2021 Baton Rouge Business Report Annual Report

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Business Report’s 2021


The Capital City sees hope and opportunities on the horizon SPONSORED BY:


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XI UNITED PLAZA 4171 Essen Lane

Baton Rouge’s Premier Class A Office Building STATE OF THE ART AMENITIES: • Multi-function fitness center • Large outdoor, landscaped courtyard • 5-story parking garage • Other multi-use spaces • Full building generator power For leasing and other information: Contact Elizabeth Griffin (225)215-1800 egriffin@wampold.com


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Something Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Right


225.937.9334 • relianceonescape.com 4

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Six feet apart or six feet together—it’s all in how you see it. What we see is Louisiana. Whether it’s familiar faces working together in person or our free ePerks that make life simpler anywhere, any time, we’re always working for Louisiana.

redriverbank.net 225-923-0232 Alexandria • Baton Rouge • Lake Charles • Northshore • Shreveport

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Publisher: Rolfe H. McCollister Jr. EDITORIAL Editorial director: Penny Font Executive editor: JR Ball Corporate media editor: Lisa Tramontana Editor: Stephanie Riegel Assistant editor: Allan Schilling Online news editor: Deanna B. Narveson Digital content editor: Mark Clements Contributing writers: Sam Barnes, Erin Z. Bass, Emily Kern Hebert, Rebekah Maricelli, Olivia McClure, Meredith Whitten Cover photography: Tim Mueller Profile photography: Don Kadair


ADVERTISING Sales director: Kerrie Richmond Senior account executives: Marielle Land-Howard, Judith LaDousa, Angie LaPorte, Kelly Lewis Account executives: Mary Katherine Bernard, Mandi Bryant, Taylor Fountain Advertising coordinator: Brittany Nieto

ON THE COVER: Baton Rouge at sunset

CONTENTS After a year of uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, the Baton Rouge civic and business community demonstrated its professional and personal character. We are proud to celebrate the Capital City’s many “profiles of success” in the 2021 Annual Report, and we hope you enjoy learning about their history and culture, how they navigated 2020, and the impact they continue to have on our community and the future of Baton Rouge. FROM THE SPONSORS .................................................. 8

Louisiana Public Facilities Authority.................................49 Capital Area Finance Authority..........................................50


AccuTemp................................................................................ 51

Brown Eagle........................................................................... 10

Thomas Building Company.................................................52

LandSource............................................................................ 12


Goodwood Hardware & Outdoors .................................. 14

Open Eyes...............................................................................55

Baton Rouge Community College.................................... 16

Capital Area Transit System...............................................56

Peyton Murphy Law Firm .................................................... 18

FireQuest................................................................................. 57

Forte & Tablada......................................................................20

Al Jones Architects...............................................................58

GM Cable Contractors........................................................24

Ammon Staffing.....................................................................59

Fusion Architects, APC.......................................................26

Exit Momentum......................................................................60

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.....................................28

General Informatics..............................................................62 West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce .................63


McMains Children’s Development Center......................65

Port of Greater Baton Rouge.............................................30

Deep South Equipment.......................................................66

Link Integration Group.........................................................32

I CARE.....................................................................................67

The Life House (Smith Tank & Steel)................................34

SSA Consultants...................................................................68

Pinnacle Exterior Construction..........................................38

Moreau Physical Therapy....................................................69

Sage Money Radio ..............................................................40

Brecheen Pipe & Steel......................................................... 70

EBR Parish Library................................................................42

McGlinchy Stafford............................................................... 71

First South Farm Credit ......................................................44

BBR Creative.........................................................................72

BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo..................................................45

West Baton Rouge CVB.....................................................73


Southern University and A&M College............................ 74

Gulf Coast Office Products............................................... 47

STUDIO E Corporate media manager: Lisa Tramontana Content strategist: Allyson Guay Multimedia strategy manager: Tim Coles Account executive: Judith LaDousa Client experience coordinator: Nicole Prunty MARKETING Chief marketing officer: Elizabeth McCollister Hebert Marketing & events assistant: Taylor Floyd Events: Abby Hamilton Community liaison: Jeanne McCollister McNeil ADMINISTRATION Assistant business manager: Tiffany Durocher Business associate: Kirsten Milano Office coordinator: Tara Lane Receptionist: Cathy Varnado Brown PRODUCTION/DESIGN Production director: Melanie Samaha Art director: Hoa Vu Graphic designers: Melinda Gonzalez, Emily Witt Graphic design intern: Meg Cassidy AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Audience development director and digital manager: James Hume Audience development coordinator: Ivana Oubre Audience development associate: Jordan Kozar A publication of Louisiana Business Inc. Chairman: Rolfe H. McCollister Jr. Executive assistant: Tara Broussard President & CEO: Julio A. Melara Executive assistant: Brooke Motto Circulation/Reprints 225-928-1700 email: circulation@businessreport.com Subscriptions/Customer Service 225-421-8181 email: subscriptions@businessreport.com Volume 39 - Number 11 ©Copyright 2021 by Louisiana Business Incorporated. All rights reserved by LBI. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report (USPS 721-890 ISSN 0747-4652) is published monthly 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 $59.00 for 12 issues, with 3 additional issues published annually in April, May 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.

(Information in these profiles was provided by the advertisers.)


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Digital Banking with a Human Touch Take the Virtual Tour now! 888.769.8841

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Helping local businesses pivot, grow and compete globally EVEN THROUGH THE disruption caused by the pandemic, your NATIONALLY ACCLAIMED East Baton Rouge Parish Library continues to provide robust services for the business community, delivering up-todate training and tech initiatives so the employment and research needs of local businesses are met at a level that helps them expand and compete globally. Remote access to research tools and training platforms like Lynda.com, Gale Courses and Udemy in the Digital Library have been especially important during the recent pandemic. Our award-winning Main Library and 13 branches provide the programs and resources for all ages that add to the quality of life for business professionals and their families. Our Small Business

Service includes free programs, resources and tools to help your business grow and offers free one-on-one consultations. Contact business librarians at smallbusiness@ebrpl.com. They can guide you in the use of robust tools such as Data Axle Reference Solutions (formerly Reference USA), Mergent Intellect, O’Reilly Online Learning, and Gale Business: Plan Builder. Check us out at ebrpl.com or ebrpl.com/ DigitalLibrary.




Adapting to new business climates and looking for new growth opportunities RIGHT ALONG WITH Hurricane Katrina and the 2016 flood, 2020 was one of the wildest rides I have ever been involved with. Things really had to be modified. We had to look out for the safety of our employees as well as still be available to service our wide bandwidth client base that we were still trying to do business with—and keep them up and going. We at Gulf Coast could not be prouder of our employees for their dedication and willingness to stay committed to servicing our customers. We will continue to adapt to new business climates and bring technologies we feel can have an impact in the day-to-day operations

of our customers. As we continue to look for growth opportunities, we maintain the local feeling that all of our employees are accessible and empowered to help our clients with any issues that may occur. We look forward to rallying around 2021 and shining bright … and we are excited to participate in Business Report’s Annual Report for the 20th consecutive year!




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Providing technology solutions that exceed clients’ expectations HAVING BEEN IN the technology field for over 20 years, we have seen monumental advancements in the way people have embraced this digital environment. We live in a world that is continuously becoming more data-driven and automated, where physical systems and people are increasingly connected. These various technologies have become so mainstream that they affect every part of our society, every industry, and all our lives. Link Integration Group will continue to help our customers in all industries sort through the myriad of technology options to provide easy-to-use solutions that work consistently.

We are looking forward to 2021 and will continue our commitment to providing technology solutions that meet or exceed our clients’ expectations. We are proud to serve all of our clients in the Baton Rouge community and privileged to provide this sponsorship. We look forward to continued improvement of the client experience for all of our customers.


Operations/Business Development LINK INTEGRATION



Creating a legacy for the next generation 225-926-0040

FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS, the family of Goodwood Hardware and Outdoors has listened to our loyal customers and has brought the store to the level it is today. Diversity and creativity are the keys to success in a family-owned business. The business has grown from a small 8,000-squarefoot building to approximately 40,000 square feet with hardware being the anchor followed by our vision of becoming one of the area’s largest providers of outdoor cooking items, kitchens, furniture, and LSU merchandise. We have also stepped into the internet business as

the world has become so dependent on it. Our vision continues… we look forward to serving Baton Rouge and its surrounding areas for years to come and maintaining a family-owned business for our future generations. We are, after all, “much more than a hardware store.”




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[ BROWN EAGLE ] Helping Louisiana chemical manufacturers soar TODAY, MOST PEOPLE think of logistics as sending an envelope from one place to another or having a package that was ordered online delivered to their home or business. To industrial and manufacturing sites, finished products logistics starts at the packaging line and ends with the customer. Plus, what’s being sent from one place to another usually weighs hundreds or thousands of pounds and is being delivered to locations all over the world. What may surprise people most, however, is that there’s a company here in Baton Rouge that’s providing multinational Fortune 500 chemical manufacturers with best-in-class logistics solutions. It’s Brown Eagle. Though the company could be considered one of the city’s best kept secrets, Brown Eagle is at the forefront of providing innovative 3PL and 4PL logistics solutions for chemical manufacturers in Louisiana and across America. The company operates projects and supplies everything from endto-end logistics project management to a single forklift driver. Brown Eagle also manages over 600,000 square feet of warehouse space across six sites

in the Capital Region, providing contract warehouse operations, dedicated storage solutions and public storage options to clients whether they need to store one pallet or thousands. “Our pitch to prospective clients is pretty straightforward,” says CEO Lela Mae Wilkes. “Their core competency is not packaging, warehousing and ship-

ping—their core competency is making the product. Brown Eagle has the people, systems and expertise to package the product and get it to the customer while the client can focus on making the best product they can.” This approach has worked well as Brown Eagle has developed long-lasting relationships with some of the

chemical industry’s top companies. In fact, Brown Eagle has an average client tenure of 28 years. “Being locally owned and managed lets us respond to our clients’ needs quickly,” says Lela Mae. “That responsiveness and our expertise has enabled us to double sales and employees, as well as triple our number of new clients over the past five years. This is a strong testament to our ability to customize services to our clients’ increasingly complex and global needs.” While speed is important, safety and accuracy are Brown Eagle’s passion. Brown Eagle recently completed 2.4 million man hours without a lost-time incident, dating to 2014, and has a Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of zero for four of the past five years. The company also touts a shipping accuracy rate of 99.999 percent with one location going an amazing 41 years without an error or customer complaint. Brown Eagle’s president, Billy Bellefontaine, gives credit to the company’s focus on work processes and training. “I met Lela Mae in my previous life as Supply Chain Technology Director at DOW. Her safety and performance

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Logistics labor services, chemical/commodity packaging, 4PL, warehousing and distribution services TOP EXECUTIVES: Lela Mae Wilkes, Chief Executive Officer; William “Billy” Bellefontaine, President; Ronnie Anderson, Vice President of Operations; Lynne Williams, Office Manager YEAR FOUNDED: 1968 • PHONE: 225.769.1111 • WEBSITE: browneagle.com 10

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achievements are elite at any level,” says Billy. “Brown Eagle was ahead of the curve on the adoption and development of standardized processes in the logistics industry. Continuous development and improvement of our processes and systems allow us to outperform competitors today and has set the stage for greater growth.” One of the keys to Brown Eagle’s success is communicating “why” following procedures perfectly is important. “Early on, we had a workforce that mostly had military experience and would do their job just as they were shown. Today, we take it a step further and teach why the worker needs to perform each step in a procedure,” says Lela Mae. “Our training incorporates the potential consequences of process variation of each and every step.” Behind this unwavering commitment to work process and training is a genuine concern for employees. No one


Brown Eagle is an award-winning company. In 2019, it won the coveted “Supplier of the Year Award” from the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South, and in 2020, it was recognized for its focus on safety and was named one of LWCC’s “Safest 70 for 2020.”

shows this more than Lela Mae herself. Despite the demands of running a large company, she relishes the opportunity to recognize and celebrate her employees’ achievements.

“I look forward to COVID ending so I can start visiting our project sites again,” she says. “Our employees take pride in reaching safety, quality and production milestones and I like to


FROM THE OWNER Brown Eagle has achieved the safety milestone of a TRIR of ZERO for 4 of the last 5 years! We owe this achievement to the hard-working women and men of Brown Eagle, who have worked relentlessly to achieve this goal. These are the frontline workers of the logistics workforce who work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week packaging, warehousing and shipping our clients’ products all over the globe. Our clients’ products are used to feed the world, assemble and power our vehicles, produce building materials, clothing and all sorts of other consumer goods. Brown Eagle would not have achieved today’s success without the strong, diverse leadership of the women and men serving on the front line of supervision and management. Many of us have worked together for decades, growing as a team for 20, 30 and even 40 years! We cannot say thank you enough to our clients, who have supported Brown Eagle as a woman-owned business. We are

honor them in person because there’s nothing like seeing the smile on someone’s face when they’re being recognized for a job well done.” To better serve their clients’ needs and with an eye towards growth, Brown Eagle bought the former Baton Rouge Beer Agency warehouse in 2017. The 110,000-square-foot warehouse and office facility on Airline Highway now houses their headquarters and solids (powders, pellets and flakes) transfer and packaging systems with a capacity greater than 600,000 lbs./day. Looking forward, the Brown Eagle team will continue to provide innovative and best-in-class logistics solutions to manufacturers across the United States and are excited to explore acquisition opportunities in the e-commerce space in larger markets. “We’re in a great position to help clients soar in 2021 and beyond,” Lela Mae says.


Brown Eagle takes off: The company is founded on the innovative concept of contracting logistics for chemical manufacturing companies.


especially grateful for their support and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing us with protective equipment and allowing us to socially distance on the production line, our clients have led the charge in the areas of safety, health, quality and environmental stewardship. The Louisiana chemical industry is the backbone of our state’s economy. Brown Eagle has been fortunate to not only be a participant, but an important player in this industry. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for our company.


Blue skies ahead: Lela Mae Wilkes joins as controller and helps Brown Eagle grow to more than 500 employees working on projects across the Gulf South.


A bird in the hand: Wilkes purchases Brown Eagle making it a 100% womenowned company.


Spreading its wings: Brown Eagle expands with the purchase and renovation of their 110,000 square foot headquarters, warehouse and packaging facility.

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[ LANDSOURCE ] Clients benefit from LandSource’s expertise and experience WHEN LANDSOURCE WAS founded in 1996, the equipment used in land surveying looked considerably different than it does today. For one thing, “there was no such thing as GPS,” says David Patterson, LandSource’s president. Twenty-five years later, constantly evolving technology has transformed the surveying profession. “GPS has become an indispensable tool in surveying, and we use robotic total stations as well,” Patterson says. “Accuracy, precision and efficiency have all improved with technology.” LandSource provides a full range of land information services, including site evaluation, land surveying and construction staking. Specializing in the areas of commercial, industrial, municipal and telecommunications, the small and versatile company’s clients include attorneys, architects, engineers, bankers, contractors and developers. Unlike other firms that provide surveying as a secondary service, LandSource focuses solely on land information services, enabling the company to tailor its expertise and experience for each client.

With Louisiana’s growth and change, land information services are in demand. This is heightened with currently low interest rates. “We get a lot of calls for ALTA surveys with more people refinanc-

ing, selling and buying,” says Scott Patterson, project manager. “We’re also seeing a lot of large-scale residential projects, with people developing neighborhoods.” Michael Pitre, vice president, says

investing in the latest technology has dramatically improved the data that the survey crews collect. “On one job, we collected 1,800 (survey) points in a day. That used to be about 500 points,” he says. “With today’s GPS, it’s nothing to see 30 satellites at one time. In 1998, we’d typically see seven.” Mapping that used to take three weeks to produce can now take as little as a week. LandSource also has adopted ground-penetrating radar, a sophisticated tool for locating underground pipes, such as those used for gas, water, sewage and fiber optics. “More engineers are looking for those connection points during design rather than construction,” Pitre says. “Subsurface utility exploration is one way we can help with the design phase.” Surveying’s combination of advanced technologies and local history can lead to some interesting discoveries. “We once found a section corner that was calling for a buggy axle,” Scott Patterson says. “Those old corners are

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Land surveying and land information services TOP EXECUTIVES: David Patterson, President; Michael Pitre, Vice President; Sandra Wiley, Controller; Scott Patterson, Project Manager YEAR FOUNDED: 1996 • PHONE: 225.752.0995 • WEBSITE: landsource.com 12

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hard to find, so when you do find one, it’s pretty cool.” Pitre says he enjoys the variety of jobs. “I went out with the crew to a project site that hadn’t been surveyed since the late 1800s,” he says. “We used GPS, four-wheelers, UTVs—we had to throw the kitchen sink at that job.” Crews also have to adapt to changing environments, often working in tough, demanding Louisiana terrain and weather conditions. “Whether it’s a snowstorm or a pandemic, every time the environment changes, we have to change with it,” says Sandra Wiley, controller. While tools and processes have changed, the communication LandSource provides clients has remained constant over the years. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a $200 job or a $200,000 job, all our clients get special treatment,” Wiley says. This is evident by the many long-term and repeat clients.

FROM THE PRESIDENT A quarter of a century has flown by and there are so many who need to be given credit for our longevity. God’s grace is a good place to start and the most important. We have all heard the saying, “there is no ‘I’ in team” and that certainly applies here.


says. “That’s important to us.” Like technology, LandSource itself continues to evolve. The company has started a multi-year transition that will see Patterson retire and Pitre, Wiley and Scott Patterson, who is David’s son, take over. David Patterson’s first experience with surveying was serendipitous, coming after he graduated with a construction management degree from LSU and while working for a construction company. “One day the surveyor didn’t show up, so I helped with staking out an expansion of a sewer plant in Boothville, Louisiana,” he says. He went on to get his Professional Land Surveyor license and when the company he worked for merged with another, Patterson and a colleague started LandSource to focus solely on land surveying. He became sole proprietor in 1998. Today, he is preparing to pass on the successful company he established.

It was my dream to not only start LandSource, but have it outlive me. I have every confidence LandSource is in good hands and has a bright future.


“Customers may become used to the quality of the work, but they never take the communication for granted,” Patterson says. Of LandSource’s 17 employees, many have been with the company for more than 10 years. Pitre, Wiley and Keith Hayes have worked at LandSource since the beginning. “We have great people. I can’t stress that enough,”

are many good surveyors in and around Baton Rouge and we have relationships with most of them and close friendships with some. Surveying is a close-knit community willing to share information and help each other when needed. Grateful for the first 25 and excited about the future!

Patterson says. “The success of this company is tied to the hard work of a lot of loyal people.” Employees stay with LandSource because the work is interesting, but also because of the open, friendly environment that has characterized the company from the start. “We have events, like crawfish boils, that go beyond the company to include our families,” Wiley


Founded in 1996, LandSource has relationships with many surveyors in and around Baton Rouge, and close friendships with some.

The hard work, dedication and commitment of everyone at LandSource is what keeps us “in the game.” We have great clients who have been with us for years; many of whom have been with us from the beginning. There are no words that can adequately express our gratitude and appreciation for their commitment to LandSource. This will seem counterintuitive, but we also thank our competitors. There


Whether it’s a $200 job or a $200,000 job, every client gets special treatment.

Customers may become used to the quality of the work, but they never take the communication for granted.

