Greater Lafourche Port Commission 400’ Self-Support Communications Tower


The Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC) manages and provides public safety for Port Fourchon, Louisiana’s southernmost port. Port Fourchon is ideally located on the Louisiana coast in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Port Fourchon serves as a base of operation for over 250 oil and gas service companies and is the land base for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP, LLC), Louisiana’s largest domestic and foreign crude offloading, storage, and distribution center. LOOP is also the storage and terminalling facility for domestically produced oil from the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 1.2 to 1.5 million barrels of crude oil per day are transported via pipelines through the port, in addition to the massive amounts of vessels, trucks, and helicopters that transport goods and personnel to and from offshore locations. All told, Port Fourchon is the nation’s premiere intermodal hub for the support of oil and gas industry.

With Port Fourchon’s critical need for reliable security, GLPC has made providing communications and surveillance infrastructure for the Port Fourchon Harbor Police and public safety dispatchers a priority. GLPC’s communications needs are complex and widespread, including everything from two-way radio communications to CCTV cameras in multiple locations throughout the 10th Ward of Lafourche Parish.  The infrastructure needed for such communications has traditionally been challenging to maintain, with dispatching stations located inside the levee system 23 miles north of the port and tower facilities located on privately owned and operated properties. Disparate tower and equipment locations, multiple owners, and multiple users from various agencies made keeping communications running smoothly a serious challenge.

The need for a port-run telecommunications hub was especially evident during weather emergencies. Private tower facilities must often terminate electrical power with any threat of inclement weather (i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes; etc.) due to safety regulations. Such shutdowns occurred when emergency communications were most needed by GLPC and other critical agencies, making communications equipment inoperable at the most demanding times. This also posed multiple challenges for the continued operation of law enforcement, port security, EMS and fire services.


The Port Commission, in conjunction with several other public safety agencies, began discussions to procure and build a state-of-the-art, hurricane-resistant, critical public safety communications site in Port Fourchon, including a large tower and telecommunications buildings. GLPC budgeted $2.7 million for the entire project and obtained funding from Homeland Security and the State of Louisiana through the federal Port Security Grant program.

The GLPC consulted with MS Benbow & Associates (MSB) on the tower project.  After initial review and preliminary design discussions, MSB was selected to provide detailed design and project management for the entire project. MSB developed design documentation for the entire site to include electrical, telecommunications, network infrastructure, telecommunications backhaul, two-way radio communications (provided by Motorola), microwave relocation and tower requirements. MSB sub-contracted Gillen Design Systems for design work on both tower and building foundations. Sabre Tower and Poles designed and fabricated the tower steel.

The ultimate design for this facility resulted in a massive TIA-222G-rated 400-foot self-support solid steel tower that includes:

  • An elevated communications building platform 17 feet above mean sea level
  • A 225kW power plant for emergency power service
  • A 150 MPH communication building design for the two buildings installed
  • Communication duct banks to existing command buildings
  • A substantial electrical grounding system
  • The ability to hold the following equipment for wireless communications and telemetry:
    • Terma Scanter 4100 18’ RADAR Appurtenance
    • 40 Omni Antennas ranging from RFS BCR12H (Bogner) to Andrew dB222 UHF Antennas
    • 14 Parabolic Microwave with Radome ranging from 4’ to 8’
    • 6 PTZ Head weatherized remote cameras
    • 6 Ethernet panel antenna for remote video feeds
    • 12 GPS Antennas
    • Dozens of Yagi Antennas
    • 36 Cellular Panel Antennas
    • One WeatherBug
  • A total estimated combined appurtenance weight of 11,350 lbs.
  • A total estimated combined cable weight of 7,760 lbs.
  • The largest tower members are comprised of 9-foot diameter solid rod legs and 8.5” x 8.5” angle iron used as leg bracing.
  • The widest stance is at the tower base, stretching 34 feet 9 inches, and the tower face at the top is 5 feet wide.


The extensive list of potential equipment to be loaded on the tower was developed by GLPC and MSB and includes requirements of potential government and public safety agencies -related equipment that may one day use the port’s tower. Additional equipment was estimated for commercial and cellular use as well.

The tower was erected in October 2011, with critical communications infrastructure going on-air in March 2012. Microwave backhaul was complete in June 2012.

