Our founder, Robert George Evans Jr. (1954- 2017), had deep loyalty and love for his country, his city, and his family. He had the entrepreneurial drive that made America, and he was proud to have created Con-Tech and developed its high standards of quality and service. Con-Tech routinely was featured in the City Business Top Private Companies in New Orleans. True to his roots, Robbie stated in a 2015 interview, “New Orleans is our home and we prefer to bring in and ship products from New Orleans whenever possible.” Robbie’s family and employees are proud to carry on his company and his vision. He remains with us always in spirit.
EARLY DRUM ROOTS
Robbie had drums in his blood. His Great Uncle Charles Evans was president of Chickasaw Barrel Company in New Orleans, where Robbie’s grandfather started as a cooper. He then converted his backyard stables into his own cooperage, where he purchased and repaired secondhand wooden barrels collected by wagon. Robbie’s dad worked there, at Chickasaw, and then formed Evans Cooperage Company. There Robbie, his twin brother and his sister learned about manufacturing, reconditioning and filling steel drums. From the age of twelve, Robbie assumed various tasks at Evans, where he rose to the position of Vice President, eventually serving at Evans locations in Louisiana, Texas, and Missouri.
FOUNDING OF CON-TECH
Robbie graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management in 1976 and founded Con-Tech International in 1983. Robbie’s comprehensive knowledge of the drum industry was invaluable in creating Con-Tech. Initially, he positioned Con-Tech to sell industrial steel drum parts and related items, still a vital component of the business today. His vision is present from the first load of knock down drums he imported from Venezuela in 1984 to the steel coils Con-Tech imports today.
DIVERSIFICATION AT CON-TECH
Robbie then nurtured Con-Tech into an international corporation supplying diverse goods to industries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Hundreds of products were designed and manufactured under his tutelage, ranging from IBC accessories; marine hardware in a vast array of materials and applications; custom products in high precision stainless steel, specialty metals and plastic; beer keg necks and other specialty beverage parts; stair treads; and a tremendous number of drum and pail components and supplies. And millions of tons of steel coils and discs found their way into American commerce through Robbie’s diligence.
Both business and pleasure brought Robbie to most continents multiple times throughout his life. He started traveling with his family at age nine, forming a lifetime appreciation of art, architecture, and history. He explored the world with relish, meeting new people everywhere who, because of his kind and gregarious nature, soon called him a stalwart friend
GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
Following Hurricane Katrina, Robbie devoted hundreds of hours every year to improving New Orleans public schools and the lives of the children attending them. As was stated in a tribute to him in the United States House of Representatives on March 27, 2017,
"Robbie helped lead a ‘Phoenix from the ashes’ movement in the New Orleans schools. The success was due to the need to throw away the old bureaucracy rules, and the attitude that the schools existed for the adults in them rather than for the kids. Robbie helped turn that all around, attracting national attention for the model…Robbie was a man of high character and integrity. He had a servant’s heart for his community and those who live in it."
He advocated tirelessly for the inner-city students attending Lafayette Academy and Esperanza Charter School, the K-8 public charter schools operated by the Choice Foundation. He served as a Choice board member, Vice-Chairman and Executive Committee member, directing school management and focusing both attention and resources on educational reform. Whether in the classroom, the boardroom, or the Capitol, Robbie touched many lives with his zeal to leave New Orleans schools better than he found them. These efforts were part of Robbie’s commitment to equal rights, one he shared with his ancestor Dr. Israel Evans, who opened his Kentucky home as a stop for fugitive slaves on the underground railway.
Robbie believed that economic reform would bring a New Orleans renaissance. He was a long-time board member and Vice Chairman of the World Trade Center, an organization devoted to regional economic development through international trade. He had been slated to be its next Chairman. He also was active in international business events, hosting a dinner in honor of the Prime Minister of Belize in his 1996 visit. Robbie also joined the Executive Committee of the Horizon Initiative, organized to study and implement the best practices for regional economic development. As Co-Chair of its Education and Workforce Development Committee, he relentlessly advocated for educational reform as the cornerstone of economic progress in New Orleans. On the statewide level, he served on the Education Council of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
BRINGING THINGS FULL CIRCLE
Robbie made prudent real estate investments, then discovered that his Welsh ancestor Richard Evans also was a landowner who donated part of his land with other “patentees” to form the District of Columbia. He loved military history, especially American history. He learned recently that his relatives Edward, Hugh and Richard Evans fought in the Revolutionary War, one of them under the command of his hero Daniel Morgan. Ancestor George Evans fought in the Union Army during the Civil War, while his uncles and dad fought valiantly in World War II. But Robbie’s mom boasted that the family’s achievements should always include her work as a welder on the Higgins landing craft, so critical to Allied D-Day success!