Page 1






Gain a Competitive Edge The E. J. Ourso College of Business offers year-round educational programs for business communities in Louisiana, the region, and beyond.

Differentiate from the Pack Public-Private Partnerships Symposium

> Learn to structure partnerships for economic success

Executive Development Program > Advance leadership skills

EBV Accelerate for Military Veterans Program

> Acquire entrepreneurship skills to propel business to the next level

Rising Stars Program

> Emerge as a high potential employee

Become an Industry Expert Tax Seminar

> Update on federal tax developments

Fraud & Forensic Accounting Conference > Learn from the insiders

Internal Audit Conference

> Gain continuing professional education

Attain Credentials

Through Certification Programs and Academic Certificates

Certified Credit Analyst Program

> Receive high quality entry level training not available elsewhere

PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)ÂŽ Certification > Validate competence as project manager

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)ÂŽ Certification (online) > Advance financial expertise

Graduate Certificate in Analytics (online) > Retrain using big data

Graduate Certificate in Econometrics

> Increase productivity in industry and government

Expand Your Education Through Evening and Online Classes

Online MBA

> Flexible option for career advancement

Professional MBA (evening)

> Accelerate or change career trajectory

Executive MBA (Friday/Saturday and online) > Become a high-impact leader

Master of Public Administration (full-time/part-time) > Gain competencies to lead and manage

Master of Science Analytics (full-time/part-time) > Utilize data to guide decisions

LEARN SO MU CH MO R E > lsu.edu/business/businesscommunity AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


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. 2019. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329






ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

Port Vincent, LA 70726






Publisher: Rolfe H. McCollister Jr. EDITORIAL Editorial director: Penny Font Executive editor: JR Ball Corporate media editor: Lisa Tramontana Content strategist: Allyson Guay Managing editor: Steve Sanoski Editor: Stephanie Riegel Online news editor: Deanna B. Narveson Digital content editor: Mark Clements Contributing writers: Erin Z. Bass, Emily Kern Hebert, Olivia McClure, Maggie Heyn Richardson, Meredith Whitten, Ansley Zehnder Photographer: Don Kadair


ADVERTISING Account executives: Lori Christiansen, Judith LaDousa, Angie LaPorte Advertising coordinator: Abby Hutchinson

ON THE COVER: Nicholson Gateway

CONTENTS Annual Report celebrates the leadership and innovation demonstrated by the South Louisiana business and civic community. These “profiles of success” provide an inside look at businesses and organizations with a story to tell. We hope you enjoy learning about this year’s participants and the impact they have on our communities. (Information in the profiles was provided by the advertisers.)

FROM THE SPONSORS .................................................. 8

Window World .....................................................................44 Craig Greene, MD, MBA....................................................45


Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School................................46

Scott Equipment Company............................................... 12

DEMCO.................................................................................. 47

LANTEC.................................................................................. 14

Port of South Louisiana......................................................48

Champion Graphic Communications.............................. 16

Mougeot Architecture.........................................................49

The Shobe Financial Group ............................................. 18

Cristo Rey Franciscan High School................................50

ProSource of Baton Rouge............................................... 20

Elite Import Group, LLC...................................................... 51

Vivid Ink Graphics................................................................22

Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP................................................... 52

Peak Performance Physical Therapy............................... 24

Capital Area Transit System (CATS)...............................53

Louisiana Community and


Technical College System........................................... 26

Raymond James & Associates..........................................55 New York Life–New Orleans.............................................56


SSA Consultants ................................................................. 57

Gulf Coast Office Products..............................................29

Lake After Hours...................................................................58

East Baton Rouge Parish Library .................................... 31

Acadian Home Theater & Automation.............................59

RES Contractors .................................................................33

Data-Tel of Louisiana Inc....................................................60

Global Data Systems .........................................................34

Dick Roundtree Copiers..................................................... 61

Entergy Louisiana.................................................................36

Team Real World..................................................................62

Port of Greater Baton Rouge ...........................................38

Clover Creative Agency......................................................63

I CARE....................................................................................40

Community Coffee Company............................................64

Louisiana Public Facilities Authority................................ 41

AccuTemp Services.............................................................65

City of Central ...................................................................... 42

