Business Briefs for Jan. 27, 2013

LSU gets NASA research grant

LSU is among nine universities receiving grants from NASA for advanced development for the nation’s next heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.

LSU’s grant will be used to research improved weld techniques. Goals include a method for immediate assessment of weld quality, which will reduce inspection time, cost and improve confidence in the weld. It also calls for the use of an environmentally friendly surface treatment process to improve corrosion resistance and improve surface stress and defects, which will also improve weld quality and promote safety.

NASA is providing $2.25 million that will be shared by all nine proposals. NASA is funding research for innovative and affordable solutions to increase the future launch rocket’s lift capability for a larger space vehicle to carry people deeper into space. NASA sought proposals in a variety of areas, including concept development, trades and analyses, propulsion, structures, materials, manufacturing, avionics and software.

“Partnering with academia on SLS advanced concepts brings new ideas and vitality to NASA and expands the SLS team of rocket scientists beyond just the agency,” William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA in Washington, D.C., said in a new release.

Law firm opens One American office

Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea LLC has opened an office in One American Place at 301 Main St., Suite 2100, in downtown Baton Rouge.

The firm said the office was opened to serve increasing client needs in the capital city, with the firm noting that the move benefits its energy, environmental and regulatory practices.

Partner Jerry N. Jones will move from the firm’s Shreveport office to Baton Rouge to lead the expansion.

“This location also provides a needed operational center for the firm’s New Orleans and Shreveport attorneys with client business in Baton Rouge,” Jones said in a news release.

Emory A. Belton Jr., of Belton Consulting LLC and Belton Law Firm LLC, will join the firm as special counsel providing regulatory experience and introducing a lobbying practice to the firm.

Lantec opens Lake Sherwood office

Lantec of Louisiana has opened its newest location at 11512 Lake Sherwood Ave. North in Baton Rouge.

Lantec provides technical computer training to corporate and government clients. LANtec offers professional development workshops for managers and team leaders on topics such as customer service, leadership, team-building and communication skills.

Founded in 1999, the company is owned by CEO Rickie Comeaux. It also has offices in Lafayette, Lake Charles and Alexandria.

Summit features
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will be the feature speaker at the 2013 Critical Issues Summit Thursday at the Baton Rouge Renaissance Hotel.

The summit brings together statewide experts to discuss issues that affect the engineering, design and construction industries. It also will feature panel discussions on legal and legislative matters affecting those industries.

The event is sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana, AGC of Louisiana, the AIA and the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association.

The cost for both days is $175 for members of the sponsoring groups and $350 for nonmembers. For more information, visit http://www.lagc.org/summit.

Seminars scheduled for rural lending

Accion in Louisiana — an extension of microlender Accion Texas Inc. — is offering free lending and credit seminars to small-business owners around south Louisiana as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.

The seminars, titled “Above C Average — Mastering the C’s of Lending,” will cover cash flow and credit topics such as record keeping, understanding your credit score, accessing capital, and understanding tools, templates and ratios.

Accion received $605,000 from the USDA’s RMAP program to support the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. In turn, Accion makes loans of up to $50,000 to eligible small-business owners in rural communities.

Seminar locations are:

MANDEVILLE: Jan. 29, 6-8 p.m. at the St. Tammany Parish Library-Mandeville Branch, 844 Girod St.. The contact is Tawanna Hardy, (888) 215-2373. Registration is at http://above
caveragemandeville.eventbrite .com/#.

ABBEVILLE: Feb. 5, 6-8 p.m. at the Vermilion Parish Library, 405 E. St. Victor St. The contact also is Hardy. Registration is at http://above caverageabbeville.eventbrite.com/#.

CARENCRO: Feb. 6, 6-8 p.m. at the Enterprise Center of Louisiana, 3419 NW Evangeline Thruway. The contact person is Maria Greenup, (888) 215-2373. Registration is at http://above caveragecarencro.eventbrite.com/#.

Triad Control acquires company

Triad Control Systems LLC in Baton Rouge announced that it has acquired Control Systems Consultants.

The company will now operate as Triad Control Systems and co-owner Alan Cook will serve as automation manager for Triad, the company said in a news release.

Triad is located at 8646 Kiowa Ave. and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Newtron Group LLC.

CSC has been in business since 1974, providing electrical and instrumentation services, custom-designed controls and panel development for various industrial facilities.

