Energy storage firm expands work force

Print Article

Zinc Air executives, from left, Mathew Cottrell, Kevin Waldher, David Wilkins and Ron Bost pose for a picture Thursday night during an open house. Zinc Air is developing battery systems for storing and delivering renewable energy.

Though Zinc Air’s first out-of-facility installations of its power-storage batteries are a few months away, the company has been expanding so fast it is housing some of its engineers in a trailer behind its Columbia Falls-area building.

The company currently has 45 employees after hiring half a dozen — many from Montana State University — in the last month.

“A lot of these folks are MSU graduates who have had to leave the state for employment and are now finding jobs back here in Montana,” said Kevin Waldher, vice president of business development.

“They really pump out some high-quality graduates between MSU and Montana Tech, and there’s such a work ethic with people from Montana. It’s nice to bring people back, and they’re hard workers.”

The vice president of manufacturing, John Lowell, is an example of someone excited about the opportunity to work in Montana. He left a $7 billion-a-year company in Toronto to join Zinc Air.

The company is developing cutting-edge, patented battery solutions for storing and generating power. Zinc Air products will help solar, wind and traditional power companies by allowing energy to be distributed when it’s needed, not just when it’s produced.

The company is finalizing its Z20 storage unit and received its second patent last week, “which will greatly improve our energy capacity and cost reduction of our systems,” Waldher said.

In the company’s most recent investor newsletter, a message from Zinc Air president Dave Wilkins summarizes the optimistic outlook at the company:

“Zinc Air has methodically and diligently endeavored into the grid storage market. We have assembled the best business, sales, marketing, engineering, electrical and chemical experts from varied industries, including semiconductor, battery and fuel cell, software and electronics and manufacturing.”

The company is looking to begin local installations, its first deployments outside of its own facility, in April 2013. Larger deployments are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2013, Waldher said.

Another recent Zinc Air development is the addition of former CIA director James Woolsey, who has joined the company as chairman of Zinc Air’s senior advisory board.

“Bringing the caliber of someone like Jim Woolsey onto the team takes our industry exposure to another level,” Wilkins wrote in the newsletter. “Jim has been a leader in the renewable industry and provides tremendous insight to the military applications for our technology.”

Zinc Air held a by-invitation open house and plant tour on Thursday.

Reporter Heidi Gaiser may be reached at 758-4439 or by email at hgaiser@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Attorney for the ‘common man’ dies at age 90

July 25, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Daily Inter Lake Longtime Kalispell attorney Dale McGarvey, who spent much of his legal career advocating for the “common man” in legal battles against big corporations, insurance companies and the government, died S...

Comments

Read More

Wetland conservation project nears funding mark

July 25, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Daily Inter Lake The Flathead Land Trust has nearly reached its fundraising goal for a wetland conservation project northwest of Kalispell. Less than $4,000 of the $1.4 million needed to complete the West Valley W...

Comments

Read More

At 100, man continues to record his life

July 25, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Daily Inter Lake Most people wonder what their legacy will be. One Whitefish man has been able to watch his mark on the world grow through five generations. Eugene Hermes was born during the tail-end and aftermath...

Comments

Read More

Wire mishap sparks U.S. 2 grass fire

July 25, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Daily Inter Lake A human-caused grass fire burned about 1 acre of undeveloped land off U.S. 2 West in Columbia Falls Monday evening. According to Columbia Falls Fire Chief Rick Hagen, the blaze likely ignited when a...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X