The next generation at Deep South Crane & Rigging
29 August 2023
Even though his grandfather, industry legend Camille Landry, is the founder of Deep South Crane & Rigging, Jeremy Landry has never had a “cush job” at the company. Like so many families in the crane, rigging and specialized transportation sector, the Landrys are proponents of the adage “you learn by doing.” And Jeremy has done exactly that, trying his hand at nearly every single aspect of the business.
“I have pretty much done every craft job at Deep South,” Jeremy Landry said. “I started working during summers as a helper when I was 16, in 1996. However, my official full-time hire year was around 2001.”
Working his way through the ranks, he started out as a helper in the Baton Rouge yard, and then he worked in the fabrication shop, machine shop and mechanic shop.
“From there, I moved on to be an oiler, rigger, engineering assistant, estimator, project manager and then finally vice president,” he said. “In my current role, there are many different hats I wear. However, my main role is overseeing the day-to-day operations while maintaining oversight in the sales department and collaborating on large bids.”
By many standards, Jeremy is considered a youngster in the business, although his full-time career at Deep South spans 22 years. He has long seemed wiser than his years, and he is known as one of the hardest workers in the industry, for Deep South and for the industry at large.
He has been active in the SC&RA for at least a decade, serving on the Safety Committee and the Crane & Rigging Governing Committee. This year he is chairman of the SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop, a role he took very seriously. He is excited about the presentations and he characterized the event as “solid.”
From my perspective, Jeremy is among the younger generation of leaders who are the future of the industry. He has the knowledge and the pedigree to serve as an industry leader for years to come. And beyond that, he is smart, polite and earnest. He shakes hands with sincerity, and he greets his elders with genuine respect.
For this article I asked him when he realized this business would be his life’s work.
“I never considered it in terms of my life’s work,” he said. “I started working and never looked backed.”
I think you will be interested in his answers to my questions.
How do you characterize the market for crane and rigging services?
Competitive! Most big projects were put on hold during the Covid pandemic. They are coming back now, and we have an encouraging outlook for the next few years. But currently, it’s still a very competitive market.
What are the most prominent sectors Deep South serves?
Our main industry is the petrochemical industry. However, we service many other industries including heavy commercial, paper, power and other industrial projects.
What are the biggest challenges in the crane and rigging sector at present?
The overall uncertainty in the market has been a significant challenge, and I believe this applies to all businesses, not just the crane and rigging industry. We’ve been through a tumultuous decade and that has made us carefully consider large equipment orders and other major investments. Inflation, interest rates and recessionary pressures are all complex issues we consider and work through as a team.
Workforce development has long been an issue in the crane and rigging sector. How does Deep South approach workforce development?
Workforce development is a continuous process, and Deep South is committed to employee retention and recruitment. We make every effort to keep talented employees, and we understand that training and developing employees is a process that takes time.
To further the issue, our industry is not necessarily well known within high schools and colleges and that there are many opportunities to make a good living. I believe one of the problems with workforce development is awareness. No one knows about the crane and rigging business or how that it’s a great way to make a living. When people ask me “what I do for work” and I tell them “I’m in the crane and rigging business,” their response is almost always “huh?” or “what’s that mean?”
“The crane and rigging business” always catches people off guard but most people we come across find it fascinating and want to know more.
Recently, we partnered with a client and were able to host 30 high school students with a short afternoon learning session at our shop. There were several stations setup with interactions and representatives for each craft. We modeled it after the Lift and Move event, hosted in 2017. The students were blown away by all of our “cool toys.”
I truly believe if our industry can increase awareness, it will sell itself. This industry has an array of unique challenges that require creative solutions and big equipment. When our big cranes and transporters are hauling or lifting something big, everyone comes out to watch. It seems like we are the stars of the jobsite. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?
In regards to the federal government’s passing of the Infrastructure Bill, do you expect Deep South to take on more infrastructure projects?
I hope that the infrastructure bill lives up to its promises and there is a large demand for cranes in general. Our business development team is always on the lookout for new projects and we hope to get our share of the action, if it comes.
What distinguishes Deep South in the markets it serves?
The VersaCrane line has been our niche in the industry since it’s conception. Those cranes have certain aspects others do not, such as the hinge counterweight system and low ground bearing pressure.
The VersaCrane line, however, has given Deep South an edge that extends past just the line of cranes. Because we have the manufacturing capabilities, we can engineer and fabricate custom solutions for our clients all in house. We also have been able to mass produce custom products that are more environmentally friendly such as steel mats. With over 1,300 already made, these mats have almost eliminated the need for wood mats.
With the VersaCrane, Deep South can perform heavy lift projects that your competitors can’t. What’s on the horizon for these cranes?
In addition to continuing to add to our fleet, we have a plan to progressively upgrade these cranes with new features, controls, attachments and eco-friendly power packs.
You are chairman of the SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop in Oklahoma this month. Was there a special emphasis on the topics covered at the Workshop?
This year’s SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop is already solid. The Exhibit Center is completely sold out, and we are expecting over 600 attendees. Last year, there was so much positive feedback on the “panel discussions,” that we knew this had to be included again. I’m looking forward to the manufacturers panel discussion and must admit, that is one of the sessions I’m most excited about.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
“Everything happens for a reason,” from my grandfather, Camille Landry. I have since added the phrase to the end of it “look for the silver lining.”
What do you do when you are not working?
I mainly serve as a complementary Uber service for my three kids, but when I can, I like to sneak off to our fishing camp in Cocodrie, Louisiana for some speckled trout fishing.