The Advocate – Ellyn Couvillion ecouvillion@theadvocate AUG 7, 2016 – 4:37 PM
Before the 148,000-square-foot, $20 million Emerson Process Management service center opened about a year ago in Gonzales, the international company had five locations in the Baton Rouge area, all doing different work.
Emerson, which provides engineered products and technology for process industries, had two locations in Baton Rouge, another in East Baton Rouge Parish, one in Ascension Parish and another in Gonzales before the move last spring to the Edenborne development off La. 44 in Gonzales.
All those Emerson operations moved under one roof between March and May in 2015.
“We are the first of its kind in North America, a facility that pulled everybody together,” said Jesus Pineda, Emerson’s operational excellence manager for the Gulf Region, Fisher Lifecycle Services.
Fisher is the brand name of the control valve Emerson produces. “Lifecycle” refers to the service the company provides throughout a valve’s use.
“We are like this one-stop service center,” said Pineda, adding that Emerson Process Management has a similar operation in Dubai.
The new Gonzales facility also provides IT support services for all of Emerson’s operations in North America, more than 50 locations.
“We wanted to put all these solutions companies under one roof,” said Eric Kitto, Emerson’s regional business director for the Gulf Region Fisher Lifecyle Services, who oversees the new Gonzales facility.
“We all needed to expand,” Kitto said of those five separate Emerson facilities.
Of the former company location in Gonzales, located on the picturesquely named Coon Trap Road, Kitto said, “I think there were eight additions (to the building) from the 1970s” until last year’s move.
A sign affectionately paying tribute to the old Gonzales Coon Trap location hangs in the new state-of-the-art facility off La. 44. The architect for the project was Chenevert Architects of Baton Rouge.
The Emerson Process Center now provides in one place the sales, testing, repairs, remanufacturing and manufacturing of a variety of equipment used in refineries, power plants, paper mills, chemical plants and nuclear plants.
It provides training, too.
On a recent weekday, a roomful of Emerson technicians from across North America were learning about the operations of a control valve. While the local facility is a regional manufacturer, it services all brands of equipment.
“Since we opened about a year ago, close to 500” people have gone through training at the center, Pineda said.
In addition to Emerson employees and managers, those 500 have included River Parishes Community College students as well as students with the BASF Tech Academy, which works with the community college to expose high school students to technical careers.
Emerson employs 162 people at its service center in Gonzales and, says Kitto, one third of the workforce is in the field, at area plants, on a daily basis.
“This is obviously a great location, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans,” he said.