President and CEO
“The construction industry in southwest Louisiana was on the tail end of historic highs at the end of last year—driven by the completion of several large industrial projects, including Sasol’s chemical plant in Lake Charles,” Helveston says. But the global pandemic, uncertain market conditions and crashing oil prices paused a number of planned projects in the area, he says.
“The pandemic pushed back turnarounds for Petro, Poly, Sasol, Westlake North and Westlake South. I anticipate that many projects will be delayed for 12 to 18 months or at least until the marketplace is more stable,” he says.
Back-to-back hurricanes devastated southwest Louisiana, shutting down almost every industrial facility for four to six weeks. But those storms did cause a surge in emergency construction projects to rebuild critical infrastructure and commercial and residential spaces, he says.
“This industry has been heroic from Day 1 of this national health crisis as it completes essential work—including constructing wings of hospitals to allow additional beds for patients and retooling manufacturing facilities to make hand sanitizers and masks,” Helveston says.