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[ GOODWOOD HARDWARE & OUTDOORS ] A ‘big box-style’ store with family atmosphere GOODWOOD HARDWARE AND Outdoors purposefully listens to its customers and that has made all the difference over the years. While originally founded as a small, nutsand-bolts hardware store in 1996, they’ve evolved into a regionally recognized, uniquely tailored store with a personal touch. The company began operations in a small 8,000-square-foot building at 1575 Lobdell Boulevard, then later grew into its current 40,000-square-foot location just around the corner in the Jefferson Plaza Shopping Center. It was tough in the beginning, but Goodwood Hardware found a co-op hardware supplier in Houston—Handy Hardware—and a secondary supplier by the name of Orgill Hardware. Years later, Ace Hardware became another silent supplier after noticing the store’s potential. In the early days of the business, a fortuitous meeting with the owner of Bull Outdoors helped lay a foundation for success in addition to the everyday hardware. Now in its 25th year, the family- and

pet-friendly Goodwood Hardware has become a one-stop destination for customers needing everything from grills to outdoor patio sets to tailgate supplies to traditional hardware supplies. The owners attribute much of their success to an intuitive ability to recognize and meet customers’ needs, as indicated by the company motto “Much More Than a

Hardware Store.” It is literally one big happy family at Goodwood Hardware. Family members William “Bill” Boyd, Kay C. Boyd, William “Trent” Boyd and Tracie Boyd Comeaux were the first to kick-start the business, then were joined by Vickie Ory Boyd several years later. And grandchildren John David Comeaux and Katelyn

Comeaux, who grew up at the store, hope to take over the business one day. Goodwood Hardware is also pet friendly. The family adopted a rescue cat named Harley, followed by another named “Tab.” Six years ago, Goodwood was blessed with a puppy named “Cooper,” who is a therapy dog of sorts for the family. Hardware is at the core of the business, followed by Bull Products/Outdoor Kitchens, Green Egg Grills and accessories, outdoor furniture such as Winston, Ashley, Kanyon, Hostetler and Sea Side, to name a few. And the expanded LSU section of the store has everything for the fan who might be shopping for tailgating supplies, birthdays, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Bosses Day, etc. Of course, the Boyd family isn’t content to stand still. They now ship products across the U.S. and their internet sales have grown exponentially through platforms such as Amazon, Wayfair, Facebook, Instagram and the corporate website as they continue to grow the

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Hardware TOP EXECUTIVES: William D. “Bill” Boyd, CEO/Owner; Kay C. Boyd, Owner; William T. “Trent” Boyd, Owner/Manager; Tracie Boyd Comeaux, Owner/Manager YEAR FOUNDED: 1996 • PHONE: 225.926.0155 • WEBSITE: goodwoodhardware.com 14

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storefront side of the business for the everyday shopper. Employees are also treated like family members. They are served a hot lunch and enjoy coffee throughout the day. The Boyds also ensure that their employees are knowledgeable about the products they sell. That way, they can literally work anywhere in the store and there’s rarely a question they can’t answer, which gives the family confidence to take a vacation. There is always a family member present. Bill Boyd has a favorite saying: “It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about Goodwood Hardware,” and they purposefully find and retain employees who follow that mantra.

FROM THE OWNER In 1996, the original Lobdell Hardware Store located at 1575 Lobdell Ave., (a family-owned business of 50-plus years) was closing, so my dad and I got together to see what it would take to start the hardware business back up. In the process of doing that, we bought and renamed the store Goodwood Hardware and Outdoors. Over the years, the business has forced us to get more creative and become more diversified in expanding to areas beyond just hardware, such as outdoor kitchens, outdoor furniture and LSU merchandise. We’ve also expanded into internet sales, as shopping a local store becomes a thing of the past. To reflect these various changes and improvements, Goodwood Hardware’s motto is “Much More Than A Hardware Store.”


While COVID-19 has been a particularly devastating time for so many businesses, the owners of Goodwood Hardware have re-learned the market and adjusted with every obstacle. Through it all, one thing remains the same—you’ll always get a friendly, welcoming experience when visiting the store. The staff and owners are there to help, both during and after a sale. The years have come and gone, but the family members of Goodwood are all still active and appreciate their loyal patrons. The Goodwood Hardware family looks forward to many more years in the business and would like to thank everyone for shopping and supporting their traditional storefront shopping experience.

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we were very fortunate to be deemed an essential business and have remained open. We are experiencing many challenges as we go through each day from the pandemic, with obstacles that we have to overcome. Many thanks to our loyal employees, customers, family and friends. We appreciate each and every one for supporting our business.

HIGHLIGHTS The original Goodwood Hardware store was opened in 1996. The store has become a one-stop destination for everything from grills to outdoor furniture to tailgate supplies.

One look at Goodwood’s inventory demonstrates its company motto—”Much More Than a Hardware Store.”


Cooper is a much-loved member of the Goodwood Hardware family.

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[ BATON ROUGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE ] Instructors lead the learning curve with innovative technology IN THE MIDST of a global pandemic, new technology at Baton Rouge Community College is changing the way students engage with professors, classmates and their course materials. New virtual classroom set-ups were unveiled at the college in February and are just one example of BRCC creating instructional environments to meet all students’ schedules and needs. During the pandemic, BRCC has focused on creating instructional environments with flexibility in mind, whether that means attending class face-to-face at the designated time period, attending remotely at the designated time period or attending at a later day or time via a recorded instructional session. “I think it positions us to provide education to students where they are,” says Sarah Barlow, BRCC’s vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.

Inside BRCC’s Cypress Building, there are three physical setups, or classrooms, with the new technology: Room of the Future (a video wall with 18 monitors), Dual Delegate (two monitors) and Single Delegate (one monitor mobile station). BRCC is the first college in Louisiana to use the new technology, which was produced by Mashme, and the college is the first in the world to use the new single delegate mobile station. The technology is fairly simple for students and faculty to use, says Kizzy Payton, BRCC’s chief marketing and public relations officer. Students connect to the Mashme technology via the college’s education platform called Canvas. The Mashme cloud platform uses the Google Chrome browser, and there is nothing for students to download.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Associate degree-granting institution, workforce training, career and technical education TOP EXECUTIVE: Dr. Willie E. Smith, Chancellor YEAR FOUNDED: 1998 • PHONE: 1-866.217.9823 • WEBSITE: mybrcc.edu 16

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With the new technology, students are able to view the instructor who is lecturing and any Power Point presentations, videos, worksheets, or notes the instructor may share from his or her tablet. They can also view their classmates in real time raising hands and asking questions, and any content shown to the class. With the use of multiple cameras, virtual students are able to view the instructor who is lecturing, their classmates in real time raising hands and asking questions, and any content shown to the class. Virtual students are able to view Power Point presentations, videos, worksheets, or any notes the instructor may share from his or her tablet. With the use of a chat box, virtual students have the ability to ask questions and get answers in real time. Instructors also can use a polling feature to get feedback from students during the class. It allows for instructors to take “real time assessments” of learning occurring in the classroom, so

the instructors know if they need to go back over a certain topic, Barlow says. Additionally, many of the courses at BRCC include a lab component. The mobile unit allows the camera to zoom in closely to a biology dissection, an automotive shop session or a welding booth demonstration, Barlow says. Another benefit of the technology is that the entire session is recorded, all class materials are packaged together, and everything is posted online, allowing all students, including traditional, to go back and hear a certain part of a lecture again and clean up notes. By implementing the new technology, BRCC hopes to address an overall


entryway that unlocks the untapped potential in our students thanks to the generosity of our community and workforce partners, and we are extremely grateful.

Long before the pandemic transformed our world, Baton Rouge Community College was leading the way into the future. The last year ushered in a new normal, and BRCC remained committed to excellence in the delivery of our academic and workforce programs.

As we continue to progress, we will rely on the challenges and achievements that have fostered the college’s growth. We believe the opportunity for higher education should be available to all who seek it, and we will continue to share the opportunity with all who desire it in the years ahead.

As we move forward in our new normal, our strength continues to reside in the diversity of our college community, the effectiveness of our partnerships, and the support to our students, who will always be our number one priority. Baton Rouge Community College is charged with uplifting and improving the lives of the residents throughout the Capital Region, and it is a privilege to serve them every day. BRCC has a proud legacy of serving all who seek our services, with a focus on underrepresented groups and non-traditional students. Since 1998, the College has grown to become an

Thank you,

decline in community college enrollment, Payton says. With its virtual offerings, BRCC can serve students who may have barriers to leaving home, such as transportation issues, a varying work schedule from week to week, or children at home who need care. “You could go back on your own time and not miss a beat,” Payton says. Colleges that can provide flexibility to meet students’ needs will be the most successful, she says. The technology at BRCC provides options—students can choose to attend virtually for one day, one semester or for their entire college experience. School academic counselors will work with students to identify what type

of learning will be the most beneficial for each student. “Some students don’t want the lock-in of a time and date,” Payton says. “They want to access their educational materials at a time and place that’s convenient for them.” As for instructors, with the implementation of any new technology, there has been a learning curve. “They’ve been incredibly creative and innovative, and I know they’ll continue to connect with the software,” Barlow says. Some universities currently using the Mashme platform include Harvard, Oxford, Colorado State University, Florida State University and Arapahoe Community College in Colorado.


Since its founding, Baton Rouge Community College has been committed to excellence in academic and workforce training programs.


BRCC meets the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools academic criteria, and the college receives full accreditation.


BRCC merges with Capital Area Technical College, expanding the college’s footprint throughout the Capital Region.


BRCC opens McKay Automotive Training Center.


New virtual classroom set-ups were unveiled at the college in February and are just one example of BRCC creating instructional environments to meet all students’ schedules and needs.

WILLIE E. SMITH, ED.D. Chancellor

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199 - 2021 3


(From left) Brian McCullough, Lawrence Getty, Denise Venet, Peyton Murphy, Renee Pennington, Jim Moore, and Troy Morain.

[ MURPHY LAW FIRM ] An experienced team, a heart for service, and a reputation for excellence EACH MORNING, when attorney Peyton Murphy arrives at his office on South Acadian Thruway, his first task is to make the rounds with his new puppy Waylon and greet each one of his employees. Murphy is more than an attorney—he is a dedicated father and husband, an animal lover, and a true Louisiana outdoorsman. He works hard for his clients, and always strives to exceed their expectations. On April 23, Murphy will celebrate the 28th anniversary of the founding of the Murphy Law Firm in Baton Rouge. Over the years, Murphy and his legal team have helped thousands of injured victims throughout Louisiana who were involved in automobile accidents, tractor trailer accidents, premises liabilities, product liabilities, wrongful death claims, pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices and mesothelioma. For those in need of an attorney, Murphy wants them to know that “Experience matters, your lawyer matters, and RESULTS matter.” “Insurance companies want your money, but when it’s time to pay, you’d better have a lawyer who’s going to fight for you,” Murphy says. He says his law firm does not have a non-litigation

section of lawyers. “Every lawyer in the firm can and will go to trial if necessary.” And Murphy himself approves all settlements. “We are NOT a settlement mill,” Murphy states.

In January, at the height of his career to date, Murphy and his team were awarded an $18.9 million settlement by an East Baton Rouge Parish jury after a man suffered severe and permanently

disabling injuries following a 2018 motor vehicle crash. Murphy held strong to his belief that justice would ultimately prevail with a fair result for the client, and that confidence led to the ultimate result. This case highlights the point that if defendants are not willing to resolve claims for a fair amount, Murphy will go to trial and fight for you. “I want the right outcome to happen for my clients,” Murphy says, noting that sometimes that means the process may take more time. You can find Murphy in his office five days a week working hard for his clients. All his clients can have his personal cellphone number, and he stresses that he is always accessible to them, day or night. “I make it a point to meet each and every person who walks through the door,” he says. “I want to see them when they come in, and I want to see them when they leave. My goal is to make sure they are satisfied with the legal work we’ve done.” Murphy lives in Baton Rouge with his wife Jenny, and their four children. When he is not in the office, Murphy can be found on the golf course, hunting for ducks or deer in St. Francisville or fish-

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Personal injury, including but not limited to: automobile accidents, tractor trailer accidents, premises liabilities, product liabilities, wrongful death claims, pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices and mesothelioma TOP EXECUTIVES: Peyton Murphy, Troy Morain, Brian McCullough, Renee Pennington, Jim Moore, Schyler Brooks YEAR FOUNDED: 1993 • PHONE: 225.928.8800 • WEBSITE: murphylawfirm.com 18

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ing for red snapper or trout off the coast of Grand Isle. His new puppy Waylon, a fox red Labrador, is always by his side. When Murphy started his own practice in 1993, he made it a priority to give back to the community. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Baton Rouge in 2020, Murphy wanted to make sure the community had the proper tools to stay safe and protected. What started as a simple mask giveaway at his office turned into so much more. The public response was tremendous, and Murphy and his team expanded their efforts by responding to numerous calls for help from local healthcare facilities—including nursing homes and hospitals—about their own needs for face masks and hand sanitizer. Murphy and his team were able to help 30+ healthcare facilities. The law firm also donated face masks and hand sanitizer to multiple churches and nonprofit organizations in the area. In all, Murphy was able to give away more than 67,000 protective masks and face shields and over 100 gallons of hand sanitizer to members of the community. Additionally, he donated 100 bags of groceries and other items

FROM THE FOUNDER South Louisiana is a wonderful place to raise a family, hunt, fish, golf and practice law. Since opening Murphy Law Firm in 1993, we have always strived to exceed client expectations.

I make it a point to meet each and every person who walks through the door. I want to see them when they come in, and I want to see them when they leave. My goal is to make sure they are satisfied with the legal work we’ve done.

ATTORNEY PEYTON MURPHY to HOPE Ministries, a local organization that strives to feed the hungry and prevent homelessness. He and his team also recently helped distribute 2,000+ boxes of produce and meals to staff members of Baton Rouge General. Even before the pandemic hit, Murphy Law Firm has always been highly active in the community, supporting such causes as the American Cancer Society, the Capital Area CASA Association, Kelli’s Kloset, and several others. Murphy credits his experienced team with helping him to be successful. Everyone works hard, and all employees are treated like family. Stacie Blade,

The way we have stuck together and been there for one another gives me such a sense of pride in our community and optimism for the future.

the office receptionist, says, “I’ve been here for nine years, and he has always looked out for me and my family.” Attorney Brian McCullough adds, “I am blessed to have worked with a number of tremendous mentors throughout my career. In Peyton, I’ve found both a skilled, professional mentor and a dearly loyal personal friend.” Professionally, Peyton Murphy belongs to numerous organizations, including the Louisiana Bar Association, the Baton Rouge Bar Association, the Lafayette Bar Association & Foundation, the 23rd Judicial District Bar Association, the

American Association for Justice, America’s Top 100 Attorneys, APITLAmerica, the Global Director of Who’s Who, Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and The Louisiana Association of Justice. Peyton Murphy is very proud of the ratings he and his firm have garnered over the years. In 2021, Murphy was recognized and awarded an AV Preeminent Rating with MartindaleHubbell, which is given to attorneys who rank at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal competence, communication skills, and ethical standards by their peers. The Murphy Law Firm also maintains an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. And finally, nothing is “more gratifying” to Peyton Murphy than when his past clients give five-star reviews reflecting their satisfaction with the representation and service provided by his firm. “That’s our ultimate goal,” he says. For more information, visit www. murphylawfirm.com or visit the Murphy Law Firm on Facebook or Instagram @MurphyLawFirm225.


Murphy Law Firm is founded by attorney Peyton Murphy.


In response to the pandemic, the firm distributes more than 67,000 protective masks and face shields and over 100 gallons of hand sanitizer to members of the community. Murphy Law also donates 100 bags of groceries and other items to HOPE Ministries.

The ability to help injured victims has always been a blessing. The friendships I have made and the people I get to know is what makes my life so interesting. Our ability to give back to the community will always remain a priority and my way to remain connected to our neighbors. The struggles of last year through the pandemic have solidified the value of being a Louisianan.




In January 2021, after a nearly three-week trial, a Murphy client was awarded over $18.9 million in damages by an East Baton Rouge Jury after the client suffered severe and permanently disabling injuries as the result of a 2018 motor vehicle crash.

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1961- 2021


[ FORTE & TABLADA ] Transitions for Tomorrow AT 60 YEARS of age, Forte & Tablada Inc. of Baton Rouge is in the middle of a transformation. The ownership of the consulting, engineering and land surveying firm changed hands in fall 2020 in a move that will position it for growth— even while it remains anchored to the past. President Ann Forte Trappey named Joey Coco as chief executive officer in August, while also completing the sale of the firm to Coco and longtime vice president Chad Bacas. By making the move, they’ve ensured the sustainability of the company as it transitions to a younger generation. Trappey remains on staff in an outreach capacity and is leading a team focused on clients, strategic pursuits, proposals and marketing events. Of course, many things will remain the same. Perhaps most importantly, the organization formed by engineers Vincent A. Forte and Julian Tablada in 1961 will retain the Forte & Tablada name. That’s essential, since the firm has been part of the local and state landscape for decades, while main-

taining its brand as a leader in both the industry and community. Coco says an appreciation for F&T ’s long and storied history as a “pure” engineering design firm will be important going forward, particularly for the younger staff members. That’s why the firm’s leaders constantly strive to share older photos through an internal social media platform in an effort to “turn back time” with the younger

generation. They also share monumental engineering projects such as the Sydney Murray Hydroelectric Station in Vidalia, La., and significant community contributions such as the Vincent A. Forte River Model (the predecessor facility to the world class LSU Center for River Studies Model). “Our young staff doesn’t have an understanding of how deep and rich our history actually

is, so they’re inspired by these projects,” Coco says. “As for myself, I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to gain a deeper appreciation for what I’m leading so I can effectively carry the torch.” That stability and longevity is important to F&T ’s clients, as it gives them confidence that the firm will see their projects to the end. “We’re down in the trenches doing pure engineering and surveying work,” Coco says. “That’s a precious resource these days—to be the ones actually producing the plans and specifications. We hold true to that principle.” Of course, it’s just as important to stay focused on the future, so F&T plans to continue investing heavily in leading edge technology to foster a culture of innovation. Their computer and software systems are second to none, which enables them to efficiently manipulate large data sets. “R&D is a vital part of our history,” Coco adds. “We always ensure that we invest in the right tools, or develop them ourselves, to keep that edge.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Engineering, Surveying, R&D TOP EXECUTIVES: Joey Coco, President; Chad Bacas, Senior VP; Brad Holleman, Senior VP; Jordan Pearson, Senior VP; Ann Trappey, Vice President; Kristen Crane, Vice President; Cris Weinnig, Vice President YEAR FOUNDED: 1961 • PHONE: 225.927.9321 • WEBSITE: forteandtablada.com 20

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The intersection of Nicholson and Brightside Drive designed by Forte & Tablada.

FROM THE CEO Forte and Tablada, Inc. has been a staple in the engineering community for 60 years. I am extremely proud and humbled to serve as the President of this truly historic organization, following in the footsteps of Ann Trappey and her father Vincent Forte. Our firm has a deep history in the engineering community, being one of the longest standing firms in the state of Louisiana with a reputation that is second to none.

without them. A core value is for our employees to work with a purpose knowing what they are doing each day has a positive impact on society, and knowing they can see, feel, and touch their work following construction. Several employees have surpassed 40 years of service before retiring! Our clients know we are going to be there to the end, we always endeavor to deliver an outstanding service, and that we will go the extra mile to serve them. We owe everything to them, allowing us to be their trusted advisor.

60 years in business speaks to our recipe for success. The culture and the history of F&T are rooted in providing down-in-the-trenches engineering and surveying on real-life projects and advancing those professions through R&D, technology investments, and continued professional growth. Our integration of services sets us apart and often, we offer a single client numerous service lines on the same project. Our nearly 100 employees are incredible, passionate, and loyal. We are nothing


The firm recently purchased a sophisticated industrial drone with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) capabilities for its Surveying and Advance Measurements and Modeling groups. The drone—one of three used by F&T’s surveyors—is the most advanced of its kind and “really pushes the envelope” in its capabilities. Ultimately, it will enable the team to work faster, more thoroughly and more accurately. Forte & Tablada also hopes to expand its geographic footprint. Growth is nothing new for the firm. In just the past eight years, it has doubled in size. “We feel we’ve got a strong leadership team and staff to take the firm to the next level,” Coco says. They’ll also continue to lead the industry by participating in various professional engineering organizations, as well as supporting the engineering colleges at LSU and Southern University. These relationships have produced some tangible benefits over the years, including a steady flow of some six to eight students working for the firm at any given time. “They know that they can come here and get real-world experience,” Coco says. “That’s baked into who we are.” Looking ahead, Coco is excited about his new role. “I am honored to be supported by a great business partner in Chad Bacas and an incredibly capable leadership team,” he says. “I’m also surrounded by an abundance of talent. That makes my job much easier.” Some employees have been working at the Baton Rouge office for decades—one working for the company some 40 years and another recently retiring after 40 years. Trappey says employees stay because they’re treated like family, and they feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. “I think they truly appreciate and understand what Forte & Tablada represents,” she adds.


Forte & Tablada Inc. was formed in 1961 by electrical engineers Vincent A. Forte, PE, (left) and Julian Tablada, PE.


192 MW Hydro Project was completed in 1990 and was named one of the Top 10 engineering projects in the country by the National Society of Professional Engineeers.



