10/12 Industry Report [Fall 2021]

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FALL 2021

PLUS:

Race to Chicago Addiction on the rise Safety managers speak out

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SHORTAGE OFEVERYTHING A ‘perfect storm’ exposes fragility of Louisiana’s industrial supply chain

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  3



CONTENTS

Publisher: Rolfe McCollister, Jr. EDITORIAL Editorial Director: Penny Font Editor: Sam Barnes Contributing Photographers: Cheryl Gerber, Don Kadair, Leroy Tademy ADVERTISING Sales Director: Kerrie Richmond Senior Account Executives: Marielle Land-Howard, Kelly Lewis Account Executives: Mary Katherine Bernard, Mandi Bryant, Taylor Fountain Advertising Coordinator: Brittany Nieto

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CORPORATE MEDIA Editor: Lisa Tramontana Content Strategist: Allyson Guay Multimedia Strategy Manager: Tim Coles Account executive: Judith LaDousa Client Experience Coordinator: Studio E: Nicole Prunty

SHORTAGE OFEVERYTHING

CUSTOM PUBLISHING Sales Director: Erin Palmintier-Pou MARKETING Chief Marketing Officer: Elizabeth McCollister Hebert Marketing & Events Assistant: Taylor Floyd Events: Abby Hamilton Community Liaison: Jeanne McCollister McNeil PRODUCTION/DESIGN Production Manager: Melanie Samaha Art Director: Hoa Vu Graphic Designers: Melinda Gonzalez, Emily Witt

A ‘perfect storm’ exposes fragility of Louisiana’s industrial supply chain

ADMINISTRATION Assistant Business Associate: Tiffany Durocher Business Associate: Kirsten Milano Office Coordinator: Tara Lane Receptionist: Cathy Varnado Brown

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In This Issue A supply chain time bomb detonates

9 14

NEWS

CLOSING NOTES

45 A new way to Chicago

66 Small Project Maps

A PUBLICATION OF LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC. Chairman: Rolfe H. McCollister, Jr. Executive assistant: Tara Broussard President and CEO: Julio A. Melara Executive assistant: Brooke Motto

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SUBSCRIPTIONS/ CUSTOMER SERVICE 9029 Jefferson Highway, Suite 300 Baton Rouge, LA 70809 225-421-8157 • FAX 225-928-5019 1012industryreport.com email: circulation@businessreport.com

Logjammed suppliers eye Louisiana as a potential multimodal hub for imports.

LAUNCH ICYMI Executive Profile Meet Justin Ehrenwerth, president and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONS

29 Southwest Louisiana: A Region

of Opportunity + Resilience Sponsored by the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance

50 Cybersecurity dos and don’ts

You’ve been hacked. Now what?

FOCUS: SAFETY

52 Lessons learned

Seasoned South Louisiana EHS leaders share emerging best practices in safety.

55 ‘Red flags are everywhere’

Rising substance abuse during the pandemic lockdown could have residual impacts on industrial safety.

Active Louisiana industrial projects announced or proposed with projected capital investment of $25 million to $250 million

Large Project Maps Active Louisiana industrial projects announced or proposed with projected capital investment of $250 million or more

70 My Toughest Challenge

Jim Rock, executive director of the Lake Area Industry Alliance, shares how he energized the company culture while plant manager at PPG’s Natrium Plant in West Virginia.

59 Company Spotlights

Meet Group Contractors and Five S Group

Send your ideas and company news to editor@1012industryreport.com. 1012industryreport.com

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Audience Development Director and Digital Manager: James Hume Audience Development Coordinator: Ivana Oubre Audience Development Associate: Jordan Kozar

Volume 6 - Number 2 © Copyright 2021 by Louisiana Business Incorporated. All rights reserved by LBI. 10/12 Industry Report is published biannually by Louisiana Business Inc. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Business address: 9029 Jefferson Hwy., Ste. 300, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. Telephone (225) 928-1700. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 1012 Industry Report, 9029 Jefferson Hwy., Ste. 300, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. 10/12 Industry Report cannot be responsible for the return of unsolicited material—manuscripts or photographs, with or without the inclusion of a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Information in this publication is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. No information expressed here constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities.

10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  5


IN THIS ISSUE

A supply chain time bomb detonates

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SAM BARNES

he clock started ticking when the world quite literally shut down in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But not until the economy began returning to normal did the supply chain time bomb detonate in the form of logistical logjams at nearly every stage of the process. Raw materials, manufacturing, labor, transportation and ultimately the production and delivery of end products are all feeling the pinch. Just ask any auto salesman staring at a half-empty car lot. Or port director watching ships in a line waiting to unload cargo. Or truck fleet manager who can’t find drivers to transport product. Or contractor whose material costs have skyrocketed. Much like the pandemic, the supply chain problem is impacting everyone. As a result, industry and the businesses that support them have been forced to pivot from a “just in time” way of doing business to ordering materials months in advance. See “A Shortage of Everything,” beginning on page 16. The trucker shortage has been a particular sore spot. Some petrochemical plants have even delayed production because raw materials simply haven’t arrived. Last year’s Hurricane Laura got in on the act, of course, decimating U.S. chlorine production when it took out BioLab’s Westlake plant—a vital national supplier of chlorine—and depleting the Lake Charles workforce of contractors and materials. And in Southeast Louisiana, supply chain issues were exponentially amplified by Hurricane Ida in late August. Experts says supply chain struggles aren’t going away anytime soon but won’t last forever. That’s assuming, of course, that the pandemic ebbs or the world learns to function in the midst of it. A POSSIBLE SOLUTION In late August, a record 44 freight ships were stuck waiting for entry

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into California’s two largest ports— the highest number recorded since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And Port of Los Angeles data estimated that a ship’s average wait time had increased to 7.6 days. The queue was caused by labor shortages, COVID 19-related disruptions and holiday buying surges. Multimodal experts in South Louisiana see opportunity in the West Coast supply struggles. They hope that the widening of the Panama Canal and some very real progress toward opening more container terminals along the Mississippi River will get the attention of suppliers needing to move product directly into the “breadbasket” of the U.S. See “The rise of multimodalism” on page 45. They’re also wanting to attract more regional distribution centers by touting the multimodal benefits of Southeast Louisiana. Amazon, in fact, is in the early stages of building its 1,000-employee robotics distribution facility, choosing to locate here in part because of the area’s proximity to multiple modes of transportation. In that same vein, The Port of New Orleans, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and Port of South Louisiana are positioning themselves for the burgeoning world of container shipping in hopes of luring impatient shippers. Port NOLA has allocated some $100 million to expand its Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, and in December moved forward with the purchase of 1,100 acres from the St. Bernard Port for a long-planned, $1.5 billion second container ship terminal in Violet. The land purchase there kicks off a lengthy two-year period of due diligence to assess the project’s feasibility and potential environmental impacts, followed by several years of design and construction. And a rapid increase in container volumes prompted the Port of Great-

er Baton Rouge to increase the size of its container storage facility at Inland Rivers Marine Terminal in 2020. The $5 million expansion has created nearly 4 acres of additional paved container storage capacity and given the port the ability to store about 2,000 containers. DRUG USE ON THE RISE The pandemic continues to color everything in our world these days, or, for some, turn everything to gray. Drug testing facilities that monitor and test for substance abuse are seeing the pandemic’s impacts in an alarming way: sharp rises in positive drug tests conducted during employee screenings. See “Red flags are everywhere,” beginning on page 57. Much of the increase is in the use of anxiety meds, presumably due to heightened worries related to the pandemic, and experts are sounding the alarm bell. These increases in positive drug tests probably mean that more industrial workers are slipping through the cracks, potentially resulting in more safety issues at industrial jobsites. The time is now for a more proactive approach to drug and mental health counseling, they say. Some industrial owners and contractors have heeded the call, and others, such as the Alliance Safety Council, have proactively offered educational webinars to address the facts and fallacies about COVID-19. GET SOUTH LOUISIANA INDUSTRY NEWS WEEKLY 10/12 Industry Weekly keeps you apprised of the latest industry news and trends every week. We’re the only newsletter dedicated solely to coverage of South Louisiana’s industrial sector, including oil and gas, petrochemical, manufacturing, supply chain and more. Get 10/12 Industry Weekly delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. Get your free subscription at 1012industryreport.com. 1012industryreport.com


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A message from Entergy Louisiana, LLC ©2021 Entergy Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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LAUNCH ICYMI

PIPELINE OPERATOR Kinder Morgan Inc. plans to convert some Louisiana tank and piping infrastructure to hold used cooking oil and other feedstocks for Finnish renewable-fuels giant Neste. The two companies announced this fall they plan to create a premier domestic raw material storage and logistics hub in the United States, supporting increased production of renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel and renewable feedstock for polymers and chemicals. Upon completion of the project, Kinder Morgan’s Harvey, Louisiana facility will serve as the primary hub where Neste will store a variety of raw materials—including the used cooking oil it collects from more than 40,000 restaurants across the United States. 1012industryreport.com

Kinder Morgan is one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies; Neste, one of the leading providers of renewable and circular solutions. As part of the initial, committed phases of the project, Kinder Morgan will modify existing tanks and piping to enable segregated storage for a variety of raw material across 30 tanks. The scope of work also includes the installation of a new boiler for heating tanks and railcars and infrastructure improvements for rail, truck, and marine movements. The project, which is supported by a long-term commercial commitment from Neste, is expected to begin operations in Q1 2023. At Neste’s option, the facility can be further expanded.

“This clearly shows the positive role America’s existing energy infrastructure can play in creating a sustainable future and fighting climate change,” Neste President Jeremy Baines says. “Neste and Kinder Morgan are transforming existing terminal assets into what can be considered green infrastructure, which will ultimately enable more American businesses and cities to power their fleets and supply chains with renewable fuels and other products.” The commitment is one of Neste’s largest to date in the U.S., building on the company’s more than 15-year head start in creating an end-to-end renewable product value chain. Renewable fuels offer an immediate way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and

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A different kind of oil in the pipeline heavy-duty road transport. Neste says its renewable feedstock for polymers and chemicals manufacturing can also significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the end products. As one of North America’s largest terminal operators, Kinder Morgan Terminals brings to the table 80 million barrels of storage, 266 docks, 462 truck bays and 6,800 rail car spots. Because renewable products work with existing energy infrastructure, the U.S.’s vast network of pipelines, storage tanks, and distribution sites can be used to rapidly scale their availability. The companies contend this will enable renewable products to replace fossil products faster and more affordably. 10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021   9


We work here. We live here. From soda cans, textiles and drinking water to personal care products like soaps, shampoos and cosmetics, you’ll find innovative materials made at our St. Gabriel operations in products you use every day. We are focused on improving the quality of life for people around the world — every day. That focus is built on the foundation of our values, especially safety. We take our commitment to operating responsibly and protecting the health and safety of our employees and contractors as well as our friends, colleagues, neighbors and the environment very seriously. Operating responsibly also means we go beyond safety to care for society. Whether we’re volunteering our time, advancing educational efforts for the future workforce or helping local organizations meet critical needs, our community investments reflect the rich heritage of Eastman teams around the world. We not only work here; we live here. And Eastman is proud to be a member of Iberville Parish. Together, we’ll continue to enhance the quality of life — today and for future generations.

© 2021 Eastman. EMN-13757 10/21

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LAUNCH: ICYMI

AN LNG BUNKERING DEAL

GALLIANO-BASED Crosby Tugs has invested in green shipping start-up Float Freight, a sustainability-focused barge transportation company that harnesses the industry’s latest technology to provide carbon-neutral inland marine transportation solutions. The companies say that Float Freight will work with the Crosby Group’s existing marine asset network along with a team of dedicated engineering, operational, and commercial support staff. Float Freight now offers multiple weekly sailings on fixed schedules and what it calls “friendly” booking terms. Based in Houston and Galliano, the company will initially offer direct service from New Orleans, Mobile, and Cameron, as well as Mexico. “We aim to make the U.S. Marine Highway system accessible for any size company by providing low cost and predictable inland marine solutions,” Float Freight Managing Director Mike Little says. Float Freight’s services include low-cost transshipment and direct discharge options for the project, heavy lift, bulk, breakbulk, and container sectors. The company also can support clients that need more of a “just in time” arrival schedule, or clients that require dedicated assets for their cargo.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE KRISTIN THOMAS-MARTIN has been named manager of ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Plastics Plant. She replaces Angela Zeringue, who has been named senior operations planning advisor for ExxonMobil Chemical’s Global Operations. Zeringue will remain in Baton Rouge. A native of Pittsburgh, Thomas-Martin began her ExxonMobil career in 2006 at the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Tennessee. Since 2019, she has been the operations manager at the Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant. Prior to pursuing a degree in engineering, Thomas-Martin was a classically trained ballet dancer and performed with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She continues to take and teach ballet classes while working for ExxonMobil. Cameron LNG CEO FARHAD AHRABI, who orchestrated the creation of the first phase of the company’s first export facility in Louisiana from the construction process to full commercial operations, is retiring at the end of January 2022. He has been with the company for seven years. Under Ahrabi’s leadership, the facility received the Perfect Record Award by the National Safety Council for reaching more than 89 million hours worked without a lost-time incident. The Cameron LNG liquefaction export project reached full commercial operations of Phase 1 in August 2020. To date, the facility has exported more than 240 cargos of U.S. natural gas to 28 countries worldwide. 1012industryreport.com

COURTESY THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS

GREEN BARGES

THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS has signed a deal for LNG bunkering. The memorandum of understanding between Port NOLA and CLEANCOR creates a strategy for the two entities to collaborate on ways to provide liquefied natural gas fueling for ship owners and operators. CLEANCOR, an alternative energy company, will work with Port NOLA to help provide LNG to port customers and marine operators in Port NOLA’s jurisdiction. Port NOLA will provide CLEANCOR with data, logistics expertise, customer contacts, as well as introductions and marketing support. “We are pleased to partner on this MOU with CLEANCOR to ensure we provide Port NOLA tenants and customers with the best options for the most efficient and effective operations,” said Brandy D. Christian, president and CEO Port NOLA and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. “LNG paves the way of the future and provides a suitable and sustainable fuel source for the diverse cargo operations on our terminals and in our jurisdiction.” CLEANCOR will work to educate Port NOLA customers and other local stakeholders regarding the environmental and financial benefits of LNG bunkering. In collaboration with Port NOLA, CLEANCOR will develop options for infrastructure development that integrate into Port NOLA’s long-range planning. “CLEANCOR is proud to partner with the Port of New Orleans on the development of LNG bunkering infrastructure,” said CLEANCOR CEO Jeff Woods. “Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of low carbon fueling solutions and this constitutes an exciting opportunity to not only advance the region’s first such project, but also to contribute to the decarbonization of the maritime sector.” CLEANCOR will also provide options for LNG bunkering that are compatible with forecasted customer

demand and collaborate with Port NOLA to obtain federal, state, and other authorizations and permits needed to develop the required infrastructure and operations. Both CLEANCOR and Port NOLA will identify, attract and serve customers in Port NOLA’s jurisdiction that use LNG fuel, jointly solicit sources of grant funding to help incentivize early adopters and collaborate to share information on infrastructure necessary to support LNG bunkering. A proposed expansion of the Port NOLA complex with the addition of an international container terminal in St. Bernard Parish opens opportunity for new businesses and industries as well as fuel source options. This alignment builds upon Port NOLA’s already existing strategic relationship with SEACOR to provide one of the country’s largest container-on-barge operations. The service between Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Memphis and St. Louis continues to thrive and offers shippers an option for moving their cargo. The service repositions empty containers from Memphis and St. Louis to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where they are loaded with exports and shipped to global markets.

