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Family businesses are personally invested in their local community, their identity as a family, and their company’s success. Uniquely connected to the past and the future, they are driven by a desire to create a strong legacy for future generations. This special advertising section highlights some of the local families whose businesses contribute to Baton Rouge’s character and economic growth.

Daily-Report.com | BUSINESS REPORT, July 2020



GEO Heat Exchangers, LLC ESTABLISHED 1996

August B. Ohmstede, Gene E. ‘Buddy’ Ohmstede Jr., and Gene E. Ohmstede III

HISTORY GEO Heat Exchangers was established to fill the need for high-quality, fastturnaround heat exchanger repair and fabrication. Once properly equipped, both the office and shop were staffed with the most knowledgeable people in the industry. Because of our achievements over the years, we are poised for continued growth and success in the future. Our values are based on more than 100 years of family experience—in safety, relationships, integrity, quality and service. We have grown exponentially by learning from our successes and our failures. We consider both to be a blessing.

HAS YOUR BUSINESS STAYED TRUE TO THE FOUNDING FAMILY’S ORIGINAL VISION? Yes, we started as a family business and still regard that close-knit relationship as one of our core values. We extend that value to all of our employees and treat everyone as family. Over the years, our vision has changed with technology, safety, efficiency and geographical service, but we have never compromised our integrity or the relationships we have worked so hard to build.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED? One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is to know our strengths and weaknesses. This applies to our growth strategy and our employees. Success lends the ability to grow quickly. We’ve learned that our quality products, service, and relationships with employees and clients are the backbone of what we believe in. Long after a project is complete, our relationships will always stand strong.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH FAMILY? It’s a blessing. Our older generation has years of wisdom and experience, while our younger generation is skilled at finding more efficient ways to preemptively solve issues. We often challenge each other to come up with better processes and policies, and everyone has a say in the final decision. At the end of a meeting, we all agree on a logical, sound solution. We work long hours together, but we believe in “family first.”

WHAT IS ON THE HORIZON FOR YOUR COMPANY? We are gearing up to celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2021, and we are proud to serve our community, friends, family and customers, not just here, but also in the US Virgin Islands, Canada and Puerto Rico. We are proud of the relationships we have formed, and are excited about the multi-site agreements we have in place with several large refineries and chemical plants. We recently expanded our Field Services Division, which will allow us to provide even more services to our customers and continue doing what we do best.

3650 CYPRESS AVE. • ST. GABRIEL, LA 70776 • 225.642.8900 • GEOHEAT.COM


Louis Mechanical Contractors ESTABLISHED 1960

Drew Clement, Kim DeJohn Vince, and Louis DeJohn, Jr.

HISTORY In 1960, Louis “Scobie” DeJohn and his wife Katherine “Nu” DeJohn founded Louis Mechanical Contractors with four employees. Their son Louis DeJohn, Jr. joined the company eight years after its opening, followed by his sister Rose Marie Fife several years later. In 1983, Louis Jr. became president and the company was on its way to becoming one of the largest plumbing contractors in Baton Rouge. Louis’ daughter Kim Vince joined the family business in 1993 and was appointed president in 2015. Today, she runs the company with VP Drew Clement and her husband Tommy Vince. Her son Kameron Langlois and her sister Jennifer DeJohn also work with the business.

WHAT VALUES OR PRINCIPLES GUIDE YOUR BUSINESS? Company President Kim Vince says the family business is founded on honesty, integrity, attention to detail, and dedication to its customers. “Because we have maintained these values over the years, the vast majority of our customers become repeat customers,” she said. “We have always tried to offer the best service at a reasonable cost. The quality of our work then and now is second to none. For the past 60 years and for many more years to come, Louis Mechanical Contractors will keep your plumbing humming!”

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH FAMILY? Working with family is both a blessing and a challenge. Family events with great significance, such as deaths, births and illnesses, impact both the family and the business directly. Not only do we juggle our family duties, but we also juggle our work duties as necessary when a family crisis occurs. By dealing with

these challenges together in both our work and personal lives, we develop closer bonds with each other.

SINCE YOU WORK TOGETHER, HOW DO YOU RELAX AS A FAMILY? Our family has fond memories of my grandfather’s camp at Old River, and we now spend time at our camps in and around Dulac. We especially enjoy fishing and spending the holidays together.

WHAT IS ON THE HORIZON FOR YOUR COMPANY? We plan to focus on slow and steady growth in both commercial and residential markets. As our area recovers from the pandemic, we stand ready to serve our community’s growing plumbing needs. It is a different world that we live in, and we have transitioned our business to deal with the “new normal.” The safety of our employees and customers has always been very important to us, and it is even more so today.

9634 MAMMOTH AVE. • BATON ROUGE 70814 • 225.927.6520 • LMCBR.COM


Bridgeway Hospice ESTABLISHED 2012

Mackenzie McBride, Hannah McBride, Dana Smith-McBride, Bobbie Cotten, Brittney Cotten

HISTORY Eight years ago, Dana Smith McBride had a dream to have her own hospice company. A registered nurse by trade, she is also a business executive with goals and aspirations to achieve greatness, she says. Her business partner Bobbie Cotten has been with her since she started her company in 2012. In 2014, the business expanded from Baton Rouge into Lafayette, and last summer, a third location opened in Plaquemine, where McBride grew up. She has enjoyed returning to her roots and caring for families in her hometown, she says. In 2019, Bridgeway became “The Official Hospice of LSU Athletics.”

