President Chemetec, Braid Logistics North America and Louisiana Pepper Exchange
U.S. Army Veteran
Chris White is president of Chemetec, Braid Logistics North America, and Louisiana Pepper Exchange, all of which are booming and collectively generated $45 million in sales in 2015.
For a West Point graduate with an engineering degree, White isn’t your ordinary culinary entrepreneur. In fact, it didn’t even begin in the kitchen. Instead, White got his entrepreneurial start in 1996 as a salesman at his father’s industrial equipment company, Chemetec. He worked his way up through the highly technical company selling its top line product, which allowed him to acquire a unique expertise in mixing and agitation systems. During that time, White developed a relationship with a longtime customer, McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco pepper sauces. In working closely with McIlhenny, White was tasked with engineering a solution to one of the biggest problems the company faced in the hot sauce making process.
After he launched Louisiana Pepper Exchange, Scotland-based Braid Logistics, the world’s largest manufacturer of flexitanks, approached White about buying the company’s intellectual property. White entered into a joint venture with a 40% stake in Braid, and he’s now president of Braid Logistics North America LLC, with operations based in New Orleans. “It is all tied together because Chemetec, the equipment company, is the one that got us into the hot sauce and pepper industry,” White says, “and since then, we’ve sold a lot of equipment for the processing of peppers and hot sauce around the world.” Having seen 700% growth over four years, Braid signed a lease in 2016 on a 10-acre site at the Port of New Orleans—the same location where Louisiana Pepper Exchange is moving it operations—with over 45,000 square feet of buildings, rail spurs and a dock on the Industrial Canal.