|Photo & story courtesy John Anderson and the
Wellsville Daily Reporter
By JOHN ANDERSON/Daily Reporter
In his 18 ALSTOM Power Inc., Air Preheater President Edward J. Bysiek said he has never seen anything like the expansion project which is expected to be completed in one year at his facility.
Friday, a groundbreaking took place for a project that will cost more than $15 million and add 75 jobs. This will take place in a new 44,000-square foot facility at the Wellsville facility of Alstom.
Over my 18 years, we've had a lot of accomplishments, but I can't think of any that have me excited or had as much anticipation as this,” said Bysiek.
“I'm not only pleased with the employment stability this company has had, but also the future of employment in Wellsville.”
Bysiek explained to a crowd of local and regional officials that Wellsville is the worldwide headquarters for Alstom'ss “Energy Recovery Systems and the original home to Alstom Air Preheater. The plant opened in 1923 and over the past five years has averaged 480 employees.
This project is significant for our world-wide headquarters growing and significant for business,” said Bysiek. “The company is proud to be making the necessary investment in the facility and the Wellsville community to ensure we capitalize on this opportunity to increase our global competitive edge.
“I would like to thank our government partners for their help in making this tremendous project a reality.
Bill Heaney, the director of regional affairs for Gov. George Pataki read a letter from Pataki calling the project “momentous” and a “symbol of economic prosperity in Allegany County.”
The project comes with help from the state, including a $1.5 million capital investment grant and benefits from the Empire Zone and Empire State Development. State leaders at the groundbreaking said the project could hit $18 million and add more jobs than expected.
“This is a great day for Wellsville and a great day for the entire region,” said State Sen. Catharine Young. “An $18 million expansion is the largest we've had in this area in decades.
“The employees of Alstom Air Preheater are a great example of the type of workforce we have here in Allegany County. many come from strong farming roots, they work hard and show what they can do for a company - and it's tremendous,” Young continued. “We need to develop good paying jobs so people can buy a house here, spend their money here, then go to Texas Hot for lunch!”
State Assemblyman Joseph Giglio said of the Wellsville area, “We have said it before, this is the best place to expand a business, to start a business and the best place to raise a family.”
Tim Doolittle, the western regional director of Empire State Development said “I'm pleased we were able to take part in such a great project. An $18 million expansion is so significant and we thank you for your investment. Without your employees, there would be no investment here.”
Bysiek said “Our workforce is highly skilled and very experienced, and we are going to be very aggressive in recruiting additional employees. I am confident we can find the right people here in the Southern Tier.”
However, Bysiek said the current employees were the reason Preheater decided to build the new addition.
“A major factor in the decision to grow the company locally was based on the loyal, hard-working and experienced workface at the plant,” Bysiek said.
Alstom Air Preheater is the leading supplier of regenerative air preheaters as well as coal and various mineral pulverizing mills in the world, company officials said. They are headquartered in Wellsville with two locations, on Andover Road and Main Street. They produce Ljungstrom Air Preheater, Raymond Grinding Mills and high temperature recuperators which are accepted as worldwide standards in the utility power generation and industrial markets, company officials said.