QUEENSBURY — A family-owned industrial company is riding a surge of business into the best year they’ve had since 2012.
Northeast Power Systems Inc., based on Carey Road, already has $28 million in orders for this year. In their last best year, they had $24 million in orders for the entire year.
Business has been so good that they have nearly doubled their workforce, from 25 to 46. They’re still looking to hire about three more people, if they can find anyone who is experienced in wiring and industrial control panels.
The boom has come at the perfect time. Last year, they completed a $1 million expansion.
“The expansion was not planned to accommodate this influx of work. It happened by luck,” said co-founder and President Paul Steciuk.
Then the company won a major project in Panama, where a copper concentrate plant is opening.
Major industrial plants use a lot of electricity, and often mines are located in rural areas, where the electrical grid is already weak. If they pull their power directly from the grid, they can cause wild oscillations in power for every other user, creating brownouts and other problems.
Northeast Power Systems Inc. builds what laymen might call an electrical substation for those plants. It stands between the plant and the grid, regulating power flow so the plant can get what it needs without hurting every other user.
“That Panama project was a very large project. They are huge,” Steciuk said. “That was the one that kick-started the thing.”
Then more projects came rolling in, including one in Peru. There, a copper mine is opening at 10,000 feet.
“Getting qualified laborers is difficult because it’s at 10,000 feet,” Steciuk said. “At 10,000 feet, laborers work slower.”
His company builds the entire substation in Queensbury and ships it to the location, where workers drop it in place with a crane.
“That’s what helped sell that project,” Steciuk said, explaining that some competitors ship out components, which must be assembled on site. That requires space — far more than what must be cleared to make room for a crane.
“Up at the top of a mountain, the terrain is very rough,” he said. “We take less space. That in itself saves a lot for the people at that mine.”
Fracking operations throughout the country have also put in orders for his product this year, he said.
“The industry needs power to produce oil and gas,” he said. “And in general, the economy’s rising.”
So he expects business to stay good. The company has nearly finished the Panama contract. Next up: Peru, Chile and the United States.
If he must expand further, it may require a new location. The $1 million expansion last year maxed out their property, he said.
The business was founded in 1995 and is owned by three brothers: Paul, Pete and Frank Steciuk.