2023 Business Report Roundtable

Page 1

28 BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023 | BusinessReport.com


The Six Baton Rouge thought leaders look to the future and share their insights on business
community concerns in the Capital Region. What will
What new tech will you deploy? How has the Great Resignation changed your company?
biggest news in 2023?

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AdamM. InterventionalCardiologyPatient Freddy Abi-Samra, MD Desiree Dawson, MD Mokhtar Abdallah, MD Mark Awolesi, MD Michael Bernard, MD Pavan Malur, MD Sapna Desai, MD Patrick Delaney, MD Brian Jones, MD Selim Krim, MD Bahij Khuri, MD Shafi Mohamed, MD Douglas Mendoza, MD Robert Rokowski, MD Zhe Zheng, MD Jose Tafur Soto, MD


Let’s Talk About It

BATON ROUGE CONTINUES to feel the effects of hardships and challenges from recent years— the pandemic, inflation, mass job resignations—but recovery seems to be just around the bend.

For the past five years, Business Report has invited influential thought

leaders to a unique roundtable to gather their opinions on some of the most critical issues facing our community. Topics include the economy, technology, quality of life, workforce issues, diversity and more. In these pages, leaders highlight the challenges of the past year, how they

managed them, and how they hope to create a new and stronger vision for 2023.

Comments made during the roundtable have been edited and condensed for clarity and for space. Read and share the online version at businessreport. com/2023Roundtable.

31 Daily-Report.com | BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023
Carter Chuck Daigle CEO Ochsner Baton Rouge, Lake Charles & North Louisiana Lionel Johnson Jr. Mayor St. Gabriel, LA
Zelma Frederick Baton Rouge Office Managing Attorney McGlinchey
32 BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023 | BusinessReport.com NOW OPEN IN BATON ROUGE AT 5505 HIGHLAND ROAD 45 YEARS AND GROWING STRONG from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • 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. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329
Sitting left to right: Carter Leak III, Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Carter Leak IV, President and CEO; Standing left to right: Conville Lemoine, Chairman of the Board, Douglas Dupont, Baton Rouge Market President

We are having to do more with less people and things are changing so quickly ... I think the biggest issue is getting people tooled for new jobs and doing a gap analysis, helping and giving them good information, aggregating a lot of content, helping them make choices on where they should be going and what they should be doing. Our parents taught us to go to college and that you can be anything you want to be. I think we really need to work backward. Many universities chase grant funding that is important to research, but it doesn’t directly serve the local workforce community. Paying attention to our local workforce and helping them find those opportunities to raise their standard of living and help them navigate all the complexities that are going on right now, creating a way to integrate the information, the pipeline, the people. A lot of people are throwing darts at it right now. Everyone has great systems and data, but we are just now integrating it in a way that’s creating intelligence for what we need to be doing next.

We are still coming out of the post-pandemic world. Infrastructure, economic disparity, education—it is all a conglomerate. At the end of the day, there are a lot of great efforts in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to minimize and close those workforce gaps. Right now, we are all so splintered ... we need to collaborate and make progress towards one thing. If it’s finding gaps in education and jobs and where different skillsets are needed to make progress, then that is what we need to do. But we must have collective impact and come together because the problems are bigger than any single organization.

In my world, it is infrastructure, specifically transportation and stormwater infrastructure. We do know there is progress on the LA 415, I-10, and I-12 widening, and the replacement of the intracoastal bridge. And with LA 30 widening and a new MRB hopefully coming soon, we are looking at a lot of construction happening at the same time in a small vicinity.

And of course, any progress made on rail infrastructure between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is a win. As it relates to stormwater infrastructure, the one piece missing is bringing all parties together. The state has made some leeway but it still remains a competitive venture rather than a collaborative venture. I believe that if Iberville, EBR, Ascension and Livingston all of them at the table looking at infrastructure issues, great progress could be made holistically rather than in pockets or in silos.

