Marhsall Bown is a layout man at Fairbanks Morse in Beloit. He's worked there 21 years...and looks forward to more...by embarking on a possible multi-million dollar contract from the U-S military. "Most of the workers are ecstatic about work coming to Beloit because we know we'll do a good job when we get that work and get things rolling," Bown said. On Tuesday, workers found out from Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin that a 4-million dollar contract was passed in the House version of the 2008 Department of Defense Appropriations bill. That contract would pay the company for an equipment upgrade package to the amphibious navy engines built at the Beloit plant. "This is going to produce a longer lasting engine that has fewer emissions, it's going to be good for the environment, good for national security and good for the people of Beloit." Baldwin says the upgrade is needed because current ships operate on full loads when they really aren't carrying that much. The new package will allow Fairbanks Morse to service four ships over the next year, compared to two right now. And with more work, employees expect some extra help around the plant. "Not only do we win in the U-S, but in the Beloit community as far as jobs and keeping the business going," Bown said.
It's excitement these workers want to channel from one major operation to another. The Senate still has to approve the 4-million dollar contract before it's a done deal. Congresswoman Baldwin is optimistic because she says there's generally little controversy over Department of Defense spending. Fairbanks Morse has a long history in Beloit. The company started there in the 1870's. They employ about 380 workers.