BY THE NUMBERS

$4 MILLION

Amount of a grant the National Science Foundation is awarding LSU to lead a project to determine the economic viability of CO2 electrolyzers, a process that converts CO2 into the precursor chemicals used in items such as detergents, anti-freeze and tennis shoes.

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FOR NEW ORLEANS

50 KILOTONS

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The future nameplate capacity of methyl acrylate that will be produced at Dow’s St. Charles Operations in Louisiana, set to be online in the first half of 2022, to meet North American demand. Once the new capacity is online, the facility will primarily focus on the production of methyl acrylate and 2-ethyl-hexyl acrylate.

10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  11


LAUNCH: ICYMI

Slippery slope

By SAM BARNES

How to recognize the ethical warning signs

THE ACCOUNTING SCANDAL at WorldCom came to light in the summer of 2002. For three years, senior executives at the company’s Clinton, Mississippi headquarters perpetuated an unethical and illegal scheme to inflate earnings designed to maintain WorldCom’s stock price.

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An internal audit unit led by then Vice President Cynthia Cooper discovered the massive fraud when her team found some $3.8 billion in falsified balance sheet entries. Eventually, WorldCom admitted that it had overstated its assets by more than $11 billion. At the time, it was the largest accounting fraud case in U.S. history. Today, Cooper uses the WorldCom experience as a cautionary tale for leadership during regular talks on the subject. Now president of The Cooper Group LLC of Flowood, Mississippi, she is the inaugural inductee of the Institute of Internal Auditors American Hall of Distinguished Audit Practitioners and the first woman to receive the American Accounting Association’s Accounting Exemplar Award. Speaking in August at the Construction Financial Management Association’s regional conference in New Orleans, Cooper outlined the warning signs that a leader might be diverging from an ethical path. “We all face ethical dilemmas every day,” she says. “I don’t think anyone wakes up and says, ‘Hey, I think I’m

going to become a criminal today.’ It’s a slippery slope and people go down that slope one step at a time. “So the decisions we make every day matter. I don’t think our character is forged at the crossroads of some major event. Our character is built decision by decision, brick by brick.” As such, Cooper lays out some helpful guidelines for ethical leadership: Know where you stand: “You should write you own personal mission statement and identify how you would like to live your life,” Cooper says. “Identify your values, think about your priorities and be intentional.” Apply the Golden Rule: Simply put: Treat others as you want to be treated. Understand that anyone can make bad decisions: “Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.” Ask tough questions: Perhaps the most SA MB important question: “How ARNE

would you feel if your parents, peers and mentors knew?” Practice making ethical decisions: A person’s reality is based upon the small decisions they make every day. It’s a compilation of all those decisions. Don’t keep it to yourself: Get advice from the people you respect and trust. Find your inner courage: “I found a way to push forward in the face of fear,” Cooper says. “We all have courage inside of us.” Apply the same code of ethics everywhere: “Use the same ethical process, no matter where you are,” she says. “In other words, don’t compartmentalize.” Trust your instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Be loyal to your principles: Don’t assume that your superiors are right just because they’re in charge. Cynthia Cooper

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021   13


LAUNCH: FACES OF INDUSTRY

Executive Profile:

Justin Ehrenwerth

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POSITION

President and CEO COMPANY

The Water Institute of the Gulf, Baton Rouge HOMETOWN

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania EDUCATION

Colby College, bachelor’s degree in philosophy; University of Oxford, master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics; University of Pennsylvania Law School, juris doctorate

DON KADAIR

n a way, everything came full circle for Justin Ehrenwerth when he landed at The Water Institute of the Gulf nearly five years ago. For a while, though, it was hard to predict the direction his life might take. It seemed the Pittsburgh native was destined for a career in civic engagement or politics in his younger years. He first earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Colby College in Maine, then a master’s degree in in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University in England. He even found time to complete a fellowship in civic engagement in Pittsburgh. “I thought I was going to become an academic philosopher or work in some civil rights capacity,” Ehrenwerth says. Instead, he chose to pursue a juris doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey Law School, then landed a gig after graduation as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. That’s when the currents of life began to steer him south. Much of the department’s funding goes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, so he soon began working issues impacting NOAA and the National Weather Service. Then, following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, he became the point person for litigation pertaining to the spill. His professional and personal lives started to overlap. He began dating his future wife, a native of Opelousas, and found himself going back and forth to Louisiana for two reasons. “I have since discovered that when you marry a girl from south Louisiana, you will live here forever,” he says. “And that’s a good thing.” Then, in 2013, he volunteered to help establish a new federal agency in New Orleans: the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, funded by the RESTORE Act following Deepwater Horizon. “As it turns out, there’s no manual for doing that,” he says. “I’m proud of what we accomplished there. We

built a team and were able to find consensus on a variety of issues among five states and six federal agencies.” While there, he also learned to appreciate programs that encourage “actionable” science in a politically charged environment. The Water Institute in Baton Rouge, he found, was a prime example of such a pro-

gram. When his predecessor at the institute, Chip Groat, announced his retirement, Ehrenwerth was tapped as president and CEO in 2017. He has since overseen a period of rapid expansion in scope and geography at The Water Institute. In 2020, the institute completed a large-scale resiliency study and plan for the City of Houston. They’ve also worked

for the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Galveston and the City Charleston, South Carolina, and were recently asked by the state of Virginia to assist with the state’s first coastal master plan and resiliency strategy. Ehrenwerth has also come to recognize a common thread in his academic and professional journey of the last two decades. “We at the institute spend a lot of time helping the most vulnerable communities and historically under supported deal with flooding and various other challenges,” he adds. “I do appreciate that I have the opportunity to work on some of these issues that motivated me some 20 years ago.” Of the current work at The Water Institute, what are you most excited about?

We have a partnership, the Partnership for our Working Coast, that is a collaboration between Shell, Chevron, Danos, Port Fourchon, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and others that has taken on even more meaning in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The port plans to ultimately 1012industryreport.com


dredge the channel to 50 feet … the question we’re trying to answer is what to do with that material? To our sediment-starved coast that’s a gold mine. We’re using some of the most advanced numerical models that have been created to look at where we can get the biggest bang for the buck. Where can we put that material to build wetlands, ridges and terraces to protect the infrastructure of the port for it become part of the multiple lines of defense from storms. It’s not only good for the environment, it’s good from a community resilience perspective. And it has carbon capture benefits. The wetlands in Louisiana do a better job of capturing carbon that anywhere in the world. In fact, the Governor’s Climate Initiatives Task Force has instructed The Water Institute to quantify the amount of carbon that the wetlands capture. We’re hopeful to unlock the potential of Louisiana’s wetlands in the carbon capture market. There’s been more excited about that subject in the last six months than in the last

10 years. And it doesn’t stop there. We’re now in discussions about doing the same thing in places like Venice and the Calcasieu ship channel. A great deal of the industry has a stake in it, so a partnership works best in incorporating built infrastructure and natural infrastructure. What’s your biggest professional challenge?

That has been ensuring that The Water Institute plays an appropriate role in what the Dutch call the “Golden Triangle.” The three points of the triangle are the government, academia and private sector. To work on this set of issues, you have to bring everybody to the table. It’s something that we’ve struggled with, but we’ve also made so much progress. In 2020, Gov. Edwards called the Water Institute the Coastal Innovation Collaboration Hub, and that speaks to who we are. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. Some of it is work for the Water Institute, but some of it is work for our private sector or university partners.

Figuring out what that right balance is has been a challenge, but an extremely satisfying process over the last couple of years. What’s most rewarding about what you do?

The opportunity to work with so many brilliant people who are far less interested in seeing their name in lights than delivering actionable solutions. If we make our decisions based upon who is the most powerful, has the most political clout etc., we’re going to have deep structural challenges. But if science can inform the issues, we see decisions made that are thoughtful. Maybe everyone doesn’t agree with the decisions, but everybody understands the “why.” Looking ahead, what do you see as the biggest challenge facing the Water Institute?

The threat of indigestion rather than starvation. There is so much need and so much work to be done. We have to be thoughtful about the projects we take on and the manner in which we are continuing to grow.

Unfortunately, the environmental stressors are only increasing. We’re seeing more frequent and more powerful storms, and more flooding, so the need for our work is growing dramatically. How do we continue to make the most meaningful impact without stretching ourselves too thin? In our role on the Climate Initiatives Task Force, we were asked to do two things: quantify the amount of carbon that our wetlands sequester, and facilitate the entirety of the process. In that vein, we’re using a science-based method called structured decision making. When you have a group as diverse as the task force, we have to find a way how to take that group, deliver the mandate and offer recommendations to the governor. Ultimately, that’s what the Water Institute was created for. We’re not going to “crank out” a solution for the decision maker. We’re here to inform a decision. Ultimately, it’s up to the task force to determine what they present to the governor and up to the governor to decide what he’s going to act upon.

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COVER STORY

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SHORTAGE OFEVERYTHING A ‘perfect storm’ exposes fragility of Louisiana’s industrial supply chain BY SAM BARNES

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t came as a surprise to many that Louisiana’s industrial supply chain was so vulnerable. A series of unfortunate and unthinkable events in 2020 and 2021 severely disrupted its reliability at nearly every level, and led to shortages in everything from steel, raw materials and industrial valves to skilled laborers and drivers. The COVID-19 pandemic caused much of it, but not all. Shutdowns in upstream manufacturing facilities kicked it off, only to be followed by a range of transportation issues—including shipping delays at multiple West Coast ports, rail bottlenecks and an alarming lack of trucks. In South Louisiana, all of that was exacerbated by the impacts of three catastrophic hurricanes in only 12 months, and a host of other weather scares. “COVID is bad enough, but dealing with multiple hurricanes, an ice storm and flood haven’t helped things,” says George Swift, president/CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance in Lake Charles. “Those areas of Louisiana that have been impacted by hurricanes Laura, Delta and Ida are suffering from amplified supply chain problems, as they’ve impacted the delivery and price of everything. “Everything in Lake Charles is on back order,” he adds. “It’s that way everywhere you look.” The disruptions are playing out in troubling fashion in the industrial space. Some South Louisiana chemical plants aren’t meeting production goals because they can’t get raw materials. And industrial facilities all along the Gulf Coast are delaying scheduled maintenance turnarounds and capital projects into 2022—after already pushing them back a year—because of

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rapid inflation and an unpredictable supply. The fragility of the supply chain has come as a shock, says Mark Zappi, dean of engineering and executive director of the Energy Institute at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “I’m surprised at how sensitive our supply chain ended up being,” Zappi says. “Admittedly, there’s been somewhat of a perfect storm: COVID-19, some ugly elections and the hurricanes. Everything has lined up against us. But still, I’m surprised at how fragile our system really is.” It’s the expectation of an efficient supply chain that has actually caused the problem, says economist Loren Scott of Loren C. Scott & Associates in Baton Rouge. “The second quarter gross domestic product was forecast to grow at 9 percent, but it only grew by 6,” Scott adds. “That’s largely because they were off on their forecast of ‘change in business inventories.’ What normally happens when you’re coming out of a recession is that there’s a huge buildup of inventories. That’s one of the things that pumps up GDP.” In the past, the U.S. benefitted from a “finely honed supply chain, but that’s part of the current problem,” Scott says. “Many in industry have developed very sophisticated ‘just-in-time’ inventory systems. That works great when things are running smoothly, but when something like COVID comes along, it falls apart. That’s exactly where we are right now.” RETHINKING THE SUPPLY CHAIN For the first time, it’s prompting a serious discussion among manufacturers, distributors and industrial customers about shaking up the supply chain and “rethinking” where materials 10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  17


ISTOCK

COVER STORY

AN UNPREDICTABLE SUPPLY: Supply chain disruptions are playing out in troubling ways in the industrial space.

are manufactured and purchased. There’s also a move toward vertical integration, whereby raw materials would be produced and final products manufactured at the same site or region. “We’re going to have to look at some critical ‘onshoring’ just to en-

sure our most critical supplies aren’t disrupted like they have been over the last two years,” ULL’s Zappi says. “Years ago, there was a movement toward vertical integration, where everybody in an industrial park could support someone else in the park. The idea was 20 years too early,

perhaps, but it’s starting to get some traction again.” Louisiana is ideally situated should things move in that direction, he adds. “Given our excellent infrastructure for bringing product in, we are uniquely positioned to support a vertically integrated industry. On top

of that, we can produce things here. Given our transportation capabilities, we’re going to be major players in this, I think. “It seems like a perfect storm has gathered up,” he adds. “I don’t think it’s something that’s going to persist for years, but it has come to a point where we need to re-think supply chains in general.” Material shortages have, in turn, led to significant and rapid inflation. In an August analysis of Consumer Price Index data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Associated Builders & Contractors national chapter found that construction input prices increased by 23.1% over a year ago. And prices for steel mill products are up a whopping 108.6%. “One’s definition of transitory needs to evolve with this data,” says Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist, in a recent press release. “While it is quite likely that there will be less inflation a year from now, a rebounding economy, ongoing supply chain disruptions and limited productive capacity have conspired to generate rapid price increases. “Many economists insist that the current situation is merely temporary; still, today’s input price increases can meaningfully affect contractor fortunes by trimming margins and delaying the onset of projects.”

“It seems like a perfect storm has gathered up. It has come to a point where we need to rethink supply chains in general.”

TERRI FENSEL

MARK ZAPPI, Dean, School of Engineering and Executive Director, Energy Institute at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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COVER STORY Basu concludes that the economy will continue to run hot into 2022, despite the impacts of the Delta variant, and produce hefty advances in gross domestic product and unusually elevated inflation. “The fact that steel prices are rising is not only an indication of the recovery transpiring in goods-producing industries such as construction and manufacturing, but also of the difficulty global suppliers are having keeping up with demand,” he adds. The current dynamic won’t likely change in the near term, though there is some evidence of moderating inflation. As such, he advises industrial contractors to build contingencies into their contracts to protect themselves from additional material price increases.

IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL Industrial Info Resources, a market intelligence firm in Sugar Land, Texas, had predicted that a surge in previously backed up maintenance and capital projects could begin later this year, and lead to severe shortages in labor. That’s all changed, says Trey Hamblet, IIR’s vice president of research, as projects have been delayed yet again. “They’re kicking projects down the road that were supposed to begin this year to next year because they’re not sure they can get the materials they need,” Hamblet says. And each COVID spike that comes along sends another ripple through the supply chain and causes additional delays, economist Scott says. “When COVID hit, there were some projects in Louisiana that were shut down, such as Methanex

3 and Monsanto,” he notes. “Then there were turnarounds that had been planned, then postponed, and a number of announced capital projects waiting for a final investment decision. Instead, those were postponed.” Items that used to be easy to get, such as specialty valves and fittings, must now be ordered weeks in advance, and it has many industrial owners nervous that they won’t be able to control their costs. David Helveston, president and CEO of Associated Builders & Contractors’ Pelican Chapter in Baton Rouge, says price instability is the primary culprit—the prices of steel, pipe and valves have increased by as much as 75% in some cases since June 2020. “They used to get 30-day prices on steel and that’s been shortened to two days,” Helveston says. “Some

of my members say they’re paying $3,500 a ton for fabricated steel, where they used to pay $2,000 per ton. That’s significant.” Projects, therefore, are requiring a lot of additional planning. “Specialty valves would have normally been in stock, but they’re having to specially order them,” he adds. “Now it’s a two- or three-week timeline, where before they could just get them off the shelf.” Jim Rock, executive director of the Lake Area Industry Alliance in Lake Charles, says a lack of commercially licensed truck drivers has gotten so bad that it’s slowing production among some of his plant members. A persistent shortage of drivers with a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, is nothing new, but the problem has worsened significantly during the pandemic. “It’s delaying the delivery of some

“Many in industry have developed very sophisticated ‘just-in-time’ inventory systems. That works great when things are running smoothly, but when something like COVID comes along, it falls apart. That’s exactly where we are right now.”

DON KADAIR

LOREN SCOTT, economist, Loren C. Scott & Associates

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DON KADAIR

raw materials in the chemical manufacturing sector,” Rock says. “One of my members who receives HCL by truck says a disruption in those deliveries has cost them production. It’s a widespread problem … I also know the owner of a local trucking company who is having to drive his own trucks because he can’t get enough drivers.” COVID has taken the trucker shortage to a new level, and industrial owners can’t simply pivot to another mode of transportation. “You can’t just flip a switch and say I’m going to take product by rail or pipeline today because I can’t get a truck,” Rock says. Some are proactively looking for solutions to the trucking problem. Rene Lapeyrolerie, commissioner of DOTD’s Office of Multimodal Commerce in Baton Rouge, is working with both the trucking industry and Louisiana Community and Technical College System to resolve the driver shortage at the local level. “We’re talking to them about partnerships, providing instruction and looking for opportunities for

COVID IMPACT: Connie Fabre, president & CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, says there’s concern in the Capital Region industrial sector about labor availability this fall should COVID surge again.

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A 20% efficiency gain in container operations at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is just one positive outcome of the Port’s new, deep-reach container stacker known as The Big Red Beast. With a telescopic boom for stacking 4 containers high, shorter loading and unloading times have helped meet the increasing demand for container shipping services between Baton Rouge and New Orleans for area customers in the petrochemical industry sector, said Port Executive Director Jay Hardman.

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Financed almost 100% by a Maritime Administration grant, the one-of-a-kind Beast was designed and manufactured specifically for the Port by Taylor Machine Works of Louisville, MS. The addition of the custom-made stacker is another component of the Port’s recent expansion of its successful container operations including a container storage yard totaling 4 acres. Up to 2,000 containers ready to Geaux! For more information, contact Greg Johnson at (225) 342-1660. 2425 Ernest Wilson Drive • P.O. Box 380 • Port Allen, LA 70767-0380 PH: (225) 342.1660 • FAX: (225) 342.1666 • www.portgbr.com

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COVER STORY scholarships from industry to get more CDLs,” Lapeyrolerie says. Her office also seeks to eliminate any bottlenecks that might prevent potential drivers from obtaining a CDL. “We’re looking at the possibility of allowing 18- to 21-year-olds to obtaining a license, with certain restrictions (such as not being allowed to transport hazardous materials and only traveling within the state),” she adds. LAKE CHARLES LABOR DRAIN Dan Groft, director of the H.C. Drew Center for Business and Economic Analysis at McNeese State University, says Lake Charles has its own unique set of supply chain problems as it must also deal with

“Some of my members say they’re paying $3,500 a ton for fabricated steel, where they used to pay $2,000 per ton. That’s significant.” DAVID HELVESTON, president and CEO, Associated Builders & Contractors’ Pelican Chapter

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DON KADAIR

the lingering effects of hurricanes Laura and Delta. The resulting 9.6% drop in population in the area since February 2020—the largest percentage drop of any MSA in the state—has led to significant labor supply issues there. In fact, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reports that there are 33% more job openings in the Lake Charles MSA than before the pandemic. “We’ve lost about 2 percent of our workforce since the hurricane,” Groft says. “I’m really worried about the availability of skilled labor with everyone trying to rebuild.” Swift agrees that worker shortages are a persistent concern in the Lake Charles area, and the primary cause is a lack of available housing. Nevertheless, he expects the problem to resolve itself somewhat in the wake of the expiration of government 10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  23


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benefits at the end of July. The SWLA Economic Development Alliance is working with SOWELA and McNeese through its Education & Workforce Committee to connect businesses with educational institutions. Says Swift: “A lot of people that are unemployed will need to be retrained, and they have some shortterm programs at SOWELA and the ABC school to help people get some skills.” Material shortages have also been exacerbated as people rebuild in the wake of the hurricanes, resulting in a corresponding increase in the cost of building materials. “The supply chains are driving up prices and we’re having to wait longer, even as we try to rebuild,” Groft says.

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Time will be the ultimate elixir, he hopes. “It’s going to time for the markets to readjust. Even the Federal Reserve is talking about this transitory inflation being temporary as these supply chain bottlenecks work themselves out over time.” INTENSIFYING WORKER SHORTAGES The remainder of South Louisiana’s industrial market will likely feel a similar pinch in labor supply sometime in 2022, when some 80-plus delayed plant maintenance turnarounds along the Gulf Coast finally pull the trigger. That will likely result in an unprecedented tsunami of work and put an immediate strain on the local workforce, says IIR’s Hamblet.

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THE VOICE OF THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY “The supply chains are driving up prices and we’re having to wait longer, even as we try to rebuild.”

Louisiana AGC

DAN GROFT, director, H.C. Drew Center for Business and Economic Analysis at McNeese State University, on continuing recovery of Southwest Louisiana post-Hurricane Laura

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GULF COAST TRANSPORTATION

at it’s best.

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Construction input prices year over year

LARGE SCALE CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYEE SHUTTLES, TURNAROUND EMPLOYEE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, OILFIELD SERVICES CREW CHANGE INCLUDING OFFSHORE, BARGE AND TOWING, DIVE, PETROCHEMICAL CREWS AND AS WELL AS CHARTER, CASINO AND AIRPORT TRANSFER CUSTOMERS. 20+ YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS ALONG THE GULF COAST Lake Charles • New Orleans/Port Fourchon • Houston • Houma • Gray • Pensacola Mobile • Brownsville • Galveston • Port Arthur • Corpus Christi

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ADOBE STOCK

SAFE, RELIABLE & EXPERIENCED GROUND TRANSPORTATION SERVICES SOURCE: Consumer Price Index

As for now, ABC’s Helveston says his contractor members “can get bodies, but where they’ve had problems is finding the skilled workers. We’ve heard from our contractor members and the owners of the facilities themselves a lot of discussion about the lack of qualified and skilled millwrights and the pipeline of millwrights going forward.” There’s also concern that Hurricane Ida and last year’s hurricanes could exacerbate the problem for South Louisiana. “Between Ida, Laura and Delta, what impacts will those have on construction availability?” Helveston asks. “When the rebuilding work is paying great, will that draw individuals away from the industrial sector?” A new COVID-19 surge could be another fly in the ointment. Connie Fabre, president & CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, says there’s concern among her membership over availability this

fall should COVID become more of an issue. ABC Pelican is tackling the problem from all angles, going after high school students for entry level positions while also attempting to fill the need for high-end millwrights and pipefitters. “There’s a bit of a gap right now,” Helveston says. “We’re just trying to fill up classrooms full of millwrights and pipefitters and part of that is communicating what those careers are to young adults. Everybody wants to be a welder, but they need to know and be aware of all of the positions that are out there.” ABC’s Education and Manpower Committee has been an “invaluable” resource throughout the process, he says, as it is comprised of those members who actually do the hiring. The ABC training center on Highland Road is nearing full capacity, with a heavy concentration of millwright and pipefitter students.

+108.6%

ISTOCK

Steel mill product prices year over year

SOURCE: Consumer Price Index 26  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

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WHEN IT MATTERS MOST,

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Passengers and Businesses Land Here. The Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH) connects Southwest Louisiana to the world and is home to over 30 businesses that operate within its nearly 2000 acres.

Looking for a place to land your business? Check out our 150-acre Louisiana Economic Development Certified Site. flylakecharles.us

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA

A REGION OF OPPORTUNITY + RESILIENCE “The people of SWLA, driven by resilience and determination, are creating opportunities for future growth.”

“Facilities can blow away, pandemics can force us to adapt in major ways, but the spirit of community doesn’t waiver.” —SOWELA Chancellor Neil Aspinwall

—George Swift, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance

“The Port of Lake Charles continues to fuel, feed and build the world as we drive the Southwest Louisiana economy.” —Port of Lake Charles Director Richart Self

“We are excited to return to operations in Lake Charles in fall 2022 with an all-new resort experience, introducing our iconic Horseshoe brand.” —Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg

“Our community is a place where business needs and goals can be met. It is a place where you can grow and prosper.” —DeRidder Mayor Misty Clanton


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Industries and shippers worldwide rely on the Port of Lake Charles. When shippers around the globe move specialty cargoes that require precise, large-scale handling, they rely on the Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Ship Channel, recognized as “America’s Energy Corridor.” Our capacity and efficiency have long made the Port of Lake Charles the choice for cargoes of all weights, dimensions and handling requirements. Make us your choice, too. Put our 21st-century capabilities to work for you. Tell us your needs and we’ll show you how.

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portlc.com

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021   31


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

NUMBERS TELL THE SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA STORY. With a thriving manufacturing and export industry, a growing population, plentiful career opportunities and a favorable cost of living, this region attracts billions of dollars in economic investment.

$44 billion

Value of completed economic development projects over the last decade

$75 billion+ Economic development projects announced or under construction

11%

Lake Charles MSA population growth over the past 10 years

40%+

Amount of real gross domestic product over the past 10 years, making it the fastest-growing market in Louisiana

32    10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT • FALL 2021

28%

Percent growth in taxable sales collections in the most recent fiscal year

Lake Charles has the highest share of output from manufacturing compared to any other area in the state, at almost

50% 1012industryreport.com


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

More than half of U.S. LNG exports come from this region.

RAPID RECOVERY This region is making a remarkable comeback from the pandemic and a series of storms, including two hurricanes.

30

Number of operational entities at the 2,000-acre Lake Charles Regional Airport facility

Job openings in the region are up more than 60% since the pandemic. Employment has recovered above pre-Laura levels. Taxable sales of building materials are up 66%.

The Lake Charles MSA has the lowest cost of living in the state. It’s more than

$80,000+ The Lake Charles MSA per capita output—the highest in Louisiana

65+ The number of air operations Chennault International Airport handles each day

12 Number of certified sites in Southwest Louisiana, with another three sites still pending certification. The number of certified sites in the region nearly doubled from 2017 to 2020. Two of the pending sites will add more than 1,000 acres of “development ready” property.

5 million Cargo tonnage loaded and unloaded at the Port of Lake Charles each year

14% below the national average. The unemployment rate— the highest in the state after Hurricane Laura at 12.6%—has fallen more than 6 percentage points.

No. 11 Where the Lake Charles Port, Harbor, and Terminal District ranks nationwide among busiest districts, based on tonnage

Gaming revenues are 8% higher than pre-pandemic levels, despite closure of one establishment.

$5.7 billion

Exports are up more than 50% above pre-pandemic levels.

What the Calcasieu River Ship Channel generates in GDP, in addition to $118.8 million in local sales and property taxes

$732 million

Amount of money the Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau added to the economy of Calcasieu Parish through travel expenditures

SOURCES: Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, Lake Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau, Port of Lake Charles, Louisiana Workforce Commission, Calcasieu Parish School Board, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, C2ER, Energy Information Administration, U.S Census, U.S. Decennial Census, Louisiana Gaming Control Board

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021   33


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ADVERTISEMENT

48,000 SF One-Stop-Shop Training Multiplex

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34    10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT • FALL 2021

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

RECOV ER Y

A RESILIENT COMMUNITY

In the span of one year, Southwest Louisiana experienced five declared disasters. The collaborative response: strength and recovery.

S

outhwest Louisiana experienced two hurricanes in 2020. Hurricane Laura struck on August 27, 2021 followed by Delta on October 9, 2021. Laura—which made landfall in Cameron Parish as a Category 4 storm—caused $19 billion in damages. According to the National Weather service, Laura was the strongest hurricane to strike Southwest Louisiana since records began in 1851. Delta made landfall in Cameron Parish as a Category 2 storm 12 miles east of where Laura entered the state. When it blew itself out, $2.9 billion in damages were recorded. Since that time, residents and businesses in Southwest Louisiana (which consists of Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis) have lived every day with one thought in mind. Southwest Louisiana Strong! This statement symbolizes the spirit of the people who descend from European and American settlers who started businesses in a section of Louisiana’s No-Man’s Land in the 1800s, and then developed into one of the nation’s leaders in petrochemical, liquefied natural gas, hospitality, agriculture and aviation in the 1900s. Today, even with the impacts of COVID-19, and a freeze and historic

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flooding in 2021, Southwest Louisiana is recovering. Growth is observed in increased sales taxes and fees for construction projects in both the residential and commercial real estate sectors. Master-planned living areas like MorganField in Lake Charles are experiencing new homes being built, which are near a new City of Lake Charles Golf Course. Other indicators of progress in the region are major industrial projects. For instance, in DeQuincy Interfor Corporation announced plans to invest $8 million to revive an idled saw mill. This project will create 170 direct new jobs with average salaries of $62,000. Canfor, a Canadian-based

producer of lumber, pulp and paper, publicized plans for a $160 million lumber mill in the DeRidder area that will create 130 direct jobs at an annual salary of $59,921. Another important industrial project announced following the storms occurred compliments of KIK Consumer Products at its BioLab facility in Westlake. The company is going to build a new $170 million chlorine manufacturing plant to replace the one damaged by Laura. When completed, 82 direct jobs with annual salaries at $76,000 will be created. The region’s airports are back online after temporary stoppage due to hurricane damage. A new clubhouse rises at the National Golf Course in Westlake.

Lake Charles Regional Airport carriers American and United Airlines are providing services to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Houston Intercontinental Airport. Airport officials recently obtained $2.25 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for rehabilitation work on the runway. Chennault International Airport tenants are open for business, including Northrop Grumman, Citadel Completions, Million Air, Landlocked Aviation Services and Louisiana Millwork.

