By Chris Jensen
A Vermont firm is seriously considering opening a metal fabricating, machining and assembly facility at the former paper mill in Groveton and has scheduled two job fairs later this month to see if there are enough workers, says James Moroney, the chief executive officer of NSA Industries LLC.
If a facility is opened, it would end an almost decade-long, unsuccessful effort by entrepreneurs as well as state and local officials to restore some of the 300 jobs lost when the Wausau paper plant closed at the end of 2007.
“We’ve got an opportunity to expand, but it is contingent on a few things,” Moroney told InDepthNH.org. “One of the things we have to determine is that there is a workforce there that would be suitable.”
That means finding 40 people who could be trained for jobs ranging from material handlers and shipping clerks to machinists and welders as well as press brake operators and laser punch operators.
“They are not minimum wage jobs,” he said.
The job fair is scheduled for Sept. 20 and 22nd between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the North Country Family Restaurant in Groveton.
Moroney says the company, which is located in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, will work with the state of New Hampshire to train workers.
If NSA Industries can find the workers, then the next step is getting a pending contract signed, Moroney said.
That might seem backward, but Moroney said his company must be sure it has “a good, viable workforce” before it can pursue signing the contract.
But it is clear that the company needs to expand, he said.
“We are up against space constraints and we are concerned about labor constraints,” he said.
As for opening a facility in Groveton, he said: “It is not 100 percent, but it is not 10 percent either. It is a fairly good probability.”
Ideally, the Groveton facility would open in January, he said. But workers would probably begin a month earlier.
He said the need down the line for more than 40 workers would depend on sales.
NSA Industries describes itself as “the largest metal fabrication, machining, and powder coating operation of its kind in Northern New England.” The St. Johnsbury facility has about 230 workers, Moroney said.
Mike Stirling, who manages the former mill site in Groveton, didn’t immediately return a call asking for comment.