Legend of Kimosabe
When a trucker with a handle like Kimosabe Bublitz can cash in making long-distance deliveries of oversized windmill equipment, you know the Green Economy isn't the bunch of BS that many of us first thought it was.
Bublitz lives in Shelton, Washington, but spends most of his time these days down in Abilene, Texas, the epicenter of a windmill boom in Texas that is starting to sweep across North American.
Bublitz cut his teeth as a trucker hauling logs with his dad in the Washington state timber industry. He drove his first log truck at age 14 off-highway and went on to acquire a wealth of hands-on-knowledge about how to adapt tractors and trailers for improved safety and performance.
Two years ago, he was invited to join a friend who was delivering windmill equipment from a California metal fabricating plant to a wind farm near Abilene. The loads consisted of steel cylinders 14-16 feet in diameter. The cylinders were 36 and 90 feet long and they weighed 60 and 65 tons each. Bublitz took vacation time so he could go along, driving the pick up truck that served as the pilot vehicle and the big rig.
With those trips, Bublitz was hooked and he started brainstorming the practical logistics and business challenges of hauling some of the biggest, most sensitive equipment that's ever rolled across the open road. He took out a second mortgage, sold some real estate, partnered up with an investor, and November 2007, he started Blitz Transportation with a single 1990 Freightliner tractor and a Trail King trailer equipped to haul windmill blades which can be 200 feet long.
Ten months later, Blitz is still running the original rig plus two new Kenworth-Trail King combos and the company has two more Kenworth-Trail King rigs on order. They are hauling mostly blades to Texas and other parts of the Midwest from ports on the West Coast, East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
Wind mill electrical generation continues to account for less than two percent of US electric output, but it is growing like crazy. Wind power grew by 45 percent in 2007, it is on track to grow by the same measure in 2008, and the federal government recently predicted that wind may account for 20% of US electrical production by 2030.
But, you probably didn't read this far just to learn about windmills. Few meet Bublitz without asking about his unusual name.
"My dad suggested naming me Doug," Bublitz said. "My mom was the one that did it." The name is most often shortened to Kim –his dad's name is Ken. He also goes by Kimo.
Some name books show "Kim" or "Kimo" as "Chief" and, "Sabe" as "White."
Spelled Kemosabe, the name was popularized by the Lone Ranger radio and television shows in which the masked man and his Native American partner, Tonto, called each other "Kemosabe."
According to the show, it was a Native American term for "faithful friend" but nobody has ever quite pinned down what language or dialect it was derived from, or what it truly means. The producer of the original radio show said he took it from the name of a kids' camp in Michigan called Camp Ke-Moh-Sah-Bee, but, in spite of much Internet speculation, nobody seems to know where the camp got the name..
As for "Green," the double meaning of that term is perfectly clear under the scorching summer skies of Texas, where the windmill boom rattles an enormous supply chain that ranges from wind turbine makers to blade manufacturers to tower fabricators and truckers also using green fuels to power their trucks.
"I see it both ways," Bublitz said, when asked if he's into windmill gear for the money or the environment. "It's thrilling to see the capabilities and the cleanliness of these machines creating so much energy without any wastes, but the business side is terrific, too. They say they are going to put up 2,000 more windmills in the Sweetwater area before the end of the year. The opportunities just keep knocking."
And, Kimosabe and Blitz keep answering. Bublitz said he now is finalizing contracts for deliveries nine years in the future
SI Goes Green
The next issue of the Seattle Industry magazine is in production. Now is the time to put your advertising dollars to work! Our theme is Green...the green industrial economy, greening your industrial operation, and learning more about green collar job opportunities. The magazine will be published in September just ahead of the Green Industrial and Career Expo on October 10. Contact Marilyn Young Skogland (206-762-2470 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve your advertising space.
Port of Seattle Hosts Business After Hours
The Port of Seattle is hosting a Business After Hours for the Manufacturing Industrial council, SODO Business Association and West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. We have a lot more in common with our commercial neighbors to the west than you may think & a number of the Port's commissioners will be in attendance. RSVP quick as you can at (206)728-3449
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2008
Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Place: Jack Block Park - 2130 Harbor Ave SW (just south of Salty's on Alki)
Parking: Plenty of parking in the park
1st Ave S Paving Project
Crews have begun begin work on 1st Ave S from S Spokane St to S Dakota St this week. They will be making major roadway repairs as well as grinding pavement up until August 29th. Pavement grinding will be worked on at night; 7pm-7am.
Expect significant traffic delays in these areas because traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction.