Benny Cenac, Houma resident and avid philanthropist, often reflects on the rich history of his community and the impact that his company has had on the economic and social progress of Terrebonne Parish.
As one of several companies under his leadership, Main Iron Works continues to operate on the baseline morals and values that founder, Horace “Jack” Guidry, embedded into the fabric of the company over 70 years ago.
Founded in 1948, Main Iron Works has stimulated the local economy of Houma and Terrebonne Parish since the company began converting conventional wooden oyster luggers to be utilized as supply vessels for oil exploration inland and offshore in the Terrebonne Parish area.
Starting the company with his partner, Lawrence Mazerac, Jack Guidry, who is also Benny Cenac’s maternal grandfather, used his skills as a welder by trade as well as his expertise in welding and boat construction to form the foundation of what has become the modern Main Iron Works boat and barge building business.
Benny Cenac, Houma Son: A Welding of Family Affairs
As Benny Cenac’s paternal grandfather’s business, Cenac Marine, grew in stature and scope another branch of the family was working hard at marine construction and repair, right in downtown Houma. Main Iron Works established a reputation in its own right for quality work and became a local standard for its industry from the time of its founding by Guidry, Arlen Jr.’s maternal grandfather. Main Iron Works has performed work for the Cenac fleet in the decades since its 1948 founding.
In July 2015, Main Iron Works was acquired by an LLC owned by Benny Cenac, Houma native, who continued to grow its construction of world-class, innovative push boats, and merged the labor from both his grandfathers. Under the leadership of Benny Cenac, Main Iron Works continued to expand their services to include a full-service machine shop.
Today, working alongside Cenac Marine Services, Benny Cenac is able to oversee both the construction and repair, as well as the transportation of materials, creating a more effective system that provides customers with greater ease. Under the leadership of Benny Cenac, Main Iron Works has transformed into a staple point of the regional maritime industry and continues to innovate and grow its capabilities.
Today, both companies operate out of a state-of-the-art facility with an investment by Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. of around $75 million. From the original “ways” winch systems to five new drydocks, with the largest boasting a 4,500-ton capacity, facilities and operations have since been modernized in order to improve upon the foundation of quality set so many years ago. While under Benny Cenac’s leadership, Main Iron Works has remained a leader in tug construction while also becoming a perfect complement to Cenac Marine Services’ core mission. The two companies combined make for a dynamic duo in the region’s growing maritime industry.
Benny Cenac continues to foster the values that his grandfather’ embedded into both Main Iron Works and Cenac Marine Services decades ago, including a commitment to customer satisfaction and respect for all employees. As a family-focused company, Benny Cenac works to ensure that every employee is treated like family, regardless of their status in the company.
An avid philanthropist, Benny Cenac’s Houma roots have inspired him to carry these values outside of the company where he works with many local and national organizations to support various causes from protecting Louisiana’s pristine shores, supporting U.S. veterans, and animal and wildlife conservation programs.
On his own ranch, Golden Ranch Farms, Benny has raised various animals on Louisiana’s largest privately-owned refuge. This includes white-tailed deer, blackbuck, antelope, oryx, Père David’s deer, fallow deer, axis, and even a zebra. In addition, Benny Cenac has contributed his time to protect the beautiful and diverse ecosystem of Louisiana with organizations such as Restore or Retreat, a non-profit coastal advocacy group working to protect the Barataria and Terrebonne basins of Louisiana from further destruction.
As a leader in his community, avid philanthropist and strong conservationist, Benny Cenac understands the value of giving back to his Houma community in a non-tangible manner. Building on the foundational values that his family set for these companies, Benny Cenac is grateful to continue the incredible work of his grandfathers and works each day to push for the economic and social growth of his Houma community and Terrebonne Parish.
To learn more about Main Iron Works, please visit https://mainironworks.com
To learn more about Benny Cenac’s philanthropic work, please visit https://arlenbennycenac.com
To learn more about the conservation efforts of Restore or Retreat, please visit https://restoreorretreat.org