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TIGERS For 30 years, Tiger Athletic Foundation members have brought out the best in LSU student-athletes on and off the field. We were there when funds needed to be raised to build the Cox Communication Academic Center for Student-Athletes and when graduation rates hit an all time high of 88% in 2016. When our Tigers were the first to win two BCS National Championships, we were there. We are TAF, and we’ll always be here for Tigers.




Publisher: Rolfe H. McCollister, Jr.

business report’s


EDITORIAL Editorial director: Penny Font Executive editor: Steve Sanoski Editor: Stephanie Riegel Special projects editor: Jerry Martin Managing editor: Robert Stewart Online news editor: Alexandria Burris Director of research: Sierra Crump Digital content editor: Mark Clements Contributing writers: Erin Z. Bass, Melissa Bienvenu, Jen Bayhi-Gennaro, Lisa Hanchey, Emily Kern Hebert, Olivia McClure, Maggie Heyn Richardson, Lindsey Saucier, Meredith Whitten, Ansley Zehnder Contributing photographer: Don Kadair ADVERTISING Sales director: Jill Stokeld Account executives: J.C. Applewhite, Angie LaPorte Advertising coordinator: Lacie Thibodeaux Community liaison: Jeanne McCollister McNeil ADMINISTRATION Chief financial officer: Jonathan Percle Business manager: Adam Lagneaux Business associate: Lydia Spano Office coordinator: Debbie Lamonica Courier: Jim Wainwright Receptionist: Cathy Brown

[ CONTENTS] FROM THE SPONSORS ....................................6 LEGACIES OF SUCCESS...................................8 PROFILES OF SUCCESS.................................23

Annual Report celebrates the strength, innovation and leadership in the south Louisiana business community. The “profiles of success” collected here provide an inside look at top area businesses and organizations. We hope you enjoy learning about this year’s participants.

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF PROFILES (Information in the profiles was provided by the advertisers.)

Alvarez Construction Company............................... 10 Associated Grocers .............................................. 27 The Brighton School ............................................. 51 Byronz Restaurant Family ..................................... 56 CATS .................................................................. 47 City of Central ..................................................... 45 CORE Occupational Medicine ................................44 CP Hospitality, LLC .............................................. 61 Crime Stoppers of Baton Rouge ............................. 43 DEMCO .............................................................. 33 East Baton Rouge Parish Library............................ 23 EMCO................................................................. 42 Entergy Louisiana ................................................ 28 Envoc ................................................................. 52 First South Farm Credit ........................................ 37 Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University ....... 18 GraceHebert Architects ........................................ 14 Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, Inc. ............ 32 GreenSeasons...................................................... 60 Gulf Coast Office Products .................................... 25 Henry Insurance Service, Inc................................. 53 I CARE ............................................................... 26 Innovative Analytics ............................................. 46 Jani-Care Commercial Cleaning Service & Supply, Inc. .................................................. 12



Landmark Bank ................................................... 20 LaPorte’s Paint & Body, Inc................................... 35 Level Homes ....................................................... 36 Lewis Companies ................................................. 63 Louisiana Public Facilities Authority ....................... 31 LSU Alumni Association and The Cook Hotel & Conference Center .................. 58 MESH................................................................. 54 Michael Choate Associates, CPA ............................ 34 Mooyah ............................................................... 50 NHS Human Services, Inc. ................................... 38 Peters Wealth Advisors ......................................... 41 Port of Greater Baton Rouge .................................64 RoadRunner Towing & Recovery, Inc. ..................... 62 Rotolo’s Pizzeria..................................................... 8 Scheffy Construction, LLC .................................... 59 Sherwood Televisions and Appliances .....................48 SITECH Louisiana ................................................ 57 Southern University Law Center ............................. 16 Specialty Welding and Turnarounds – SWAT ............ 30 SSA Consultants .................................................. 49 UDB Financial ..................................................... 55 West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce .............. 40

PRODUCTION/DESIGN Production director: Melanie Samaha Art director: Hoa Vu Graphic designers: Tammi deGeneres, Melinda Gonzalez, Rachel Parker, Emily Witt AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Audience development coordinator: Kenna Maranto A publication of Louisiana Business Inc. Chairman: Rolfe H. McCollister Jr. President & CEO: Julio A. Melara Executive assistant: Millie Coon Subscriptions/Customer Service 9029 Jefferson Highway, Suite 300 Baton Rouge, LA 70809 225-421-8181 email: Volume 35 - Number 16

©Copyright 2017 by Louisiana Business Incorporated. All rights reserved by LBI. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report (USPS 721890 ISSN 0747-4652) is published biweekly by Louisiana Business Inc. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Business address: 9029 Jefferson Hwy., Ste. 300, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. Telephone (225) 928-1700. Periodicals postage is paid at Baton Rouge, La. Subscription rate is $65.00 (in-state) and $75.00 (out-of-state) for 26 issues, with 3 additional issues published annually in April, June and December. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, 9029 Jefferson Hwy. Ste. 300, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report cannot be responsible for the return of unsolicited material—manuscripts or photographs, with or without the inclusion of a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Information in this publication is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. No information expressed here constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities. | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



WORKING TOGETHER AGAIN WELL, ONCE AGAIN Mother Nature has tested our community, and we rose to the challenge and came together in so many ways to help each other out. We at Gulf Coast had several employees and many customers affected by the tragic flood, but we worked together to support each other any way we could. It is truly amazing to see how resilient people are and how they can come together in true times of need. I could not be prouder of our staff—and our community as a whole—as we work together to put the pieces back together. It has been another exciting year for us as we received the No. 1 in the nation business growth award from Savin and our great team has been recognized for a job well done. We have a very tenured staff and they take a tremendous pride in their role in taking care of clients. Our manufacturer contin-

ues to bring technology solutions to market that allow us to go to our clients with the latest and greatest solutions and products to run their businesses. We will continue to invest in our community, as our partnerships with LSU Athletics, ULL Athletics, and the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans continue, as well as various nonprofit organization work continues. Our 100 strong Louisiana employees will continue their commitment on a daily basis to our customers. We at Gulf Coast hope all of you have a prosperous 2017.

TREY BEALL President Gulf Coast Office Products

HERE TO HELP BUSINESSES COMPETE LIBRARY RENOVATIONS. Dynamic, technologically advanced facilities. A new branch under construction. Technological services. Expanded Digital Library offerings. More business meeting spaces. Career Center assistance. Small business workforce training. The nationally acclaimed East Baton Rouge Parish Library continues to increase services for the business community. Our resources deliver up-to-date training and new tech initiatives so local businesses’ employment needs are met at a level that helps them grow and compete globally. Branch renovations will incorporate features similar to the award-winning Main Library at Goodwood, and construction of a new, innovative River Center library is underway. It will offer outstanding resources, including robust computer and software



services/trainings, increased meeting spaces, a maker space, digital media studio, high-tech centers, business pods and much more. Baton Rouge is celebrating 200 years of progress. As we continue to expand our workforce development and emerging technology offerings, the Library also diligently strives to assist in the forward momentum of the city’s development. We will continue responding to your needs in working toward growth and development. Check us out at

SPENCER WATTS Library Director East Baton Rouge Parish Library


People ask us all the time why a bank would have an ice cream truck. You remember what it was like, when you knew something great was coming around the corner, and you held all the possibility of your money, right there in your hands. That’s why we have ice cream trucks, free financial seminars, the best banking teams in town—and put powerful banking technology right where it belongs: in our customers’ hands. - 225-923-0232

Made in Louisiana. Made for Louisiana. | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




FROM THE CEO For me, Rotolo’s Pizzeria was inevitable. It was the only thing I knew how to do. I’ve had two jobs in my life: cutting grass as a young boy and making pizza. After high school, I opted out of college and continued working to support my young son. Taking care of my family fueled my determination. I was never concerned about what I would do, I just didn’t know what it would be. I always believed that if I kept moving and working hard, and did the right thing, good things would happen. I stepped out on a limb and opened my own place as a 24-year-old. Of course, it had to be a pizza place—it was all I knew. When I first opened in Tigerland success followed pretty quickly. We became a mainstay for the LSU community. I figured Rotolo’s Pizzeria would hold me over for a few years until I could decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. As life progressed, the brand evolved, and I grew personally, it was time to dig in and make this my career. Even today, with 30-plus locations and hundreds of employees, every day is a grind at the office. I’ve never lost the grit that led me to open that first location. Our team is always digging in and working hard to grow the brand. I am looking forward to what the next 20 years hold for Rotolo’s.

Mitch Rotolo Founder and CEO

Mitch Rotolo


GROWING RESTAURANT BRAND HAS ROOTS IN THE HEART OF BATON ROUGE WHEN YOUNG MITCH Rotolo opened a friendly little pizza place near LSU’s campus in 1996, he never imagined how it would all pan out. Today, 32 Rotolo’s Pizzeria locations are spread out over four states, and the happy pizza pub that grew up on craft beer and scratch cooking is fired up for its next big adventure. “I can’t believe it’s been 21 years,” says Rotolo, now 45 years old, as his company prepares to usher in a new era with a trendy prototype store. The new flagship Rotolo’s Pizzeria will anchor a 16,000-square-foot retail development at the corner of Burbank Drive and Ben Hur Road. The new Rotolo’s will offer a bit more atmosphere and full table service, as well as the latest exciting trends in gourmet pizza and cuisine. It will be a tad more “upper crust” (pardon the pun). It will also continue to build upon the restaurant’s tradition of scratch food, interest-

ing beer and friendly service. Rotolo opened his original store in Tigerland, at the South Gates of LSU, in 1996, “when LSU football was just making a turnaround and Tigerland was the hip and the hot place to be.” He was 24 and had limited restaurant experience. “I had no money and no backing, but I got lucky,” Rotolo recalls. “What’s the saying? ’Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ That’s kind of what happened with me. “I was very fortunate in that we had great sales right out of the gate. I knew absolutely nothing about accounting, legal issues, regulation, taxes, insurance or any of those other things it takes to run a restaurant. But I was passionate about what I did, and everything else I learned on the job.“ The student-oriented Tigerland Rotolo’s was open until 3 a.m., seven days a week. “I worked all the time,”

1996 1996 Mitch opens first Rotolo’s

2005 2005 Plans are underway for expansion 2009 Rotolo’s becomes the official pizza of the New Orleans Saints



Rotolo recalls. Motivation was no problem for this natural-born go-getter who also had a young son counting on him. Now grown, Mitch Jr. is a Rotolo’s franchisee and holds a world record for tossing and rolling out five pizza crusts in 23.4 seconds. He also accompanied his father last year on a “culinary tour” to four major American cities to taste, observe and learn about the newest trends in pizza to get ready to open the Burbank store. The Burbank vibe will hearken back to Rotolo’s roots in Tigerland—“the original craft-and-crust pizza place, serving homemade pizza and craft beer before craft beer was cool—a neighborhood joint where people hung out and watched games and socialized.” Two decades later, Rotolo’s still makes food the way it did in 1996. “We still make all of our doughs from scratch in every restaurant,” Rotolo says. “Every location still hand-tosses

business, with restaurants opening this summer in Port Allen and Ruston in addition to the new location on Burbank. Not surprisingly, Rotolo’s has also branded into grocery stores with a retail line of four products: soup, pasta sauce and two salad dressings. “We are looking to grow that business as well,” Rotolo adds. “Our retail products are in 150 grocery stores, throughout southeast Louisiana. “ The company’s mission has expanded, too. In addition to food bursting with authentic flavor, Rotolo’s is now known for the work of its charitable foundation. The Rotolo’s Foundation was established in 2015 with the goal of enriching



every single pizza and calzone that every customer orders after they order it. We haven’t gone to the heat-andserve frozen model. We don’t have heat lamps storing food. All our salad dressings are homemade from our own recipes. We hand-cut our own fresh vegetables. We make our own pasta sauce. We make real food.” “Our method is a little time-consuming,” he admits, “but it’s an art form.” And the results are obvious, whether it’s the tasty pizza, pasta and salads, or sandwiches, soups and calzones. As Rotolo’s evolved, it added suburban Baton Rouge locations as well as franchises in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Rotolo hopes to continue growing the franchise





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and strengthening the lives of its community members and providing support, inspiration, and funding through outreach and special events. Prior to forming the foundation, the Rotolo’s family of restaurants already had a history of donating food and funds to local schools and organizations around the state. “We sponsor everything from high school bands to sports complexes,” Rotolo notes. One of Rotolo’s best-known projects is its famous cups. The sturdy, reusable, Mardi-Gras-type plastic cups with lids are popular collectibles, especially in Baton Rouge, where it’s not unusual to find Rotolo’s cups in everybody’s cabinets and offices. Noticing how much customers liked the cups, Rotolo’s began making specially printed cups for schools, sports teams and other organizations to sell as fundraisers. But fun with Rotolo’s cups doesn’t stop there. Every spring Rotolo’s sponsors a huge outreach program in each of its communities that helps thousands of schoolchildren grow and gift a tomato plant in a recycled Rotolo’s cup for Mother’s Day. Each April during National Recycling Month, the Rotolo’s cup buyback program offers customers free pizza in exchange for their used Rotolo’s cups. The buyback generates more than 10,000 recycled cups for the tomato plant project. “We go into the schools and use those cups in our Homegrown Love for Mom program,” Rotolo says. Each child is given a tomato plant to plant in




a Rotolo’s cup. The plants are ready to be taken home and gifted in time for Mother’s Day. The Rotolo’s Homegrown Love for Mom program helps educate kids about gardening, healthy eating and recycling. Children get to participate in a fun activity to create Mother’s Day gifts, and moms receive a gift they can share with their families. Each year, one participating school also receives a grant to start a school garden. “So you get recycling, education, a gift for Mom and brand awareness,” Rotolo says. “It’s a win-win for everyone.” It’s a great way for Rotolo’s to give back to the communities that built the brand, even as it looks toward the future. And Rotolo plans to enjoy every step of the journey. “It’s fun to watch a project grow, to open a store, to meet new staff, to try new things in the kitchen,” he says. “It’s really exciting to go into a new market and watch people experience our brand for the first time and see everyone embrace what we’ve done. It gives validation to all the work we’ve put in.” All the rest of the things the restaurant business has helped him do? You might say those are just the toppings on the pie.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Casual dining • TOP EXECUTIVES: Mitch Rotolo, Founder & CEO; Christina M. Bourg, VP; Jason Cook, Sr. Franchise Business Consultant; Glen Armantrout, COO • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 600+ • PHONE: 225.367.6400 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL:



2011 The first out of state Rotolo’s opens in Orange Beach, Alabama


2012 Expanded corporate headquarters opens on Millerville


2017 Rotolo’s to open new flagship location | ANNUAL REPORT 2017





Sebastian Alvarez, left, prepares for a meeting with Carlos Alvarez

At Alvarez Construction Co. we embody a positive, can-do attitude, and this mindset drives our production. Always planning ahead, our outlook is very bullish on new home construction in south Louisiana. We have a very strong 2017 housing forecast for new home construction, in part due to the economic growth surrounding the River Parishes. Alvarez Construction will bring to the market six new subdivisions this year for a combined total of 700 lots, and the next three years look even stronger. It is our continued commitment to provide quality new construction and value to our homeowners and fellow Louisianans. We appreciate the support and loyalty from our many customers, vendors, suppliers and partners. Thank you!

Carlos Alvarez President



LOCAL CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS IS LEGACY OF ONE MAN’S AMAZING LIFE IT’S EASY TO see that Alvarez Construction Company’s homes are beautiful and well-designed. But look closer and you will see something more: the American dream. Alvarez Construction, one of Louisiana’s largest production home builders, was founded in 1991 by Jairo Alvarez, a South American immigrant who first came to the United States with $100 and only a few English phrases under his belt. In an inspirational life of hard work, vision and courage, the late Jairo and his family built the company from the ground up. Today, their mark of excellence shines through in new home developments across a four-parish region. Alvarez Construction developments around Baton Rouge include Lexington Park, The Lakes at Jamestown, Coursey Cove and Jamestown Square. Two more—The Sanctuary at Juban


Crossing and The Willows at Bayou Fountain—are in the works. Alvarez Construction is also the exclusive builder for Deer Trail in Bedico Creek Preserve in St. Tammany Parish. The Grove at Ascension in Ascension Parish and Cella Gardens in Livingston Parish are also under construction. Groundbreaking on another Ascension project, Ironwood Estates, is expected this year. In addition to building hundreds of homes each year, this family-owned and operated business has helped raise millions for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other charities. The amazing story of Alvarez Construction begins with its largerthan-life founder, Jairo Alvarez, who first learned hard work and perseverance growing up on a farm in Colombia. As a very young man, he joined the Colombian military, eventually becoming a member of the Presidential Guard.




1995 1999 St. Jude Dream Home first built by Alvarez Construction

1984 Alvarez family moves to United States

1981 First residential construction project (in Colombia, South America)

After helping to thwart a coup against the country’s democratically elected president, his life was threatened and he fled to the United States in the cargo hold of a military plane. Joining his brother in Albany, New York, he knew almost no English and arrived with $100 to his name. Taking menial jobs to survive, he eventually graduated from business school. He returned to Colombia, where he met his wife, Anita, and began raising a family. He was in the process of building his family’s first home in Colombia when a stranger offered to buy the unfinished house, and Alvarez Construction was born. In the 1980s, unrest in his native country again led Alvarez to America, this time to Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, the oil industry bust of the 1980s was in full swing, and the housing market was in shambles. Instead of going into the homebuilding industry, Jairo opened a local yogurt shop, Umbrellas. When the

1991 Completed first residential construction in Baton Rouge


Youngest son Sebastian is an LSU graduate in landscape architecture and oversees land development, costs and subdivision infrastructure for the company. Now housed in a new office at the entrance to the Jamestown development, the Alvarez family and staff still believe in hard work, ensuring that customers continue to enjoy the quality that their homes are known for. Many touches and finishes that would be considered an upgrade by other homebuilders come standard. All of the garden homes of Lexington Park, for example, include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, crown molding, double-paned windows, lighting packages and engineered wood floors. Oftentimes, a customer who buys one home in an Alvarez development will intentionally seek out another Alvarezbuilt home when they are ready to relocate. Thanks to the company’s affiliation with the best engineering firms, not one home built by Alvarez Construction took on water during last year’s historic flood—a point of pride for the homebuilder and the family behind it. Another point of pride is the company’s dedication to children’s causes. For


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market changed again and Umbrellas closed, Jairo, at the age of 52, decided to become a homebuilder. With only one spec home, he devoted himself to learning the industry. By the time Jairo passed away unexpectedly in 2013, his family-owned business had become one of the largest building and development companies in Louisiana. Today Jairo’s legacy continues through his wife, Anita, and children, Carlos, Ana and Sebastian. Each family member plays a meaningful role in the day-to-day operations of the company. Eldest son Carlos, an energetic, intelligent and articulate businessman, is the president of Alvarez Construction. He is in charge of building and sales. He graduated from Louisiana State University in business administration and has played an integral role in the company’s success to date. Carlos has been named the No. 1 RE/MAX agent in Louisiana for the past nine years and one of the top 50 RE/MAX agents in the country for several years running. Daughter Ana Marcela AlvarezTanner, who graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University, is in charge of accounting, bookkeeping and staff.





the last 18 years, Alvarez Construction has been the official builder of the Baton Rouge St. Jude Dream Home. The giving legacy of founder Jairo Alvarez continues today through the donations of countless contractors, suppliers and volunteers. Over the years, Alvarez Construction and its partners have raised $18,034,170 to fund and support the work of the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Ana Marcela



Alvarez-Tanner is a member of the planning committee for the Baton Rouge St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer and leads the team for the St. Jude Dream Home Construction. At the same time, the Alvarez family carries on the work begun by their beloved patriarch. Jairo, an avid cyclist, founded the No Such Thing as Impossible Bike Ride benefiting Wheels to Succeed, an organization which provides specially adapted bicycles for physically disabled children. This annual bike ride is a philanthropic project of Sebastian Alvarez, who is a board member for McMains Children’s Developmental Center. Sebastian also serves on the board of the Baton Rouge Growth Coalition, which advocates for a healthy business environment for all Baton Rouge land development and real estate companies. There is no doubt that Alvarez Construction Company is an American success story—or that Jairo Alvarez’s incredible life has left a lasting mark on Louisiana.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: New home construction & development • TOP EXECUTIVES: Carlos Alvarez, Ana Alvarez Tanner, Sebastian Alvarez NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 29 • PHONE: 225.293.4545 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL:


2005 Exclusively built subdivision premiered in Baton Rouge


2007 Jamestown at Old Perkins land development and planned residential community


2015 2014 Alvarez Construction Co. expands community developments to multiple parishes in Louisiana | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




FROM THE CEO With some 31 years of service to Baton Rouge and the surrounding area, we are proud of our longevity, expansion, commitment to excellence and impact on the community. From our meager beginnings (me and my personal vehicle) to a fleet of 20 vehicles, a warehouse, and a retail inventory of green and commercially approved products, and a staff of 200 well-qualified, trained and supervised employees, has been a long journey. A “homegrown,” family-oriented philosophy has given Jani-Care its success in the commercial cleaning industry. As I reminisce and look back in retrospect over the last 31 years of my career, I realize I am lucky to really enjoy my work. I will continue to take pride in providing personalized, dependable service to my clients. Jani-Care will maintain its place as one of the best in the commercial cleaning, supply and service business. Again, thank you Baton Rouge and surrounding area for allowing me to clean Louisiana one building at a time. It is my sincere desire to continue doing so for another 31 years. Being “homegrown” is always better.

Daniel Bonfiglio President & CEO



FROM CUSTOMER SERVICE TO TECHNOLOGY, HOMEGROWN CLEANING BUSINESS FINDS A MODEL THAT WORKS IT STARTED IN the family, and it has grown because of that very same word: family. Jani-Care Commercial Cleaning Service & Supply Inc. was founded in 1986, and current owner and President Daniel Bonfiglio purchased it from his mother a short time later. He says he has relied on personal service and a dedication to professionalism ever since to grow the business from a one-person operation to more than 250 employees, each of whom he considers family. Bonfiglio says he likes to think of Jani-Care as a “big little company.” “We’re homegrown,” he says. “We’re not a big franchise, but we’re big enough to handle any job and yet still small enough to care.” In other words, Jani-Care is large enough to take care of your commercial cleaning needs, yet still small enough to offer personal, customized service with each and every job they do. Jani-Care’s mission is “to clean Louisiana one


building at a time” by providing unsurpassed, industry-approved commercial cleaning, residential floor care, and retailing supplies and equipment to the greater Baton Rouge area. The company has done so for the past 31 years by cleaning airports, car dealerships, businesses and schools. It cleans everything from gym equipment to the windows on high-rise buildings to desks in one-man offices, taking care of vacuuming, dusting, the restocking of products, carpet cleaning, and the stripping and waxing of floors. Bonfiglio says Jani-Care’s success lies in its attention to detail and customer service. “In our business we are always going to come across challenges,” he says. “How we address those challenges and how quickly is what sets us apart. We strive for prompt customer service and prompt response time. You have to have that personal service to succeed.”