This facility provides extensive communication resources to aid in the security and public safety of Port Fourchon and surrounding areas in South Louisiana. This facility supports over a dozen public safety agencies and will provide government, commercial, and cellular vendors with endless communication resources into the future.


DAS for Mercedes-Benz Superdome & New Orleans Arena


Provide seamless wireless coverage for an expansive 13-acre sports and entertainment complex in advance of several high-profile events such as the BCS Championship, Final Four, and Super Bowl XLVII.

On the heels of an $85-million upgrade and renovation project, venue management company SMG sought to improve cellular communications at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and adjoining New Orleans Arena via deployment of a state-of-the-art network capable of meeting current and growing capacity needs due to new technologies and increased hand-held wireless use.

The multi-million dollar telecommunications project would ensure the venues possess the bandwidth necessary to withstand the mushrooming number of consumer applications and expanding connectivity capabilities patrons expect from a modern facility.


SMG selected M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) as the engineering and project management firm tasked with overseeing all aspects of the design, project execution, and launch of an open-architecture, neutral-host Distributed Antenna System (DAS) capable of supporting seamless wireless voice, data and text services across the sports and entertainment complex. The 4G LTE DAS network would ensure the more than 70,000 fans can count on reliable service for voice calls, text and picture messages, and social media interaction during big events.

MSB took a lead role in negotiating with carriers, developing system specifications, and providing design review and project management services. MSB was on-hand throughout the system construction and launch as project manager. The network serves the entire entertainment district, which includes the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and New Orleans Arena as well as their respective parking areas, administrative offices, team offices, team locker rooms, Champions Square and Club XLIV. AT&T was selected as the lead carrier for the DAS expansion.

MSB’s highly experienced staff of engineers provided:

  • Consulting and evaluation of the DAS infrastructure
  • RF engineering plan review and specification development
  • Carrier negotiations and lead carrier selection support
  • Project management


The new network is the largest DAS system of its kind in the country featuring 950 remote antenna and 70 miles of cable. The system was engineered to serve fans inside the Superdome and additional patrons in the adjacent facilities simultaneously: During major events at the Dome and when crowds fill the adjacent New Orleans Arena, total turnout can top 100,000.

MSB has an ongoing role in representing SMG as new operators are added to the system. Verizon Wireless recently launched their service on the DAS.

The New Orleans-based firm provides ongoing operational management and support for future technology upgrades and expansions at the facilities. MSB is working with SMG to ensure connection by other operators prior to Super Bowl XLVII.


To learn more about MSB’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS) services, click here.


Hospital Narrowband Signal Booster with DAS

Hospital In-Building 700/800 MHz Public Safety Radio Communications


Providing seamless in-building radio communications for public safety personnel as they respond to calls for service in office complexes, high-rise structures, hospitals and other critical locations.

Many local jurisdictions have enacted or are considering enacting ordinances and codes that ensure a requisite level of public safety radio communications reliability in buildings and public spaces. Authorities such as the National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council are working to develop national level model codes to ensure reliable public safety radio communications are provided from the outside Radio Frequency (RF) network throughout building spaces.

As first responders within their communities, hospitals are recognizing the need for reliable wireless public safety communications as both a standard safety assurance and in the event the location becomes a staging location for responders during an emergency.


Deployment of solutions for reliable in-building coverage in a hospital must consider the environment, building parameters, and 24-hour operational needs while working around interference issues from technology such as ultrasound, X-Ray, CT Scanners and other equipment.

M S Benbow & Associates  (MSB) was selected as the telecom engineering firm to design and oversee installation of a dedicated public safety radio communications system that provides public safety coverage throughout all areas of a four-story, 450-bed hospital, including elevators, stairwells and units with sensitive equipment.


MSB was both the design and construction management contractor throughout the project and had turnkey responsibility for the RF site assessment, design of the in-building RF network, development of construction drawings, construction management, system commissioning, start-up and acceptance testing.

MSB’s initial step was to conduct an RF site survey and walk-through of the hospital to determine where advanced coverage was needed and identify the appropriate solution set to ensure reliable, seamless service was provided similar to the outside RF network.

Once the site survey and audit was completed, design was conducted. Project responsibilities included:

  • Spectrum analysis and coordination
  • System design and engineering
  • Record and catalog site specifics
  • Development of a detailed scope of work

MSB also supported the Facilities funding requirements by preparing an overview of the site conditions and a detailed scope of work, project budget and investment justification.


