Reputation, commitment and years of service count – and perhaps nowhere more so than in the demanding field of operating and maintaining crane services, heavy haul and specialty rigging.
Few companies realize this more than B&G Crane Service. Fast approaching seventy successful years in business, B&G continues to build on its rich history of working with highly respected multinational oilfield and gas giants such as Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy, Phillips 66 and many other tier one companies.
B&G was founded in New Orleans in 1946 by Xavier Grilletta Sr. and his brother-in law, Louis Bronzo. The company, whose name is based on their surnames, has played an integral role in not only the area’s oil and gas sectors, but in the construction of the world-famous city and surrounding areas.
“B&G really helped build the city,” says Rich Haggard, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the past five years. “There was a lot of initial support from the construction industry in the city and in the surrounding regions.”
Over the years, B&G has been instrumental in the growth of Louisiana’s oil and gas sector and in landmark projects. B&G built its Baton Rouge location across from the Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge Refinery over 30 years ago and continues to serve this location today. This B&G location continues to expand and today also serves North Baton Rouge and other locations in the state.
B&G Crane Service has evolved steadily over the years to meet the needs of its customers. In 1971, Grilletta bought Bronzo’s share of the company, which now has three generations active in its management and daily operations. For nearly 65 years, B&G remained family owned; in 2010 Houston’s Sterling Group purchased the majority interest and this strategic move enabled the company to expand its services into Texas, with locations in Beaumont and Baytown.
B&G underwent another significant change this past May, when the company was purchased by NCSG Crane & Heavy Haul Services. The largest majority-Canadian-owned crane and heavy-haul company, NCSG is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta and purchased one hundred percent of B&G Crane Service.
“We welcome all the B&G employees to the NCSG family, and we are very much looking forward to working with the hard working and talented group of B&G employees and management,” said Ted Redmond, president of NCSG, in a statement. “We also plan to work closely with the many B&G stakeholders including B&G’s loyal customers, suppliers and lenders.”
As an unrestricted subsidiary of NCSG, the company will remain as it is, operating as B&G and continuing to provide superior service to all customers. For the past year, the business has been operated by Vice President of Sales and Marketing Rich Haggard, Vice President and General Manager Gawain Grilletta and Texas General Manager Xavier ‘Trip’ Grilletta III. “Trip and Gawain bring the third generation into operating the company,” comments Haggard.
B&G is staffed by a highly experienced workforce of about 260 who provide customers with operated and maintained crane services, specialty rigging and heavy haul capabilities. With all four locations completely staffed and fully-equipped to handle 24-hour operations, maintenance and repairs are done locally by the company’s own Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) certified mechanics. Company mechanics perform all OSHA inspections, including annual inspections, in-house. The company also boasts four full-time body shop repair specialists.
“You could have a ten-year-old crane and you wouldn’t believe the shape it’s in,” states Gawain Grilletta. “All of our cranes are kept up from the inside to the outside for maintenance and reliability.” The company has never purchased a used crane and prides itself on knowing everything that the cranes have experienced from day one.
Providing cranes with an operator B&G ensures safety and efficiency by performing all its own engineering, undertaking lift plans for all projects and ensuring only its own operators are the ones handling the cranes. This, in fact, is tied-in to B&G’s unparalleled account manager process. Focusing on the process, how it is delivered and what it means to the client, requires B&G’s account managers to examine client needs and evaluate requirements, especially safety.
“We go in; we present who we are, and we show and explain to customers the account manager processes,” says Haggard. “Once they understand how our process can help reduce their total costs and often time save them time, they usually are interested in giving us a try.” Developed over many years, the account manager process is not merely something account managers can be trained to do. “It really is the culture of this company, and that culture has been built since 1946.”
For B&G’s account managers, the process of working with clients is involved. One of the company’s sixteen account managers will take measurements, determine crane location, undertake AutoCAD drawing and configuration of the crane, determine a critical lift plan and outline details from start to finish. For customers, this provides numerous advantages. If any scope changes are required, the account manager can make them on site, as he is the one who wrote the critical lift plan. Additionally, all information and plans are reviewed with clients before the crane is sent out to the location. And in situations where there are multiple cranes, account managers ensure the correct crane will be sent to the right location and in a lot of cases are able to eliminate additional cranes that aren’t necessary.
To save time and money, account managers also ensure cranes are sized and configured properly for lifts and are not oversized or surplus. At other crane companies, when calls come in, oversized equipment may be dispatched; B&G prefers to determine exact customer needs ahead of time, which has earned the business many long-term relationships.
The company often hires engineers directly out of college and puts them through a nine-month-long training program at all four locations to learn to work the B&G way. “We tried to bring in people from outside and other crane companies that have crane knowledge, and they struggle with doing it the way we require it to be done,” says Haggard of the company, which also sends account managers to college to learn AutoCAD and service input of cranes.
B&G Crane Service operates over 150 cranes ranging from four-ton all the way to 825-ton capacities, including truck cranes, lattice boom crawler cranes, rough terrain cranes, hydraulic truck cranes, lattice boom truck cranes and all-terrain truck cranes. With a full-time, in-house service department at every one of its branches, B&G’s trained mechanics ensure all equipment is kept in peak operating condition.
To meet the hauling requirements of customers, the company’s large fleet of trucks and trailers includes specialized heavy haul equipment. This includes hydraulic platform trailers, highway trailers up to 80 tons, heavy trailers up to 250 tons and steerable dollies up to 250 tons. B&G operates and supplies SPMT modular heavy haul trailers that have a hauling capacity of up to 800 tons and safe and efficient hydraulic gantry lift systems that can lift up to 700 tons. Any time of day or night, the company has the experience, equipment and trained staff to safely and efficiently tackle all specialty truck hauling requirements.
Serving about 400 clients per year, the company was very well-known and respected in Louisiana for sixty-five years working on site-specific contracts when it decided to expand into Texas. After the company outgrew its current location in Baytown, Texas, it purchased twelve acres about four miles away upon which it is building a flagship location with a shop and thirty office spaces, which will see an open house this October.
Never wanting to stand still, B&G is about to embark on the largest project it has ever entered. The Exxon Mobil Baytown Olefins plant expansion will see it partnering with other companies to build twelve furnaces at the site that is one of the largest ethylene plants in the world.