A change in ownership saw the company transition from Ann Forte Trappey to Joey Coco and Chad Bacas.

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198 - 2021 4


[ GM CABLE CONTRACTORS ] A one-stop-shop built on a foundation of trust GIL MATHERNE FOUNDED GM Cable Contractors in 1984 with very little experience under his belt. Fortunately, he was a quick learner, and over the years he watched his business grow from a one-man shop to one of the largest telecommunications companies in the region. Along the way, his wife Michelle became instrumental in helping guide the company in a variety of capacities. GM Cable has literally grown up with the industry, and continually strives to improve its standards of quality in an ever-changing world of communications and broad-band technology. They’re a diverse contractor with equally diverse capabilities. That means there’s very little that they can’t do. “If something new comes out, we research it and find a way to implement it in today’s systems,” Matherne says. Longevity among his employees has been a key factor behind his success. To date, GM Cable has 10 employees with more than 10 years of service and

another 12 employees with more than five. Matherne also has a pretty solid succession plan in place. His daughter and son already play major roles in the

day-to-day operations of the company and his four grandchildren are showing an interest, too. Today, GM Cable provides its one-

stop-shop service to an extensive customer base including universities, community colleges, public and private schools, state government, municipalities, plants and hospitals, among others. Their list of long-term clients is lengthy, consisting of national accounts and 30 years of continuous work for the State of Louisiana. The contractor offers LAN/WAN design, engineering and installation; CCTV/video surveillance, voice, data and video networks, directional boring, outside plant design and construction, fiber optic design and installation, aerial construction and on-site employees provided for manpower contracts. One of the biggest developments in recent years—country clubs and other exclusive neighborhoods are investing in their own Cutline television network sysgoes here tems, incorporating both fiber optics and wireless systems. Wireless systems will no doubt be the wave of the future in the networking world.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Fiber optics and structural cabling TOP EXECUTIVES: Gil Matherne, CEO; Michelle Matherne, Controller; Amber Martel, Assistant Controller; Colby Matherne, Outside Construction Supervisor; Dwayne Hughes, Inside Construction Supervisor YEAR FOUNDED: 1984 • PHONE: 225.261.9800 • WEBSITE: gmcable.com 24

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GM Cable provides its one-stop-shop service to an extensive customer base including universities, community colleges, public and private schools, state government, municipalities, plants and hospitals, among others. Their list of long-term clients is lengthy, consisting of national accounts and 30 years of continuous work for the State of Louisiana.

“Wireless technology is becoming more prevalent as its reliability improves,” Matherne says. “The industry is also turning to audiovisual and camera installations, in part due to the increasing popularity of video conferencing.” GM Cable offers the business customer an integrated approach to cabling infrastructures and network technology management—one that provides efficient and cost-effective

PANDEMIC PIVOT PANDEMIC PIVOT Thankfully, we at GM Cable were able to keep our doors open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but it wouldn’t have been possible without our employees. That’s why I am truly grateful for their unwavering commitment to maintaining a quality work environment, even while going through some rather unprecedented challenges. With the assistance of the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), we retained all of our employees and provided them with wages for any necessary time off. Through it all, we remained committed to serving our customers in a safe and expeditious manner while maintaining our traditionally high performance standards.”

facilities that generate superior technology performance and reliability. “We are a total network company,” he adds. “We can directionally bore for fiber optics, perform aerial installations, install interior systems, camera work, etc. We can solve all of your problems in one stop.” GM Cable currently covers five states with 70 employees, but Matherne is as large as he wants to be. That’s because he doesn’t want to compromise on

quality. Over the years, the contractor has worked hard to establish itself as one of the most trusted contractors in Louisiana. They take pride in the company and community, and have earned a reputation for their highly trained employees and values. The company’s mission has remained unchanged over the last 37 years—to continually improve its standards of quality in an ever-changing world of communications and broad-

band technology through cabling, outside construction and network design. They do that by providing consumer-driven services and support that delivers value to its customers. In the process, GM Cable has remained dedicated to providing efficient, cost-effective facilities that generate superior performance and reliability, and has established a reputation for meeting and frequently exceeding customers’ expectations.


Gil Matherne founded GM Cable Contractors in 1984 and watched his business grow from a one-man shop to one of the largest telecommunications companies in the region.


Over its 37-year history, GM Cable has grown to cover five states with 70 employees.


Gil’s wife Michelle has been instrumental in helping guide the company in a variety of capacities.


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1961- 2021


[ FUSION ARCHITECTS, APC ] One big, happy, talented family IN 2020, FUSION Architecture, Bani, Carville & Brown and Jerry M. Campbell & Associates merged to become Fusion Architects, APC. In doing so, they brought together a 60-year history of experience, numerous long-standing relationships and an unparalleled collection of talent under one roof. It was an admittedly challenging time to make such a move. The design industry as a whole was suffering a sharp downturn and many businesses struggled to keep a reliable workload during the pandemic. In the end, it proved to be just what the doctor ordered. Not only did Fusion strengthen its existing relationships, but the combined workloads of the firms kept them consistently busy. A full-service firm Today, they are stronger together than apart. At the core of that success—client loyalty, experience, and quality of service. The award-winning, full-service architecture firm focuses on creating unique and responsive architectural solutions for clients. Its projects cover a diverse mix, including education, religious, food service, his-

toric preservation, municipal, healthcare, sports complexes, hospitality and mixed use. Over the years, they found their firms to be very similar, each with its own history of extraordinary service and design. They have worked together on many public and private projects. As such, they recognized how each firm

complemented one another in both work ethics and design goals. Bani, Carville and Brown is the oldest of the firms. Founded as John A. Bani Architects in 1961, the firm had evolved over the decades as it grew from a one-man shop to 13 employees. As the years progressed, the practice expanded into office design, dental/

medical, and educational projects, designing numerous notable parochial and public schools in the region. The firm became known for its excellent client-based service and built numerous long-standing relationships in the process. Today, Henry Carville remains an integral part of Fusion Architects. Jerry Campbell, who passed away in early 2021, made an equally impressive name for himself with his uncanny attention to detail during several iconic historical renovation projects, including LSU’s Memorial Tower, the Old Governor’s Mansion, Old State Capitol, the African American Cultural Center and the William Brookshire Military & Veteran’s Student Center. He also collaborated in the design of the nationally recognized Shaw Center in Baton Rouge as part of a joint venture. Today, Fusion’s five partners–Brad Guerin, David Ruiz, Jason Jones, Kyle Kramer (Nashville office) and Matthew Daigrepont–strive to preserve the legacies of all three companies by continuing these long-standing relationships. As such, they retained all of the key staff and personnel from each firm following the mergers.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Architectural design, interior design, master planning TOP LOCAL EXECUTIVES: Brad Guerin, Architect; David Ruiz, Architect; Jason Jones, Architect; Matt Daigrepont, Architect YEAR FOUNDED: 1961 • PHONE: 225.766.4848 • WEBSITE: fusionapc.com 26

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Family centered Fusion is a different kind of architecture firm. All members of the firm contribute in a team-focused, collaborative atmosphere. They’re more like a family … they have fun together, work hard together and give back to the community together. The firm’s geographic footprint is expansive. Fusion is licensed to practice in 13 southern and midwestern states from its offices in Baton Rouge and Nashville. They offer full architectural, interior design, planning and program management services, and their projects involve buildings that promote healing, learning, working and living. Ultimately, Fusion’s passion for design serves as the catalyst for a dynamic process of creating great architecture. The talented staff is passionate about delivering exceptional architectural services in a relaxed and rewarding process. While all projects must meet the pragmatic parameters of scope, schedule and budget, they believe that a successful project is the synthesis of context, history, technology and inspiration. Fusion’s unrelenting commitment to community outreach is another significant distinction. The principals and employees serve on many boards and nonprofits throughout the community. They also contribute and donate talent and resources to multiple causes, including gratis design work for the YWCA , St. Jude Dream Home, various school systems and universities, and countless nonprofit organizations. They offer mentorships and internships to high school students interested in architecture, support “Read Across America” by reading to students in underserved areas, and host career days at various high schools. Fusion Architecture continues to follow the philosophy of its founding member, John Bani, who stated, “Service to the client is most important.”

PANDEMIC PIVOT Fusion Architects is committed to providing a safe environment for our team, their families, and our community. While developing and adjusting safety protocols, we have maintained daily operations and have allowed team members to work from home when needed, ensuring their safety. We are proud to have assisted various municipalities throughout the Greater Baton Rouge area by donating our services during the pandemic. Those services included measuring and analyzing plans for over 1,000 buildings to determine pre-pandemic occupant loads, provide suggestions to use spaces more efficiently, and offer certification for the State Fire Marshal. This allowed each entity the ability to adjust the number of people allowed at the 25% or 50% occupancy limitations, aiding in keeping staff and the general public safe. Fusion’s focus throughout this challenging time has been— and continues to be—supporting our clients, our team, and our local communities.



John Bani begins his practice. In 1986, Henry Carville becomes partner with Richard Brown becoming partner in 1997. The firm name is changed to BCB Architects.


Lott & Campbell, APAC is formed. In 1980, Lott breaks off and the firm is renamed Jerry M. Campbell & Assoc.


Fusion Architecture is founded.


Fusion opens their Nashville office.


In 2020, BCB Architects and Jerry M. Campbell & Assoc. merge with Fusion. In 2021, the name is changed to Fusion Architects, APC. In Memory of Jerry M. Campbell

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197 1- 2021


Dr. Emily Cassidy and Dr. Nicholas Leblanc lead the Cancer Center’s Thoracic Surgery Clinic and are members of Our Lady of the Lake Robotic Surgery Institute.

[ MARY BIRD PERKINS CANCER CENTER ] Leading-edge technology and treatment in cancer care MARY BIRD PERKINS Cancer Center has served the needs of patients throughout the region for 50 years, and our commitment is to continue propelling cancer care forward. The generous community support and leadership that laid the groundwork for the Cancer Center’s opening in 1971 endures today with individuals, corporations, grantors and others providing support for patients to receive the best care possible with leadingedge treatment and technology. With access to the most advanced radiation and medical oncology therapies and surgical intervention, including access to the Our Lady of the Lake Robotic Surgery Institute, Mary Bird Perkins is committed to improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer in every way. The organization’s radiation facilities and comprehensive cancer centers throughout southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi are continuing the vital work of cancer care at numer-

Through its National Cancer Institute affiliation, Mary Bird Perkins offers breakthrough clinical trials for patients throughout the Gulf South.

ous locations, including: Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge; the Breast

& GYN Cancer Pavilion at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge; Cancer Services in Baton Rouge; Mary Bird

Perkins Cancer Center in Gonzales; Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Covington; Mary Bird Perkins in Hammond; Mary Bird Perkins TGMC Cancer Center; Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Natchez, Mississippi; and the LSU Health Baton Rouge North Clinic. The Cancer Center is looking to the future with a focus on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on cancer care with decision-making tools that are aiding physicians in enhancing diagnostics, treatment outcomes and survival rates. The Cancer Center’s recent partnership with Vysioneer, Boston’s precision radiation oncology software company, is creating new ways to rapidly develop, validate and strategically integrate artificial intelligence into every aspect of radiation therapy for patients. As AI offerings are expanded across all stages of the cancer patient journey, the associated applications built on big data and analytics have the poten-

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Cancer care with a focus on improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer YEAR FOUNDED: 1971 • PHONE: 225.767.0847 • WEBSITE: marybird.org 28

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tial to achieve next-generation radiotherapy from process automation and treatment outcome predictions to personalized thera­pies—all tools that enable clinicians to make more informed and precise treatment decisions. In addition, these sophisticated applications will allow for enhanced, personalized and efficient radiation therapy, and will help medical professionals reduce the time needed to build intricate treatment planning procedures and allow for real time adjustments throughout the patient’s treatment plan. One of the key elements in launching this AI initiative is data from Gamma Knife Icon treatments, a sophisticated technology for treating cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, as well as other neurological Dr. Kos Kovtun is part of the highly-trained team of radiation oncologists who are Gamma Knife Icon certified. disorders. Prevention on the Go early detection partnership with Louisiana State In step with the Cancer Center’s services to additional communities University Department of Physics and partnership model to advance canand workplaces. That commitment to Astronomy, physicists and students are cer care, the organization announced increase early detection and participahelping revolutionize the delivery of this year that it has joined with The radiation therapy around the world. Neuromedical Center for a research tion in clinical trials will continue to be The Cancer Center continues to agreement that will provide new clinical a focal point, bringing these services to lead cancer care in the region with trials options for glioblastoma (GBM) as many people as possible. nationally-renowned achievements and patients. GBM is the most aggressive As change in cancer care occurs accreditations. Colorectal cancer is the type of cancer that begins in the brain at an incredibly rapid pace, Mary Bird third most commonly diagnosed canwith approximately 12,000 cases diagPerkins’ teams of physicians, sciennosed in the U.S. each year. cer in the country and diagnosis rates tists and other experts utilize both Teams at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer continue to rise, especially in Millennial experience and education to harness Center also continue to address the the power of new technologies and and Generation X populations. Under existing, very present issues of health information resources. The teams are the leadership of Dr. Kelly Finan, chair, inequity, diversity and inclusion. With advancing innovative approaches to rectal multidisciplinary team, the minorities disproportionately impacted treatment daily with precision mediCancer Center was recently the first by cancer with higher than average program in the state to earn a threecine, big data, robotics, real-time treatmortality rates across most cancers, year accreditation from the National ment optimizations and other strategies the organization continues its emphaAccreditation Program for Rectal to exponentially expand the Cancer Cancer (NAPRC), recognizing the offerCenter treatments and influence outsis on clinical research and increased comes of cancer care for patients in access opportunities for communities ing of the most individualized treatment years to come. Additionally, through and advanced rectal cancer treatment of color and those who live in rural areas. Part of that is an expansion of its Mary Bird Perkins’ medical physics practices. As Mary Bird Perkins and

FROM THE PRESIDENT/ CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Thanks to generous community support, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has provided cancer care for 50 years, with leading-edge treatment and innovative technology led by highly-trained radiation and medical oncologists, surgeons, and other specialists, to ensure each patient has access to expert, personalized cancer care. Through the depth and breadth of our clinical specialists, our extensive cancer prevention and early detection services, and our 100 percent focus on cancer care, we are improving outcomes for those impacted by the disease. Thank you to those who have supported our mission to

improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer. We invite everyone to become engaged in our work as the community’s cancer center.

its teams continue to prioritize providing expert treatment and early detection to save lives, it is proud to be the first—and currently only—program in the state to be awarded this accreditation. NAPRC recognition and high-quality patient care can also be attributed to extensive physician and staff collaboration. Disease site teams, or multidisciplinary care teams, are specialists from each diagnostic, treatment and supportive care discipline working together in the same facility where state-of-the-art cancer treatment is given and relevant research is conducted. Experts across the nation agree: multidisciplinary care is the gold standard for treating cancer patients. From tumor board meetings where physicians review and discuss treatment options to specialized teams that focus on some of the most prevalent cancers affecting Gulf Coast residents, multidisciplinary care takes many shapes at the Center. This approach provides patients with a multitude of experts working together to create the strongest plan of attack against their cancer. Generous community support will always be necessary for the Cancer Center to aggressively continue advancing its mission through all of the methods in this article and more. The growth of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Foundation will be key in helping area cancer care experts plan for days and years to come with confidence, and to train future generations of physicians and scientists, especially through the renowned medical physics program. For more information on how you can become a part of advancing Mary Bird Perkins’ mission, visit marybird.org


Because diagnostic imaging plays a critical role in initial cancer diagnosis, treatment planning and palliative therapies, the 8,149-square-foot Thomas J. Moran Imaging Center offers the latest in diagnostic technologies, including digital X-ray, CT, nuclear medicine, SPECT/CT, PET/CT, digital fluoroscopy and MRI.

Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion:

Because women with breast and GYN cancers require specialized needs, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and Woman’s Hospital partnered in 2018 to open a one-of-a-kind facility just for women with these diseases, the Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion.

Early Detection:


President and Chief Operating Officer

Through Mary Bird Perkins’ Prevention on the Go program, the organization provides free cancer screenings in a number of rural communities where cancer mortality rates are higher due to lack of access. A workplace program is also available.

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Ship calls at the Port have increased for almost all tenants. As a result, Port leadership has initiated plans to expand the Port’s northern dock on the Mississippi River (far right) to add a fourth deepwater berthing space.

[ PORT OF GREATER BATON ROUGE ] The excitement is building at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge JAY HARDMAN IS excited, and he’s got every right to be. A variety of current and prospective enhancements at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, where he serves as executive director, is positioning it for a promising future. In 2020 alone, the Port completed three major projects—an expansion of its shipping container storage capacity; delivery of a second custom-made piece of equipment for transloading containers into and out of barges; and the opening of a $22 million railcar chambering yard on property south of the Intracoastal Waterway. And there’s still a lot of the Port’s 480 acres available for future development. The fact that Grön Fuels LLC intends to build a $9.2 billion renewable fuels complex at the site could become another big feather in the Port’s cap. The project would showcase the Port’s potential to be more than just a bulk shipment facility, but a creator of jobs along with a hub for renewable diesel fuels. The Grön complex could eventually bring an estimated 1,025 new direct jobs to the Baton Rouge area. Reacting to the container boom More proof that the Port is evolving—the rapid growth of its container-on-barge shuttle service. Some 16,000 containers moved through the Port in 2020, more than double the volume of 2017 when the service began. In


containers is going to become more critical,” he adds.

A recently completed railcar chambering yard accommodates unit trains of 80 or more rail cars to expedite rail delivery to Port tenants like Drax Biomass, which exports wood pellets from the Port to overseas markets.

the process, SEACOR AMH LLC transports empty containers from Memphis to Baton Rouge via barge to be loaded at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge with resin from area plants, and then moves the loaded barges downriver to the Port of New Orleans for international transport. This rapid increase in container volumes prompted the Port to increase the size of the container storage facility at its Inland Rivers Marine Terminal. Completed in 2020, the $5 million expansion has created nearly four acres of additional paved container storage

capacity and given the Port the ability to store about 2,000 containers. “We’ve also added new equipment in the yard that can stack empty containers five high,” Hardman says. “That’s a big deal, as it gives us 25 percent additional capacity and a lot more versatility.” One piece of equipment is designed for heavy-duty container handling and the other—a “reach-stacker”—can quickly and efficiently move containers on to and off of barges. Hardman expects that an additional expansion will soon be necessary. “I think the re-positioning of these empty

Seeing and meeting tenant needs The Port is becoming truly intermodal, evidenced by the completion of its new $22 million railcar chambering yard in 2020. Located on Port property south of the Intracoastal Waterway, the yard facilitates the storage along with expediting the arrival and departure of unit trains into and out of the Port. By having the ability to deliver commodities via unit trains of 80 or more railcars, the chambering yard currently expedites rail delivery of wood pellets to tenant Drax Biomass for export overseas. Demand for the chambering yard has increased since its completion, primarily due to the growth of wood pellet shipments to Drax Biomass, which has expanded from its initial two wood pellet mills to four. Grön Fuels is also planning utilization of the rail chambering yard for shipments of renewable diesel. In fact, “ship calls” have increased dramatically for most of the Port’s tenants, including Drax Biomass, Louis Dreyfus Commodities (LDC), Genesis Energy and BWC Terminals. The Port’s grain elevator, operated by LDC, also had a good year, finishing up 2020 with the export of approximately 5 million tons of grain. To accommodate the growth at the grain elevator, the Port is

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To accommodate growth at the Port’s grain elevator, operated by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, the Port is overseeing an $18 million project to install a floating crane to facilitate the elevator’s ability to handle more diverse cargoes and help mitigate the challenges of the Mississippi River’s high and low stages.

PANDEMIC PIVOT The Port of Greater Baton Rouge has been fortunate in weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. Our tenants and port staff have been successful in mitigating the effects of the virus on maritime operations. These efforts have resulted in only occasional and minor interruptions of cargo movements. As 2020 fades into the history book, along with COVID, we’re looking forward to a return to normalcy and a prosperous year ahead for our maritime stakeholders, region and State of Louisiana.