Once funding was approved by hospital administration and the local government administrators, MSB implemented the telecom engineering plan to ensure reliable RF public safety communication transmission for hospital security and first responders. The upgrade entailed installation of a 700/800 MHz Narrowband amplifier with battery backup and Distributed Antenna System (DAS) inside the hospital with coaxial cabling to the exterior RF antenna.

The installation was implemented over a two-month period to accommodate the operation’s 24/7 schedule, coordinate with department downtime and adjust for hospital capacity. MSB also ensured the communication system met Federal Communications Commission OET-65 RF exposure standards.


To learn more about MSB’s Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) services, click here.


SCADA System for Wastewater Treatment Facility


Dock sumps at a petrochemical company process large volumes of liquid oil waste from the dock platform and sanitary waste from operator shelters through skid-mounted pumps and hose manifold stations. Sump pumps then transfer the sump contents to the plant’s waste treatment pumping system, where recovered oil is delivered to tanks while untreated water that meets environmental permit requirements is discharged into the Mississippi River. This transfer operation is controlled by existing float switch pump controls with a manual run option.

The client needed a Wastewater Treatment Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system upgrade with a more reliable radar signal to meet environmental, safety, manpower and maintenance concerns and comply with Marine Terminal Design Standards.


M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) was contracted to upgrade current controls to a SCADA and telemetry for the pump stations, which involved monitoring the sump alarms, levels and pump status at seven remote sewage pump stations, integrating all of the stations on the same SCADA, communications and telemetry platform.

MSB was the engineering firm responsible for drafting & design, engineering, specification and testing of the SCADA upgrade.

The project to install equipment and instrumentation necessary to meet the standards required elevated dock sump vents and visual and audible high-level alarms. Per the standards, the sumps must be a closed system with a vent to the atmosphere. The vents should be pressure/vacuum regulated and discharge a minimum of 9.8 feet (3 m) above platforms and 50 feet (15 m) from any equipment; and sump tanks should be designed with high-level alarms displayed in a central manned location.

Work required was to:

  • Install mechanical piping as necessary to move vent point to 9.8 feet above sump top and 50 feet from any nearby equipment.
  • Piping modifications at the sumps would require flushing and inerting the vessels so structural supports could be installed to support additional vertical and horizontal sections of vent piping to meet elevation and distance requirements.
  • Install pressure-vacuum vent relief valve on vent piping.
  • Install SCADA system components (wireless radios, programmable logic controller and enclosures with battery backup) and local alarm beacon and siren at each dock location.  Continuous level and high level alarms will be displayed at each sump location as well as a centralized manned operator location.
  • Install process connection on sump for new radar-level instruments.
  • The SCADA/alarm panel enclosure components were DC powered sourced from a battery bank located within the enclosure. The battery bank consisted of two redundant 24 VDC power supplies as a charging source fed from the docks’ 120VAC power panels. Each new alarm panel would receive power supply from two sources, the docks’ local power panel and an emergency battery bank reserve.


MSB developed a test procedure for the client to field function test the wireless SCADA system as well as participate in a factory acceptance test prior to converting to the new system.

The system continuously monitors inputs, transmits the sensor readings at regular intervals, and alerts operators when an alarm is detected. The system can also be monitored remotely 24/7.

The project established more reliable and accurate level-measuring instruments. Furthermore, because of the new wireless SCADA infrastructure at these dock locations, installation costs were minimal.

The system will reduce the operation’s probability of overflowing the sumps into the Mississippi River, thereby reducing the client’s environmental impact. Increased reliability also can potentially prevent downtime, expensive fines or lost revenues.


Sulfur Stack Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS)


An existing sulfur dioxide (SO2) analyzer located at grade in an analyzer shelter utilized a conditioned dry sample feed while an O2 analyzer located near the top of the stack utilized a wet sample basis. Both the SO2 and O2 analyzers were connected to a programmable logic controller (PLC) for validation controls. Individual O2 and SO2 uncorrected concentration values were being measured and connected to the distributed control system (DCS); where they were then corrected using calculations.