Didier Architecture...............................................................66


Coastal Engineering Solutions......................................... 67

For an alphabetical index of stories, turn to page 11.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

MARKETING Chief marketing officer: Elizabeth McCollister Hebert Marketing assistant: Katelyn Oglesby Events: Abby Hamilton Community liaison: Jeanne McCollister McNeil ADMINISTRATION Controller: Jessica F. Sharp Digital manager: James Hume Business associate: Kirsten Milano Business associate: Tiffany Durocher Office coordinator: Tara Lane Receptionist: Cathy Varnado Brown PRODUCTION/DESIGN Production director: Melanie Samaha Art director: Hoa Vu Graphic designers: Gracie Fletcher, Melinda Gonzalez, Emily Witt AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Audience development director: Benjamin Gallagher A publication of Louisiana Business Inc. Chairman: Rolfe H. McCollister Jr. President & CEO: Julio A. Melara Executive assistant: Millie Coon Subscriptions/Customer Service 9029 Jefferson Highway, Suite 300 Baton Rouge, LA 70809 225-421-8181 BusinessReport.com  email: subscriptions@businessreport.com Volume 37 - Number 16

©Copyright 2019 by Louisiana Business Incorporated. All rights reserved by LBI. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report (USPS 721-890 ISSN 0747-4652) is published biweekly by Louisiana Business Inc. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Business address: 9029 Jefferson Hwy., Ste. 300, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. Telephone (225) 928-1700. Periodicals postage is paid at Baton Rouge, La. Subscription rate is $59.00 for 25 issues, with 3 additional issues published annually in April, June and December. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, 9029 Jefferson Hwy. Ste. 300, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report cannot be responsible for the return of unsolicited material—manuscripts or photographs, with or without the inclusion of a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Information in this publication is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. No information expressed here constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities.


ACCOUNT WAS FREE. Now it’s better than free.

Today, our Totally Free Checking Account isn’t just free. It frees up your schedule with ePerks, a suite of the latest time-saving tech tools—and it’s backed by the kind of old-fashioned, personal service that really sets your mind free.

redriverbank.net 225-923-0232

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019



We make it simple to do business with us ANOTHER YEAR IS behind us and technology is moving faster than ever. The way we share and retrieve information is amazing. Gulf Coast Office Products has continued to invest in resources that allow us to support our clients in making them as productive as possible and achieving the maximum uptime. And after 42 years as the largest copier dealer in Louisiana, we still have one-on-one service and easy access to the help you need. We have worked hard to streamline our processes to make it simple to do business with us. We want our clients to be able to continue to run their organizations smoothly. Our Louisiana employees (more than 100 of them) are committed to our mission of providing a good customer experience. Our manufacturer is committed to offering the best technology available so we can share it with our community. We wish all of you a prosperous 2019 and will be here for you every step of the way.

Trey Beall Gulf Coast Office Products

With passion and innovative spirit, anything is possible OVER THE PAST 30-plus years, I’ve been privileged to see Global Data Systems evolve and grow. Consumption models have shifted, technologies have evolved, customer bases have matured, and economies have ebbed and flowed—and as president, I’m most proud of how our people have always taken on any challenge head on. Lately, there is press on the changing mobile work force or companies that have been hacked, and the market is requiring companies to get more done with fewer resources. As more companies realize the advantages of leveraging instant-on cloud services, the demand for secure connectivity and the complexity of managing those networks rises exponentially. Recognizing these trends, we have invested in a nationwide, private network, leveraging wireless cellular, satellite, broadband, and fiber to provide our customers a secure connection anywhere, any time. Customers can have the same, high-quality experience whether they are in a corporate office, working remotely, or in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. We have committed ourselves to innovating the next generation of managed connectivity and security services solutions to help our customers navigate these challenges and to feel secure in their ability to use technology as a strategic advantage for their company. GDS stands firm in our commitment to serve the people in our company, our customers, and our community, while doing our part to simplify IT and enabling businesses to grow. We never make excuses … we own every outcome. We are committed to constant improvement and growth within our organization. With the passion and innovative spirit that defines our people, we believe anything is possible. It’s that commitment to our core values that has enabled our company to grow and succeed. We are not yet done growing and investing. In 2019 we are expanding our cloud services, doubling down on our managed security services, and embracing the evolution of 5G and its impact in the workplace. We are proud to be a part of the growth engine for Louisiana’s economy of the future.