JAY G. HARDMAN, P.E Executive Director To meet the increased local demand for container services, the Port has expanded its container storage yard to handle up to 2,000 containers and has added customized container handling equipment to enhance operational efficiencies.

overseeing an $18 million enhancement project that will install a floating crane to help LDC handle more diverse cargos and mitigate the Mississippi River’s high and low water issues. Port leadership has also submitted an application to the Louisiana Department of Transportation Port Construction

and Development Priority Program (PCDPP) for a $15 million rehabilitation/ expansion of its “Northern Berth” on the Mississippi River. Currently in design, the expansion would allow for the Port to have a fourth deep draft vessel berth at its northernmost point. Other recent improvements focused

on enhancements to the Port’s existing deepwater docks. A $10 million investment added new modern mooring hooks and new curbing along the dock face, as well as rehabilitating the dock’s fendering system with more durable synthetic materials. There’s little doubt that things are

in constant motion at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, as it continues to evolve into a more proactive—rather than reactive—force. In the process, Hardman plans to collaboratively work with other Port leaders to help bring new industries and jobs to the whole of southeast Louisiana.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Marine transportation TOP EXECUTIVES: Jay G. Hardman, P.E., Executive Director; Greg Johnson, Director of Business Development YEAR FOUNDED: 1952 • PHONE: 225.342.1660 • WEBSITE: portgbr.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ LINK INTEGRATION GROUP ] Fresh perspectives, sophisticated technology, and a focus on service THE ONGOING COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the need for quality audio visual experiences. Link Integration Group has been in operation since 2013, and with the expertise of business partners Brad Rojas and Kyle Williams, the company is able to assist businesses with improving the experience for both employees and clients. Williams, chief operations officer for Link Integration Group, has spent 15 years as an independent licensed telecommunications contractor leading a team of experts specializing in copper and fiber optic cabling needs. He has certifications from several cable system manufacturers and is qualified in designing and building communications infrastructure systems that are required for today’s evolving technologies. These elements provide the foundation for any business technology solutions. Rojas, chief technology officer of Link Integration Group, worked as a senior control systems engineer for a Fortune 100 company, where he was responsible for more than $30 million in new control systems installations. He has a deep understanding of how to integrate multiple separate systems into one functioning unit. He also previously owned an IT and AV business, and his knowledge of business IT requirements


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allows him to create unique system designs to meet clients’ goals. “Given our backgrounds, coming into the AV business, we had a fresh perspective about how things should be done,” Williams says. Link Integration Group provides custom integrated system solutions specializing in commercial audio, video and conferencing technologies to businesses throughout the Louisiana Gulf Coast and neighboring states. Its team works to better understand a cli-

ent’s current business processes and practices, learn about goals and objectives for meeting spaces, evaluate and present the possibilities with the client and design a solution that meets those needs. The two things that set the business apart are its ability to solve any issue a client may have and to provide “service, service, service,” Rojas says, noting that the company never takes a cookie-cutter approach. “We listen to our customers about their expectations and

needs and come up with custom solutions.” Link Integration Group has worked with a wide range of governmental agencies, along with other groups including healthcare organizations, financial institutions, insurance companies and attorneys. The need for quality AV experiences has only grown stronger over the past year, as these institutions are relying on videoconferencing platforms to conduct their business. “During the current pandemic, people are utilizing video communications now more than ever,” Rojas says. For employees working from home or from a private office, attending those meetings on a laptop can work just fine, Williams says. But challenges arise in larger venues, with multiple attendees, such as in a large board room or conference space, primarily in terms of audio quality. “With a 60x100-foot room, a lot of things need to be taken into consideration to have a quality experience,” he says. “That’s where we come in. That’s what we do.” Some of Link Integration Group’s larger clients are governmental organizations who need to communicate in times of crisis, such as during the current pandemic, hurricane season and throughout other weather emergencies. “They need their info displayed for a

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team of 100 people at any given time and under any type of circumstances,” Rojas says. The demand for those type of services increased enormously within just a couple of weeks at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Williams says. Luckily, those clients who were early adoptees of the technology provided the team at Link Integration Group with a strong foundation for what was needed and what works. “We were ready,” Rojas says, noting

that his company’s experience has allowed the team at Link Integration Group to educate potential business clients about cloud based conferencing options required to communicate successfully during these challenging times. And he doesn’t see the need going away anytime soon. “I think we’re here to stay,” Rojas says. “We were poised to respond effectively to the unexpected and unplanned circumstances and quickly turned those challenges into solutions.”

Link Integration Group will continue its efforts to be the thought leaders in the industry for Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. With a commitment to educate personnel in core systems, the team has the foundation to provide quality audio video solutions for any environment. From small huddle space to large venues, Link Integration Group strives to take sophisticated components and technologies to create easyto-use AV systems for its customers.

PANDEMIC PIVOT 2020 was a challenging year for everyone and there were certainly no exceptions for small business owners. There are always up and downs in business, but this level of uncertainty made it incredibly difficult to navigate. Because of great partnerships with our clients, and the sheer determination and dedication from our valued employees and families, we once again see a light at the end of the tunnel. Although this pandemic was difficult to say the least, it did provide a silver lining for our business. The forced rapid adoption of distance learning and video conferencing technologies provided some new opportunities in our industry, and we used our unique perspective to quickly implement these technologies. We believe that we will see this trend continuing through 2021 and Link Integration Group is committed to helping our customers progress with these new systems. Our success would not be possible without the support of our families, employees and our clients—we would like to take this opportunity to thank them all.


AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Professional audio video consulting, design, installation, and services TOP EXECUTIVES: Brad Rojas, Chief Technology Officer; Kyle Williams, Chief Operations Officer YEAR FOUNDED: 2013 • PHONE: 225.756.2205 • WEBSITE: ligllc.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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The Life House welcomes community support and potential partnerships with businesses open to hiring its residents.

[ THE LIFE HOUSE supported by SMITH TANK & STEEL ] A structured environment rooted in Christian principles THE LIFE HOUSE, a nonprofit transitional housing facility located at the foot of the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish, offers a new way of life for men seeking to overcome addiction, homelessness or recent incarceration. The property previously served as the St. James Youth Detention Center, and was purchased from the parish in 2018 by a local businessman (and family) Sam Smith, Karen Smith Guidry, and Billy Smith of Smith Tank & Steel. Sam Smith now serves as a board member for The Life House. Driving up to the 37-acre facility, The Life House welcomes visitors with a sign that says, “Living in Freedom Every Day.” Participants who arrive typically have no substantial connections to the outside world. “They really have nothing on the other side. Their families and society have exhausted themselves due to their decisions in life, but that doesn’t mean you give up on them forever,” says Pastor Mark Stermer, president of The Church United and senior pastor of The Church International. The Life House offers them a structured environment rooted in Christian principles. The home is operated by The Church United, a faith-based 501c3 nonprofit organization. The Church United also operates The Ruth


Residents are provided with work readiness training and help finding employment.

House, a similar program for women. At The Life House and The Ruth House, men and women receive job training, character building and life skills, supportive services and mentorship. Approximately 80 men live on the grounds currently, and the total will increase to 140 men and 25 women and children once renovations to both facilities are complete. The property includes five resident homes, a welding fabrication shop,

welding training lab, an activity building/worship center, an administrative building and a cafeteria. On a typical day, the men are fed breakfast and then go to work with a bag lunch. In the evenings, a hot meal is ready for them when they return home from their jobs. Each resident building houses 28 men, with one bunk bed in each bedroom and a private bathroom. In the middle of each building is a common area with comfortable furnishings, a

television, microwave, mini-fridge and coffee station. During the first few weeks of a man’s stay, the staff works to obtain proper credentials so he can obtain work. Many of the men enter the program without any form of identification, birth certificate, or social security card. Some are still battling addiction, says Stermer. Those initial weeks allow the men to receive rest, professional counseling, basic life skills, job training, and job safety training, along with proper clothing and safety supplies. Through a partnership with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, RPCC, and Opportunity Now, the residents are provided with work readiness training and help in acquiring gainful employment. They are paid minimum wage at the start but quickly move to higher wages after the first phase of a four-phase experience. They are also allowed to work directly for the companies as our partners decide what works best for them. It’s common after one year that for residents to have saved thousands and they are allowed to live on the property in a graduate program that further gives them an advantage in life. The men are charged $30 a day for living expenses, while the actual cost is approximately $50 a day. “If it

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The Life House offers encouragement, compassion and support on top of professional counseling, basic life skills and job training.


You can’t do this without tremendous help and partnerships. We are truly integrated with working with every aspect of society. MARK STERMER

takes a while for a guy to get a job, that debt is forgiven. We’re not in it to make money. We’re in it to help get these guys get healthy and offer an opportunity for a new way of life,” Smith says. The Life House has a strong relationship with local businesses for employment opportunities, and their construction division is cleared to work in several plants. With renovations finishing soon on additional resident buildings, the facility is looking for additional businesses open to hiring its residents. Prior to COVID-19, the men did a lot of steel fabrication and commercial demolition through United

Works Construction. They are looking for opportunities to submit bids for more work. Additionally, with 37 total acres on The Life House site, there is the possibility for a partnership with a business that needs a warehousing and manufacturing, scaffolding, and or paint yard, Smith says. “We have an army out here,” Smith says. “We can guarantee the guys will be ready and on time.” The Life House and Ruth House also have many community partners, including local sheriffs’ departments, parish governments, prisons, probation and parole and drug courts in order to get men to the facility who are a good

fit for the program. Grant funding from UCB and the Federal Home Loan Bank helped cover renovation costs, and a grant from the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation helped pay for some of the furnishings. “You can’t do this without tremendous help and partnerships,” Stermer says. “We are truly integrated with working with every aspect of society.” For more information about the program or a tour of The Life House or Ruth House, contact Jeffery Robert at 225.268.7998 or email him at Jeffery@united.fm.

As someone who has been involved with helping those in dire need for over 22 years, it has been both a challenge and an honor to work with the thousands of men and women over the years. When we look at the lives being destroyed or wasted across our communities, it should prompt the compassion God has put in us to do something about it. We must remember that these are human beings with moms and dads and many with children who are in an overwhelming life crisis. Love cannot and should not turn its head away from what we all see! A person never wastes their time and resources when investing in a human being. As a businessperson, God has placed you as an opportunity giver. Like the business owners in this article, if you are looking for somewhere to give and support, we could use your help.


President, The Church United

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Nonprofit faith-based organization that partners with families, businesses and government to influence change and teach people how to “Live a new way of life” TOP EXECUTIVES: Jeffery Robert, Executive Assistant, Business Development; Matt Luneau, Program Director; Richard Reed, Director of Vocational Services; Bobby Jackson, VP Construction YEAR FOUNDED: 2002 • PHONE: 225.644.3762 • WEBSITE: TheChurchUnited.fm AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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Breaking news. Events that matter. Unlimited archives. No one keeps you better connected to business than Business Report. We put it all at your fingertips — just a click away! Read by thousands of business and political leaders in Louisiana, Business Report gives you an exclusive inside track to all the business that’s worth talking about.

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[ PINNACLE EXTERIOR CONSTRUCTION ] We build the spaces. You build the memories. IMAGINE SPENDING YOUR days lounging by a custom, beach-entry pool, surrounded by beautiful landscaping, and your evenings cooking in an outdoor kitchen or having a drink by a crackling fireplace under the stars. This is the type of experience Pinnacle Exterior Construction can create for its clients, no matter the size of their outdoor space. “We do everything in-house,” says Shane Dantin, who became the sole owner of Pinnacle in the fourth quarter of last year. “You don’t have to hire different companies to build your pool, fence, outdoor kitchen, bulkhead and brick fireplace. We can do it all.” Pinnacle closed out 2020 with a strategic planning session to develop the company’s core goals and values. “We really focused on the value that we can bring to our customers,” says Dantin. With that came the slogan: “We build the spaces. You build the memories.” Doing it all themselves can often mean lower prices and a more seamless construction experience for the customer. Whether it’s a cocktail pool, new deck, custom spa, pizza oven or


even a simple privacy fence, Pinnacle can make the most out of any outdoor space. “Many people think their space is too small or that they can’t do certain things,” says Dantin. “We can design and build everything you could ever want in your back yard, regardless of the size.”

Pool maintenance is a new area of service for the company, adding to their one-stop shop offerings. Pinnacle’s residential offerings don’t stop at pools and outdoor living spaces, however. They can also construct bulkheads, retaining walls, fences and brick structures like columns and fireplaces. Their commercial portfolio consists of all of

the aforementioned services, in addition to neighborhood entrances, multi-family outdoor amenities, restaurant pavilions, patios and much more. “We are branding ourselves as the go-to company for residential and commercial outdoor spaces,” says Dantin. “Being able to do it all is rare in this industry.” Dantin is self-taught and has worked in construction since a young age. He always wore many hats on the construction site and still puts on a tool belt to get hands-on from time to time. Ellen Dantin joined the team in an official capacity at the end of 2020 and currently serves as Pinnacle’s director of operations. “The team we have right now is passionate and driven, and we are excited about the opportunities that have been presented to us recently,” says Ellen. “2021 is going to be an amazing year. We’ve got some new partnerships in the works, and we will be expanding our service lines soon to provide even more value to our customers.” One of the projects Pinnacle is currently working on is a unique courtyard designed by Reich Landscape

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FROM THE OWNER As a locally owned residential and commercial construction company, Pinnacle provides its exterior expertise to customers across southeast Louisiana. The individuals and companies we work with know us well, and they can tell you just how dedicated we are to making their creative visions a reality. Our attention to detail comes standard and we are proud of our reputation for the highest level of quality workmanship. One key to success is our passion for building long-lasting relationships with our clients. Every job is a partnership from start to finish, and our goal is always to meet our clients’ needs while exceeding their expectations. Our craftsmen are the best in the business, and we offer pool and outdoor living packages for all budgets. We specialize in all things exterior and take pride in the fact that our work is crafted with both beauty and precision. We are looking forward to 2021 and the opportunities it brings!

Architecture for a home in Rouzan traditional neighborhood development. Fitting what looks like the courtyard of a five-star hotel into a 12 x 80-foot space was no easy task, but Reich managed to create a design that gives the client a seating area with a firepit, pool, outdoor kitchen, bar and plenty of green space, all tucked away on one side of the house. “The client, who is also a designer, had a list of elements that would nor-

mally fit in a much larger space,” says Dantin. “The design allowed us to elegantly fit all of the desired features into the space, while creating a contemporary take on a boutique New Orleans courtyard. It’s definitely an innovative design and, so far, it’s been a really fun build.” “This project is a perfect example of what we can do,” adds Ellen. “We are building a lush, tranquil space for this family, and now it’s up to them to build the memories.”


AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Custom builder of residential and commercial outdoor spaces TOP EXECUTIVE: Shane Dantin, Owner YEAR FOUNDED: 2014 • PHONE: 225.757.6138 • WEBSITE: pecbuilt.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ SAGE MONEY RADIO ] Talk radio host offers alternative financial strategies A FEW YEARS ago, Hollis Day walked through the doors of a local radio station to pitch an idea for a show about personal finance. It was a little after 6 a.m. and he didn’t have an appointment. “They thought I was crazy,” he says. But Day was determined. Hours before arriving at WJBO’s offices in Baton Rouge, Day had been at a meeting in Dallas. There, he met Mark McKay, a fellow professional in the financial world who mentioned that he was attracting new clients by hosting a radio show. Day, who has worked in alternative financial strategies since 2007, was intrigued. “I said, ‘You think I could do that?’” Day recalls. “And he said, ‘I don’t see why not.’ So I started just hammering him with questions.” Later that night, Day went to his hotel room, gathered his things and immediately set out for Baton Rouge. After a pit stop and brief nap near the baseball fields at his alma mater Louisiana Tech University, Day arrived at WJBO. The station staff heard him out, but didn’t have an opening for a new show right away. Soon, though, Day got a call with an offer for an early morning slot on Sundays, and the first episode of


Sage Money Radio hit the airwaves in July 2012. Day’s show now airs on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m., which often falls between football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and track practices and games for his children, Patrick, Ruston, Katey and Mollee. Day coaches callers on what he calls alternative strategies for improving their finances and gaining a better understanding of the tax code.

“I’m surprised how many talk radio listeners take time to call in,” he says. “Most people who call me do their own investing. I’m not a traditional stock market guy; I do alternative strategies. It’s a complement to what someone is already doing with their traditional investing—stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs— things people know about.” One non-traditional strategy he often speaks of is in smaller oil and gas companies that raise money through private

equity rather than being publicly traded. “There are favorable tax benefits aligned with them, according to certain sections of the U.S. tax code,” Day says. “The oil and gas industry and its employees are the backbone of this country, state, parish and the city of Baton Rouge.” Another of his key messages is about taxes. The American tax code is 86,000 pages long, Day says, and most people don’t know much about taxes. When he realized there wasn’t a good book available to help people understand the topic better, Day decided to write his own: Optimizing the Tax Code was published earlier this year and is available on Amazon.com. Day emphasizes that he believes taxes are important, as they fund roads, the military and other critical services. But he also believes Americans are over-taxed and should have the option to manage more of their own money. In his book and on his radio show, Day reads the tax code word for word, to better help his audience identify ways to earn and keep more money for retirement, covering such topics as investing, 401Ks, trusts and Social Security, and how these things are all affected by tax laws.

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FROM THE FINANCIAL COACH, HOST AND AUTHOR Things have changed. That can be said for many subjects, but especially when it comes to your money making money for you. I am a loyal student of something called Prosperity Economics, which is all about optimizing opportunities and staying strategy oriented.


My top strategy is The Flex Method which is simply applying the age-old banking principle of leverage (obtaining money at a low rate and making a higher rate with it elsewhere) to one of the safest assets on the planet. By doing this, the individual will potentially earn tax-free returns in the low double digits without market risk. There is nothing in the investment space that I am aware of that is its equal for safety, high growth, tax advantages, and liquidity. It’s really just simple math.

It’s very important to be liquid, which means you have quick access to your money, and to have control over your money.

Part of his passion for finance comes from growing up in a blue-collar family in Port Allen. His father owned a tire shop and his mother was a nurse. When hard times hit in the 1990s, his father had to close his business and went to work for a tire distributor in St. Gabriel. “In 2001, I was managing a nursing

Our stored labor dollars (money that we have saved from working) can do many jobs. Cash flow is key. Control is vital. Where your money sits is more important than the rate of return. I personally focus on macro-based economics and it works well for me. Do not let money mystify you. Education is critical and just because you have never heard of an investment opportunity before does not mean it’s not good.

home and the market crashed. I was furious, and my dad was too because we were watching our 401K value decrease and we felt helpless,” Day says. “We couldn’t access our money, and we had no control over that.” That taught Day a lesson that he still passes on today: “it’s very important to be liquid, which means you have quick

access to your money, and to have control over your money.” Day started learning more about finances after the 2001 crash. But the journey into the financial world became personal when both of his parents died within 17 months of each other. Neither received any Social Security or Medicare benefits before their deaths.

“Where did all that money go that they were forced to pay into both systems for years?” Day says. “That question helped fuel my passion to learn more. Now I’m able to help people aviod the double taxation of Social Security to make sure others don’t have the same experience. I can help people make wise choices for their futures.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Financial strategies coaching supported by weekly radio talk show and new book on tax code TOP EXECUTIVE: Hollis Day, Financial Coach, Host and Author YEAR FOUNDED: 2012 • PHONE: 225.202.7243 • WEBSITE: sagemoneyradio.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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Reference Coordinator Andrew Tadman logging in at the new River Center Branch Library in downtown Baton Rouge.

[ EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY ] Creative and collaborative offerings continue to evolve at EBRP Library THROUGH A WIDE range of vibrant programming, digital content, and creative and collaborative physical spaces, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library provides local businesses, entrepreneurs and residents with the resources they need to grow and adapt. In doing so, the library contributes to business, workforce and community development. This role has been highlighted during the past year, as the way people and businesses work has changed significantly. “Everyone staying at home and people looking at the library’s digital resources for online training and skills and business development presented a major opportunity for our content creation and program delivery,” says Mary Stein, assistant library director. “Most of the products in our Career Center and Small Business Services are electronic, and with an emphasis on upskilling and becoming more marketable, our staff took their workshops and made professionally produced YouTube segments delivered by local people who know our local market.” Andrew Tadman, reference services coordinator, says while online resources were already popular, the number of people working from home made them all the more essential to a wide range of local businesses, organizations and residents. “We’ve introduced the digital library to a lot of people who might not have accessed it,” he says. Through the library, small business owners and entrepreneurs can access resources, such as marketing and

forecasting information, to help start or grow their business. For example, the library offers free access to proprietary data and premium subscription content that can be prohibitively costly for some businesses and individuals. “One thing we can do is generate sales leads,” says Tadman. “We’ve got resources to provide names and addresses of people who are interested in whatever your consumer area might be. Normally, those kind of leads cost quite a bit, but we can supply a list for free.”

