GBRIA Recognizes High Schools, Post-Secondary Institutions and Contractors with Awards for Craft Workforce Development

BATON ROUGE, LA – Sept. 20, 2019: The Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, Inc. (GBRIA) is pleased to announce the recipients of awards presented at its 12th Annual Craft Workforce Development Awards Banquet held on September 19th at the Marriott Hotel in Baton Rouge, LA. Many high schools, high school educators, post-secondary institutions as well as skilled craft contracting companies and industrial facilities received awards. Tamara Brown, Director of Sustainability and Community Engagement at Praxair, and Tom Yura, Chief Operating Officer at Cornerstone Chemical, shared a few words as a keynote address. Approximately 400 guests attended the event.

The following awards were presented to high schools who were nominated by area contract firms: Cajun Industries, EXCEL, ISC Constructors, MMR Constructors, Trade Construction, Turner Industries, Performance Contractors, Westgate LLC and Worley; and by the industrial plant Occidental Chemical in Convent for demonstrating an outstanding job of implementing career and technical education classes related to construction.

In Division I Student-Body Size Category: West Feliciana High School received the Award of Excellence. Albany High School, Donaldsonville High School, Doyle High School, Holden High School, and Maurepas High School received Awards of Merit.

In the Division II Size; Broadmoor High School, Denham Springs High School, Central High School, and Live Oak High School received the Award of Excellence.

Plaquemine High School, the St. James Career & Technical Center and Zachary High School received Awards of Merit.

In the Division III Size: East Ascension High School and St. Amant High School received the Award of Excellence and Dutchtown High School received an Award of Merit.

One high school craft teacher from each high school division-size received the award of GBRIA High School Craft Workforce Development Champion. Dr. Paul Theriot, West Feliciana High School, received the award for Division I; Billy Doiron, Live Oak High School, received the award for Division II; and Mandy Delaune, St. Amant High School, received the award for Division III.

GBRIA then awarded Post-Secondary Institutions that were nominated by EXCEL, Excel Modular Scaffold, ISC, Performance Contractors, Turner Industries and Worley. Post-Secondary Institutions were divided into two categories: Technical Education and Continuing Education.

In the Post-Secondary Technical Education category, Baton Rouge Community College received the Award of Excellence. The Associated Builders & Contractors – Pelican Chapter and River Parishes Community College received Awards of Merit.

In the Post-Secondary Continuing Education category, LSU Digital and Continuing Education received the Award of Excellence. Alliance Safety Council received the Award of Merit.

Next, the award program recognized industrial construction and maintenance contract companies who demonstrated excellence investing in workforce development programs, which include all of the elements of an excellent program, which are: recruitment, assessment, training, career path development and retention of employees.

The plants that nominated contractors included: BASF, Dow, Eastman Chemical, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge, Honeywell, Occidental Chemical Convent, Occidental Chemical Geismar, REG, Shell Chemical, Shell Refining and W.R. Grace & Co.

The following companies received Craft Workforce Development awards. In the category of General Construction & Maintenance, in the Division I Size Category, Action Industries Inc. and Volks Constructors received Awards of Recognition. In the Division II Size Category, EXCEL received the Award of Excellence. Cajun Industries and Repcon received Awards of Merit. Primoris Services Corporation received an Award of Recognition. For the Division III Size Category, Brown & Root Industrial Services, Turner Industries Group, LLC and Worley earned the Award of
Excellence and the Award of Merit were presented to Performance Contractors and Zachry Group.

In the Civil and Structural Category, in the Division I Size, Barriere Construction Co. received the Award of Recognition. Deep South Crane and Rigging received the Award of Merit.

In the category of Specialty Trade (Soft Craft), in the Division I Size Category, NextGen Scaffold Services received the Award of Recognition. In the Division II Size Category, Excel Modular Scaffold & Leasing earned the Award of Merit.

