Wind energy techs in demand

Staff Report
Granite Services International Inc., an affiliate of General Electric, is conducting new-hire trainings for wind energy technicians at Meslands Community College.
The three-year partnership between Mesalands and Granite Services continues to grow, allowing them to provide additional opportunities for their students and employees, said Thomas Newsom, Mesalands president.
Newsom said Granite has been conducting one-week training sessions at the Wind Center for the newly hired wind technicians and summer interns. He said curriculum from the Wind Energy Technology Program at Mesalands is also a major part of Granite’s training program, which includes the use of the College’s 1.5 megawatt wind turbine.
“It’s almost unbelievable that a company that hires wind technicians is housed right here at our college. It’s not often that you can work shoulder to shoulder with people that are doing the hiring. This is an incredible opportunity for our students,” said Andy Swapp, a wind energy technology faculty member at Mesalands. “I’m so glad that we have this facility that can house Granite and they can do their new hire training here.”
Swapp said the Wind Center provides classrooms, a lecture hall, a computer lab, and storage space to allow Granite to complete its new-hire training in one location.
Recently, Granite placed three large trailers at the Wind Center to make it easier to access their tools and equipment as needed. One of the trailers contains training material and equipment for their new hire training. The other two trailers are comprised of maintenance equipment for wind turbines that Granite’s staff uses to deploy to the region in response to scheduled or emergency maintenance needs.
“It’s easier to have the trailers in this central location versus where they were before. Now, they’re accessible on a short notice, or even in an emergency situation. I can go to the campus and get something out of one of those trailers, or take the entire trailer if that’s the case, and transport it to the site that needs it,” said Kenneth Brennan, resource manager at Granite.
Brennan is in charge of the new-hiring training. Prior to moving the trailers to the Wind Center, they were located in Houston.
He said with many of the wind turbines located in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, having the trailers stored in Tucumcari, is an ideal situation.
“We are grateful to Mesalands to have the opportunity to use their facilities and for their continued hospitality,” Brennan said. “The staff at Mesalands has treated us very well over the past couple of years. When I go out to the campus, it’s like going to my second home.”
Brennan said seven new-hire training sessions have been conducted at Mesalands this year, with an average of 10 students per class. He said two more training sessions will be held later this month at the Mesalands campus. Next year should be a busy year, with approximately 60-80 students completing their new-hire training at Mesalands, Brennan added.

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