What is the most pressing issue facing South Louisiana and Baton Rouge?

Iwas playing golf with somebody a couple of weeks ago and he said he wanted his daughter to go to LSU for college but she wanted to go to Alabama. Then there was the shooting that happened off of Government Street and he said, “You know what, Alabama doesn’t look too bad after all.” So my thought was if this one individual is thinking that way, how many more people are thinking that way? And how does that affect my business? The short-term fix, I think, is doing what the military has done for years and that is to use technology. Why don’t we have more cameras in more places? Why are we not using drones? The police department says it’s 20% of the people who are causing 80% of the crimes—it’s just a matter of catching them. So why don’t we just implement more technology? The long-term fix is how do we keep families together? Statistics show that rising crimes are parallel to the rising number of families abandoned by fathers. Scholars indicate that a 10% increase in children living in single-parent homes typically leads to 17% juvenile crime. Criminals capable of sustaining marriage gradually moved from a life of crime after they get married. The father’s involvement in raising children is a great buffer against a life of crime. So I think that we have to educate young adults on the adverse effects of having kids out of wedlock. This is not a Roe vs. Wade or pro-life or pro-choice issue. We educate kids on the use of drugs and alcohol. Why do we not educate them on the potential broader issues is of having kids prior to marriage? That’s the short-term and long-term fix for me, realizing that crime is the elephant in the room for across our nation.

We have got to do a better job of letting our students in the educational system know what is out there, so we can get an earlier entrance and career interest in the healthcare fields. Most high school students do not know what a medical laboratory scientist is, or what an imaging technologist is. There are some great jobs out there and great careers that support the economies and families that our kids just don’t know about. So the question is how do we keep our young talent here within Louisiana? Secondly, I think we have got a great opportunity with economic development. We have some great projects on the horizon. Those projects, economic development, and a healthy workforce provide more opportunities, more resources, and more engagement. In order to solve some of the problems that we have, we have got to have a strong economic fabric. I think we have a great opportunity at this point in time moving forward while the nation is in a more difficult time.

Ilive in St. Francisville and I can’t tell you how many people over the last two years have come to me and said, “I want to move to St. Francisville. I want to move away from the crime.” That’s the number one issue for Baton Rouge in my opinion, and I could not agree more with what Craig says. I think he hit the nail on the head. It’s family, it’s the church and it’s the community schools. We have got to figure out how to make those things a priority. That’s what holds a community together and builds up men and women to see their purpose. If they see purpose and opportunity, then they will have hope and will thrive.

33 Daily-Report.com | BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023

As a country, we have the ability, capacity and the resources to move towards sustainable energy, but 80% of the globe still needs fossil fuel to survive. Many countries couldn’t heat an incubator for a newborn baby or provide electricity to hospitals or schools without it. The rising interest rates and inflation are being exacerbated by logistics issues that are hampering both manufacturing and project completion thereby forcing companies to delay paying their bills until they can complete the jobs and bill for the work. This in turn is creating a climate where bid escalation on future projects to compensate for cash flow issues is becoming the norm. With respect to the labor market, we are seeing interest in receiving transitional skills for the energy sector. How do plumbers, pipefitters and electricians get trained and tooled up to build, maintain and repair the wind and solar farms? What about the increasing need for electric vehicle charging stations? It’s all about balancing competing priorities. Our goal is to help soften some of the logistics issues by helping workers learn any place and anytime with mobile job aids and performance support tools. We are working to give the industries we serve the support they need when they need it and where they need it as opposed to forcing the workers to travel. We hope to keep our local labor force competitive.

IIn the coming year, we will continue to see new regulations and laws about cryptocurrency, cannabis, and a focus on green energy. Our firm has recently gotten into the cannabis industry. We opened a Seattle office with a dynamic and energetic leader in the industry. Despite being based in Seattle, she is doing a lot in Louisiana, because federal and state laws are still out of step when it comes to marijuana. What’s interesting about this industry is that it is not solely about cannabis. It’s about companies who happen to be “touching” cannabis and how that touches everything that we are all doing already. It’s touching banking, as these entities need loans and banking products to facilitate their business. It’s touching employment, when workers with a medical marijuana prescription fail a drug test. For cryptocurrency, what happens when your employee wants to be paid partially in cryptocurrency? That hits the tax world. Who is going to pay the taxes on that? Do you value it at the time of the transaction? Do you value it at some point in the future time? In the energy sector, we are watching legacy industry giants adapt to green energy, monitoring the complexities of things like carbon capture and excitement of new offshore wind farms.

Inflation and recession. I know that is in the forefront of everybody’s mind and obviously, with the stand the Federal Reserve is taking with increasing interest rates, it can change the economic picture pretty quickly. Economist Loren Scott says the Capital Region should remain in pretty good shape and not see many of the recessionary issues that the broader economy is going to see. We have seen layoffs already with national technology firms and that is likely going to continue, but I am hopeful and positive about our local economy. Look at Europe and what they pay for natural gas and the problems they are having with geopolitical issues compared to the natural gas pricing in the U.S. The amount of investment from sources from out of the country coming into south Louisiana and what that does for the local economy, trucking jobs, and everything else was a big “aha” moment when Loren laid all that out. I believe it has a positive impact on us.

We will continue to promote our Healthy State initiative. Part of our goal is to get Louisiana off of 49th and 50th in health status and rankings. Many of these things are lifestyle behaviors and educational issues, whether that is smoking or obesity or infant mortality. We serve as a catalyst to get others in the state to promote more healthy living, more preventative health, and lifestyle changes. On the other side of that from a statewide and a national perspective, we are really having to go back to the workforce development piece within healthcare. Coming out of the pandemic, the healthcare system has leveled out in terms of not having the acute spikes in Covid cases and death and so much uncertainty, but now we are faced with a workforce issue. The average age of a nurse, for example, going into the pandemic, was about 47 years old. Many folks have retired. We have got a compounding aging population that needs more care and so we are dealing with a pretty acute workforce shortage which is causing labor costs to go up significantly. If you look at 2019 versus 2022 on a statistical basis, our labor costs for taking care of somebody are up 43%. We are 70% government-funded and so it’s going to take a while for the system to adjust in terms of the amount of reimbursement that flows to the system versus the cost to the system. Our role is to solve some of that through innovation and technology ... to continue to try to deal with the workforce shortage but also to continue our responsibility to keep the quality of care improving while we lower the cost.

The interest rate hike—its pros and cons, its positives and negatives on both sides. There’s Newton’s law. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So in my space, the negative effect is that the cost of borrowing money has gone up. If you need to borrow money to expand or buy new equipment, that is costing you more money today than it did two weeks ago. The positive side ... the demand is going down on construction materials. We needed the demand to go down so the prices would go down. They probably won’t go to the pre-pandemic level but we are seeing decreases in prices. In the IT sector, the positive is that you have big tech laying off thousands of people whether it is Twitter or Meta. Amazon announced that 10,000 people are being laid off. That’s good for small IT companies like us where we gobble some of that talent even if they are in a remote location and pay a fraction of the salary that big tech is paying them. So I think that the opportunities and the wins for us are being able to get some really good IT talent.

Look for more announcements of industrial modernization and plans to improve efficiency. President Biden announced a plan for the production of materials used in manufacturing batteries for electrical vehicles.

Koura of St, Gabriel is set to receive $100 million from USDOE. More announcements like that— industries modernizing and reshaping their facilities, all with the idea of producing more environmentally friendly products. The other big thing for 2023 is municipal elections in the spring. The mayor and council will pave the way for what happens in St. Gabriel specifically, and then later in the fall, we will have our state elections. Certainly this will have an impact over the next four years and beyond.