1988 Danny purchased Jani-Kare Janitorial Service from Jane Lange, his mother

1986 Jane Lange opened Jani-Kare Janitorial Service in Baton Rouge 12


1991 Danny committed to working full time and acquired facility space and delivery van

Which is why each contract with Jani-Care is customized based on the customer’s specific needs and wants. When companies sign a contract with Jani-Care, they can rest easy knowing the employees walking into their building have been carefully pre-screened, have cleared an extensive national criminal background check, have submitted to pre-employment and random drug testing, and continually receive on-the-job training. “Our employees receive intensified on-the-job training using industry-approved protocol and commercial lab-tested products and equipment,” Bonfiglio says. “Our service technicians have been introduced to the latest and most innovative approaches to cleaning, and all of our floor specialists are well-versed in the application of chemicals and the operations of the machine.” Crews are assigned the same jobs each week and go out in a licensed


1992 Danny purchased his first 3,000-sq.-ft. office/warehouse space and began selling janitorial supplies and paper products


them to strive for perfection. Of course, we’ll never achieve perfection, but it’s still a goal we strive toward for our customers.” In addition to its cleaning services, Jani-Care is also an authorized distributor of a full line of janitorial supplies, paper products and commercial floor care equipment. Customers are given the option to purchase these products from Jani-Care, enabling them to save money by purchasing direct. Best of all, the products—which range from toilet paper to paper towels to liquid soap to foam soap to trash bag liners—can be ordered online. Whether it be offering an online ordering system for building supplies


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Jani-Care vehicle with a supervisor. In addition, each member of the team wears a Jani-Care uniform and badge ID at all times. More recently, GPS systems have been added to the Jani-Care vehicles, only furthering the efficiency with which customers can be served. Most importantly, Jani-Care is insured with commercial liability and property insurance so all property is safeguarded and protected. “Over the years we’ve come up with quality control expectations where we rate buildings and rate our employees,” Bonfiglio explains. “We reward our cleaners for their efficiency and high marks on evaluations. We offer different incentives for them to succeed, pushing





or attending the yearly Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association conference hosted by International Sanitary Supply Association, to find the next best machine, Jani-Care is continually on the hunt for ways to better serve its customers. The company also recently installed a computer system for tracking employee work hours via an automatic call-in and call-out timekeeping feature with caller ID. By staying abreast of the latest industry trends, technologies and tools, Bonfiglio says, Jani-Care is able to clean better, faster and more efficiently. The latest technology he’s brought to the company is an innovative touchless system for cleaning large, multi-stall



bathrooms, such as those in municipal buildings, schools, airports and stadiums. The machine, a pressure washer that interjects chemicals that clean, sanitize and disinfect, was just one of the many machines displayed at the yearly Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association conference. (The event also offers education and networking opportunities that have helped Jani-Care streamline its cleaning processes.) Jani-Care has been a member of the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) since 1991. By focusing his business model on customer service, Bonfiglio gradually grew his customer base. By 1990, only a few short years after purchasing the business, Bonfiglio quit his full-time job in sales to focus on what was then called “Jani-Kare.” In 2006 the company refreshed its logo and officially changed its name to Jani-Care. This was also the year it purchased its third and largest building, located just off of Industriplex Boulevard in Baton Rouge, which houses its current location. The facility is one of the finest commercial cleaning service buildings in the state of Louisiana, Bonfiglio says. Throughout the years of growth and change, Bonfiglio’s personal commitment to customer satisfaction has remained the backbone of the business. The management team and the rest of the workforce are all instilled with the same commitment to excellence. “I sincerely thank the Baton Rouge community for trusting Jani-Care for the past 31 years,” Bonfiglio says. “I look forward to another 31.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Commercial cleaning service and janitorial supplies • TOP EXECUTIVE: Danny Bonfiglio PHONE: 225.751.CARE • WEBSITE: • EMAIL:


1995 Due to growth, Danny purchased a 10,000-sq.-ft. space and began to grow a fleet of service vehicles


2015 2006 Changed the name from Jani-Kare Janitorial Service to Jani-Care Commercial Cleaning Service & Supply Inc., revamped the logo, and purchased the 13,000-sq.-ft. building that remains current location


2017 Celebrated 31 years of service to Baton Rouge community with the mission to “clean Louisiana one building at a time” | ANNUAL REPORT 2017





Cajun Industries Office Expansion

L to R: Adam Fishbein, Kriste Rigby, President Jerry Hebert and David Hebert


Lee Magnet High School

LSU Student Recreation Center

St. George Catholic Church


1967 Inception of the firm



ARCHITECTURE FIRM LEVERAGES TECHNOLOGY TO OFFER CLIENT-CENTERED DESIGN GRACEHEBERT ARCHITECTS brings projects to life with holistic, immersive design. The firm, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, has long been an industry innovator, adapting to the ever-changing architectural landscape and seamlessly integrating emerging technologies. Established in 1967, GraceHebert provides architecture, interior architectural design, programming and master planning services for a variety of industries. The firm has offices in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and serves the southern United States from Arizona to Florida. Using state-of-the-art 3D modeling— as opposed to typical two-dimensional renderings—GraceHebert Architects has revolutionized the client experience. While embracing innovation at every level, the company has remained faithful to its collaborative and client-centered philosophy.



“We’re a client-focused company, so we really engage our clients in the design side,” says Jerry Hebert, president of GraceHebert Architects. “We’ve engaged technology at a whole different level to create a process that is different from anyone else’s.” Through design technology available in GraceHebert’s one-of-a-kind Building Information Modeling (BIM) Lab, the team develops virtual 3D models that effectively immerse clients in their future facilities. The holistic, immersive design process also identifies design conflicts or challenges before construction. This minimizes the impact on a project’s construction timeline and budget while also enhancing client collaboration and satisfaction. “We’re able to create their vision and show it to the client virtually,” says Partner Adam Fishbein. “They experience what they’re getting, down to


1994 Russel Long Federal Building & Courthouse (JV), the firm’s first large-scale project

the colors and finishes. They can confirm that we have captured their ideas before it’s built. There’s a level of comfort in being able to do that.” Allowing clients to virtually step inside a design in progress results in a better final product and increased client confidence, according to Hebert. As proof, approximately 70% of the company’s clientele represents repeat business. “With holistic, immersive design, our clients think about their projects in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise,” he says. “Whether they’re investing in a restroom expansion or Alex Box Stadium, the BIM Lab is a powerful tool.” Approaching a project holistically also includes integrating interior design from the outset. “Our interior designers work handin-hand with our architects from the beginning,” says Partner Kriste Rigby.



2006 Significant firm growth due to client need post-Hurricane Katrina



ects include the award-winning Cajun Industries office expansion, the new St. George Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, LSU’s top-ranked Alex Box Stadium and an expansion of the LSU Student Recreation Center that inspires personal health and wellness. The firm’s design of the new Lee High School, a 21st-century prototype school that supports project-based learning, illustrates the broad impact of GraceHebert’s work. “Lee High School is a game changer in this community. It’s the first true 21st-century high school in Louisiana,” Jerry Hebert says. “Every space is a technology-rich, collaborative space. It has the opportunity to change the face of education in our community.” Even after 50 years of success


50 Y E AR S

In 2009 the firm moved its headquarters into the Causey Antiques Building in downtown Baton Rouge.

“We look at all facets of the project, inside-out as well as outside-in, so our clients’ needs are met from every perspective.” Partner David Hebert adds that 3D modeling can also help support fundraising efforts for capital projects, ensuring broader client and community buy-in. “Fundraising is often all about the visual,” he says. “If we can show our clients what they’re going to get, we can provide them with ammunition to help them reach their goals.” GraceHebert specializes in K-12, corporate, ecclesiastical, interiors, health care and criminal justice design, with a portfolio that includes everything from state-of-the-art hospitals to secure courthouses. The firm’s recent proj-





designing facilities that enhance community life, GraceHebert isn’t resting on its laurels. The firm currently plans to expand over the next five years. “We want to be a regional powerhouse,” Hebert says. “Our process is unique and engaging, so if we can take it to other locations in the Southeast with the right partners, it will enhance our regional diversity.” Despite its plans for expansion, however, the firm remains rooted in Baton Rouge, where its headquarters are located in a renovated historic downtown building. “We work with the business community, parishioners, K-12, Southern University and LSU, and health care,” says Fishbein. “Our engagement is not strictly a single vertical—we have a very broad-based



practice that is deeply involved in the Baton Rouge community.” Strong leadership and a talented staff can be credited for that involvement as well as for the company’s overall success. “We’ve hired young architects and interior designers with incredible skills, and we’ve got a knowledgeable staff with great longevity. People come here and stay here,” Hebert says. “Our staff is constantly pushing the envelope and trying to improve outcomes—that’s second nature to us. “It takes technology to do what we do,” Hebert continues. “But it also takes people to use that technology and to care deeply about the projects delivered.”


TOP EXECUTIVES: Jerry Hebert, Adam Fishbein, Kriste Rigby and David Hebert • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 30 PHONE: 225.338.5569 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK:







Present Holistic immersive design process

2007 Implementation of 3D modeling with integrated architecture and interior design

2010 Firm expands into New Orleans | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




FROM THE CHANCELLOR As Southern University Law Center celebrates 70 years of access and opportunity for law students in the most diverse law school in the state of Louisiana, we welcome our alumni, friends, students and faculty to join us in recognizing the achievements of all who have contributed to the SULC legacy. Last fall we expanded our presence by offering classes in downtown Baton Rouge, and we continue to provide innovative learning opportunities that meet our students where they are. While our history started with the exclusion of Charles Hatfield III from legal education, 70 years later we celebrate the inclusion of people from all walks of life who are leaders as students, scholars and legal practitioners. Our students provide community service through free legal services to low-income members of the local community in one of our eight clinics and they volunteer in local schools and community events throughout Baton Rouge. Over 3,000 alumni of SULC are connected by their experience and devotion to the seriousness of purpose they live each day in their careers. We look forward to shaping the generations of lawyer leaders to come.

John K. Pierre Chancellor


1946 Lawsuit brought by Charles Hatfield III, seeking to attend law school at a state institution 16


Marlon Harrison (left) and Michael Harrison (right)


SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER CELEBRATES 70 YEARS OF PROVIDING TRANSFORMATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES IT BEGAN WITH a simple three-paragraph letter—dated Jan. 10, 1946—from Charles Hatfield III to then-dean of Louisiana State University School of Law Paul M. Hebert, in which Hatfield sought admission. At the time, Plessy v. Ferguson—a landmark case of the United States Supreme Court—was the law of the land, upholding segregation within public institutions. Under the U.S. Constitution, segregation did not constitute discrimination. In his letter declining Hatfield’s request, Hebert referred him to Southern University, the principal state university for AfricanAmericans, which had no law school at the time. “Southern University Law Center was established because of the courageous act of Charles Hatfield III in challenging the status quo and the legal system that existed at that time under separate but equal,” said John K. Pierre, chancellor of Southern University Law Center.


“When he sent that letter, the Plessy v. Ferguson decision had reached its 50th anniversary. Hatfield had an uncanny sense of timing. Everything he did was purposeful, calculated, audacious, and courageous.” While Hatfield was unsuccessful at gaining entry to LSU Law School, his actions paved the way for AfricanAmericans and others to seek legal education at Southern University Law Center, which was established by the Louisiana State Board of Education in 1947 as Southern School of Law. “What he did was create an institution with a legacy of access and opportunity that has lasted seven decades,” said Pierre, while reflecting on SULC’s 70th anniversary this year. Since its founding, the institution has “continued to evolve as a place that promotes access, opportunity, diversity and excellence that really has been transformational for all graduates and

also for the State of Louisiana,” according to Pierre. Redesignated as Southern University Law Center in 1985, today the school consistently ranks among the most diverse law schools in the country. Additionally, SULC ranks highly for providing the best opportunities for women and nontraditional students seeking legal education. With a current enrollment of 531 students, SULC offers part-time day, part-time evening and full-time legal education. Three degree programs are available, including juris doctor, juris doctor/Master of Public Administration and juris doctor/Master of Business Administration. The dual degree of J.D./M.B.A. is a one-year-old program, created after a student simultaneously completed both degree programs separately. One faculty member says SULC “produces the people’s lawyers,” as evi-


Sept. 1, 1947 Opened to provide legal education for African-American students as Southern School of Law

May 1950 First graduating class: Alex Pitcher, Leroy White, Ellison Dyson, Jesse Stone, and Alvin Jones

1970 1969 First Caucasian student admitted (Eugene Cicardo)


John K. Pierre

SULC’s alumni base of over 3,000 is diverse and far-reaching. Two alumnae are practicing in Canada and alumna Annette Eddie-Callagain is the island of Okinawa’s only licensed private practice attorney. Other notable SULC alumni include attorney and media personality Faith Jenkins, who presides over the court television show Judge Faith; Claire BabineauxFontenot, executive vice president and treasurer of Walmart; the youngest judge ever elected in Alabama, Briana Westry-Robinson, who serves in Wilcox County; Erin Monroe Wesley, special counsel to Gov. John Bel Edwards; Murphy James “Mike” Foster Jr., 53rd governor of Louisiana; and Tony Clayton, special prosecutor in the case of notorious Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. Currently, 15 members of the Louisiana Legislature are SULC alumni. Pierre speaks proudly of these graduates, citing their “serious-


70 Y E AR S 19

denced by the number of graduates in government service. “The model of lawyer leader is very important,” Pierre says. “Many alums not only go into government service, but they also become elected in various public functions.” Examples include former East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden and current District Attorney Hillar Moore. Highlighting SULC’s highest percentage of district attorney staff in the state, Chancellor Pierre cites Bridget Dinvaut of St. John the Baptist Parish, the first African-American female to be elected district attorney in Louisiana. SULC alumnus Richard Ward currently serves as district attorney of the 18th Judicial District. Louisiana’s first AfricanAmerican elected to the office of district attorney, the late Charles Shropshire, another SULC alumnus, served East and West Feliciana parishes from 1996-2002.





ness of purpose,” a value coveted at the law center. Despite the national decline in number of law school applicants over the last several years and a commensurate increase in the number of American Bar Association-accredited law schools, legal education remains a highly competitive field. In recruiting prospective students, SULC employs a “one-at-atime” approach, touting the institution’s numerous internship opportunities that yield “practice-ready” graduates, and its methodology-based legislative drafting program. SULC’s students gain practical knowledge through service as interns. A partnership with the Peggy Browning Fund enables 10-week internships for students to train as labor or worker rights advocates. Through its Public Interest Law Fellowship, SULC students are encouraged to volunteer. Former Texas senator Rodney Ellis,



now a county commissioner, founded the Texas Legislative Internship Program through which students work as legislative aides in the Texas Legislature. SULC students also serve as interns with the Innocence Project, the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families, AARP, the Appleseed Foundation, Catholic Charities and many other private companies and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Students have also been instrumental in Flood Proof, an initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Baton Rouge Area Foundation that enables homeowners to gain clear property titles to flood-damaged homes so they qualify for federal relief following the August 2016 flooding. SULC’s legislative drafting program focuses on a methodology-based approach to writing laws and is the only one of its kind in the country, according to Pierre. Through the program students recently participated in a research report commissioned by the U.S. Association of Track and Field to change organizational policy as well as state and national laws regarding circle of trust crimes against children. In celebration of SULC’s 70th anniversary—the same year as the Baton Rouge bicentennial—Pierre reflects on the institution’s storied history. In May, Paul M. Hebert’s great-grandson will graduate from Southern University Law Center. “Mr. Hebert was in the tough position of carrying out the law that existed at the time. That his great-grandson will graduate from Southern University Law Center reveals how much progress we’ve made. It really encapsulates the story,” Pierre said.


WEBSITE: • PHONE: 225.771.2552 • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @SouthernULaw


1974-1975 Established Law Review and Clinical Legal Education Program (providing legal services to indigent and lowincome clients)


1985 Redesignated as Southern University Law Center

1986 Alumni file Clark v. Roemer, landmark case that challenged Louisiana judicial elections


1996 On its 50th anniversary, Vice President Al Gore visited Southern University Law Center to honor Charles Hatfield III

2010 2004 Established part-time evening program opening legal education to those with full-time jobs | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




FROM THE PRESIDENT An iconic moment in the life of St. Francis has him praying in the dilapidated church at San Damiano. It was there that Francis heard God’s call, and it was Francis’ response to God’s call that launched the Franciscan movement more than 800 years ago. Fast forward to the early 1900s when six determined Sisters—our Founders, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady—left their homeland forever in order to serve those most in need. Like their predecessors, today’s Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady are courageous and dedicated servants who continue to listen for how God is calling them to respond to the needs of His people. The Sisters’ tradition of responsiveness has resulted in the steady growth of Our Lady of the Lake College, and on Oct. 4, 2016, they announced that the institution will be renamed Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. Like our Founders, our University will continue to adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of God’s people. However, as we look to the future, we must also keep a firm hand on our past, because it is our strong, faith-filled history that is the foundation upon which our University is built.

Tina S. Holland, Ph.D. President


1923 Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing established by the FMOL to support new sanitarium 18



HEALTH CARE EDUCATION TAKES A STEP FORWARD IN THE HEART OF BATON ROUGE SINCE ITS INCEPTION more than 90 years ago, Our Lady of the Lake College has been known for both its academics and its emphasis on service. Today, officials are optimistic about the school’s future as it transitions into a university, aptly named Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. The University’s roots go back to 1923, when the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady established a nursing school in conjunction with the creation of Our Lady of the Lake Sanitarium in the Capitol Lake area of downtown Baton Rouge—the predecessor of the medical center that is now located on Essen Lane. The school evolved over the decades to incorporate advances in the nursing profession and ultimately became Our Lady of the Lake College in the 1990s. Further expansion of programs in the non-nursing health professions and the liberal arts and sciences at the associ-

1960s 1960s To meet a nursing shortage, School of Nursing is first in South to condense nursing curriculum while maintaining excellence

ate, baccalaureate and graduate level, and more recently at the doctoral level, has prompted the College to adopt a name change that reflects the evolution of the programs now being offered at the institution. In addition, the change to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University honors both the ministry’s founding sisters and its Franciscan values, as expressed through the education and formation of its students. Curricula in all academic disciplines emphasizes Franciscan formation—a philosophy that emphasizes the value of service—a distinct experience for graduates, especially beneficial to those seeking preparation for health care professions. “There are a number of reasons why we are excited to announce a new name that recognizes our institutional maturity… our university status,” says Dr. Tina Holland, university president. “But I am most excited about the


1970s In addition to welcoming first male nursing students, school moved with the hospital to current Essen Lane location

opportunity to declare the proud heritage entrusted to us by our Sisters, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Our new name is a clear reflection of our commitment to enhance our Franciscan identity. Another important impetus for the new name is that the first cohort of students will graduate with Doctor of Nursing Practice-Nurse Anesthesia degrees in December of 2017, ” she adds. In addition to this new doctoral program, students can choose from 10 undergraduate programs, five master’s programs and a certificate in phlebotomy, with programs offered both on-campus and online. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University—the only Franciscan institution of higher education in the southeastern United States—is organized into three comprehensive schools: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Health Professions and the School of Nursing.

1990s 1990s Accredited to offer associate and baccalaureate degrees, school changes name to Our Lady of the Lake College


within each discipline—for example, nurses learned with nurses. But it is clear that today’s health care providers need to understand the capabilities and limitations of other professionals, and be able to coordinate and deliver team-based care. So, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University has answered that call by adding an interdisciplinary clinical simulation to our curriculum,” says Holland. “This means that a scenario that starts with nursing students in a simulated hospital room may also require respiratory therapy or radiologic technology students to be called in, or a case in the simulated birthing suite might need clinical laboratory science students to run emergency lab work. Our goal is to foster interdisciplinary learning that will improve our students’ critical-thinking and applied-thinking skills, and also reduce their errors in a clinical context,” she says. “The result is that we produce well-prepared graduates who are ready on day one to care for their patients as part of a health care team.” Comprised of multiple labs that imitate various clinical settings, the SETH’s seven simulation rooms include a clinic


94 Y E AR S 19

Currently, enrollment is 1,400 students, and the University has more than 80 full-time faculty members. “Many of our professors have worked in the medical field prior to coming to the University and are eager to share their professional wisdom with our students,” says Enrollment Counselor Tyler Trahan. “That’s just one of the advantages in attending a health care-focused university where training is specific to your chosen field, such as nursing, physical therapy and radiologic technology.” Students also benefit from being surrounded by others studying in health professions and being able to share interdisciplinary, state-of-theart educational environments such as the Simulated Environment Teaching Hospital—or simply, the SETH. The SETH is a clinical simulation lab where students practice their clinical skills and interprofessional collaboration in a safe, controlled environment, using life-like mannequins and standardized patients (volunteers trained to mimic a real patient). “In the past, traditional models of health education led to a siloed approach where skills were learned





exam room, a birthing suite, an intensive care unit (ICU), a medication room and a pediatric and medical surgical room. There is also a mental health unit that can be transitioned and utilized as a community health environment. The SETH also includes a multipurpose room that can be used as a debriefing room or even a small emergency room. Last spring, in collaboration with local disaster preparation experts, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University held a campuswide disaster simulation around a scenario of terrorist activity on a city bus; another disaster simulation is planned for May 2017. In keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, the University is devoted both to academic excellence and service to the community and welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds. Service-learning—an educational experience in which students learn from and reflect upon participation in meaningful community service— is required of all students, reflecting the University’s Franciscan values. Service-learning is successfully used at the University in both traditional and clinically based classroom settings and has become a nationally recognized



cornerstone of the curriculum. During the 2015-2016 academic year, students enrolled in service learning courses provided 28,391 hours of service to the community. The University was also named by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Carnegie Engaged Campus. In addition to this prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification, the University has been named eight times to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. And since 2012, the University has earned the enhanced “With Distinction,” an honor bestowed on only 120 colleges and universities in the nation. “Our students are actually serving in the community, but in a way that is fundamentally related to their coursework. If you’re a nursing student and enrolled in a community nursing course, then you’re out in the community facilitating a need and meeting a requirement for your course at the same time,” says Rebecca Cannon, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. The University also works with more than 130 community partners in the greater Baton Rouge area. Trahan says students often discover new areas of interest and sometimes end up getting jobs at the places where they complete service-learning coursework. “A huge benefit that comes from community service and working with our community partners is that students are able to learn more about themselves and their calling in life,” he says. “That’s the beauty of an authentic Franciscan University experience, and that’s what sets us apart from the rest.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Higher education • TOP EXECUTIVE: Tina S. Holland, Ph.D. ENROLLMENT: 1,400 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1923 • PHONE: 225.768.1700 • WEBSITE: • FACEBOOK:

2000s 2000s New millennium brings further development of clinical and liberal arts programs, accreditation for first graduate programs

2009 2009 Office of Service-Learning established, college expands classroom-related service and extracurricular civic engagement


2016 Sisters announce new name, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




FROM THE CEO In 1897 a group of East Feliciana community leaders was granted a State Banking Charter to be named Clinton Bank & Trust Company and capitalized in the amount of $15,000. The bank, domiciled in Clinton, Louisiana, was locally owned and operated with a primary purpose of serving the financial needs of the residents of East Feliciana Parish.


And now, 120 years later, our bank, having changed its name in 2005 to Landmark Bank, continues to be locally owned and operated with the same banking principles of our founders. Landmark Bank’s current asset size is more than $116,000,000. Over the years we have expanded our footprint to include offices in Zachary and Greensburg, and we continue to offer state-of-the-art products, services and community service. In spite of the many changes in the banking industry, Landmark Bank continues to be guided by our founders’ initial premise: “take good care of your customers and community.” We invite you to stop by any of our locations and experience the Landmark Bank difference.

