congedo said, with the Mexico Farms location expected to come online first.

Cumberland workers would be tasked with building nacelles - cover housing for engines, fuel and other equipment - and hubs, to which the turbine blades are affixed.

The Salisbury location would build the blades, Congedo said.

"Our goal is to put these folks back to work," said Congedo, who offered a personal Grantsville address but also owns a home in Cooksville, Howard County.

Congedo said if permits from Maryland Department of the Environment are approved, funding is received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and negotiations with a U.S. company already in the wind industry are completed, "we could be operational within a few months."

It's a lot to ask of the five men behind the operation, including Congedo, a veteran business developer. Other partners include Chief Operating Officer Richard Gay of Annapolis, and co-owner of Henry Gay Automotive Group in Laurel, until the family sold the business in 2007; and Marty Bates, formerly an architect with DNC Architects Inc., Rockville, and now a partner with Urie Bates Architects. Bates played a significant role in designing Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort and the amphitheater. Two other "silent partners" who work in the aerospace industry will remain unnamed, Congedo said, because they are still employed.

The group has invested "hundreds of thousands" of dollars into the venture, Congedo said.

Congedo said both locations suit AC~Wind perfectly be-cause "these are factories that were designed to build composite products."

He found it ironic that a factory built to make luxury boats - "gas hogs" - now might be used to help the wind energy industry.

Emphasis, however, on "might." Congedo said he wanted to avoid where wind turbines might be built in Allegany County - something that's unclear after the commissioners voted 3-0 in June on regulations which US Wind Force said placed overwhelming odds against any local project. AC~Wind is represented by Alexander & Cleaver, a law firm that employs former House Speaker Cas Taylor. Taylor is serving as point man for AC~Wind in Annapolis.

During public hearings and meetings on Code Home Rule Bill 2-09, which effectively prevented US Wind Force from building up to 25 wind turbines atop Dan's Mountain, word of AC~Wind leaked out. Several naysayers said the company was likely a fake despite representatives' visit with county government officials.

When first reported by the Times-News in April, no one from Taylor's office or AC~Wind was willing to speak on the issue. But Congedo insisted Tuesday the delay was because "we needed to make sure the opportunity was real."

That's now the case, he said. His company's efforts are larger than Allegany County.

"We have no interest or stake in the wind energy decision(s) in Maryland," he said. "That's simply an insignificant piece of business as far as we're concerned."

AC~Wind instead would play on a national and international field.

Congedo said Cumberland is ideal because of its proximity to highway and rail transportation routes and a ready, available and skilled work force. He said Salisbury is near-perfect because of its offshore access.

Matt Diaz, county director of economic development, and the commissioners have been "supportive and helpful," Congedo said.

Without Diaz, "the project would have been extraordinarily difficult to get started," he said.


Source: http://www.times-news.com/l...

AUG 12 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21702-wind-firm-may-bring-jobs
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