The client needed to install a new continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) to meet current federal EPA performance and reporting requirements. This new CEMS would report emissions data back to a central data acquisition system for reporting and historizing the data.


M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) was enlisted to provide engineering, drafting and design, system planning, cost estimate planning and construction assistance to enable the client to comply with this new EPA reporting criteria.

The scope of the project included:

  • Replacing and upgrading the O2 analyzer to one that could measure a dry sample basis. This involved removing and blinding the existing in situ connection.
  • Installing a new SO2 sensor/analyzer in existing shelter at grade and connecting the sample feed to an existing system.
  • Replacing validation controls (via an existing PLC) with a new CEMS controller/Data Acquisition and Data Handling System to ensure accurate validation functions. The CEMS controller connected to the existing plant analyzer V-LAN network via newly installed Ethernet switch. CEMS historization and reporting requirements would be available via the CEMS server.
  • Connecting priority one hardwire alarms to the DCS as well as the analog concentration readings. The other pertinent data was sent to the CEMS server via the Ethernet connection.
  • Existing raw SO2 and O2 concentration signal wiring to DCS remained in place, and a new corrected SO2 measurement value was connected to DCS via the new CEMS controller. Various other data points and alarms were sent to the CEMS Data Acquisition Server via the dedicated fiber network.
  • Since the old PLC functionality was replaced by the new CEMS controller, the PLC was converted into the new analyzer building alarm system. New interior building monitors (O2 depletion, smoke alarm) were installed; exterior beacon and siren warned of possible interior hazards; and alarms were hardwired to the DCS.


MSB recommended an additional level of functionality testing to ensure the system would work as intended. This PLC checkout test procedure, in addition to the factory accepted test procedure, allowed for the seamless upgrade, installation and validation of the CEMS system.

In addition to meeting compliance with new federal EPA performance and monitoring requirements, the client was able to incorporate the PLC function into installing new safety measures.


Public Safety 800 MHz Radio System Roadmap & VHF/UHF Narrowbanding Assessment


A 9-1-1 Communications District (District) was seeking a comprehensive radio communications system and technology assessment to address system performance issues and meet forthcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory requirements. The District needed a roadmap developed to provide an upgrade path for 800 MHz wireless public safety communication infrastructure and to ensure compliance with VHF/UHF narrowbanding mandates. A multitude of agencies within the District anticipated upgrades to existing infrastructure due to the age of the equipment, FCC regulatory mandates, interoperability objectives and support for wireless data applications.


M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) was contracted to develop a radio system roadmap that included requirements of the Public Safety Stakeholders, provided a path to regulatory compliance and addressed the latest capabilities of Public Safety radio technology.

The first phase of the project included meeting with representatives from the District to discuss the state of the current networks, develop criteria for the new networks, and discuss the level of interoperability that the district wanted to achieve.  In addition to developing criteria for the new system, MSB conducted field surveys at the transmitter sites, dispatch locations and field substations.  Information also was gathered regarding electrical power and HVAC systems, communication towers and the communications facilities. Subscriber inventory data was analyzed to determine the impact of certain infrastructure alternatives to the fleet of mobile and portable units that are in use on the network.


MSB provided a comprehensive report which included an assessment of the current facility infrastructure, offered alternatives for migrating to a P25 Interoperable Communications network, analyzed alternatives for 800 MHz RF Coverage/system performance, provided system capacity recommendations and outlined recommendations to the District for the next phase of project development. In addition, MSB provided an assessment of the VHF/UHF infrastructure and subscriber units for their ability to meet the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate and provided RF propagation studies that show the implications to coverage based on narrowband analog and digital system deployments.


The District agencies have a roadmap for future communications infrastructure improvements. The roadmap provides a high-level cost/benefit analysis for the options presented and a basis for determination of the most beneficial upgrade path for the District’s 800 MHz infrastructure. The plan also provides key information for migration of the VHF/UHF infrastructure to meet FCC mandates prior to regulatory deadlines.


Regional Interoperable Communications System


Officials and emergency personnel in the four southern Louisiana parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines needed an interoperable system that could allow for area-wide communications in times of regional emergencies, such as hurricanes and terror threats.


M S Benbow & Associates designed and implemented an advanced P25 mixed spectrum 700/800 MHz digital two-way radio transmission system to provide communications throughout the entire region, including water and marsh areas. Service extended to portable in-vehicle radio coverage on all accessible roads and inside physical structures in the New Orleans metro area.