“The acquisition of CSC expands our offerings to include PLC automation and system integration,” Michael Redd, president of Triad Control Systems said in a news release. “We can now offer our clients a complete control systems solution.”

Sugar cane groups holding meeting

The annual American Sugar Cane League membership meeting will be held Feb. 5-6 at the Lafayette Hilton in conjunction with the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists.

The ASCL is made up of Louisiana sugar cane growers and the state’s 11 sugar mills.

The ASSCT deals with the agricultural and manufacturing aspects of the sugar industry and is made up of the Florida and Louisiana divisions. The ASSCT also publishes scientific papers in its annual Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists.

Lafayette company buys Texas firm

Lafayette-based Inspection Oilfield Services, an oilfield pipe inspection firm, said it has acquired J.C. Inspection, a drill tool inspection and repair services firm based in Caney, Texas.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition gives Inspection Oilfield Services 28 locations and mobile inspection services in every major oil and gas shale play in the continental United States.

Alliance to target seniors’ health

Peoples Health and the LSU Health Sciences Center have launched the Center for Healthcare Advancement, an alliance focused on improving the care delivered to Peoples Health Medicare Advantage plan members.

Peoples Health said the new center combines its resources and community outreach with research available from the LSU Health Sciences Center.

The alliance will help educate health plan members on ways to take a more active role in managing their own health-care needs.

Through the Center for Healthcare Advancement, network physicians will connect with Peoples Health’s case managers, chronic care improvement nurses, social workers, medical directors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, fitness instructors and health and wellness educators. Physicians will have access to advanced research to aid in the development of best practices for the treatment of certain conditions plaguing thousands of seniors in southeast Louisiana.

Peoples Health said the alliance will draw attention to the health issues most prevalent among Louisiana seniors, and aims to find solutions to increase quality of life for those suffering from chronic conditions regionally.

While the LSU Medical School is compensated by Peoples Health for physicians’ consultation within the program, the LSU Health Sciences Center is interested in access to the research that stands to be collected from the nearly 55,000 Peoples Health plan members as these chronic care programs are implemented. Results from these pilot programs will shape best practices for the future delivery of health care, the company said.

Sazerac introducing Epic brand vodka

The Sazerac Co. is introducing a new vodka, Epic, named for the great moments found in everyday living that often are taken for granted.

Epic is made with hand-selected wheat harvested from the Champagne region in France and is distilled in the Cognac region. It is bottled by Sazerac.

The company said Epic will be available in an unflavored vodka at 80 proof, plus six different flavors in 70 proof each: peach, whipped cream, kiwi strawberry, cherry, cake and coconut. More flavors will be added at later dates. Epic will start shipping to about 30 states in February and will be available nationwide as the year progresses.

It is available in 1.75 ml, Liter, 750 ml and 50 ml. Suggested retail pricing for EPIC 750 ml is $12.99.

Sazerac has operations in New Orleans; Frankfort, Bardstown, Louisville and Owensboro, Ky.; Fredericksburg, Va.; Carson, Calif.; Baltimore, Md.; and Montreal, Canada.

LSU AgCenter sees optimism for rice

More exports and lower diesel costs are among the reasons Louisiana rice farmers have to be more optimistic this year than last, according to LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry.

Guidry told Vermilion Parish farmers exports of rice are 14 percent above last year, and 91,000 tons of U.S. rice were sold to Colombia recently, according to an AgCenter news release.

Meanwhile, U.S. rice acreage may drop this year by 100,000 acres with the expectation that Arkansas growers may switch to other crops.

Fertilizer prices may remain stable or decline with two new fertilizer plants starting production soon, Guidry said. But the projected 99 million acres of corn this year would increase demand for fertilizer.

Diesel prices may be 10-20 cents less than last year, he said. Mike Salassi, LSU AgCenter economist, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected the average price for a barrel of rice will be $24 in 2013.

SBA change to help women businesses

Women-owned small businesses will have greater access to federal contracting opportunities as a result of changes to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, the agency reported

The change removes the contract price thresholds for women-owned small businesses and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses to allow them greater access to federal contracts.

Before the new law, the contract price could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts.

The Women’s Federal Contract Program allows contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for certified businesses and will help federal agencies achieve a goal of 5 percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to women-owned small businesses.

For more information on the program or to get instructions, applications or a database, go online to http://www.sba.gov/wosb.