Pushing It: LeBeouf Bros. Towing

Thursday, July 06, 2006
Jon Gonsoulin is not one to rest on his legacy. Jon’s grandfather, Earl, began working with the LeBeouf brothers back in 1946 and soon bought into the company. In time, Earl and his two sons, Richard and Jerry, were able to buy the LeBeouf brothers' shares. Earl turned over the helms to his sons in the 1970's. From that time forward, the two brothers continued to strengthen and consolidate the company’s position. In 2005, Richard “Dickie” Gonsoulin purchased his brother's interest in the company. Today the company is solely owned by Dickie with Jon taking an ever more active role in forging the company’s present and future growth. The current fleet is comprised of 22 push boats including the recently delivered M/V Merle Gonsoulin and the M/V Sydney Ann. The 74' x 28' sister ships were delivered in 2006 from LaForce Shipyard in Bayou Labatre, Ala. The vessels are powered by a pair of 1000 hp Cummins KTA38 M1 engines turning five-blade 74-inch props through 6:1 Rentjes gears. The boats are earning their keep pushing oil barges on the inland waterways of the United States. The company’s barge fleet includes 3 spud barges, thirty-two 30,000-barrel oil barges and seven double-skinned 10,000-barrel oil barges. Included in the large double skin fleet are 26 asphalt-capable barges with heaters. The barge maintenance is done at LeBeouf’s own yard adjacent to their home office near Bourg Louisiana at Mile 49 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. It is here that Jon Gonsoulin will build new barges for the company fleet once he has added a high tech array of equipment including an automated one side welding system, NC cutting table and a 600-foot railway connecting to the firm’s existing floating drydock. “We will continue to contract work for others but we intend to be our own best customer and expect to amortize the improvements over the first four or five barges that we build,” explained Jon. In addition to the boats recently delivered from the Laforce yard, there are two- 2000 hp boats powered by Cummins KTA38 M1's on order from Intracoastal Iron Works in Bourg. The first of these, the 72' x 30' Katie Gonsoulin, is scheduled for a September, 2006 delivery. With this kind of ambition and the expanding demand for cost effective transport of petroleum, there is every indication that the Gonsoulin third generation at the helm will continue to push the company growth with the same success as his father and grandfather.
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