OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve talked a lot about diversification of the Acadiana economy. We’ve talked about how our local economy has to change to withstand global oil and gas market. And how we can re-train people who have been hurt by the downturn in the oil field.
What has been lost to some extent in these conversations about the new economy, is how these changes have affected the companies and the people in them who can’t diversify. Oilfield companies who manufacture and sell products specifically designed for extracting oil from wells. How are companies like this making out?
M&M International is a family owned and operated company that stretches back over four generations. They make high pressure valves used in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. From their factory and compound in Broussard, M&M’s valves find their way onto rigs and platforms from the Gulf of Mexico to Saudi Arabia.
Quay McKnight is Chairman and President of M&M International. According to Quay, it's far from doom and gloom in the oil field. There is still work and there is still a need for skilled workers.
That said, there’s also a need to train workers for all kinds of other jobs and careers. In Acadiana, we’re very familiar with UL. But if you’re looking for a career in a field that doesn’t require a 4-year degree in arts, business, or sciences, there is a powerhouse organization that gets less attention than UL but which is turning out an impressive list of graduates. That is, South Louisiana Community College.
South Louisiana Community College has nine individual campuses around Acadiana. It serves over 60,000 students. In fields as diverse as aviation, cosmetology, and welding.
The Chancellor of South Louisiana Community College is Dr Natalie Harder.
On this edition of Out to Lunch, Aileen Bennett talks to Nathalie and Quay about the ever-narrowing link between Acadiana education and business. We are both a bellwether and trendsetter for the State.
Ohotos over lunch at Cafe Vermilionville by Lucius Fontenot.