Northern Pass contractor recruits workers at job fairBy MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader
January 10. 2018 11:42PM
CONCORD — Executives from a Deerfield excavation company came armed with a mission Wednesday at a job and supplier fair for the proposed Northern Pass project.
Our goal is “to make contacts here and introduce our company, and, hopefully, they’ll contact us,” said Kevin Fisher, a manager at K.J. Fisher & Sons, which employs 10 people full time.
PAR Electrical Contractors, the project’s general contractor, met with people pitching their companies and themselves at the Grappone Conference Center.
“We’re pulling information for companies we can hire and bid to,” said PAR Vice President Lance Clute.
PAR is working on lining up companies and workers even before the state’s Site Evaluation Committee delivers an expected decision on the proposed $1.6 billion project by late February. The 192-mile route would run through more than 30 communities, from Pittsburg to Deerfield and includes 60 miles of buried lines.
“If we don’t hit the ground running, it’ll make it very difficult to meet our in-service date (of late 2020),” Clute said.
Northern Pass officials say the project will create 2,600 jobs at the construction’s peak. (A Northern Pass expert testified that one person working for three years on the project would be counted as three jobs.)
“For anyone attending, they might not want to give up their day job,” said Jack Savage, a project foe with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “Northern Pass faces a still long, uphill battle.”
Clute said he expects to hire 600 to 800 workers belonging to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a mix of linemen, drivers and other professions.
New Hampshire workers will be given preference, he said.
“They’re going to get the nod,” Clute said. “We’re going to look at them rather than someone from outside the state.”
A similar job and supplier fair in Whitefield in December drew more than 200 people.
Tiler (CQ) Eaton, international representative for business development for the IBEW, predicted hundreds of his members will work on the project if it gets approved.
“It’s the biggest job that’s been in New Hampshire since Seabrook (nuclear power plant) in terms of scale,” he said.
“We’re not offering them jobs today,” but collecting names and contact information for people interested in the project, Eaton said.
Tim Cellar said his company, Drillers’ Choice in Assonet, Mass., has worked with PAR and its parent company, Quanta Services, on previous projects around the United States.
“I don’t know if it’ll get us a leg up, but at least gets us in the door,” Cellar said.
People attending the fair could at least leave with a T-shirt or hat urging people to support Northern Pass.