34 BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023 | BusinessReport.com
In your individual sectors, what will be the biggest news in 2023?

Microsoft Teams has allowed us to share information so being in different locations is a lot easier. It has made it more efficient and easier to actually have real conversations. It has been a game-changer in a positive way. We are also working with our core providers and planning an upgrade to all of our technology over the next several years. Technology is a constantly evolving and must be designed to simplify the lives of our customers and employees.

For us, it is figuring out what the customer needs from a technology perspective. In the chemical industry, one of our clients performed their own safety training which involved watching a computer screen just like they have been doing for several years, and answering certain questions at the end. We have been able to provide them with software where they can use virtual reality headsets. For example, the employee is on a scaffold and it is not stable, and you give them the opportunity to show what kind of decision they are going to make. Are you going to take your safety harness and attach it to something? It gives them the real-time effects of what happens if they make the wrong decision. You visually see yourself falling to the ground with these headsets, so it really takes the safety piece to a whole different level. You feel the experience and the reality of what happens if you make the wrong decision. Those are the kinds of things that are new and exciting.

The veteran-owned Genesis 360 provides innovative facilities management services, from large scale expansion projects to small repair and maintenance tasks.

It’s a It’s a What technology or innovation will you be using in the new year?

We continue to refine some of our remote monitoring with chronic disease management for those patients who qualify, whether it’s hypertension or diabetes—and the results have been pretty phenomenal in terms of keeping people at their controlled rates and keeping them healthy. All that data converts and goes to a care team every day. That continuous monitoring lets us make changes in real-time without a visit to the provider’s office and keeps people out of the emergency room. We continue to invest in those.

We also have Connected MOM digital technology. It’s for pregnant women and it monitors blood pressure, fetal heart tones, all of those things. Again, it gives continued connection with the care team on an ongoing basis. We are working on fall risk technology (for elderly people) connected to smart phones and Apple watches. We are working to put that back into our MyOchsner app to make sure that we are making it available to seniors or others at risk for falling. I think home monitoring will be a big growth area for us. It’s effective and cost-efficient.

The Alliance Safety Council’s Emerging Technologies Center provides an environment conducive to design thinking and development and delivery technologies that transform the adult learning experience.

We are turning the corner with technology and embracing it much more. For law enforcement, we are looking to implement some technology throughout the community to help aid with the solving and prevention of crime. Our Public Services sector’s biggest concern is wastewater and stormwater management—so we are embracing companies such as Compliance Envirosystems, LLC (CES), where we get real time and streamed production of cleaning of storm drains and culverts that our residents will be able to see and track. Administratively, we’ve just had a revamp of our website and are looking to consolidate payment pieces such as permits, licenses, property taxes, and utility bills with new online software.

35 Daily-Report.com | BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023
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Coming out of the pandemic, we had employees who said, “Hey, I have had a great career, but I have had enough.” Some of our jobs that are lower paying have been infiltrated with competition from other industries as wages have gone up. So we have more people with more choices. In addition, we have had a remote workforce. Whether that’s information systems or supply chain folks who had other options. You don’t have to necessarily live in the same city or the same state to work for the same company. We have had to digest that. Obviously, we had a lot of folks just tired and worn out and a lot of manifestations of mental health issues, all of those things. We are trying to do a better job as an organization, meeting people where they are, providing appropriate flexibility and more balance within their job and families. We make sure they can see the future, a set-out path, and that hey, there are opportunities for you to grow and develop and to use your gifts and talents within the organization. I have seen us become a better organization because of it.

