Innovation in Northwest Louisiana: General Dynamics and Benteler Reimagine Product Potential
General Dynamics Information Technology, Bossier City
General Dynamics Ushers in New Safety Technology
General Dynamics Information Technology’s (GDIT) integrated technology center in Bossier City creates state-of-the-art information technology to help make U.S. air travel safer and its disaster response faster and more efficient.
Its work for government clients combines expertise in cyber operations, application development, cloud services and next-generation network-solution delivery to keep pace with rapid changes in complex and diverse client needs.
An April 2018 union between next-generation IT services provider CSRA and GDIT created the premier provider of IT solutions to local, state and federal government agencies in areas from homeland security to health and intelligence.
GDIT combines next-generation solutions and innovative delivery models with proven performance on large-scale projects to address our customers’ mission-critical objectives.
Recent projects speak to the scope of its work.
- An application developed for the Federal Aviation Administration has registered more than one million civilian drones.
- A database-modernization project with the Army National Guard used agile methodology and automated testing to integrate a quarter-century of work orders and maintenance budgets. GDIT finished the project under budget and five times faster than anticipated.
- A cloud-hosted automated-call distribution network developed for the Federal Emergency Management Agency supported 6,000 agents at 25 operational sites amid record U.S. natural disasters in 2017.
From its location in Bossier City, GDIT provides IT solutions to government agencies in areas ranging from homeland security to health and intelligence.
Strategically Located for Cyber Innovation
Proximity to Barksdale Air Force Base, home of the Global Strike Command, provides a critical source of cyber expertise: 35 percent of center employees are military veterans.
A location on north Louisiana’s I-20 “cyber corridor” further bolsters its innovation muscle.
Nearby Louisiana Tech University created the nation’s first four-year degree in cyber engineering. Bossier Parish Community College offers an associate’s degree in systems administration with a focus on enterprise information technology and development—one of the few programs of its kind in the U.S. and one developed in collaboration with GDIT.
“GDIT leverages our higher education partnerships to help our employees grow their careers through continuous learning opportunities, cross training, and exposure to cutting-edge industry best practices,” Gilliland said.
Benteler Steel/Tube, Shreveport
Manufacturing Dependability at Benteler Steel/Tube
The steel tubing that Benteler Steel/Tube manufactures at its U.S. mill on the Red River in Shreveport is designed to withstand extraordinary pressure during oilfield exploration. Breakthrough techniques such as fracking and horizontal drilling have put additional stress on tubing produced by the $775-million hot-rolling mill at the Port of Caddo-Bossier, Benteler’s only U.S. plant.
North American oilfield companies are “pushing the limits of drilling technology,” said Darryl Guy, director of operations and maintenance for the north Louisiana mill. “Our products have to be able to tolerate that pressure.”
Ever more complex oilfield needs require constant innovation on Benteler’s part. The processes and materials it uses at the Shreveport mill are state-of-the-art but are also the focus of continuous improvements, Guy said.
The processes and materials used at Benteler's Shreveport mill are state-of-the-art and focus on continuous improvement.
A Climate of Continuous Refinement
Benteler’s approach to innovation includes a global search for ways to improve its operations. A contingent of its Shreveport engineers recently flew to an international trade show in Dusseldorf, Germany, for a first-hand look at technology it might be able to use at the Louisiana plant, which employs about 475 workers. Benteler forms partnerships with high-tech vendors when it sees an opportunity to improve its processes.
“We’re always looking for ways to more tightly control the process,” Guy said.
Communication with clients is also vital. Benteler hosts oilfield clients at the Shreveport mill to help them better understand Benteler’s capabilities in meeting their needs, Guy said. Recent results of its push for improvement include better control of the outside diameter of the tubing and changes in the thickness in tubing walls.
“Understanding our clients allows us to anticipate our customer needs by investing in new technology and materials that improve how we do things,” he said.
Our goal is not to be just a product supplier but a solution provider.