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November 7, 2012

Walton firm hopes African contract leads to more work

By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star

---- — 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.”

Solar power proposal deadline pushed back

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has extended the deadline for proposals to take part in the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, which brings affordable photovoltaic (PV) power to businesses, factories, municipal buildings and other larger commercial and industrial customers.

Announced in August, the program makes as much as $107 million available through the end of 2013. A total of $36.4 million is set aside for 2012; the rest will be awarded next year.

Proposals for the first round of funding were due Thursday, but NYSERDA has extended the deadline to Dec. 5, because of Hurricane Sandy.

Cancer-fighting tool to be displayed

The FoxCare Center in Oneonta, in conjunction with the Otsego County Chamber, will be showing off its new linear accelerator Nov. 15 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The advanced technology offers high-precision treatment for cancer patients, according to the Bassett Cancer Institute and A.O. Fox Hospital, and its purchase was made possible, in part, by the Dewar Foundation, Community Bank and the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation.

To suggest a business story, announce a new business or changes to an existing one, email details to rwhitby@thedailystar.com or call Richard Whitby 432-1000, ext. 221.