With four offices spanning Texas and Louisiana, and a team of 2,100 “associates,” Baton Rouge-based ISC Constructors LLC is bringing its collaborative approach to electrical and instrumentation work to more customers across the region. The firm saw one of its strongest years in 2014, bolstered by the continued strength of oil and gas-related work in both states that brought a steady project load from clients such as ExxonMobil, Sasol and Shell Oil Co.
For its strong growth throughout the region; ample lineup of past, current and future work; and its commitment to improving the lives of its employees and the communities in which they live, ENR Texas & Louisiana has named ISC Constructors as its 2015 Specialty Contractor of the Year.
ISC’s regional revenue grew by about $55 million in 2014 to $240.31 million, up from $185 million in 2013. This lifted the firm to ninth place on ENR Texas & Louisiana’s annual ranking of Top Specialty Contractors, three spots higher than in 2014.
The firm’s offices in Baton Rouge, Beaumont and Houston all marked record years in 2014, made possible by a bevy of work in both Texas and Louisiana from many of ISC’s core customers in the refining and chemical spaces. That sector’s growth in both states contributed largely to ISC’s revenue spurt and led the firm to open a new office in Lake Charles in April.
“Although we’ve made a jump in revenue this past year, ISC has never been one to be driven by revenue,” explains Jerry Rispone, president and CEO at the firm. “Our focus has and will always be on repeat business with our customers by providing them exceptional service at a competitive price. We pursue opportunities where there is a great chance of success for our customers and for ISC.”
With that in mind, the firm has been preparing for the Gulf Coast’s industrial expansion for several years. The company strengthened its workforce, with accelerated in-house construction management training, craft workforce development and soft-skills training.
Combined with the opening of the Lake Charles office, ISC was well-positioned to capitalize on refining and chemical expansions throughout the region over the past few years.
“ISC has always been a leader in workforce development and is a progressive contractor with a commitment to its people,” says Don Whyte, president of National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). “The quality of ISC’s training and assessment programs is evident in their personnel. ISC is actively involved in all NCCER programs and provides subject-matter experts for the development of our curricula and assessments. Whenever we need anything, we know ISC is there to support us.”
In 2014, ISC workers clocked 5.59 million man-hours, achieving a TRIR of 0.07 and an EMR of 0.36. So far in 2015, the firm has logged 3.7 million man-hours, with a TRIR of 0.16 and an EMR of 0.41.
“We are looking beyond policies and protocols to make safety a culture at ISC. We want the right decision to be second nature, not an afterthought, both at work and home,” says Donovan Quebedeaux, ISC’s director of safety and health. “A great working environment is the foundation on which a great safety culture is based. Our associates are taught not to take risks because policy dictates such, but for their own well-being. ISC makes constant adjustments by the continuous auditing of our sites, both for safety and behavior. All discoveries and observations are relayed to every site, thus creating instant and progress learning opportunities throughout the company.”
Energy projects represent the bulk of work for ISC. Some of the projects the firm worked on in 2014 included the Air Products GE Healthcare Helium Liquefaction Facility, Dyno Nobel Site Temporary Power System and the Rubicon MDI-1 Re-Instrumentation and DCS Upgrade (recognized as a 2014 ENR Texas & Louisiana Best Project in specialty contracting).
Additionally, ISC was the electrical, instrumentation and controls contractor on the Celanese Fairway project in Clear Lake, Texas. In a joint venture with Tokyo’s Mitsui & Co., Celanese Corp. had the integrated chemical plant built to produce methanol from natural gas. ISC installed 240 miles of cabling and finished in parallel with the mechanical contractor on that job, all within a 15-month schedule.
Another project that ISC completed in 2014 was the Marathon Major Crude and Platformer Turnaround project, located at Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Garyville, La., refinery—one of the largest in the U.S. ISC was awarded the electrical and instrumentation portion of Marathon’s largest shutdown at the Garyville, La., facility. ISC’s scope on the job included installation, demolition, preventive maintenance and conducting startup for electrical and instrument raceway, power and control cable, electrical and instrument equipment, instrument tubing, air pipe and temporary power.
The firm also provided detailed planning, cost control and materials procurement. ISC was further asked to keep the plant in operation during construction by using temporary generators and distribution panels, with only brief shutdowns. Despite an aggressive turnaround schedule, lost time due to bad weather and materials delivery setbacks, ISC completed all of its contracted project scope on schedule, within budget and with zero-recordable OSHA incidents.
ISC’s associates contributed to more than 80 different charitable organizations over the past year through either donations or by volunteering their time. The company’s humanitarian committee, formed in 2014, is made up of associates from different departments who meet regularly to research the needs of the communities in which they work and determine how ISC can improve people’s lives there.
“Our associates are the lifeblood of the company, and where they live, work and play is important to them,” says Thad Rispone, ISC’s vice president of alliance and acquisition. “The humanitarian committee was formed to address the giving hearts of our associates and to dedicate time and funds to their causes.”
Associates from all corners of the company make up the committee, which supports charities and organizations across the Gulf Coast, including Breast Cancer Awareness, City Year, Wounded Warrior, Red Cross, ALS Association, American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity and many others.
ISC has been recognized for its work in the field during its 25-year history and has earned 18 National Project of the Year awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors.
So far this year, ISC has earned three ABC Excellence in Construction Eagle Awards and one ABC Excellence in Construction Pyramid Award from ABC National, plus a first place in Division III of the Hard Craft Specialty Trade Category for demonstrating safety excellence without injury and a Contractor Safety Excellence Award from the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance. The firm will also be honored for the third time this October as one of the 2015 LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses.
The firm’s growth prospects appear to be strong over the next three to five years. In the meantime, current projects keep ISC busy. ExxonMobil is working to expand its presence in Mont Belvieu, Texas, with multi-billion-dollar chemical plant expansions, and Sasol is investing $21 billion in Lake Charles for a massive ethane cracker complex—both projects started work in the last year—and ISC has been contracted to work in both locations.
“Our company is on a projected steady growth curve, but we will not allow the quality of our craft, supervision and service to diminish,” says Thad Rispone. “We will continue to recruit more craft to our industry and improve on our award-winning workforce development program. As the work in the Gulf Coast heats up, ISC is committed to our core customers to ensure their work is as important to us as it is to them.”