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G.Smith family makes local impact

ST. ROSE — Based in St. Rose, the Magnolia Companies of Louisiana LLC was

founded on two guiding principles: never forget the importance of family, and always give back the community that supports you.

The 26-company conglomerate works with River Parishes industry along the Mississippi in dredging operations, but perhaps the most visible aspect of the business is its G.Smith Motorsports outreach.

Brothers Glen D. Smith of LaPlace and Gary L. Smith Sr. of Destrehan grew up riding motor scooters in the Bonnet Carré Spillway. Their passion for motorsports became the marketing and philanthropy platform for Magnolia Companies of Louisiana LLC.

G.Smith Motorsports provided classic cars for St. John Theatre’s promotional photo shoot for Grease Tuesday evening in Reserve.

Through G.Smith Motorsports, Magnolia Companies works with United Way, gives back to terminally ill children and teens, hosts toy and bike giveaways and feeds families in need during the holidays.

The Smith family is partnering with the St. James Parish-based BO$$HOGG Brothers outreach to sponsor school supplies for three elementary schools on August 16.

In October, the company will connect with NFL sportscaster Jennifer Hale at a gala and cover college tuition costs for lucky students.

Glen Smith was happy to support St. John Theatre this week. He said outreach has been a highlight of his career.

“We look for organizations like this that really help in the community, especially with helping the younger generation and getting them moving the right way,” Glen said. “We give them a fair shot. We’ve been very fortunate, so we want to give back.”

Magnolia Companies of Louisiana LLC, now a third generation business, began 54 years ago with Glen and Gary Sr.’s father.

The late Henry A. Smith became the company’s patriarch in the mid 1950s when he started a heavy equipment and construction business as a resource to local, state, national and international enterprises.

The Deepwater Horizon Gulf Spill, in combination with widespread damage from hurricanes Patsy, Camille and Andrew, prompted a shift to marine recovery and dredging.

The Smith family has continuously grown the company, creating new support businesses and building a vertical operation to expand regional impact.

Gary Smith Sr. said many of the companies’ employees have been with Magnolia for 20 to 30 years, further building the focus on family.

With Senator Gary L. Smith Jr. now part of the company, Gary Sr. is pleased to say family tradition and community relations are standing strong.
“It’s the third generation coming in, which we are very proud and excited about,” Gary Sr. said. “We like being here, in the center of it all. We’ve elected to stay in the River Parishes and grow with the people that have helped us all these years.”

Magnolia Companies still includes a Maritime division that handles dredging and quarter barges. Member company Maintenance Dredging I LLC aids industry that works on the Mississippi River.

“We have clients up and down the river,” Glen said. “What the dredging does is keep the river deep for the vessels coming up and down the river. Marathon, Entergy and Valero are all clients on the marine side.”

A land-based heavy lift division serves development and construction industries, while a real estate and investments division owns and operates properties for a multitude of businesses.

Coastal Crane Services LLC, part of the Magnolia family, has aided in restaurant construction and removed damaged structures at an industrial park.

According to the Smith brothers, Magnolia Companies of Louisiana is also known for supplying offshore housing for the marine industry, providing emergency response, developing luxury motorsport equipment and creating inventive cyber security methods.

A partnership with Quixote Studios in St. Rose has helped Magnolia dive into the film industry. G.Smith Motorsports cars and bikes have been used in productions, according to Glen.

The motorsports fun expands past the River Region. A week from now, the Smith family will travel to South Dakota for massive motorcycle rally.

G.Smith Motorsports also participates in cross-country Cannonball and Gumball rallies.

Gary Smith Jr. said it has been rewarding to work with family.

“You’re doing the things you love with the people you love,” Gary Jr. said. “It’s a lot of stress and there can be tense moments, but at the end of the day we all remember why we are there and who we our as a family. My grandfather instilled within all of us a very long time ago, family first.”