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TPI’s new general manager puts emphasis on teamwork

Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 11:03 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:36 a.m. CST
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(Dave Hon Daily News Staff Writer)
Terry Van Huysen, who has 35 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, started as TPI's general manager in April. The company, which makes wind blades for General Electric, plans on hiring roughly 50 new people.

If you work at TPI, there’s a good chance Terry Van Huysen knows your name.

The new general manager for TPI started in April, and his previous job was with a joint venture between TPI and Mitsubishi in Juarez, Mexico. Before that, he had several jobs with various car manufacturers and worked with IBM for 16 years.

“I actually started my career with IBM a long time ago,” he said. “I won’t say what year, but it was a long time ago. I hate to say it, but I’ve got about 35 years of experience in manufacturing operations.”

Van Huysen grew up in Michigan, and when he worked with IBM, he lived in Minnesota. He said he’s glad to be back in the Midwest and looks forward to the changing seasons.

“I like the area,” he said. “It sort of feels like I’m coming home to the Midwest. This area is very much like the area I grew up in in Michigan. It’s nice to see green. There’s not a lot of green in Southwest Texas.”

Right now, TPI is planning on hiring 50 new employees with a starting pay of $12 per hour. There will be a shortened probation period, and a benefits package will be made available to employees starting after 90 days of employment. New employees will receive an enhanced new hire training program.

“We have a lot going on here,” TPI Human Resources Manager Terri Rock said.

Rock said hiring has fluctuated due to demands and changes from their customer, General Electric. TPI makes wind generator blades for the wind generators produced by General Electric. Rock said the requirements for a job at TPI are only a good work ethic and a high school diploma or a GED.

“We prefer that they have manufacturing experience, but that’s not required,” Van Huysen said. “We want them to be able to exhibit good work ethics.”

Van Huysen said they match the blades into trios so the blades spin. The three blades are matched according to weight, trying to get all three as close as possible to each other. About 75 percent of the blades they produce are used within a 500-mile radius of Newton.

“We’ve had some trying times, but anytime you start a new operation up in a new area that’s different than anything else that’s in this area, there’s some growing pains that you go through,” Van Huysen said. “We’re going into a period where we’re going to be much more stable in terms of demand from our customer, which helps in being more stable as a company.”

Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at dhon@newtondailynews.com.

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