Chris Vincent President Global Data Systems


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com


Committed to the forward momentum of Baton Rouge THE NATIONALLY ACCLAIMED East Baton Rouge Parish Library continues to increase services for the business community. Our resources deliver up-to-date training and new tech initiatives so the employment and research needs of local businesses are met at a level that helps them grow and compete globally. 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. We’re especially pleased to offer a new Small Business Service to local business owners and entrepreneurs. It includes free programs, resources and tools to help your business grow and offers free one-on-one consultations with our business librarians. Contact them at smallbusiness@ebrpl.com. Business librarians can guide you in the use of robust tools such as Reference USA, Mergent Intellect, and Gale’s Small Business Builder, a step-by-step online planning tool for starting, managing and optimizing a business or nonprofit. As we continue to expand our workforce development and emerging technology offerings, the Library also diligently strives to assist in the forward momentum of Baton Rouge’s development and we will continue responding to your needs. Check us out at ebrpl.com or ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary.

Spencer Watts Library Director East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Strong partnerships are key to success OUR STRENGTH HAS always been in creating successful partnerships through the construction process, and we do this by focusing on quality and safety at every level. This philosophy has helped us sustain long-term relationships with our clients who appreciate the fact that we routinely exceed their expectations and maintain the highest level of professionalism, integrity and honesty. Since day one, client satisfaction has been a goal of RES Contractors, and our success has led to new growth within and beyond Louisiana. As I’ve often said, ‘Good work brings more work.’ One reason we are able to deliver such quality is because we invest in our people and have developed a company culture that cares about its employees, creates opportunities for them, and rewards their hard work. We have built a team of skilled employees and strong managers with expertise in every facet of construction. In 2019, we look forward to improving the client experience even more and delivering superior service to our customers throughout the Gulf Coast region.

Joel Landry CEO RES Contractors, LLC

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019





What will differentiate the winners from the losers won’t be technology or capital but leadership and a willingness to learn. —JOHN CHAMBERS


This EXCLUSIVE Program is only for rising executives or small business owners who want to take their leadership to the next level.




ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com



ANNUAL REPORT PROFILES OF SUCCESS ALPHABE TICAL INDE X OF PROFILES Acadian Home Theater & Automation....................................59

I CARE...........................................................................................40

AccuTemp Services....................................................................65

Lake After Hours..........................................................................58

Capital Area Transit System (CATS)......................................53


Champion Graphic Communications.....................................16

Louisiana Community and Technical College System.......26

City of Central..............................................................................42

Louisiana Public Facilities Authority.......................................41

Clover Creative Agency.............................................................63

Mougeot Architecture.................................................................49

Coastal Engineering Solutions................................................67

New York Life–New Orleans....................................................56

Community Coffee Company...................................................64

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School.......................................46

Craig Greene, MD, MBA...........................................................45

Peak Performance Physical Therapy......................................24

Cristo Rey Franciscan High School.......................................50

Port of Greater Baton Rouge...................................................38

Data-Tel of Louisiana Inc............................................................60

Port of South Louisiana..............................................................48


ProSource of Baton Rouge.......................................................20

Dick Roundtree Copiers............................................................61

Raymond James & Associates.................................................55

Didier Architecture......................................................................66

RES Contractors.........................................................................33

East Baton Rouge Parish Library............................................31

Scott Equipment Company.......................................................12

Elite Import Group, LLC.............................................................51

SSA Consultants.........................................................................57

Entergy Louisiana........................................................................36

Team Real World.........................................................................62

Global Data Systems..................................................................34

The Shobe Financial Group......................................................18

Gulf Coast Office Products......................................................29


Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP..........................................................52

Vivid Ink Graphics.......................................................................22


Window World.............................................................................44

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success



80-year history proves they’re in it for the long haul FOR 80 YEARS, Scott Equipment Company has provided the industries of Louisiana with the machines and support they need to help their businesses grow and stay competitive. The company was founded by Tom Scott in 1939 in Monroe, La. Then called Scott Truck and Tractor, the company started with 10 employees as a farm equipment and motor truck distributor. Today, it employs 450 people in 16 locations across five states. Scott Equipment’s largest staff is in its Baton Rouge location with a team of 45 employees. As a full-line equipment dealer, Scott Equipment has four main product lines in the Baton Rouge market: Volvo (dirt and road equipment), Tadano (rough terrain cranes), Kobelco (crawler cranes) and Toyota (forklifts). “We’ve got a strong, loyal customer base of large industrial companies and large commercial and civil

1935 1939

With 10 employees, Scott Truck and Tractor opened its doors in Monroe, Louisiana in 1939, serving the needs of north Louisiana’s agricultural industry. With his wife Mayme, founder Tom Scott built a company based on service to the customer, an appreciation for technology, and a desire to build strong relationships in the community


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Sales, rentals, and service of heavy-duty construction equipment, cranes and forklifts TOP EXECUTIVE Scott Cummins, President PHONE....................................225.293.3683 WEBSITE......................... scottcompanies.com

contractors,” says Jim Johnson, general manager and vice president of the Baton Rouge location. “The industrial sector in our region includes petrochemical companies which are a very important segment of our business.” The focus on large industrial and commercial customers reduces Scott Equipment’s sensitivity to the sporadic general construction industry. “We’re not as vulnerable as some companies,” Johnson says. “If home building falls off, for example, we’re not as affected as some of our peers.” In addition to selling equipment, Scott Equipment has one of the largest heavy construction equipment rental fleets in the region. The company believes that its customers are important and maintains a companywide culture of servicing the customer after the sale. Scott Equipment provide 24-hour parts and

service for its customers and will perform any work needed to keep them up and running. “You name it and we do it,” Johnson says. “When something breaks down, it’s important to get the customer back in operation regardless of the size of the job.” Johnson says the company’s unparalleled service sets it apart from others. “In today’s world, customers want to deal with someone who can solve a problem or help at the point of contact. They don’t want to go through layers of people,” he says. “Our customers know they will get a resolution when they contact us. They don’t hear, ‘Let me get back to you.’” Many customers are some of the largest in the region and operate in dangerous and secure environments. Scott Equipment has a commitment to safety


1970 1965

In a move to expand their truck and tractor business, the company became the north Louisiana distributor for IH Construction Equipment of South Louisiana in 1965.



and its employees are highly trained. The investment in safety and training is appreciated by customers and gives the company unique access to customers’ facilities to repair and maintain equipment. “You don’t just walk in the gates at some of these companies,” Johnson says. “So we make sure our people are qualified in every way.” People are important is the company’s motto and that pertains to employees and customers big and small, Johnson says. “Of all the changes I’ve seen over the years — in the market, technology, equipment, etc., the one constant is you still have to build relationships,” he says. “You have to have qualified people in your sales force and service department who can do those old-fashioned things. We may have Internet pricing, but we still have to go talk with our customers.” Attracting and retaining a qualified, knowledgeable team is integral to the company’s eight decades of success. All employees, including factory-trained technicians, stay on top of the latest equipment and operations trends, partly through the company’s own training programs. Scott Equipment has its own training facility in Monroe, where they educate all employees on aspects of the industry and the machines. Strong management is another key element to

the company’s success, and Johnson says Scott Equipment is proud of its senior leadership and its management training program. “Everyone is in touch with what is happening at the operations level, and they talk to our customers directly. Our president, our CFO and our COO will come and get involved in anything we ask them to at the drop of a hat. That just doesn’t happen at other companies.” Indeed, Scott Equipment benefits from being a local operation with the resources of a larger company. “We’re able to make fast, firm decisions because of the way we’re structured,” Johnson says. Scott Equipment Company remains a family-owned business, with Scott Cummins, grandson of the company’s founder, serving as president since 2001. Employees and customers alike are treated like family, Johnson says. “The secret to our success—it’s not a cliché—is that we have good products, good performance and good people. We’re managed locally, but we’ve got a good family behind us. Our management and ownership are in touch with our customer base and throughout our operations. We take a common-sense approach to everything. That’s what has allowed us to evolve and be competitive for 80 years. We’ve proven that we’re in it for the long haul.”

