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Citing manpower questions, Mariah picks Michigan site

NNBW Staff

Youngstown is out and Manistee is in as

the manufacturing site chosen by Mariah

Power, a maker of wind turbines headquartered

in Reno.

With $7 million in initial funding from

venture capitalists expected this month and

orders in hand for 3,000 turbines,Mike Hess,

chief executive officer at Mariah, has been

shopping sites for a manufacturing plant.

Nevada didn’t make the cut, he adds, citing

a lack of skilled workers. The plant is expected

to employ 141 over the next three years.

Mariah Power expects to start manufacturing

in January and produce 3,000 units

next year, he says. Orders include 800 from

individuals, 500 from corporations and the

balance from 45 dealers in the United States

and overseas.

Plans to colonize an existing factory in

Youngstown, Ohio, fell through when the city

demanded a $2 million letter of credit as collateral

on a $1.8 million loan, says Hess.

“I didn’t want to take the risk,” he says of

the state’s promise to forgive the loan in

future.

Meanwhile,Manistee Mich., offered a

43,000-square-foot plant that’s been manufacturing

conveyor systems for the automotive

industry. It has room to expand and skilled

workers on hand to satisfy the contractual

manufacturing agreement.

“It saved us half a million in equipment

costs,” says Hess.”I’m getting a manufacturing

plant without paying up front. There’s nothing

like this in northern Nevada.”

In addition to the $1 million worth of

existing steel-working equipment and tooling

equipment at MasTech Manufacturing,

Michigan also coughed up a $400,000 state

grant.

When Hess first went to visit the site, he

recalls, a contingent of 18 community leaders

took him in tow to extol the virtues of their

community and tout their plans to keep the

young people from leaving town by ensuring

them jobs.

“The community involvement was unbelievable,”

says Hess.

Upon his return to Reno,Hess met with

Chuck Alvey at the Economic Development

Authority of Western Nevada, Mike Skaggs at

the Nevada Commission on Economic

Development and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki.

“We talked about what it would take to

make this area viable as a site for Mariah’s second

plant,”Hess says.He’s also in talks with

Emmanuel “Manos” Maragakis, interim dean

of the college of engineering at University of

Nevada, Reno, about ways to mint the needed

electrical and mechanical engineers.

Mariah Power’s Windspire connects directly

to the household power supply. The system

is designed for locations with at least half an

acre of land and wind speeds that average

about 12 miles per hour.


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