Q&A: Paul Coenen

Vice President, Northern Operations, The Boldt Company

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Tell us a little bit about your background and your role at Boldt as VP of wind?
Since joining The Boldt Company in 1985, there has always been a focus on environmental responsibility. The Boldt Company was an early adapter of sustainable construction techniques and we have a long resume of working on projects that are LEED-certified. Expertise we gained in LEED-certified projects naturally translated into other sustainable fields, including wind energy.

We built our first wind project in 2006. It was a single Vestas 1.65MW turbine for St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. That single turbine can provide up to one third of the campus power needs.

Our first large wind project was in 2007, a 145MW farm built in Wisconsin. I was very involved with establishing the project team and contractual agreement for that project, which was a new industry for us at the time. I have supported building quality wind project teams that are current with training, safety and have the best tools and equipment to be successful.

I also represent The Boldt Company in the wind industry with respect to professional and trade organizations on the front ends.

What services does Boldt offer to the wind energy industry?
Boldt provides early “indicative” pricing estimates and site planning services for crane paths, lay down yards and operations and maintenance facilities. During construction, Boldt can provide project scheduling and construction management services as well as all turbine erection services, foundation construction, as well as earthwork services. We also partner with many of the industry’s best electrical firms.

There are key skills needed in wind turbine construction: crews need to be able to plan and execute extremely heavy lifts that require precision placement. Customers also need construction companies that are going to execute high quality work safely. Boldt has a long history of making complex, heavy, precision lifts due to our decades of work in the paper industry. Our safety record in excellent and we were named one of the safest companies in America.

Can you give us an idea of Boldt’s project experience as a wind energy contractor?
Regarding different delivery and contracting methods, we do our best to respond to the needs of the individual customer. In some cases, we construction manage the entire project and act as the BOP contractor. In other cases we have been brought in by OEM, utility or developer to just erect and commission wind turbines.

Is there a certain area in which Boldt specializes or is specifically known for?
We often think if the customer needs the tough jobs done, we get the call! Our jobs have been characterized by very tight deadlines and extremely remote locations. In many cases, there is no infrastructure in these locations—no cell phone towers, limited roads and utilities. We have continually met the challenge of siting foundations and erecting towers in difficult conditions—several wind farms were constructed in the dead of winter! Unlike the largest players in the industry, we feel no project is too small. We are always willing to react to each customer’s specific needs, large or small.

Boldt has trademarked its operating philosophy. Tell us about BoldThinking.
BoldThinking is a blend of philosophical beliefs and practical applications that provide the highest value to our customers. We use innovation, flexibility and imagination to help building owners create environments that achieve their highest possible use. In practical terms, we use a proprietary process called Integrated Lean Project Delivery that applies traditional Lean processes to the highly customized world of construction. We use the latest in modeling technology, planning, collaborative processes and on-site oversight to eliminate waste in our process. The result is our customers get the highest value for their construction investment. 

What are the company’s expectations for wind energy construction over the next 24 months? Can you give us some insight into current or future projects?
We have seen an uptick in wind projects with many just getting started prior to the end of 2013. Next year and 2015 look to be good years for wind projects. We are actually pricing and planning projects. We will be mobilizing the spring onto a large west coast project.

What is it that makes Boldt unique? How does it separate itself from the pack?
Boldt is uniquely positioned to serve the wind industry. Certainly we have proven expertise in building wind farms, but our aggregate experience in all construction sectors help us to bring best practices to the wind industry. Our crews are experienced at working collaboratively with owners, engineers and subcontractors to execute the best construction plan possible. We continually are focused on providing maximum value and challenge our teams to find new, innovative ways to achieve our goals. 

 

For more information on construction services offered by The Boldt Company, visit
www.theboldtcompany.com, or call 800-992-6538.