Founded in 2000, Step-Ko Products, LLC is a global provider of corrosion protective products, with sales in over 42 countries. The Broussard, LA-company promotes flange protection products, pipeline corrosion protection, insulated enclosures, and pipeline markers for industrial and oil and gas applications.
Step-Ko Products was certified in the Small & Emerging Business Development Program in 2012 and has worked with LSBDC at UL Lafayette in receiving assistance with website development and industry specific software training.
Step-Ko participated in the Economic Gardening Program, which has helped identify additional applications for the company’s products and fostered growth outside of the region and Louisiana. Byron Stephens, owner, attests to the benefits of the multiple resources available for small business owners.
“The small business programs offered by Louisiana Economic Development and LSBDC have been instrumental in helping focus on long-term growth strategies that have certainly paid off. We have grown 100% in sales since taking advantage of the resources and look forward to greater possibilities in the future,” he said.
Since inception, the company has added 11 fulltime jobs for a total of 17 employees, one of whom is Stephens’ wife, Sara, a former school teacher and now Step-Ko’s accountant. Step-Ko has also doubled the size of its facility, which was fully funded through profits of the company.
In May, Stephens, a native of Eunice, was given award from the Louisiana Economic Development as the small emerging business of 2015. He was invited to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s mansion for a reception to receive the LED Entrepreneur Award. Step-Ko Products was the only business in the region to receive one of the 16 annual state awards.
Businesses like Step-Ko LLC are an economic driver for the state, LED Secretary Stephen Moret said.
“Small businesses could not be more important to Louisiana, delivering goods and services that fuel our economy across every industry section and in every geographical region of our state,” Moret said. “Since January 2008, as Louisiana has outperformed the South and the U.S., its small businesses have made major contributions to the state’s success. They play a crucial role in job creation, innovation and entrepreneurial growth. We congratulate them for their determination and their achievements.”
According to a profile published in the Lafayette Advertiser, Stephens began a career in the oilfield shortly after the industry crashed in 1986 and took with it much of South Louisiana’s workforce.
“I guess I fell into the oil and gas industry back in 1988. It was bad at time. I was actually in the field as a worker bee on a rig,” he is quoted as saying.
After working for some service companies, he decided to go out on his own.