Oil and gas industry veteran Charlie Moncla Jr. was named LAGCOE Looey on Monday, a title that comes with duties as goodwill ambassador for the biennial Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition scheduled for three days in October.

Moncla succeeds Al Thomas II, who was LAGCOE Looey for the 2013 exposition. The announcement was made at a luncheon at the Petroleum Club, where Moncla took possession of the gold Looey hard hat.

LAGCOE 2015 will be held Oct. 27-29 at the Lafayette Cajundome and Convention Center, where hundreds of companies that help oil and gas producers get their product out of the ground and to the marketplace will showcase their specialties.

Moncla acknowledged that he’s taking the reins during a tough time for the industry: In the past 13 months, the per-barrel price of oil has fallen from above $100 to in the $40s. On Monday, a barrel of U.S.-produced West Texas Intermediate hovered in the $45 to $46 range, according to Bloomberg.com.

The fall in oil prices has hurt the energy service companies that call Lafayette and other south Louisiana communities home.

Moncla placed much of the blame for the industry’s woes on Washington, D.C.

He said policies and rules written by the Environmental Protection Agency are anti-energy, and with bad tax policies and the recent agreement with Iran, they combine to thwart the fortunes of oil and gas producers and service companies.

“Button up, tighten up and grab hold because it’s going to be a ride,” Moncla said. “I don’t believe it’s going to kill us, but it’ll give us a good chance to die.”

Moncla began his oilfield career while enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then called the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He worked summers as a roughneck before graduating with a finance degree in 1970. In 1984, he started Moncla Well Service Inc. with one rig and six employees. When he sold the company in 2007, he employed 953 and owned 53 rigs.

This year, he returned to work at Moncla Companies, which is owned by his sons Mike, Matt and Marc.

The LAGCOE exposition in October will be the 35th held since 1955. In 2013, some 416 exhibitors showcased their specialties to 17,000 attendees. They came from 47 U.S. states and 43 countries, according to LAGCOE.

As in past expositions, LAGCOE 2015 will feature delegations from foreign countries, LAGCOE Industry Relations Director Claire Thom said.

Thom said this year the foreign delegations will include energy officials from Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the Ukraine and South Korea.

Thomas, 2013’s LAGCOE Looey, said the past two years have been rewarding. And, he said, he got to keep the gold hard hat.

LAGCOE Chairman Steve Maley, of Lafayette-based Badger Oil Corp., recognized Thomas and other past LAGCOE Looeys, including Dwight “Bo” Ramsay in 2011. Ramsay and his wife, Gerry, were wounded in a shooting at The Grand 16 Theatre on July 23.

“He’s recuperating at home. He’s doing well. Please include Bo and Gerry in your prayers,” Maley said.

Moncla, whose wife, Rhonda, and sons and stepchildren attended the luncheon, told about being a young, green hand working on a well when he made a mistake. Moncla said he messed up and dropped a wrench down a 13,000 foot well, an industry no-no that costs lots of time and money to retrieve.

He said that, to his surprise, his boss didn’t fire him. And he offered advice to the few hundred at the luncheon Monday.

“Never, ever send somebody home if they screw up because they might become somebody some day,” Moncla said.