Thomas B. Legleu President & CEO Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender


COMMUNITY AND FAMILY STILL COME FIRST AT 120-YEAR-OLD BANK THOMAS B. LEGLEU joined Clinton Bank & Trust, now Landmark Bank, in 1989 as chief operating officer. In those days, banking was done mainly in person, with customers visiting a branch to make a deposit or take out a loan. Visits often concluded with a shared cup of coffee and a handshake. Now serving as president and CEO, Legleu maintains his commitment to personalized customer service but also realizes that some customers prefer to bank by phone or computer these days. “Technology and regulations have driven many of the changes we’ve experienced in our industry in the past 40 years and caused us to work smarter, invest more in cyber secu-



Nov. 8, 1897 Clinton Bank and Trust Company established



rity and require more expertise in terms of staffing,” he says. Customers now represent multiple generations, from baby boomers to millennials, and all require a different quality of service. For the younger generation, being at the forefront of tech-

1950 1955 Clinton Bank and Trust Company opened a new “stateof-the-art” banking facility

nology and offering things like online banking, a mobile app and bill pay are key. Some baby boomers still want that cup of coffee and a handshake. “Working for a community bank is so different,” says Legleu. “Locally owned and operated, as a community banker you’re a banker 24/7 because you know most of your customers, and customers know who we are. We know their generation of families.” Ben Cavin was recently promoted to senior vice president and worked his way up over the past four years—from loan officer to branch manager and eventually executive management. He says regulatory changes have caused managers to think both technologically and strategically,


1983 Clinton Bank and Trust Company moved to its current facility with a unique courtyard drive-thru


while revamped systems and processes have focused on digitalization and staff training. “With the advent of regulatory issues, that’s where we have really emphasized how we deal with our customers,” he says. “We recognize 100% that our niche is as a community bank. Our central message is community and family first.” That emphasis on community service is ingrained in Landmark Bank’s history. Cavin, who served on the board of the Zachary Chamber of Commerce and is a sitting member of the Zachary City Council, says investing in the community is an important way the bank can grow and stay viable among the competition.











Legleu adds that Landmark also supports local churches, Zachary Rotary Club, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, both East Feliciana and Zachary chambers of commerce and the Boy Scouts. “We try to reach out and touch all the community organizations we can,” he says. Celebrating its 120th anniversary and now with three full-service locations in Clinton, Zachary and Greensburg, Landmark Bank wants to be a one-stop financial center for its customers. “We strive to meet all the needs of each and every customer that comes through our door,” says Legleu. “We’re not the biggest bank, but we think we give the best service.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Banking • BRANCHES: Clinton, Zachary and Greensburg • PHONE: 225.683.3371 • WEBSITE:





2005 Clinton Bank and Trust Company changed its name to Landmark Bank 1999 Clinton Bank and Trust Company opened a full-service branch in Zachary

2011 Landmark Bank opened a fullservice branch in Greensburg | ANNUAL REPORT 2017


Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Louisiana Business, Inc. 2017. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329


OVER THE LAST 200 YEARS. Your Library is the place to learn about our history and to look forward to our future.


on-demand professional

development training

225.231.3750   |   TEXT A LIBRARIAN: 225.361.8476   |   EREF@EBRPL.COM  |   EBRPL.COM





[ E A ST


EXPLORE THE RED STICK’S ATTIC—AND A WHOLE LOT MORE BATON ROUGE IS celebrating its bicentennial this year, and our parish libraries are joining in the party. With a full year of events, lectures and exhibits planned to celebrate the Red Stick’s 200th birthday, the bicentennial is just one more reason to stop in to your local branch. “The intent is a whole year of focus on Baton Rouge,” says Assistant Library Director Mary Stein, who, as a member of the Bicentennial Committee, encourages all parish groups, businesses and organizations to “shine a little light on Baton Rouge” by incorporating a tribute to our city’s history in branding and events this year. “Put a tidbit in your newsletter, put a sticker on your business door. If you’re already doing a fun run, make it a red one! If you want a yard sign, or a logo to put on plastic bags at your grocery store, we can hook you up,” she says. The library system, now three years settled into its breathtaking new Goodwood location, has a 12,000-square-foot room on the second floor dedicated entirely to preserving the Capital City’s rich history. Aptly named the Baton Rouge Room, the walk-in suite is a snapshot of life from regular people who have lived and died in this city. The Library accepts donated memorabilia–things one might find when cleaning out a relative’s home or an old landmark building, that should be preserved. “There are military uniforms from Baton Rougeans who served in various wars. Football


trophies. School yearbooks—over 800. Headpieces and costumes from the Mardi Gras Krewe of Apollo. A postcard collection from the 1940s. Oral histories,” Stein says. “It’s not just what the mayor did or about the president of a company—it’s a slice of life from regular people,” she says. “It’s Baton Rouge’s attic.” Aside from the birthday celebration and organizing collectibles for the Baton Rouge Room, the Library keeps adding more (astonishingly) free and useful services both online and in the branches, making a library card just about the coolest piece of plastic for a local wallet to have. The Qello app, exclusively free through the Library, allows streaming

on-demand concerts in 30 genres. “You don’t just hear it, you see the concert,” says Stein. And some of those concerts date back 90 years. They’ve recently streamed a Beyonce concert, a ballet and, during the holidays, Pentatonix, in the plaza, and passersby often would stop and sit, mesmerized. The Qello app allows for streaming on your big screen at home, as well as on your iPhone or tablet. Cardholders can also take advantage of free downloadable tunes through Freegal Music and play video games on OnePlay. But it’s not all fun and games. The library system has also been beefing up its business resources, both print and online. There are many things that

are specifically designed to help small businesses that lack a lot of resources of their own, Stein says, and others that are useful regardless of whether your company is Fortune 500 or mom-andpop. Mergent Intellect and Reference USA are two such tools, providing comprehensive databases, financial reports and consumer information— things companies usually pay big bucks for. The Digital Library also includes several small business resource centers, where startup books, legal forms and premade business plans are available. There are also free digital resources that are very appealing to both teachers and the homeschooling community. With Gale Science: Interactive students can virtually dissect a frog. “The Library has made a concerted effort to get materials, whether it’s devices or classes, books and magazines or digital resources, that directly support STEM and STEAM learning at any age,” Stein says. The Library offers classes for all ages and all topics, from low-tech like tie dye and jewelry making, to high-tech like coding, soldering and even making virtual reality headsets. And late 2016 brought the groundbreaking of the River Center Branch downtown, which will open in 2018 and feature a state-of-the-art digital media studio, where patrons can lay down beats, record or do a Claymation movie. There will also be a Maker Space and, as with all of the branches, classes, programs and learning opportunities for children and adults at every level.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Your public library provides free, daily access to business resources, online databases, Wi-Fi and much more TOP EXECUTIVES: Spencer Watts, Director; Patricia Husband, Assistant Director; Mary Stein, Assistant Director • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 400 FTEs YEAR FOUNDED: 1939 • PHONE: 225.231.3750 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @ebrpl | ANNUAL REPORT 2017


Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Louisiana Business, Inc. 2016. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329

Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge Management Staff

2017 AMG® S 65 Cabriolet

Mission Statement:

Dedicate our lives to inspiring our employees, our customers, and the members of our community in their quest to fulfill their dreams. It is our fundamental belief that all of this is best achieved through the faithful execution of servant leadership.

10949 Airline Highway • Baton Rouge (225) 424-2277 •








Michael Lacour, Trey Beall, Steve Gammon and Marty Schmidt



7 7- 2 0 1 7

OFFICE MACHINE DEALER FINDS THE LOUISIANA SWEET SPOT ALMOST EVERYTHING ABOUT hand­ling business documents has changed over the last 40 years. (Remember liquid paper? Carbon copies? Microfilm?) Fortunately, one thing has remained constant. Gulf Coast Office Products is still Louisiana’s leading source for multifunction office machines that copy, scan, print and move documents. GCOP was founded by Bob Walsh and Bill Kenny in New Orleans in 1977. From humble beginnings—the two did everything from sales to support—they set an entirely new standard for service. Today, more than 100 Louisiana employees service thousands of professional business machines throughout the state. GCOP is now the state’s largest independent distributor of multifunction office machines. Nationally recognized as a top Ricoh-Savin dealer, GCOP’s partnership list includes heavy hitters such as LSU Athletics, ULL Athletics, the New Orleans Saints and the Pelicans. Through its offices in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and on the Northshore, New Orleans-based GCOP serves businesses of every size in virtually every industry. Why is this family-owned copier distributor still humming along when so many others have run out of ink? President Trey Beall points to GCOP’s unique combination of small-company agility and big-company resources. “There are normally two types of companies in our business,” Beall explains. “One is the mom-and-pop

that offers personal attention but lacks the personnel and large local inventory. The other type is the big, bureaucratic national conglomerates where you run into a 1-800 number and central dispatching and you can’t get anyone on the phone. “We combine the best of both. When you call here, you talk to a person, not a machine. If you ask to speak to the president of the company, you get to speak to the president of the company. Plus, people here are empowered to make decisions. They don’t have to write up a request and send it off to Atlanta or some out-of-state corporate headquarters.” Despite its small, friendly feel, GCOP has 100 employees statewide, with 50

in Baton Rouge. Most have been on staff at least five years, but several for much longer. A low turnover rate lets clients enjoy the luxury of experienced experts to serve them year after year. Vice President of Operations Michael Lacour, with 33 years on the job, for example, was the original service technician in Baton Rouge. Key personnel such as Regional Sales Director Marty Schmidt, Lafayette branch manager Michael Guthrie and Vice President Steve Gammon are also mainstays. But there is another side to GCOP that is usually found only at large, national companies. Thanks to a huge, local warehouse, clients enjoy immediate access to $1 million worth of essential parts and products. This allows

GCOP to respond quickly to customers’ needs, which equals less downtime and more productivity. In addition, GCOP customers benefit from a distributor that has remained true to one brand of copiers for 40 years. Savin is known for reliability and the latest in innovation and technology. “We deal with only one brand and the same products all day, every day,” Beall notes, “so we know these machines inside and out.” Being an independent dealer also gives GCOP the freedom to give generously to its community, which it does through a number of sponsorships and charitable activities. GCOP’s loyalty to the community shone extra brightly during last year’s historic floods in the Baton Rouge area. “We had flooded-out employees who were still coming to work,” Beall says, and everyone “stepped it up” to help co-workers as well as clients impacted by the flood. Some worked 12-hour days to help clients get their businesses back up and running as soon as possible and their insurance issues settled as quickly and smoothly as possible. Despite spending a large portion of the fiscal year on flood recovery, GCOP still managed to win Savin’s top award for business-to-business sales growth in the United States. “Whether it is surviving floods or radical changes within our industry, we have a lot to be proud of as we look forward to the next 40 years,” says Beall.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Savin/Ricoh copiers, printers, document solution products, document management • TOP EXECUTIVE: Trey Beall NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 110 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1977 • PHONE: 225.756.2644 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




I CARE Specialist Tanya C. Griffin L.L.P. and Sarah Bolognino of ICARE Healthy Minds designed the “8/23” educational supplement.

[ I CARE ]

BEYOND PREVENTION: HELPING RESIDENTS RESPOND TO CRISIS FROM PUBLIC VIOLENCE to historic flooding, 2016 was a hard-hit year for south Louisiana. Devastation lurked around every corner, but when crises strike, organizations like I CARE spring into action. What started as a substance abuse and prevention program nearly 40 years ago has grown into a responsive educational resource that fills a void and need in the community like no other program can. While at its core I CARE remains a prevention education program, as the needs of the community shift, so does the program. I CARE, jointly owned by the Baton Rouge community and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, provides resources to children and adolescents in both the public and private school systems, working across elementary, middle and high schools. I CARE also works with local discipline centers and alternative programs, helping to enable more and more children to live healthy, safe and drug-free lives. Primarily funded through a local tax, I CARE provides the community and area faculty, staff and children with awareness, prevention and education services as well as skills training. Its prevention specialists work with students one-on-one, offer group sessions

School Counselor Crystal Manuel uses the “8/23” supplement to work with students.

and, through research-based curriculum, address each school’s individual needs through best practices. After the 2016 floods struck, director Gwynn Shamlin and his team realized there was a need. Counselors, teachers, community leaders and parents needed to be taught how to help children deal with traumatic experiences and the emotions that follow. “The question isn’t if a crisis will happen,” says Shamlin. “The question is how do we respond to it when it does?

We can’t stop these things from happening, but we can teach others how to cope with them when they do.” In response, I CARE partnered with local author Tiffany Averette-Treadway, whose memoir 8/23 addresses emotions such as grief, anger and loss. The resource is available to East Baton Rouge counselors and school personnel. In addition, I CARE began live-streaming informational videos the first Wednesday of each month. The videos—one recently had as many as


1,000 viewers—are available for anyone, anywhere to watch. Even if one can’t devote the entire hour, just 15 minutes of tuning in will provide invaluable information. Topics range from grief to substance abuse to underage drinking. The videos are also available On Demand. I CARE works in partnership with the EBR school system and the community, partnering with organizations such as Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers and supporting national initiatives such as Red Ribbon Month in October, Tobacco Prevention in November and Violence Prevention in February. I CARE’s staff operates in conjunction with its 40-member Advisory Council. The council members come from all facets of the community, including mental health, health care, law enforcement and legal. Jointly, direction is provided and the needs of the community are assessed, helping to shift the focus of the program when and if needed. For example, a pilot program focusing on mental health launched this year. Healthy Minds will work closely with LSU psychology graduates and doctoral students to provide assessments and treatment plans to children who are authorized and qualified for the services. If successful, the program hopes to expand in 2018.

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Provides prevention education in the areas of alcohol, other drugs and violence to students and families within the Baton Rouge schools and community • TOP EXECUTIVE: Gwynn Shamlin, JD, LPP • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 15 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1980 PHONE: 225.226.2273 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: I CARE EBR TWITTER: @icareteachers, @icareparents, @icareteens • INSTAGRAM: @icareebr




President/CEO Emile R. Breaux


FOR AG, CUSTOMERS’ SUCCESS IS A BAROMETER OF ITS OWN FROM ITS HUMBLE beginnings in 1950 with 17 independent retail grocers, Associated Grocers has grown to include more than 200 customers across Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. Many recognize the company by its logo on grocery store bags and its fleet of delivery trucks or its sprawling campus that spans an entire city block. While distribution remains the company’s core business, Associated Grocers works with independent retail grocers to differentiate them from national and regional retailers and to promote their growth. As a wholesale distributor, Associated Grocers offers more than 22,000 items. Additionally, its foodservice subsidiary, Table Fresh, offers fresh produce, specialty products and prepared foods. According to President and CEO Emile Breaux, “Anyone can deliver groceries, but Associated Grocers provides intrinsic value to retailers through an array of support services that are critical to the independent operator’s long-term growth and prosperity.” Like most retail businesses, grocery store operators must manage not only inventory, but also a variety of complex business disciplines, including finance and accounting, procurement, marketing, and information systems. National and regional retailers typically offer their stores wide-ranging resources and support in these areas. Similarly, Associated Grocers and its subsidiary companies provide such services to

independent grocers, who benefit from the company’s expertise in these specialized areas. While competitors have elected to outsource some support services, Associated Grocers has continued to nurture its offerings to assist independent grocers. Executive Chairman J.H. “Jay” Campbell describes the company’s offerings as a “buffet of services” of which members can avail themselves based on their unique needs. Associated Grocers provides creative and promotional support services, as well as procurement and merchandising support to assist stores in remaining competitive. Leveraging Associated Grocers’ state-of-the-art technology resources, member stores are able to plan and track advertising and promotions and manage point-of-sale systems. The company can also assist with

print collateral and digital marketing. Through its subsidiary company, Dart Commercial Services, Associated Grocers is able to assist members in sourcing equipment and fixtures and planning for store build out. Recognizing that the real estate mantra “location, location, location” is paramount to grocery operators, the company provides site selection and analysis, business planning and access to financial resources, including thirdparty lenders. One of Associated Grocers’ recent, high-profile projects was the development of Matherne’s Market—heralded as a milestone for downtown Baton Rouge’s revitalization. The AG team worked closely with the commercial developer, as well as the Downtown Development District. Because Associated Grocers’ cus-

tomers are small business owners, they tend to be actively involved in the communities within which they operate. Similarly, Associated Grocers seeks opportunities for its employees to volunteer through support of nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association, and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. When floodwaters inundated the area last year, Associated Grocers drew upon its core competency as a supplier, opening its warehouse to employees, offering diapers, baby formula and other critical provisions. Recognizing the impact on employees, the company’s human resources division worked to secure hotel rooms and other temporary lodging for displaced employees. Using a conference room, employees established a makeshift donation center from which their co-workers could select needed items—mostly clothing. In addition to providing $15,000 in gift certificates to assist employees in buying food, Associated Grocers offered two meals per day and limited work schedules for those employees who could report to work. “I learned a lot about the real character of our employees and it was not only very touching, but also quite humbling,” Breaux says. Associated Grocers will continue to use its customers’ success as a barometer for its own. “Everything we do is in support of our member retailers. When they succeed, we succeed.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Wholesale distributor to independent retail grocers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas TOP EXECUTIVES: Emile R. Breaux, President/CEO; J.H. Campbell Jr., Executive Chairman of the Board; Doug Drummond, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer, Senior VP Finance & Accounting; Manard Lagasse Jr., Senior Vice President Member & Employee Relations, General Counsel, Assistant Secretary of the Corporation • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 686 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1950 • PHONE: 225.444.1000 • WEBSITE: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




POWERING LIFE FOR INDUSTRIES, BUSINESSES, HOMES AND FAMILIES ENTERGY DOESN’T JUST power the moment. It powers the future. The company is continually improving its power plants, transmission facilities and distribution lines to provide reliable, affordable power for more than a million Louisiana customers. This includes industries, businesses, homes and families. POWER TO GROW Currently, companies from across the globe—attracted by low-cost energy prices, including electricity—are investing billions of dollars in Louisiana to expand existing facilities and construct new industrial plants. As a result, thousands of new jobs are being created for residents. That means not only high-paying jobs. It means better qualities of life for families, neighbors and communities. “The growth we’re seeing is creating a large energy demand that we have to be ready to serve. That’s why we are executing forward-looking strategies today to modernize and upgrade our transmission, distribution and generation infrastructure to meet the requirements of today’s customers and keep pace with Louisiana’s future growth,” says Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, LLC. An important part of Entergy’s longterm strategy to better serve customers is by transforming its aging generation fleet and improving reliability through the addition of modern, efficient units. This includes targeting electric reliability projects throughout the state, as well as upgrading hundreds of miles of gas lines in the Baton Rouge



and Orleans area through the Gas Replacement Infrastructure Project. “We will do all of these things while working to keep rates among the lowest in the nation,” says May. “Entergy Louisiana’s residential and industrial rates are approximately 25% below the national average.” Entergy Louisiana’s low rates help its economic development team play a lead role in bringing even more new business to the state. The award-winning team works closely with the state’s Louisiana Economic Development and local agencies to convince companies Louisiana is the place to invest. GROWING TOGETHER Entergy Louisiana is making tremendous progress, company officials say. In

January, they broke ground on the St. Charles Power Station in Montz at the site of their Little Gypsy Power Plant. They are planning the Lake Charles Power Station to handle increased power demand in the fast-growing region of southwest Louisiana, as well as other generation and transmission projects to get the power flowing from state-of-the-art power plants to customers. “As we build new infrastructure, we also are working to upgrade existing facilities to improve reliability to our existing customers, as well as construct new facilities to handle the demands of new housing developments, as well as businesses and manufacturing plants,” says May. The company anticipates investing

$4.5 billion in infrastructure improvements over the next few years to upgrade and replace aging infrastructure and help power the state’s economy. This includes the upgrading of 94 miles of transmission lines and 25,000 poles, $1 billion in upgrades to plants and substations, and nearly $200 million to harden transmission, distribution and substations. In addition, construction began last spring on the Lake Charles Transmission Project that will enhance reliability and help meet the energy demand created by that region’s industrial expansion. The project, expected to cost over $150 million, is one of the largest of its kind in Entergy’s history. Construction should be completed next year. Another project is the $57 million Louisiana Economic Transmission Project, which is a portfolio of projects in the Baton Rouge industrial corridor designed to expand the capacity of the grid and increase the amount of reliable, low-cost power that can flow into southeast Louisiana. “All customers are going to benefit from these investments. The good news is the economic growth driven by the industrial expansion will allow these costs to be spread across a growing volume of sales, which coupled with other factors minimizes the rate effect to customers and helps keep our rates among the lowest in the country,” May says. RESPONDING IN TIMES OF CRISIS For the 19th consecutive year,


Entergy received industry awards for its outstanding storm restoration efforts. Including this year’s honors, the company has received 26 EEI awards for its restoration and mutual-assistance work. Entergy earned the Emergency Recovery Award for its exemplary work to restore power to its customers in the wake of severe thunderstorms and flooding last July and August in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. This included the tropical disturbance that caused massive flooding in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas with more than 10 inches of rain per day for two days and caused 32,517 peak electrical outages. The flooding also affected gas distribution operations in Baton Rouge. Flood waters inundated thousands of gas meters and damaged the gas distribution business’ headquarters building. In addition, Entergy earned EEI’s Emergency Assistance Award for helping to restore service in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina following Hurricane Matthew in October. Company line workers and other professionals responded rapidly to calls for aid from Duke Energy Florida and Carolina, Florida Power & Light, Georgia Power, and South Carolina Electric & Gas. STIMULATING GROWTH THROUGH EXCELLENT SERVICE Along with the new investments and award-winning emergency response, Entergy Louisiana remains focused on its commitment to providing superior

customer service. The company is continuing to execute its strategy to find better, more effective ways to serve customers. The company successfully completed the second year of its energy-efficiency program called Entergy Solutions for residential, commercial and industrial customers. Since its start two years ago, Entergy Solutions has helped Louisiana customers save an estimated 60 million kilowatt-hours. That’s equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 8,907 passenger vehicles driven for one year or 101,058,723 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle. In the next few years, investments are being made in new technologies that will help better serve customers, as well as give them the power to control their own energy usage. Besides investing in business, Entergy Louisiana also invests in its communities. It partners with nonprofits and other community groups to help ensure the communities it serves thrive. Each year Entergy shareholders award approximately $16 million to local nonprofits through various grant programs. Entergy Charitable Foundation’s 2016 Louisiana grants exceeded $1.9 million. ECF grants focus on education, poverty solutions and environmental programs that improve the quality of life in communities served by Entergy. Volunteerism is another way the company gives back. In 2016 more than 400 Entergy employees, friends and family members logged 10,000-plus hours of volunteer service in response to flooding. About 360 of those were

employees, who volunteered more than 8,000 hours—an estimated value of $221,472 in labor. Dozens of other employees donated items to help in the flood-relief efforts, while others helped sort and distribute those items. In non-flood-related volunteer efforts, employees worked at 679 Entergy-sanctioned events and 1,759 non-company events. In just one week in April—Volunteer Week—employees volunteered at more than 45 events. Entergy Louisiana also sponsored events manned by employee volunteers to raise awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Since 2011, Entergy’s support to the Super Tax Day initiative has resulted in $162 million returned to 93,000 residents of the company’s util-

ity service area in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. It is only one aspect of Entergy’s long-term fight to reduce poverty. “Helping individuals and families break the vicious cycle of poverty strengthens the economic viability of the communities we serve,” May says. “Our future as a regulated utility is tied directly to the health of the communities where we work and live. We can only grow our business when the communities we serve are healthy and vibrant.” The company isn’t just connecting the power grid. It’s connecting people and businesses. Just like the circuit, connections make the state stronger. Together, we all can power life.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail electric and gas distribution operations TOP EXECUTIVES: Phillip R. May, President and CEO; Dennis B. Dawsey, Vice President of Customer Service; Mark Kleehammer, Vice President of Regulatory and Public Affairs; Jody Montelaro, Vice President of Public Affairs; Eduardo Jimenez, Director of Business and Economic Development NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 1,696 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1913 • PHONE: 800.368.3749 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @EntergyLA | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



