Bryan Ritterby is a lab technician at EnergetX Composites, where he makes alternative energy parts like wind turbine blades. President Obama has stressed the need for traditional manufacturers to diversify into fields like wind and advanced batteries. He’s expected to discuss how retraining workers plays a role in that.
When business was lagging at Tiara Yachts in Holland, the company branched out to form EnergetX. Bryan Ritterby was one of the first to jump on board. He was laid off after 25 years in the furniture industry. Out of his own pocket, he paid for community college training specially designed for EnergetX.
“There was a possibility and just got lucky that I was one of the few in that class that did get into the company,” said Ritterby. “And we’re still there.”
Now he’s the First Lady’s special guest in her VIP balcony seat.
Ritterby said he isn’t political, but knows that there a lot of workers out there where he used to be.
“Everybody that is in my type of range is struggling and you just have to make ends meet the best you can,” said Ritterby.
Steve Busch, Director of Human Resources for EnergetX said they’re looking at hiring more workers in mid February. But this time, he said the training will probably be through the company. Busch said there will be more information on the company’s website when it becomes available.