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Transformer Manufacturer | New Haven, Mo.
A third-generation union man from central Missouri, Nickelson is the head of IUE-CWA Local 86114. Since 1997, he has been working at a transformer company in the town of Washington, about an hour outside St. Louis, winding the copper and aluminum strips that coil through the insides of transformers.
His employer makes transformers for electric companies all over the country, and in recent years, a large portion of its contracts have come from wind farms.
"When (his company) first got into wind about 7 or 8 years ago, there were a lot of questions asked," Nickelson recalls. "So the first company that gave us a contract came in and explained the whole thing. Everyone was overwhelmed that people were going to use wind to make electricity.
"I've seen one of these wind farms, and it's amazing," he says. "That you put up this tower, the wind blows and turns the blades and you get electricity. It's a lot safer than nuclear power or coal. It's a lot better for the environment."
Nickelson says his employer pays some of the best wages of factories in the area -- and is even building a new plant at a time when others are shutting their doors. And as a man who spends his days off hunting in the woods near his home, he appreciates the fact that his job is helping preserve the countryside he loves.
last revised 6/11/2009
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