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State Program Helps Secure 150 Jobs At Washington County Firm

Lucas Willard

Officials with the New York Power Authority visited a manufacturer in Washington County today to announce a statewide program is helping the company make upgrades and secure 150 jobs.

At the Easton plant of company Hollings worth & Vose, officials announced the success of a contract the firm has entered with the New York Power Authority’s ReCharge New York program.

The program supplies low-cost power generated by the Power Authority to businesses. The savings help companies retain workers and make infrastructure upgrades.

Gil Quinones is President and CEO of the New York Power Authority.

“We are providing, the NewYork Power Authority, low-cost, clean hydroelectric power to make this business more competitive, and you can see here they have made commitments to invest  millions of dollars to sustain this business here, and support and retain 150 jobs.”

Hollingsworth & Vose operates  in Easton as well as nearby Greenwich, and also has facilities in other parts of the country. Val Hollingsworth, president and CEO, mentioned some of the upgrades his company will make with the cost-savings associated with the ReCharge New York power.

“Some of it is building a natural gas supply capability for our mill in Greenwich, NY. Other work to improve our [hydroelectric] systems, and to drive energy efficiency within our plants.”

Hollingsworth said this particular region of upstate New York suffers from higher energy costs, and that the program will help the Easton and Greenwich facilities stay competitive.

“Electricity here is typically 30 to 40 percent more than it might in George or Virginia. With this help it brings us pretty close to being competitive,” said Hollingsworth.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is providing support to Hollingsworth & Vose on its efficiency upgrades.  NYSERDA Program Manager Brian Platt said the upgrades will lead to products that will have a greater impact down the line.

“Products made at this plant also go into very strong environmentally and energy performing products at other places, making batteries, making engine filtration parts, and those types of uses for the paper itself,” said Platt.

Holilngsworth & Vose has existed in largely rural Washington County since being established in the 1950s. Easton supervisor Daniel Shaw gave a brief history lesson, saying that of the 15 dams that once operated on the Hoosic River in the county, only a handful remain, three still operated by H&V.

Shaw, who operates his own small sawmill business, commended Hollingsworth & Vose for its longstanding commitment to the local workforce.

“It’s so hard to find good workers. And I think that Hollingsworht & Vose is very pleased with the workforce because they’re investing here,” said Shaw.

According to Gil Quinones, there is just 900 megawatts of power available through the ReCharge NY Program, about half of which is obtained through hydroelectric sources. Quinones said the program is beginning to secure jobs across the state.

“It’s starting to turn around in many parts of our state, from Buffalo to Montauk, from Messina to the Southern Tier. Many businesses, not just because of ReCharge NY, but because of the regional economic development approach that Governor Cuomo has instituted statewide, having both a bottom-up and a top-down approach to economic development has really been bearing fruit across the board,” said Quinones.

The New York Power Authority says the ReCharge NY program directly supports businesses that employ 384,000 workers.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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