New York Firm Plans Move

Hampton Union, May 8, 1974

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — It’s now official. Wheelabrator Frye, Inc. (WFI) will move its corporate headquarters from New York City to Hampton’s Industrial Park area on the west side of town.

Announcement of the move came at a press conference called Friday morning in Concord by Governor Meldrim Thompson.

President of the company, Michael Dingman, told the several dignitaries gathered at the press conference that WFI chose New Hampshire as the site of its headquarters because of the state’s tax structure and Hampton because of it exceptional living environment for WFI’s employes.

Dingman said the company expects to begin construction in two or three months after the local Planning Board approves plans for the building which will cost in the vicinity of $3 million.

The president said the company expects to occupy the building in September of 1975 bringing with it about 25-50 professional people and their families.

WFI is a Fortune 500 company with 1973 sales of $257 million, employing more than 6,500 people, 3,000 of which are in engineering and related services.

The company has over 3.4 million square feet of plant space in North America alone and operates in 20 countries, employing more than 2,000 people outside North America.

Energy – Related

Its primary activities are designing, manufacturing, operating, maintaining and financing environmental and energy related systems.

In addition, the company’s Graphics Group produces ink, printing equipment and one-time carbon paper.

WFI is currently constructing a $32 million facility in Saugus, Mass., that will convert 2.5 million pounds of garbage per day into the yearly energy equivalent of 17 million gallons of fuel oil.


When asked why so much secrecy had surrounded WFI’s move to Hampton, Dingman said “There was always the decision that we may not come.”

In addition, he noted that WFI’s board of directors had considered moving to other states. When asked what other states New Hampshire competed with, Dingman would not be specific only saying, “You were up against the best.”

The WFI president could not answer questions on the company’s annual payroll or the average salaries of its executives. When asked how many children the N.Y. families would bring to the area, Dingman could not be specific. He did say that he expected his employees would not all settle in Hampton, nor would they have any great impact on any one town in the area, he said.

When asked if his energy – related company had any connection with either Olympic Refineries or the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, Dingman said no. But, he added, that he had offered the governor the use of his men’s expertise free of charge in studying either development for New Hampshire.

Dingman said he expected the company would hire about 50 local people, professional, technical and secretarial to add to the 50 expected from New York.

Dingman emphasized that the company expected to “bare our own share of what we’re responsible for” when asked what impact WFI would have on the Hampton community.


Based on a rate of $3.50 per thousand, Wheelabrator’s building permit fee to the town of Hampton will cost about $10,500 if the building cost is $3 million.

WFI’s annual tax bill for land and buildings could run higher than $100,000 per year by 1975.

New Hampshire’s senior Senator Norris Cotton issued the group of WFI executives gathered in Concord a most hearty welcome.” Then he drew laughter when he told them if they had a job opening, he’d be out of one in January.

Judge William Treat spoke of the “brain drain” the state of Maine is experiencing and said New Hampshire has a “reverse brain drain.” He said WFI’s move was bringing some very fine people into New Hampshire.

Likewise, Governor’s Councilor Robert Whalen of Rye cited moves to New Hampshire in recent years by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Booth Fisheries, both in Portsmouth.

Selectman Chairman from Hampton, Mrs. Helen Hayden welcomed WFI people to the community noting Hampton’s attempt at orderly growth in the past few years.

At the 1970 town meeting, Hampton voters approved a sum Of $40,000 to run water out to the town’s industrial area if the, then unnamed, company decided, to move to Hampton. The money was to be held until 1975 and then returned to the town if not spent. The town meeting article specified that the money would be spent only if recommendation of the Board of Selectmen and the Industrial Development Commission.


In addition, WFI invested some $5,000 in a sewer interceptor two years ago that was being installed in the Eastgate development off Exeter Road.

The additional money permitted the contractor, Robert Brindamour, to lower the depth of the interceptor and increase it capacity.

WFI has not made an appointment to meet with the Hampton Planning Board to date.

Dingman said Friday that the architect had to conduct further noise studies before completing plans due to the building’s location near Rte. 95.

Local persons present Friday included the town’s other four selectmen, Town Manager Peter Lombardi, Noel Salomon, who has been hired by WFI as a consultant, Wilfred L. Sanders Jr., chairman of the town’s Industrial Development Commission and Merle Straw, Seabrook realtor; who aided the company in purchasing its total 200 acres site.