HIGHER EDUCATION: ‘FLEXIBLE + PASSIONATE’

Southwest Louisian’s higher education institution McNeese State University and SOWELA Technical Community College are open and building stronger facilities while expanding. Over the past year, our region’s educational systems have shown that they are flexible, passionate, and quick to process and address the needs of their students. The hospitality industry is expanding with the complete overhaul of the former Isle of Capri Riverboat Casino in Westlake which is now owned by Eldorado Resorts. Company officials plan to invest $113 million for a landbased casino. Retail in Southwest Louisiana is getting stronger with Buffalo Wild Wings building a new stand-alone restaurant; construction of a new Arby’s, Hobby Lobby, along with new locally owned retail establishments. Times are difficult, but the people of Southwest Louisian are showing they cannot be held back because they are proud and strong! 10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021   35


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Committed to

SWLA

“Sasol is proud to be a partner in Port Wonder STEM children’s museum public-private collaboration – one that will be an exciting addition to Southwest Louisiana – a place our employees call home, a place Sasol calls home and hopes to do so for a long time.” Brad Griffith, Executive Vice President of Sasol’s global chemicals business

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GROW T H & OP P OR T UNI T Y

AN ENERGY AND MANUFACTURING HUB Business growth and innovation are thriving in Southwest Louisiana.

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ith two operational LNG export facilities, Cheniere Energy and Cameron LNG, the third under construction, Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LNG, and seven more in various planning and permitting stages, Southwest Louisiana is the largest hub of LNG exports for the western hemisphere. LNG cargoes leave Southwest Louisiana daily for ports around the globe. The global demand for LNG is projected to outpace the supply by 2023, which enhances the likelihood of more of the planned LNG export facilities making final investment decisions and going into construction. LNG exports account for more than 800 current permanent direct jobs, and potentially could add another 1,200 permanent direct jobs. Southwest Louisiana offers an abundant supply of affordable natural gas spawning new advanced manufacturing facilities for a variety

of ethane-based products. Recent investments include the $12.6 billion Sasol/LyondellBassell joint venture project of an ethane cracker and seven derivative plants, the $3.1 billion Lotte Chemical Complex producing ethylene and methyl ethyl glycol (MEG), and the refurbishment

Readying the workforce The Safety Council is a comprehensive educational and training resource for business and industry in Southwest Louisiana. Founded in 1955, the nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization is dedicated to providing cost-effective services for our local community, industrial and business sectors. To achieve long-term economic success, Southwest Louisiana must create, attract, and retain an educated and skilled workforce. From essential onboarding requirements, background checks, workforce readiness training and customized badge security systems, the Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana is committed to meeting the safety and training needs of members and the community it serves. The Safety Council is the catalyst for workers connecting with employers’ needs, and its mission is to support, develop, and enrich all forms of workforce readiness as a way of making the workplace a more secure environment. 1012industryreport.com

of a mothballed ethane cracker by Indorama Ventures have created more than 1,300 advanced manufacturing jobs in the petrochemical sector of the regional economy. Northrop Grumman, located at Chennault International Airport, specializes in maintenance and repair

of military aircraft. Using computer numeric mills and lathes, combined with the versatility of three-dimensional printing, Northrop Grumman produces and installs thousands of custom manufactured parts that restore the reliability and longevity of the military’s aging aircraft fleet. These military contracts employ over 500 high skilled manufacturing technicians. The 200-year-old forestry industry of Southwest Louisiana is seeing new investments. Canfor announced the construction of a new “state of the art” dimensional lumber sawmill in DeRidder. This mill will provide 160 quality jobs when fully operational in 2023. Interfor has purchased the former Georgia Pacific Sawmill in DeQuincy. The company is currently renovating the shuttered mill and plans to start production of dimensional lumber in early 2022. This will bring 170 quality jobs back to the community.

SAFETY COUNCIL SUCCESSES

3 locations 15,000+

courses provided through partnerships

1,120

courses developed

400+

active contractors on a centralized database for industry owners

34

employees

629

average people per day trained

$25,878,720

saved annually by petrochemical industry

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GROW T H & OP P OR T UNI T Y

SASOL:

One of the largest foreign direct investments in U.S. history

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n 2014, Sasol began construction of a new, seven-facility ethane cracker and derivatives complex adjacent to its existing facility near Westlake. Commissioning was completed in late 2020, and the $12.9 billion investment remains one of the largest foreign direct investments in U.S. history. The Lake Charles Chemical

Complex manufactures products used in cleaning and personal care markets to manufacture ingredients for soaps, detergents, shampoos and cosmetics. Sasol’s specialty chemicals are also used in mild abrasives, thickeners and pharmaceuticals, as well as in the enhanced oil recovery markets. Globally, Sasol employs more than 30,000 people in more than 30 countries. In North America, Sasol

has operations in Arizona, Louisiana, Texas and Pennsylvania. The Lake Charles Chemical Complex, which includes Sasol’s joint venture with LyondellBasell, supports more than 2,000 employees and contractors annually—the majority of whom live in Calcasieu Parish. Sasol recognizes the importance of a sustainable, thriving community. Through established partnerships

with community leaders and local officials, Sasol incorporated local input into the development of its corporate social investment programs. Over the last several years, Sasol has contributed more than $7 million to meaningful community projects focused on local STEM education and small business development. These programs have impacted more than 1,000 local residents.

A new home base for Acadian Ambulance In 2021, Acadian Ambulance invested $1.9 million in a new Southwest Louisiana Operations Center in Lake Charles. The 18,000-square-foot facility will serve as the administrative and fleet center for Acadian’s Southwest Louisiana operations. It also includes an ambulance crew station, offices for Acadian Total Security and classrooms for the Lake Charles campus

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of Acadian’s National EMS Academy. Acadian’s Southwest Louisiana footprint, which serves Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Acadia, Beauregard and Allen Parishes, includes 246 employee-owners with an annual payroll of approximately $12.2 million. Says Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter: “Acadian’s facility will serve as a catalyst for further development and investment along this corridor.”

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Opportunities land at Chennault. There’s always work in progress inside the big hangars at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles. The industry-leading companies that do business at Chennault—Northrop Grumman, Citadel Completions, Landlocked Aviation Services and Louisiana Millwork—keep the airport buzzing with aerospace services and manufacturing activity. Current construction includes a 10,000-square-foot warehouse to introduce air cargo operations. Chennault offers miles of runway and acres of opportunities for businesses planning for growth and success in Louisiana. Could your company land at Chennault?

For information, contact Chennault Executive Director Kevin Melton directly at 337-491-9961 or ciaa@chennault.org

Chennault’s 2-mile-long runway can handle any aircraft in the world.

www.chennault.org

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A S SE T S + INFR A S T RUC T URE

THE BIG FIVE

From an international airport to a deep-draft ship channel, Southwest Louisiana has much to offer. Here’s a look at five of its most critical assets.

12 CERTIFIED SITES

Southwest Louisiana is now home to a dozen certified sites of varying sizes―the most recent addition being at the West Calcasieu Port in Sulphur. The 32-acre shovel-ready location is along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway just west of the Ellender Bridge. With a variety of potential uses―laydown yard for intermodal transportation, fabrication―it’s estimated that single site could draw as many as 300 to 400 jobs. LED Certified Sites program qualifies industrial sites based on zoning restrictions, title work, environmental studies, soil analysis and surveys. These sites are 180day development ready and have substantial due diligence studies performed to receive certification.

CHENNAULT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles is an emerging national hub for aerospace and other business such as manufacturing. Its two-milelong runway and sizeable aircraft parking and operations are among the largest in the state, capable of handling every aircraft flying in the world today. 1012industryreport.com

Chennault is a complex for aircraft maintenance, renovation, and overhaul. The work is done on military, corporate and private aircraft. Onsite tenant partners such as Northrop Grumman, Citadel Completions, Landlocked Aviation, Million Air and Louisiana Millwork employ some 1,500 people, with annual payroll of an estimated $80 million and $300 million in annual economic impact. At the same time, Chennault is a working airport. The dimensions make it a favorite for charter flights, private aviation of all kinds, military practice and even Air Force One. Chennault sees more than 3,000 operations each month, including takeoffs, landings and “touchand-go” operations. Chennault contributes $300 million to the Southwest Louisiana economy each year. It boasts more than three decades of service to military, aircraft and non-aviation customers alike. Chennault Executive Director Col. W. Kevin Melton (Ret.) and Board President Denise Rau broke ground this summer on a $4 million facility to build a 10,000-squarefoot air cargo warehouse — the first step in entering the air cargo sector. Also in the works is a Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries complex that is expected to open next summer. Additionally, the Louisiana National Guard is finalizing its design of the $24 million readiness center; groundbreaking should take place by year’s end.

THE PORT OF LAKE CHARLES

The Port of Lake Charles is a global connection for industrial, energy and agricultural products as well as breakbulk and specialty cargoes of all shapes and sizes. It’s the 11th-busiest port district in the nation, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tonnage statistics.

The Port of Lake Charles is accessible 30 miles inland via the Calcasieu Ship Channel. It anchors “America’s Energy Corridor,” serving the petrochemical, LNG and wind-power industries. The Port’s cargo facilities are the centerpiece of a 5,400-acre site. The property is largely anchored on and around the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which is regularly dredged to handle the most demanding shipping requirements. The port’s on-site rail service and near-immediate interstate highway access also keep cargo coming and going smoothly.

CALCASIEU SHIP CHANNEL

The Calcasieu Ship Channel has become an important economic driver in Lake Charles and in the Southwest Louisiana region. The channel is a 68-mile long, deep-draft commercial waterway that extends from Lake Charles into the Gulf of Mexico. Deep-draft ship traffic is forecasted to more than double by 2025, growing from 1,098 to over 2,342 vessels. The 15-year horizon of a recent study projects 2,607 deep-draft vessels annually in 2033. The Calcasieu Ship Channel handles 56 tons of cargo annually and carries 7.5% of the nation’s daily oil consumption. It is home to the nation’s sixth-largest refinery and two of its largest liquefied natural gas facilities. It also holds a complex of energy pipelines and the Henry Hub, a major natural gas hub for the U.S.

EDUCATION + WORKFORCE TRAINING

Cargo is the Port of Lake Charles’ core business. Breakbulk and project cargoes are handled with skill, safety, and efficiency. One example is the huge, precision-crafted blades used for wind turbines. The Port has handled more than 1,500 such blades, illustrating the trust placed in the port by the world’s shippers. It also handles the tower segments that hold the blades aloft. Other cargoes include specialty goods of all weights and dimensions — ranging from lumber, to transformers, to barite. The port also leases property to two casinos and numerous industrial concerns. Executive Director Richert L. Self, appointed in 2020, leads a new-look leadership team whose initiatives include shore power, modernized warehousing and increased exports of rough and milled rice to foreign markets.

When it comes to workforce training, Southwest Louisiana ranks No. 1. For the third year in a row, WalletHub in 2021 named SOWELA Technical Community College the best community college in Louisiana and No. 27 among nearly 700 community colleges throughout the nation. The college offers more than 30 technical and academic programs, including Aviation Maintenance Technology, Industrial Electrical Technology, Welding, Vehicle Maintenance Technology, Forest Technology, Sterile Processing and Practical Nursing. This year, the campus is seeing triple-digit increases in some program enrollments, including machine tool technology and digital arts and communications. McNeese State University is a 1,560-acre campus that U.S. News & World Report has named one of the best regional universities in the South, and its online bachelor’s and master’s degrees are among the Top 50 nationally that combine quality and affordability. 10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021   41


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CAJUNS, COWBOYS

and a LIFE SURROUNDED by FAMILY and FRIENDS Southwest Louisiana is a culture like no other.

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outhwest Louisiana is the regional designation for Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes. It is home to Cajuns, cowboys, backyard crawfish boils, carport band sessions, wild and winding waterways, and a life lived surrounded by friends and family. It is blue-collar, bucolic, boisterous, and bountiful. The workers in Southwest Louisiana keep one boot in the past—buoyed by vibrant traditions— and one boot stepping toward the future, utilizing ever expanding new technologies at work and at play.

CASINOS, THE ARTS + THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Southwest Louisiana is regaining

its voice, its rhythm and its lively step, but as with all things, it takes time, passion, and perseverance. The region offers a jackpot of entertainment at a variety of casinos that offer everything from golf greens and spas to horseracing and island time getaways. Find luxurious accommodations, a myriad of dining selections, topname entertainment, and incredible gaming experiences at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, Golden Nugget Lake Charles, Coushatta Casino Resort or L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles. In normal times, the region is known for hosting over 75 annual festivals. Arts and culture are alive as well, with galleries, symphony and theater

offerings, as well as multiple museums. Outdoor activities abound, with the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, a beach, state parks and plenty of hunting and fishing. The signs of new cultural development are many, including the beautiful new club house at the

National Golf Course in Westlake. Caesars Entertainment Inc. is also building an all new Horseshoe Casino resort in Westlake, with more than 60,000 square feet of casino space, a live poker room with 10 tables, a completely redesigned hotel tower and more.

PORT WONDER Enjoy stunning views of the Lake Charles waterfront and an interactive family experience. Along the I-10 Corridor and the edge of Lake Charles’ namesake, the City of Lake Charles is developing a family destination that will entertain and educate. The complex—called Port Wonder—will house the new Children’s Museum of Lake Charles and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Science Center and Educational Complex along with stunning views of the waterfront. Port Wonder’s undulating wave of a roofline mimics the waterways that define Southwest Louisiana. The two curved “crests” house the children’s museum and science center, respectively, and meet at the shared lobby courtyard. 42    10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT • FALL 2021

The new facility creates a STEM-based, hands-on interactive center coupled with an immersive, live-animal, Louisiana coast experience for all visitors. The Children’s Museum exhibits and galleries will focus on technology, health, and nature. The Science Center will feature marsh and barrier island fish tanks, a touch tank, and several Gulf-specific exhibits. The site will feature outdoor play areas, a covered fishing pier and walking trails that connect to the existing alligator habitat. One of the goals of this facility is to draw visitors from the bustling I-10 into the region and spur further development along the Lake Charles waterfront. 1012industryreport.com


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DRIFT away

Afternoons where time is lost. Places where meaning is found.

VisitLakeCharles.org

Local Industries Make a Significant Impact on Southwest Louisiana

right us

we’re you

where need

The growth of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital reflects the dynamic growth of our region. Celebrating 68 years of caring for our community, WCCH continues our commitment of providing exceptional care every moment, every day.