In the category of Specialty Trade (Hard Craft), in the Division I Size Category, PALA Interstate LLC, Triad Electric & Controls and Westgate, LLC earned the Award of Merit. In the Division II Size Category, ISC Constructors received the Award of Excellence. In the Division III Size Category, MMR Group received the Award of Merit.

In the category of Technical Support, in the Division I Size Category, Clean Harbors and Premium Inspection & Testing Group received Awards of Recognition. In the Division II Size Category, Turner Specialty Services received the Award of Excellence. Acuren Inspections and Total Safety US received Awards of Recognition.

GBRIA also awarded three Best of Division Awards. GBRIA presented this award to a company that ranked best within its division. Deep South Crane and Rigging received the Best of Division I Award. Turner Specialty Services received the Best of Division II Award and Turner Industries Group received the Best of Division III Award.

GBRIA also presented prestigious individual awards to individuals who have exemplified qualities of leadership in workforce development. The following individuals were presented awards as GBRIA Craft Workforce Development Hall of Famers: Lane Grigsby, CEO of Cajun Industries and Eddie Rispone, CEO of ISC Constructors.

Lastly, the award of GBRIA Craft Workforce Development Most Valuable Plant was presented to BASF. BASF has taken 150 high school students through its BASF Tech Academy Program since 2015. This weeklong program, in partnership with RPCC, allows students to visualize a career pathway that starts in high school and finishes through community college or technical training programs. BASF also sponsored teachers an Externship Program, an immersive experience at BASF for teachers to learn about various career pathways.

This year’s GBRIA Craft Workforce Development Champion Most Valuable Player award was presented to Jennifer Garcia with Olin, for her outstanding volunteer efforts with GBRIA.

Pictures of the event will be posted on the Events tab of GBRIA’s website in Event Pictures Other links to the evening’s presentations and information on the awards can be found on the News tab.

2019 Safety Excellence Award Results

Contact Jessica Pranjic, Manager of Communications & Workforce Development

Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, Inc.

8555 United Plaza Blvd. Ste. 202

Baton Rouge, LA  70809

(225) 769-0596

GBRIA Celebrates 23 Years of Safety Excellence in Industry

BATON ROUGE, LA – April 5, 2019: The Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, Inc. (GBRIA) announced the winners of its 23rd Annual Safety Excellence Awards. The awards were presented at a banquet held on April 4, 2019 at the L’Auberge Resort in Baton Rouge, LA. Approximately 650 guests attended the event, which featured guest speaker John Jackson, host of the Discovery Channel television show “Out da Bayou.”

The award program was established in an effort to recognize excellent safety performance by contractors working in industrial facilities in 1996 under the leadership of Hal G. Ginn, Plant Manager of DSM Copolymer at the time. Ginn played an instrumental role as the chair of GBRIA in raising safety standards and expectations in industry in the Baton Rouge area, which has spread across the U.S. with other petrochemical and heavy industrial manufacturers. 

GBRIA members that nominated their highest performing contractors included Air Liquide, Air Products, Americas Styrenics, BASF, CF Industries, Delek US, Eastman Chemical, Eco Services, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge, ExxonMobil Polyolefins, Formosa Plastics, Honeywell, Honeywell UOP, INEOS Oxide, Methanex, Mexichem, Nova Chemicals, Nucor Steel, Nutrien, Olin Plaquemine, Olin St. Gabriel, Occidental Chemical Convent, Occidental Chemical Geismar, Placid Refining, Renewable Energy Group (REG), Rubicon, Shell Catalyst and Technologies, Shell Chemical, Shell Convent Refinery, Solvay, Syngenta, The Dow Chemical Company, Total Petrochemical, W. R. Grace, Westlake Chemical Plaquemine, Westlake Chemical Geismar and Veolia.

The winning contract companies each year demonstrated a level of safety excellence that includes thousands and millions of hours worked without injury, a commitment by management to educate workers, and a fostered zero-incident culture.

