Company uses wind energy center for training

Special to QCS

Courtesy photo: Mesalands Community College The participants in the Wind Technician Internship Program wait to climb the turbine at the North American Wind Research and Training Center, located at Mesalands Community College.

Courtesy photo: Mesalands Community College
The participants in the Wind Technician Internship Program wait to climb the turbine at the North American Wind Research and Training Center, located at Mesalands Community College.

Granite Services International Inc, an affiliate of General Electric, held training for participants in its Wind Technician Internship Program at the North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College. Granite International used the wind center’s 1.5 megawatt GE wind turbine, classroom space, and lecture hall for the training.

Six interns from Granite Services and two from GE participated in the training this year, along with a current Mesalands Wind Energy Technology student.

Their training at the Wind Center included, tower rescue training, self-rescue training, CPR/First Aid certification, new hire orientation, OSHA-0 Hour Training, and a climb test.

“Being host to the Granite and GE indoctrination training for their internship programs here on campus, is a win-win for all parties,” said Jim Morgan, director of the NAWRTC. “We welcome the opportunity to share our first-class facilities at the Wind Center with international companies like Granite and GE.”

To participate in the paid summer wind internship program with Granite International, students were required to be pursuing a two-year Wind/Renewable Technology degree from one of Granite Internationals partnered colleges, according to a Mesalands news release. Each student also submitted a cover letter, a resume, a letter describing why they were applying for the internship, a letter of recommendation, and college transcripts demonstrating a minimum of a 2.8 GPA. If students successfully complete the internship, maintain their GPA, and obtain their degrees, they are guaranteed full-time employment with Granite International, the news release said.

“The College feels fortunate that it is one of only five wind training programs in the country, that Granite has selected for possible candidates for their internship program. The technicians hired by Granite from this program have become recognized within the company for their skills and professionalism,” Morgan said. “We also want to thank Jerry Meyers, who has been a valuable partner in providing another career path for our graduates.”

Jerry Myers, service manager for Granite Services International Inc, said he visits Mesalands during the fall semester each year to meet with first-year Wind Energy Technology students to discuss the internship program. He says he been coming to Mesalands for the past five years because of the high caliber of interns and employees Mesalands has recruited and retained in its program.

“The facilities here at the Wind Center are great!” Myers said. “We’ve also had great success with the people we’ve hired from Mesalands, and that’s why we keep trying to get out here every year,”

Melinda Hadley, a Granite employee, graduated from Mesalands in 2010.

“She is a rockstar.” Myers said.

Among other Mesalands graduates now working with Granite, Paulo Caserta received a silver award, which included two days’ pay, and a mention in the company newsletter. Caserta and Adam Chrisman, another Mesalands graduate with Granite, were involved in a project last year, supporting GE, that ultimately saved GE $2 million.”

Every year since 2009, Wind Energy Technology students from Mesalands have been selected for this internship program.

Justin Nicovach, 20, Sandia Park, a Wind Energy Technology student at Mesalands, was selected this year for the Granite Services Wind Technician Internship Program. He is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Wind Energy Technology.

“The Wind Program at Mesalands is pretty awesome, they’ve treated me very well,” Nicovach said.

Nicovach is working at the Flat Water Wind Farm in Nebraska this summer.

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