701 Cypress Street, Sulphur wcch.com

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Breast Health Cancer Care Cardiology Community Health Center Ear, Nose & Throat Care Endocrinology Emergency Care Family Medicine Home Health Care Laboratory Nutrition & Wellness Obstetrics & Gynecology Orthopaedics Pediatric Care Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Pulmonary & Respiratory Care Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging Rural Health Centers Sleep Medicine Surgical Services Wound Care

By providing residents of Southwest Louisiana with consistent employment through a pandemic and multiple natural disasters, local industry continues to be an economic driver for our region. The almost 10,000 good-paying jobs with benefits for direct employees and contractors and another 17,000 associated jobs in the region that exist due to industries result in over $2 billion in annual earnings. Local industries provide generous donations to education and nonprofit organizations, and they are 17 of the top 20 property tax payers in Calcasieu Parish. Lake Area Industry Alliance is the umbrella organization between its 22 industrial members and our local community, government officials, educators, business leaders and non-profit organizations. With such a significant impact in our community, the work of LAIA is as important as ever. LAIA will continue to be a conduit of communication to enhance industrial advancements along with partnerships within the community.

laia.com | (337) 436-6800

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• AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hours from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees.

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Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Louisiana Business, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329

AT INTERFOR, WE INVEST...

...IN OUR MILLS Investment in modern and efficient technology continues to be the foundation of our business. We embrace the highest standard of innovation with our mills. We have invested over $300 million in capital projects while we continue to strive to be the most profitable, valuable, and respected forest products company in the world.

...IN OUR PEOPLE At Interfor, we invest in our people because we know our best talent is homegrown. We provide meaningful programs for our employees to grow their skills and knowledge resulting in more than 70% of positions filled through internal promotions. We also make it our mission to provide a safe and comfortable work environment for every employee.

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We operate 21 mills and 3 woodlands in communities throughout North America to the highest standards of safety and environmental protection. We build value in these communities by providing opportunities for our employees to grow and prosper, and by contributing to a healthy economy and environment.

We are excited to bring this level of community commitment to Dequincy, LA Contact us at: info@interfor.com www.interfor.com 604-422-3400

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NEWS SUPPLY CHAIN

A new way to Chicago

By SAM BARNES

Logjammed suppliers eye Louisiana as a potential multimodal hub for imports.

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“The prize is Chicago and the Midwest. That’s where all of this cargo is destined. Whoever can figure out the quickest, cheapest, safest route into Chicago is going to get the lion’s share of the business.” TOMMY CLARK, CEO, Clark Global Group

dredged to 50 feet deep and significant investments are being made in new container terminals up and down the river. And while southern California ports are burdened by congested rail lines, Louisiana offers six Class 1 railroads and a natural river route to the Midwest. “Historically, it has been more expedient for Asian imports to go to the West coast and rail the product the rest of the way to Chicago, which is a huge market and a hub for dis-

tribution,” Christian says, “but with the widened Panama Canal there has been serious interest in New Orleans becoming an alternative gateway.” She and other Louisiana port directors are informally discussing the creation of a truly multimodal hub for imports that could lead to a proliferation of regional distribution centers in the area. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for them to turn lemons into lemonade. “The pandemic brought an aware-

ness to retailers, suppliers and shippers that they need more flexibility from their supply chain,” Christian says, “and they’re looking at multiple gateways and modes of transportation. A number of distribution center developers are coming to us because the potential of the area has piqued their interest.” Multimodal proponents hope that this influx in distribution centers would ultimately balance out Louisiana’s lopsided dependence on exports. “Until now, we haven’t had the popu10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  45

DON KADAIR

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here is opportunity in the current supply chain mayhem, but local transportation leaders say they’re working against the shot clock. Until recently, Asian markets have depended primarily upon West Coast ports to get their goods ashore, which then make the long journey by rail to the U.S. heartland. That’s no longer an attractive proposition as ships there are routinely stacked up for days due to a lack of longshoremen and a rail bottleneck. Tommy Clark, CEO of Clark Global Group in Baton Rouge, says the time is now for southeast Louisiana to capitalize upon a fortuitous confluence of factors and transform itself into an intermodal hub. “The West Coast supply chain is in disarray and there’s no timeline in sight for that to be corrected,” says Clark, an independent multimodal infrastructure developer and prior commissioner of DOTD’s Office of Multimodal Commerce. “Right now, there are probably 40 ships anchored at Los Angeles and Long Beach, and costs are skyrocketing on container rates.” That’s forcing manufacturers and shippers to look for alternative routes, and making Louisiana’s ports look very attractive. “The prize is Chicago and the Midwest,” he notes. “That’s where all of this cargo is destined. Whoever can figure out the quickest, cheapest, safest route into Chicago is going to get the lion’s share of the business.” Everything’s falling into place, says Brandy Christian, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. The widening of the Panama Canal has allowed large Panamex ships to easily access Gulf of Mexico ports, the Mississippi River is being


NEWS: SUPPLY CHAIN

DON KADAIR

Rene Lapeyrolerie, current commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Multimodal Commerce, says the primary stumbling block to true multimodal connectivity in Louisiana has been the age of its infrastructure—particularly highways. Decades of deferred maintenance at the local, state and federal levels is having a cumulative effect.

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CONTAINERIZED SHIPPING CHANGED EVERYTHING In the 1980s, the term “intermodal” primarily referred to two, interchangeable modes of transportation– truck to rail or rail to truck. That all changed with the rising popularity of containerized shipping. “When you talk about multimodal now, there are usually more than two modes involved,” Clark says. “That might be rail, barge, truck and/or air.” In that regard, Port NOLA contends that the planned container terminal in St. Bernard Parish is its

ace in the hole. The port has moved forward with the purchase of 1,100 acres from the St. Bernard Port for a long-planned, $1.5 billion second container ship terminal in Violet. “We’re working against the shot clock,” Christian says, “and one of the main reasons we chose St. Bernard is that it’s the quickest to market. It has roads and rails already in place.” There’s also room to grow, meaning distribution centers could one day physically locate there. Port NOLA is working with Louisiana Economic Development and Greater New Or-

“It’s a logical progression that is still in its infancy, but the future looks bright for a massive surge of investment in the Baton Rouge to New Orleans corridor.” BRIAN BAIAMONTE

lation to draw the imports,” Christian says. “These distribution centers will artificially create that local demand. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to go after distribution centers. We’re finally seeing some movement in that direction.” Amazon has made the biggest splash so far with its 820,000-squarefoot robotics fulfillment center in Baton Rouge. Currently under construction, the project will create about 1,000 full-time jobs upon completion. Jay Hardman, executive director of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, says the area could be on the verge of an investment explosion. “It’s a logical progression that is still in its infancy, but the future looks bright for a massive surge of investment in the Baton Rouge to New Orleans corridor,” Hardman says. “There’s an opportunity here. As for my port, we’re positioned strategically at the Intercoastal Waterway, the Mississippi River and the highway system.” More distribution centers could also lead to an increase in the number of available empty containers for his port’s “container on barge” program. Until now, the Baton Rouge and New Orleans ports have had to rely upon inland ports such as Memphis for their empty containers, which has hindered the program’s potential.

leans Inc., as well as parish and city governments, to identify land parcels in New Orleans East, St. Bernard Parish and elsewhere that are tied to the port’s intermodal network. Hardman says the Port of Greater Baton Rouge is seeing its own container boom. “Our container business is well established and continuing to move,” he adds. “I think it will forge an opportunity for both regional producers and shippers to ship their goods in a variety of ways. With the congestion on the West Coast, I think shippers, consumers and others are seeing that the Mississippi River is a pretty viable corridor to take these boxes in, both imports and exports, and move them.” Paul Aucoin, executive director of the Port of South Louisiana, wants his own container port, but says it would be operated in a decidedly different way. “I want to enter into an arrangement with a single container company that would ship all of their empty containers here,” Aucoin says. “We’d have our own container supplier from China.” From there, the containers would be shipped out by trucks, train or barge. The port could potentially be built on the site of the shuttered Bayou Steel facility. “Once we get a container port, we would be truly multimodal,” he adds. A lack of funding has been the primary obstacle, so he is working with Gov. John Bel Edwards, LED and investors in an effort to secure support. Of course, rail is a critical component of any multimodal system, so

JAY HARDMAN, executive director, Port of Greater Baton Rouge

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Port NOLA is also expanding its rail yard for the Public Belt Railroad. That’s particularly important to the petrochemical industry, which periodically uses the rail yard for product storage. NOPB’s connections with six Class 1 railroads affords customers a direct connection to 132,000 miles of track serving all of North America, as well as provides a vital connection with ocean carriers. In the same vein, the Port of Baton Rouge’s Hardman expects much of domestic distribution for Grön Fuels’ planned $9.2 billion renewable fuels complex to be by rail. To be built on port property over nine years, the facility is expected to produce up to 60,000 barrels per day of low-carbon renewable diesel, with an option to produce renewable jet fuel utilizing non-fossil feedstocks, including soybean oil, corn oil and animal fats. “The predominant movement of their finished product is going to be by rail,” he says. “We built this chambering yard to service them, and I know for a fact that the rail component made it very attractive.” The port is planning additional investments in its rail infrastructure. “I think water movement will grow, but initially the shipping of petroleum-based commodities will be by rail. We’ve been working extensively to enhance our rail infrastructure here, not only for Grön but for the port’s continued growth.” A CONCERTED EFFORT It can be a difficult proposition to get both the ports and state aligned with a common multimodal strategy. What Port NOLA’s Christian doesn’t want to see is competition between Louisiana’s ports. “The focus should be on a coordinated strategy. We should be competing with Mobile, Texas and the Carolinas, not each other,” she says. The development of partnerships with other ports along the river “poises us to be a strong gateway,” she adds. “And we’re seeing progress … for the first time Baton Rouge and New Orleans are showing up on the Top 15 lists for distribution centers.” Rene Lapeyrolerie, current commissioner at the Office of Multimodal Commerce, says her office was created in 2016 for the express purpose of aligning Louisiana’s transportation assets, and moving them forward in 1012industryreport.com

Nick of time An emerging multimodal port in Mossville could help smooth kinks in the industrial supply chain.

THE DEVELOPERS OF the new Mossville Rail Port are benefitting from some rather fortuitous timing. Both phases of their multimodal facility will soon be operational, at a time when industrial owners in the Lake Charles area are searching for ways to remedy delays in receiving and shipping product. Under construction since April, the first phase of the rail yard was completed Oct. 5 and a second phase will be operational three months early in November. Savage is partnering with Kansas City Southern to construct the rail port, which will have transload and railcar storage capabilities. Savage will own and operate the rail port on property leased from KCS. Mike Miller, vice president of business development at Savage in Draper, Utah, says recent supply chain challenges have made rail ports an attractive shipping alternative. “This site allows customers to ‘forward position’ their rail cars so that they’re a moment’s notice away from their site,” Miller says. “That makes them a lot more efficient, enables more production runs and ultimately helps them move a higher quantity of materials.” The rail port is part of the Savage Transload Network of about 50 multicommodity, rail-connected terminals across North America and is the first developed in partnership with KCS. The facility comprises more than 70 transloading spots for moving chemicals, refinery products and other materials between trucks and railcars. It also has 600 spots for railcar storage, enabling plants, refineries and other area businesses to store railcars closer to their facilities; it also provides access to Mexico on KCS rail lines. Miller says some area customers actually provided input during the design of the rail port’s storage yard, transit yard and transload area (where the product will be moved from one mode to the other). “Our engineers design a project from an operator’s standpoint, working with the railroad and cus-

tomer in looking for a better way to build the facility,” he adds. “That helps us understand how they want their product moved and the time it takes to move it, and the operational plan around that.” Designed for multiple customers, the rail port will provide the ability to transload or store rail cars transporting a variety of products, such as dry bulk, liquid bulk, hazardous or non-hazardous. “All rail movements to and from the facility will be handled by KCS, and all rail movements and management of materials on site will be handled by Savage,” Miller says. The investment was prompted by an increased demand for rail car movements in Southwest Louisiana, a pattern similar to what Savage has noticed across the U.S. “A rail car can hold four truckloads,” says Dan Price, vice president of business development and operations for Savage in Schererville, Ind. “The trucking market is very tight, so rail is a good way for customers to place inventory close to a plant or close to market. There are also benefits in the carbon footprint that rail can bring versus truck.” The site can receive inbound products by truck that can then be loaded onto rail cars, or vice versa. “In some cases, we even have products that arrive by rail, then turn around and leave by rail,” Price adds. Savage already has a presence in South Louisiana, with the bulk of its local customers in the industrial market. That’s not necessarily the case in other regions. Savage’s transportation, logistics, materials handling and DBOOM (design, build, own, operate, maintain) services can help businesses of all types and sizes move and manage bulk materials. Typically, they adapt their facilities to meet the needs of a specific region. “In Mossville, we’ll offer a combination of rail car storage as well as transloading,” Miller says. “That’s heavily needed to support industry in the area.” —Sam Barnes

10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021   47


a structured and consistent way. She works closely with LED to keep them apprised of the state’s current rail, port and airport assets. “We might not be the first point of contact, but when that opportunity comes we are involved in the conversation,” she adds. Lapeyrolerie says the primary stumbling block to true multimodal connectivity in Louisiana has been the age of its infrastructure—particularly highways. Decades of deferred maintenance at the local, state and federal levels is having a cumulative effect. “Unfortunately, the needs outweigh the available money that we need to get there,” she adds. Hardman agrees that improvements to both highways and bridges are a pressing need, but that’s nothing new. He can see the gridlock on the Mississippi River Bridge every day from his office at the Port of Baton Rouge. “Road infrastructure improvements will play a big role if we’re going to have these regional distribution centers,” Hardman Issue SPRING 2021 says. “AtDate: some point, they’re going Ad proof #2 • Please e-mail fax with yourYou approval or minor revisions. to needrespond to getbyout onorthe road. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions can only take it by rail so far.” are received by the close of business today.

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  49


NEWS: TECHNOLOGY

Cyberattack dos and don’ts By SAM BARNES

ISTOCK

You’ve been hacked. Now what?

