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Business Beat

November 7, 2012

Walton firm hopes African contract leads to more work

NorthEast Fabricators of Walton shipped the last six medical trucks of an eight-truck contract to Ghana on Oct. 26, just as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the East Coast.

Owner Bill Brodeur said the trucks, which were being shipped to the West African nation of Ghana, had to be taken to a warehouse near Baltimore before being put on a ship.

“ They couldn’t load them on the ship until Wednesday or Thursday,” he said.

The trucks were built for Odulair, a Wyoming subcontractor for a Miami company that was hired by the government of Ghana to upgrade rural health care.

NorthEast started with Ford F-550 super duty, four-wheel-drive chassis trucks and customized them to Odulair’s specifications as mobile clinics for such specialties as audiology and ophthalmology.

It was the first time the company did finish work on such a project. Previously, it just built the boxes that were mounted on trailers or truck chassis.

Brodeur’s workers did a “phenomenal job,”Anita Chambers, Odulair’s founder and president, said last month, when the first two trucks were completed.

“Eveyone was delighted,” Brodeur said. “It was an amazing project.”

He’s hoping that will lead to more work for his company.

“We’ve already quoted another potential project for Nigeria,” he said.

Brodeur also said Odulair is “beating the bushes, trying to get some more business,” at least some of which would come his way.

The new direction comes at a good time for the company.

Fabrication of truck-mounted boxes, a staple for the company, has been flat, he said.

NorthEast’s other lines, such as enclosures for electrical equipment, battery racks and cabinets is holding up he said.

“Right now, we’re reasonably busy,” he said. “It’s not super busy – I’m not hiring at this point – but we are holding our own, and we’re hoping it continues.”

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