Of our 104 employees, we have about 25 on the technology and content teams that all went to work remotely as the type of work they did could be done remotely. We found the teams were more productive as they could be focused. This is not always the case as it requires an individual to be self-disciplined to work independently. As time went on engagement became an issue. We had companies poaching our technology team members and offering 30% increases that our budget couldn’t support. Some folks said, “I can work from home so, why not go to the highest bidder”. I worry about these choices. We are already seeing layoffs in many sectors with the recession looming. Those individuals that jumped for wage increases will have a resume that shows they are individualistic and opportunistic, not necessarily team-centric. It may even be the last ones hired will be first ones laid off in the company they jumped to. We operate on a system geared towards maintaining our culture and the language of our culture through supporting certain behaviors and recognizing and hiring and terminating based on those behaviors. All these behaviors tie back to asking what’s next, driving for results, helping to foster an enjoyable workplace, doing the right thing, and helping others succeed. Even if people left (our company), if they had given everything to the organization, we said, “Hey, we understand. We appreciate all that you have done for us, and we wish you the best. We hope that sometime in the future that we will see you again. It may be when the world changes again, but we want to maintain those relationships.”

Well, on the construction side, it is a little more difficult to do. But take for example, managed services and help desk operations. We have the technology to know if a customer calls a help desk, how many rings before someone answers? How long are they on the call? Is it a repeat call? Just to be able to get the data helps us understand ... is this person napping or is this person taking care of the customer? So the technology offers the ability to allow certain IT folks to work from home. You don’t have all the bells and whistles to measure every moment of every day—you have to be deductive in that space. It’s no different, I guess, than with someone locked up in the office. You don’t know exactly if they are performing ... so it’s the same thing with the work-from-home in certain situations. We embrace it where we can because we understand that in this day and age, this is how it is.

We’ve had a remote work policy in effect since the start of the pandemic, and many of our employees work hybrid schedules or remotely. From home, I found it much harder to manufacture those happenstance conversations where you might be going to make a cup of coffee and you say, “Hey, glad I saw you. Didn’t you once have a case like this?” or “What do you think about this?” For example, some of our paralegals have said, “if I could have just 2 days a week at home, that would be awesome.” Sure, let’s try it out. Just have a set day so we can plan, but of course, some days we might need you in the office. This flexibility has been a way to meet our employees’ needs while still keeping servicing our clients’ needs as our main priority. Personally, I love to pick up my kids from carpool and when I need to, I will take out my laptop, hook up to VPN (it’s seamless now), and answer emails or get ahead on administrative work. For me, the ability to pivot makes my professional life and personal life balance a lot better because if I want to sit in carpool and still be productive during that downtime, I can. It’s equipped us to be much more flexible.

Founded in New Orleans, McGlinchey Stafford now has 17 offices nationwide. The firm’s Managing Partner (Michael Ferachi) is here in Baton Rouge, its second-largest office. McGlinchey was named among the “Top Law Firms for Women” this year.

37 Daily-Report.com | BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023
How has the Great Resignation and a remote workforce changed your company?
It’s a


St. Gabriel is a city with many advantages. Our public services, our police protection, our youth programs, our senior programs, and our economic development efforts are just a few of the benefits that we take seriously.

Uniquely situated to partner with world class industry, our state’s Capital and our region’s educational powerhouses, St. Gabriel offers our resident’s a lifestyle unlike any other in the Capital Region.

The residents of St. Gabriel, both corporate and residential, have an impact on the city as a whole. Our partnerships are leading us to become a city of excellence and achievement moving forward.

38 BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023 | BusinessReport.com from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • 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 © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329 LEARN MORE today about how you can partner with and call St. Gabriel home. 5035 Iberville Street | St. Gabriel, Louisiana, 70776 | P.O. Box 597 | (225) 642-9600

As you can imagine, the legal field is behind the eight-ball in this area. McGlinchey is really proud of our efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially recently. We’re undergoing a rigorous certification program called Mansfield Certification, which aims to give underrepresented candidates better access to jobs, career advancement, and leadership in law firms. We have also been involved with and recognized by an organization called the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) since its founding. Through that partnership, we offer training programs and scholarships for summer clerkships for law students, to give them that early access to the law firm experience. We’ve received the LCLD’s top honor 3 of the past 5 years, and we were named one of the Top Law Firms for Women in 2023. We’ve also expanded our benefits to cover things like domestic partnerships, gender reassignment surgery, and expanded our parental leave policies.