Jim Johnson, left, and John Hurst







From the President The past, the present and the future. Seems like a simple enough concept when considering the life of a business, but in order to secure a future, a CEO must learn from the past, excel in the present and anticipate the future. I am honored to be the president of Scott Equipment and have been for the past 18 years. I believe my grandfather Tom Scott, founder of Scott Equipment, understood this principle in 1939. The company’s past is not a unique small business story. We opened in a small town in Louisiana with the belief that people are important and customer service is paramount to success. At that time, the farmer was our prevalent customer. The present has been marked by tremendous growth and while we still treasure our long-standing farming customers, many of whom are multigenerational, we have transitioned into a sophisticated 21st century entity servicing many of the largest industrial and commercial contractors in the region. We understand the unique needs of our customers and our exceptional staff strives to unflinchingly accommodate their needs 24/7. The idea that “people are important” throughout our history has been a two-sided coin; one side representing our loyal, diligent employees and the other side representing our extraordinary customers. The future of Scott elicits pure excitement. Our industry experiences phenomenal technological advances and we will always provide our customers with the best options for their continued success. I am proud of the past and present of Scott Equipment and look forward to the future. SCOTT CUMMINS




2019 2019


Scott Equipment celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014.

Today, Scott Equipment employs 450 people in 16 locations across five states. The company’s largest staff is in its Baton Rouge location with a team of 45 employees. Scott Cummins, grandson of Tom Scott, is president of the company.

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success

From left: Bernard Mott, Brad Berard, Melanie Lococo, Christy Brasseaux, Rickie Comeaux, Eric Barker, and Larry Ruth.


LANTEC helps businesses grow by strengthening employee skills FOR 20 YEARS, LANTEC has provided workforce training for businesses across Louisiana. Founded in 1999 as a software training company, LANTEC has become the leading corporate training provider for local businesses and federal agencies of all sizes. While it continues to provide software-related training, the company has also developed a focus on professional development skills. Christy Brasseaux, chief operating officer, says LANTEC’s evolution has been a response to customers whose business needs have evolved. “We had a loyal base that was taking technology training from us and they started asking why we didn’t offer courses in time management or customer service,” she says. “It really did emerge out of



supply and demand. Our clients wanted more, so that’s what kicked it off. It has been exciting to watch professional development training become a booming part of our business.” The prevalence of technology in businesses and everyday life has spurred demand for training in more interpersonal and communication topics, Brasseaux adds. “People have been in IT for years now — we’re basically born with a tablet in our hand, but we may not know how to communicate with or manage people.” Today, LANTEC offers about 80 professional development training courses that address “soft” business skills. Examples include Dealing with Organizational Change, Leadership Skills, Project

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Provider of corporate training and professional development for businesses of all sizes PHONE....................................225.293.0656 WEBSITE................................. lantecctc.com EMAIL............................. sales@lantecctc.com TWITTER............................... @lantectraining FACEBOOK................... facebook.com/LANtec

Management, Conflict Resolution and CPR. These courses serve as stand-alone training but can also complement software training courses. For example, a business interested in improving time management skills could benefit from learning about Outlook’s many features. “Some courses integrate with software, and this can evolve into other training needs,” Brasseaux says. For example, what an employee does on their desktop can impact their time management skills,





Rickie Comeaux acquires a computer training franchise and establishes LANTEC.

LANTEC begins offering professional development courses to complement computer software training.

ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

2006 LANTEC opens a second office in Lafayette.



1999 which can lead to the need for stress management strategies. Although online or remote training has become prevalent, LANTEC has outlasted its competition because of its continued dedication to quality, instructor-led, live training. “In person is the most effective way for adults to learn,” Brasseaux says. “They can ask for immediate feedback and learn from the facilitator and other attendees. There’s an immediate return on investment and that experience isn’t easily replicated online. E-learning has its place, but LANTEC has never wavered in our belief that live, instructor-led training is best.” LANTEC has training centers in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, where classes are offered on a regular public schedule. This benefits businesses that cannot shut down completely while employees take a training course. Onsite or private classes also can be added based on demand, specific customer needs, group size and travel budgets. In 2012, the company contracted with the federal government to expand LANTEC’s reach well beyond Louisiana. In fact, LANTEC is currently conducting a nine-week leadership training for the U.S. Navy domestically and abroad. “The ability to sell to the federal government opened up a whole new market and allowed us to take our brand nationwide,” Brasseaux says. “We still think of ourselves as a small family business, but we’ve been to every state in the country.” The company recognizes that some businesses have training needs for a small number of employees. Adding a course at their local centers may not be feasible to accommodate one or two employees, so LANTEC recently launched a distance learning initiative with live instructors. “Our distance learning initiative gives businesses the flexibility to receive training without ever leaving home, Brasseaux says. “And these are led by live instructors — they’re not webinars or pre-recorded.” LANTEC helps Louisiana businesses access and fund training through the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP). LANTEC administers grants for the program, which aims to improve productivity and company growth by developing employees’ skills. The Louisiana Legislature appropriates $20 million to the program each year. Currently, LANTEC manages more than $3.1 million in IWTP grant awards for Louisiana employers, with another $1 million to be approved this spring. Since becoming an authorized Primary Training Provider in 2008, LANTEC has secured $12 million in IWTP training for the state’s labor force. To be eligible for IWTP grants, an employer must have at least 15 employees to train and must be a Louisiana-based business that has paid unemployment insurance tax for at least three years.


Louisiana businesses with fewer than 50 employees can apply for the Small Business Employee Training program, which enables businesses to develop and upgrade employees’ skills through standardized training. Also funded through unemployment insurance taxes, the program allows Louisiana-based companies that have been in business at least three years and are current on unemployment insurance taxes to be reimbursed for training costs up to $3,000 per employee per year. LANTEC averages $725,000 per year of small-business training grants. For both IWTP and SBET grants, LANTEC provides step-by-step assistance, including assessing training needs and submitting the grant application. LANTEC works with businesses to develop a customized training plan for IWTP applications. For SBET grants, LANTEC handles all the paperwork for applying for reimbursement from the state. “Chances are high a business will qualify for one or both programs,” Brasseaux says. “LANTEC handles all the red tape and businesses have already paid for this, so if they qualify, all they have to do is allocate time for the training.” LANTEC has a high success rate for both programs, and has more applications approved for the SBET program than any other training provider in the state. The Louisiana Workforce Commission asked LANTEC to participate in Apprenti, an apprenticeship program designed to help Louisiana workers develop skills they need for a career in information technology. This, in turn, helps the state attract and retain IT businesses. “We have a lot of apprentice programs in the state for skilled trades, but we didn’t have one for IT,” Brasseaux says. “We’re trying to attract more IT to the state, but businesses are having trouble finding folks who have the skills, such as in cyber security.” Candidates selected for the Apprenti program will be hired by a tech employer and will receive intensive classroom training and paid on-the-job training for a highly skilled role in the tech industry. LANTEC offers accelerated, 10-week IT skills training and certification programs as part of Apprenti. As LANTEC prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary in October, Brasseaux says the secret to the company’s long-term success lies in the ability to adapt to changing customer needs. “We used to be a small firm in the market, but we’ve had longevity because we’re flexible to customer needs, we take care of our employees, and we deliver quality, hands-on, instructor-led live training in an age when others are trying to shortcut into e-learning and computer-based training,” she says. “Whether we’re providing training for a small business, a Fortune 500 organization, or the U.S military, our customers can tell us their pain point and we’ll solve it.”