WHAT VALUES OR PRINCIPLES GUIDE YOUR BUSINESS? Our core values are compassion, integrity, consistency, accountability, and honesty. We hold our staff to high standards because we realize it is important to our patients to receive quality service at this special time in their life. We are committed to “creating moments that matter” and we strive to provide personalized care to patients and their families during the end of life experience.

WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS? Fewer patient visits over the past few months resulted in downsizing our staff. But we are on the rise again and are replacing the positions that we eliminated during the pandemic.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH FAMILY? It is a blessing. There’s nothing better than having the loving support of one’s family. We have immediate and extended family working

at Bridgeway, including nieces, sisters, daughters, sons, cousins and in-laws. As the children have grown and graduated from college, they have become an influential part of what and who we are, bringing many different gifts and talents to our company.

WHO AND WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU? The knowledge that we can really make a difference in people’s lives. Many people are unaware of what we do for patients and their families. Most believe that you have to have cancer to be on hospice—and it is the most common diagnosis—but hospice is also appropriate for conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, liver disease, lung disease and kidney disease.

WHAT IS ON THE HORIZON FOR YOUR COMPANY? We continue to grow and will open a new location to service the area near Opelousas. This will be our fourth location and we are super excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.



The Foust Group, LLC ESTABLISHED 2011

Todd Foust

HISTORY Todd Foust founded The Foust Group, LLC in 2011, but had purchased other companies previously—Coating Services Inc. and Application Services, Inc. in 2002. In 2014, he co-founded Scott Foust Studios. The Foust Group’s mission statement is Building a positive caring culture for our team while safely providing innovative solutions for our customers. In short, the company’s core values are wrapped up in the team— keeping them safe, helping them grow, and providing a comfortable family-style place to work.

WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS? Our biggest challenge was to keep the team safe. To protect them, we immediately put in place daily screening and check systems along with safe distancing to protect everyone. Our second biggest challenge was streamlining our overhead to make up for the reduced revenue from projects that were delayed or canceled.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH FAMILY? “I am blessed to work every day with my father Bill Foust, the man who trained me in the construction business,” says Todd. “Although he has been facing some health challenges during the Covid-19 quarantine, it has been great to talk with him and learn more about the history of our industry.” With his brother Scott, Todd also cofounded Scott Foust Studios in Scottsdale, Arizona, inspired by Scott’s photojournalism expertise. “It has been a very different, but great journey to get to know my brother better as well,” says Todd.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED WORKING IN A FAMILY BUSINESS? “We have to protect each other and be better than our competitors,” Todd says. “We are competing against large national companies with nearly unlimited resources. We have to show that we are more innovative, safe, and offer a higher ROI for our customers.” As for working together, the family gets together often for dinner, holidays, birthdays and sporting events. Todd and his wife Stephanie purposely built a home that welcomes all of the family and encourages them to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.

WHAT IS ON THE HORIZON FOR YOUR COMPANY? “We are preparing our company for a stronger and more proactive approach to our markets,” says Todd. “We’re establishing a new leadership training series that will help our group focus on a regional approach with more innovative marketing. We want to show our industry we have weathered the storm and are stronger and ready to go to work.”

10405 BOUDREAUX ROAD • GONZALES, LA 70737 • 225.644.3337 • FOUSTGRP.COM


General Paper Company ESTABLISHED 1946

Hudson Gerald, Ann Gerald, and Todd Gerald

HISTORY General Paper Company was founded in 1946 as a paper and cleaning supplies distributor. In 1973, Paul Anderson acquired it and when he passed away in 1977, his wife Francis managed the company with their daughter Allison and son John. In 1999, John Anderson hired Todd Gerald as the operations manager, and Todd and his wife Ann purchased the company a year later. Today, General Paper is a woman-owned business celebrating its 20-year anniversary. The company has evolved to offer much more than paper. It provides a full spectrum of janitorial cleaning chemicals, equipment and supplies to ensure healthy environments for all types of facilities.

WHAT VALUES OR PRINCIPLES GUIDE YOUR BUSINESS? The core values of General Paper have been passed down over a 74-year history, and customers have come to know the company as one Where Service is Always in Stock. “We value partnering with customers to solve their janitorial supply and maintenance issues through innovative solutions and exceptional knowledge, products and resources,” says owner Ann Gerald.

DID YOU FACE ANY CHALLENGES DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS? The shortage of alcohol made it extremely difficult for our suppliers to keep up with the demand for disinfecting hand wipes and sanitizer, but we remained committed to helping our customers meet their challenges of reopening by providing innovative alternatives. We also educated our customers on staying safe and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH FAMILY? We try to leave work at the office, which is not always easy. We are human and we always strive to do the best we can. That is the way we were raised and we try to instill that example in our team. Hard work and dedication pays off. We have a philosophy that we share with our team … If it’s not right at home it will not be right at work … meaning family comes first. We also enjoy giving back to the community that has been so good to us. Todd does volunteer work with the Salvation Army, and Ann enjoys her work with Inner Wheel of Baton Rouge.

WHAT IS ON THE HORIZON FOR YOUR COMPANY? We are excited about the future. Our youngest son, Hudson, joined our team in April. His experience in the construction field will be a good fit for working with building service contractors and growing that segment of our business. We are in the process of upgrading our online presence and overall marketing to educate and inform our customer base on healthy hygiene to create cleaner work and home environments.


Profile for Baton Rouge Business Report

2020 Business Report Faces of Family Business  

Family businesses are personally invested in their local community, their identity as a family, and their company’s success. Uniquely connec...

2020 Business Report Faces of Family Business  

Family businesses are personally invested in their local community, their identity as a family, and their company’s success. Uniquely connec...

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