Another thing that we offer from a client-facing standpoint— and that Kristi Richard and I have had success with locally – is thinking creatively to develop flexible arrangements that support small, women- and minority-owned businesses. We want to be with you when you are small and grow with you, so that when you are rocking it, we are there with you, too. We are navigating that process to help set these companies up for success.

This is an easy one for us. The city of St. Gabriel is actually a majority/minority city. So we naturally check off many of the boxes, but not just with our staff. With our hiring of internal and external staff, and with our contracts, we ensure that there is an element or target that diversity is always met.

It’s a

St. Gabriel features residential communities and a strong industrial base. It is the newest and now largest city in Iberville Parish, and was incorporated in 1994.

For me, it’s when I traveled in the military and worked in corporate America. My staff in corporate America was 95% women. I saw the resiliency of women and single-parent moms ... so I am trying to bring that to the construction arena, which has been a male dominated space for so many years. You have seen some of our ads where we will have women wearing construction hats. Women can do just about anything a man can do and, in many cases, better. I am just trying to onboard that.

Ochsner Health has been providing high-quality clinical and hospital patient care since 1942, and boasts a team of 36,000 employees and 4,600 providers.

Inclusiveness is one of our six core values. Our workforce is representative of the entire population and different backgrounds mean we get the best product. What we are trying to do is move that forward. How do you do that? With scholarships, mentorship programs, leadership development programs, career ladders, and workforce development initiatives.

There are so many facets to diversity and inclusion. It’s also about your mindset and background, not just the color or shape of your skin. When I was 30 years old, it was called affirmative action. I went into a male dominant industry, electronics and electricity, because the other fields weren’t interesting to me and I felt I had a better shot at getting a technical job because they needed women in those industries. I never once thought I would be given a job if I wasn’t qualified. I think the mindset that we are looking for is a growth mindset. We want workers to bring their A-game. We want them to play like a pro. Baton Rouge is a majority/ minority city just by virtue of our labor pool demographics. Sometimes you have to zoom out and take everything into consideration.

We are very close to this issue in our schools in West Feliciana and we are serious about developing our relationships with kids. We have hired young men and women who really don’t know what they want to do and have never had access to the financial world. So we give them an opportunity as an intern or full-time out of high school if they are not looking to go to college, allow them to be a teller or customer service representative, then try to open the doors to lots of careers. Banking will not be the thing for all of them, but look at all these other careers that are out there. They are interacting with all these other businesspeople. So that is something that we have made a priority from a diversity perspective. Being a small town, you get to develop relationships at a deep level and invest in kids, and in that way, you’re investing in the future.

39 Daily-Report.com | BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023
How are you trying to impact diversity and inclusion in your organization?
It’s a

Craig Stevens has a degree in IT and as an as a officer in the Air Force, he was responsible for implementing IT systems across several platforms. Craig guarantees your technology needs will be handled with precision and attention to detail like no other. Craig and Genesis 360’s commitment to excellence are reflected in their being named Business Awards company of the Year 2022, SBA’s Louisiana Firm of the Year 2022, INC 5000 fastest growing company in America 2022. Craig was also recently awarded SBA’s 2022 Business

COMPANY OF THE YEAR • 2022 LOUISIANA FIRM OF THE YEAR • 2022 BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR I nc. 5000 • FIRST TIME ON THE LIST • #71 IN CONSTRUCTION • #8 IN LOUISIANA • #4 IN BATON ROUGE • MAINTENANCE • CONSTRUCTION • IT SERVICES Managed IT Services • Call Center Operations • Staff Augmentation • Reseller Services • Cyber Security Web Services Cloud Backup Services • Data Analytics • Office 360/Email Support • Social/Video Medial Services from receipt of this proof. A shorter timeframe will apply for tight deadlines. • 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 © Melara Enterprises, LLC. 2023. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329
Person of the Year.