T

he Colonial Pipeline Jeff Moulton, president and CEO ransomware attack last of cybersecurity research and service spring and its troublecompany Stephenson Technologies some aftermath sent Corp. in Baton Rouge, says ransomshockwaves through ware attacks, hacks, compromised the industrial world. The audacity of networks and data spills have become the perpetrators and impacts on the the new normal, and no one is supply chain were shocking. immune. “The whole paradigm has It was the most impactful cyberatchanged,” Moulton says. “You’re no tack on an oil infrastructure target in longer judged by the fact that you’re the history of the U.S. attacked; you’re judged on how you When the attackers took control of respond.” the computerized equipment managStephenson Technologies was ing its pipeline, Colonial halted created some seven years ago as all its operations to contain an applied research hub for the damage. That, in turn, LSU but has since begun prompted the Federal to operate independentMotor Carrier Safety ly from the university, Administration to issue as much of its work is a regional emergency classified. The entity declaration for 17 states recently moved into a and Washington, D.C. to 25,000-square-foot space keep fuel supply lines open. at The Water Campus in Jeff Moulton Colonial paid the requested Baton Rouge and is involved in a $4.4 million in ransom within several number of private- and public-sector hours of the attack. With FBI assiscybersecurity projects. tance, it was able to identify the crimMoulton says ransomware is the inal hacking group and recover more most common—and highly publithan half of the money it paid. But cized—type of attack. Unfortunatethe damage had already been done, ly, it’s being perpetuated by those as the experience had exposed some companies that pay the ransom. “The rather terrifying vulnerabilities in the attackers are now exploiting you in industrial and oil and gas markets. two ways—they make you pay to get 50  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

your data back, and they’re making you pay so that the data isn’t shared on the Dark Web,” Mouton says. A particular vulnerability for industrial owners is the increasing connectivity between systems that manage back-office functions and operational processes. “If they’re connected, they’re vulnerable,” Moulton says. “There used to be no overlap, but because of economics it has become desirable to have one system to operate both. You’ve gained some convenience but increased your attack surface exponentially.” No company is immune from a cyberattack, he says, and size doesn’t matter. “They’re not looking for a specific thing,” he says. “They’re automated programs (auto scripts) constantly looking for vulnerabilities in any system. There’s not a person there targeting you, specifically.” Therefore, it’s just a matter of time. The difference, he says, is in how a company prepares and responds. CREATE A RESPONSE STRATEGY— BEFORE IT HAPPENS All companies should have a response strategy that identifies a crisis response team and defines key roles and responsibilities. It should also

identify a company’s critical assets. “What are those programs, services, processes etc. that you absolutely have to have to continue the business?” Moulton says. “Those get the attention first and you work your way back from there.” An owner should also have a readily available contact list with all applicable governmental institutions that need to be alerted following an attack, including law enforcement, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and others. “Mandatory reporting might even be on the horizon at some point,” he adds. Additionally, the legal team should assist in developing good internal policies and in the creation of a prepared external message. “Colonial Pipeline had their stuff together,” Moulton says. “They responded pretty well. Unfortunately, they didn’t understand the degree of the cascading impacts of the attack.” PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE Simply having a response plan isn’t enough. A company should empower its response team to practice their response to an attack. “You need to practice a plan to become proficient,” he says. “You need to know who is going to do what, when, how and where.” As such, there needs to be a line item in the budget for the cyberattack response. “You need to allocate money for ‘after care’ measures,” Moulton says. “Have a budget in advance. Your action response team should have money up front to put the fire out.” Moulton admits that convincing upper management of the need for such a fund can be a tall order, but it’s a conversation that needs to happen. MAP THE DATA FLOW A company should know where its data is located and how it moves through the organization. In many cases, the data is managed by someone who is largely ignorant of the dangers and isn’t adequately trained. “If you don’t know how your data flows, you can’t protect what you can’t see,” Moulton says. 1012industryreport.com


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WHEN AN ATTACK HAPPENS, NEVER PAY THE RANSOM Once an attack happens, a company has two options: Pay the ransom or pay nothing and rebuild its system using backups. But payers be warned. “If you pay the ransom, you’re sending the message that you’re a valuable target and it’ll happen again,” Moulton says. “And there’s no guarantee that they’ll release your system once the ransom is paid. Then you’re out of both money and data.” 1012industryreport.com

DON’T RUN BACKUPS DURING AN ATTACK Typically, there is a lot of corporate pressure to get systems back up and running, so many owners make the critical mistake of backing up the system in the middle of an attack. “You want to make sure you sever that tie before you start running a backup,” Moulton says. “[Not doing so] will just make things worse.” AFTER THE DUST SETTLES, IMPROVE YOUR PROCESSES After a cyberattack is over, a company should review lessons learned, then improve its security policies and incident response protocols based upon that experience. It sounds like common sense, but many companies seemingly never learn, Mouton says. “It’s obvious that there are some rather large companies who aren’t doing that, because they’re continuously getting hacked.”

Danny Montelaro 225.388.2701 Banking products and services, including lending, financial risk management, and treasury and payment solutions, are offered by Regions Bank. Deposit products are offered by Regions Bank, Member FDIC. © 2021 Regions Bank. All rights reserved. Regions Securities is a registered service mark of Regions Bank and is used under license for the corporate and investment banking services of subsidiaries of Regions Financial Corporation. Regions, the Regions logo and Regions Securities are registered trademarks of Regions Bank and are used by its affiliates under license. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank. Investment, Annuities and Insurance Products Are Not FDIC Insured | Are Not Bank Guaranteed | May Lose Value | Are Not Deposits Are Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency Are Not a Condition of Any Banking Activity

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GET DATA INSURANCE— AND READ THE POLICY A cyber insurance policy can be a good thing, but Moulton warns that no two policies are the same. Some policies might specify that the insured can’t touch the system until a professional has performed a forensic investigation. That could lead to lengthy downtime. “You need to make sure what you’re getting is what you think you’re getting,” Moulton says. “That should only be one arrow in the quiver, not the entire quiver. I tell people to get insurance, but don’t be a slave to your insurer. You need to know what it covers and the limitations.”

DON’T OVERREACT “Don’t start unplugging stuff right away after you’ve been hacked,” Moulton advises. “First try to understand what’s going on in your system. Pulling the plug is not necessarily the right answer.” A company shouldn’t focus its attention on finding its attacker—at least initially. Instead, it should concentrate its resources on resolving the issue.

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BACK UP THE DATA Companies should frequently back up their data—daily if possible—and have multiple copies. They should also limit the number of system administrators and use complex passwords. “And don’t put the backup on the same system that you have everything else on,” Moulton says. “I’ve seen that way too many times.”

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  51


FOCUS SAFETY

Lessons learned

By SAM BARNES

Seasoned South Louisiana EHS leaders share emerging best practices in safety.

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afety in the industrial space has been altered, perhaps permanently, by COVID-19. In the early days of the pandemic, safety leaders had to

quickly pivot—often with little official guidance or information— to address a safety threat with unknown potential. After more than a year of changing policy and evolving risks,

along with significant investments in masks, sanitizing products and other measures, many of these policies have coalesced around a handful of central guiding principles. 10/12 Industry Report sat

down with a few of south Louisiana’s seasoned safety leaders and asked them to reflect upon the challenges of the last year, and to discuss how they now approach safety on a daily basis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been undeniably impactful to the safety environment in 2020-21. How has it impacted your daily schedule and the way you now approach safety in the field?

DAVID MIHALIK Director of Environmental, Health, Safety, Medical and Security BASF, Geismar

MIHALIK: BASF’s pandemic planning had been in place since the mid2000s with the arrival of H1N1 and the bird flu. We understood at some point a virus could emerge that would challenge the way we protect our team members and our workplace, and we were prepared to deal with it. What we did not anticipate or expect when we put the COVID protocols into place was just how long it would last. SATTERFIELD: Dealing with the virus has resulted in our site and company creating additional safety measures for our teams to keep our site and employees safe. Over the last 18 months, we have spent a significant amount of time dedicated to the health and safety of our workforce. While it has always been a priority for our company, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a whole new layer to our health and safety protocols and brought additional challenges to managing the health and safety of our personnel. WARD: Over the past few years, safety in the industrial workplace has continued to evolve with new challenges, new technologies and new processes to continue to drive our zero injury and incident goals. The most recent challenge, of course, has been the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have pandemic plans in place as part of our emergency management procedures; however, even the best plans must be adjusted to address unique situations, not the least of which is an evolving pandemic.

GREG SATTERFIELD Senior Safety Engineer LyondellBasell, Westlake

What have been some of the specific challenges posed by COVID-19? And solutions? MIHALIK: BASF was prepared with a plan, but we recognized early on that the amount of safety supplies we had stockpiled would not sustain us for very long. This was due, in large part, to a supply chain that did not have enough inventory and struggled to supply the needs of even the health care industry. That meant we were forced to come up with alternative methods and materials to ensure safety protocols were being met at the sites until the supply chain and inventory could catch up to demand.

SHAWN WARD Director of Corporate Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Sustainability Cornerstone Chemical, Waggaman

52   10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

WARD: COVID-19 has taken workplace response planning to a whole new level to ensure the health and safety of everyone at our site. From enhanced monitoring and screening processes to appropriate PPE, to how we meet with one another to conduct business―all of these had to be reassessed and designed to ensure employee health and safety. Following Centers for Disease Control guidelines and other best practices to keep employees safe and healthy amidst a pandemic has been a real learning curve, but it has also inspired new ideas and approaches to pandemic response and exposure prevention, including enhancing work stream efficiencies and safely minimizing potential for exposure during the work day. Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to increase and refine our industrial hygiene practices and procedures onsite, and we have made sure to update those aspects of our regular workplace safety programs. 1012industryreport.com


Have the tactics or strategies for improving safety changed?

Apart from COVID-19, have there been other safety measures that have evolved or been refined in any way? And are there any new metrics that you use to measure and evaluate safety? MIHALIK: From a pure safety perspective, we have seen a more focused emphasis in several areas during the last 10 years. One example is preventing dropped objects from overhead. Workers did not always concern themselves with controlling tools, parts and other objects near edges of structures while working overhead. Historically, the answer was to simply barricade the area below the work, and no harm would be done if something fell. However, when working major turnaround projects with hundreds of contractors, this approach simply does not work. Now, BASF and others in the industry implement protective netting, require the use of safety tool tethers and train employees on prevention and reporting of dropped objects as significant incidents. This is just one of many areas where we have focused on a problem and developed solutions to improve workplace safety. SATTERFIELD: There have been a lot of improvements around PPE, such as gloves and fall protection. Looking at and managing human factors has also been getting a lot of attention in our industry, especially around incident investigation.

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SATTERFIELD: Personally, I think it is important to be empathic when dealing with employees and contractors. For example, “What would I have done if I were in their shoes?” To treat employees and contractors fairly as one team promotes belonging, builds relationships and empowers those to be more engaged in the program and the processes resulting in success. Treat them how you would like to be treated. This takes time, effort and consistency by the entire management team. In my opinion, having strong relationships with your workforce is key to success in any type of work environment. Each year, LyondellBasell holds the annual Global Safety Day, which is an opportunity for us to advance LyondellBasell’s GoalZERO culture. It means that we are committed to operating safely with zero injuries, zero incidents and zero accidents. This year’s theme was “Back to Basics,” which was an important emphasis, as many employees and contractors performed their job duties in other locations due to the pandemic, with less people and under different circumstances. During this time, it has become even more critical to stop, think what could go wrong, and adjust the plan, if necessary, to complete the job safely. MIHALIK: The increase of diversity and inclusion in the workforce has changed many of the strategies and practices for improving safety. An emphasis on diversity not only increased the number of women and minorities in roles within industry, they were also encouraged to speak up about safety at work―both their own and that of their coworkers. By asking personnel to challenge the norm, or the way tasks have always been done, we have seen continuous safety improvement. WARD: Our training is more robust now. Our processes―from potential exposure reporting to behavior safety practices―are now even more clear to make sure we identify, address and correct any issues quickly as they arise. New technologies and equipment have also improved worker safety over the past decade. A shift to more improved virtual monitoring systems and equipment, improved personnel and stationary monitoring equipment, and automation has improved the way we can utilize data to improve the overall safety, health and security at our site.

What are the biggest challenges to doing your job, and how do you overcome them? WARD: Our challenges are also our biggest opportunities. They are the new generation of employees, and new advances in technology and equipment. This new wave of talent has inspired a renewed focus on how to ensure a good understanding of safe practices and how we communicate with and train employees on the job. New technologies and equipment have also improved worker safety over the past decade. A shift to more improved virtual monitoring systems and equipment, improved personnel, and stationary monitoring equipment and automation has improved the way we can utilize data to improve the overall safety, health and security at our site. This also creates an opportunity for us to take a fresh look at how to improve already robust process safety programs by looking to new metrics and data. For example, instead of only focusing on traditional lagging indicators, such as the number of recordable injuries and first aid injuries, we can now also focus on more leading indicator metrics, such as the number of near misses, to help us implement preventative measures that can allow us to continually improve. SATTERFIELD: Dealing with the virus and not being able to have face-to-face meetings with our employees and site contractors has created a big gap in how we communicate and train. We just continue to try to be creative with our communications. It has caused a tremendous impact on safety and how it is managed. MIHALIK: The biggest challenge of this job is changing people’s mindsets and behaviors. BASF introduced behavioral-based safety about five years ago. With this program, employees have the opportunity to improve their personal safety and that of the workplace through observations and are trained to identify the barriers to a continuous improvement in safety performance. I would say supervisor support of this approach has been a challenge. The perceived pressure to produce can run counter to the basics of a behavioral-based program. The behavior-based premise that we must “go slow to go fast” is contrary to what many have historically been taught. Although we faced some obstacles in the beginning, we have seen tremendous payoffs with improved safety at our sites.

10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  53


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FOCUS: SAFETY

‘Red flags are everywhere’

By SAM BARNES

Rising substance abuse during the pandemic lockdown could have residual impacts on industrial safety.

Overdose deaths in Louisiana jumped 50% to 75% between 2019 and 2020—the largest increase in the country.

