Four companies in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette areas are regional winners of the 2015 Lantern Award from Louisiana Economic Development.
“It is a pleasure every year to celebrate Louisiana-based manufacturers who demonstrate quality in their work processes and a commitment to their local communities,” said Steven Grissom, the state’s secretary for economic development.
One winner is chosen each year from each of Louisiana’s eight regional planning and development districts.
POD PACK, BATON ROUGE: The Lantern was the second top business title this year for Pod Pack International, headed by William A.E. Powell in the state’s Capital Region.
In May, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber handed its Project of the Year Award to Pod Pack for the company’s $10.1 million expansion of its manufacturing facility, which required 19 new employees and grew its annual payroll by $600,000.
Pod Pack is a co-packer of coffee and tea products. It places those products in single-serving pods for such national brands as Folgers and Maxwell House and local favorites, including Community Coffee and PJ’s Coffee.
D&D CREATIONS, KENNER: Headed by Diane Barrilleaux-Brown, the Lantern winner in the state’s Southeast Region sells formal wear. The firm also custom-designs both elegant bridal dresses and spectacular Mardi Gras costumes.
When it comes to custom-designed clothes and new dress lines, the firm’s website says,“We won’t sell the same dress twice.”
DSC DREDGE, RESERVE: The state’s Bayou Region winner from St. John the Baptist Parish designs and builds dredges and related equipment.
DSC Dredge LLC, whose president and chief executive officer is Robert B. Wetta, says on its website that the company in 2012 received from President Barack Obama the E Star Award for Exports. That recognition followed the company’s 147 percent increase in exports over a three-year span.
About 50 percent of DSC Dredge’s annual sales are outside the U.S., company officials said this year.
NOBLE PLASTICS, GRAND COTEAU: The Acadiana Region’s Lantern Award winner in St. Landry Parish was founded in 2000 by engineer and former oil and gas executive M.B. “Missy” Rogers. Noble Plastics is a custom injection molding manufacturer of products for the petrochemical sector.
Rogers founded her company after noting a need for plastic replacement of some metal products at petrochemical plants, including many related to industrial instrumentation.
That perception of need proved correct, Rogers said three years ago, and eventually enabled her company to achieve 30 percent annual growth in 2010, 2011 and 2012. She said she doubled her staff over that same period.
Business grew so fast, Rogers said, she sometimes seemed to hold “a tiger on a leash.”
Rogers said in 2012 that state economic development officials provided her with research-based analysis that helped save her time and money in the targeting of possible new markets.
“The (state economic development) team mined for and found incredible amounts of data in a really short period of time,” Rogers added. “They helped me narrow down where to place my marketing efforts, culling a list of about a thousand trade show possibilities to about three dozen.”
Other companies receiving Lantern Awards from Louisiana Economic Development officials this year include Lake Charles Rubber and Gasket Co., Lake Charles, Southwest Region; UTLX Manufacturing, Alexandria, Central Region; Gardner Denver Thomas, Monroe, Northeast Region; and Xerium Technologies Inc., Ruston, Northwest Region.
“These companies embody quality in their work processes while making significant contributions to the quality of life in Louisiana’s communities,” Grissom said.