Jimmy Quick and Johnny Holifield


SWAT FOCUS ON PERSONNEL YIELDS QUALITY RESULTS FOR SPECIALTY WELDING and Turnarounds (SWAT), every project is personal. Since establishing SWAT in 2014, co-owners Johnny Holifield and Jimmy Quick have put the company’s relationships—with employees and with customers—front and center. In the three years since then, the Gonzalesbased company has seen both its operations and its customer base take off. In 2016, SWAT exceeded $100 million in revenue and expanded its general mechanical division, complementing its already well-established specialty welding division. “We’re not just specialty welding,” Holifield says. “We offer much more than that.” Indeed, SWAT provides complete turnaround services, along with specialty welding, piping, furnace re-tubes and erection, boiler repairs, exchanger/bundle services, Finfann re-tubes, tower revamps, and 24-hour emergency response. “We’re almost like two companies in one: specialty welding and general mechanical, with an emphasis on piping, bundle replacement and tower work,” says Quick, SWAT’s vice president. “One feeds off the other. Our customers see the value in that.” While most of SWAT’s projects are in the Gulf Coast region, the company works across the United States. During peak turnaround season, SWAT employs a staff of about 1,300. “We actively recruit the best craft and supervision in our industry and we really vet our people to make sure

they’re a good fit for us and our customers,” Quick says. “If you’re good, we want you to come work with us.” Those employees, he adds, set SWAT apart from the competition. “We’re an employee-first company,” Quick explains. “Our employees can call Johnny or me anytime day or night and they’re going to get what they need. We make a commitment to the team because they’re making a commitment to us. We can’t be successful without them.” Both Holifield and Quick spend much of their time on job sites, ensuring their employees and customers have what they need to successfully complete a project. “We have a tremendous office staff who take responsibility off Johnny and me, so we’re able to go out on job sites to assure projects are meeting our expectation and above all the expectations of our customers. We do that on every project, no matter the size,”

Quick says. “We want to make sure our employees and customers know they’re important to us.” That commitment has also helped the company compile an exemplary safety record. “Our people and our safety culture,” he says, “that’s really the nuts and bolts of what sets us apart from the competition.” SWAT’s customers take notice of the emphasis the company puts on its employees and safety. “Our customers see that we’re hands-on and interactive. They know that we have a feel for what’s going on day-to-day on their project, and I think they appreciate that,” Quick says. Indeed, feedback from SWAT’s customers has all been positive. “Our customers comment on how professional our project management team and employees are. They recognize the effort our staff makes.” Given the size of projects and the cost incurred for shutting down industrial operations for


turnarounds and other maintenance, this customer confidence in SWAT is critical. “This is typically the biggest expenditure our customers are going to make all year, so you want to get it right,” Quick says. “You don’t want to let them down.” In his view, SWAT’s reputation for being honest and transparent with customers, making sure customer needs are met, and building strong relationships with customers are the main reasons SWAT has experienced such incredible growth in just three years. “We’ve done some significant, large jobs, with up to 500 people at one site; the project involved piping, furnaces, and general mechanical exchanger and tower work,” he says. “When you take on a project of that size it shows the level of trust the customer has in your ability to perform and deliver.” To accommodate its rapid growth, SWAT purchased 5.5 acres of land off La. 44 in Gonzales for a new 12,000-square-foot facility. The facility will more than double the size of SWAT’s existing office once it opens in May 2017. SWAT’s growth will not stop any time soon. The company continues to expand its general mechanical division’s footprint, while performing highly productive, elite service for customers. “We don’t do anything halfway,” Holifield adds. “Our employees have knocked it out of the park on every job they’ve done.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Industrial turnarounds and maintenance • TOP EXECUTIVES: Johnny Holifield, President, and Jimmy Quick, Vice President NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 550 • YEAR FOUNDED: 2014 • PHONE: 225.644.1200 • WEBSITE: EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: SWAT Specialty Welding and Turnarounds




The LPFA Board of Trustees: L to R are Ron Bordelon, Craig A. Cheramie, Camille A. Cutrone, Guy Campbell III


LPFA FOSTERS INNOVATIVE CAMPUS ENHANCEMENTS STUDENTS AND STAFF at two of the state’s largest universities will soon enjoy new and improved facilities on their campuses, thanks in part to the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority. At LSU’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge, an innovative public-private partnership is being used to finance the Nicholson Gateway project, a 28-acre site on the Nicholson Drive corridor between West Chimes Street and Skip Bertman Drive. The project will transform what traditionally has been the “back” of campus into a campus gateway featuring a mixed-use development of retail and student housing. The university envisions the project as creating a new center for the campus and the surrounding community. The existing Nicholson Apartments will be replaced by about 1,500 new student housing units across the street from Tiger Stadium. LSU financed $235.3 million for the project through the LPFA. Meanwhile, Tulane financed $265.1 million through the LPFA for a package of projects, including development of the River and Coastal Center and renovation of the A.B. Freeman School of Business. The River and Coastal Center, which is being developed along the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans on space leased from the Port of New Orleans, will house Tulane’s new riverfront campus. The Center

The LPFA executive team: L to R are Tricia A. Dubroc, VP of Student Loans and Administration; James W. Parks II, President & CEO; Martin Walke, VP of Economic and Program Development

will include new laboratory, exhibition, education and conference facilities. The recently completed first phase, comprising 5,800 square feet, houses Tulane’s ByWater Institute, which is dedicated to coastal restoration and protection. Renovation of the A.B. Freeman School of Business will turn the existing two buildings into one unified complex, including an additional 42,000 square feet. The redevelopment will enhance teaching and research space and add

new space for academic support. The financing package also will fund several utilities and infrastructure projects at Tulane, including upgrading equipment at the Uptown Campus Central Energy Plant, which will result in energy cost-savings to the university. Established in 1974, the LPFA acts on behalf of a borrowing entity by serving as a conduit issuer of special obligation revenue bonds thereby allowing them to access financial markets and capital. By providing the means for qualifying

projects and entities to receive tax-exempt financing and achieve interest cost-saving, the LPFA supports economic and community development across the state. Hospitals and higher education entities make up the LPFA’s two largest clients. “The LPFA has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with both LSU and Tulane and we’re very excited about these projects and the opportunities they provide for existing and future students at these universities,” says Martin Walke, LPFA’s vice president of economic and program development. The LPFA doesn’t just help provide the facilities for university campuses. Through its education division, the Louisiana Education Loan Authority (Lela), the Authority also helps students access college. Lela provides students and their parents with valuable college planning and financial counseling. Through free, one-on-one sessions at Lela’s College Planning Center in Baton Rouge and workshops across the state, Lela representatives guide high school students and their parents through the complex process of applying for grants, scholarships and financial aid, including completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. In 2016, Lela assisted more than 30,000 students. More than 420,000 students have received assistance since Lela’s creation in 1984.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Conduit issuer of tax-exempt and taxable bonds • TOP EXECUTIVES: Guy Campbell, III, Chairman, and James W. Parks, II, President & CEO • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 15 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1974 • PHONE: 800.228.4755 or 225.923.0020 WEBSITE:, • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @LPFA_BR | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



The GBRIA board of directors represents a cross section of industry across eight parishes. Daniel Tate (ECO Services), Jennifer Dunphy (ExxonMobil), Joe Debiaso (Veolia), Kelvin Hill (Georgia Pacific), John Pacillo (Mexichem), Ron Landry (Dow Chemical), Tom Yura (BASF), Stephen Ledoux (Olin), Paul Labonne (Air Liquide), and Tim Harris ( Eastman Chemical).  GBRIA staff members are Jessica Brouillette, Brandon Smith, Connie Fabré, and Sue Leger.


THE VOICE FOR INDUSTRY IN THE GREATER BATON ROUGE AREA FOUNDED IN 1970, the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance has a long history of representing the needs of the Capital Region’s industrial sector. The organization drives solutions to issues that impact manufacturing facilities across eight parishes, especially workforce development and safety performance, says GBRIA Executive Director Connie Fabré. “Our key goals are to help ensure our members have a trained pipeline of talent and that their day-to-day operations are safe and globally competitive,” says Fabré, an industry veteran. “Since GBRIA has been in existence, we’ve been able to create a collaborative environment between industry, contractors, labor leaders, education officials, and state and local government. It’s about fostering success for this sector of Baton Rouge’s regional economy.” GBRIA was born in a time of major industrial expansion in Louisiana. Beginning in the mid-60s, a growing number of petrochemical facilities were recruited to Louisiana, but many struggled to meet their labor needs. Since its inception as a platform to give those businesses a unified voice on workforce development, GBRIA has worked to pinpoint thoughtful strategies addressing the top priorities of its members. For example, when regional traffic recently began threatening workforce recruitment and economic expansion on the Mississippi River corridor, GBRIA stepped in. “Traffic had reached a level

where it was creating a huge problem for people to get to and from work, as well as for raw materials and finished goods to reach their destinations timely,” says Fabré. “Expansion of existing sites and attraction of new ones becomes increasingly difficult under those conditions.” GBRIA convened key stakeholders to discuss the severity of traffic congestion. The group included lawmakers, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the Capital Region Planning Commission, the Center for Planning Excellence, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and others. Its work led to the formation of a new project called Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, or CRISIS, which is now singly focused on eliminating transportation choke points and increasing traffic flow in a sustainable manner. It has also helped lawmakers identify and prioritize the kind of transportation projects that can provide relief. Another recent GBRIA priority has been to call for an expansion in workforce training to support the $144 billion

industrial boom underway in Louisiana since 2012. “In 2011, we sat down with Louisiana Economic Development and started thinking about how we were going to fill all these industrial construction positions,” says Fabré. Working with LED, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, and other key stakeholders, GBRIA helped champion a major uptick in the number of workers trained by community and technical colleges specifically for industrial maintenance and construction jobs. “It was really important that this happen because those projects were going to be built,” Fabré says. “And instead of bringing in large numbers of qualified out-of-state workers, we wanted to make sure that Louisiana residents become qualified and ready for as many of those jobs as possible.” GBRIA has also advocated for the expansion of craft education in regional high schools as a way to capture young talent for future careers in the indus-


trial sector. In 2015, GBRIA launched a special awards program to single out exemplary programs in local high schools, says Workforce Development and Communications Manager Jessica Brouillette. Strengthening safety programs is also a top GBRIA priority. The organization recently conducted a multiyear project to improve safety for hydroblasting, a high-pressure water cleaning process capable of cutting through hard surfaces. GBRIA helped plants create a standardized safety and craft training curriculum that is based on the best practices in the industry. To highlight other advances in safety across the industry, GBRIA hosts annual safety awards that recognize contractors’ accomplishments in health and safety programs. “The safety awards have taken place for 21 years,” says Fabré. “It’s a way for members to recognize contractors and emphasize the importance of their commitment and partnership in safety.” GBRIA conducts a quarterly survey of its plant managers to gauge their economic outlook for the next six months. Fabré reports that “in the first quarter of 2017, members are reporting either no change to record production levels or an increase, for the most part. Recent tax increases on industry do have members concerned; however, we are hopeful that industry investment will continue at a healthy pace through at least 2020, and we look forward to serving both our members and the community.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Trade association • TOP EXECUTIVE: Connie P. Fabré • NO. OF MEMBERS: 63 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1970 PHONE: 225.769.0596 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @gbria




DEMCO employee Jake Lane revisits the location where he was photographed working on power lines during the flood (below).


DEMCO RALLIES TO RESPOND TO HISTORIC FLOOD EVENT IN AUGUST 2016 south Louisiana experienced a 1,000-year flood, the worst in the area’s history. Over three days, East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes received approximately 31 inches of torrential rain. Reports show that over 180,000 homes in the area were affected. At peak, roughly 28% of Dixie Electric Membership Corporation. (DEMCO)’s more than 108,000 meters lost power. But customers in DEMCO’s seven-parish service area—Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa and West Feliciana parishes—were not the only ones impacted. Twenty-six percent of DEMCO’s own employees were flooded during the relentless rain. “This creates an enormous challenge, working to get the lights back on as quickly and as safely as possible while at the same time you’re trying to figure out if your employees are even going to have clothing, a home or a way to get to work with all the chaos that’s going on around us,” says DEMCO CEO and General Manager John Vranic. “For a time, largely because cell phone communication was unreliable, we didn’t even know if some of our employees and their families had made it through this thing alive.” Among these affected employees was Chanon Johnson, member relations representative at the DEMCO Foundation. Johnson was one of 55 DEMCO employees who sustained

extensive flood damage to her residence. Along with tens of thousands in the greater Baton Rouge area, Johnson continues to battle with home reconstruction and insurance adjusters, while dealing with her work and family life. “This has been such a difficult time for so many people in our community,” Johnson says. “It’s heart-breaking to see so many people having to endure such grief and anxiety over losing everything they’ve ever worked for.” To help its employees recover in the aftermath of the flood, DEMCO rallied its troops together, from the manager on down, organizing and coordinating temporary housing accommodations, transportation and other needs for displaced workers. “After making sure everyone was safe, we then formulated a plan to help our employees and their families get back on their feet,” Vranic explains. For its thousands of members who lost power, the cooperative activated its emergency plan, gathering 126 outside

line personnel to assist in the recovery. “We were able to immediately tap into our statewide association’s emergency relief fund to provide quick assistance, thanks to a generous donation from our wholesale power provider, Cleco, and other donations that streamed in from fellow electric cooperative employees across the country who responded in our time of need,” Vranic says. During this historic event, DEMCO, Louisiana’s largest electric cooperative, sustained millions of dollars in damage to nine substations, sensitive monitoring and switching equipment, and miles of underground distribution lines. Complicating recovery efforts were impassable flooded roads and streets leading to those substations. Despite these challenges, DEMCO was able to restore service to all structures and meters capable of receiving power within one week. “This emergency restoration project was accomplished without a lost-time accident, and despite the

fact that 55 employees, representing roughly 26% of the cooperative’s workforce, experienced flooding of their primary residences,” Vranic reports. Recently, DEMCO received accolades statewide for its stellar safety record. In July the Louisiana Association of Electric Cooperatives awarded DEMCO a plaque for working 749,523 consecutive hours without a lost-time accident since September of 2014. This unblemished record continued through the record flooding in August. “Our safety record is just incredible, when you stop and think about it,” Vranic says. “When you consider all the rain and bad weather and difficult conditions our employees have to handle while they’re on the job, it’s a real testament to the attention our employees give to safety. We believe consistent training and education have an impact on our safety culture.” DEMCO places a premium on safety not only to protect the health and well-being of employees, members and the public, but also because it makes good economic sense. “When you can create an effective culture of safety on the job, everybody wins,” Vranic says. “Not only do all of our employees get to drive out of our parking lot and go home at the end of the work day, but it also keeps our costs down when it comes to insurance rates, broken equipment and many other expenses.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Distribution/electricity services to over 108,000 members/consumers TOP EXECUTIVE: John Vranic, CEO and General Manager • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 220 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1938 • PHONE: 225.261.1221 WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017








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NOT YOUR TYPICAL CPA FIRM: CHOATE CELEBRATES 30 YEARS CELEBRATING ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY, Michael Choate Associates, CPA, remains energized to assist its clients, whether by developing unique strategies, challenging the status quo, or solving accounting and tax problems. “The past 30 years have been beyond my wildest dreams and expectations, and I owe our success to a lot of help from hardworking employees and business and personal friends,” Choate says. “Client loyalty is also most appreciated.” The firm’s CPA services include income tax planning and preparation, monthly and quarterly accounting services for small businesses, and financial statement audits and reviews to satisfy banks and regulators. But Choate Associates goes further. Michael Choate is also licensed with Lincoln Financial to provide investment and insurance services for retirement planning, as well as services for buying or selling a business. “We like to do in-depth analysis to quickly identify the issues, develop a practical action plan, and then walk the client through implementation,” Choate says. “From tax strategies to bank loan proposals, we provide straightforward, understandable solutions. We avoid CPA speak.” From the beginning in 1987, Choate, armed with a CPA and MBA from LSU, displayed a “not your typical CPA” persona. “We were the first Baton Rouge CPA

firm to advertise in the Business Report, and it got us instant recognition and buzz,” Choate says. The firm continued with an aggressive marketing campaign with direct mail, business networking with bankers and lawyers, seminars for realtors, newsletters, and writing tax-planning articles for local publications. Choate also says the chamber of commerce and 7:30 Club were great ways to meet current and future leaders of Baton Rouge.

In 1996, Choate was honored to be recognized as one of Business Report’s Forty under 40. In 1997, the firm became serious about expansion. Choate purchased the top-floor condo of the office building at 2915 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd., and he opened a branch office in the growing city of Mandeville. The firm also began acquiring small CPA firms in the area, and has purchased three such firms to date. “We trust and follow our own finan-


cial advice when opportunities for growth arise,” Choate says. Today, Michael Choate Associates, CPA, is structured around a team of professionals that includes four CPAs, an accounting manager, a staff accountant and two administrative assistants. The firm’s website,, provides a wealth of information and ideas about the strategies Choate explores with clients. The website offers many checklists and articles to help them understand Choate’s attitude of service and his approach. In addition, clients can follow the link at the bottom of the homepage to watch several of Choate’s YouTube videos. “Our goal is to minimize taxes and maximize profits for our clients,” Choate explains. When you meet with Choate, you receive the comprehensive services and expertise of a large CPA firm, in addition to the personalized service and warmth of a small CPA firm. “Before we get down to business, I always want to share a few laughs with clients about politics, LSU or even the IRS,” Choate says. “We strive to reduce client stress.” Choate calls 2017 a new chapter for both Baton Rouge and the nation. “Free enterprise and the American dream are alive and well, and I believe I am proof of that,” he says. “I have been blessed so far, but most importantly, I thank God for my wife, Laura, and our children, Benjamin and Abigail. Let’s dream on.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Income tax strategies and preparation, small business accounting, financial audits, business consulting TOP EXECUTIVE: Michael Choate, CPA • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 8 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1987 • PHONE: 225.292.7434 WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @choatecpa









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LAPORTE’S CARRIES ON TRADITIONS OF QUALITY AND INTEGRITY AFTER MORE THAN three decades in the auto repair business, LaPorte’s Paint & Body has made a name for itself in Baton Rouge. “People know who we are, where we’re at and how we do things,” says Doug LaPorte. Doug purchased the business from his parents, relocated and rebuilt a brand new facility off Coursey Boulevard directly behind Anton’s Fine Jewelers back in 2002. LaPorte’s is known for its attention to detail and reputation for quality. Doug’s insistence on honesty and integrity has carried on over the years. He was taught from the very beginning that painting and refinishing an automobile is an art form. LaPorte’s can work on any type of vehicle, whether American, foreign, or high-end European models such as Mercedes, Range Rover and BMW. A majority of the business’s workload comes from insurance referrals, dealerships, repeat customers and personal referrals. Matching the finishes found on most of today’s vehicles requires expertise in application techniques. LaPorte’s hires only the most experienced technicians and offers a lifetime warranty on all repairs. “Our facility is cutting-edge, so we

get the cars in and out quickly,” says Doug. “It’s a production line, but quality is our focus and always comes first.” Personalized customer service is what ultimately sets LaPorte’s apart from the competition. While Doug enjoys his days off, he feels a respon-

sibility to be on site and maintain a certain level of excellence. Quality inspections are an important part of the repair process at LaPorte’s, along with cleaning both the exterior and interior of each vehicle. This ensures that the vehicle is ready for pick-up by

the client. “We take pride in delivering a clean vehicle with a like-new finish,” says Doug. “Joey, my assistant manager, and myself, put our hands on every finished product that comes out of the shop.” While the insurance business has become more challenging over the years, LaPorte’s maintains competitive rates without compromising quality. Doug has worked in every aspect of his business for over 36 years, so he knows the amount of skill needed to repair an automobile. He is able to problem-solve on every level. LaPorte’s only works with insurers who allow them to repair the car properly and makes every effort to write a precise estimate the first time. Having your car repaired after an accident is both inconvenient and stressful, but Doug and his team do everything in their power to ensure a smooth process. He advises those in search of a repair shop to check referrals. “We’ve succeeded in business this many years because of satisfying our customers each and every time,” he says. “It’s not easy to turn an automobile accident into a memorable experience, but Doug, Joey and Janet will do everything possible to do just that.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Auto collision repair • TOP EXECUTIVE: Doug LaPorte, Owner/President • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 8 YEAR FOUNDED: 1981 • PHONE: 225.293.4025 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




NATION’S FASTEST-GROWING HOMEBUILDER FOCUSES ON SERVICE ESTABLISHED IN 2000, self-described “lifestyle builder” Level Homes offers design and build services of new homes. The company operates throughout the Baton Rouge area, with other developments actively underway in Youngsville, Broussard, Plaquemine and Madisonville. In 2015, Level Homes sold 133 homes in the Baton Rouge area. Last year that number increased to 201, earning the company the distinction by trade magazine Builder as the fastest-growing homebuilder in the country on its Builder 100 list. The company’s precipitous growth is due in part to its rapid expansion in Raleigh, North Carolina, a hyper-competitive market with more than 16 publicly traded homebuilders and an equal number of regional builders. Within the last few years, the company initiated a deliberate approach to improve client service. Resisting the temptation to become “too corporate” with processes and procedures, Level Homes’ efforts have yielded improved client satisfaction, as evidenced by periodic client surveys. “If we don’t take care of our customers, we’re not going to continue yearover-year growth,” says Ryan Engquist, president of Level Homes. From the time a client places a home under contract through closing, Level Homes designates a single point of contact. During construction, clients can expect a series of meetings coinciding with construction milestones.

