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Wind Factory Watch: Beckmann Volmer, Arkansas

Wind Factory Watch: Beckmann Volmer, Arkansas

Guest blog by AWEA Communications Editor Carl Levesque

Arkansas has landed another wind manufacturer.

Beckmann Volmer, a producer of major steel components for wind turbines, this week announced it will locate a new manufacturing facility employing approximately 300 people, and potentially 500, in Osceola, Ark.

The company, a direct supplier to turbine manufacturer Nordex, will invest $10 million in the new facility, where the 300-person staff will be employed at an average hourly wage of $18. The announcement exemplifies the geographic ripple effect of the wind power supply chain and how component producers prefer to be near the customers they supply—whether in the same country or, in this case, the same state. Nordex is also building a plant in Arkansas, as is fellow turbine assembler Mitsubishi.

“We are delighted to call Osceola, Ark., our new home,” said Bernd Volmer, managing director and co-owner of the company. “After a thorough search considering more than 100 possible locations in the Midwest and South, we believe that we have found the best place for us to set up shop.”

Upon completion of the initial investment and hiring of the first 300 employees, the company will consider an additional $7.5 million investment, along with 200 more employees, Beckmann Volmer said. The company is headquartered in Germany and also has operations in Poland and China.

Governor Mike Beebe (D), who visited Beckmann Volmer’s leadership on his European business trip in October 2009, joined local and company leaders at the announcement. “Beckmann Volmer is the latest international company to select Arkansas as the home for its North American operations, and their commitment will bring quality jobs to Mississippi County,” Beebe said. “Our stature in the renewable energy sector continues to bring this type of economic investment to Arkansas.”

Steel components manufactured by Beckmann Volmer have a wide variety of applications in a wind turbine. The largest component to be produced in Osceola will be turbine main frames, the structural backbone of the unit.

Previous blogs in this series:
Wind Factory Watch: Ingersoll Machine Tools
Wind Factory Watch: ZF Industries, Georgia

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Carl has been a part of the AWEA team since 2006. He brings both his expertise in communications as well as experience with the evolving wind energy industry to the job of overseeing AWEA's online and written publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, WINDPOWER Update, WINDPOWER Today, and various print materials. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans employed as a teacher as well as working with homeless youth.

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