December 3, 2010
State leaders say a grand opening could be the beginning of a new era of manufacturing in Kansas. Siemens Corporation, a leading producer of clean energy, opened its new facility in Hutchinson Friday, which is set to employ about 400 people.
"Do I feel lucky? I feel very fortunate, I'm very thankful to have it and very glad to be here," said Siemens employee Jerry Stukely.
Stukely is one Hutchinson resident to get a job thanks to the new Siemens Wind Power Nacelle Facility.
"It's very impressive, a lot of tonnage, very impressive big parts here. It's very cool," said Stukely.
In the new facility, the company will produce nacelles, which is the center part of a turbine that converts wind to electricity. It's a piece of equipment Siemens has been shipping in from Denmark until now.
"We see this as another way to catapult our clean energy and our wind business in the U.S.," said Siemens CEO Eric Spiegel.
About 13,000 parts go into the nacelle, and they will all be put together for final assembly in Hutchinson.
"We're already growing as a wind energy electricity producing state, but now [this] means we're going to be one of the hubs for manufacturing of wind technology. And I want to see that grow," said Governor-Elect Sam Brownback.
Industry experts say Kansas is poised to grow in wind energy production, being in the center of the country and the nation's wind zone. The state also houses a pool of skilled manufacturing workers.
"As demand for wind continues to pick up, you'll see this plant expand hopefully beyond that," said Spiegel.
When choosing where to build the plant, Siemens considered 80 cities in 13 different states before the company chose Hutchinson. Company leaders say their main incentive was effective cooperation with the city, county, and state, to make building the facility as easy and cost-efficient as possible.