Posted on October 2, 2023
For the first time, a Calista Shareholder is working for Brice Civil Constructors’ innovative dredging project to aid a major port in Louisiana.
Anchorage resident Chad “Reno” Larue Jr. heard about the job opening from a family member who works for a Brice company owned by Calista.
“He told me I’d be working on a dredge boat in Louisiana. Before I knew it, I was flying out to start,” Larue said in a late August interview.
Brice Civil managers want to hire more Shareholders onto the multi-year dredging project when more openings come available in the future.
“I’m excited for them to see this crazy, cool dredge and have them experience some of the best food in the country,” says Brice Civil Port Captain Josh Matherne.
LEARNING THE ROPES
Larue is a Shareholder of Yup’ik ancestry on his maternal side. He had experience as a roofer and worked in other hard labor jobs before joining Brice Civil in Morgan City, Louisiana.
Now he is learning on the job how to be a deckhand.
“I’ve gained many certifications already. Water survival training, learning how to operate equipment properly, learning how to operate a crane. Basically, anything in a regular hard labor job that you would learn, this is a little more than that,” Larue explains.
Larue is part of the crew of the 145-foot off-shore vessel that carries Brice Civil’s Arulaq dredge plant. Arulaq means to stir or agitate in Yup’ik.
The Arulaq operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, on the Atchafalaya River, pumping up fine sediment that is then carried out to sea by the river.
Agitating the sediment instead of loading it onto barges and disposing it at sea is a more cost-effective way to keep vessel traffic moving through the port of Morgan City.
“It’s definitely hard work but it’s also quite fun,” LaRue says.
So far, Larue is enjoying the good paycheck and Cajun cuisine, and the only thing that bothers him is the hot weather.
The crew works two-week shifts, and Larue returns home to his family and girlfriend in Anchorage for his two weeks’ off.
He said he’s especially grateful that the job is helping him become more financially independent. “I can afford to buy things for myself and not rely on family members.”
One of Larue’s coworkers owns an award-winning sauce company called D.a.T. SaUcE, and Larue was an instant fan.
“I love my job. This is a nice little town, with a lot of nice people and good food for sure.”