Online courses available through the library provide training and workforce development for individuals looking to enhance their skills and marketability, and employers wanting to train staff, such as on communication, leadership, diversity and inclusion, without sending them to expensive workshops. “We offer a curated syllabus of options,” Stein says. For example, “as a business owner, you could design your own training package for management or frontline staff using the diversity and

inclusion resources we offer.” While the library is constantly growing its digital services and content, the physical spaces also continue to evolve. In June 2020, the new River Center Branch Library opened downtown. Features such as a media/recording studio for music production and podcasting, a digital lab, and a maker space, which includes a 3D printer, laser cutter and more, cultivate creativity and innovation. All 14 library branches have collaborative meeting rooms outfitted with large screens and whiteboards. Additionally, several branches have digital labs and maker rooms. Available to the community, these spaces provide a place for small businesses and organizations to hold meetings or conduct training, and for individuals who need a professional space for a Zoom call. Library reference staff also can provide personal instruction. “We spend time having a conversation to find out about your business, what you are looking for and how you might use it to grow your business,” Tadman says. “Then we can cater our resources to exactly what you need.” Stein says collaborations between the library and local businesses foster innovation and economic development. “The business community understands that a strong library helps a community stay strong,” she says. “The library has always been a space that encourages creativity. We want you to borrow the books, but keep the ideas.”.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Public library, which provides free daily access to business resources, online databases, Wi-Fi and more TOP EXECUTIVES: Spencer Watts, Director; Kristen Edson, Deputy Library Director; Patricia Husband, Assistant Director, Branch Services; Mary Stein, Assistant Director, Administrative Services • YEAR FOUNDED: 1939 • PHONE: 225.231.3750 • WEBSITE: ebrpl.com 42

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Borrow the Books, Keep the Ideas Your digital library is always open. Enjoy thousands of FREE e-books, e-magazines, e-audiobooks and more. Acquire a new skill or broaden your knowledge with a variety of learning tools and platforms.




Visit ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary Available 24-7 online ebrpl.com • 225.231.3750

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[ FIRST SOUTH FARM CREDIT ] Expertise in financing rural land FIRST SOUTH FARM CREDIT has supported farmers and agriculture since the early 1900s, but the financial institution also has a track record that goes back decades of helping people who want to purchase hunting property and other rural land for recreational purposes. When buying a piece of rural property, it’s important to work with a lender who understands the specific risks, rewards and opportunities of this kind of investment, says Ben Sanders, vice president of business development for First South Farm Credit. “Our expertise is financing rural land,” Sanders says. “Hunting properties, large timber tracts, smaller land lots to build on. We offer long-term financing with competitive rates on all of these.” Part of the national Farm Credit System, First South Farm Credit has provided farmers and rural landowners customized lending vehicles since 1916. The bank has 50 locations across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It provides short, medium and long-term loans for a variety of agricultural needs, including capital for crops, livestock and

timber. Loan packages can be tailored to fit almost any type of land improvement project or agricultural investment. The bank also helps investors who aren’t part of the agricultural sector find opportunities there. Sanders says the bank has helped many outdoor enthusiasts who want to own their own piece of land in the country structure loans that take advantage of the land’s assets, namely timber. “People see our name, First South Farm Credit, and assume all we do is finance farms. It’s true, we have a long

history of supporting farmers and agriculture, but it’s not all we do,” Sanders says. “Many of our customers are business owners, plant workers, and professionals who live in the city and want to purchase land for recreation.” Sanders adds that clients who work with First South will usually seek out the institution for future purchases. “Typically, our clients are not transactional. They stay with us, and we build relationships with them.” Local entrepreneur John Stagg has had a business relationship with First

South Farm Credit for the past 20 years, first working with the financial institution in the early 2000s. “They were my first choice when I knew I was going to buy recreational property,” says Stagg, who recently worked with First South to buy recreational land in Oklahoma. “It was a simple process. They handled everything and kept me informed the whole time.” While a traditional bank is able to handle the transaction, Stagg says, First South Farm Credit “has a better knowledge of that type of property. That’s what they deal with every day.” One important note about First South, Sanders says, is that the financial institution is a cooperative, meaning it is owned by its borrowers. “What sets First South apart from other businesses is that instead of returning our profits to investors, we return profits to our customers. It’s what we call our patronage refund program,” he says. “And it’s one of many reasons people like doing business with us. Who doesn’t like getting a check from their bank?”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: A financial institution that specializes in financing land, country homes and agriculture TOP EXECUTIVES: John Barnard, CEO; Tim Losavio, Louisiana Division President YEAR FOUNDED: 1916 • PHONE: 225.658.0596 • WEBSITE: firstsouthfarmcredit.com 44

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[ BREC’S BATON ROUGE ZOO ] Zoo transformation creates joy, excitement, new memories ASK ANYONE WHO grew up in or around Baton Rouge about some of their favorite childhood memories, and they might tell you a story about a class field trip or a family outing to BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo. They also might tell you the zoo today still looks a lot like what they remember from years ago. But that is about to change as the zoo embarks on a multiphase effort to reinvent itself and take on a brand-new look and feel. “A lot of folks come in because of the fond memories they have of growing up and coming to the zoo, and that entire generation is excited for us to transform and become the 21st century, world-class zoo that the Baton Rouge community deserves,” says Zoo Director Phil Frost. The first phase of upgrades started in December 2020 and is expected to take about 18 months. First up is relocating the zoo’s entrance, which is currently on Thomas Road, and building a new entry plaza in the heart of nearby Greenwood Park. Guests will eventually drive through

Deputy Director Jim Fleshman, left, and Zoo Director Phil Frost

Greenwood Park and be treated to an impressive entry sequence to reach the zoo. Once they enter, they’ll be greeted by a new orientation plaza with fountains—an automatic reminder that they’re in a different zoo than the one they’ve visited for the past 51 years. The zoo also is planning to upgrade its giraffe exhibit and construct a feeding

platform where visitors will be able to get up close and personal with the towering animals. Other Phase 1 upgrades include a newly created habitat with underwater Pygmy hippo viewing that will include colobus monkeys overhead. “It’s just the start, but we’re excited about kicking this off,” Frost says. “Our hope is that it reinvigorates everyone’s

joy and excitement and belief in what a zoo can do.” And just what is it that zoos do? Frost says zoos play an important role in educating the whole community—especially the young people who are reached through zoo programs in schools—about animals and their plight in the wild as well as potential threats to them and their habitats. The zoo also helps people learn about measures that can be taken to protect these animals. Many of the animals at the Baton Rouge Zoo are endangered species, and seeing them in real life helps people better understand their role in the ecosystem. Plus, coming to the zoo is an enjoyable way to spend quality time with family. Looking at animals is just part of the fun. “The typical zoo visitor enjoys more time dining, shopping, talking and simply immersing themselves in the overall experience than observing animals,” Frost says. “Providing an incredible space for our community to create those exceptional family memories is a major component of our mission.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Zoo featuring wide variety of animal exhibits as well as special events and educational programs TOP EXECUTIVES: Phil Frost, Zoo Director; Jim Fleshman, Deputy Director YEAR FOUNDED: 1970 • PHONE: 225.775.3877 • WEBSITE: brzoo.org AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ DEMCO ] DEMCO maps a bold future with commitment to sustainability, reliability DEMCO IS ALREADY one of the fastest-growing cooperatives in the nation, powering some 112,000 meters to more than a half-million people. The $700 million not-for-profit electric cooperative supports an integrated electric distribution system across 2,400 square miles of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa and West Feliciana parishes. Over the years, DEMCO has earned a reputation for its unrelenting commitment to enhancing the quality of life of its members through safe, reliable, and competitively priced energy. The cooperative also strives to be an industry leader, employer of choice, and respectable business partner. When CEO Randy Pierce arrived at DEMCO in 2018, the DEMCO board and management team began a process of updating its five-year vision to, in part, more effectively assimilate the latest in technology, work processes, and opportunities. “We asked some hard questions because we wanted to precisely define where we wanted to be, then set goals to get us there,” Pierce says.

One of DEMCO’s primary initiatives is already bringing immediate benefits to its members. Addressing technology planning and process excellence, the ongoing installation of some 70,000 “smart meters” over the next two years, along with associated infrastructure enhancements, will incorporate “best in class” technology and serve as a vital communication point between mem-

bers and the cooperative. “Establishing a technological interface between DEMCO’s system and each meter facilitates immediate communication to our service team with exact locations and issues, such as outages and voltage spikes,” says Pierce. “The smart meter upgrade will also augment services available to members, giving them access to a wealth of

information about their account, such as how they’re using electricity, when they’re using it, etc.” Another vital component of DEMCO’s strategic plan is a flexible power supply. It’s truly an exciting time, as renewable forms of energy, solar, wind, and other alternative sources of power are becoming more viable, realistic, and cost-effective. “We’re in the process of negotiating our next power supply contract, which will go into effect in spring 2024,” Pierce says. “It could potentially include solar and other types of solutions as part of that package.” “About 65 percent of a member’s bill goes to wholesale power costs, while the other 35 percent pays for infrastructure and all other expenses to deliver that power,” says Pierce. “We are working to put together a diverse package with alternative power sources, with lower costs that we can pass on to our members.” It’s this kind of ongoing attention to new and innovative service solutions as well as improvements to cost, safety and efficiency that make this local company so successful.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Electric Distribution Cooperative, which powers 112,000+ meters in seven parishes of southeast Louisiana TOP EXECUTIVES: Randy Pierce, CEO and General Manager; Mike Johnson, Vice President, Finance; David Latona, Vice President, Marketing and Member Services; Russchelle Overhultz, Vice President, Human Resources YEAR FOUNDED: 1938 • PHONE: 1.844.693.3626 • WEBSITE: DEMCO.org 46

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[ GULF COAST OFFICE PRODUCTS ] Company positions businesses to remain competitive, successful THE PAST YEAR has highlighted the importance of having reliable, efficient office equipment that allows businesses and their employees to work productively and collaboratively, whether in the office or working from home. Gulf Coast Office Products understands this. The company sells and services multifunction office machines that copy, scan, print, fax and move documents. As such, Gulf Coast has helped Baton Rouge businesses stay productive during changes to their workplace environment throughout the past year. Gulf Coast Office Products is the largest copier distributor in Louisiana. Yet, it’s not just a copier anymore, says Trey Beall, President. “When it goes down, your entire business goes down.” Indeed, multifunctional copiers provide all-inone functionality, including storing and moving digital data, vital to businesses across all industries. “Law, healthcare, individual contractors, engineers, real estate—every industry uses a copier,” Beall says. Customers’ needs can vary significantly, from having a lone multifunction printer to having hundreds of different machines on site. Gulf Coast works across all settings. Although the workplace environment was evolving before the pandemic, the needs of businesses and their workers changed quickly over the past year. “There’s still a lot of work done in

offices,” Beall says. “But now we have the challenge of putting everyone in a room without actually putting everyone in a room.” Interactive white boards, a product Gulf Coast has been distributing for more than three years, became particularly in demand. “When a company couldn’t put everyone in a room who needed to collaborate, they used to have to reschedule,” Beall says. “Now they can still move forward and have even more communication. It’s going to change business forever.”

As businesses adapt to these changes, Gulf Coast has proactively helped them remain nimble so they can react to challenges while continuing to run at peak efficiency. “We’re working with our customers to review where they are now and where they need to be, and how they can be positioned to be viable and thriving,” Beall says. “For example, we revisited whether the equipment we placed is still fit for a customer’s needs over the next 12 months.” Fundamental to addressing area businesses’ needs is Gulf Coast’s team

of 105 employees, including 50 in Baton Rouge who sell, deliver, install and service a range of equipment in diverse office settings. “We have a lot of tenured staff. Threefourths of our Baton Rouge employees have been with the company for at least five years,” Beall says. “That longevity plays a role in our ability to take care of our customers. It holds weight with people.” Given that many Gulf Coast employees, such as those in sales and servicing, work in customers’ offices, Beall says the company’s priority has been ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers. Even with increased demand, Gulf Coast’s drivers did not miss a scheduled delivery. The company maintained its full workforce during the pandemic as well. “We didn’t have to close our office and no one missed a paycheck,” Beall says. Indeed, Gulf Coast is expanding several offices. Beall says Gulf Coast Office Products is committed to helping Baton Rouge businesses move forward. “We’re here for Baton Rouge and Louisiana,” he says. “We’re flexible, we provide consistent service and award-winning equipment, and we’re available. We’re playing our part in giving people the technology and equipment they need.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Office supplies and equipment TOP EXECUTIVES: Trey Beall, President YEAR FOUNDED: 1977 • PHONE: 225.756.2644 • WEBSITE: gcopnet.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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Your city, your app.

The new 225 Magazine App is now available All things Baton Rouge at your finger tips. The new 225 magazine app is here and ready to bring you all the latest news, guides and offers for Baton Rouge restaurants and bars, entertainment, people, culture and style, all delivered to your phone or tablet so you never miss a headline. Download for free at 225batonrouge.com/app or scan here

D I S COV E R . E X P E R I E N C E . C E L E B R AT E .

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[ LOUISIANA PUBLIC FACILITIES AUTHORITY ] Helping to support health care and education in Louisiana WITH A CONTINUED commitment to making Louisiana a better place to work, live and raise a family, the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority (LPFA) persevered through a difficult 2020. Through longstanding local partnerships in business and industry, LPFA is proud to be a part of Louisiana’s growth and economic resilience. Health care and education led the way for this statewide public trust as it experienced one of its best years in total bond issuance. In 2020, LPFA issued $910.5 million in bonds to partners that included Ochsner, Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, LSU Health Science Center and Tulane University. Created in 1974, the LPFA has issued more than $28 billion in bonds and has created more than 327,000 jobs for Louisiana. The organization has the ability to issue both taxable and tax-exempt bonds to finance everything from educational facilities to hospitals, student loans, industrial and economic development projects and essential programs for state and local governmental units. In 2020, a $100 million bond issued to LSU Health Science Center was used for housing medical students,

(From left) Guy Campbell III, Chairman, and James W. Parks II, President and CEO.

and LPFA continues to support local students and their parents through its education division Louisiana Education Loan Authority (Lela). “From the rising costs of higher education to the economic strain of adjusting to the uncertainty of the

future, students and parents need a responsible, lower-cost choice to fill education financing gaps,” says Tricia Dubroc, vice president of student loans and administration. LPFA announced LelaCHOICE supplemental student loan program

in the fall of 2020 to fill those gaps for Louisiana families. The new program features more competitive terms like no origination or up-front processing fees, fixed highly competitive interest rates, no capitalized interest and an interest rate reduction benefit, with auto payment. “Together, Lela and the LPFA are committed to furthering education, health care, economic development and job creation in the state,” says Jim Parks, President and CEO. “Lela offers assistance with FAFSA completion, college planning and financial aid, including grants, scholarships, student and parent loans, as well as loan refinancing. We are here to help Louisiana students and parents overcome the challenges of navigating higher education,” says Joni M. Leggio, Lela assistant vice president of marketing. “The pandemic created hardships over the past year, but the LPFA adapted to thrive in a challenging environment,” says LPFA Vice President Martin Walke. “We are proud to partner with our clients in health care and education, who are on the front lines in the pandemic, to meet our challenges and succeed in spite of them.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Conduit issuer of tax-exempt and taxable bonds TOP EXECUTIVES: Guy Campbell III, Chairman; James W. Parks II, President and CEO YEAR FOUNDED: 1974 • PHONE: 225.923.0020 or 800.228.4755 • WEBSITE: lpfa.com or lela.org AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ CAPITAL AREA FINANCE AUTHORITY ] Creating jobs, affordable housing, and a better quality of life THROUGH FINANCING AND supporting a diverse range of projects, the Capital Area Finance Authority (CAFA) plays a leadership role in economic and community development across the Baton Rouge region. Since expanding beyond its traditional focus on single-family housing, CAFA has aligned itself with a diverse range of partners who are committed to improving local communities. Currently, CAFA is working with Build Baton Rouge to revitalize a segment of Plank Road. CAFA recently became a 50 percent equity partner in a mixeduse development that will feature mixed-income apartments, office space and a YWCA child care center. “There hasn’t been any new development along Plank Road in about 50 years,” says Mark Drennen, CAFA’s president and CEO. “Build Baton Rouge works to redevelop disinvested communities. They have a master plan and a vision for the area, so we felt it was important to get involved.” In Spanish Town East, CAFA is partnering with Volunteers of America, which is developing a new apartment complex targeted at veterans who need affordable housing, as well as with Gulf Coast Housing Partnership on the Elysian III, a mixed-income development. Projects such as these will bring quality, affordable multifamily housing to areas that historically have not seen

significant investment. Other projects include financing the Art Council of Baton Rouge’s renovation of an old building into contemporary studio space and helping Point Coupee Parish finance efforts to attract a major solar project to the area. These projects highlight CAFA’s role as a catalyst for economic and community development, with CAFA often providing funding that otherwise would be challenging to obtain. This funding often stimulates further investment. Created by the state Legislature in 1974, CAFA has authority to issue bonds to finance eligible public-purpose projects in the nine-parish Baton Rouge region. Additionally, CAFA can

negotiate Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), a financing tool that reduces the amount of local property taxes paid by a development. A self-supporting public trust, CAFA has never received government funding. A nine-member, mayor-appointed board of trustees governs CAFA, which operates with a six-person staff. With CAFA’s long-term success in housing, expanding to broader economic and community development seemed natural. “Over the life of our agency, we’ve helped more than 20,000 people into a home who otherwise didn’t have the resources, so that’s an important part of what we do,” Drennen says. Yet, he adds,

“the board wanted deeper involvement in the community and felt that CAFA has the resources to contribute significantly to community development.” One way CAFA achieves this is through the robust grant program it initiated two years ago. A recent grant has supported Dialogue on Race Louisiana, a nonprofit organization that brings community members together to have a structured conversation around race. With increased demand for Dialogue on Race’s services, the grant will help fund additional staff. Grants also have supported the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition, which helps low-income high school students prepare for and apply to college; Metromorphisis, which trains citizens in inner-city neighborhoods to develop sustainable solutions for enduring community challenges; and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, which teaches high school students to write business plans, fill out grant applications and sell their ideas. Drennen says the grants initiative fits with CAFA’s focus on sustainable community development. “Our mission is to help develop the community by providing resources for programs and ideas,” Drennen says. “This creates local jobs, improves quality of life, and delivers housing that is more affordable for working people.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: A public trust focused on public purpose finance TOP EXECUTIVES: Mark Drennen, CEO/President; Vickie Theriot, Executive Vice President; Kristin Delahoussaye, Business Development Director; Bridgette Homer, Business Development Director YEAR FOUNDED: 1974 • PHONE: 225.771.8567 • WEBSITE: thecafa.org 50

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[ ACCUTEMP ] AccuTemp values a great team, service, and a passion for learning JUST A HANDFUL of years ago, AccuTemp was a small three-person company providing high quality HVAC work for select customers. That’s when the Baton Rouge-based HVAC and electrical service and installation company recognized the need for an experience-driven home service company across a broader market. It proved to be a consequential decision as they’ve quickly grown to more than 70 employees with hundreds of customers visited every week. For AccuTemp, laying the groundwork for “five-star” quality begins with their core values—pride, service, honesty, drive, loyalty and positivity. As such, they strive to build the best team and are one of the only home services companies in the area with a full-time trainer to help technicians Apprentices diagnosing equipment in AccuTemp’s training lab. with their interpersonal communication skills. ral internship, two of whom are now fullIn addition to supporting a local time employees. “We offer them real-life school, volunteering with service orgaexperience,” says Alex Darden, sales and nizations and giving an HVAC system to design manager. “We hold students to a a deserving family, AccuTemp recently high standard and mentor them through their internships.” partnered with East Baton Rouge Parish There’s a lot of practical knowledge Schools’ Career & Technical Education gained, as they learn metal craftsmanCenter to provide interested high school students some real-world experience. ship, spend time with the technicians Six students participated in the inauguand assist with installations. “These stu-

dents know that they can graduate with a skill that has the potential of earning them a higher-than-average income,” Darden adds. “We have partnered in providing a valuable pathway for students to earn an education, and also have those industry certifications that make them desirable in the workspace.” Given HVAC’s seasonal nature, the program fills a critical need for employ-

ees during the peak summer season and creates a pipeline for recruiting great full-time team members. Two of the former interns, in fact, are currently enrolled in the company’s inaugural apprenticeship program. “We’re essentially operating a trade school inside AccuTemp,” he says, “that is led by a full-time technical trainer with a purpose-built curriculum. Upon graduating, they’re equipped with the skills necessary to perform five-star service.” Of course, a company’s success is only as good as its ability to perform reliable work. For Greater Baton Rouge residents, AccuTemp guarantees home performance service for all residential or commercial needs—a guarantee that customers have trusted since 2006. They believe in providing total comfort for their clients. Plus, AccuTemp’s service team is on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week with emergency services. AccuTemp believes that through recruiting the right people and training them both technically and relationally, they can provide their customers with Service to the Highest Degree. Their internship and apprenticeship programs are valuable efforts in developing their staff to achieve that vision.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Residential and commercial cooling, heating, and electrical services TOP EXECUTIVES: Joshua Davis, President; Alex Tupper, VP of Operations; Kristin Barnes, VP of Finance; Bridget McIntire, VP of Administration YEAR FOUNDED: 2006 • PHONE: 225.245.9100 • WEBSITE: accutempBR.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ THOMAS BUILDING COMPANY ] Gasser carves out niche as a different kind of homebuilder DREW GASSER CAN envision a custom homebuilding project from beginning to end … all in his head. His attention to detail, precise execution and unparalleled project oversight enables Drew “Thomas” Gasser - Thomas Building Co. to consistently deliver elegant custom homes on budget and on time. Homeowners quickly realize that Drew refuses to compromise on quality just to make the numbers work. He listens to their needs and directly interacts with architect and designers to guide them with decisions and keep costs under control. He also prefers fixed-cost arrangements since he understands the process of building and knows how to deliver a reliable estimate. That means overages are limited to tweaks in customer preferences, which provides peace of mind. Drew is a lifetime native of Baton Rouge and appreciates the people and unique culture of south Louisiana. After graduating from Catholic High School, he pursued his passion for building at LSU and earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management. He’s also a devout community servant, having been heavily involved in the St. Jude Men’s

One of many beautiful kitchens designed by Thomas Builders Co.

