In ‘Expansion Mode,’ Second Wind Plans New Facility

Exemplifying wind power’s ability to buck the trend of the economy’s sluggish growth, Massachusetts-based wind information purveyor Second Wind is making plans to move several pieces of its operations into a 20,000 square-foot facility in Newton while still holding onto its nearby Somerville headquarters.

The 30-year-old company historically has operated in the area of wind resource assessment, most recently marketing and producing the new-generation, sodar technology-based Triton Sonic Wind Profiler. Business is good for the Triton, said CEO Larry Letteney, and now the company also plans to create a comprehensive wind information platform by adding on a wind farm operation-and-maintenance offering (i.e., performance monitoring and analysis for problems, etc.). Second Wind is currently raising equity funding in order for it to enter that business.

“We’re in expansion mode,” Letteney told Wind Energy Weekly, explaining that the Triton, still relatively new on the market, is now “taking off like wildfire.”

Letteney said that the company, which at the moment has 62 employees, has been adding staff over the last couple of months in preparation for the move. Second Wind expects to hire approximately 75 more people in the next three years. One head-turning aspect of Second Wind’s business from a U.S. economy perspective: 60% of the company’s business comes from overseas.

Production of the Triton and other products such as Second Wind’s Nomad wind data logger will move to the new facility. Letteney said that keeping the Somerville headquarters is a no-brainer because of the appeal of the vibrant and attractive town, which is the home to restaurants, entertainment options, and universities. That setting, he said, “is ideal when you’re hiring engineering and business talent.”

“It’s fun,” said Letteney, reflecting on life at the growing business. “In a difficult economy, where you make something in the U.S. and you ship 60% of your product overseas, it’s just a fun place to be.”

This article first appeared in Wind Energy Weekly, and was republished with permission from the American Wind Energy Association.

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Carl is Editor & Publications Manager at the American Wind Energy Association, where has worked since 2006. At AWEA he oversees AWEA's online and print publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, Windpower Update, and other products. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans teaching as well as working with homeless youth.

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