Upstate N.Y. Transformer Manufacturer Expands Plant, Global Reach

  When Bill Woerner was hired by New York’s Niagara Power Transformer 27 years ago, he joined 80 union workers at a family-owned company, expecting a steady job that could continue to deliver pay and benefits even as the area’s auto plants and steel mills strained under extremes of boom and bust. “My father was a steelworker who advised me to find the job that would be the most consistent,” says Woerner, who began to learn the trade of a coil winder, producing the interior of the transformers by delicately wrapping copper or aluminum wires around a core interspersed with layers of insulation for cooling. Woerner says he was proud to contribute to his employer’s success in supplying a niche market for custom-designed transformers that can perform in punishing environments from the North Slope of Alaska to Antarctica.  

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