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“These guys go to work every day to environments that are dangerous. But they found themselves facing a virus that they couldn’t see or mitigate against.” SARAH TAYLOR, Owner/CEO, Gulf Coast Occupational Medicine COLLIN RICHIE

T

he red flags are everywhere, industrial health experts will tell you. They’re concerned that increases in substance use and abuse during last year’s COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has produced a new batch of addicts. Unfortunately, that might lead to sustained, rising rates of abuse among workers in the industrial market, some of whom could slip past standard drug screenings. When the nation was subject to mandatory stay-at-home orders, anxiety levels among the U.S. population rose exponentially. Officials with Louisiana’s Office of Behavioral Health say that multiple crises from hurricanes to the pandemic left many residents with feelings of grief, fear, anxiety, depression or anger. Many turned to artificial means of coping with those feelings. According to data from the Louisiana Department of Health, overdose deaths in the state jumped some 50% to 75% from 2019 to 2020—the largest increase in the country—and about 70% of those deaths involved opioids. In Calcasieu Parish, alone, some 41 people died from opioid overdoses from Jan. 1 to May 13 in 2021, according to Calcasieu Parish Coroner Terry Welke. Louisiana isn’t alone. According to the American Medical Association, every state has reported a spike

or increase in overdose deaths or other problems during the COVID pandemic. Drug overdose deaths rose by close to 30% in the U.S. in 2020, hitting the highest number ever recorded. These startling statistics are having a very real impact on Louisiana’s industrial market, says Sarah Taylor, owner and CEO of Gulf Coast Occupational Medicine Inc. in Prairieville. She noticed a significant uptick in positive drug screening at her facility during the middle of the lockdown in 2020. “When stimulus money was being distributed in South Louisiana, we saw a 5 to

7 percent increase in positive drug screens,” Taylor says. “I’ve been doing drug testing for 25 years, and that’s a significant positive increase.” Unfortunately, any uptick in positive screenings could potentially lead to a corresponding increase in workers slipping through the cracks. “We take as many precautions as we can to protect the legitimacy and accuracy of our testing process, but drug users are very determined people and have a huge incentive to beat my test,” she adds. Much of the increase in positives comes from anxiety medications. “The statistic that stood out to me is an increase in the use of benzodiazepines, which is Xanax and Valium,” Taylor says. “Those are drugs that are either prescribed or obtained illegally.” It’s difficult to determine a “cause and effect” relationship, but she says “I can tell you that the pandemic and the resulting unemployment and quarantine, along with a significant level of fear, was followed by a marked increase in drugs used to treat anxiety in our workforce.” The substance abusers generally fall into two categories: those who were anxious about paying their bills because they couldn’t work, and those who were anxious about being

in a work environment where their life was presumably at risk. That stress was compounded for industrial workers. “These guys go to work every day to environments that are dangerous,” Taylor says, “but they found themselves facing a virus that they couldn’t see or mitigate against.” While the percentage of positive drug screenings might have gone down since the early days of the pandemic, Taylor is concerned that the long-term, lingering effects might adversely impact safety and the health of industrial workers. “What we need to worry about is a year from now when all those people can’t get off those drugs and we have a whole new addition process,” she adds. “We create a whole bunch of new junkies when we start treating things with means other than coping skills, counseling, and peer support. Everybody’s saying they’re concerned about the long-term effects of COVID, but I’m concerned about the long-term effects of COVID from a behavioral standpoint.” PROACTIVE POSTURE A tidal wave of disinformation has been a big contributor to the anxiety, so education about the pandemic 10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  55


must be part of the solution. Industrial contractors and owners are getting in on the act. ISC Constructors LLC of Baton Rouge, for example, proactively distributes educational information to its employees on a weekly basis. Taylor says Gulf Coast Occupational sends healthcare workers to plant sites to talk with workers and help them understand, medically, about the dangers and myths. They also provide “COVID consults” through an open phone line. “I applaud our employers for facilitating COVID CONSULTS: A tidal wave of disinformation has been a big contributor to employee anxiety, a way for their workforce to actually so education about the pandemic must be a part of the solution. Industrial contractors and owners are getting in on the act, helping workers understand about the dangers and myths. talk to a healthcare provider to get information that’s accurate,” she says. company has instituted an app- and to a counselor for free. Addressing “The key is provide them informaweb-based Employee Assistance these mental health issues can ultition from a source that they trust. Program. Through the EAP, workers mately lead to a safer jobsite. And it’s important that they’re given can anonymously access topics such Of course, adequately addressing the opportunity to ask questions.” as coping with anxiety, crisis interand protecting against the dangers And by taking a holistic approach vention and PTSD, among others. of COVID-19 in the workspace to worker safety, Performance ConThat provides them with an outlet can go a long way toward alleviating tractors in Baton Rouge addresses to anonymously talk about things anxiety. certain behavioral causes that could they might be going through. Shawn Ward, director of corpolead to an unsafe work environment. rate health, safety, security, environTorrey vice2021 president Issue Garrison, Date: July Adofproof #2 Boh Bros. Construction of New • Please respond by e-mail or fax and with your approval Orleans has its own EAP, whereby ment and sustainability at Cornerenvironmental, health safety at or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received within 24 hours employees can anonymously speak stone Chemical in Waggaman, says Performance Contractors, says his from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines.

ISTOCK

FOCUS: SAFETY COVID-19 has taken workplace response planning to a whole new level at his site. “From enhanced monitoring and screening processes to appropriate PPE to how we meet with one another to conduct business—all of these had to be reassessed and designed to ensure employee health and safety,” Ward says. “… It has also inspired new ideas and approaches to pandemic response and exposure prevention, including enhancing work stream efficiencies and safely minimizing potential for exposure during the work day.” Greg Satterfield, senior safety engineer at LyondellBasell in Westlake, says his plant has been similarly proactive. “Over the last 18 months, we have spent a significant amount of time dedicated to the health and safety of our workforce,” Satterfield says. “While it has always been a priority for our company, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a whole new layer to our health and safety protocols and brought on additional challenges to managing the health and safety of our personnel.”

• Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees.

Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Louisiana Business, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329

PETERBILT OF LOUISIANA 16310 Commercial Avenue Baton Rouge, LA 70816 225.273.8300

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PETERBILT OF HOUMA

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PETERBILTTRKLA.COM 56  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

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SPE C I AL AD V E RT I SI N G SE C T I O N

Company

SPOTLIGHTS 10|12 Industry Report shines a light on regional companies that make an impact in their fields and in their communities. In this special section, read about their history, company cultures, services and products, and plans for the future.

GROUP INDUSTRIES FIVE-S GROUP

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  59


SPE C I AL AD V E RT I SI N G SE C T I O N

GROUP INDUSTRIES OUR HISTORY

Established 25 years ago, GROUP was initially created as an industrial builder, but quickly expanded into the premier specialty contractor it is today. Today, GROUP is a full-service general contractor with the ability to self-perform deep foundations, civil construction, pile caps, foundations and industrial buildings beyond clients’ expectations.

WHAT WE DO

As the premier contractor in the region, we are licensed to operate across the Gulf South. We are committed to service, quality, timely delivery and safety—using state-of-the-art equipment and our commitment to excellence for all refining, petrochemical, energy, 60  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

pulp, paper-heavy industrial contractor and deep foundation needs. We take pride in and measure our success by the relationships and reputation we develop and nurture within our community.

COMPANY CULTURE

GROUP Industries operates around four core values that have helped our company stand the test of time by helping to create a culture of respect and a philosophy of going above and beyond for our clients each day: • Dedication to excellence in safety, quality and performance • Integrity • Exceeding expectations • Teamwork

TOP EXECUTIVES David Arrighi, Chief Executive Officer Shane Kirkpatrick, President Dane Falgout, Chief Financial Officer Dave Thompson, Vice President of Operations Hunter Arrighi, Estimator & Project Manager

YEAR FOUNDED 1996

HEADQUARTERS

15055 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70817 225.752.2500 group-industries.com

1012industryreport.com


SPE C I AL AD V E RT I SI N G SE C T I O N

GOOD WORK PROJECT 1: MMR ENTERGY UPS INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP Industries was charged with the task of constructing a new battery substation at Entergy’s Perryville Power Station near Monroe, La. Facing tight deadlines and numerous challenges from unexpected

PROJECT 3: DOW POLY B PACKAGING WAREHOUSE

change orders to mid-stream design tweaks, GROUP’s team was able to accommodate all adjustments while adhering to the project’s stringent timeline. GROUP’s

The new Poly B Packaging Warehouse is a

workforce faced challenging conditions to produce 118

pre-engineered metal building and precast

2-foot 60-inch diameter drilled shaft foundations along

office project providing critical product

with vertical concrete piers, slab-on-grade foundations

storage capacity for Dow’s Plaquemine

and elevated cast-in-place structures to support three

plant, one of the largest petrochemical

heavy-duty steel battery enclosures four feet above

facilities in Louisiana and home to most

the ground. During the intense summertime heat, this

of Dow’s global business. The 3,000-acre

project required that the contractor continually “ice” the

integrated manufacturing site produces

concrete to maintain optimal temperatures for drilled

more than 50 different basic and specialty

shaft construction. The addition of this substation allows

chemical products. After facing a number

Entergy to now use battery technology to “black start” its

of challenges including high river stages

heavy-duty gas turbines, which is a term for rebooting an

and 25 change orders, GROUP Contractors

idle power plant without support from the grid during a

completed the project on schedule.

major system disruption or a system-wide blackout.

PROJECT 2: ENBRIDGE

system and a connecting ramp for the station. The

SCOPE OF WORK - Situated in a remote corner

of Baton Rouge nearly 200 miles away, and

of Cameron Parish still reeling from a Category 4 hurricane, Enbridge’s new elevated pipeline metering station would ultimately become a much-needed part of the pipeline company’s Cameron Extension Project,

system was designed and fabricated by Waskey would ultimately support equipment, piping and instrumentation needed for the station.

PROJECT 4: HURRICANE LAURA DISASTER RELIEF

SIZE OF PROJECT - By project’s end, more than 200

GROUP Industries’ disaster relief program is

which will provide natural gas to the nearby Calcasieu

truckloads of piles, girders, precast deck components,

Pass LNG export terminal. Other components of

grout and other materials had been delivered to the

the Enbridge project include a nearby 30,000-HP

site. Of that, there were more than 120 piles measuring

compressor station, 30-inch diameter interconnecting

18-inch-square by 95 feet long, and some 2,000 bags

piping, and the installation and modification of

of grout. Many of the girders were delivered in sections

various equipment and facilities at existing sites in

that were spliced together at the site, with some

Beauregard, Cameron and Jefferson Davis parishes.

pieces weighing 60,000 pounds. The precast panels

TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION - Multi-faceted civil construction greenfield project requiring precast and poured-in-place concrete and significant deep foundation. GROUP’s task was to construct the entirety of the elevated, 12-foot high precast deck

1012industryreport.com

were equally large, measuring about 30 by 10 feet and weighing 45,000 pounds. Through all these challenges, GROUP collaborated closely with general contractors and worked overtime to ensure that deadlines were met and results were beyond client expectations.

always standing by when dangerous weather is in the forecast. Our team mobilizes an emergency vehicle fleet equipped with trained staff and emergency supplies, and our goal is to meet the needs of those impacted by severe weather and provide whatever is needed to start on the path to recovery. Within 24 hours of Hurricane Laura hitting Lake Charles, Group Industries mobilized on site for debris clearing, then roof work, and now interior renovations on the Lake Charles school system buildings.

10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  61


SPE C I AL AD V E RT I SI N G SE C T I O N

Francisco J. Toro, André Smith, Danielle Hosch, & Brandon Ashley

FIVE-S GROUP OUR HISTORY

Five-S was born on a rice and crawfish family farm in Acadiana, Louisiana by owner and founder André Smith. He was taught at a young age to provide exceptional service and this has been his philosophy as the company has grown. Since 2013, Five-S has expanded from Acadiana to locations throughout the Gulf Coast.

WHAT WE DO

Five-S is a heavy civil construction firm that provides services, including site prep, drainage, road construction, excavation, grading, land clearing, material supply and logistics solutions to transport, unload and deliver materials. The company’s mission is: Building better people and projects from the ground up. For one of our recent projects, Five-S

Group worked with Shell Catalysts & Technologies LP on a new parking lot, plant access road, draining relocation and upgrades to their facility in Port Allen. Five-S is also actively supporting construction projects for several gulf coast LNG facilities with materials and services.

OUTLOOK

One of Five-S’ core values is to “take the bull by the horns” and that is our plan. We are always looking for innovative ways to complete our jobs efficiently. To ensure our success, we will continue to invest in continuing education for our team members, expand our services across the country, and increase the services we offer to customers. We have big dreams for the future and plan to fulfill all of them.

TOP EXECUTIVES André Smith, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Danielle Hosch, Chief Administrative Officer Brandon Ashley, Chief Business Development Officer Francisco J. Toro, Chief Operations Officer

YEAR FOUNDED 2013

OUR PHILOSOPHY

The Five-S family is an outstanding example of a work family. We support each other’s professional and personal development, and consistently cheer each other on to become the best version of ourselves. Each team member focuses on growth and a positive mindset—never complacent or settled, always looking to make improvements.

HEADQUARTERS

15555 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70817 Two other locations in Lake Charles, LA. & Port Arthur, TX 225.749.5867 Fsgrp.com

62  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

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10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  63


SINCE 1997, Triton Industries, LLC

in the United States, the Arctic

effectively with our next generation

has covered the globe with

Circle, the Caribbean, the Mideast,

of leaders.

innovative, original designs and

Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

developments in the industrial

Now after 25 years of Excellence

Mike and Lisa James started and built Triton Industries to solve their

cleaning industry. Triton’s vacuum

in Innovation, Triton is ready for our

clients most pressing challenges. Since

systems are recognized as truly

next leap forward in service.

then, they have focused on building

premier within the industry. Triton’s

Triton is proud to share how we

the future leaders of Triton to continue

Units are working on six continents,

are growing to serve our customers

their legacy of innovation, excellence,

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Portable High Performance Vacuum Systems & More • Simple Minded Engineering™


TRITON INDUSTRIES

is proud to announce their next generation of leaders Tucker LaVergne, Chief Operating Officer • Mike Noel, General Manager (not pictured) Konner James, Sales Leader • Kohl James, Business Development Leader Kendall James, Marketing and Communications Leader

Contact our team today to learn how truly client focused solutions can change what you expect from your partners in the vacuum systems industry.

225.637.3700 | TRITON-INDUSTRIES.COM


CLAIBORNE

CLOSING NOTES: PROJECT MAPS BOSSIER

Project by project

WEBSTER

CADDO

($25M-$250M)

BIENVILLE

Active Louisiana industrial projects announced or proposed since Jan.1, 2014, with projected capital investment of $25 million to $250 million. Second line shows projected capital investment and direct new jobs. List is representative, not complete; statuses and costs change frequently. 1 Linde World-Scale Hydrogen Plant $250M | 15 jobs Location: St. James Parish Status: 2021

2 ExxonMobil Refinery upgrades and new technology

$240M | 1,300 jobs retained Location: Baton Rouge Status: Final investment decision in Q1 2021; construction begins in mid-2021

3 Bueche PV1 solar farm

$240M | N/A Location: North of Port Allen Status: Construction July 2022

4 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deepening of the Mississippi River Channel

$238M | N/A Location: 256 miles from Baton Rouge to the river’s mouth Status: N/A

5 Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline expansion

$151M | 0 jobs Location: Southwest Louisiana Status: Delayed

6 IMIT terminal upgrades

$150M | N/A Location: St. Charles Parish Status: N/A

7 Delek Refinery

$150M | 30 jobs Location: Krotz Springs Status: 2024 completion

8 BASF

$150M | 15 jobs Location: Ascension Parish Status: N/A

9 Shell Norco

$150M | NA Location: St. Charles Parish Status: In progress

66  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

10 Air Liquide air separation unit $145.5M | 10 jobs Location: Port Allen Status: N/A

11 Dow polypropylene production expansion $119 M | 8 jobs Location: Plaquemine Status: In production by the end of 2021

12 Dow polypropylene production expansion $119 M | 8 jobs Location: Geismar Status: FID Q3 2021

13 CF Industries Green Ammonia $100M | N/A Location: Donaldsonville Status: Completion in 2023

14 International Matex Tank Terminals storage tanks, pipelines + dock $100M | N/A Location: Ascension Parish Status: Pending

15 Cornerstone hydrogen cyanide plant

$100M | N/A Location: Jefferson Parish Status: Pending

16 Placid Refinery upgrade $94.5M | 5 jobs Location: Port Allen Status: FID pending

17 BASF Phase 2 MDI Expansion

$87M | Jobs N/A Location: Ascension Parish Status: Pending

18 Huntsman/Rubicon

$78M | 17 jobs Location: Ascension Parish Status: Pending

RED RIVER

DESOTO

19 Eastman Taminco expansion

$70M | 5 jobs Location: St. Gabriel Status: Underway

NATCHITOCHES SABINE

20 International Paper Modernization

$52M | Retain 492 jobs Location: Bogalusa Status: N/A

21 Hood Container efficiency upgrade and capacity expansion

$50M | Retain 306 jobs Location: West Feliciana Parish Status: N/A

VERNON

22 IGP Methanol Plant

$45M-$48M | 325 jobs Location: Plaquemines Parish near Myrtle Grove Status: Pending