People are discovering this hidden jewel that we call St. Gabriel. We have a great community: Even though we are a city, we still have a rural feel with very low crime and a good educational system. Geographically, we are 10 minutes from Tiger Stadium, 10 minutes from the Mall of Louisiana and Tanger Outlet, and 45 minutes from New Orleans. In that regard, we are in a great geographic position. In St. Gabriel, you can come home and be at home and I think that people love that. Our mantra has been, “Come on home to St. Gabriel; we’re closer than you think.”

McGlinchey is in growth mode overall right now, and the pandemic has caused quite a shake-up in the legal field, as it has for many of us. People are looking for flexibility and a company that cares about them as a person, not just as a worker. My goal for the Baton Rouge office is that we grow and become even more deeply rooted here. Something we are working on locally is addressing the disparity and diversity in the legal profession in general. It is interesting, being a female attorney typically counts as some layer of diversity in the legal community, which is not always in line with other industries. The firm is working hard, and I’m working hard in Baton Rouge specifically, to go beyond that and to think of diversity more holistically. Our office is fortunate to have Southern Law and LSU Law, and we can recruit in New Orleans and Mississippi College and even beyond. But it’s a little bit hard because a lot of that talent doesn’t want to stay in Baton Rouge. So how do I make them fall in love with our family and our culture, so they will want to stay here and make it better here and improve that issue here in our local community?

Talk about growth: What is driving it & how are

responding? What is the solution?

We have been serving the Capital Region for 45 years and it is exciting to actually open a new branch in Baton Rouge. We have hired some really talented people over the last couple of years. Douglas Dupont has done a great job and we have grown a lot of relationships in Baton Rouge. Putting something on the ground is exciting and we are able to serve people in a fuller capacity and do so by growing.

Fortunately, we have multiple facilities that are geographically dispersed and positioned to be accessed using multiple routes to save time and energy. We also are nested in many of our major contractors’ offices so that training and pre-employment checks can be done in a timely manner, so they are job-ready sooner and with less travel. We are seeing that because of the shortage of workers, there is an increasing number of workers who go back and forth from Texas to Louisiana and come from other places because these areas are short of a particular skillset. So, the remote training is going to be very helpful for those out of state. We will continue to be as fluid as possible and available 24/7 when and where they need us.

To crime ...

Education and opportunities for workforce development are key. People have to have hope and a vision. They’ve got to have a path in life that says I am going to be a contributor in society. I am going to be able to support myself and my family if I so choose. The more investment we put in—whether that is education, workforce development or economic growth, it leads to more people with a brighter future, which will lead to less crime. That’s the economic fabric that we have got to focus on.

It’s a

To the supply chain issue ...

We had a recent situation at an Air Force base where they had an emergency termination for the incumbent for not performing services. They called us to take over the contract (this was in September). We gave them our price and they accepted. But they wanted them to mobilize in 10 days. Where am I going to get $1.7 million of equipment from? So I had my guys in the field and we were going through the newspaper and finding used trucks because we just couldn’t get them from a dealer. We were going to leasing companies and saying, ‘Rather than leasing, can we buy this piece of equipment?’ So we just figured out how to pivot. Once you say yes and sign that contract, it’s all yours so figure it out. And it worked. Pre-pandemic, it would have been easy to go to one dealership and get all our equipment, but that is not a viable solution in today’s market conditions. We realize if you say no, the government or commercial clients, they will just go to the next company who can figure it out. So in my business, the answer is always yes, then figure it out.

41 Daily-Report.com | BUSINESS REPORT, January 2023
Bank of St. Francisville is celebrating its 45th Anniversary this year and has opened its first branch in Baton Rouge on Highland Road. Another branch and offices are coming soon.
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