March 2, 2010
Nichols Brothers looks ahead
Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, Wash., is holding a public meeting March 11. The purpose is to let the local community know about future development plans. According to local press reports, the shipbuilder plans to apply to Island County for a "consolidation permit" that would allow it to carry out future developments covered by the permit without having to seek individual permission every time.
According to the press reports, among other things, Nichols plans include rearranging facilities in the yard to increase efficiency, gaining permanent use of new 53 ft high portable weather covers and lengthening the workday three hours to accommodate two shifts.
The eight weather covers were bought with $841,000 in federal stimulus money and are being used under a variance issued by the county as the shipbuilder's existing height limit for structures is 48 feet.
Nichols applied to the county for a similar permit about five years ago but withdrew that application in part because of objections from neighbors.
Nichols has been obtaining a steady flow of work since its 2008 bankruptcy led to its purchase by Ice Floe. Its current workforce is 167 and more new hires may be on the way, chief executive John Collins is reported as saying.