Throughout the process, the Level Homes contact keeps clients apprised of progress through emails, photographs and “touchpoint” letters. These ongoing communications help clients manage expectations about the building process. Additionally, the company offers a 10-year structural warranty that exceeds the state’s five-year requirement, as well as financing and a title company, making these services available “in-house” to its clients. “We offer the amenities of a custom build, without the expense or the headaches,” says Jennifer Waguespack, who leads sales for the company. Unique in the Baton Rouge area, the

Level Homes design studio provides buyers with the opportunity to see and select the many components that make up their home, from exterior finishes such as brick, siding, and roof shingles, to the interior selections such as trim, cabinets, countertops and backsplashes, flooring, and electrical and plumbing fixtures. “The tactile experience of visiting the showroom helps clients to crystallize a vision for their home,” Engquist says. “About three years ago, I showed a Level home for the first time and both my client and I were amazed, not only with the home, but with their process and service,” says Kyle Peterson, Keller


Williams Realty First Choice. “Since then, I’ve sold nine new Level Homes, including one to myself. My family couldn’t be any happier with our home.” While prioritizing “quality over quantity,” Engquist says, the company will continue its growth through further development in Baton Rouge, as well as in Raleigh. This year, Level Homes is gearing up for new phases in some of the traditional neighborhood developments where it has already built. The next phase of Rouzan, projected to be underway in the second quarter, will include 100 lots with homes ranging in size from 1,500 to 3,500 square feet, starting in the mid-$300 thousands. In Ascension Parish, just off of Highway 73, located on an “A+ site,” the company will offer 285 lots, beginning in the low $200 thousands, with homes between 1,600 and 3,200 square feet. A new filing in Copper Mill in Zachary will include 35 lots. At Americana— which will be home to new locations for Walk-On’s and Bistro Byronz—Level Homes will offer an additional 25 lots, with homes between 1,800 and 2,600 square feet, beginning in the high $200 thousands. Ten larger lots also will be construction-ready in May, with homes beginning in the mid-$300 thousands. “Value and scarcity of land and increased density have driven demand for traditional neighborhood developments,” Engquist says. “The concept has been and continues to be well received in Baton Rouge.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: New construction homes • TOP EXECUTIVES: Greg Murphy, CFO; Todd Waguespack, Managing Partner; Ryan Engquist, President • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 32 • YEAR FOUNDED: 2000 • PHONE: 225.338.6120 • WEBSITE: EMAIL: • FACEBOOK:





BANK PROVIDES CUSTOMIZED SUPPORT FOR RURAL LANDOWNERS FIRST SOUTH FARM Credit has met the financial needs of rural landowners and those who enjoy the rural lifestyle for more than 80 years. Based in Jackson, First South serves customers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The bank is part of the federal Farm Credit system, which has been supporting farmers and landowners in the United States since 1916. Because of its agriculture focus, First South is able to offer customers searching for rural land a high level of expertise about rural land stewardship. Many buyers of rural land, especially first-timers, might not understand how to get the most out of a piece of property for its long-term enjoyment and value. Even if a buyer just wants to purchase land for hunting or fishing, there are vehicles that can support return-on-investment, including timber management, hay harvesting and others strategies, says Tom Manuel, a member of the First South Advisory Board and a consulting forester with Manuel Forestry LLC.

“Agriculture banks like First South understand all the different aspects of rural land-owning,” says Manuel. “The bank understands how to be flexible and see timber as an asset for income purposes. Their goal is to help buyers succeed.” Manuel says First South has a network of experts in the field that borrowers can work with to create timber management strategies for both timber sales and creating optimum conditions for wild game. “It might be a borrower’s first time to manage land or to have timber appraised, and the bank has a lot of solid relationships with foresters who can provide support to landowners,” says Manuel.

First South Loan Officer Russell Kent says First South is positioned to provide borrowers lending packages specifically tailored for rural investment property. These include long-term loans for the purchase or refinancing of rural land; intermediate-term loans for expanding or enhancing operations; and short-term loans for operating expenses. First South offers other products as well, including lines of credit to support production and commercial loans for large agribusinesses and agriservices. “We can offer longer term fixedrate loans that work better for rural landowners,” explains Kent. “We are also staffed by people who own rural investment property themselves, which

helps us understand what kinds of questions a buyer has and how we can help them.” The bank also has a long history of supporting regional farmers. Whether they’re raising timber, crawfish or rice, farmers invest significant cash on the front end of each growing season. The payoff comes at harvest time, but along the way there are countless variables that can disrupt income potential, including acts of Mother Nature, invasive pests, equipment failures and more. “Farming is a different world, and it’s one that requires bankers who get the ebb and flow of expenses and income,” says Kent. “An agricultural bank like First South is wired up to work in this manner.” First South operates as a member-owned co-op. Each year, all borrowers of the bank are invited to participate in a “patronage program” that enables them to earn dividends. Members are issued patronage checks on an annual basis.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Loans serving rural communities • SERVICE AREA: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama • TOP EXECUTIVE: Roger Chappell NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 222 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1916 • PHONE: 225.658.0596 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



Derrick Yacovelli, Shelley Hendrix, Karen Markle and Joe Martz cut the ribbon at the open house celebrated on March 7, 2017.


NEW CENTER TO FILL CRITICAL GAPS IN SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN ON AUTISM SPECTRUM AFTER A DECADE of providing behavioral health services for both adults and children across Louisiana, NHS is expanding its footprint in the state with the NHS Autism Center – Capital Region. Located at the former Brighton School off Jefferson Highway, the center has retrofitted select offerings to meet identified needs in the region, from an assortment of more than a dozen programs ranging from early intervention to adult housing and employment. In fact, some of the fresh ideas born in Baton Rouge will translate into new offerings for the 18 schools NHS operates in Pennsylvania. Overall, NHS’s unique tradition of care annually reaches over 50,000 individuals and their families in eight states through the service of more than 10,000 employees. The company offers a unique continuum of care in the areas of education and autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and behavioral health. For years, NHS’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams have helped adults with mental health challenges remain an integral part of their community throughout 44 parishes. It was this work that alerted the company to statewide gaps in supports for children on the autism spectrum. “We have a history of supporting individuals across the life span, from birth through adulthood, with a



Students at the NHS Schools learn through iPads and other technology.

dynamic approach,” says Executive Vice President of Education and Autism Services Karen Markle. “We consistently strive to create a centralized model of care that includes key pieces that an individual with autism and their family require to unlock and maximize their opportunities for success.” NHS School’s design for its Baton Rouge anchor includes six specific features: a special education school for students ages 5-21, the Bee Me Center—a specialized pre-K program for children of all abilities ages 3-5, both individual and group applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services, and speech language and occupational therapies. NHS offers more than a dozen specialized programs but will

debut with these six. With only minor upgrades to the 17,000-square-foot facility, the center opened March 13, 2017, and welcomed many students and families. “It felt like home the first time I saw it,” says Markle, who opened NHS’s other campuses in Pennsylvania. “We want this to feel like a place that supports the whole child, as well as the whole family.” Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined by a certain set of behaviors, affecting individuals differently to varying degrees. In March of 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a rise in the prevalence of autism to one in every 68 births in the United States—a significant increase from the 2004 rate of

one in 250. In the Capital Region alone, more than 2,300 children under 12 may seek affordable services. Markle explains that many families struggle to find a treatment modality that works best for their child and is hopeful that NHS will complement and collaborate with other service providers in the area to efficiently reduce waiting lists, improving access to care. “Many states are just now beginning to offer services and funding streams specific to individuals on the spectrum,” she says. “Historically, services have had to fit into existing treatment models, which weren’t specialized for this unique and diverse population.” Children and teenagers attending the NHS Autism Center will learn through the ABA method, which targets different skills than the traditional educational environment. These learning techniques can be as simple as looking, listening and imitating, as well as more complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective. Studies demonstrate that early diagnosis and intervention of autism can lead to significantly improved outcomes for children on the spectrum. Markle says simply helping families better navigate their daily lives, like taking their child grocery shopping or to church and remaining involved in their community, can be life changing.

SPE CI AL ADVE R T I SI N G FE AT U R E Renee Benson, Alfred Tuminello and Claire White are the Center’s excited and proud staff.

Teachers at the NHS Schools engage students in intensive teaching and learning opportunities.

“Individuals with autism are really special,” Markle says. “They often learn differently, and they interact with their environment differently than neurotypical peers. Having a platform that provides a targeted, efficacious way of helping them learn and interact is a big win for everyone.” Seeking to partner, as needed, with Capital Region local education stakeholders, NHS will serve as a third-party vendor for students struggling within a mainstream environment in an effort to bolster the public school system. Students requiring extra support could visit the center to build their skills until they are ready to integrate back into their least restrictive environment in their home district. NHS Schools range from 10 to 150

kids, depending on community needs. All therapeutic services are funded through self-pay, commercial insurance and Medicaid. NHS’s service model doesn’t refer individuals out of the system for additional services, but rather designs a system of treatment around each specific student. A board-certified behavior analyst, Markle has been with NHS for 21 years. She remembers opening that first school more than a decade ago like it was yesterday. “A group of families came to us saying, ‘Can you educate our kids?’” she recalls. “When we opened our very first school, I anticipated 24 kids to start, hoping one day we would have 50. By the end of year one, we had almost 75 kids. We were bursting at the seams.”

The Bee Me preschool will also focus on social and emotional development for all children, regardless of abilities. Markle says this newer service model grew from challenges parents face when their kids can’t attend school due to toileting and speech issues. NHS’s award-winning curriculum prepares young children to attend school, but at their own pace. “Just because a child is nonverbal doesn’t mean they don’t have the receptive skills to know what’s happening,” she adds. “They just need a different way to communicate their thoughts, their wants and their needs. So, if you don’t talk, we’ll teach you to sign.” NHS’s services are especially critical for teenagers experiencing the transition to adulthood. “Being a teenager

now is hard enough,” says Markle, “but people with autism sometimes struggle with the nuances of social interaction and reading their peers. We teach everything from academics to executive functioning components that assist with problem-solving, decision-making and their own behavior regulation in a variety of environments.” In Baton Rouge, NHS hopes to serve students and families looking for that extra bit of support. “We have a lot of space. We have a lot of abilities,” Markle says. “We’re open, and as the kids and families come to the door with needs, we will welcome them.” For more information about the NHS Autism Center, call (225) 960-7689 or email us at


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Autism, education, mental health, addictive diseases, foster care, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and more TOP EXECUTIVES: Joseph Martz, CEO; Derrick Yacovelli, CFO; Karen Markle, EVP Education & Autism Services • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 10,124 YEAR FOUNDED: 1969 • PHONE: 225.960.7689 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @NHSHumanService | ANNUAL REPORT 2017





WEST BATON ROUGE IS UNIFIED IN VISION WEST BATON ROUGE might be the smallest parish in the state, but it is home to the friendliest individuals, who take great pride in calling “the West Side the Best Side.” Through steadfast partnerships with local government, the parish school system, civic organizations, and the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, business and industry work in unison with residents to cultivate the parish in a custom-fit manner. Everyone has a seat at the table. The area is in a state of positive, deliberate growth. “School performance scores and a desirable parish makeup have led the way for quality investment throughout West Baton Rouge,” says 2017 West Baton Rouge Chamber Chairman Hampton Obier. Travel down the major roadways and you will see the development of shopping centers, hotels and residential neighborhoods. In 2016, the parish completed a fiveyear update to the Comprehensive Master Plan, PlanWEST, to ensure future development preserves the parish’s unique qualities, while providing a framework to guide purposeful progress with a vision defined by its citizens. Part of this framework includes a recent venture in what will become a 3-mile walking trail along the levee, which highlights the commitment for continued expansion of the West Baton Rouge Parish Park System—a park system where at any point throughout the year there are hundreds of youth participating in organized sports and

senior citizens connecting weekly in coordinated gatherings. And if the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s 2017 Economic Outlook comes to fruition, West Baton Rouge is on the right track to embrace newcomers into its animated communities, as it is poised to have the highest percentage of job growth in the Capital Region for the third year in a row. In line with PlanWEST’s economic development pillars is a continued partnership between the chamber and parish to promote these objectives. This past year, the chamber spearheaded its first Economic Investment Tour of the parish, welcoming local leaders, Louisiana Department of Economic Development officials, regional investors and business stakeholders to see first-hand multiple sites and developments. This flagship tour underscored the deep commitment to attracting quality development to the area. Up next is a collaborative “Retail Plan” to target regional and national retailers. “Though West Baton Rouge has unique competitive advantages to capitalize on the growth in the Capital Region, such as riverfront access, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, industrial land zoning, industrial centers, multimodal transportation, and proximity to interstates, 2016 equipped us with

new benefits,” says Chamber Executive Director Jamie Hanks. “On top of the list of bragging rights is our district schools’ performance scores for 2015-2016.” Under the leadership of Superintendent Wes Watts, the District Performance Score rose 17 spots, making the school district a “B” district just 4.1 points shy of an “A” rating. Additionally, six of the 10 schools in West Baton Rouge improved their school performance a full letter grade. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency announced in the latter part of the year that West Baton Rouge Parish meets federal ozone standards, which was the result of a steady drop since 2008 in ozone emissions from vehicles, industry and other sources of pollution. Throughout 2016, West Baton Rouge saw an influx in industry, hotels and expanded retail offerings looking to make their home on this side of the river. “In addition to the positives stated above, I believe this is also a testament to the active involvement of local government throughout the parish,” says Hanks. 2016 Board Chairman John Richard echoes her sentiments, saying, “In spite of a tough market for business and industry in 2016, West Baton Rouge has continued to progress due


to the concerted efforts taken by all parish stakeholders.” In fact, SmartAsset ranked West Baton Rouge No. 1 in Louisiana parishes receiving the greatest amount of investment in their local economies, mostly due to the number of new building permits. To continue this trend, the parish is also taking a proactive approach to tackling the ever-present traffic burdens, which BRAC also found to be the top obstacle to businesses in the Capital Region. During the summer, Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot Jr. announced the planning of road extensions to access land with interstate frontage that is prime for commercial and retail development. WBR remains an active participant with regional planning entities and other partners to find long-term infrastructure improvements, too, engaging the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to make road changes to La. 415 to accommodate faster commutes in conjunction with the planned La. 1 and La. 415 connector route. West Baton Rouge Parish has exceptional assets, including a rich agricultural heritage, abundant natural resources, a rustic lifestyle and close proximity to a major metropolitan region and multimodal infrastructure. “We are united in our commitment to attracting quality growth and desired offerings,” Hanks says. “There is a sense of optimism all around.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Business membership and advocacy organization • TOP EXECUTIVES: Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot, Jr., Parish President; Hampton Obier, 2017 Board Chair; Jamie Hanks, Executive Director • NO. OF MEMBERS: 360 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1985 • PHONE: 225.383.3140 WEBSITE:; • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @WestBRChamber





FINANCIAL PLANNING FIRM MAKES A DIFFERENCE WITH CUSTOMIZED APPROACH SOME WEALTH MANAGEMENT firms are like a restaurant where the customer is limited to the choices on the menu. But Bill Peters had a much different concept in mind when he founded Peters Wealth Advisors 35 years ago. Baton Rouge’s oldest independent wealth management firm crafts a customized portfolio for each of the high net worth families, business owners and organizations it serves. The main ingredient in PWA’s secret recipe is a comprehensive fact-finding process to better understand the client’s big picture. “We have a desire to help the whole person—financially, holistically and emotionally—in this financial journey of life,” says Peters, the company’s managing director. “We have a unique planning and investment process that differentiates us, and it works incredibly well.” PWA begins with intensive information gathering to determine the client’s financial standing, challenges, needs, goals and special circumstances. “We delve into many areas: how much you need to live on, your risk tolerance, your experience with other brokers, and on and on,” says Peters. “We ask a lot of questions and do a lot of analysis and research before we come back and say, ‘You need this and

this and this.’ ” PWA’s experts specialize in planning for retirement, estates, taxes, charitable donations, cash flow, education and insurance as well as investing. The team also relies on local CPAs and estate planning attorneys for accounting and legal advice. Other external partners provide research, trading, custodial and trust services, ensuring that each client receives the highest level of service and advice. State-of-the-art technology enables PWA to stay on top of the complex, fast-changing world of

investments while keeping its focus on clients. “The number of investment choices has quintupled since I started this business 35 years ago,” Peters notes. “If you don’t have the technology to keep up, you are behind the curve.” Unlike brokerage firms, which often have financial stakes in the products and services they recommend, this independent, fee-based firm is free to choose those that best meet the client’s needs. Clients are presented with concise recommendations, eliminating

questions and confusion. “We strive to differentiate ourselves from other investment advisors,” notes Chief Financial Officer Dustin Dowling That difference is evident. PWA is one of the largest SEC-registered financial advisory firms in Baton Rouge in terms of assets under management. Clients from many walks of life trust PWA to guide them on the often complicated and emotional decisions that go into financial planning. Whether working with bank presidents, plant workers, lawyers, widows, heirs, doctors, teachers, business owners or charitable foundations, PWA brings wide-ranging experience to the table. Some client relationships span more than 30 years and multiple generations. Peters intentionally maintains a skilled and experienced staff to ensure the firm can offer and support a diverse array of client services. As always, PWA continues to support the community that has embraced it. PWA staff members enthusiastically serve local charities, churches, schools, underprivileged children and civic organizations. “We cover Baton Rouge like the morning dew,” Peters says with a proud smile. “Baton Rouge has been incredible to us for 35 years. We owe Baton Rouge more than we can ever repay it.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Financial planning and investment advisory services • TOP EXECUTIVE: Bill Peters • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 6 YEAR FOUNDED: 1982 • PHONE: 225.766.4885 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: Investment advisory services are offered through Peters Wealth Advisors, LLC (“PWA”) an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Such services are only provided after clients have entered into a Wealth Management Agreement confirming the terms of the advisor client engagement and have been provided a copy of PWA’s ADV Part 2A brochure document. Securities offered through Dominion Investor Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



L to R: Pat Cuntz, Todd Bourgeois and Mike Lee


TECHNOLOGY COMPANY’S LEGACY CONTINUES, FUELED BY SERVICE “WALKIE-TALKIES aren’t flashy,” quips Pat Cuntz, co-CEO of EMCO Technologies, a Baton Rouge-based communications and information technology company. “But there will always be a need for two-way voice communications. The services we provide, the products we provide are tools that are needed in a moment of crisis.” The company counts among its customers not only major players in the petrochemical industry, but also its supporting businesses. Additionally, the company works with public safety entities—police, fire and emergency medical services—at all levels of government. EMCO’s communications division began as a Motorola repair and installation facility in 1962. Out of this core business, the company expanded as a Motorola dealer, distributor, reseller and manufacturer’s rep. Since then, the company has continued to evolve with the introduction of two other significant lines of business: outdoor warning systems and information technology. By the mid-80s, EMCO enjoyed a long-standing relationship with a major petrochemical company that was in need of computer repair. Onsite daily providing communications support, EMCO was uniquely qualified to fulfill this need, which prompted the company’s growth into information technology services. Leveraging its experience providing IT support to the petrochemical company, EMCO recognized the services could be scalable and, thus, began

offering IT solutions to other petrochemical companies, which fueled the company’s growth to new markets, including neighboring Texas. While continuing to serve the petrochemical industry and its support businesses, the company grew by providing services through major contractors to the federal government. This expansion brought the company into seven states, where it continues operation today. “Communications was the catapult for IT that led to major federal contracts,” says Todd Bourgeois, co-CEO of EMCO and president of its information technology group.

Because of the cyclical nature of federal contracts, the company’s number of employees fluctuates. What remains consistent are EMCO’s continued growth and profitability during its 55-year history. While it is no longer a family business by strict definition, EMCO continues to operate as one. According to Bourgeois, Cuntz and CFO Mike Lee, the company’s decision-making revolves around its employees, its customers and the broader community. They are bullish about this region’s market, describing it as a great community and a great place to live and


raise a family. While recognizing some challenges, they describe Baton Rouge as an excellent place to do business. “As long as we’re the owners of this business, it is never moving out of Baton Rouge. We made a conscious decision that this is where we wanted to be,” says Cuntz, who is also president of the company’s communications group. Perhaps the most compelling advantage of the Baton Rouge market for EMCO is the strength and ongoing growth of the petrochemical industry here. “The major industry that we serve is here,” says Cuntz. “We recognize the petrochemical industry not just for what it does for business and for the broader community, but we recognize what it does for us.” Working with global companies, EMCO must adhere to strict performance standards. “We’ve been working with many of these customers for decades. Maintaining these relationships for as long as we have is not accomplished by doing things the wrong way,” notes Bourgeois. “Their processes flow down to us so we have to conform to their standards.” Reflecting on the flooding in Baton Rouge last year, Bourgeois and Cuntz recall the generosity of EMCO’s employees, whose donations the company matched. Borrowing a former tagline of Motorola’s, Cuntz says, “We are here in the moments that matter most.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Information technology, communications, outdoor warning systems TOP EXECUTIVES: Todd Bourgeois, Pat Cuntz, Mike Lee • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 175 FTEs • YEAR FOUNDED: 1962 • PHONE: 225.925.8900 WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @EMCO-TECH




L to R: WAFB’s Matt Williams, Director Sid Newman, Heidi Dunnam and Lt. Don Stone


ANONYMITY, MEDIA KEY TO LONG-RUNNING SUCCESS OF LOCAL CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAM CRIME DOESN’T PAY, but Crime Stoppers does. Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers offers cash payments for anonymous tips about felony crimes. This independent, nonprofit agency targets a wide range of serious offenses, from burglaries, murders, rapes and fugitives to campus crimes, cyberbullying, human trafficking and the illegal drug trade. Founded in 1982, Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers has been making the metro area safer for 35 years. The numbers offer a clue to its effectiveness. Since its inception, Crimestoppers has solved more than 13,000 felony crimes and recovered in excess of $33 million in stolen property and illegal narcotics. To date, the program has paid out almost $2 million in cash rewards, all completely anonymously. “We are solving one crime every day, and it is costing us about $168 per arrest and $150 per crime solved,” says Sid Newman, executive director of Crime Stoppers. “We have a 98% conviction rate, which makes our program very unique. If you know something, Crime Stoppers is the safest way to say something while remaining anonymous.” Anonymity is key to Crime Stoppers’ success. Often, people who have information about a crime are reluctant to come forward. Fear of retaliation and


apathy are two of the biggest deterrents to speaking up. Crime Stoppers ensures that every tipster remains anonymous and has a financial motivation to speak up. Everything about Crime Stoppers is designed to keep callers’ identities a secret. Crime Stoppers never asks tipsters to provide their name. Instead, they are given a code number. Crime Stoppers’ phone system has no track and trace system or caller ID. Its records cannot be subpoenaed. Callers always speak to a live person, never an answering machine, seven days a

week, 24 hours a day. In 35 years, no caller’s identity has ever been revealed. Anyone can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously by calling 344-STOP (7867). They can also text CS225 plus their message to CRIMES (274637). Also, Web messages can be sent via the website After passing along a tip, callers are asked to stay in touch with Crime Stoppers. If their information results in an arrest, recovery of stolen property or confiscation of illegal narcotics, they become eligible for a cash reward of $50 to $5,000. Rewards are funded by

private donations as well as fees collected by the courts. Rewards are paid through the drivethrough window of a local bank using the code number system, assuring that the caller remains anonymous. “We are the only organization—public or private—that is allowed to pay rewards without identifying the recipient,” notes Newman. Besides citizens, Crime Stoppers relies on its media partners to make the process work. Crime Stoppers is regularly featured on WAFB-TV news, 107.3 FM radio and in local newspapers such as The Advocate and Central Speaks. Of course, Crime Stoppers also works hand-in-hand with law enforcement. In addition to passing along tips to the proper agency, Crime Stoppers is located at state police headquarters and is part of the violent crime unit. “We have access to federal agents, state police, sheriffs’ offices and local police,” Newman says. “Crime Stoppers is a one-stop crime reporting agency.” The way Newman sees it, the work of Crime Stoppers has probably never been more important in Baton Rouge. “Now, more than ever, a large segment of the public does not trust the police, but they want someone to handle their tip information. Citizens can reach out to Crime Stoppers without any fears of retaliation and with the incentive of a cash reward.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: To prevent and solve crime • TOP EXECUTIVE: Sid Newman, Director YEAR FOUNDED: 1982 • 2016 STATS: 358 felony crimes solved, 290 felony arrests PHONE: 225.344.STOP • WEBSITE: • FACEBOOK: • TEXT: CRIMES (274637) | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



L to R: Chad Scott, P.E., William Nassetta, M.D., MPH, Ron Torres, PA-C, and Major Mittendorf, PA-C


