From a single tugboat in a town of 300 people, BBI now forges the way into emerging markets.

In 1947, N.R. Broussard, Sr. and his brothers, Huey and J.L. Broussard, put a tugboat to work in Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana. The industry did not know then that this first spark, 75 years later, would create the fire under a group positioned to change how we work in evolving markets. Today, N.R. Broussard’s son, N.R. ‘Bubba’ Broussard Jr., serves as Chairman of the Board of Broussard Brothers, Inc. with his son, N.R. ‘Chip’ Broussard III, as President. Together, they are bringing this legacy of innovation and success into the future.

“Broussard Brothers is a family business. We focus on truly helping our employees and our customers. When they need help, they come to us—whatever is going on—they’ll come to us, and we’ll try to help them in any way we can.” shares Bubba.

Rapid, scalable growth

From that first tugboat, supporting the oil and gas industry on the coast, the company found new ways to expand their services. In 1959, Broussard Brothers headed to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, where they acquired a mile of waterfront on the Intracoastal Waterway. Over time, Broussard Brothers increased their fleet to 60 vessels and provided support for both offshore and onshore activities with their tugs and crew boats and inland rig-tending capabilities. 

“Our larger barges would have up to 150-ton machines on them to help prep locations for rigs to begin drilling,” shared Bubba. “This was vital to developing the region. People came to trust us and know that we’d answer when they called. We still work with many of those very first customers.”

In 1973, Broussard Brothers acquired Acadian Contractors and moved the once-small fabrication company to Henry, Louisiana, where it sits on 100 acres of property with room for growth. This new offering brought much needed construction support into the area, increasing the company’s ability to help customers in a critical growth region.

About their growth strategy, Chip shared, “We don’t just buy new equipment or jump into passing business trends; we think about what our customers really need and go there. That has kept us relevant, and profitable, over the years.”

The company grew quickly, completing a series of acquisitions aligned with evolving customer needs, including the 1983 acquisition of Home Industry Disposal Company, Inc. (HIDCO) which added an environmental capability to the company and laid the groundwork for a strong focus on sustainability and environmental work in future years.

“Our employees are the biggest asset we have.”

Foundational to this growth was an unwavering commitment to their people and embracing change. 

“We have first, second, and third generation people working for us. We’re entirely family owned. Broussard Brothers – with its affiliates – is one of the largest employers of skilled craft laborers in Vermilion Parish and we currently have around 700 employees. We help them with a job, yes, but we are also a family and are there for whatever they need. We know that they’re important to us, and they’re the biggest assets we have,” said Bubba.

This multi-generational focus has benefitted Broussard Brothers customers, too. With years of service comes the expertise needed to solve evolving challenges with new and existing projects. Broussard Brothers employees have seen how problems were solved in the past, often because they were the ones there solving them. That familiarity brings dependability and speed to solution customers have come to rely on. The company is also passionate about continually improving and discovering better ways to solve emerging challenges. This out-of-the-box thinking gives their customers an advantage.

In addition to employment, the company extends its focus on personal relationships by giving back and engaging in its local communities. Broussard Brothers supports a wide range of special projects including 4H programs, the local Chamber of Commerce, local university scholarships, and disaster relief.  Their most recent donation to Sky High, an industry-affiliated non-profit founded by a Vermilion Parish native, is devoted to curing childhood cancer while providing comfort to their families.

On his commitment to the local community, Chip shared, “I went to school with half the people around here. None of them are just employees or vendors; they are our friends and neighbors. Anything we can do to help on a personal level helps the company, too.” 

“This is where we work, live, and play.”

With such a strong focus on their people and community, it wasn’t a leap for Broussard Brothers to start exploring more environmentally-aligned opportunities. Their commitment to the areas in which they work is more than a compliance policy—it’s personal. This mindset has helped them find solutions for customers that work effectively while also meeting regulatory requirements, specifically in operations in the 0-30 foot shallow waters along the coast.

“For us, it just made sense to move toward more environmentally friendly options,” shared Chip. “We all live here, too, and really enjoy the outdoors. I can’t imagine anyone would care more about keeping these waters safe than us who live right here, raising our families, living life.”

Because of their deep knowledge and reputation for reliable execution, Broussard Brothers has been entrusted to work in some of the most environmentally sensitive areas along the coast, including pipelines across Lake Pontchartrain, the Atchafalaya Basin, and Galveston Bay. Today, Broussard Brothers has active customers in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico’s shallow waters.

“Investing gives us the edge.”

At Broussard Brothers, it is not just talk when it comes to commitment to their employees, customers, and the environment. “We invest in our equipment to give our people the edge. That makes for better performance and gives our customers the edge, too,” shared Chip.

Broussard Brothers is strategically thinking about technology as it applies to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) leadership in their operations. They recently invested in a Sennebogen “Green Machine,” making operations more efficient, reducing emissions, while increasing the speed of delivery for customers. Meanwhile, the company’s Marine Fleet Operations Team is focused on delivering main engine upgrades to exceed current emissions compliance requirements over the next ten years.

Broussard Brothers has also invested heavily in their people with extensive apprenticeship, certification, and training programs. This upskilling and reskilling have kept employees working consistently across market swings while also positioning them to move through the organizational ranks. 

“You can find leaders within the organization who started out in entry level positions, who took advantage of the opportunity to grow with Broussard Brothers, and as a result, all of that knowledge stays with the company and sets us up to serve our customers even better,” shared Chip. 

With this 75-year history comes established relationships with a strong supplier network, which has helped Broussard Brothers stay ahead of the game as supply chain issues delay projects elsewhere. Despite an ever-changing industry and global operations strains, the company consistently fulfills its commitments.

With the strength of an expansive equipment offering, dedicated team, and loyal supplier network, customers have come to confidently rely on Broussard Brothers as a preferred contractor to partner with them from start to finish on projects.

What the future holds

While Broussard Brothers has been around for 75 years, the company is anything but stagnant, and the offering they developed over the years has prepared them to diversify into new and emerging markets. Their group of leaders and team members are regularly looking for opportunities to expand and engage with the industry; new solutions that have not been done before. With constantly looking forward comes the ability to see where the next opportunity is to ensure they are in it for the long haul.

The company is positioned exceptionally well to service the emerging energy transition market along the Gulf Coast. In South Louisiana, that means having facilities close to permitted wells where mobilization charges will be minimal-to-none to install or repurpose infrastructure and support rigs.

“The type of support that’s going to be needed for hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure is the same work we’ve been doing for a long time,” shared Chip. “We were originally entrusted with marine construction and pipeline installation in this area. We are leveraging that knowledge to pivot toward energy transition, including LNG, hydrogen, and carbon capture markets.”

Working across various markets and in new areas has helped Broussard Brothers weather downturns, as they have trained their employees across various operations to keep their people working despite market fluctuations.

Coastal restoration is incredibly close to the locally-rooted heart of Broussard Brothers. The team has already completed projects to install coastal rock weirs, breakwater structures, and other projects along the coast.

Regarding what the future holds for Broussard Brothers (BBI) and Acadian Contractors (ACI), Bubba says, “We’ve been around for a long time—75 years at BBI and 50 years at ACI, respectively—and we’ve done just about everything you can imagine in the oil and gas industry. Now, we’re moving into additional places across Energy and beyond. We will continue moving forward in any direction that works for the company and our customers. We’re very fortunate to be entrusted by our clients to do the right thing at all times – we do what we say we’re going to do, we take care of our environment. They know that and trust us for it.”

Chip shared, “We want to be the place where someone can make a career, where our customers can make big leaps, and where our employees and customers grow with our company for another 75 years. That’s what we’re here for.”