IBEW Local 449, out of Pocatello, ID teams up with contractor Wheeler Electric to expand, light up, and wire up the new Western States Cat facility expansion project. With big machines, big equipment, and big needs, this is turning out to be a big project!

The team is installing interior lights, exterior lights, large heaters, three distribution centers, and installing over 150,000 feet of conduit. The project should be completed around March of 2016.

Watch the full story on IBEW Hour Power or ibewhourpower.com.

To download this video, click here.Erica McClaugherty

Transcript – IBEW Local 449 Lights Up the New Western States Cat Facility

Hi and welcome to another edition of hour power, I’m Erica McClaugherty. We are here at the western states cat rental and repair facility in Pocatello Idaho and well… this place isn’t going to big enough anymore!

So here I am at what will be the new home and service station for western states cat and who better to take care of all the electrical needs of this facility? Local 449!

Western States Cat, you could call them the man of the machinery world. Their decision to expand was a result of this heavy equipment dealer’s success! They have been selling and serving Caterpillar Equipment in the Pocatello area since 1956 and since they have outgrown their current place, they are building this guy…a brand new, $21 million facility and equipment display on a 28-acre lot.

With a big project like this, they decided to go with Wheeler Electric as their contractor and Local 449 for all their electrical needs.

Josh Wheeler – Vice President, Wheeler Electric Inc. “One of the most gratifying parts of this project is how much a relationship has mattered for this project. We have been renting equipment from western states for decades this was a competitively bid project but we knew we were given a fair opportunity because of that relationship.”

Josh WheelerJosh Wheeler also says in turn, that IBEW electricians were a must and that his relationship with the IBEW goes back generations.

Josh Wheeler – Vice President, Wheeler Electric Inc. “Our founder Dick Wheeler partnered with the IBEW over fifty years ago and his philosophy was having the best most trained electricians that he could have. He believed the IBEW and our local was the source for that. And for us that has held true for over fifty years.”

Rodney James – Business Manager Local 449 “Wheeler Electric has been a signatory contractor with the IBEW and Rodney JamesLocal 449 for over fifty years. That’s a big step for a small local like ours to have a contractor like wheeler who hires union people for over fifty years.”

Local 449 has been on the job for around 6 months. And they should be done around March of next year. It’s a big facility and electrical foreman Clay Hirning gives us an idea of what all it will offer.

Clay Hirning – Electrical Foreman, Local 449 “The flow of this building will be this main building will be the parts warehouse and then the other big area over there will be where they build the Clay Hirningengines and test the engines and transmissions and service and what not. And then this area over here will be the main mechanic shop it has light duty mechanics and heavy-duty mechanics and big equipment mechanical.”

But those heavy-duty mechanics and big equipment can’t all move in just yet. 449 is working to set the building up for success!

They are installing interior lights, exterior lights, large heaters, three distribution centers, and installing over 150,000 feet of conduit.

Manny Herrera – 4th Year Apprentice, Local 449 “What I was doing was putting up the exterior lights around the building. I’ve done a lot of the inside lighting and conduit running.”

Jim Marchetti – Journeyman, Local 449 “Today I am hooking up unit heaters putting a disconnect on and installing the 480 vault over to their control box. “

Josh Wheeler – Vice President, Wheeler Electric Inc. “Most of the interior lighting is done, the welding shop we haven’t got to. You will see a lot of exterior lights being installed right now.”

And with any job there are always a few challenges…

Josh Wheeler – Vice President, Wheeler Electric Inc. “I would say the most challenging part of this job is the amount of acrage that it is covering. If you walk around the site there is a lot of site here which is a blessing and a curse and there are a lot of areas to cover and places to be paying attention to.”

Clay Hirning, Electrical Foreman, Local 449 “For me, the most challenging part is working together with the other trades making sure that we are not in their roads and their aren’t is ours getting the right product and looking professional when we are done.”

And this job couldn’t have been more perfect for Local 449…

Rodney James – Business Manager Local 449 “It’s been a great job for us, our training center is across the street so for us to have one of our signatory contractors out here and be able to utilize the training center and have our membership out here working it’s been very beneficial for our members.”

This is more than just a job to Local 449. Being in the IBEW, no matter if you’ve been in four years or 32, it’s a way of life.

Manny Herrera – 4th Year Apprentice, Local 449 “I was in a dead end job and I had a background in electronics so the IBEW was perfect for me to be an electrician.  I’ve been able to support my family and do things I wasn’t able to do in the past because of the wages I was receiving.”

Clay Hirning – Electrical Foreman, Local 449 “I have been in the ibew for 22 years, basically it’s all I’ve ever known. I started when I was 19. I’m a strong believer in the brotherhood myself .”

Jim Marchetti – Journeyman, Local 449 “I’ve been in the IBEW for 32 years and the reason I joined is because I wanted to the best.  Being in the brotherhood is a unique situation it makes you feel very privileged and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

It’s guys like Jim and Clay that have been in the IBEW for decades that are the fabric of this Pocatello community, a community that is built on relationships.

Rodney James – Business Manager local 449 “One of the biggest things to getting these projects is relationship, when we have relationships with our contractors like we do. I’m very appreciative of western states cat and wheeler building this project.”

Well that’s it for the edition of hour power. Be sure to follow us on our Twitter and Facebook page. Until next time I’m Erica McClaugherty.


Rhiannon Manzi

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