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February 16, 2010

How Fraser Shipyards will spend $2 million

Jim Korthals, President and COO of Superior, Wis. shipbuilder Fraser Shipyards Inc., today briefed Rep. David Obey, D.-Wis., on how the yard will use $2 million the congressman secured for the City of Superior to assist with the shipyard's continued upgrades and repairs to its facilities. The company will begin the work as soon as funding is disbursed, ultimately employing an additional 15 to 20 skilled workers throughout the project.

"This project will help ensure Fraser remains competitive, so it can continue to employ people long into the future," said Obey. "This is a great example of private industry working cooperatively with government at every level, federal, state and local."

Obey and Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., announced in December 2009 that the funding had been secured and is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law by President Obama. The funding is part of the federal budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"The money will help fund Fraser's continued commitment to the maritime community," said Korthals. "We're grateful Rep. Obey was able to help secure this significant funding at this time. It will give us the opportunity to bring on skilled trades people, electricians and heavy equipment operators to get the job done."

Fraser Shipyards will repair approximately 420 ft of one of the dock wall faces in the shipyard that is used in repairing Great Lakes vessels and repair and upgrade the electrical services within the shipyard.

Workers will install 50-ft lengths of sheet piling to repair the dock walls, using a crane and vibrating hammer to move the piling and interlock the sheets into place. Caps will be welded onto the sheet piles to permanently tie them together. The double-wall system used keeps earth from sloughing into the lake.

The company will also install higher-efficiency transformers to better suit the shipyard's needs. The current transformers are costly as the electricity comes in at 14,000 watts and has to be transformed down as far as 110 watts for use. The change will save the company money each and every day, further improving its bottom line.

Fraser Shipyards also will use the funds to replace current underground electrical lines that have outlived their useful life.

Work is expected to be performed simultaneously and completed within a two- to three-month period once the funding is received.

Last March $3.7 million in funding for the shipyard was secured through the State Harbor Assistance Program, administered by the City of Superior, with a required 20 percent match from Fraser. That funding will be allocated to new construction work, while the $2 million in federal funds will go towards repairs.

Mr. Korthals also introduced Fraser Shipyards' newest acquisition -- Lake Assault Boats, which specializes in 14 ft to 35 ft patrol, fire, rescue, and work boats. He described the acquisition as "a natural extension of what we do best."

"We perform quality work on ships and will apply that experience to patrol, fire and rescue boats as well as hunting and fishing boats," he said."Dependability is key, and our welders are the best in the business, so our customers can expect a top-of-the-line product. The more we can expand Lake Assault Boats, the more workers we can employ."

Lake Assault Boats has 58 customers in 13 states. One of the company's most recent jobs was producing a rescue craft for the Chicago Fire Department.


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