Monday, November 12, 2012

Buy Local and Help Your Community: Guest Post by Kenyon Webber

Kenyon Webber
Electrical Design Engineer
Vermont Yankee

My name is Kenyon Webber and I moved here to work as a Design Engineer with Vermont Yankee.  I am here to bring three points to your attention.

First, about the economy of the area. A few months ago, I had the privilege of attending the Regional meeting of the group SEVEDS, South Eastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies.  The findings of this group were quite disturbing, but not surprising to me.  They found that the average income for the state is $38,800 and for the southeastern region it is around $32,500 with a college degree.  The national median income is $54,756, according to the Dept. of Labor of Bureau and Statistics. SEVEDS also reported that there is a decline in the population in the southeastern region of Vermont of people age 44 and under.  Those of us who moved here to work for this facility would like to continue to work here. Also, the area would lose over $6 million in taxes that Vermont Yankee presently provides to this community.

Second, Vermont Yankee is a good community partner.  I personally have worked with three very successful projects in the two years I have been with the company: Project Feed the Thousands, work on the Boys and Girls Club of Brattleboro, and the remodeling of the Brattleboro Drop-In Center.  Without the work of these dedicated people from the facility, many people would not be fed and the Boys and Girls Club and Brattleboro Drop In Center would still be in major disrepair.

Third, this area should be committed to the "buy local" motto.  I suppose many of you feel that because this is not some farm stand on the side of the road, it is not a local business.  This business employs hundreds of local people that support the farm stands and other local businesses.  We live here locally and spend our money locally, just like any other person in this community.

So, I close with three good reasons to vote favorably for Vermont Yankee. We provide higher wage, stable careers for more than 600 people, not to mention the millions of tax dollars we provide; we are a good community partner, and you should be buying your electricity local.

Webber has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tennessee Technological University. You can read more about her on the Vermont Yankee website, which interviewed young engineers Kenyon Webber and Brian O'Callahan for Engineering Week.


This is the sixth in a series of posts which share statements made in favor of Vermont Yankee at the Public Service Board hearing on November 7, 2012.


Mike Mulligan said...

I'd sure like to talk to Brian, the Vermont Yankee air operated valve engineer...

Anonymous said...

I've never posted on this topic before, but I have definitely thought about this issue. People in the "Buy Local" movement seem to create an artificial distinction between a local business which is owned by a large corporation (Entergy, in this case), and a local business owned by a single person, limited partnership, or small local corporation. Which, is unfortunate.

I've seen numerous people write about how they like solar and wind because they feel it can be owned locally, and just supply the local community. But, what about a small modular reactor owned by a local corporation? What about a locally owned franchise of a national chain like McDonalds, Subway, or Olive Garden? Isn't that a locally owned small business?

As this poster points out, it would seem that a power plant that employs a lot of people in a local area, pays a lot of taxes in a local area, provides valuable electricity to a local market, and engages with the local community on projects like rehabilitating a social service center, or kids' safe space, is a good, local business, even if it's publically owned.

Meredith Angwin said...

My aunt, Blanche Stein Vision, is a retired judge and lives in Arizona. She wrote me about this post and gave me permission to use her email as a comment.

I have followed some of the statements made about vy. The one today by the young woman was very heartwarming and interesting. With the average income of the state so much lower than the national average people should be concerned about the increased costs of energy without VY. Besides a stated goal of Obama is to make us energy independent within a few years and to restrict oil imports--I think that is what he said.

Mike Mulligan said...

At one time we believed in a world that was sparkling new....we built our machines four times as big as the last rendition...amazingly more efficient and cut the cost by half. Our machines were four times as big as yesterday's and our incomes were rising to the stratosphere.

But today its only about "me"...not our greater good...