Club for years. Whenever there’s a need, he’s always there to help with everything from a construction project to a fish fry. Unlike other speculative builders, Drew limits his volume of custom home projects at any given time to maintain the customer experience, satisfaction and quality standards. Relationships and dependability are key. Many of his craftsmen, contractors, and vendors have been with him for 20-plus years.

His onsite superintendent Brett LeBlanc plays a vital role in the efficiency of projects as he is onsite every day. Steve Moore, an industrial builder himself, says trust is another important factor. He taught Drew in construction management at LSU. “After talking to him about my own project, it was a no brainer,” Moore says. “I knew I had to use Drew. First of all, he has a lot of loyal subcontractors and vendors.

When you have him build your house, you’re getting the whole team. “The main thing that separates him is his honesty. I’ve known Drew a long time. I’ve referred him to quite a few people and in every case they’ve all retained their friendships with him.” Michael and Ashley Dupree, also recent customers, have learned to appreciate Gasser’s dependability. “We’ve known Drew for about five years, and he’s easy to work with,” says Ashley Dupree. “He listens to you, gives you ideas and helps solve problems. And if anything isn’t right, he fixes it. With Drew, you’re not only going to have a contractor, you’re going to have a friend.” Thomas Building Co.’s success can best be attributed to the core tenets of its motto: LISTEN BETTER, PLAN BETTER, BUILD BETTER. Recognizing those three simple things enables the company to deliver a truly custom home and ensure homeowner satisfaction 100 percent of the time. It has led to a pretty impressive track record. As a custom homebuilder for more than 20 years, Thomas Building has completed more than 100 custom homes and home renovations in the Baton Rouge area.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Custom homebuilding TOP EXECUTIVES: Drew Gasser, Owner YEAR FOUNDED: 1999 • PHONE: 225.642.9292 • WEBSITE: www.thomasbldgco.com 52

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[ TRANSFORMYX ] A company where ‘security is non-negotiable’ WHEN THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic struck in 2020, many workplaces had to make a sudden shift to remote operations—presenting them with technological hurdles they’d never faced before. This increase in demand for reliable, safe ways to conduct business virtually has resulted in a busy—and profitable—year for Transformyx, a company based in Baton Rouge that serves clients ranging from small businesses and medical clinics to city governments and school districts. Its services include cybersecurity solutions, data center and cloud services, setting up networks, and helping clients use collaboration technologies. Transformyx added more than 35 new clients in 2020, and it’s on track for continued growth as workplaces evolve with the new norms brought on by the pandemic. The company already has hired additional staff at its Baton Rouge and New Orleans offices. Leaders are now setting their sights on expansion across the Gulf Coast markets. Growth, however, is not the company’s only focus. With so many organizations shifting their operations online, Transformyx also is prioritizing keeping all of that data safe, which has meant investing continually in the Cybersecurity capabilities.

The company is following a new mantra: “Security is non-negotiable.” All Transformyx clients are asked to do their part to maintain a good security “posture.” In return, Transformyx has them covered with a full suite of cybersecurity services designed to protect, detect, respond to, and recover from potential security incidents. Its cybersecurity team also stands ready to help clients recover from data breaches and other problems. “We see most of our small to

mid-market client base rapidly adopting both cybersecurity services and cloud services in parallel,” says Ned Fasullo, manager of the Transformyx mid-market division. “While efficiency and cost-reduction are the primary motivators here, the pandemic was definitely the spark that got things moving. Now that businesses realize how simple it is to have a security-focused, cloudbased approach to work, they see a lot of cost reduction as a net result.” Transformyx’s security services are

among the most comprehensive in the Gulf South, Fasullo says. Clients’ data is stored at “hardened” industrial facilities—meaning they’re meant to withstand natural and manmade disasters— in Baton Rouge and Dallas. And the Transformyx Team has been working hard to enhance their expertise. Fasullo says the team’s certifications increased five-fold in 2020. The rapid shift to remote work taught important lessons about what can and cannot successfully be accomplished online, says Molly Evans, who manages the enterprise and public sector division. “I see a hybrid environment being more prevalent in the future,” she says. “We will continue to see the need for more advanced development, deployment and support of online collaboration tools and the need for high-level cybersecurity as we allow for complete flexibility in the new ways we work.” Another area of expansion for the company is a move into the “IoT,” or Internet of Things, space. This refers to physical objects that have sensors and software embedded in them to collect data and communicate with other devices. With services such as industrial equipment monitoring and vehicle tracking, Transformyx is aiming to build its portfolio of clients that have fleet vehicles and high-value equipment inventories.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Cybersecurity, datacenter, cloud, collaboration and enterprise networking services for mid-sized and enterprise businesses in the Gulf South region TOP EXECUTIVES: Jim DuBos, Chief Executive Officer; Charles Rougeau, Chief Technology Officer; Paul Buteaux, Chief Revenue Officer; and Craig Silvey, Chief Financial Officer YEAR FOUNDED: 1987 • PHONE: 225.761.0088 • WEBSITE: transformyx.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT L H A T R U S T F U N D S We are honored and humbled to know so many brave, hardworking healthcare professionals who are putting their lives on the line to care for others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re a member of LHA Trust Funds or just a part of the Louisiana medical community, your commitment to excellent care and patient safety is evident in everything you do — and we are so thankful. Keep fighting the good fight. We’ll be behind you every step of the way.

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[ OPENEYES ] Family tragedy motivated LeDuffs to focus on security and safety technology KELLY LEDUFF ESTABLISHED OpenEyes in 2011 to help people avoid scenarios like one that touched his family a year earlier—the murder of his uncle near the railroad tracks that LeDuff had managed for years. That motivation has guided his company, OpenEyes, through many changes in the past decade. It all began with offering personal safety and self defense training locally. Today OpenEyes has a national portfolio of clients seeking training, security consulting and the latest in emergency notification technologies. Recently, LeDuff has been pondering how OpenEyes can leverage its expertise to help businesses keep employees healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic. It’s now common to check temperatures as people enter office buildings. But there are privacy and accuracy concerns with the thermal reading systems many businesses have purchased, LeDuff says. And they are pricey, some costing as much as $20,000. LeDuff wanted to provide a more effective and affordable option—and he knew the technology to do so was out there. OpenEyes now provides a system that uses facial identification technology, cameras and medical sensors to

provide temperature readings. It looks like a tablet device and costs about $3,000. “It takes 75 points on a human face and within three seconds, it uses those points in an algorithm and calculates all external factors—weather, humidity, sunlight—to give you a medical-grade temperature,” LeDuff says. If someone’s temperature reads over 100.4 degrees, the system can send an alert and a snapshot of that person’s face to a designated contact. “These devices can be used for

much more, like employee-only entrances. The employees don’t have to use access cards anymore. Their face is what unlocks the door,” LeDuff says. “Once the pandemic passes, this device can be used for banned employees as well. This goes back to OpenEyes’ original mission of aiding businesses and faith-based and educational institutions about safety threats.” Meanwhile, OpenEyes is still working on another big push: getting BluePoint Alert Solutions “blue boxes” into as

many schools as possible. The boxes, which came about in recent years after a spate of school shootings around the country, are much like a fire alarm. Pulling the alarm alerts police of an emergency at the location and allows them to access camera feeds at the site through interactive maps. The BluePoint system also can send email and text alerts to employees if the alarm goes off, and set off patented strobe lights and integrate with PA systems. “If I’m walking into the building after lunch and something is happening, I don’t need to go in,” LeDuff says. These technologies go hand-in-hand with OpenEyes’ original focus on helping big companies, small businesses, churches and everyone in between improve their safety and security. LeDuff, who has a background in the private sector, combines his expertise with that of his father, former Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff LeDuff. “Technology is just that,” Kelly LeDuff says. “There’s still a piece that we have to do—A, to stop these things from happening, and B, if it happens and the technology is activated, there’s a responsibility that we owe to teach people what they can do to survive that situation.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Security consulting, and training and emergency notification technologies TOP EXECUTIVES: Kelly LeDuff and Jeff LeDuff YEAR FOUNDED: 2011 • PHONE: 225.313.9713 • WEBSITE: haveopeneyes.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ CAPITAL AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM ] Even during challenging times, CATS kept community connected THE PAST YEAR has brought a global pandemic and extreme weather events to Baton Rouge, but that hasn’t stopped the Capital Area Transit System from getting riders where they need to go. In fact, CATS employees such as Olive Spears and Carl George know they have riders who depend on them and CATS to get to work every day. “Our employees go above and beyond in challenging circumstances to keep our buses rolling,” says Bill Deville, the agency’s CEO. “The CATS operators, who are on the frontline every day, deserve our thanks for keeping the community connected. Without them, our customers would have difficulty getting to work, to school or taking care of essential needs. We know Baton Rouge businesses are depending on these workers to operate and serve their customers.” CATS never stopped service during the coronavirus pandemic, he says. This wasn’t important just for essential employees like Jones and Haley who count on the buses to get to their jobs. For many riders, continued bus service also has meant having a way to visit the doctor, pharmacy, and coronavirus testing and vaccination sites. The agency has made changes to ensure precautions can be taken

against the virus. For example, more frequent stops have been added along high-volume routes to allow for social distancing. These improvements are the latest in a decade-long initiative to revamp the bus system, Deville says. A major part of that effort has been keeping its fleet up to date. CATS has one of the most modern fleets in the nation, he says. Transit systems across the country operate buses that are, on average, about 7 years old. The average age of

a CATS bus is just 4.4 years. The useful life of a bus is 12 years. “Modernizing the fleet has resulted in more reliable service, improved on-time performances and reduced disruptive mechanical road failures,” Deville says. CATS has been shifting away from diesel buses to electric models, which not only help reduce carbon emissions but are quieter, too. The agency, which currently has six electric buses, has secured federal funds that will be used

to buy more of the smaller, more efficient vehicles in the future. Some of these electric buses will be dedicated to a Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, network that is expected to launch by 2024. In partnership with the city-parish government and Build Baton Rouge, CATS is working on the BRT route, which is designed to connect north and south Baton Rouge through downtown. Other improvement efforts include regular surveys of customers and stakeholders. And Cheri Soileau, the CATS planning director and a transit veteran, is working with Deville on a 10-year plan for expanding to regional service while maintaining a commitment to local needs. CATS will be turning to Baton Rouge and Baker voters in October 2021 for the renewal of the property mileage that funds the agency. “Without dedicated revenue, CATS would be unable to provide transit services, which would have a devastating effect on the Baton Rouge economy, on traffic congestion and on the thousands of CATS customers who would be unable to get to work, school, health care services, grocery stores or other essential trips,” Deville says.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Public transit agency serving Baton Rouge and Baker TOP EXECUTIVES: Bill Deville, CEO; Dwana Williams, COO; Pearlina Thomas, CAO YEAR FOUNDED: 1977 • PHONE: 225.389.8920 • WEBSITE: brcats.com 56

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[ FIREQUEST ] Ensuring the safety, security and success of local businesses AS A PROVIDER of life safety alarms and communication systems, Firequest is familiar with the demands associated with being an essential business. But the term “essential” has taken on a whole new meaning in the past year, and with it has come new challenges. Firequest designs, installs and services fire and security systems, voice data communication systems and similar products. The most important portion of Firequest’s business is health care facilities on the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Other clients are in the education and hospitality fields, which have spent the past year grappling with changes to how they conduct business. Even as they watched other businesses shutter and family and friends cope with the challenges of the pandemic, Firequest employees have remained committed to keeping life safety systems running smoothly. Technical and installation teams worked around the clock responding to emergency service calls. They moved up deadlines to help clients meet quickly evolving needs. “Our employees and their families have endured floods, freezes and a

season of back-to-back hurricanes, but none of those situations compared to working through the uncertainty of the pandemic,” says co-founder Mike Gullett. “I would never imply that we were as heroic as all of those health care workers, but our field staff was required to enter facilities that were COVID positive to ensure their life safety systems were functional, properly operating and protecting everyone.”

Not a single call for service has gone unanswered despite the uptick in demand during the pandemic, Gullett says, and every construction project’s deadline was met—and in some cases, projects were finished early. For example, Our Lady of the Lake fast-tracked a project to be ready six months ahead of schedule, and “our installation team responded,” Gullett says. “Baton Rouge needed those hos-

pital beds.” Helping ensure the security and success of local businesses has been at the heart of Firequest from the start. Gullett, along with co-founder O’Neil Falgoust, had years of experience in the field when they decided to venture out on their own and launch Firequest in 2001. “We began receiving more and more referrals, taking down and dispatching service calls sitting around the coffee table each morning,” Falgoust recalls. “Fast forward to now … here we are 20 years later with 22 employees, a full construction engineering side, installation, service and maintenance sectors.” He says he’s proud not only of how much the company has grown, but also “what we’ve helped the people that work for us do.” Firequest employees have the unique opportunity to be part of a growing small business that allows them to provide for their families and keep people in their community safe. “We have an excellent team here and each of us looks out for the other,” Falgoust says. “We all have the same mentality of ensuring Firequest is here for them and for their customers for many years to come.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Commercial low-voltage systems contractors specializing in design, installation and maintenance of alarm, security and communication systems and specialty cabling TOP EXECUTIVES: Mike Gullett and O’Neil Falgoust, Co-Founders YEAR FOUNDED: 2001 • PHONE: 225.275.2575 • WEBSITE: firequest.net AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ AL JONES ARCHITECTS ] A legacy of beautiful homes with a sense of timelessness and history IN HIS EARLY 20s, Al Jones started out working with legendary architect A. Hays Town. That job became a lifelong mentorship and friendship, with Jones adhering to Town’s standard of design, craftsmanship, materials and livability throughout Jones’ almost 50 years in practice. “We’ve been in business over many years, and we see our clients as partners, working together to make the design process as seamless as possible,” Jones says. “We listen to our clients and try to guide them through the whole process so it’s something they feel a part of. Our clients become our friends in the end.” Upon initial contact with a client, the firm focuses on the family’s needs along with how the family functions, preferred style and property. Clients have the opportunity to view a preliminary presentation with a colored rendering, scale floorplan and site plan. The house is then literally built on the computer, and the plans and specifications are made available to the contractor.

Jones’ sons, John and Ben, joined the business in the late 1990s. His sonin-law, Tim Landry, came on board a few years later. “I’m very fortunate that both my sons and son-in-law are in business with me,” Jones says. “It’s been a great partnership and a great relationship.”

John says his father probably would have preferred both his sons explore other options before coming to work with him, but “I personally didn’t want to waste time working for someone else when I thought I’d get the best opportunity to learn with him. I thought he was the best architect in town.”

Ben says he’s learned from his dad that the little things matter. “All of these details are not arbitrary. It is important for us to stay involved with the construction team to ensure the project is built as drawn.” “What’s very important to us is that we don’t give plans out to people and say good luck,” says Jones. “We make site visits and talk to the contractor consistently throughout the construction. We do that until they move in.” The end product and client experience is what’s most important to this firm that’s coming up on five decades and has designed homes across eight southern states. Jones and his family are creating a legacy of designing beautiful quality homes with a sense of timelessness and history. “In a world of spec homes and fast construction, we focus on quality, experience and relationships,” says Jones. “We’ve had any number of clients say, ‘We can ride around and spot your houses.’ That’s a big deal. That sense of quality is what we always strive to maintain.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Architectural plans TOP EXECUTIVES: Al Jones, Architect; John Jones, Architect; Ben Jones, Architect; Tim Landry, Architect YEAR FOUNDED: 1973 • PHONE: 225.925.0123 • WEBSITE: aljonesarchitect.com 58

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[ AMMON STAFFING ] Even a tornado can’t stop this team

AS A TEMPORARY staffing agency, AMMON Staffing is adept at helping companies with their workforce needs through fluctuating business conditions. As such, the Baton Rouge-based company has been well-positioned to work with area businesses as they faced unprecedented challenges over the past year. Founded in 1984, AMMON Staffing has traditionally worked with industrial, oil and light-industrial companies. However, when demands for staffing services in these sectors decreased during the pandemic, AMMON quickly pivoted its focus to the healthcare industry. “When COVID first struck, we lost 50 percent of our business,” says Boyd Ammon, vice president. “We started focusing on the medical sector, created a division—AMMON Healthcare—and began placing medical professionals to support the understaffed facilities throughout the state.” AMMON Staffing works with many nursing homes and medical facilities, helping them stay fully staffed. “If a facility doesn’t have the right number of people working on any given day, they can’t operate. We’ve helped keep them in business by finding people to work their shifts,” Ammon says. AMMON Staffing is constantly recruiting and filling its pipeline of people available to work. The company conducts interviews with each candidate, verifies certifications and licenses, runs background checks, and ensures candidates have had a COVID test. Thus, when a client calls, AMMON

Staffing has professionals, such as nurses, ready to work. “It’s a lot easier for medical facilities to onboard one of our employees in 24 to 48 hours for immediate need or to cover a shift than it is to hire someone through their two-week process,” Ammon says. Pre-COVID, the medical industry comprised less than 10 percent of AMMON Staffing’s business. Today, it accounts for about 80 percent. “Since COVID started, we’ve filled

more than 4,000 shifts at medical clinics. That segment of the business is bigger than our industrial side now,” Ammon says. Like many businesses, AMMON Staffing changed some processes due to the pandemic. For example, the company began using in-depth online (rather than paper) applications, and moved to include a virtual interview process. AMMON’s 12 employees also began working more remotely.