The 2019 GBRIA Contractor Safety Excellence Awards were presented in five service categories with companies being further subdivided in each category by either Division I, Division II or Division III based on company size.

The following companies are GBRIA’s 2019 award recipients: 

General Construction and Maintenance

Div I:

            1st Place:         Petrochem Field Services

            2nd Place:        PALA Interstate

            3rd Place:         Industrial Specialist, LLC

Div II:  

            1st Place:         Cajun Industries, LLC

            2nd Place:        Specialty Welding and Turnarounds, LLC (SWAT)

            3rd Place:         Repcon, Inc.

Div III:

            1st Place:         Performance Contractors, Inc.

            2nd Place:        Brown & Root Industrial Services, LLC

            3rd Place:         Turner Industries Group, LLC

Specialty Trade (Hard Craft)

Div I:

            1st Place:         Westgate, LLC

            2nd Place:        Midwest Cooling Towers, LLC

            3rd Place:         Cooling Tower Technologies, LLC

Div II:

            1st Place:         ISC Constructors, LLC

            2nd Place:        Turner Specialty Services, LLC

            3rd Place:         Universal Plant Services

Div III:

            1st Place:         MMR Constructors, Inc.

            2nd Place:        JVIC (A Zachry Group Company)

Specialty Trade (Soft Craft)

Div I:

            1st Place:         Coating Services, Inc.

            2nd Place:        Petrin

Div II:

            1st Place:         BrandSafway

            2nd Place:        Excel Modular Scaffolding & Leasing Corp.

Div III:

            1st Place:         Apache Industrial Services

            2nd Place:        Brock Services

Technical Support

Div I:

            1st Place:         Austin Fire Systems

            2nd Place:        Jacobs Alliance Group

            3rd Place:         Acuren Inspection, Inc.          

Div II:

            1st Place:         Axion Logistics

            2nd Place:        Ford, Bacon & Davis

            3rd Place:         UP Professional Solutions

Div III:

            1st Place:         Total safety U.S., Inc.

            2nd Place:        Petroleum Service Corporation, an SGS Company

            3rd Place:         TEAM Industrial Services

GBRIA also announced winners of the Community Service Award and Innovative Practice Award. Excel received the Community Service Award and Zachry Group received the Innovative Practice Award.

The top award, the 2019 Hal G. Ginn Safety Excellence Award, was earned by Cajun Industries, LLC for the best overall performance of all of the nominees.

Photos of the event can be seen at  beginning on 4/8/2019.

End of Statement

Statement From GBRIA on ExxonMobil’s Polyolefin Investment Announcement

Baton Rouge, LA – (March 1, 2019) The following is a statement from Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance Executive Director Connie Fabre in response to ExxonMobil’s decision to invest in the Baton Rouge polyolefin facility:

“ExxonMobil’s decision to invest in the Baton Rouge polyolefins facility is a win for the Capital Region’s workforce and small businesses, a win for area teachers and students and a win for our economy. $30 million in sales taxes will flow into East Baton Rouge Parish mostly this year and over $20 million in property taxes over the next 20 years.  But it almost didn’t happen. Negative rhetoric and false accusations from a vocal few threatened this project at every turn. While neighboring parishes and states are welcoming investments such as these with open arms, some in East Baton Rouge Parish favor political grandstanding which threatens the prosperity of this community. We must make it easier for companies to invest here, our region’s future growth and economic viability depend on it.“

GBRIA Q1 2019 Economic Outlook Results

BATON ROUGE, LA – Feb. 1, 2019: The Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, Inc. (GBRIA)’s survey of its members shows significant increases in expected capital expenditures and moderate increases in both company and contract employment for industry in the next six months. Production levels are mostly expected to remain level.  The association comprises 60 petrochemical, paper, pharmaceutical, storage terminal and other industrial facilities located in seven parishes around Baton Rouge. The survey is a forward looking index similar to an index the CEO’s of The Business Roundtable report.  Plant managers of 29 sites, or 48 percent of GBRIA members, weighed in on what they believe the next six months hold for their plants. The current GBRIA index result is 82, an increase from 2018’s results.

