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MP Marine Grows to 84 Employees

Since its startup 1994, Mobile Pulley Marine Services, Inc. has grown from a good idea in the minds of Cliff Inge and McGowan Patrick to 84 employees, a machine shop, berth space for two or three large ships, and two dry docks that can handle large barges and small dredges. Inge and Patrick are the major shareholders of Mobile Pulley & Machine Works; Scott Carter is general manager of Mobile Pulley Marine Services.



MP Marine Services provides three things: steel fabrication for the dredging and offshore oil industry; a base for field work, such as assembling pipelines and doing maintenance work on dredges, and a place where customers can bring their dredges into the shop for repair, maintenance or retrofit.



“We’re fairly new kids on the block, said Todd Everett, administrative manager. “We’re being received very well and are given a fair shot at the market that’s out there. I think it’s going very well, a lot because Mobile Pulley and Machine Works has been around for so long and has a good name.”



One of the strong points of the operation is that the employees are familiar with dredging equipment. Ken Lago, operations manager, was a dredge captain for 25 years, specifically with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock working on the dredge Chicago, then the clamshell Dredge 51. He then joined Weeks Marine, where he worked for 14 months before coming to MP Marine Services.



His father, Walter “Rocky” Lago was captain of the 53 and 54 for Great Lakes before retiring in 1996 with 36 years of service.



“It’s my job to produce what Scott Carter and Todd Everett (administrative manager,) promise,” said Lago. “In 26 years in the dredging industry, being familiar with the equipment in the dredging industry is an asset in my position. We do a lot of reconstruction of ball joints, pump casings and spuds. said Lago.



One customer who has used MP Marine Services is B+B Dredging, whose hopper dredge Columbus is working in the Mobile Ship Channel.



“We’re very pleased with them,” said Stan Ekren, senior vice president of B+B. “Hopper dredges need constant care, and we don’t have a large service staff ourselves. Mobile Pulley gets right to the job and they aren’t too expensive,” he said. Last December (1997) when the jet pump shaft on the Columbus broke, the Mobile Pulley crew worked right up to Christmas Day to repair it, said Ekren. “Scott Carter is doing a good job,” he said.



T.L. James brought the cutterhead dredge Tom James in for maintenance this spring, and MP Marine pre-assembled the pipeline for their job in the river. The property has a good-sized field with room to assemble pipeline. (The T.L. James Marine Division has since been sold to Weeks Marine.)



Benders Shipyard and Atlantic Marine Shipyard are adjacent to Mobile Pulley Marine Services, and provide drydock capability up to 40,000 dwt for vessels too large for the company’s 900-dwt drydock.



Another recent job has been to raise the coamings on a Great Lakes scow to increase its capacity.



The welders are certified to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Det Norte Veritas (DNV) qualifications. DNV has a new welding process, and MP Marine has 14 welders certified for that process. Inspectors from both organizations inspect all welds.



Starting with two welders in 1994, the company has grown slowly, building up the customer base. The boom in offshore oil has created a demand for fabrication facilities, and the company is expanding into that market.



“Cliff and McGowan took a risk,” said Paul Quinn, sales manager for Mobile Pulley & Machine Works. “They looked at the amount of fabrication that we sub-contracted out, and it was millions of dollars per year,” he said. They searched for a facility, and found land with warehouse and waterfront on Pinto Island, across the river from Mobile. The island is a dredged material disposal island, and the road to the facility passes between sand dikes several stories high. Doing business among the shipyards on Pinto Island gave the owners an idea for another business, and Mobile Pulley Scrap Processing was born, where they place containers for the shipyards to deposit their scrap steel, which Mobile Pulley then uses in their foundry.



On June 9, 1997, Brant Benson was hired to set up the drydock facility, and it took him three months to refurbish the equipment and put it into operation. The two drydocks are DD-1, which has a 750 ton capacity and is 60 x 120-feet, and DD-2, a 600-ton 42 x 100 foot drydock. One of the first jobs for the DD-2 was to refurbish River Road Construction’s cutterhead dredge Katrina. The dredge was totally rebuilt under Benson’s management. The cutter and shaft were rebuilt, the ladder was removed and the trunnion rebuilt, and hulls repairs were made.



Benson was a senior dockmaster/ship superintendent for Bender Shipyard prior to coming to MP Marine after 17 years of extensive drydock experience, including operating up to a 23,000 dwt drydock.


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