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Monday, August 16, 2010

Wisconsin companies expand to accommodate wind energy

From an article by Nathan Phelps in the Green Bay Press Gazette:

Vorpahl Fire & Safety did not build its business with commercial wind generation in mind, but it's one of many companies that consider that industry a key opportunity for expansion.

For the last few months, Vorpahl has sold protective gear designed for workers in the wind energy sector, including safety harnesses, hard hats, gloves, high-visibility vests and tool bags.

Wind energy is a market the business is banking on for continued growth in the coming years.

"We've been trying to figure out creative ways to break into other, untapped, segments, and wind energy came up because it is really big in other parts of the country and it's starting to catch on in Wisconsin," said Chris Vorpahl, marketing coordinator. "Love it or hate it … wind turbines are going to be here, and we want to provide the protection for the people maintaining, installing it and assembling it."

Throughout the area, sectors that are one or more rings down the supply chain from the manufacture of wind turbines are grabbing a piece of the burgeoning industry.

New North, a nonprofit economic development organization, is setting up an October event in Milwaukee aimed at identifying business opportunities in the wind sector, said Jerry Murphy executive director of New North.

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