The ability to be nimble and adapt quickly came in handy on June 24, 2020, when an early-morning tornado hit AMMON’s office at One Calais Avenue, destroying everything. Despite losing their building, furniture and other equipment, the company didn’t lose any data, as they had begun moving to a paperless, cloud-based system before the pandemic or tornado hit. “Everyone’s mobile and we all had our laptops with us. We just went home and started working again,” Ammon says. The same day the tornado hit, Ammon found temporary office space at the Essen Centre. “We were able to hit the ground running and resume interviews the next day,” he says. The company has since moved into permanent offices at the Essen Centre and added staff, including bringing accounts receivable and payroll in-house. Ammon says he is proud of how the company responded to recent challenges, including ensuring clients and workers felt no interruptions to their services. “First COVID hit and everything started shutting down. Then I wake up one morning and see our company sign on the news in the middle of the Interstate because of a tornado,” Ammon says. “But everyone adapted very easily. It’s easy for us to switch gears because we’ve got a great team of people and because we’ve built a great company name over the past 35 years.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Staffing and recruiting TOP EXECUTIVES: Rick Ammon, President; Boyd Ammon, Vice President YEAR FOUNDED: 1984 • PHONE: 225.293.1171 • WEBSITE: ammonstaffing.net AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ EXIT MOMENTUM ] Talley’s strategic methods lead clients to success and positive results BATON ROUGE NATIVE Cullen Talley has decades of experience not only in helping business owners discover how to most efficiently run their companies, but also how to increase their organizations’ value over time. “I don’t believe in so-called business secrets. In fact, I think most who claim them—well, you won’t be able to print what I think about that,” says the Exit Momentum CEO. “The bottom line is that there’s no ‘secret sauce’ to what Exit Momentum does to help businesses thrive. We simply introduce and roll out time-tested principles in a very specific way to achieve measurable results every time.” Exit Momentum uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)’s complete set of simple concepts and practical tools to help companies and their teams fine-tune their organizational vision, traction and health. The effectiveness of Exit Momentum’s tactics was clearer than ever when, in spite of 2020, Talley’s clients in a variety of industries saw increases in revenue and net profits. “Our work forces organizations to stay in a rhythm, even as the world constantly changes. This was particularly beneficial when in 2020, clients who leveraged our system with discipline were able to execute in unprece-

dented times while many of their competitors were basing decisions on fear,” said Talley. “Because our work forces teams to look at facts, our clients are

often able to see their reality clearer than ever before. The guidance we offer provides companies with stability in decision-making, creating a dramatic

difference when anything unexpected occurs—not just during a pandemic, but typical issues that come up at least once a quarter in any year.” Clients’ accounts of their work with Exit Momentum are a testament to Talley’s professional guidance by giving them clarity around a shared vision, an executable plan, and a level of accountability that seemed impossible before. According to Talley, leaders who appreciate the discipline of a proven process and want someone to stretch them further than they know they can go, are the best candidates to work with Exit Momentum. And the best part? Talley’s strategies don’t add work to clients’ busy schedules. In just five days throughout a year, Exit Momentum is able to take a company from lack of predictable profits and vision to inarguable results. “When business owners are willing to grow and build a leadership team around them, we’re able to help their teams own core functions of the business, leading to more time for those in leadership to do what they want to do instead of what they have to do,” said Talley. “Having the ability to accurately predict growth and clearly see gaps allows leaders to plan to address the issues or mitigate them, resulting in success.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Accelerating business growth with an easily understandable system that holistically addresses all elements of business for long-term success TOP EXECUTIVES: Cullen Talley, Founder and CEO YEAR FOUNDED: 2019 • PHONE: 225.244.9502 • WEBSITE: exitmomentum.com 60

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WE CARRY EACH OTHER It’s how we do things in Louisiana during times of challenge. We’re stronger together and we know our strength lies in the helping hands of our neighbors. So let’s wear a mask and protect one another. And protect the life we love.

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[ GENERAL INFORMATICS ] Always ready for the next big technology challenge MONTHS BEFORE COVID-19 was a household term, General Informatics was helping customers plan how they’d respond to a “pandemic flu event.” That’s not unusual, though; it’s what they’ve been doing for 20 years. Far beyond troubleshooting technology and setting up companies’ work from the cloud, General Informatics has been helping customers think of things before the need arises by trying to understand problems and using broad knowledge to help improve processes and prioritizing customer service. With their team’s high level of business acumen in industries ranging from healthcare and manufacturing to local and state government, General Informatics knows that their clients have to meet very specific statutory and regulatory requirements while finding technology solutions to better run their businesses. “When a client comes to us for a solution, the questions they’re often asking are not the root cause of their problem,” said Martin Rueschen, General Informatics Director of Sales and Marketing. “It’s our job to help companies find long-term solutions

Don Monistere, President

that will allow them to thrive beyond the problem they think they need to solve right then. Because when our customers are successful and see better results, it’s a win for us.” In the past year, General Informatics has seen conversations shift from

how to improve technology within the four walls of companies to how companies can quickly pivot so their employees can work securely while working remotely. Because their motto is that anyone should be able to work, get information, and move their com-

pany forward from anywhere, General Informatics has spent the last year not only educating their customer base on how to do just that, but also starting to expand its presence beyond Louisiana to neighboring states along the Gulf Coast. “In normal times, transitioning companies to a complete remote work environment would’ve probably taken two to four years,” said Don Monistere, General Informatics President. “Obviously, COVID-19 spun that timeframe on its head. The good news is that our clients are now fully capable of working securely from anywhere.” So how will the company that prepared their clients for a pandemic in October 2019 handle the next big technology challenges? “Very deliberately,” says Monistere. “Even though technology and operational workflow are constantly moving targets, our business acumen and customer service will always continue to improve. We work hard to stay ahead of the game for ourselves as well as our customers, continually improving quality.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Increasing clients’ success through technology and best practices TOP EXECUTIVES: Don Monistere, President; Martin Rueschen, Director of Sales & Marketing YEAR FOUNDED: 2001 • PHONE: 1.225.767.7670 • WEBSITE: geninf.com 62

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(From left) Chamber Executive Director Jamie Hanks, Addis Mayor David Toups, Parish President Riley Berthelot, Jr., Brusly Mayor Scot Rhodes, Parish Schools Superintendent Wes Watts, and Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee.

[ WEST BATON ROUGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ] Positioned well for new growth, exciting opportunities EVEN A PANDEMIC couldn’t slow down growth in West Baton Rouge. With access to two major interstates, a metropolitan airport and big industrial announcements from the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge is preparing for the future. “Our economic development projects did not slow down at all,” says Chamber Executive Director Jamie Hanks. “Last year was the most fruitful year we’ve ever had. We are positioned well for new growth.” With growth comes a few growing pains. That’s why the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce and Parish President Riley “Peewee” Berthelot Jr. are working on a variety of road improvement projects to help ease traffic congestion and improve flow. “We are seeking to put a new bridge over the Mississippi River south of the I-10 bridge,” says Berthelot, who sits on the Capitol Area Road and Bridge District. The project is still in the early stages and doesn’t have a specific location yet, but will help provide some relief on the interstate. The state is also investing about $1 billion to widen I-10 from the Mississippi River Bridge to the I-12 split. This project is about two years away

(From left) Jamie Hanks and Riley Berthelot, Jr.

from construction but will also help reduce congestion. One project that’s 20 years in the works is the La. Hwy. 1/415 Connector. Almost fully funded, this new bridge over the Intracoastal Canal will provide an alternate route to I-10 by connecting La. Hwy. 1 and in turn, enhance development opportunities in the parish. Residential growth along La. 1 has been so steady that the parish invested $5 million in a water line to service

new businesses and homes along that route—without increasing rates. “We’re growing and the housing market is growing,” says Berthelot. “It’s been kind of a win-win looking at the jobs and opportunities, and it all goes hand in hand. We are preparing our infrastructure to try to accommodate everybody.” Industry is also part of the pie, and the Port of Greater Baton Rouge has announced three projects that will

inject billions into the economy and produce hundreds of jobs in the coming decade. The biggest is Gron Fuels biofuel plant proposed on Port property near Port Allen. The first phase of construction, expected to start by the end of 2021, will include an investment of $1.25 billion and create 340 jobs by 2024. Air Liquide is another big-budget project that involves a $270 million expansion on land that was part of Poplar Grove Plantation off La. Hwy. 1. And an $8.15 million sortation center off La. Hwy. 415 is expected to provide 300 jobs. “These are all major projects that we are excited to have in our back yard,” says Hanks. “There are a lot of good things happening in West Baton Rouge.” These projects join a $1.3 billion expansion by Shintech in Plaquemine and Addis and the largest solar facility in the state, DEPCOM Power, located near Port Allen. “We’re a hotbed for solar panels,” says Berthelot. “This is something we’re going to hear a lot more about in the future, as several more are looking at our area. I think everybody’s optimistic. It’s going to be a good year.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: To be the voice for business TOP EXECUTIVES: Jamie Hanks, Executive Director, West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce; Riley “Peewee” Berthelot Jr., Parish President YEAR FOUNDED: 1985 (Originally incorporated as the West Baton Rouge Development Corp.) • PHONE: 225.383.3140 • WEBSITE: wbrchamber.org AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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NOW LEASING Gary Black (225) 383-0424 gblack@wampold.com


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[ MCMAINS CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER ] A path to success, confidence and independence FOR 67 YEARS, McMains Children’s Developmental Center has been helping kids be kids, regardless of limitations or the family’s ability to pay. Anne Hindrichs, LCSW, who was a social worker at the nonprofit pediatric therapy clinic before stepping into her current role as executive director, says that 50 percent of the children they treat have a developmental delay, many of whom can outgrow this delay with the help of therapy. “So many children who have come through our doors are now successful, independent adults,” says Hindrichs. “There’s no greater honor than helping families figure out different ways to navigate their situations so children can enjoy childhood and grow up to reach their fullest potential in society.” Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, educational professionals, counselors and physicians all work together using tools like evaluations and assistive technology to help kids with developmental delays and developmental disabilities. Children may even recieve a complete learning disability analysis consisting of physchologist-led IQ testing, an educational achievement

test from an educational diagnostician, assessments from occupational and speech and language therapists, and a neurodevelopment assessment by a physician. McMains’ holistic approach to helping children with autism, cerebral palsy, genetic syndromes, and other developmental disabilities—along with individual therapy—can include counseling for anxiety and depression, as well as med-

ication management and assistance for the whole family. Working together, the team at McMains often refers children to other professionals under the same roof to address different needs. “When an occupational therapist notices a child walking on their tiptoes, they can make a referral to a physical therapist just down the hall,” said Hindrichs. “It’s nice to all be under one roof so the families don’t have to go to

two or three different places to receive services.” A few of the unique services McMains offers includes educational therapy to assist children with school-related needs, an assistive technology program with switches and adaptations to help every child reach their fullest potential, capable play to help children with severe physical and cognitive issues interact with their families by adapting household activities, and family programs including an all-inclusive art camp for children with disabilities and their brothers and sisters, an adaptive bike program allowing all children to have the opportunity to ride bikes, and an adaptive canoe trip at Tickfaw State Park. “At McMains, we address what each child needs and we work to adapt their world so they can be children—all in a place that doesn’t feel clinical,” said Director of Development Lindi Rubin Spalatin. “McMains is one of the best kept secrets in Baton Rouge. We always hear people have no idea so much was happening in the building they drive by every day. We can all be proud of this institution that has served Baton Rouge and the surrounding area for generations.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Pediatric therapy for all children with delays and disabilities TOP EXECUTIVES: Anne Hindrichs, LCSW, Executive Director; Kim Haynes, MA, CCC-SLP, Clinical and Operations Director; Cindy Head, Accounting Manager; Lindi Rubin Spalatin, Director of Development; Drew Walker, Communications and Marketing Manager YEAR FOUNDED: 1954 • PHONE: 225.923.3420 • WEBSITE: mcmainscdc.org AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ DEEP SOUTH EQUIPMENT ] Solid work ethic, high standards keep customers satisfied JOHN PARSONS, OWNER of Deep South Equipment Co. in Shreveport, developed his aptitude for customer service while selling forklifts as a traveling salesman for 20 years. He lives by the philosophy that “If you don’t take care of your customers, they won’t be your customers for long.” He founded the company in 1990 on a limited budget with just four stores covering Louisiana and Mississippi. Today, he has positioned Deep South as the elite material handling company of the South, with nine locations across five states. Each store provides sales, rentals, leases, service and parts for new and used Hyster and Yale forklifts; JCB construction equipment, ASV loaders; Columbia specialty and utility vehicles; PowerBoss floor cleaning equipment and TICO terminal tractors. Parsons has made a point of hand-picking his branch, service and parts managers to ensure they share a similar work ethic. Additionally, employees are manufacturer trained and certified in the equipment they sell or service, and on-site trainers can even instruct and license customers on forklift operation. “We have more than 30 salesmen that call on customers, about 150 mechanics, and more than 220 company vehicles, 18-wheelers and service trucks,” Parsons adds. Deep South’s commitment to cus-

tomer service isn’t just some company slogan. The company’s growth and success can be attributed to a solid business ethic and an innate ability to hire the best people in the business. Mostly, however, it’s because of a long list of satisfied customers. The Hyster/ Yale group, a Cleveland, Ohio-based material handling company, recently presented Deep South with the Dealer of Distinction award for the fifth year in a row. The prestigious award recognizes

top-performing Hyster/Yale forklift dealers across the country that drive their organizations to the highest level of sales and service performance. To receive the honor, a company must meet defined business practices and overall rigorous performance standards that are updated annually to keep pace with evolving customer expectations and industry dynamics. Deep South Equipment currently has 275 employees working in its stores, with more being added every

year—and they retained all of them during the pandemic. They are always looking for new ways to grow, whether in territory or equipment lines … like when they added the TICO terminal tractor line and the JCB construction equipment line. Deep South Equipment also carries one the of the largest rental fleets in the South with more than 1,300 pieces of equipment offered for sale as well as for rent. Parsons says that the Baton Rouge market is one of the fastest growing and largest markets in the company’s trade areas and they will continue to invest in the market as it expands. “We’ve been operating in the Baton Rouge market for over 30 years and will continue to add more equipment and more employees each year.” Looking ahead, Parsons isn’t worried about a succession plan. The Deep South Equipment management has become a family affair, with his son Patrick serving as vice president of all construction equipment lines plus the used equipment business and sonin-law Lindsey Hernandez acting as vice president of new sales. They’ve both been involved in the business for more than 25 years. And his grandson, Patrick Hernandez, recently joined the company as a new JCB salesman after graduating from LSU.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Forklifts and construction equipment TOP EXECUTIVES: John Parsons, Owner; Patrick Parsons, Used Sales; Lindsey Hernandez, New Sales; Patrick Hernandez, JCB Sales YEAR FOUNDED: 1990 • PHONE: 225.383.6117 • WEBSITE: deepsouthequipment.com 66

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(From left) Dr. Susan Thornton, Aubrey Jones, Jr., Danica Tietje

[ I CARE ] It’s hard work, but also ‘heart’ work LIKE SO MANY other programs, I CARE has spent the past year adapting to changing needs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. For I CARE—which teaches alcohol and drug abuse and violence prevention in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools— those changes have gone beyond shifting from in-person to virtual programming. The program is now placing a greater focus on helping youth cope with trauma and social-emotional learning as well as conducting more outreach to parents and teachers. The sudden closure of schools in 2020, combined with the uncertainty of a pandemic, has had a profound effect on Baton Rouge students and families, says I CARE Director Erin Pourciau-Bradford. “It affected existing mental health issues, and there were mental health issues arising from COVID,” she says. “We also saw that COVID brought about isolation for young people that they had not experienced before. Being at home, not being at school, not being able to see friends—losing that social aspect has been hard for them.” Many students have struggled to deal with such widespread trauma, she says, and have turned to coping mechanisms such as cutting, vaping,

Tanya Chapman Griffin interacts with students.

withdrawal, anxiety and unhealthy social media habits. That left parents and teachers wondering how to help, so I CARE stepped up with additional outreach. Tanya Chapman Griffin, summer outreach coordinator, says I CARE began offering more trainings and workshops for parents and teachers on mindfulness, how to have conversations with kids and how to access resources for more assistance. And staff have gone above and beyond to make sure people

get the help they need. “We want to be able to continue to connect parents to resources, but we’re not just giving them a phone number,” Chapman says. “We say, ‘Let’s call together and do this process together. You are not alone.’” I CARE also conducted a social-emotional assessment of students to “get a pulse of where the kids are and to prioritize and identify what they need to connect them to resources,” PourciauBradford says.

An upside of the pandemic and remote learning at home has been greater involvement from many parents, she says. Another silver lining is improved cooperation with community partners, as I CARE has been part of a task force the school district put together to determine how to help youth through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. I CARE staff returned to local schools when they reopened, but they’ve also continued providing virtual programs. “We wanted to make sure that we were present for the kids that were in brickand-mortar buildings, and we’ve also been able to connect with the kids who weren’t,” Pourciau-Bradford says. All of these new demands have kept everyone busy around the I CARE office, but it has been worth it. “A lot of us feel like we’ve been there for some kids that would have not had anybody,” Pourciau-Bradford says. “We all have a story that will bring tears to your eyes and pull your heartstrings. We’ve been in situations where we’ve helped and supported somebody and connected them to a resource or a professional that could help them.” “It’s hard work, but it’s heart work,” Chapman Griffin adds. “Our hearts are truly in it.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Program in East Baton Rouge Parish schools teaching alcohol and drug abuse prevention, violence prevention, social-emotional learning, and crisis response. TOP EXECUTIVES: Erin Pourciau-Bradford, Director YEAR FOUNDED: 1981 • PHONE: 225.226.2273 • WEBSITE:icare.ebrschools.org AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ SSA CONSULTANTS ] Developing the next generation of business leaders THERE ARE POWERFUL trends in the marketplace today that are having enormous impact on business and industry. Recognizing them in their early stages and seizing or even capitalizing on these opportunities allows businesses to enjoy early wins and profitable growth. SSA Consultants, a Baton Rougebased organizational development and management consulting firm, works with clients across many sectors. Much more than leadership training, SSA provides companies with the tools to create and maintain a culture of excellence, navigate change, and manage a multi-generational work force. Their clients include family-owned and privately held businesses, Fortune 250 publicly traded companies, large and small foundations and nonprofits, and local, state and federal agencies. “The equation is the same for all organizations. Businesses are only as good as the leadership and talent they have,” says CEO Christel Slaughter. “Right now, talent is scarce, so if businesses have talented people they’ve invested in, they need to do what they can to keep those people, recognize their contributions, and give them the resources they need to be successful.” SSA uses a validated suite of tools and assessments to identify and eval-

uate leadership potential. Leadership development assessments often are paired with SSA’s targeted executive coaching sessions and customized leadership development programs to enable clients to achieve their desired results. Companies are starting to invest in targeted approaches to develop high potential employees rather than simply trying to recruit talent from the outside or taking an across-theboard approach to leadership training. According to Slaughter, “It’s a much

more informed way to develop high performing leaders and retain talented individuals.” Several years ago, SSA collaborated with Hogan Assessments to create an online leadership development program called iCapstone, an interactive course that provides personalized coaching tips. The course has become a core element of the leadership training program in organizations such as the Louisiana Bankers Association, where approximately 60 banks per year send up-and-coming executives to develop

and polish their leadership skills. Companies who want to invest in the development of only one or two leaders are now also using the Baton Rouge Business Report’s highly successful Leadership Academy, where participants are able to experience the Hogan Leadership Assessment and have an individualized executive coaching session in addition to five days of leadership training. “SSA is a proud collaborator with the Baton Rouge Business Report on the development of the Leadership Academy and the subsequent customized Leadership Academies designed to develop their next generation of leaders at an accelerating pace,” Slaughter says. SSA also helps clients navigate change through other services such as strategic planning, compensation studies and succession planning, which often gets overlooked during periods of disruption. Companies often struggle with the time it takes to integrate a new or recently promoted employee. “A lot of our clients no longer have the luxury of time. They need to shorten the learning curve,” Slaughter says. “Our job at SSA is to help our clients understand the current climate and develop strategies to improve their performance. It’s all about success in the marketplace.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Organizational development and management consulting TOP EXECUTIVES: Christel Slaughter, PhD; Bill Slaughter, PhD; Rudy Gomez; Anita Byrne YEAR FOUNDED: 1970 • PHONE: 225.769.2676 • WEBSITE: consultssa.com 68

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[ MOREAU PHYSICAL THERAPY ] Ensuring that patients enjoy their best quality of life AL MOREAU IS the president of Moreau Physical Therapy. Although a businessman, he has always considered himself a physical therapist first. He continues training with his team to maintain his credentials as a clinician, ensuring that patients remain the clinic’s priority. “Moreau Physical Therapy is a family business that is clinician owned and operated. Our excellent team’s focus is customer service-oriented with our patients’ well-being at the center of everything we do. At the end of the day, we are here for the sole purpose of serving others to help them gain their highest level of function so they can live their best lives,” says Moreau. Operating now for more than 40 years, Moreau Physical Therapy has grown to 18 locations in south Louisiana and renders management and staffing services for inpatient and outpatient facilities. Moreau Physical Therapy currently provides greater Baton Rouge, Acadiana, New Orleans

and surrounding areas with leading therapy, rehabilitation, and wellness services.

