CEO 101: The Basics

Summer Jade Duplantis
September 20, 2011
Alvin Harding Sr.
September 22, 2011
Summer Jade Duplantis
September 20, 2011
Alvin Harding Sr.
September 22, 2011

NAME: Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger

COMPANY: Bollinger Shipyards Inc.

LOCATION: Lockport


DOB: 9/11/1949

EDUCATION: University of Southwestern Louisiana



ANNUAL SALES: $500 million



ADVICE TO OTHERS: Relationships matter

CEOs YOU ADMIRE: Gary Chouest

Diversifying the shipbuilding business his father began 65 years ago prompted change for Bollinger Shipyards and CEO Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger. Yet, while growing to become the No. 1, Tier Two shipbuilder in the nation, he has remained true to his fundamental principles.

Bollinger was always part of the family business, learning every element from the warehouse parts room, to welding, vessel operations and ultimately management, only after he graduated from college in 1971.

“One day, my dad asked me, ‘What are you trying to do?'” Bollinger said. “I said, ‘I’m doing exactly what you did. I’m just doing more of it.'”

Bollinger said business changed with technology, environmental, safety, automation, computers, digitizing, insurance and labor laws during the past 40 years.

Along with advancements to the ship building and maintenance business came growth for Bollinger that resulted in 12 divisions in Louisiana and Texas, offices in Washington and St. Louis, more than 2,000 fulltime employees and 1,500 contractors.

In addition to business, Bollinger has a passion to give through educational efforts, historic preservation and service organizations.

Bollinger said that interacting with people makes one better grounded as an overall leader. “I think all you do in life is a process in learning,” he said.

“If you don’t have people problems or money problems then you don’t have any problems,” Bollinger said to explain his biggest challenges. “We used to build boats on a handshake. Now you’ve got two-inch thick documents and thousands of drawings. It is always a challenge and there is always something you learn about it.”

In terms of rewards, Bollinger said an ability to provide jobs for other people is important to him. He appreciates employees that understand they have a place to work that treats them fairly and safely. “That’s very gratifying,” he said.

Credited with making the family business an internationally respected operation, Boysie Bollinger says there are always challenges in the shipbuilding industry, but that is what floats his boat. MIKE NIXON