29 BEAUREGARD

23 CF Industries Nitrogen fertilizer plant expansion $41.4M | 7 jobs Location: Donaldsonville Status: N/A

24 Epic Piping unnamed expansions

CALCASIEU

$40 M | N/A Location: Louisiana, Texas, Abu Dhabi Status: N/A

25 Veolia Regeneration Plant Expansion

$40 million | 29 jobs retained Location: Burnside Status: Pending

CAMERON

5

26 Arq Proprietary fuel production facility $40M | 12 jobs Location: St. Rose Status: N/A

BLUE = ADDED SINCE PREVIOUS EDITION 1012industryreport.com

J


UNION

NE

MOREHOUSE

WEST CARROLL EAST CARROLL

LINCOLN

27 Port of South Louisiana improvements OUACHITA

$37.8M | N/A Location: Port of South Louisiana Status: In progress

RICHLAND MADISON

28 1.4Group chemical processing facility

JACKSON

$35M | 34 jobs Location: Ascension Parish Status: Underway

FRANKLIN

CALDWELL

29 Ingevity Caprolactone polyol production capabilities to existing facility

TENSAS

N/A | N/A Location: DeRidder Status: Construction begins summer of 2021; operational in Q1 2022

WINN

CATAHOULA LASALLE GRANT

Sponsored by

CONCORDIA

RAPIDES

AVOYELLES WEST FELICIANA

7

WASHINGTON

EAST FELICIANA

21

20

ST. HELENA

EVANGELINE ALLEN

POINTE COUPEE ST. LANDRY

10

3

WEST BATON ROUGE

TANGIPAHOA

EAST BATON ROUGE

LIVINGSTON

2

16 23

11

ACADIA ST. MARTIN

IBERVILLE

13

25

12

17

ION NS

LAFAYETTE

19

18 CE AS

JEFFERSON DAVIS

ST. TAMMANY

24

8

14

28

ST. JAMES

1

27 ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

ORLEANS

9

IBERIA ASSUMPTION VERMILION

26

ST. CHARLES

6

ST. MARTIN

15 JEFFERSON

22

ST. BERNARD

ST. MARY

LAFOURCHE IBERIA

PLAQUEMINES

4

TERREBONNE

Sources: LED, LEO, GBRIA, 10/12 research 1012industryreport.com

10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  67


CLAIBORNE

CLOSING NOTES: PROJECT MAPS

Project by project

BOSSIER

WEBSTER

CADDO

($250M and up)

BIENVILLE

Active Louisiana industrial projects announced or proposed since Jan. 1, 2014, with projected capital investment of $250 million or more. Includes projects that are underway, awaiting FID, and proposed. Second line shows projected capital investment and direct new jobs. List is representative, not complete; statuses and costs change frequently. 1 Sabine Pass LNG $19.5B | 400 jobs Location: Cameron Parish Status: Train 6 under construction; in service 2022 2 Driftwood LNG $16.8B | 498 jobs Location: West bank of the Calcasieu River, south of Lake Charles Status: N/A 3 G2 Net ZeroLNG $11B | 250 jobs Location: Cameron Parish Status: Production anticipated early 2027 4 Lake Charles LNG $11B | 250 jobs Location: Lake Charles Status: Energy Transfer takes over project. Approved for five-year build extension. 5 Formosa $9.4B | 1,200 jobs Location: St. James Parish Status:Delayed to 2021 6 Grön Fuels Renewable diesel facility $9.2B | 514 jobs Location: Port of Greater Baton Rouge Status: Final investment decision in 2021 7 Delta LNG + Delta Express Pipeline $8.5B | 300 jobs Location: Plaquemines Parish Status: After 2021 8 Delfin LNG $7B | 400 jobs Location: Off the coast of Cameron Parish Status: FERC extension requested in June 9 Monkey Island LNG $6.5B | 200 jobs Location: Monkey Island Status: 20-year fixed price agreement signed 10 Venture Global LNG Calcasieu Pass $5.8B | 130 jobs Location: Calcasieu Ship Channel Status: Under construction 11 Lake Charles Methanol $4.4B | 200 jobs Location: Calcasieu Ship Channel Status: Pending

68  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

12 Magnolia LNG $4.35B | 70 jobs Location: Calcasieu Ship Channel Status: April 2026

24 Methanex Corp., Methanex 3 $1.4B | 25 jobs Location: Geismar Status: Completion late 2023

13 IGP Methanol $3.6B | 325 jobs Location: Plaquemines Parish near Myrtle Grove Status: Pending

25 Wanhua Chemical Group $1.25 billion | 170 jobs Location: St. James Parish Status: Delayed

14 Pointe LNG $3.2B | N/A Location: East Bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish Status: Permitting pending 15 NOLA Oil Terminal $2.5B | N/A Location: Plaquemines Parish Status: Pending 16 South Louisiana Methanol $2.2B | 75 jobs Location: St. James Parish, across from Nucor Steel Mill Status: Pending 17 Commonwealth LNG $2B | N/A Location: Cameron Parish Status: Q3 2024 18 Yuhuang Chemical $1.8B | 400 jobs Location: St. James Parish Status: Phase I project completion in Q3 2020 19 Proman Big Lake Fuels $1.6B | 243 jobs Location: Lake Charles Status: Pending 20 EuroChem amonia/urea plant $1.5B | 200 jobs Location: St. John Parish Status: Pending 21 Port Cameron deepwater port $1.5B | 9,930 jobs Location: Calcasieu Ship Channel Status: Pending 22 Port NOLA Multimodal container terminal $1.5 billion Location: Violet, St. Bernard Parish Status: Beginning a two-year due diligence and permitting period 23 Shintech Louisiana chlor alkali and vinyl choride monomer production facility $1.49B | 120 Location: Plaquemine Status: Operations in early 2021

RED RIVER

DESOTO

NATCHITOCHES SABINE

26 Shintech Louisiana Expansion of manufacturing and packaging facilities $1.25B | 30 jobs Location: Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes Status: Completion in 2023 27 Shell Chemical Monoethylene Glycol plant $1.2B | 23 jobs Location: Geismar Status: FID 2022

VERNON

28 Diamond Green Diesel refinery expansion $1.1B | N/A Location: Norco Status: Online late 2021 29 Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.Methacrylate manufacturing complex $1B+ | 125 jobs Location: Geismar Status: Final investment decision in mid-2022

BEAUREGARD

30 REG expansion $825M | 60 jobs Location: Ascension Parish Status: Underway 31 BASF expansion $803M | 60 jobs Location: Ascension Parish Status: FID pending 32 Element US rare elements project $800M | 200 jobs Location: Noranda Alumina site in Gramercy Status: Final investment decision in 2021 33 Delta Biofuels $700M | 150 jobs Location: Port of Columbia, Caldwell Parish Status: FID 2022 34 ExxonMobil polypropylene expansion $500M-$1B | 65 jobs Location: Baton Rouge Status: Startup in 2021 35 Energy World USA $888M | 150 jobs Location: West of Belle Pass in Lafourche Parish Status: 2021

CALCASIEU

39 37

1

4 11 19 12 2 3 10 17 21 8

CAMERON

9

BLUE = ADDED SINCE PREVIOUS EDITION 1012industryreport.com

J


UNION

NE

MOREHOUSE

WEST CARROLL EAST CARROLL

LINCOLN RICHLAND

OUACHITA

MADISON

JACKSON

33

TENSAS

SPONSORED BY

WINN

43 SNF Flopam $375M | 110 jobs Location: Plaquemine Status: Completion in 2022

37 Southern Cross Transmission Project $600M | N/A Location: South Louisiana Status: Louisiana routing study underway

44 Syngas Energy $350M | 100 jobs Location: St. James Parish, south of the Sunshine Bridge Status: N/A 45 Formosa Plastics PVC plant expansion $332M | 15 jobs Location: Baton Rouge Status: Operations by 2022

38 Nutrien Ammonia Plant Expansion $560M | 15 jobs Location: Ascension + Iberville Parishes Status: FID 2022

FRANKLIN

CALDWELL

36 Renewable Energy Group $660M | 29 jobs Location: Geismar Status: N/A

46 Bueche PV1 solar farm $308M | N/A Location: East Feliciana Parish Status: Construction in July 2022

39 Enable Midstream Partners Gulf Run Pipeline $550M | N/A Location: Westlake Status: Projected in service by 2022

LASALLE

40 Westlake Chemicals expansion $450M | 15 jobs Location: Geismar Status: FID October 2022

CATAHOULA

GRANT

47 BP solar farm $300M | N/A Location: Pointe Coupee Parish Status: Pending 48 Huntsman-Rubicon MDI production facility expansion $280M | 60 jobs Location: Ascension Parish Status: Tax exemption process complete

41 Shintech ethylene expansion $400M | N/A Location: Plaquemine Status: Operations in early 2021

CONCORDIA

49 Air Liquide separation units to support Methanex 3 $278M | 8 jobs Location: Geismar Status: Pending

42 Valero Refinery alkylation expansion $400M | N/A Location: St. Charles Status: N/A

RAPIDES

AVOYELLES WEST FELICIANA

WASHINGTON

EAST FELICIANA

ST. HELENA

46 EVANGELINE ALLEN

POINTE COUPEE ST. LANDRY

TANGIPAHOA

47 WEST BATON6 ROUGE

34 45

23 43 26 41

ACADIA ST. MARTIN

IBERVILLE

IBERIA

40 48 29 36 30 38 27 31 24 18 49 28 25 32 ST. JAMES 5 16 44 ION NS

LAFAYETTE

ST. TAMMANY LIVINGSTON

CE AS

JEFFERSON DAVIS

EAST BATON ROUGE

ASSUMPTION VERMILION

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST ORLEANS

20 42 ST. CHARLES

JEFFERSON

22 ST. BERNARD

ST. MARTIN

13

ST. MARY

7

LAFOURCHE

PLAQUEMINES

IBERIA

14 TERREBONNE

15

Sources: LED, LEO, 10/12 research

35

1012industryreport.com

10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021  69


CLOSING NOTES: MY TOUGHEST CHALLENGE

Jim Rock BY SAM BARNES

THE RESOLUTION Rock knew that the multifaceted challenges at the plant required multifaceted solutions. He began by assessing everything, including the talent at every level of the organization, environmental permit compliance, safety performance and productivity. From an organizational perspective, he identified leadership needs, successfully recruited professionals from other plants to strengthen the organization and developed a succession plan for key positions. He also sought to connect with employees on a personal level. Years before, the plant’s management had ended much of the formal commu70  10/12 INDUSTRY REPORT  •  FALL 2021

POSITION: Executive Director COMPANY: Lake Area Industry Alliance WHAT THEY DO: The Lake Area Industry

Alliance was formed in 2000 as a voice for industry in southwest Louisiana. LAIA is a channel of communication between industry and the community, civic leaders, elected officials, educators and non-profit organizations.

CAREER: It took a seven-year stint at

PPG’s remote Natrium Plant in West Virginia— jokingly referred to as “the plant 100 years west of Pittsburgh”—to prepare Jim Rock for his eventual role as the company’s Lake Charles site manager. By the time he left the site in 2014, Rock had become the most impactful manager in the plant’s history. While there, he methodically resolved a lengthy list of challenges, mostly by connecting with employees on both a personal and professional level. In the end, Rock had completely transformed the culture at the plant from a safety, environmental and profitability perspective. He now serves as executive director of the Lake Area Industry Alliance in Lake Charles, a role he has held since late 2019.

nication with the workforce. The plant newsletter and various employee recognition programs had been cancelled. Step one, Rock says, was to turn all of that around. “Within the first six months, we held the first ‘Retiree Day’ that they’d had in six years,” he adds. “I also re-established the weekly newsletter.” He even made a point to send sympathy cards to employees who had lost a family member. It was a small gesture that had a huge impact. By showing them that he cared and was willing to be open to them, the employees, in turn, became more receptive to change. “In order to be successful and get their cooperation, I had to first be their friend,” Rock says. He then created the “Natrium 2012 Team” and charged it with reversing the negative direction of all phases of the plant operation within five years. The team, comprised of business, financial, operations and logistics professionals, was hugely successful. It negotiated the lease of some 3,000 in unused acreage for gas rights to a natural gas exploration company, sold 80 acres to a company for the purpose of con-

LEROY TADEMY

THE CHALLENGE PPG’s Natrium Plant, located in the heart of coal country, is the oldest facility in the company’s Chemical Division. In 2007, the facility suffered from a debilitating number of environmental, safety and financial issues, primarily rooted in the employees’ deep distrust of outsiders and a toxic culture. “They are nice people, but they are the descendants of coal miners and have a strong union mentality,” says Jim Rock, who served as plant manager there from 2007 to 2014. “Because of that, they were set in their ways and didn’t like outsiders. The wage employees, for example, absolutely refused to participate in any kind of safety program.” They were even timing regularly scheduled strikes to coincide with the start of hunting season. “It wasn’t the best of situations,” he says. “It was an old plant with an obstinate work force, and we were losing customers.” There were alarming environmental issues as well—the plant was still using coal as fuel for its powerhouse boiler and mercury for its chlorine processes. As a result, the Natrium Plant was the least effective, least efficient plant in the PPG family. “I understood it would be challenging, but also knew that if things could be turned around it could be very rewarding.”

structing and operating a natural gas plant, and reconstructed an obsolete production facility to improve profitability. The team even attracted a new on-site customer to the plant and achieved two successful labor negotiations. There were environmental successes as well. The Natrium 2012 Team oversaw the conversion of the powerhouse boilers from coal to natural gas and negotiated a favorable discharge permit with the Ohio River Water Commission. The employees got in on the act by participating in an incentivized carpool program and an “Energy Conservation Team” that focused on energy saving techniques. The team also negotiated with the union to become the first “tobacco free” campus in the entirety of PPG’s Chemical Division. “West Virginia has the second highest incidence of tobacco use per capita,” he says. “PPG leadership said if Rock can do that in West Virginia, we can do it anywhere … and they eventually did.”

Community involvement was strongly encouraged at the plant, and by the time Rock returned to Lake Charles it had become the fourth largest donor to the United Way in the Upper Ohio Valley. THE TAKEAWAY During the impactful seven years of Rock’s tenure, the Natrium Plant learned the value of following through on commitments. Rock made himself available, whenever possible, both on and off the clock, and by doing so gained credibility with the workforce. “Earning the trust of the employees paid huge dividends in the ‘mood’ of the plant,” he says. “It motivated individuals and groups by showing the benefits of working together.” Learning to identify and work with key individuals ultimately worked toward the betterment of the entire site. “You teach people to do right by doing right yourself,” Rock adds. “I try to be a good role model. If they see you being kind … you become a positive influence.” 1012industryreport.com


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