Arkel International has quietly been growing its global footprint

    When Baton Rouge-based Arkel International earlier this fall acquired a Washington, D.C.-area engineering firm that specialized in doing work for the federal government’s classified and intelligence community, the deal attracted little attention.

    Not that it wasn’t news. The acquisition of AED Stratecon by Arkel is significant in that it opened a window for the local company into a whole new market that is as lucrative as it is difficult to crack, Business Report details in a new feature. 

    But then, Arkel International tends to keep a low profile. Though it has been around since 1975 and birthed a spinoff company—Arkel Constructors, which is better known locally and, now, separately owned—few people in the local market probably know exactly what the company does.

    Or that it has worked in 70 foreign countries, building embassies for the U.S. State Department and support facilities for major petrochemical companies.

    Or that it has offices in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

    Or that it is developing two new factories—one in the New Orleans area, one in Florida—that, when up to speed, will be able to churn out more than 6 million masks per month made entirely from domestically sourced materials.

    “We’ve got this neat little company that does some really great stuff,” says President and owner George Knost III, whose father, Homer Knost, founded the company. “But I guess we’re not so little anymore.”

    With $100 million in projected revenues this year and some 700 employees worldwide, Arkel International is not little, though it’s not big, either, not like a KBR or even a Turner Industries, which have thousands of employees and revenues in the billions. Rather, Arkel International is a medium-sized company, as Knost describes it, known for fighting above its weight class and carving a niche for itself around the world. Read the full story from the latest edition of Business Report. Send comments to