Dredging Supply making a mark the world overERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / April 5, 2000RESERVE – Besides being the Andouille Capital of the World, St. John Parishalso leads the world in another category – dredging equipment.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2000

For six years the Dredging Supply Co. Inc. has been quietly making dredgingequipment for companies all over the world. First, it started in a smallfacility on the eastern end of LaPlace. Then in January the company bought10 acres of land by the St. John Parish Airport in Reserve, and last Fridayofficials opened the new manufacturing plant.

Sonny Lightsey, general supervisor of operations at the new facility, is very positive about the dredging business.

“We are not tied to the ups and downs of the oil business,” Lightsey said, “and dredging is an environmentally-friendly operation. There are nohazardous by-products.”The company deals mainly with the aggregate industry, people who mine, collect sand and gravel and dredge out river bottoms.

Amazingly enough, the company doesn’t do a lot of business in Louisiana.

“We mostly do business with aggregate companies in Ohio and Indiana,” said Bob Wetta, president of Dredging Supply Co. Inc.The company is also doing business all over the world. The most exoticlocation it has sold dredges to is a gold excavation project in South Africa.

Right now, the operation is on just five acres of land with a giant assembly shop that puts together the dredges with the boat hulls.

Dredging Supply designs the hulls and sub-contracts another company to build them. The hulls are then transported to Reserve, and employees attachall the dredges, motors and engines.

Lightsey said in the near future the company will use the other five acres to build an assembly plant that will build the hulls to the dredges.

Dredging Supply Co. Inc. employs 50 people in Reserve and 30 more salesstaff in its office in Harahan.

Watta said last year the company’s revenue was $15 million.

“And we’re still growing,” Wetta said with a smile.

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