With a motto of “Live More,” its team of therapy experts specialize in helping people live their best lives through out-

patient and inpatient therapy, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, pediatric therapy, and industrial medicine services. Moreau Physical Therapy caters to the entire family with comprehensive treatment and wellness programs ranging from infants to adults. Services can vary from post-surgical rehabilitation to neurologic injuries. “It’s incredibly rewarding to help patients improve their lives and see them achieve their goals, whether athletic, job-related, or recreational,” says Moreau. “Moreau is different in that yes, we offer multiple specialties and experts in many areas of therapy, but we do it with a customer service-based approach. Our goal is to truly get to know each patient and understand what is important to them. That is how our team works together to be the catalyst that helps patients achieve their goals to live their best life,” says Moreau.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, pediatric therapy, certified hand therapy, aquatic therapy, balance and vestibular rehabilitation, lymphedema management, neurological rehabilitation, orthopedic and sports rehabilitation, manual therapy, dry needling, scoliosis treatment: Schroth Method, industrial medicine: FCEs, wellness, weight loss and fitness programs. TOP EXECUTIVES: Al C. Moreau, Jr., Founder/Physical Therapist; Al C. Moreau, III, President/Physical Therapist; Cristina Martinez Faucheux, VP/Physical Therapist YEAR FOUNDED: 1977 • PHONE: 225.751.8512 • WEBSITE: moreaupt.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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[ BRECHEEN PIPE & STEEL ] South Louisiana’s ‘go-to’ industrial supplier DANIELLE BRECHEEN has good timing. Her Port Allen-based, family-owned steel and pipe business Brecheen Pipe & Steel Co. LLC has become a certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) just when it’s most needed. Rising out of the pandemic, south Louisiana industrial owners are spending more on capital and maintenance projects these days, and they’re looking to hire more WBEs to meet their own internal goals. They’re encouraging their contractors to do the same. “Now and in the future, I can help them meet those goals,” says Danielle, owner of the company. Brecheen Pipe and Steel is one of the only locally woman-owned and operated steel distributors in the region, and is a proud member of the Associated Builders and Contractors - Pelican Chapter. Danielle, herself, has some 36 years of experience in the business. Her father, Don Brecheen, founded the company in 1980, and she began working there a few years later. Today, Brecheen Pipe & Steel is well positioned in the market. The company has been doing business as south Louisiana’s “go-to” supplier of structural steel and pipe in the metals service center industry for decades, offering carbon, galvanized carbon, stainless, aluminum and other exotic alloy steel to the petrochemical, refinery, pulp and paper, sugar, fabricator and construc-

tion industries. Their products include a full range of flat, plate, tubing, pipe, bar and structural. They also offer CNC plastic/oxy-fuel, shear, saw and light fabrication. “I compete with much larger com-

panies by supplying those specialty items that they don’t, and doing it more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively,” Danielle adds. “We’re known for our inventory of carbon steel and diverse stock of galvanized structural steel. Not

everybody supplies that.” In fact, you’ll find some 2,500 tons of steel in their Port Allen yard at any given time. Brecheen’s steel service center also stocks a full array of carbon steel items, and offers plate flame cutting services, plasma and oxy-fuel services, cutting slip and spectacle blinds, gussets, parts and decorative items. They have stock lengths of galvanized steel and aluminum products, but can cut to specifications when needed. “We can execute CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) on a plasma table,” she adds. “If someone has a flange or cog, it will automatically cut steel plate into our customer’s specialized shapes.” While committed to remaining a reliable provider of its traditional, and widely appreciated, supply of steel and pipe products, the company isn’t afraid to evolve to meet future demand. Danielle says she’s always willing to diversify her product lines as plants expand and new industry enters the market. Lately, she’s considering adding pipe valves and fittings to her inventory. “There seems to be an opportunity there,” she adds. “We’re considering expanding our facilities and stocking standard weld fittings, flanges, and forged steel fittings.” Brecheen Pipe & Steel should have no problem quickly pivoting to meet whatever need might arise. After all, the company has some 150 years of knowledge and experience under one roof.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Carbon, alloy plate and structural steel distribution TOP EXECUTIVES: Danielle Brecheen, President; Travis Mire, Assistant Manager YEAR FOUNDED: 1980 • PHONE: 225.749.3553 • WEBSITE: brecheenpipeandsteel.com 70

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[ MCGLINCHEY STAFFORD ] A national network of expertise with deep roots in Baton Rouge MCGLINCHEY STAFFORD may have offices around the country, but its commitment to Baton Rouge is strong. Along with local service, McGlinchey’s Baton Rouge clients also gain access to the law firm’s national network of expertise. Founded in New Orleans in 1974, McGlinchey opened its Baton Rouge office in 1993. Today, the firm has 15 offices across the United States and 150 attorneys licensed to practice in 29 states, districts, and territories. “We have deep roots in Baton Rouge,” says Managing Member Michael Ferachi. “Yet, because we have people with different levels of experience and different backgrounds around the country, we’re able to bring a team approach to solving clients’ problems whether those problems are in Baton Rouge or elsewhere in the U.S.” The firm’s second-largest office, the Baton Rouge office has a diverse set of practices, including litigation, intellectual property, real estate, corporate, mergers and acquisitions, wills and trusts, according to Office Managing Member Drew Patty. “It’s a practice that has a national set of resources at its fingertips for clients who have complex

or geographically diverse needs,” he adds. The office’s breadth of experience and expertise reflects McGlinchey’s commitment to Baton Rouge. “We’re not one of those firms with a satellite office of three people in Baton Rouge. We have a substantial practice here. We’re entrenched in this community,” says Partner Kristi Richard. McGlinchey’s leadership has long been based in Baton Rouge. Ferachi became Managing Member in January, replacing Rudy Aguilar, who led the firm from Baton Rouge for 18 years and has returned to his private practice full time. “That tells Baton Rouge businesses this office continues to lead and the firm is invested in Baton Rouge,” Patty says. Patty notes McGlinchey’s general

counsel is also based in Baton Rouge. This contributes to strong, trusting relationships with Louisiana-based clients. “Our motto is ‘we give you more,’ and for us, that means good work is the minimum, not the goal. We start with good work and tailor our guidance to meet each client’s needs,” says Partner Zelma Frederick. “We maintain that homegrown feel, but can handle the most sophisticated issues.” Further, McGlinchey’s rates distinguish it from larger law firms. “We have the same breadth of experience as many ‘Big Law’ firms, but we’re not competing with them on rates,” Ferachi says. “Our moderate size allows us to remain flexible and cost-effective, so clients get the expertise to handle their case without encountering costs associated with larger firms.”

The firm maintains an entrepreneurial spirit and overall has experience in more than 40 practice areas. Clients include global and national corporations, local and regional businesses, government agencies, universities and other institutions. Recently, Ferachi launched the #McGlincheyForward initiative focused on change, culture, empowerment, gratitude and continued strategic growth. “We grow where our clients need us to grow. That’s part of being problem solvers for them,” Ferachi says. “If that’s ports, energy corridors or banking centers, that’s where we’ll go.” McGlinchey also is strengthening its inclusiveness, diversity and equity, and recently appointed its first chief diversity officer. Integral to its inclusive culture is prioritizing life beyond the office. “Everyone knows their deadlines and gets their work done, but they also understand that family comes first. We don’t just read that in a policy, we see it in action across the firm,” Frederick says. Indeed, Richard notes, “We don’t want work to be something to dread, like going to the dentist. We’re invested in each other as people, not just as colleagues.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Full-service business/institution law firm TOP EXECUTIVES: Michael Ferachi, Managing Member; Drew Patty, Baton Rouge Office Managing Member; Eliska Plunkett, Chief Diversity Officer; Christine Lipsey, General Counsel YEAR FOUNDED: 1974 • PHONE: 225.383.9000 • WEBSITE: mcglinchey.com AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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From left back row: BBR Clients Michael Maloney with Coburn Supply Company; Patricia Thompson with Ochsner Lafayette General; and Jack Walker with Slap Ya Mama. Front row: BBR marketing advisors: Emily Burke, Bria Wheeler and Brie Hodges.

[ BBR CREATIVE ] BBR helps solve marketers’ biggest challenges AS A CREATIVE marketing partner, BBR Creative helps businesses achieve their marketing and branding goals by serving as an extension of a company’s in-house marketing team. “Most marketers are overwhelmed because they don’t have the time and resources to accomplish their marketing goals and they want a trusted advisor to help them,” says CEO Cherie Hebert. “As an extension of their team, BBR brings experts to the table, so our client has the resources to market more effectively.” As a full-service creative marketing firm, BBR’s key services include strategic marketing, multi-channel campaigns, email marketing, online presence management and social media, and brand messaging development. BBR’s name—Blonde, Brunette and Redhead—recognizes the three women, including Hebert, who established the company in 1997. With offices in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, BBR’s clients come from across industries, such as healthcare, food, and financial, and include Louisiana-based businesses as well as regional and national companies. Since its inception, BBR has served more than 650 clients. A collaborative, cross-disciplinary team is dedicated to each client, which helps build an authentic, trusting relationship as BBR becomes integrated

Clients have access to individual discipline experts for every marketing campaign.

into the client’s marketing activities. “We go deep with every client to understand everything not only about their industry, but also their unique challenges as a company,” says Emily Burke, vice president for account services. Often, those challenges involve addressing change. “Change can be difficult for a client when their business is already well established, but they find themselves at a standstill,” Hebert says. “If they don’t learn how to be more sophisticated marketers, they won’t get to the next

level. As an extension of their marketing team, BBR can help because we’re in the business of change and we can see possibility and opportunity.” Using creative problem solving, BBR helps clients improve their marketing, generate sales and grow revenue by embracing change. “We offer not just creative ideas, but a creative approach to problems,” Burke says. “We’re constantly bringing a different vantage point and new ideas. We’re not there to just check a box. We have a vested interest in the client’s business and their ultimate success.”

BBR has been well positioned to help existing and new clients navigate uncertainty throughout the past year. “Our clients had unique needs throughout 2020, and it was very fluid day to day in what those needs were,” Burke says. “Because we’re flexible and we have solid relationships with our partners, we were able to meet their marketing needs for whatever was happening right then.” For example, Ochsner Lafayette General’s messaging needs evolved day to day as they responded to pressures in the healthcare community. Cox Communications, based in Atlanta, experienced urgent marketing requirements when demand for their low-cost Internet product skyrocketed as school and work went virtual. Communication needs for Cajun Country Rice unexpectedly changed as well. “They couldn’t keep rice on the shelf in south Louisiana because people are cooking comfort food at home during the pandemic,” Hebert says. Yet, change doesn’t just apply to BBR’s clients. The company itself is constantly evolving and fine-tuning its own brand. “We’re always trying to evaluate and improve for ourselves as a business and for our clients,” Burke says. “Part of what makes BBR who we are is we’re not afraid of change. It’s part of our creativity.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Full-service marketing TOP EXECUTIVES: Cherie Hebert, CEO; Emily Burke, Vice President for Account Services; Lauren Bourgeois, Vice President of Operations YEAR FOUNDED: 1997 • PHONE: 225.215.0979 • WEBSITE: bbrcreative.com 72

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• Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Louisiana Business, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329


(From left) Kathy Gautreau, Executive Director, and Lois Webre, Director of Special Events. Not pictured is Tonya Elson, Conference Center Director.

[ WEST BATON ROUGE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU ] 8 reasons to meet in West Baton Rouge YOU’VE HEARD OF Southern hospitality. Add some Cajun seasoning and you are on your way to discovering West Baton Rouge’s secret sauce. Warm welcomes are nice, but that’s nothing compared to West Baton Rouge rolling out the red carpet. Family-friendly enough for famous festivals and professional enough for board meetings and large business gatherings, West Baton Rouge hits that sweet spot for planners looking to create a memorable event. West Baton Rouge Conference Center One of the newest and most modern meeting facilities in the Baton Rouge area, this state-of-the-art venue is conveniently located on I-10. Big-city amenities meet small-town prices at this renovated facility that offers a professional and experienced staff, banquet and conference rooms for both small and large gatherings, on-site catering, audiovisual equipment, and a half-mile walking trail on the campus grounds. Explore history Embrace our deep roots with itineraries exploring your group’s surroundings. Journey to Plantation Country North to enjoy some beautiful properties with distinct legends. Hear the story of sugar agriculture from the Civil

our other restaurants offer unique options that provide a distinctive taste to any meeting. Always a reason to celebrate West Baton Rouge is so full of life in part because of our lively festivals—and we can’t wait to bring them back. Kite Fest Louisiane is known as one of the best events in the Southeast. Sugar Fest is as sweet as an event can be in the fall. You don’t have to be of a certain age to enjoy the Oldies but Goodies Fest. And nobody celebrates the holidays quite like we do, whether it be Mardi Gras parades or Reflections of the Season Christmas light display.

War through the Civil Rights era at the West Baton Rouge Museum. Natural wonders Take advantage of beautiful sights like the Mississippi Riverfront Overlook or follow the mighty Mississippi River along the West Baton Rouge Heritage Trailway, including the DeSoto Levee Top Trail. This 5-mile path from Brusly to Addis is an ideal break from meetings.

Off to the races Get your delegates back on track with a day or night at State Capitol Raceway. Any event there is a true experience, filled with the thrill of the crowd and the noise of cars drag racing. Home cooking There’s never a bad day for a po-boy or Creole cooking. Our many restaurants exude the very culture and hospitality that make West Baton Rouge a marvelous host. We have Texas-style barbecue that can feed a crowd, while

The price is right Come on down for affordable, family-friendly lodging that includes national brands and local establishments. All of the hotels are easily accessible off I-10, the first sign of the convenience we offer. Location, location, location There’s no denying that West Baton Rouge is a desirable location. The parish is minutes from Baton Rouge, home of Louisiana State University, and less than an hour from New Orleans and Lafayette. West Baton Rouge is “On the River, On the Way” to the best experience that south Louisiana has to offer.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Tourist information TOP EXECUTIVE: Kathy Gautreau, Executive Director YEAR FOUNDED: 1976 • PHONE: 225.344.2920 • WEBSITE: westbatonrouge.net *Brought to you by the West Baton Rouge and the Louisiana Office of Tourism. AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2021

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• Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees. Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Louisiana Business, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329



[ SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AND A&M COLLEGE ] Despite a challenging year, Southern rose to the occasion “IF I HAD TO consider one word to describe the year 2020, it would be ‘unprecedented,’” says Southern University President-Chancellor Dr. Ray Belton. Along with the rest of the world, Southern University and A&M College has had to adapt to a “new norm” as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “During this unfamiliar time, the University system rose to the occasion and fully lived up to its motto ‘We Are Southern,’” he says. “This simple, yet powerful phrase underscores a history of fortitude despite circumstances, a record of success despite challenges, and a profound commitment to providing educational access to transform lives for generations to come.” For the past 141 years, Southern University and A&M College has carried out a mission to advance educational excellence—and that didn’t change in 2020. In charting its annual growth, Southern realized numerous successes for the 2020 academic year. The Southern University System Year 2 Annual Accountability Scorecard indicated that campuses have met or exceeded nearly 80 percent of their outcomes, ranging from academic excellence to institutional effectiveness. Similarly, the Baton Rouge campus has met or exceeded nearly 75 percent of

expected outcomes, from fundraising to student access and affordability. “With the given climate, we have shifted to a more enhanced technological infrastructure,” says Belton. “COVID-19 has necessitated the importance of increased broadband access, along with the utilization of laptops for instruction.” The Baton Rouge campus also is one of the first in the state to institute the E-Book initiative, where students can access all materials electronically with one affordable flat rate. Additionally,

the campus has distributed nearly 2,000 laptops to students and faculty to ensure the efficient delivery of instruction. The University was also able to provide financial assistance for qualifying students through resources derived from the CARES Act Relief Fund. “Despite the numerous challenges that were presented this year, we continued to make considerable progress in support of our mission and vision,” adds Belton. Fall 2020 enrollment data shows

that more than 13,000 students were enrolled system-wide, exceeding fall 2019 enrollment numbers. “Our progress was not only locally recognized, but several achievements have risen to national prominence and recognition,” says Belton. “In fact, all campuses are slated for reaffirmation during the 2020-2021 academic year.” Impactful partnerships in the medical community were also part of Southern’s success in 2020. For the first time in years, the Baton Rouge campus provided enhanced access to medical resources to support a safe return to campus, while the Student Health Center provided COVID-19 testing facilitated by CareSouth Medical Clinic and Ochsner. “These partnerships have proven to be extremely beneficial to lower COVID-19 incidence rates for our campuses, and Southern University was recognized by higher education partners for our ability to quickly provide this level of service for the safety and protection of our faculty, staff and students,” says Belton. Southern University is ready to thrive in the year ahead. Committed to the Board of Regents’ Master Plan goal of 60 percent degree attainment by 2030, Southern University is and will continue to be a major contributor to talent development in Louisiana.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Higher education TOP EXECUTIVE: Dr. Ray Belton, President-Chancellor YEAR FOUNDED: 1880 • PHONE: 225.771.4500 • WEBSITE: subr.edu 74

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While approximately 40% of a barrel of oil is used to produce gasoline, the rest is used to produce a host of other products.

MEDICINE Most over-thecounter medications, homeopathic products and vitamins are derived from benzine, a petroleum product.

COSMETICS Makeup and shampoo that has oils, perfumes, waxes and color all produced with the help of petrochemicals.

PLASTICS Almost all plastics are made from petrochemicals. from your iPhone to that bottle of water. It is 4-5% of the total petroleum consumption.


Thousands of products rely on rubber such as shoes, tires, wet suits, breast implants, gloves, etc.


All those ingredients you can’t pronounce in the ingredients list of cleaning products being used to keep us safe from COVID-19.

ASPHALT There are over 11 million miles of paved road in the world. Asphalt is the glue that binds the minerals together.


Oil is necessary to produce components used to create renewable energy, from wind turbine parts and solar panels to batteries for electric cars.


Clothing, Ink, Heart Valves, Crayons, Parachutes, Telephones, Antiseptics, Deodorant, Pantyhose, Rubbing Alcohol, Carpets, Hearing Aids, Motorcycle Helmets, Pillows, Shoes, Electrical Tape, Safety Glass, Nylon Rope, Fertilizers, Hair Coloring, Toilet Seats, Candles, Credit Cards, Aspirin, Golf Balls, Detergents, Sunglasses, Glue, Fishing Rods, Linoleum, Soft Contact Lenses, Trash Bags, Hand Lotion, Shampoo, Shaving Cream, Footballs, Paint Brushes, Balloons, Fan Belts, Umbrellas, Luggage, Antifreeze, Tires, Dishwashing Liquids, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Combs, Tents, Lipstick, Tennis Rackets, House Paint, Guitar Strings, Ammonia, Eyeglasses, Ice Chests, Life Jackets, Cameras, Artificial Turf, Artificial Limbs, Bandages, Dentures, Ballpoint Pens, Nail Polish, Caulking, Skis, Fishing Lures, Perfumes, Shoe Polish, Antihistamines, Cortisone, Dyes, Roofing, Jet Fuel, Heating Oil, etc.

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Issue Date: Annual Report Ad proof #2

• Please respond by e-mail or fax with your approval or minor revisions. • AD WILL RUN AS IS unless approval or final revisions are received by the close of business today. • Additional revisions must be requested and may be subject to production fees.


Carefully check this ad for: CORRECT ADDRESS • CORRECT PHONE NUMBER • ANY TYPOS This ad design © Louisiana Business, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329

THE PREFERRED SERVICE PARTNER The Corporate Mechanical team can customize services and plans specifically to the building and occupants where it will be installed. We work with a variety of markets including Banking, Commercial, Educational, Healthcare, Industrial and Retail.

CMC is an effective organization that has provided comfort for Southern University Campuses for years… always responsive, always willing to help and come out and get the job done for our students, staff, and faculty. ELI G. GUILLORY III



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