From trains to turbines: Wind power offers new opportunities

A wind turbine is “basically like a locomotive on a stick.”

That’s what John Nichols, site manager at Everpower’s Howard Wind Farm in Howard, N.Y., recently told me when explaining his career path.

John spent years building subway cars for New York City and Chicago, as well as locomotives and other trains. However, when the industry experienced a downturn, he needed to look elsewhere.

Around the same time, a wind farm was being built in the nearby town of Cohocton, N.Y., and it caught John’s eye. As it turns out, many of the skills he honed building subway cars were well-suited for a job as a wind technician.

After some time working as a traveling tech, John was excited to learn about the Howard Wind Farm. That meant he could perform his job as a wind tech just a few miles away from home.

Morning fog rolling across Everpower’s Howard Wind Farm in Howard, N.Y.

Today, John’s son has joined the new family business and is also a wind tech, making John proud. “What father doesn’t want his son to follow in his footsteps?” he told me.

And after all these years, John still experiences a sense of awe when he climbs to the top of a turbine and takes in the Howard’s beautiful, rugged landscape. John said his “office” has got the best view there is.

From trains to turbines, here’s another story of America’s fastest growing job offering new opportunities across the country.

For a longer look at what the Howard Wind Farm means to the local community, check out this video.

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