The system also provided secure high-speed wireless data access to subscribers throughout the region. It allowed 70 primary public safety agencies to talk to their officers and other outside personnel in a direct fashion that previously was not possible.

In addition to designing and implementing the new state-of-the-art system, MSB provided project management skills to effectively interact with subcontractors, vendors and public safety agencies.  MSB secured all necessary regulatory and FCC licensing requirements and tested the network under real-world operating conditions.


The system was the first of its kind in the United States to employ all digital voice transmission in a public safety radio system covering such an expansive geographic area. The system supports approximately 10,000 subscriber radios and is interconnected with a new state system that can be deployed as necessary to provide communications across Louisiana.

The first large-scale utilization of the system was an oil barge and ship accident on the Mississippi River in 2008. The response to this incident was greatly enhanced by the capabilities of the system, improving the consolidated command and control of the incident across all layers of government.

For their excellence in the project, MSB won a John Noll Crisp Award for Technical Excellence from the University of New Orleans. The Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC and the Federal Departments of Homeland Security & Justice also recognize the system, and it meets the highest standards of interoperability functionality as defined by the Federal SAFECOM program.




M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) is a leader in the field of electrical engineering and performs electrical analysis, reliability improvements, equipment retrofits and grassroots designs for various industries across the Gulf Coast including refineries, chemical plants and pipeline facilities. With a long history of handling complex and time-sensitive projects, we serve our clients’ needs in an efficient manner while always maintaining industry standards for reliability and safety.  With more than 20 years experience, our engineers have provided detailed engineering and design of electrical power distribution systems, system analysis, troubleshooting and technical support.


  • Create initial design and all levels of technical documents, including estimation, scope, specification, design and installation packages.
  • Provide all levels of system analysis to ensure that electrical systems are adequately rated and determine additional capacity, system reliability and safety.
  • Develop the required documentation to assist clients in understanding how to safely start-up, commission and operate their electrical systems.
  • Troubleshoot and assist clients in determining causes for failures and course of action to get systems back online.
  • Members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Society of Automation (ISA), Louisiana Engineering Society (LES), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). For a complete list of all affiliations and certifications click here.

Project Management


M S Benbow & Associates (MSB) specializes in project management providing services in conceptualization, definition, design, planning, coordination, scheduling and implementation.  We adhere to a project management methodology based on the doctrine advocated by the Project Management Institute and its PMBOK® guide that is tailored to fit the technical and commercial terms of the project.  The planning process and scope definition result in classic Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) and templates that are valuable tools for organizing and managing the actual work, duration and budget involved in producing a deliverable.

We have a strong commitment to dependable and reliable project management capabilities that include electrical, instrumentation, mechanical, civil/structural and communication engineering services. We have managed new project installations, equipment upgrades, plant turn-around operations, and retrofit projects for clients throughout the Gulf South.  MSB’s senior level managers have an average of more than 20 years experience in the engineering design, construction, procurement, and consulting phases of project management.


  • Perform project plan development including scope definition and planning; activity definition, sequencing, duration estimating, and scheduling; resource planning, cost estimating and budgeting; and, risk identification, analysis and management planning.
  • Develop a project schedule by factoring the structure, sequence of tasks, and constraints of the project and its activities.
  • Coordinate and evaluate bids and RFQs to provide recommendations to the client.
  • Create project budgets using cost considerations and baselining to support earned value measurement and reporting.
  • Execute project plan with attention to quality assurance, team development, information distribution, solicitation and source selection, and contract administration.
  • Integrate change control through scope verification; schedule, cost and quality controls; performance reporting; and, risk monitoring and control.
  • Tailor Microsoft Project and other software tools to highlight milestones and critical path line items and to create custom reporting that match the requirements of the project and client.
  • Schedule routine meetings with the client and subcontractors to review progress, provide statistical reporting and discuss the impact of variances and deviations from the overall plan.
  • Communicate with contractors, suppliers and consultants to ensure project is completed efficiently, on schedule and within budget.
  • Perform contract closeout and administrative closure.
  • Members of the Louisiana Engineering Society (LES), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and Louisiana Society of Professional Engineers. For a complete list of all affiliations and certifications click here.