WORKING TOGETHER WITH EMPLOYERS FOR BETTER HEALTH CARE OUTCOMES THE NEED FOR occupational medicine support is crucial for successful business operations. Facing the challenges of complex regulatory requirements and the rising cost of workers’ compensation and disability while improving employee productivity are major issues that employers must address. The challenges of providing occupational medicine services have evolved since CORE Occupational Medicine’s inception 20 years ago. In the past, individual occupational medicine clinics operated as a localized solution to a company’s occupational medicine needs. In today’s competitive market, companies are seeking integrated solutions, which is the genesis from which CORE has engineered its platforms. “We wanted to create an organization that was more responsive to getting employees prompt, appropriate care, but also provides collaborative activity with employers so that there is continuity of care for the employee as well as a communication channel for the best possible outcomes,” says Managing Partner of CORE Health Networks Chad Scott, P.E. CORE evolved from a single clinic, incorporating onsite mobile and embedded staffing, on its way to offering a fully integrated model. In 2008, CORE Health Networks formed as a new business line to provide corporate occupational medicine program management and injury management services. With hundreds of staff, CORE

now provides solutions for numerous Fortune 500 companies, NASA and several other governmental agencies throughout all 50 states. Today, CORE provides a full spectrum of workplace health services to encompass the entire life cycle of a worker within an organization. This is accomplished through Chief Medical Officer William Nassetta, M.D., MPH, who leads a national team of medical directors, and the use of CORE ConnectSM, a proprietary web-based occupational medicine management platform designed as a scalable, enterprise level solution. CORE ConnectSM serves as a centralized data warehouse for records management, scheduling, medical reviews and more, allowing for seamless integration into human resources departments and leading to a competitive advantage. Managing Partner Ron Torres, PA-C, says integrating a multidisciplinary

occupational medicine platform is what sets CORE apart. “We perform a multitude of services quite well, and the digital platform is just the greatest expression of our ability.” CORE provides comprehensive substance abuse testing program management and has been officially recognized as Nationally Accredited for Administration of Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs (NAADATP) by the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA)—one of only 45 companies in the country to achieve this accreditation. One of CORE’s capabilities is its expanded mobile fleet of occupational service vehicles. Any service that can be performed in a medical clinic can be conducted in an onsite environment, anywhere in the continental U.S. This allows for minimal impact on work activity and significant cost savings. Further, records are available in


CORE ConnectSM for client access and recordkeeping. CORE staffs embedded medical clinics at more than 100 industrial sites throughout the U.S. “Over the last decade, many companies decided to outsource their occupational medicine services, and industry leaders continue to select CORE as their preferred occupational medicine provider,” says Major Mittendorf, PA-C, managing partner. Rounding out a full spectrum of services, CORE operates its 24/7/365 TimeZero Injury ManagementSM Call Center staffed by occupational health providers. “Our goal is to ensure that each employee receives the right care, right now,” explains Scott. “We perform early intervention and active case management so employees receive the best possible care with the best possible outcome.” In 2017, CORE is taking a more global approach with plans to open offices in both Canada and the Middle East. CORE is also doubling its footprint at home by expanding its call center on Office Park Boulevard. “Real-time, appropriate, quality care from occupational medicine-trained personnel is a critical mission of CORE, and that’s really where our expertise comes to play,” says Torres. “Companies have unprecedented access to our nationwide occupational providers across many different industries and geographic concerns. It doesn’t matter what type of company or where they’re located, we have a solution.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Integrated occupational medicine services, including clinical and mobile services, injury management and medical program management • TOP EXECUTIVES: William Nassetta, M.D., MPH, Chad Scott, P.E., Ron Torres, PA-C, Major Mittendorf, PA-C • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 350 YEAR FOUNDED: 1997 • PHONE: 225.456.2243 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: Occupational Medicine • TWITTER: @coreoccmedsvs




Amanda Moody, director of economic development, with Mayor Jr. Shelton


UNLOCKING THE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF LOUISIANA’S 13TH LARGEST CITY FOR THE PAST year, the city of Central has put renewed focus on economic development. In February 2016, the city adopted Discover Central, an economic development initiative that emphasizes business and workforce development. “We started the initiative just getting a grasp on where we stand—identifying our strengths and our weaknesses,” says Amanda Moody, Central’s director of economic development. “We understand the challenges that business owners face and we want them to know their local government is behind them and supports them.” To build a viable, sustainable economy, the Discover Central initiative involves improving business recruitment, retention and expansion, as well as providing entrepreneurial and startup support, fostering workforce and community development, and lobbying for public policy changes. The Discover Central initiative revealed immense opportunities for the city, which was incorporated in July 2005 and now has a population

of almost 30,000. “Amazing things are happening in our business community, but the businesses themselves are quite unassuming,” Moody says. “You wouldn’t necessarily know we have multimillion dollar operations going on here.” For example, one of the city’s most successful businesses is also one of the largest pipe manufacturers in the state. Baton Rouge Community College has a campus in Central and, through BRCC’s Workforce Development Division, the Central campus offers courses in areas such as industrial crafts, project management and allied health. Central also has one of the state’s top-rated school districts. Part of the Discover Central initiative is “telling the business story,” Moody says. “We want people to understand what’s around them and see the potential in it.” The initiative also aims to address the challenges the city faces. For example, with a mean age of 40.6 years, Central’s population—like that of the U.S. in general—is aging. The city

also has seen an outmigration of millennials, or 18- to 34-year-olds, while most of Central’s labor force leaves the city for work every day. And, with municipal revenue based solely on a 2% sales tax, Central is looking for economic diversification, as well. Indeed, Moody, who reports directly to Mayor Jr. Shelton and the city council, says city officials see their mission as being facilitators, not roadblocks, to economic development success. The city is refining and streamlining its processes, such as planning and zoning, to be more business-friendly. Updating the city’s digital infrastructure could attract companies that need a higher data flow. And Central is diversifying its housing stock to meet the preferences of a wide range of residents, from young knowledge workers to retirees and the elderly. “We’re trying to focus on a mix of things across the city, but we also want to strike a balance,” says Moody, who is herself a Central native. “We’re the 13th largest city in the state, but we still have a small-town feel with a close-

knit community. We want to keep that rural atmosphere in some areas, such as the north of the city.” Last August, just six months into Central’s economic development initiative, the historic floods happened. About 80% of homes in Central, which lies 10 miles northeast of Baton Rouge, had some water damage, and 7,000 homes were flooded. Almost every Central resident was affected. “With the flood, we had to shift our focus to one of economic recovery,” Moody says. “Housing became more of a priority.” Central’s economic development office continues to serve as a resource for business and employment recovery information for those affected by the flood. Yet, Mayor Shelton says Central’s economic development initiatives have not been deterred. “We recognize that our Discover Central initiative can bring Central back stronger than ever,” he says. “Central reminds you that we are open for business and we invite you to come check us out.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Municipal government • TOP EXECUTIVE: Mayor Jr. Shelton • POPULATION: 30,000 YEAR FOUNDED: 2005 • PHONE: 225.261.5988 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @CityofCentralLa | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




A BETTER WAY TO IDENTIFY RISK AND OPPORTUNITY IN THE CREDIT MARKET LARGE NATIONAL BANKS have armies of experts and arsenals of tools that can pinpoint the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities within their loan portfolios. Smaller lending institutions? Not so much. That’s where Innovative Analytics comes in. Innovative Analytics is a data analytics firm that helps financial institutions better understand and evaluate the loans on their books. Innovative Analytics uses credit bureau data, combined with internal loan system data and predictive analytics to help lenders analyze their loan portfolios, manage risk, maximize profits and make more informed lending decisions—both in the aggregate and at the individual loan level. Founded by Layne McDaniel, CPA, Belinda Morales and Victoria Richard, credit reporting and financial services professionals with over 75 years of experience in credit reporting, consumer lending and credit risk management, Innovative Analytics is now rolling out a new, proprietary credit risk management software program. The program was specifically designed with credit unions, banks, auto dealerships, furniture stores and other consumer lenders in mind. As former CEO of the Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge Inc.—an affiliate of Equifax—McDaniel realized that many clients needed help understanding and analyzing the raw data they purchased

from the credit bureaus. In response, he and his partners designed a secure, web-based credit risk management software program and founded Innovative Analytics, now more than 10 years in the making. Innovative Analytics helps small to mid-sized financial institutions and other smaller creditors identify and manage current and future credit risk within their consumer loan portfolio. Using current credit scores and other credit risk attributes, Innovative Analytics assists lenders in classifying credit risk in a more effective and forward-looking manner. “We are basically looking at unidentified risk within your portfolio, meaning you need to manage these loans differently than when they were first originated,” McDaniel notes. If a borrower’s credit score decreases, the lender may need to consider reducing their credit line in order to protect itself against future losses. If the loan in question is an installment loan—such as a mortgage or car loan—the lender may benefit from reprioritizing their collections strategies. “With the data we provide, lenders can see which of their customers are

delinquent with other creditors and are likely to become delinquent with them as well.” More than just providing credit scores, Innovative Analytics can also show lenders why a particular borrower’s creditworthiness has deteriorated. Did a passing situation (such as making a large credit card purchase to earn airline miles) cause a temporary decline in their credit score? Or is there a more serious trend that will be difficult to reverse? “Whether it is because of delinquencies, derogatory information, debt utilization, inquiries or whatever the issue, we can outline why that borrower’s credit score has decreased,” McDaniel says. At the other end of the spectrum, Innovative Analytics can also help lenders identify which customers are good prospects for further sales. “We can show how much money a borrower owes to other creditors and which borrowers are the best candidates for cross-selling,” McDaniel says. “If you want the borrowers with higher credit scores, you can target them with an attractive offer.”


“Basically, this software helps you identify your low end and try to reduce potential loss. On the high end, you are identifying better borrowers and trying to solicit additional business from them.” In addition to risk management, Innovative Analytics can help lending institutions more efficiently and effectively satisfy accounting requirements such as CECL (Current Expected Credit Losses), which will become more stringently regulated in the next five years. Innovative Analytics doesn’t just utilize credit scores; it also integrates credit bureau data with the client’s own internal data to establish appropriate risk-based pricing models. There are other companies offering similar types of analysis, but the expertise that Innovative Analytics offers is hard to top. “Understanding the credit file and what’s in the credit database lets us identify the most predictive credit attributes that more accurately measure risk,” McDaniel says. “Understanding the credit data gives us an advantage.” “We tried to create something that was easy to use and cost-effective for our customer base, as well as something we could market nationally.” The program basically pays for itself, says McDaniel. “We believe that the cost of the program can easily be recouped by better managing your credit risk, reducing credit losses and increasing your wallet share with your better customers.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Consumer credit data analytics • TOP EXECUTIVE: Layne R. McDaniel • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 6 YEAR FOUNDED: 2007 • PHONE: 225.490.0940 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL:





CATS A KEY COMPONENT IN TRANSPORTATION ECOSYSTEM MOTORISTS ACROSS THE Capital Region might not know it, but last year, the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) made more than 2.5 million trips shuttling riders who depend on its services every day. As part of its continuous improvement plan, CATS also added 12 brand new Wi-Fi-equipped buses last year and increased its on-time performance to 80%. And as the Capital Region faced historic flooding last August, CATS evacuated more than 6,000 residents from flooded homes and businesses, even as 43 of its own operators experienced flooding themselves. Those projects are just a start as CATS works to position itself as a progressive problem-solver in Baton Rouge’s transportation ecosystem, says CEO William Deville. “We’re making steady progress and re-introducing ourselves to the community,” says Deville. “Our goal is to create a system that serves riders with a high level of excellence and that collaborates with other community partners in improving regional transportation.” Developing solutions to Baton Rouge’s current transportation crisis has been an ongoing priority among the public and private sectors, whose leaders believe that improving com-

muter traffic flow and expanding multimodal transportation are essential steps to the region’s long-term economic growth. Deville says CATS is working closely with the Office of the Mayor-President, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and others to craft solutions to this thorny problem. “Improving transportation and traffic flow is complex and takes an all-handson-deck approach,” says Deville. “We are eager to demonstrate what a transit

company can do.” CATS has big plans underway for 2017. An additional 12 new buses will enter the fleet this year, making a total of 24 new buses added over a two-year period. It’s part of an ongoing strategy to retire aging buses, some of which have surpassed their recommended life span of 12 years or 500,000 miles. Moreover, CATS is introducing a twophase Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project that will bring energy-efficient electric buses to high-impact corridors. Phase 1

will take place along Florida Boulevard, which has the highest volume of ridership in the Capital City. Phase 2 will be situated on Plank Road. “This kind of project allows us to use federal dollars to improve these very popular routes, while also aligning with some of the City of Baton Rouge’s priorities for streetscape and land use improvements,” says Deville. In addition to the new electric buses, Phase 1 also includes plans for transit stations around the intersections of Florida Boulevard and Lobdell Drive and Florida Boulevard and Foster Drive. These, combined with current stations at Cortana Mall and in Mid City, will create an improved network of stops and transfer opportunities. Deville says the ultimate goal of the project is to also include streetscape improvements at the transit stations, including shelters, sidewalks and lighting. CATS is also working closely with BRAF’s Bike Share program as well as with the rideshare app Uber to broaden options for riders who benefit from a combination of transportation services. “CATS is a piece of the transit puzzle,” Deville says. “We are eager to work with companies and projects that help bring seamless transit to people who don’t have access to cars or who want to use them less.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Regional transit authority of Baton Rouge, providing fixed-route, paratransit service and more. TOP EXECUTIVE: William Deville • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 290 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1970 PHONE: 225.389.8920 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



Sons Lou Ruffino III, Ronnie Ruffino and Robert Ruffino have joined Louis Jr. and Josie at the family business on Florida Boulevard.


FAMILY-OWNED AND OPERATED RETAIL ELECTRONICS AND APPLIANCE STORE STILL GROWING STRONG AFTER 48 YEARS LOUIS S. RUFFINO JR. started in the electronics business in 1969, when an opportunity to own a retail electronics store was presented to him by the Magnavox company. He opened the first store on Florida Boulevard selling Magnavox televisions and stereos in a variety of wooden console cabinets. While competition from other family-owned businesses has mostly disappeared over the years, Sherwood Televisions and Appliances has survived for more than four decades by adapting and expanding its offerings to meet changing customer needs. “We plan on being here a long, long time as a family business,” Ruffino says. “We have knowledge of merchandise, tell the facts, never mislead people, offer competitive prices and practice customer service, above and beyond.” Louis and wife Josie opened Sherwood Magnavox Home Entertainment Center as franchise owners in the Baton Rouge area who could not only sell the Magnavox products, but also set them up and explain how they worked to customers. Over time, the store began offering major home appliances to add to their product mix. In the early 1990s they changed their name to Sherwood Televisions & Appliances. The name change reflected key changes in the business, such as expanding appliance product lines, deleting the Magnavox electronics line from their product

offering, and taking on the popular (at the time) RCA, Sony, LG and Samsung electronics lines. At one time, the Ruffinos owned four stores: the original store on Florida Boulevard, a store at Bon Marche Mall, a store at North Park Mall and one at Cortana Mall. The business struggled during tough economic conditions in the early 1980s, and all stores except the original store were closed, Louis says. Today, the business operates just a few miles from its original location, at 11756 Florida Blvd. approximately one block east of Sherwood Forest Boulevard. The couple’s sons, Lou Ruffino III, Ronnie Ruffino and Robert

Ruffino, are involved in running the business. The store currently offers popular television brands, such as Samsung, LG and Philips, along with appliance brands Whirlpool, Maytag, GE, Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Samsung, Hot Point and Crosley. “We have access to several other brands in both electronics and appliances through our special ordering program,” Robert adds. The service department employs five technicians offering in-home repair on major appliances and electronics. The in-shop service department offers customers free estimates within two to three business days on televisions that


are brought in. In the back of the property, the family owns Sherwood Mini Storage, which encompasses approximately 500 various-sized mini-storage units, including some that are climate controlled, as well as several 40- and 45-foot storage facilities for boats and motorhomes. “We’re not slowing down at all,” Louis says. The father-and-sons team notes that they have seen an increase in business from people rebuilding after the 2016 Baton Rouge area flood, with most of their current business from appliance sales and service. The business recently enlarged its warehouse facility and its service room department. Robert says, “Sherwood Televisions and Appliances will continue to grow and expand in products and facilities to keep up with growing customer demand. We have to keep up with current trends while still maintaining our high level of customer service.” “There was a time everybody thought the Internet was going to mean the ruination of retail,” Robert adds. “But that simply has not been the case for us. The Internet has exposed new customers to us and our product lines. Customers also love our personalized selling experience, which they cannot find anywhere else. This is why I think Sherwood Televisions and Appliances will be around for many years to come.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Electronics/appliance sales and service • TOP EXECUTIVE: Louis S. Ruffino, Jr. • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 12 YEAR FOUNDED: 1969 • PHONE: 225.275.6900 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK:




Dr. Bill Slaughter of SSA Consultants


COLLABORATIVE BUSINESS CONSULTING HELPS CLIENTS IMPROVE PERFORMANCE SSA CONSULTANTS HAS helped public- and private-sector clients improve their performance and strengthen their organizations for more than 40 years. “We utilize a collaborative approach to custom fit our work to the needs of each organization,” says founder and President Dr. Bill Slaughter. The SSA team possesses diverse academic and professional backgrounds at their Baton Rouge-based organizational development and management consulting firm. SSA serves organizations across nearly every economic sector, helping them achieve new standards of excellence. “Our goal is always the same—make our clients more successful,” Dr. Christel Slaughter, a partner at SSA, states. Services offered by SSA include strategic planning, leadership development, performance assessments, organizational and operational redesigns, executive searches, stakeholder outreach and compensation studies. “It’s everything from a client facing new competition, to a business that needs a culture change to be more responsive, to a family business that is transitioning from one generation to the next,” Christel states. SSA begins by conducting an appropriate assessment of the business or organization; then the consultants collaborate with the client to custom design a project or program that helps

Bill and Christel say working with an array of organization types, industries and projects has made the firm stronger.

the client improve performance. One of the common misconceptions about their business is that they work primarily with companies who are in trouble. “Most of our clients are very successful,” Christel states. “A company could be doing well and wants to do better by bringing in a fresh set of eyes to help create an even greater future.” While companies are facing many of the same challenges they have for decades, the speed with which those companies must respond to issues is changing as everything moves faster in the digital age.

Many business owners are not familiar with their company’s online reviews on peer review sites or their overall reputation on social media. Organizations often do not fully realize the long-term implications of the digital age. Another fundamental issue facing organizations today is the ongoing wave of baby boomers that are retiring. This phenomenon is creating an array of leadership development and succession planning challenges for many companies, nonprofits and government agencies. “Now is the time for owners and managers to address those challenges,”

notes Christel. “As these highly skilled and experienced people leave, it’s really important to effectively identify and develop the next team.” SSA also works with organizations that need help leading and managing millennials, which Bill describes as “culturally different” from past generations of workers. He poses the question, “How do you develop and meld this group into a highly successful team?” The SSA team is especially excited about the Louisiana Calling project, a statewide marketing initiative designed to change the way high school students, their parents and young adults view so called “middle-skill careers”— sustainable, high-value jobs that require some postsecondary training and credential, but not necessarily a four-year college degree. “It’s not the typical consulting project, but we were honored to be selected to handle it,” Bill adds. Several other large projects are on the horizon for SSA. While the team is working all along the Gulf Coast region, more potential clients from out of town and out of state have contacted them recently. SSA believes the variety of clients’ organization types, industries and projects makes them stronger consultants and keeps the team at the forefront of their industry as collaborative, creative problem-solvers who contribute to their clients’ success.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Organizational development and management • TOP EXECUTIVES: Bill Slaughter, Ph.D., President and Partner; Christel Slaughter, Ph.D., Partner; Rudy Gomez, Partner; Will Williams, Ph.D., Partner; Anita Byrne, Partner • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 13 YEAR FOUNDED: 1970 • PHONE: 225.769.2676 • WEBSITE: EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



Mooyah team is ready to serve on Siegen Lane


SERVICE AND QUALITY DRIVE TOP BURGER FRANCHISE TO NEW HEIGHTS WHEN HE OPENED the burger eatery Mooyah on Siegen Lane in 2013, franchisee Chuck Kerr was intent on creating a dining experience that would make customers want to return. He believed that by coaching staff to provide top-notch customer service and by delivering a quality meal with fresh ingredients, he could increase his chances of securing repeat business— the Holy Grail of restaurant operators. Kerr’s instincts paid off. The Siegen Lane Mooyah in Baton Rouge has been No. 1 in sales among the 100 Mooyah locations across the country every year since it opened over three years ago. On average, guests return to Kerr’s store within just a week and a half. The brand’s national customer return average is three to five weeks. “I tell my team, ‘We’re not selling burgers, fries and shakes,’” says Kerr. “’We’re selling value. It’s all about cleanliness, service and quality.’” Indeed, the value proposition is something Kerr seems to ponder nonstop, reflected in a steady stream of business mantras he calls “Chuckisms.” Quick-service and fast-food restaurants live and die by efficiency, but Kerr believes you really win people over by providing service so good they come away feeling they’ve received undeniable value. For example, he’s empowered staff to make sure a burger looks as perfect as possible before it’s

served, and to reject one that doesn’t pass muster. He’s also made sure there is always at least one team member in the dining room to ensure tables are quickly cleaned. And he almost always has more staff in the store than the recommended percentage for quick-service restaurants to keep operations flowing fast. “You have to focus on what makes the money, not the money itself,” he says. The former owner of two Southwest Oklahoma Subway stores, Kerr is no

stranger to the franchise world. Mooyah caught his attention after his wife, Denise, had a positive experience at a Frisco, Texas, location. Shortly after the couple and their daughter moved to Baton Rouge, Kerr bought the franchise and opened the Capital City’s first Mooyah. “We serve fresh, never-frozen, beef, produce that’s delivered three times a week and hand-cut French fries,” Kerr says. “We also make our own bread.” The Mooyah concept appeals to diners, says Kerr, because they have


freedom of choice, selecting type of bread, protein and toppings from a visible assemblage of ingredients. They might opt for a double beef patty on a white bun with Applewood smoked bacon and Swiss cheese, or a black bean burger wrapped in iceberg lettuce with avocado and tomato. Diners also choose between hand-cut Idaho potato fries or sweet potato fries. Upon Denise Kerr’s recommendation, Kerr started offering honey as a condiment to the sweet potato fries, which has helped the store sell more of these fries than any other Mooyah. Kerr will open doors on a second Mooyah on Lee Drive in May. Hoping to capture significant sales during football season, Kerr has designed a special back kitchen that will produce hundreds of fresh grab bags holding premade burgers, fries and condiments for a set price. The idea is to make it seamless for tailgaters to stop in and stock up on gameday eats. Kerr says the restaurant is designed to do $20,000 a day in sales during peak season. Kerr says he plans to export the same passion for service that’s helped him succeed on Siegen to the new location. “When our guests put money into our register, we enter into a contract with them,” Kerr says. “They’ve met their end of the bargain. Then it’s up to us to meet ours.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Burgers (hamburger, turkey, veggie), fries (hand-punched and sweet potato) and shakes TOP EXECUTIVES: Erik Adams, GM, 320 Lee location, and Candra Shorts, GM, 6555 Siegen Lane location • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: soon to be 60 YEAR FOUNDED: 2013 • PHONE: 225.636.2645 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK:




L to R: Janie Keller, Vice President of the board; Kenneth Henderson, Executive Director; Laura Begnaud, board member


LOCAL SCHOOL FOR DYSLEXIC STUDENTS GETS NEW BUILDING WITH THE MOTTO “Empowering Students to Achieve,” The Brighton School is growing and expanding high-quality education designed for students with dyslexia and other learning differences throughout the greater Baton Rouge area. Founded in 1972 to fill a void for the educational needs of dyslexic children, the school has grown from its early beginnings as a supplemental Saturday school to a fully accredited school for students in grades 1-12. The school also operates “Skills for Success” summer camps, which are open to the community for grades 1-9. The Brighton School is the only grade 1-12 school in Louisiana dedicated solely to the instruction of children with dyslexia and dyslexia-related learning differences. For 2017, new partnerships, programs and facilities will allow Brighton to impact the lives of even more students. “We wanted our students to go further than they have before, and we wanted to make sure our programs are effective,” says Vickie Johnson, Brighton communications director and dyslexia teacher. “We want everybody in our school to learn to read and all of our students to be successful.”