  2019 First Quarter Forecast
Question Increase No Change Decrease Index
How do you expect your plant’s production to change in the next 6 months?   31% 62% 7% 74
How do you expect your company’s capital expenditures to change at your plant in the next 6 months?   59% 28% 14% 95
How do you expect your plant’s COMPANY employment to change in the next 6 months?   34% 62% 3% 81
How do you expect your company’s CONTRACT employment to change in the next 6 months?   31% 59% 10% 71
1st Quarter 2019 GBRIA
Economic Index

The Index value is calculated as a diffusion index centered on 50 and ranges from negative 50 to positive 150. Values over 50 predict an expanding economy and values below 50, a contracting economy.

End of Statement

Now is the time to SUPPORT investment, not fight it.

The news about Georgia Pacific’s Port Hudson facility was difficult to hear. Whenever a long-standing community supporter makes decisions like this, the loss affects company employees. It also results in a ripple impacting contractor and supplier jobs that are essential to making these facilities go.

Even with yesterday’s disappointing news, hundreds of our family members, neighbors and friends in the Capital Region can begin the next chapter of their working lives now. These new opportunities are available because companies are willing to invest in this area of Louisiana.

Within hours of yesterday’s news breaking, ExxonMobil contacted our organization to inform us that they are interested in considering some of the affected engineers and operators for positions at the company’s sites in East and West Baton Rouge parishes.  Yesterday, Dow Chemical announced that it is seeking applicants for a new apprenticeship program and there are many other projects underway in the area at facilities such as Methanex, Wanhau, and others in the region.

Companies, like ExxonMobil, need skilled professionals, because they want to invest more in the Capital Region. They are working with our community college and university systems to train more and more workers, who are building their careers at area facilities.

Alexander Graham Bell said, ‘When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.’ Now is the time for us to see the open doors and stop arguing about attracting investment to the Capital Region.

As a community, we need to embrace new investment, because it creates opportunity out of difficulty.

GBRIA is here to help and support in what way we can. We encourage affected employees, contractors and suppliers to contact us.

GBRIA Supports Move EBR Infrastructure Enhancement and Traffic Plan

The Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance (GBRIA), Inc. supports the half-cent sales tax for the MOVE EBR Infrastructure Enhancement and Traffic Mitigation Plan that will appear on the ballot on December 8th.

The program will begin on April 1, 2019, and continue for 30 years. Food and prescription drug purchases are exempt from the sales tax and funds will be dedicated only to projects included in an approved project list. These projects will include additional lane capacity, safety, and intersection improvements; upgrades to existing corridors; sidewalks, drainage, bike paths and landscaping; advanced traffic management systems; upgrades to existing signals with increased fiber connectivity and federally matched transportation dollars.

GBRIA believes infrastructure improvement is crucial to the community’s economic growth. Current traffic issues create problems within the industrial workforce as workers and shipment deliveries must factor time in traffic for regular commutes. Plants had to adjust shift schedules in order to combat issues with peak traffic times.

This program will create 2,980 new jobs, save drivers $249 annually and add $1.4 billion in value added to the economy. Visit for more information on the Move EBR program.

Updated ITEP Rules Are a Step in Making Louisiana More Competitive

Commerce & Industry Board approves multiple potential projects under revised ITEP rules, noting the level of competition Capital Region & Louisiana faces in attracting investment and new jobs.

Since Louisiana implemented changes to the Industrial Property Tax Exemption (ITEP) program in 2016, advance notices for projects dropped 35 percent as of this spring, and the number of planned jobs dropped by 61.5 percent by this same time.  This was in part because industrial property tax incentive rules were not clear.