Armed with a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $420,000 awarded last year through Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Western Carolina University, American Carolina Stamping began working on a prototype of the product six months ago, said Steve McNabb, president of American Carolina Stamping.
A dehumidifier heats the water, allowing the consumer to run a dehumidifier and water heater for 30 percent less, saving on utility bills, he
was pleased with the Energy Department's positive response.
"I would say we've got a 90 to 95 percent chance of getting this and our other project going," he
said."If this and our plans for energy efficient lights come through, we will probably need to hire an additional 60 to 80 employees within 90 days." American Carolina Stamping
employs 14 people, he
The government contract marks a stark turnaround for McNabb
, who has waged a long battle with the Environmental Protection Agency
after the EPA's
investigation unit raided his
plant in January 1999.
Officers were acting on tips that the plant was improperly disposing hazardous waste, including a hexane-based solvent, commercially sold as Zep. McNabb
won support from local legislators in Congress and in the state General Assembly. McNabb
said earlier this month he
plans to sue EPA criminal investigators for at least $10 million over the four-year investigation, which turned up no wrongdoing.During the investigation his
company could not pursue government contracts, he
said, costing him thousands of dollars.He
plans to sue the EPA
for lost business, attorneys' fees and other damages. McNabb
felt vindicated by the company's success with federal energy representatives at Tuesday's fair.
"This is payback for all that," he
said, referring to the EPA investigation.
The company has already received blueprints for a new energy efficient electronic ballast that works with all lighting, McNabb
said.The lights are programmable so they don't all come on at the same time and are 40 to 50 percent more efficient than standard lights. American Carolina Stamping
, which is between U.S. 64 and Old Hendersonville Highway, will be the manufacturing representative for Aurora Lighting of Knoxville, Tenn.The company has already sent engineering prints for the product to the Penrose business, McNabb
said, with a production request of one million units per month. McNabb
credited the partnership of Western Carolina University and A-B Tech
along with his
company for Tuesday's success.
"We're on a roll," McNabb