Each month, WBEC South takes an insider’s look at a leading woman-owned business, its formula for success, and how it’s making a difference.

Pam Schafer President New Orleans Copper

Pam Schafer
New Orleans Copper


New Orleans Copper, Inc. services the oil and gas industry by providing custom pipe bends and fabricated steel for each individual project. These bends are used in on-shore  pipelines, drilling projects offshore and all upstream and downstream projects. Our fabricated structural steel is used in many building and shipbuilding projects.

Q.  Why did you decide to become a business owner?
A. By education, I have a math degree from UNO and was a high school math teacher. As my father aged, I began to work in our family business eventually taking over New Orleans Copper, Inc. after his death. Owning a business was not an original goal, but I was determined to keep this 3rd generation business going and growing as best I can.

Q.  How has being a member of WBEC South helped you?
A.  Membership in WBEC South has helped me to network with the major oil companies that sponsor all WBENC events and support WBENC. These supplier diversity advocates have helped connect me to the appropriate buyers and prime contractors so that I can grow my business. For me, networking has been the key because I am in such a special niche business.

Q.  What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced and overcome in business?
A. Being one of the few women in my position, I had to work at showing my customers that I knew what I was talking about with respect to the actual project designs and to be taken seriously. Having been a teacher prepared me in part for dealing with employee issues.

Q.  What are your goals now? Where do you see your business going?
A. My goals are to continue to satisfy my current customers, grow my business relationship with them and to get more involved with the shale field and natural gas developments throughout the nation.

Q.  What bit of knowledge / advice would you like to share with other women / women business owners?
A. Surround yourself with good advisors regarding a good attorney and CPA. Always be willing to network and shake a new hand – all they can say is no!

Q.  What is the best advice you have ever received?
A.  You have to be willing to put yourself out there and “brag” about what you do.

Q.  What is your favorite quote?
A. At a seminar once it was said “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”.

Q.  What has been your greatest triumph regarding your business?
A.  At one of my first Expos in Birmingham, I visited a customer that I used to only do emergency work for. I went to his office and wanted to know why I wasn’t good enough to bid on new projects. He said he had no good answer and from then on (about the past 6 years) we have begun to do most of their pipeline projects throughout the country and they have become my largest customer. I travel to Houston several times a year to visit the home office and keep the relationship going.