RUMFORD – Two NewPage workers facing layoffs have teamed up to form a company using the skills they provided to the paper company for more than a dozen years.

Stephen Cureton of Rumford and Jim Gilbert of Wilton are master electricians with 31 years of combined experience. They are among the 130 hourly and salaried paper mill employees who are being permanently laid off from NewPage in the next couple of weeks.

“We’ve been working together for 11 years,” said Cureton, and have been friends for longer.

Together, they have created Allied Electric.

Twelve of the mill’s 70 electrical and instrumentation employees are being laid off.

Cureton said earning the electrician license provided an option of going into business. With the layoffs, the time was right, he said.

He and Gilbert are getting a little help with their new business venture. Cureton said a fellow self-employed electrician friend from the area is referring customers to the new business.

Gilbert and Cureton expect to go to work on the day after they are laid off. Their last day of work at the mill is Feb. 26.

Gilbert views the team business venture as something positive in what is considered by most as very difficult economic times.

Cureton is 90 percent excited and 10 percent nervous about the self-employed venture. But he’s also sure that he and Gilbert are knowledgeable about their skills.

The are insured and have the tools necessary to provide service upgrades or other electrical improvements to homes or businesses.

Cureton may be reached at 357-5492. Gilbert may be reached at 645-9413.

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