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NH-based Burndy helps get the lights back on in hurricane-damaged areas

Union Leader Correspondent

October 11. 2017 11:48PM
Jefferson Hall, a senior product manager in Burndy's utility overhead distribution division, points to the variety of products made at the company's plant in Lincoln. The company's electrical connectors and tooling applications have been in high demand. during the very busy and damaging 2017 hurricane season. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

This Insulink connector made by Burndy at its plants in Lincoln and Littleton “connects the wire from the pole to your house” and is in high demand by utility companies working to restore power in areas damaged by hurricanes. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

LINCOLN — A New Hampshire company with more than 500 employees has been at the center of electricity recovery efforts prompted by the 2017 hurricane season that damaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and several Carribean islands.

Burndy makes connectors for the energy, construction, telecommunication, petrochemical, data center and transportation industries.

The company has manufacturing facilities in Lincoln and Littleton, N.H., and Bethel, Conn. It also operates a distribution center in Londonderry and has its headquarters in Manchester.

Burndy is an affiliate of Shelton, Conn.-based Hubbell Inc., which had annual revenues of $3.5 billion in 2016, according to the company’s website.

Burndy has been in business for more than 90 years and is busy year-round, but demand spikes after storms.

With four that made landfall in the U.S. and that also caused extensive damage throughout the Caribbean, this hurricane season has been a busy one for emergency responders and for the utility-company repair crews working to restore essential services.

The latter relies on the stuff that Burndy makes, specifically electrical connectors and application tooling.

During a recent interview, Chris Chadbourne, Burndy’s vice president of operations, and Jefferson Hall, a senior product manager in the utility overhead distribution division, said the hurricanes required the company to both expedite the receipt of raw materials and the delivery of finished products.

To make that happen, Burndy brought folks up from Manchester to augment the staff at its North Country facilities. Citing confidentiality, Chadbourne and Hall declined to identify customers but said they are among the largest utilities in the U.S. and are deeply involved helping people get their lives back to normal after the hurricanes.

“The immediate demand has passed us, but it was fast and furious,” Hall said.

Burndy’s most in-demand product is the Insulink, which Hall said “connects the wire from the pole to your house.” Given all the downed and damaged power lines in the hurricane areas, Burndy’s full-tension line splice is next in popularity, he said, followed by span taps and bales.

Those products are just four of many available from Burndy, which are marketed through a nearly two-inch thick catalog. A colorful comic book tells the story of “Burndyman” who uses Burndy tools to battle opponents such as Gale Force, Dr. Blackout, Tremor and Aftershock.

“Our teams are pretty excited that they’re part of getting the lights on” for people who lost power because of a hurricane, said Chadbourne, who has been with Burndy for 27 years. He said Burndy opened its Lincoln plant in 1975 followed by Littleton in 1976. In 1987, Burndy moved its headquarters and research and development center from Norwalk, Conn., to the Queen City.

“A good percentage of what we make is right here” in New Hampshire and the U.S., said Hall, with Chadbourne adding that Burndy is looking to bring on more employees.

“Our shingle’s out there,” he said. “We’re hiring.”

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