Dyslexia is a lifelong learning difference. Brighton’s curriculum and methodology are based on the latest findings of ongoing research sponsored by the National Institutes of Child Health and Development. Fifteen to 20 percent of students have dyslexia or a related learning difference. Many of them will have difficulty achieving academic success in a traditional classroom. “Recent studies have shown that the dyslexic brain learns differently but can

be treated successfully,” says Johnson. “Dyslexia is neurologically based, and early intervention is, of course, best.” Brighton has partnered with Shelton School & Evaluation Center in Dallas— the world’s largest private school for children with learning differences—to instruct all of its 22 educators in dyslexic therapy. Training at the start of the new year included the most intensive, evidence-based programs available and is expected to produce a 95% suc-

cess rate for students. A multimillion-dollar elementary school building for Brighton should be open by August and will include 8,500 square feet of office and classroom space with a teacher ratio of 6:1. Large, modern classrooms with garden areas and all the latest technology will allow Brighton to accommodate more students in grades 1 through 6. The new school will also join existing junior high and high school buildings on Parkmeadow Avenue, making all of the school’s campuses accessible in one location. While Brighton strives to help its more than 100 students achieve their full academic and personal potential—and prepare them for success beyond its campus—the school also provides free services to the community. Monthly dyslexia education forums and dyslexia screenings help educate parents about dyslexia and stress the importance of early intervention. “We are educating the community and promoting the education of parents on dyslexia,” says Johnson. “We invite anyone to attend these free events, join us at an open house or call us at (225) 291-2524 to schedule a campus tour.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Provides therapeutic educational services in a private school setting for students with dyslexia, ADHD, ADD and related learning differences • TOP EXECUTIVES: Kenneth Henderson, Cheryl Ollmann • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 22 YEAR FOUNDED: 1972 • PHONE: 225.291.2524 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @dyslexiateach1 | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




CREATING THE DIGITAL FUTURE NOW AFTER 15-PLUS YEARS in the software development business, Envoc has engineered solutions for some of the biggest and best companies across multiple industry sectors. Its clients constantly tout three main tenets of what makes their Envoc experience: its talented team, agile process and innovative concepts. Why do people and companies innovate? Innovation creates “a better reality,” which is the foundation of Envoc. When successful companies treat innovation as a regular part of an agile growth process, evolution in scalability and efficiency begins. The founder of Envoc and the leader of its vision, Calvin Fabre, says it best when he describes the “why” of Envoc: “We exist at the intersection of creativity and technology to deliver excellent experiences and innovation. With a collaborative, agile process and cross-functional teams, we deliver a unique blend of design and development that creates an unmatched experience for your business.” Envoc is now entering the second stage of its evolution as the company begins to expand on its service offerings and in-house created products. As a software development firm, Envoc is the only Xamarin-certified organization in Louisiana. It’s also a Unity developer for 3-D applications and augmented reality platforms for the safety and industrial space. Learning management systems, cloud-based

database applications and solutions for major utility companies are everyday work at Envoc. As a creative digital agency, the company is a regular winner at the ADDY’s and has developed brand projects for clients such as Reserve Telecommunications, Wymar Federal Credit Union and Republic Finance. In the mobile and web app space, companies like Woman’s Hospital and service provider uBreakiFix trust Envoc for the success of their projects. Capitalizing on its successful innovations in web development, Envoc will be offering advanced solutions around digital presence. Digital Presence

as-a-Service will be a multi-tiered offering that brings together social, website, reputation and behavioral analytics to provide a more strategic process for businesses to succeed online. “We love to collaborate with our clients to develop ways to extend their digital reach. Using a combination of data-driven decisions and creative problem-solving, we build and execute plans using online channels to build brand awareness and achieve our clients’ goals,” says Lynsey Gwin, Envoc’s chief brand officer. Envoc believes that its tremendous success is centered around its people. One of the company’s biggest chal-


lenges moving forward is the continued recruitment of the best creative and development talent. Envoc is projecting to double in size before the end of 2017 and is also looking at open a major office in New Orleans in addition to its existing offices in Hammond, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Finding top talent is Envoc’s first priority. What does top talent look like? Chief Process Officer Lizzie Broussard says it’s “smart, forward-thinking, innovative and creative minds. We look for those at the top of their game who thrive in a collaborative atmosphere.” The future is a more connected reality, and Envoc aims to make that “a better reality” by increasing its product development and service offerings around the internet of things, augmented reality, artificial intelligence security solutions and deep data analytics. “The future is now when it comes to advanced software technology and its practical applications in everything around us,” says Ned Fasullo, Envoc’s chief strategy officer. “We intend to continue working with forward-looking clients to make innovative solutions that achieve their business outcomes, and we think doing so will ensure that Envoc is a major player on the national stage.” Envoc’s future is to be digitally integrated into everyday life. “Together with our clients, we are making ‘a better reality,’ ” says Fabre.

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Web, mobile, application and software development, creative services, marketing services and technology consulting TOP EXECUTIVES: Calvin Fabre, CEO, Ned Fasullo, CSO, Lynsey Gwin, CBO, Lizzie Broussard, CPO • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 30 • YEAR FOUNDED: 2005 PHONE: 225.910.8239 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @envoc




Account Executive team


INSURANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FOR A CHANGING WORLD EVEN THE SAVVIEST of consumers can find themselves puzzled by the world of insurance. Coverage of all sorts is necessary in this day and age, but types of coverage vary widely and they change frequently due to market conditions and world events. The Baton Rouge-based independent agency Henry Insurance Service combines personal service, highly trained staff and an extensive product line to help clients make decisions that provide peace of mind and quality protection. Henry Insurance Service was founded in 1983 by businessman and insurance industry veteran Melvin Henry. Melvin’s son, Ross, assumed the leadership role in 2006. Ross Henry and his team of 21 experienced employees provide all lines of personal and commercial insurance to a broad spectrum of clients. Lines of coverage offered include workers’ compensation, general liability, property, homeowner’s, auto, life and health, among many others. “When I got into the business, I realized quickly it was never boring,” says Henry. “In the morning, you’re working with a restaurant, and in the afternoon you might be working with an individual or an industrial facility.” It’s been an important objective of Henry’s to stay abreast of trends and events that impact coverage so that he can better minimize risk and exposure

Account Management team

for his clients. For example, one of the biggest issues impacting businesses today is workplace violence and stalking threats. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workplace violence is the second leading cause of work-site death in the United States. If a business experiences this kind of tragedy or threat, it can endure unexpected consequences, including reputation damage, loss of revenue, employee counseling and liability exposure. “We believe it’s more important to

be a problem-preventer than a problem-solver,” Henry says. “This is a really important issue today for businesses, and we’ve spent a lot of time staying on top of the latest in effective risk management.” Indeed, Henry Insurance Service not only offers comprehensive workplace violence coverage to businesses of all sizes, it also can provide security assessments to help businesses mitigate exposure. Ross Henry recently formed this new service line with partners Greg Phares, former City of Baton Rouge police chief, and security expert

Peter Ochinko, formerly of the U.S Secret Service. “We feel this is the evolution of risk management, and we’re pleased to offer this to our clients,” Henry says. “We want to help businesses maintain their culture, while taking sometimes very simple steps that reduce risk and exposure. Every business wants to provide as safe a workplace as possible for customers, clients, patients and employees.” Because of the large number of insurance companies represented, Henry Insurance Service provides clients competitive pricing and better choice in coverage. Not being locked in to one particular carrier allows the Henry Insurance team to “shop” for rates, terms and coverage that fit a client’s needs—whether that means a term life policy, homeowner’s insurance, commercial property coverage or coverage for a car or boat. Cyber liability coverage is another expanding area, says Henry. “Security and data breaches are more common than we think, and doors can be open in a company when they least expect it,” Henry says. “We’re committed to finding the best products for our clients that provide affordable peace of mind in a volatile world. “We are your trusted advocate to help you PROTECT WHAT MATTERS.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Personal and business insurance and risk management services • TOP EXECUTIVE: Ross Henry NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 21 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1983 • PHONE: 225.927.0451 • WEBSITE: EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: Henry Insurance Service, Inc. • TWITTER: @henryinsurance | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



Taylor Bennett and Hector Gonzalez

[ MESH ]

MARKETING AGENCY USES NEW TEAM STRUCTURE TO DELIVER RESULTS IN 2016, the Baton Rouge-based branding agency MESH made a bold move. Tossing out the conventional ad firm practice of organizing staff by departments, the company implemented a team concept that dissolves walls and sparks intense collaboration. Clients are assigned not just a brand manager, but an active team of marketing strategists, designers, writers, social media experts and others, each of whom is at the table from the start. The dissolution of old-school organizational charts is delivering better results for clients and empowering employees to deliver topnotch work, says MESH founder and CEO Taylor Bennett. “For the client, it feels like having an agency within an agency, because they have access to a talented group focused on their business,” says Bennett. “Everyone on the team has the same goal, and that is to figure out how to move the needle for the client.” Since Bennett founded the company in 2003, MESH has grown from a twoman operation to a 26-person firm with a robust client list. MESH has work in sectors that include oil and gas, retail, tourism, building products, food and beverage, government and nonprofits, banking and finance, health care, and others. A former engineering major at LSU, Bennett changed course in college when he discovered his passion for the visual arts, earning a bachelor’s

degree in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He returned to Baton Rouge and, after working for a number of local shops, he started MESH with a couple of computers and a can-do attitude. After opening his business, Bennett reached out on a whim to advertising trailblazer and founder of Dallas-based Richards Group, Stan Richards. The company is the largest independently owned ad firm in the country and is known for its creative leadership and progressive corporate culture. Richards took an interest in Bennett early on and has been a friend and mentor ever

since. “Stan really opened his playbook to us,” says Bennett about MESH’s recent reorganization. “We want to have the kind of culture that values talent and helps clients get the results they’re looking for.” MESH has earned palpable success over its tenure, with over 290 local, regional and national ADDY awards. Bennett says what’s more important than the awards has been to create a culture with time-tested values. “It’s little things like ‘don’t gossip’ and ‘tell the truth,’ ” says Bennett. “We believe in doing the right thing by each other and by our clients.”


In January, the firm welcomed Chief Operating Officer Hector Gonzalez, an LSU graduate who left a successful advertising career in Baltimore to support MESH’s team-based structure and strategize the firm’s expansion into Gulf Coast markets. The company’s most important objective, says Gonzalez, is to provide our employees with a creative environment to continue to develop marcomm strategies that truly work. “We want to build cohesive plans,” says Gonzalez. “What we like best is to work closely with our clients on creating a really thorough approach that goes beyond just a new logo or website.” When a client comes in, says Gonzalez, the first step is discovery. “We want to know what keeps them up at night,” he says. “We want to really get an honest feel for what the company is about and what the client wants to achieve.” Intense planning comes next, followed by ideation. That’s when the creative team often heads upstairs to an open work space designed to spark idea flow. Implementation of those new ideas comes next. Then comes the final stage. “Measurement,” says Gonzalez. “We have to know if it’s working, because at the end of the day, that’s what matters to our clients.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Strategic marketing agency focused on advancing brands TOP EXECUTIVES: Taylor Bennett, CEO, and Hector Gonzalez, COO • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 26 • YEAR FOUNDED: 2003 • PHONE: 225.248.1111 WEBSITE: • EMAIL: • FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @meshbr • INSTAGRAM: meshbr





LOCAL STAFF AND PERSONAL TOUCH ARE KEYS TO GROWTH FOR WEALTH MANAGEMENT FIRM CLIENTS OF UDB FINANCIAL can expect an experienced staff, along with a relaxed environment, when they visit the firm’s Baton Rouge office for their investment management and financial consulting needs. “We strive for a very personal, family-oriented culture in the office,” says Samuel J. Marino Jr., a partner in the Baton Rouge office. UDB Financial was founded by partners Michael Upton, Jeffrey Draughon and Joey Bollinger in 2004 in Alexandria. After 10 years of being with another national broker/dealer, the partners chose to affiliate with LPL Financial because of the independent service model and no proprietary investments. UDB Financial has four locations in Louisiana: Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Leesville and Marksville, with 11 financial advisors and six support staff. Consultants provide financial services to more than $600 million in brokerage and advisory assets through LPL Financial, the largest independent broker/dealer in the United States.* UDB Financial had always had a client base in Baton Rouge, but the partners had been looking for the right team to establish a physical office. Marino was approached about bringing his wealth management and business

experience to the UDB Financial family. The Baton Rouge office, located at 12508 Coursey Blvd., Suite B, was founded in 2008. Serving Baton Rouge clients along with Marino are Senior Retirement Plan Advisor Anthony “Tony” Ragusa, Financial Consultant Bradley Secrest and Client Service Associate Monica Meche. “We thrive on relationships and relationship building by being involved not just with the client, but the client’s family as well,” Marino says.

Marino says the firm envisions additional growth in the future because of that mindset. Marino is a native of Baton Rouge and a 1977 graduate of LSU. He was the owner of Marino’s Florist and Fine Gifts for 30 years. In 2006, he decided to sell his business and retire, but soon discovered retirement wasn’t for him. At the age of 52, he decided to reinvent himself as a financial consultant and worked with another National Wire house before moving to LPL Financial. Marino approaches clients with a

family-like, personal touch, helping his clients understand investing on any level. He works with business owners, individual wealth management clients and retirees from all walks of life. Ragusa began his career in 1999 at a National Wire House, and joined LPL Financial in 2013. He works with his corporate clients, as well as business owners and executives, as a trusted wealth advisor. Ragusa specializes in corporate retirement plans and has been working with retirement plans since 2000. He resides in Prairieville with his wife and four children. Secrest is the newest member of the firm. He is a recent LSU graduate and is now a licensed financial consultant with Series 7 and Series 66 registrations held through LPL Financial and insurance licenses. Secrest grew up in Alexandria, but now lives in Baton Rouge. As he continues to build and service his clientele, he also works as a part of the team preparing client proposals and presentations. Meche has been a client services associate with UDB Financial since 2010, and has been servicing clients in the financial industry for 30 years. She enjoys working with the clients, taking care of their day-to-day needs and organizing all client functions.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Investments and financial management TOP EXECUTIVES: Michael Upton, Jeffrey Draughon and Joey Bollinger, Samuel J. Marino, Jr. • NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 12 YEAR FOUNDED: 2004 • PHONE: 225.756.1755 • WEBSITE: *As reported in Financial Planning Magazine, June 1996-2016, based on total revenue Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



Emelie Kantrow Alton and Brock Kantrow


BISTRO BYRONZ EXPANDING WITH NEW BISTRO IN ZACHARY, NEW CONCEPT IN BATON ROUGE; REBRANDS MANAGEMENT GROUP WITH FOUR LOCATIONS and two more restaurants opening this year, the owners of Bistro Byronz have worked hard to create a concept that is not only successful, but also scalable. That’s a tall task in the highly competitive and ever-changing restaurant industry. “It is interesting and unique, but approachable,” says CEO Emelie Kantrow Alton, who leads the development, growth and overall performance of the group along with her brother, COO Brock Kantrow, who heads up the operational side of the expanding business. “There’s a breadth of the menu, but it all fits under Bistro, which is our core point of difference.” Bistro Byronz opened its doors in Baton Rouge Mid City 11 years ago. Since then, the concept has proven successful in Shreveport, Mandeville and a second Baton Rouge location inside The Settlement at Willow Grove. A fifth Bistro Byronz is coming soon to Zachary as part of the contemporary neighborhood development, Americana. Additionally, the group has plans to offer another unique, French-inspired dining experience with Flambée Café, opening inside Willow Grove in May. The new concept features the Tarte Flambée, the “hot French cousin of

pizza,” as the menu’s signature centerpiece. The new Flambée Café will take a French-inspired approach to the current artisanal pizza craze. With all the success and expansion happening right now, the company is also rebranding its restaurant group as Byronz Restaurant Family. “To us, an important word is family,” says Alton. “The values and approach of our restaurant and hospitality group are driven by the notion of family. Our bistros are an innovative take on the ‘neighborhood restaurants’ of France, and our new concept will take that same approach but in a smaller footprint, café experience with an entirely different menu. They’re all in the same ‘family’ of experiences and all have some inspiration from our French and Louisiana roots.” Alton points to four things that the company considers the key to Byronz Restaurant Family’s success today: product, process, place and people. “ The pinnacle of it all is the ‘prod-

uct,’ our menu and food,” Alton says. Bistro Byronz provides French- and Louisiana-inspired bistro fare, with the kind of quality and consistency that today’s consumers require. “You can come for lunch on Tuesday and have a Bistro salad and can come back on Thursday night and eat a Steak Frite without thinking twice about being in the same place.” The group has also put best-inindustry “processes” in place to ensure the entire experience, from service to food to the intangibles are not only meeting, but exceeding, customers’ and the business’s expectations. “We spend a tremendous amount of time paying attention to the back office—the systems we put in place and technologies used to implement them—to ensure we are running a business that creates value for our customers and therefore for our organization and investors,” explains Kantrow. “It is something the general public doesn’t always think about, but today’s


high-performing restaurant groups are quite dependent on process, systems and technology to drive value on both levels. The operating system is part of what is allowing us to begin to scale and grow our group in terms of bistros in new markets—and new concepts like Flambée Café.” The “place,” as Alton describes it, is a distinct focus on high-opportunity locations, where these types of bistros and cafes can create community through food and experience. “We didn’t create the bistros to be destination restaurants, but we’ve benefited from the best of both worlds.” The attention to detail goes far beyond the location. The music, the unique décor and other interior finishes create a charming but also an exciting setting. Whether a business lunch, a family dinner or a first date, everyone seems to find their place at Bistro Byronz. The restaurant group also provides a great workplace for its “people.” “We work extremely hard to create an environment that our team is happy to work in and that provides opportunity for personal and career growth,” Kantrow says. “In return we find that our employees create an experience that makes our customers happy.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Locally owned and operated restaurant concepts TOP EXECUTIVES: Mike Kantrow, Sr., CBO; Brock Kantrow, COO; Emelie Kantrow Alton, CEO • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 100+ • YEAR FOUNDED: 2006





BATON ROUGE-BASED COMPANY PUTS CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY TO WORK FOR LOUISIANA SITECH LOUISIANA IS in the business of building a better Louisiana by providing construction technology solutions that increase contractor productivity and profitability. SITECH Louisiana helps contractors complete projects faster, more accurately and with huge return on investment. As an authorized Trimble dealer, the company guarantees maximum utilization of its customers’ construction technology investment through a commitment to product support and training. That commitment was tested during last year’s flooding, when SITECH Louisiana’s building on O’Neal Lane took on more than two feet of water. Employees banded together to get the company open from a temporary location without any interruption in service, rental or support. “It was a huge staff effort,” says Regional Sales Manager Lawson Eicher. “We were back up and running from the get go without any downtime. It was a seamless operation.” Providing for customer needs on the same or next day while being the best solution provider is SITECH Louisiana, says Eicher. Customers get personal 24/7 support plus an 800 number and parts delivery to job sites on everything from jobsite flagging and stakes to Loadrite, Site Positioning, and Machine Control.

Survey and design manager with Brown Industrial Construction Nic Hughes has worked with SITECH Louisiana often over the years. One of his current projects is the Capitol City Produce warehouse expansion off of I-12. “We had a couple pieces of equipment that went under water during the flood, but we were able to get back to work as soon as the water receded,” he says. Brown is renting technology from SITECH Louisiana, and the company also built Hughes’ 3D design model because he was a one-man survey crew when the project began. “When I need something from them, they drop everything they’re doing and take care of us,” he says. “Putting our customers’ needs ahead of our own is the company’s primary

goal,” says SITECH Louisiana General Manager Jay Thompson. “Our business is based on support and training. We make sure our customers are 100% comfortable using the technology and that we are here to meet their needs through every step of the project.” SITECH Louisiana’s preparation of 3D data models ensures the project plan will be constructible in the most efficient and precise way—and available for industrial developments, commercial sites, roads and bridges, subdivisions, golf courses, levees, utilities, and more. Models can be developed for any manufacturer or system type upon request. The company also has the largest GPS and SPS machine-controlled rental fleet in the state. Silas Dupuy, SITECH Louisiana’s rental manager,

commands the state’s largest laser, optical, and GPS layout and machine control fleet. The team ensures existing and first-time users immediately reap all benefits of using state-ofthe-art construction technology. “Our turnaround time leads the industry, as we want to maximize our customer’s uptime, because construction is fast-moving,” says Eicher. Hughes echoes the importance of minimizing downtime on a job site. “When a machine is not moving, it’s costing a project money, so it’s extremely important for support to keep us running at all times,” he says. “I do a lot of my own troubleshooting, so when I call SITECH Louisiana I pretty much know what I need, and they get it right to us.” “Our world-class training will be performed by Trimble Certified instructors at our training facility with a job site, equipment, and classrooms or on-site training.” 3D data preparation services, CAD data cleanup, file conversion, and machine and job site verification are also part of the SITECH Louisiana package. “We want people to know we’re here and can meet their needs—large or small,” adds Eicher. “We have support teams throughout the entire state and here at the office, and customers are welcome to contact us or just stop by.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Construction technology • TOP EXECUTIVES: Jay Thompson and Cory Mistric NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 27 • YEAR FOUNDED: 2013 • PHONE: 225.293.6456 • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @sitechla | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




THE LSU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AND THE COOK HOTEL ARE UPPING THEIR GAME YOUNG PEOPLE WHO recently received university degrees are often busy as they begin to adjust to life after graduation. But they’re not yet far removed from the excitement of their college days—something the LSU Alumni Association is hoping to capitalize on as it launches an initiative to grow membership among its youngest audience. The fundraising organization is enlisting the help of a young LSU alumnus— former baseball player Alex Bregman— to accomplish the task. The LSU Alumni Association saw a 9% increase in membership between 2015 and 2016, says Kelsey David, assistant director of marketing for the association. Few members are recent LSU graduates, however, posing a challenge common to (alumni organizations at universities nationwide. “Your time is competed for, you’re ultra-busy trying to get started in your career, and you’re trying to save up as much money as possible,” David says, “so you may not think of giving back to your university.” While young donors may not be able to give as much money as older, more established alumni, David says their participation counts, and a new initia-


tive aims to get them involved. The association is planning a television ad and a billboard to promote a yearlong membership drive featuring Bregman, who plays for the Houston Astros. Promotional materials will make use of the honorary fund chair’s catchphrases—“Ya with me? Let’s geaux!” “This initiative is pushing people to think that, although you are busy,

although you have limited resources, all it takes is $50, and you can help sustain your university that gave you your education and more. You can help us ensure LSU’s future,” she says. And, as the state continues to face budget shortfalls that affect higher education, that’ increasingly important, she says. The association supports more than 200 scholarships every year,


providing a financial boost to bring and keep the best and the brightest at LSU. The LSU Alumni Association also is renovating the on-campus Cook Hotel and Conference Center, which is Baton Rouge’s only independently owned boutique hotel. The project, which began this spring, aims to create modern, luxurious spaces for university donors and other guests to enjoy, says John Grubb, vice president of hotel and conference operations. This is the first renovation of the 15-year-old hotel, according to Grubb. “Because the construction and the choices on the front end were so good, it’s been able to survive this long,” Grubb says. The $3.2 million project is expected to be complete in early June. All 128 rooms will be updated, and one new room will be added. The hotel, which has an annual occupancy rate of 60%, is open to the public. Rates range from $139 to $319 a night. Grubb likes to say, “Every stay makes a difference,” because the $3.4 million The Cook Hotel brings in annually goes back to the university by helping the Alumni Association fund scholarships and awards for students and faculty.

