Pickett Industries LLC: Helping Keep the Southeast Environmentally Sound
- Written by: Pickett Industries LLC: Helping Keep the Southeast Environmentally Sound
- Produced by: Pickett Industries LLC: Helping Keep the Southeast Environmentally Sound
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Pickett Industries LLC (Pickett) has provided environmental management services and heavy civil construction for countless corporations and government entities in the Southeast for over half a century. Pickett offers its customers services including pre-stripping and reclamation, sludge management and land application, landfill management, solid water disposal, dredging, wetlands construction, civil excavation, clearing, pond construction and cleanout, landfill construction and closure and re-vegetation and other general services.
One of the biggest environmental wake-up calls in recent history was on June 22, 1969, when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, caught on fire. At that time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) didn’t exist, the Clean Water Act had yet to passed, and industrial companies were largely unregulated. That fire, which was captured by a major American publication, alerted the American public that unless we made some drastic changes, our environment was going to be irrevocably harmed.
Companies like Pickett, which formed shortly after the end of World War II, are helping manufacturers dispose of their refuse in an environmentally safe manner and returning the land to its natural state. Based out of Bossier City, La., Pickett has field offices in Texarkana, Texas, Ashdown, Ark., Vicksburg, Miss., Mansfield, La., Columbus, Miss., and DeRidder, La., allowing it to cover a large swath of land and provide services to a wide variety of public, private and governmental entities, from companies to agencies to institutions. The number of employees varies depending on the season, but averages around 200 employees off-season and up to 300 during the dryer months. The company has been evolving since 1947, and was not originally a construction/environmental services company.
“Pickett was founded by two brothers, Doyle and G.B. Pickett, here in Louisiana in 1947 in a pulp and paper mill providing food services,” explains Trey Morris, current president of Pickett. “Quickly the Pickett brothers discovered an important dynamic that is still true today, and they took advantage of it. In almost every business or industry, companies have to deal with job tasks that are outside of their expertise and are not related to their core business, and these tasks are often performed in a substandard manner and at a higher cost than they should.
“In the Picketts’ case it was related to the production of paper,” continues Morris. “Waste stream removal and landfill management are two significant examples of areas usually poorly managed in a pulp and paper environment. The Picketts were able to prove to the pump and paper industry that outsourcing those job tasks to a more experienced and focused company was a win-win for them in terms of cost and effectiveness. Because of this, food service and landfill management because quite a unique diversification without our company through the years. So, in 1999, we made the management decision to divest ourselves of the food service segment and focus entirely on the environmental and excavating industry.”
Roster of Well-Known Clients
Pickett has developed a reputation for excellence amongst industry powerhouses like International Paper, Georgia Pacific and the Army Corps of Engineers. This notable status is due to the company’s ability to effectively maintain the skills and tools needed to manage everything from excavating, grading, site preparation, road construction, pond construction, storm drainage, landfill operations, disposal of solid wastes and environmental cleanouts, dredging, wetlands construction and much more.
“We specialize in refuse haul-outs from the mills. We manage the waste streams that they produce. We haul that in to landfills that we manage for them as well. We also do a significant amount of general services work in the mills, dredging or landscaping, etc.,” says Morris.
A major component of the company’s success has been its ability to establish long-term relationships and multi-year contracts with the major corporations that manufacture in the Southeast. For example, there is an ongoing project in Mansfield, La., where Pickett oversees certain operations for an industrial firm. The contract is outlined on the company’s website as follows:
“Contract includes providing landfill management services, providing waste dumpsters and transportation of waste streams to landfill, overland flow maintenance, raw water (30 miles) and effluent pipeline (six miles) inspections, grounds care services and miscellaneous maintenance and civil projects. The solid waste streams handled include food waste, rejects from recycle plant, misc. mill trash, wood-yard waste, primary sludge, ash, grits, and dregs totaling over 550,000 cy per year or 1,500 cy per day. This is a 24- hour, seven-day-per-week operation.”
Additionally, Pickett’s expertise and prior experience with landfill closures has seen the company awarded multi-million dollar contracts upon a facility’s decommission.
You Get What You Pay For
The Mansfield project has been on-going for over 23 years, with a notable five-year exception. The company decided to award the contract to a firm that underbid Pickett. James Strange, the environmental health and services manager at the industrial firm, wrote to Pickett after the industrial company realized that lower prices amount to inferior service. He explained:
“Pickett has been the on-site landfill/solid waste contractor here for over 23 years. Nine years ago, the company changed contractors because we were offered a price we thought we couldn’t refuse. Unfortunately, the mill suffered tremendously during the five years with the other contractor. Four years ago, we happily awarded the contract back to Pickett because we knew we would get the service we expected. I have been at the Mansfield Mill for 28 years and have been Pickett’s contract coordinator here at the mill for the past three years. During this time I have been very pleased with the service and professionalism that Pickett has delivered. The level of service is the best this mill has ever experienced. Prior to Pickett taking back over this contract, production managers were constantly calling the environmental manager to complain about timely pickup of dumpsters, lack of process ownership by the contractor, and overall housekeeping that was directly contributed to poor service. I can say without a doubt that these issues are nonexistent now.”
It may not sound like glamorous work, cleaning up after major corporations, but it’s essential. Maintaining the right equipment and experience for the job, Trey Morris and his team of professionals at Pickett Industries LLC are doing their part to ensure that the Southeast can remain both industrious and beautiful.
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