A Letter from the Director
Manufacturing in Louisiana
Happy New Year! As I look into 2018 with 9 months under my belt as the Director for the MEP of Louisiana, I am very optimistic about manufacturing in Louisiana. As I travel around the state, I am amazed to see the incredible technology and processes used by our manufacturers to address and solve the needs we face in our communities and throughout our country. 

To meet the needs of the manufacturing ecosystem in our state, our organization has reflected on how we can best support the strong drive for excellence. To best represent the passion for manufacturing within Louisiana, we have moved away from MEPOL and launched a new name for our organization:  The MEP of Louisiana! This new name better connects us directly with the MEP network and immediately conveys that we proudly operate in the great State of Louisiana. With this name change, we have also evaluated our logo and other brand items. As we finalize these items in February, we plan to share these details with you in the coming months.

Along with a strong image and message, the MEP of Louisiana must have a quality product to support and address the varied needs of small, medium and large manufacturers. Over the past several months, our team has expanded with the addition of Scott Uffman as the Business Development Director and Dr. Ali Ahmad as the Operations Director ( http://mepol.org/about-mepol). Their passion, leadership and experience with business and manufacturers provide a valuable complement to our existing team and organization. 

This past fall, the MEP of Louisiana applied for and received a $1 million federal grant through the U. S. Department of Commerce to support manufacturers impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Manufacturers in the 12 declared disaster parishes in Southwest and West Louisiana from Cameron/Calcasieu to Natchitoches/Sabine parishes are eligible to apply. There will be a community forum in each of these parishes in January. Review this link for more details and to see which forum you are able to attend to discuss your needs: mepol.org/events.

Thank you for your passion and drive to manufacture the many diverse and vast products that are produced in Louisiana. To learn more about the MEP of Louisiana, please visit http://mepol.org. If you have a need and would like to visit with our MEP of Louisiana team, please connect here or call us at 337-482-6767.

Mike Wolff, Director
Partner Spotlight
Successful Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant Application Proves to be Impactful for Guidry's Catfish

In 2016, Guidry’s Catfish (Processor’s Inc.), the largest catfish processing facility in the state, was prepared for the REAP Grant application and began collecting all of the necessary paperwork for the application process. The REAP Grant application was written with an energy improvement project in mind to add a chiller system for the reduction of the intake water temperature to the company’s icemakers. Scherff met with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Energy Assessment Team to discuss the Energy Assessment for the grant application and had the University perform the assessment. Once the assessment was completed, Scherff met with the client to review the application paperwork and toured their facility to better understand the addition of the chiller system. Once all information for the REAP Grant was collected from the client, Scherff worked on the application and submitted it to USDA.

As a result of MEPOL’s assistance on the REAP Grant application, the client was awarded the grant in July 2017 and experienced an abundance of impact from the project. The client is looking forward to ongoing continuous improvement and cost reduction as a result of the implementation of the new chiller system.

Education Connection
On November 29, 2017, Ali Ahmad and Mike Wolff of the MEP of Louisiana and Ernest Frazier of Nunez Community College visited with Southern Services and Equipment located in St. Bernard, Louisiana to discuss opportunities for collaboration.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana (MEP of Louisiana) is part of a national network of more than 1,500 experts. It is a public/private partnership funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) that works with small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers to create and retain jobs, increase profits, save time and money, develop new customers, and expand into new markets. Working with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), the MEP of Louisiana partners with public 2-year institutions to create relevant, timely programs and services that address their specific industry needs. The MEP of Louisiana employs several tools to help manufacturers grow and compete to include lean implementation, Six Sigma, ISO implementation, product design, facility layout, value stream mapping, and business/strategic planning.
January 2018: Face of Manufacturing
“My whole career started when I got my degree in Drafting and Technical Design and learned AutoCAD and drafting.”

For David Viola, his dedication and artistic ability catapulted him into a fast-track career of welding. Once he received his degree in Drafting and Technical Design, Viola used his 20 years of experience in AutoCAD Detailing to move into a Project Manager role where he could plan projects and work with a project team from start to finish.

After joining the Air National Guard and finishing his service, David enrolled at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College using his education benefits that he earned and received a degree in Drafting and Technical Design. While we was attending college, he worked for the family business – a steel fabrication shop. It was there that he was able to learn the art of welding and utilized his hand and eye coordination skills to further develop his talent. In order to further assist with the family business, David moved into an office role and knew that this was what he was meant to do.
With over 24 years of experience, David took a job with Southern Services and Equipment, Inc. in St. Bernard, Louisiana to learn the steel erection trade. Even though it is a different type of work than the weld shop his father owned, David says he loves what he does on a daily basis. “As the Project Manager, I get to monitor the job from beginning to end. I program the CNC machines, take measurements in the field, deal with customers, estimate and open jobs, and order the necessary materials.” 

By keeping track of the project from start to finish, David recognizes the opportunities in the shop for all of the other employees as well, “There are so many opportunities in this shop; everyone has a chance to make it. You can always move up whether you’re working in the industry to weld or if you want to move into an office environment.” With 10 to 15 different classifications of jobs who work in the shop on a daily basis, David is proud of the crew who make projects happen every day.

His role as a Project Manager for SSE has allowed him to be a part of projects in the New Orleans area such as the WWII Museum Historical Infill as well as the NOPD 2 nd District Police Station and the Gert Town Natatorium and Community Center. According to David, “You name it, [SSE] can make it!”
­­­­­­­­­Located in St. Bernard, Louisiana, Southern Services & Equipment, Inc. is a thriving fabrication, erection and machining contractor specializing in providing services for commercial clients and government agencies. The company is a full-service facility for steel fabrication, structural steel erection, precision CNC machining, forming, welding, engineering, design and support, prototyping, product assembly, painting, blasting and finishing, and quality measurement control. SSE processes a wide variety of structural steel members, such as beams, channels, angle iron, square and rectangular tubes, flat bar, strip plate and grating; and manufactures items such as canopies, handrails, guardrails, stairs, gates, catwalks, metal parts, machined parts, pins, plates, bollards, anchors, tanks, shafts, troughs, test weights, ramps, and tension connectors.
To nominate the next Face of Manufacturing, click the button, fill out the form and return to kayla.gentry@mepol.org !
What's Happening in the MEP National Network?
New Cybersecurity Resource Created for Manufacturers

NIST MEP is pleased to announce the publication of NIST Handbook 162 "NIST MEP Cybersecurity Self-Assessment Handbook For Assessing NIST SP 800-171 Security Requirements in Response to DFARS Cybersecurity Requirements. Read the entire article here .

Learn more about the  MEP National Network  and  download a copy of the Handbook  here