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: LSU Alumni Association serving LSU for more than 110 years; The Cook Hotel offers on-campus public hotel accommodations TOP EXECUTIVES: Cliff Vannoy, President & CEO; John Grubb, Vice President of Hotel Operations; Rhett Butler, Vice President of Development NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 50; 18 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1905; 2001 • PHONE: LSUAA, 225.578.3838; hotel, 225.383.2665 WEBSITE:, • EMAIL:, FACEBOOK:, • TWITTER: AlumniLSU, @TheCookHotelatLSU





CONSTRUCTION ENTREPRENEUR FINDS WORKING WITH HOMEOWNERS IS ITS OWN REWARD “I ENJOY BUILDING a genuine relationship with my clients,” says Scheffy Construction LLC owner Robert W. Scheffy III. The Louisiana State University graduate admits that construction can often be a stressful process for the client, but he and his team are committed to making every experience an enjoyable one. As a business major in college, Scheffy had a summer internship with a large commercial construction company in Baton Rouge. He enjoyed it so much he switched to construction management and accepted a job with MAPP upon graduation. He would also fall back on his minor in business administration when starting out on his own in August 2014. “My time at MAPP, along with four years at Carter Hill Construction, laid a great foundation that has led me to where I am today,” he says. “Opening my own company was the next step.” At first, Scheffy was on his own, with the help of a college intern, but the business grew quickly during that first year. He has since hired four employees, including an office manager and a project manager, who he calls a veteran “construction guru.” Together, they try to streamline the construction process to make it fun and enjoyable for each and every cli-

“As Seen in The Scout Guide of Baton Rouge” Kenneth Brown Design and The Front Door Design Studio

ent, since building a home from the ground up may be one of the largest investments a client will make in their lifetime. “Working with homeowners from start to finish is an incredibly rewarding experience,” Scheffy says. “The only reward I am really concerned with is having a satisfied client at the end of a project.” Recently, Scheffy Construction was awarded the interior buildout of

Belvedere Townhomes in downtown Baton Rouge. Located at Main Street and River Road, the multifamily, luxury complex will include three units one block from the Mississippi River. As a lifetime resident of the Red Stick, Scheffy is happy to see the resurgence of downtown and honored to be working with The Lemoine Co. and Level Construction on this project. In addition, the company is working with Dantin Bruce Development on

The Grove at Perkins Lane and partnering with Chandelier Development out of Nashville on 628 Esplanade in New Orleans. The restoration of a historic property in the French Quarter, 628 Esplanade will convert an original home into four residences, with a parking garage containing two residences above it across the street. All owners of these residences will have access to a courtyard pool and gated parking. “These projects combine my commercial roots and my love for residential construction,” says Scheffy. Those wanting to follow 628 Esplanade’s progress on social media can search for the hashtag #628Esplanade and the handles @ScheffyConstruction and @chandelierdevelopment on Instagram. Scheffy Construction LLC also has an active Facebook page. “In today’s world, social media is invaluable to a business,” says Scheffy. He often gets job leads from his Instagram account and takes advantage of the medium’s focus on stunning photography. Potential clients need only to scroll through the photos of marble backsplashes, Bevolo gas lanterns and ceilings accented with antique pine beams to know whether they want to live in a Scheffy home or not.


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Residential construction • TOP EXECUTIVE: Robert W. Scheffy, III • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 4 YEAR FOUNDED: 2014 • PHONE: 225.930.4990 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: Scheffy Construction LLC • INSTAGRAM: @ScheffyConstruction | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




AT GREENSEASONS, KEEPING PROPERTIES LOOKING GOOD IS A FAMILY BUSINESS STARTED AS A family business in 2000, GreenSeasons has branched out from commercial lawn care to cover the full landscape of a home or business. Chris Casselberry Sr. founded GreenSeasons to maintain the family connection he experienced working in his parents’ office supply company. His sons Chris, Adam, Charles and Thomas and now his grandkids have joined the business, making it a third-generation family operation. “What’s unique about a family business is you get to see your family almost every day, not just on holidays,” he says. “We treat all of our team members like family too.” While branching out into pest control, mosquito abatement and tree service, GreenSeasons also expanded to service industrial, governmental and residential properties. Locals might recognize their work at places like Tanger Outlets or Nottoway Plantation. The company’s tree division, staffed by a professional arborist, is the latest offering. “The only thing we don’t do is put in pools,” says Casselberry, “but we’ll do fountains and hardscape.” Chris’ son Charlie Casselberry, who manages the marketing department, explains that there’s an in-house training program for each division. With

170 employees during peak season, GreenSeasons hires only the best experts licensed in everything from horticulture to pest control. “We really strive to make sure that our clients are taken care of, and if something would go wrong, we’ve got your back,” Charlie says. “That also goes for businesses and industrial plants.” When clients first contact GreenSeasons, they are connected

with the right division and can expect a site visit at their property. Their initial point of contact at the company is kept throughout the duration of the project no matter how many crew members are involved. After installation is complete, clients are transitioned to an account manager for regular maintenance if they so desire. Most of GreenSeasons’ services— covering everything from crepe myrtle pruning to irrigation, lawn mowing and


even holiday lighting—are offered separately, but divisions do work together to create a pleasant outdoor experience for each client. That new outdoor fireplace or back patio won’t be as enjoyable if mosquitoes are swarming, so GreenSeasons can take care of all pests, especially through the hot summer season. Since so many outdoor spaces are an extension of indoor living, the company also offers home and termite pest control, along with a “Handyman for the Day” special. “We thought, why not protect our customers inside too?” says Charlie. “Our handyman service can cover your ‘honey do’ list, from light remodels to changing lightbulbs and leaky faucets.” As temperatures rise, GreenSeasons is gearing up for its busy spring and summer season when clients need yard cleanup, pruning and mulching, drainage and irrigation, and of course mosquito control. “People are ready to start spending time outside and want to get everything back in shape,” says Chris. “We can come and bring your yard back to life and make sure you have a nice outdoor experience every day of the year. Once you start working with us, we hope you’ll stay and become part of the family.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Landscaping, irrigation, lawn care, structural pest control, termite control, mosquito systems, tree service, handyman TOP EXECUTIVES: Chris Casselberry, Adam Casselberry, Charles Casselberry, Thomas Casselberry • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 170 YEAR FOUNDED: 2000 • PHONE: 225.752.2333 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: FACEBOOK: • TWITTER: @greenseasonsus





TREND-SETTING CULINARY CONCEPTS JUST KEEP ON COMING FROM CITY PORK CITY PORK HASN’T been around long, but this fast-growing restaurant group has taste buds wagging from Baton Rouge to The Food Network. More than just a great barbecue restaurant, this exciting trend-setter is also known for gourmet dishes, European-style cured meats, pies and much more. The City Pork concept began in 2013 with City Pork Deli and Charcuterie, a sandwich shop and deli specializing in house-made meats, pickles, condiments and sides. Charcuterie, the Old World art of preserving meat, is an emerging trend in American cuisine. From products like bresaola and salami to pates and confits, City Pork makes it all in-house and showcases them on their famous Charcuterie Boards. At the Deli, you can also enjoy some of City Pork’s signature sandwiches, like the Big Pig and Brisket Sandwich, which has earned them “Best BBQ” in 225’s “best of” list for three years in a row! “Charcuterie is very European,” explains Trey Williams, a co-founder and managing partner of City Pork. “The original basis of it was preserving meats out of necessity. We do it now because it tastes good. And we are seeing a resurgence because people are looking for something different.”

An outgrowth of the original deli, City Pork Brasserie and Bar is a full-service restaurant that has been featured on The Food Network show Burgers, Brew & ‘Cue. At the Brasserie, City Pork’s acclaimed executive chef Ryan André gives traditional Louisiana ingredients such as rabbit, duck and seafood a gourmet flourish by preparing them with techniques and styles from around the world. The rustic decor includes a full bar, wine list, signature cocktails and a seated Charcuterie and Cheese Bar. “Barbecue is a big part of what we do,” notes Williams, “but the brasserie

also offers dishes that can stand up against any restaurant in the city. One of our social media tags is ‘notjustpork.’” The next addition was City Pork Kitchen and Pie, specializing in traditional breakfast, plate lunches and from-scratch pies. Meanwhile, City Pork Catering offers full-service catering for functions held at any of its locations or at offsite venues for up to 1,000 guests. The newest member of the City Pork family brings another American foodie trend to Baton Rouge. City Pork’s Southfin Southern Poké in the Southdowns Shopping Center features a healthy, traditional Hawaiian style

of food preparation. “Poké” means “to cut” or “to dice.” Traditionally, the dish consists of sushi-grade fish—usually ahi tuna—tossed in a flavorful sauce and served atop rice in a bowl. Southfin will feature Poké-inspired dishes made from local Louisiana and Gulf ingredients. Along with corporate chefs André and Eusebio Gongora, Williams and his business partner, Stephen Hightower, spent about a year traveling and researching to bring a Poké concept restaurant to Baton Rouge. Despite the amazing pace of City Pork’s expansion, the company still makes a special effort to give back to Baton Rouge. Through its Citizens of City Pork program, City Pork and its employees donate food, time and energy to charitable causes. After last year’s historic floods, for example, Citizens of City Pork helped feed nearly 5,000 people, including first responders and Denham Springs flood victims. By treating visitors from coast to coast and locals from around the Capital Region, this young company leaves a good taste in a lot of mouths. In the words of its mission statement, look for City Pork to continue to “Invite, impress and exceed expectations.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Restaurant/catering • TOP EXECUTIVES: Trey Williams, Stephen Hightower • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 150 YEAR FOUNDED: 2013 • PHONE: 225.388.5900 • WEBSITE:, FACEBOOK:,; | ANNUAL REPORT 2017


Invested in our community. Dedicated to the future of Baton Rouge. McGlinchey Stafford opened its doors in 1974 with an entrepreneurial mindset and commitment to our clients, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 50 companies in Louisiana and nationwide. We are committed to providing exceptional representation and counsel to community leaders, lenders, business owners, and developers in the Baton Rouge area. Our attorneys and staff strive to be teachers, role models, and good citizens in the legal profession and in the communities we serve. Through volunteer service and strategic sponsorships with civic and charitable organizations, as well as leadership and pro bono efforts for national, local, and state bar associations, we remain deeply committed to making our communities a better place. We are proud to serve Baton Rouge.

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L to R: Lanny Lewis, Valerie Lewis, Luke Lewis


TOP PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRM IS ALSO A TRUSTED PART OF REGIONAL COMMUNITY A TRUSTED NAME in real estate in Baton Rouge since 1990, Lewis Companies is a family-owned business with a focus on “home.” As a full-service real estate, property management and development firm, Lewis Companies can handle everything from small condominiums to large subdivisions, rental or purchase. “When someone comes through our doors, we say ‘welcome home,’” explains Valerie Lewis, founder of Lewis Companies. “We try to make everyone feel at home. That’s how we’ve built our reputation as one of the oldest property management firms in the city.”  Investors themselves, Lewis and her husband, Lanny, understand what it takes to maintain a property. Their expertise in leasing, budgeting and association management is invaluable. “We’re running a small business, so we are accountants, maintenance people and real estate experts,” Lewis explains. “We’re able to tie it all together.”  Lewis Companies is one of only a few management firms to provide maintenance services and employs certified air conditioning and heat technicians, carpenters, painters, gardeners and more. With a full staff of 30—including some employees who

have been with the company for more than 20 years—Lewis says the business has grown through hard work and dedication. She and her husband went from one of the largest farming operations in the state to real estate investment and then land development in the Bluebonnet/ Highland area, where their office is now located, branching out into management and contracting from there. Lewis’ son, Luke, is a contractor with

LWL builders, an addition to the family business founded in 2012, and owns LWL Maintenance. While the Lewises certainly have a passion for real estate, Luke is also a certified jet pilot and Lanny’s love of fast cars plays out at State Capitol Raceway.  Lewis Companies is a member of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, the Better Business Bureau (with an A-plus rating), Louisiana Real

Estate Commission, Baton Rouge Growth Coalition and the Business Partnership for Children. The company has been listed the No. 1 property management company in the region by the Baton Rouge Business Report for several years running. “We’ve met people from all walks of life and gotten to know the needs of the community,” says Lewis. “We’ve also watched Baton Rouge grow and strive to be an active part of that community.”  Lewis Companies put its words into action after Hurricane Katrina and last year’s flooding by going above and beyond to help displaced people find a place to call home. “The impact of helping those people trying to get settled has stayed with me,” Lewis says. “We worked hard to be able to open a door and give people a place to live.”  Lewis admits that property management isn’t necessarily an easy business. There are bills to collect, air conditioners to fix, rules and regulations of homeowners associations to enforce, and investors to answer to at the end of the day.   “We often have people send notes and say thank you for being there,” she says. “To be able to get those thank you’s means something to us.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Property management and real estate development • TOP EXECUTIVE: Valerie Lewis • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 30 YEAR FOUNDED: 1990 • PHONE: 225.766.8802 • WEBSITE: • EMAIL: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017



Jay G. Hardman, P.E., Executive Director


CONTAINERS, ENERGY, AGRICULTURE HAVE BUSINESS BOOMING AT THE PORT WITH ROOTS DATING back to a few wooden wharves along the Mississippi River’s edge, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge has evolved to serve a need for public docking facilities and the handling of a variety of products, from steel and pipe to wood pellets. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is ranked among the top ports in the nation in total tonnage, including export, import and domestic cargo. Recent, multimillion dollar projects have resulted in more deep-draft ship calls, diversification of operations and increased efficiency for companies choosing to make their home there—and the Port still has ample room for growth. “We feel from a cargo and a deepwater shipping point, that we have adequate capacity left at the Port for existing tenants to grow and increase their ship counts or possibly for some newcomers to come in and utilize the docks,” says Executive Director Jay Hardman. “The goal is to get these big vessels in here quickly and get them turned around quickly.” CONTAINER-ON-BARGE SERVICE Before Hurricane Katrina, the Port offered container-on-barge service through a terminal off the Intracoastal Waterway. After many years of efforts to revitalize the service and the advent of new trucking regulations, Hardman and his team were excited to announce the return of container-on-barge service in 2016.



Louis Dreyfus Commodities exports grains and oilseed commodities from the Port.


Operated by SEACOR, the first leg of the service transports empty containers by barge into the Port where they are loaded with products from nearby industries. The second leg of the service transports the loaded containers via the Mississippi River to the Port of New Orleans, where they are loaded on container ships for export. Containers shipped by barge can be loaded with approximately 15% more cargo than a truck because of highway weight restrictions, and each container can transport, at times, up to five more tons of cargo than when transported

via truck. Other benefits to this option of water transportation include the alleviation of traffic congestion, accommodation of the industry’s 24/7 production schedules and reduction of dwell time at the Port. “We’ve been successful teaming with the Port of New Orleans and SEACOR in order to obtain federal funding in the form of a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration (MARAD), to purchase container handling equipment in order to improve the efficiencies of our container handling operations,” says

Hardman. Currently, the Port’s terminal is handling a couple of hundred containers per week, and there are plans to expand the terminal’s size and capacity and utilize the MARAD grant in the amount of $1.75 million to purchase modern and efficient container handling equipment. GENESIS ENERGY LP Houston-based Genesis Energy LP, which made a large investment at the Port in 2014 with a $150 million oil storage and import/export terminal on 91 acres, also has plans to expand its storage and handling capacity of petroleum-related cargoes. Genesis estimates that 33 million barrels of crude oil or other petroleum products will be moved annually through its Port terminal. Pipelines connect to both the Port’s docks and Genesis’ tank farms located in West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge parishes, and deep-draft vessels used to transport these cargoes can range to more than 700 feet in length. To complement Genesis’ investment and accommodate such large ships and barges, the Port is rehabilitating its deepwater docks to the tune of approximately $6 million. “The docks, which have existed since the mid-1950s, have gone through a series of upgrades and strengthening projects and upon completion of this latest project, about mid-summer, will be in very good shape,” says Hardman. “Our deepwater docks will certainly be


Local industries have quickly realized the many benefits of transporting their products via containers moved by barge to the Port of New Orleans for export.

up to the latest standards of being able to safely berth and moor the bigger ships.” LOUIS DREYFUS COMMODITIES – GRAIN ELEVATOR Other big announcements have come by way of a resurgence in agricultural products. The facility’s first grain elevator was constructed in 1959 and taken over by Louis Dreyfus Commodities in 2013. The company embarked on a $150-plus million expansion and modernization of the grain facility, providing 37 additional jobs and opportunities for multiple grain and oilseed commodities. Hardman says LDC’s investment in the modernization of the grain elevator makes it the most efficient deep-draft export grain elevator on the Mississippi River. The rehabilitated elevator can handle in excess of six million metric tons of grains and oilseeds annually, and the dock is able to load an oceangoing vessel at a rate of 100,000 bushels an hour and unload barges at the rate of 80,000 bushels an hour. LDC has plans to develop rail service, giving the company another mode of transportation of U.S. grown grain and oilseeds. “Basically, anything that comes into this grain elevator is destined to be exported, so it speaks well for not only Louisiana’s agriculture but also the nation’s agricultural strength as a whole,” says Hardman. He estimates that the company has

increased annual ship calls at the grain dock from 15 to about 120 and handling of grain from 750,000 tons a year to more than 6 million tons last year. Historically, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge moved primarily Louisiana agricultural products; through the years it has moved rice, sugar, molasses and timber. So it could be said that the arrival of companies like LDC and also British power supplier Drax Biomass are bringing the facility full circle. DRAX BIOMASS – WOOD PELLETS Louisiana and Mississippi’s robust timber industry and its close proximity to the Port’s strategic location on the Mississippi River are what brought Drax Biomass to Baton Rouge. A development and operating company focused on manufacturing wood pellets for renewable, low-carbon power generation, Drax transports the pellets by rail to the Port from a manufacturing facility in Bastrop, Louisiana, and by truck from another facility in Gloster, Mississippi. These pellets are stored at the Port in two dome-shaped silos and then loaded onto oceangoing vessels for shipment to the United Kingdom. “We’re still kind of scratching our heads about the concept of taking wood and pelletizing it and shipping it over to Europe or Great Britain to burn it for fuel,” says Hardman, “but having a desire to stop burning coal and begin burning a sustainable and renewable fuel source has led to the wood pellet industry.”

New companies locating at the Port, like Genesis Energy, and expansions by existing companies have resulted in a Cutline dramatic increase in ship calls.

While supporting area timber farmers, Drax has invested about $150 million in each of its pellet mills and $50 million at the Port. Both mills produce about half a million tons of wood pellets a year, resulting in an additional 15 to 20 ship calls a year at the Port. As Drax creates more of an industry for wood pellets, producers are following suit. Hardman predicts the company will eventually be exporting about two million tons a year through Port facilities. “We certainly welcome that growth,” he says. “They’ve been another good tenant, another good private-sector company to do business with.” Currently, companies located at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge total 24 and range from The Dow Chemical Company to Community Coffee

Company and Louisiana Sugarcane Products. Hardman says that in recruiting, the Port is ultimately trying to marry companies with opportunity and the need for infrastructure. “We are looking for companies that have a need for maritime components and hopefully have a fit for the infrastructure that we have in place to accommodate them,” he says. “The credit goes to these private sector companies that have chosen to locate here and spend money to develop their facilities. In turn, we’re able to derive income, maintain and build new infrastructure, and continue to assist in transporting products to markets all over the world, while also serving as a major economic development asset to this region.”


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Maritime industry services and facilities TOP EXECUTIVE: Jay G. Hardman, P.E., Executive Director • YEAR FOUNDED: 1952 • PHONE: 225.342.1660 • WEBSITE: | ANNUAL REPORT 2017




FROM MINIVANS TO 18-WHEELERS, ROADRUNNER TOWING & RECOVERY CAN RESPOND FOUNDED IN 1969 by James Smart, RoadRunner Towing & Recovery has helped stranded motorists get out of jams for nearly five decades. Smart started the company with his wife, Judy, and a single tow truck. Since then, it has grown to a two-location business with a fleet of 15 towing vehicles capable of responding to a wide range of challenges. Smart tragically died in 2001 while working on a complicated and dangerous towing job on La. 30 near Gonzalez. Judy Smart took over the leadership, bringing years of experience working in the business, including time spent driving tow trucks. Her deep relationships in the community and her intense dedication to staff and customers has helped her succeed, says Office Manager Val Bell. “She’s a force,” says Bell. “She’s an incredible leader and a guardian angel to us all.” That’s how many motorists feel when one of RoadRunner’s trucks shows up to tow a car that’s broken down or has been in an accident—like an angel has arrived, says Bell. The company, located

across from the Baton Rouge Metro Airport on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, receives calls at all hours from drivers across the city, region and state who are in a bind and need help. “It really is a 24-7 business,” says Judy Smart. “And we see all kinds of situations.” RoadRunner’s fleet features three different sizes of trucks that can haul a large assortment of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, 18-wheelers, travel trailers, farm equipment and more. Moreover, the company’s trained drivers are capable of assessing each

situation and developing a strategic approach to removal that is both safe to the driver and careful with the vehicle. “We have light, medium and heavy equipment that can get into and out of any kind of tow you can think of,” says Kent Simon, driver supervisor. “It could be getting a large vehicle out of a ditch or getting a car out of a tight, low area, like a parking lot. Every day is different.” RoadRunner has been the contractor for the Baton Rouge Police Department for many years, providing towing services that support local law enforcement and public safety. For example,


the company removes abandoned cars from blighted lots, tows vehicles involved in accidents, transports cars and trucks to the impound lot and responds to many other situations. While RoadRunner has been a solid success, one of the most satisfying parts of the job is giving back to the community through financial support and advocacy, says Judy Smart. About five years ago, she founded a nonprofit organization called Baton Rouge Area Victims Empowered, or BRAVE, that supports men, women and children victimized by crime. RoadRunner has also supported many agencies in the Capital Region including the Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center, Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR), MDA, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Wounded Warrior Project, and others. In March, RoadRunner was honored by the United States Special Operations Command for its support and service. “We believe in giving back,” says Smart. “It’s a big part of who we are.”

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Towing & recovery TOP EXECUTIVES: Judy M. Smart and William D. Lowe • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 44 • YEAR FOUNDED: 1968-69 • PHONE: 225.356.3061 WEBSITE: • EMAIL:



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2017 Business Report Annual Report  
2017 Business Report Annual Report  

Annual Report is a special advertising supplement that celebrates the strength, innovation and leadership in the south Louisiana business c...