MANITOWOC - A Manitowoc manufacturing plant has a pretty tall order to fill. It's constructing what will soon be the tallest flagpole in America.
It's not welder Ross Seedfeldt’s everyday project at Broadwind Towers and Heavy Industries.
“Normally people think of a very bright blue light. With this though, we don't have that light but it's still the same process,” said Seedfeldt.
Ross Seedfeldt isn’t talking about the type of welding he's doing, he’s talking about what he's working on. It's a first for him and a first for Broadwind Energy.
“I've welded lots of wind towers,” said Seedfeldt. “This is the first and only flagpole as a company.”
But it’s not just any flagpole. Once completed, it will stand 400 feet high making it the tallest in America.
“There's a lot of excitement around the flagpole and I think it's great that ACUITY is taking on this project,” said Broadwind Energy President and CEO Peter Duprey.
ACUITY Insurance in Sheboygan ordered the flagpole.
ACUTIY has tried three times to raise massive flagpoles, but each time the wind blew them over. Yet, somehow it still found inspiration to try one more time.
"Honestly, after the last flagpole, we had decided we were done and the public demanded it so much that it caused us to take another run,” said ACUITY Insurance President and CEO Ben Salzmann in a statement.
So about a week ago, engineers at Broadwind's Manitowoc plant got to work.
“The process of building this flagpole versus the process of building a wind turbine tower is very similar,” said David Joynt, plant manager at Broadwind Towers and Heavy Industries.
Just one section of the flagpole is about 70 feet long. Broadwind will need six sections before it begins the new challenge of trying to put it all together.
The parts should be done by the end of April.
“There's going to be electronics in the flagpole to determine if it’s too windy out, that the flag will actually descend and actually deploy maintenance crews out to recover the flag,” said Joynt.
Ensuring it will be a flagpole everyone can be proud of, especially for those who worked on it.
“Privileged. It's a very nice feeling to know that a one of a kind structure is being built and I'm part of it,” said Seedfeldt.
ACUITY's president and CEO isn't disclosing the exact cost of the project, but said "it's less than a penny per insurance policy per year."
The company is planning a dedication ceremony for the flagpole sometime in June.