Business View Magazine | July 2019

45 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE JULY 2019 negotiations, along with many other firms. Then, if their price is accepted, they sign the contracts. While they are licensed to work in all the states, except Washington and California, the majority of jobs are along the Gulf coast and up the east coast. It’s a highly-competitive industry, however, as Bourgeois reports, “We separate ourselves by being very safe. We have a TRIR (Total Recordable Incident Rate) of zero over the last three years. And, we do what we say we’re going to do. We’re able to adapt to the customers’ needs quickly. Our quality is above and beyond the low cost environment that we’re working in. We work hard on developing and keeping relationships. We would love to win every time, but we don’t. There’s stiff competition out there, but the jobs we do we set us apart.” At Great River Industries, safety on the job site and in the shop is a huge part of the culture. That commitment is honored through a Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) program, the use of Human Performance Improvement (HPI) tools, and employee training requirements that exceed industry standards. GRI is one of the largest employers in the Natchez area, even though about 150 of their workers never come to the office; they’re always out in the field, going from job to job. One of the biggest challenges is finding skilled labor that can meet the company’s quality, safety, and performance needs. In that regard, GRI works closely with the Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management at Louisiana State University, as well as local trade schools in the Natchez area and Baton Rouge. Also, as a member of ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors), they have access to a wealth of that association’s training programs and technical college programs. Bourgeois notes, “Every one of our customers is valuable. The way we do business is we want to be a lasting partner with customers, not just go in and do one job and leave. About 80 percent of our work is repeat business. And about 20 percent per year is new business. So, we like to develop those relationships based on doing good quality, safe work and being a partner our customers can depend on. We have very qualified people, in- GREAT R I VER INDUSTR I ES house, that do safety training, engineering training, welding training – from top to bottom, training is one of our strongest assets. That’s how we’re able to maintain and keep the workforce we have; training them to be the best they can be.” A $2 million expansion in 2018 made impressive upgrades to the Natchez hub. Improvements include: all new LED lighting in the facility; a separate shop for stainless and carbon; a new state-of-the-art cutting and plasma table; and new head pressing equipment using the latest