Wind energy company to hire 300

Photo by Sabrina Pankratz A representative of Blattner Energy interviews a job fair attendee Tuesday at the Lyon County Government Center.

MARSHALL — A wind energy company looking to hire around 300 people for a project near Lake Benton and other projects outside Minnesota held a job fair Tuesday at the Lyon County Government Center.

While the job fair was slow to steady throughout the afternoon, Colleen Mertes, a recruiting specialist for Blattner Energy said, “We like to use as many locals as possible when we build these projects.”

Blattner Energy will be working the new wind energy project for NextEra Energy. The project, Lake Benton Wind, consists of building a 100-megawatt wind energy project in Pipestone county near Lake Benton. Wind energy provides electricity to 1,091,000 homes across Minnesota, and Blattner Energy has built more than 25 renewable projects in Minnesota.

Blattner Energy was originally started in central Minnesota in 1907, and the Blattner Family of Companies is a fourth-generation family business. Blattner Energy’s corporate office is located in Avon, and it is seeking to hire a local workforce and suppliers that support the community.

“It is interesting, we did build our first wind project in Lake Benton in 1997.” Mertes said. “So we are taking those old towers down and putting up I think 130 (137) new towers.”

The Lake Benton Wind job-site is approximately 30 minutes away from Marshall, and the project will take 5-6 months to complete. Eric Hardy, the project site manager, said.

“We’re looking to employ around 300 people for the project, but we’re always looking to hire qualified people,” he said.

Hardy said Blattner Energy is looking to fill positions, such as, labor workers and tower climbers for the project.

“We will not be looking to hire any operators for the project, because we will be using the local 49 operators — but we are always looking to hire operators,” said Hardy.

“We do work all around the country, but it is really cool when we get to work in our home state, Minnesota,” Mertes said.