Eye on Energy
Angela D. Cring, executive director of LAGCOE, grew up in Alexandria, went to school in Mississippi and took a job with the U.S. Geological Survey in Lafayette. The nonprofit energy industry organization that she oversees traces its beginnings to Lafayette in 1953. However, LAGCOE is moving its biennial exposition to New Orleans starting next year — meaning Cring will spend a lot more time in the Crescent City. The organization, which promotes commerce and connects people through educational programs and its technical exposition and conference, expects the move from Lafayette to New Orleans will allow for strategic growth of the organization and increased industry participation in the expo.
“LAGCOE began as a way for the oil industry to showcase its technology to the community,” Cring says. “The bold decision to move LAGCOE 2019 to New Orleans is an example of the organization continually responding to the energy markets’ needs. While LAGCOE will remain strong in Lafayette — the heart of the energy corridor — it will continue to be innovative and serve as the bridge between the oil and gas service sector in Lafayette and the oil and gas operators in New Orleans to prepare for unprecedented future opportunities.”
The organization began in 1953 when a group of local oil men and women came together to create a showcase local oil- and gas-related businesses. The first Lafayette Oil Show featured service company exhibits in the parking lot of the Petroleum Club of Lafayette. “The very early expos were directed toward rig and production personnel in the field — the roughnecks, tool pushers and drilling superintendents who work the rigs — and thus LAGCOE became known as ‘the working man’s oil show,’” Cring says. “The show was such a success that the organizing group incorporated as the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition, Inc. The first official show under the LAGCOE banner was held in 1955 at Blackham Coliseum on the grounds of the Southwestern Louisiana Institute, which is now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.”
As the industry changed, the show became more technical, attracting CEOs, executive and mid-level management, engineers, geologists and other professionals from operating and service companies. In 1995, the biennial expo moved to the Lafayette Cajundome and Convention Center where it has hosted 450 exhibits and welcomed more than 17,000 visitors. Now, the expo will bring those visitors to New Orleans, further strengthening our local economy.
“LAGCOE’s biennial technical exposition and conference provides a platform for the industry’s innovators to present cutting-edge technologies, equipment and services for both onshore and offshore markets,” Cring says. “Along with traditional exhibits, LAGCOE technical sessions feature industry leaders addressing current technologies, issues and trends from around the nation and around the globe.”
In addition to holding the biennial exposition, LAGCOE has nurtured countless initiatives dedicated to educating its members, the community and the next generation about the energy industry, its value and the opportunities it provides. “Our commitment to continuing education stems from our mission to ensure a constant and qualified workforce pipeline for generations to come and our even broader vision of doing our part to strengthen our community, this industry and its people,” Cring says. “The creation of the LAGCOE Education Fund branches from this ongoing mission.” The nonprofit fund supports projects and programs for educational efforts about the energy industry. “In addition, LAGCOE supports the Young Professionals of LAGCOE (YPL), which is an energy industry young professionals’ organization looking to connect and grow the next generation of energy industry leaders by concentrated efforts to raise money and support for the LAGCOE Education Fund,” Cring adds.
By connecting people — both businesses and individuals — LAGCOE serves as a community of energy volunteers and companies who aim to advance the economic growth and stability of Louisiana’s energy industry as a global hub. Its mission is to cultivate economic growth of the energy industry by facilitating domestic and global business development and fostering the energy workforce pipeline.
There are some important factors and challenges affecting Louisiana’s energy industry today, including public perception, the global economy and its impact on fluctuating prices, regulations, workforce development and transitioning into a true digital age. “LAGCOE assists companies at our biennial technical exposition and conference with networking and education on a range of topics,” Cring says. “Through educational efforts and networking with the global energy community, we connect companies to the resources that will help them be able to navigate and expand globally.”
Within Louisiana, most service sector companies are in the Lafayette, Houma or Morgan City, and New Orleans is now home to the largest number of operators. “Bringing LAGCOE 2019 to New Orleans creates a bridge between the operators and the service companies,” Cring says. “I’d be willing to bet that every rig in the world has a person, piece of equipment or technology, or a company working on it that can be traced back to Louisiana. So many companies and technologies that are critical to the industry have come from right here in Louisiana.” 107 Heymann Blvd., Bldg. 7, Lafayette, (337) 235-4055, lagcoe.com