Decade of manufacturing in Hutchinson has led to surge in U.S. renewable capacity

Kansas / 26 November 2020

The Siemens Gamesa Hutchinson facility, located in Kansas, USA, was set up in 2010 to assemble nacelles and hubs, critical components of a wind turbine. Since opening, the facility has completed nearly 5,000 nacelles, shipping to 16 U.S. states, as well as Canada, Chile and Peru. That’s enough to power more than 3.8 million homes or roughly the total number of households in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska combined.

Communications Specialist
If you visited the facility in late 2010, you would have seen 130 full-time employees building one type of nacelle and hub on a single shift. Fast forward to 2020 and you’ll see about twice as many employees building variations of three different models on a two-shift schedule.

The nacelle sits at the top of the tower and houses the electricity generating components. The hub is attached to the front of the nacelle and holds three blades, creating what is called the rotor.

“I joined this company when we had a small office in downtown Hutchinson. I watched a patch of dirt turn into a multi-million-dollar, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified facility that I’m proud to lead today,” said Doug Fulton, plant manager. Hired in March 2010 for the prospective plant, Doug is considered Hutchinson’s first employee.
Siemens Gamesa factory in Hutchinson, Kansas
In 2017, Siemens merged with Gamesa, creating Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. Each company complemented one another and boasted a unique product portfolio. The skilled Hutchinson workforce quickly adapted to simultaneously manufacturing dual technologies. “The growth I have seen since I started almost 10 years ago is incredible,” said Jonathon Long, a certified crane operator and material handler. “I’m really proud of the fact Hutchinson is the first Siemens Gamesa factory to build and ship nacelles from both legacy technologies. That was a really big deal for us and something we are all proud of in Hutchinson.”
Today, the plant employs about 260 full-time hourly and salaried workers. With highly competitive wages for the Reno County area, the local payroll has exceeded $150 million since opening. The company also provides excellent medical benefits, share options and tuition reimbursement. It is no surprise that more than 20 percent of current employees have been with the company since 2010. The Hutchinson facility is also a proud employer of veterans, with more than 10 percent of the workforce being U.S. military veterans or active duty military.
The Hutchinson facility has always had a global culture. Today you can hear more than five different languages from employees hailing from more than 14 countries around the world. Over the years, employees have traveled internationally to countries such as Denmark, Germany, Spain, Canada, Mexico and China on business trips for training and internal growth opportunities while also providing a cultural experience that would not have otherwise been possible. “I’ve spent a total of six weeks in Denmark for training and I got to visit several other countries while I was over there,” says Adam Comer, a mechanical assembler who’s been with the company since 2010. “It was an amazing trip that I would never have taken if it weren’t for this company.”
Siemens Gamesa Hutchinson facility in Kansas, USA
2020 has been a year of adapting to change for the nacelle and hub facility. Enhanced safety protocols have been in place since early March. “We have always been a safety-driven operation,” says Fulton. “The health and safety landscape of our plant has changed rapidly this year and I’m proud to say our employees have adapted right along with it. Our protocols are strong, and we are doing everything we can to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”


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