From the President Since establishing LANTEC of Louisiana LLC 20 years ago, we have strived to maintain high ethical standards, create and provide superior employee training to enhance our clients’ success, and attract talented and dedicated employees. We believe that developing your workforce into a professional, efficient and cohesive team is the single most critical component to every company’s success. Train and retain your most important asset – people. The company I purchased in October 1999 had many challenges, including unhappy customers, vendors, and employees. Our first year we trained about 1,000 students with revenue of about $200,000. Our vision was to build a company with a reputation based on impeccable course deliveries by certified, experienced and caring instructors and staff from top to bottom. Twenty years later, with two state-of-art facilities in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, we have delivered worldclass professional development and software training in all 64 parishes and in every state in the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We recently completed leadership training academies for the U.S. Navy in Japan, Italy and Saudi Arabia. LANTEC has grown from training 1,000 individuals a year to more than 20,000 annually. We are privileged to work alongside so many wonderful companies and individuals throughout the years. The relationships we have built with businesses both small and large are never taken for granted. We sincerely appreciate it and hope we’ve assisted in your business being both successful and rewarding. Thank you,





2012 LANTEC becomes a GSA schedule holder (authorized federal contractor). Later that year, the company opens an 8750-squarefoot state-of-the-art corporate learning center in Baton Rouge.

2008 Louisiana Workforce Commission invites LANTEC to become a primary training provider for IWTP grants.

2019 NexusLA and Louisiana Workforce Commission choose LANTEC to provide the state’s first IT Apprenticeship Program.


U.S. Navy selects LANTEC to conduct multiple Leadership Academies worldwide. AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success

Adam Reynolds, left, and Trevor Sprague


BR printing company is branding ‘champion’ in getting their message across THESE DAYS, IT’S more important than ever for businesses to get their messages across to new and existing audiences. The landscape is crowded, and consumers are often distracted by the information overload that comes in the form of so many different advertising media. What a business needs to help directly target future customers is a partner who brings a combination of high-tech expertise and thoughtful problem solving to the table, says President and General Manager Trevor Sprague. “We pride ourselves on bringing game-changing ideas to our customers,” says Sprague. “We want to work with our clients to discover a company’s pain points, and how we can offer tailored, affordable marketing solutions that deliver great return on investment.” Located on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, Champion Graphic Communications is a

commercial printing company with roots in the well-known local firm Bourque Printing. Bourque was acquired in 1993 by Champion, a West Virginiabased enterprise with several locations across the eastern and southern U.S. Baton Rouge is one of its largest sites, giving customers the heft and strength of a national provider with the personal service of a local company. Customers have access to premier equipment, great customer service, highly trained staff and fast turnaround times for a broad spectrum of regular and special project printing needs. Champion offers design services, brand management, traditional printing, wide format signage and display graphics, advertising specialties and more. From annual reports and business forms, to custom wall graphics and promotional swag that creatively reinforce a company’s brand, no project is out of reach.

1960 1964 The Chapman Printing Company is purchased by Marshall T. Reynolds along with another Huntington, W.V. printing operation, marking the start of Champion Industries.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Full-service printer offering design services, brand management, traditional printing, wide format signage and display graphics, direct mail, promotional items, warehousing and online inventory control TOP EXECUTIVES Trevor Sprague, President/General Manager; Adam Reynolds, CEO PHONE.................................... 225.291.9090 WEBSITE..................... printwithchampion.com EMAIL.......... tsprague@champion-industries.com

“Our goal is to help our clients find new and effective ways of reaching their audiences,” says Sprague. “Often, we’re able to find a strategy that a customer hasn’t considered yet.” For example, Sprague’s team recently produced a highly effective direct mail campaign for a career college interested in increasing enrollment among 20-something women. Champion created a threepart flyer mailed to the target market that posed

1990 1993 The company acquires 11 printing companies stretching from North Carolina to Louisiana, including Bourque Printing of Baton Rouge in 1993.

1995 1995 Champion acquires legendary color shop Upton Printing of New Orleans in 1995, adding high-end color expertise to its manufacturing capabilities.



pointed questions and led to specific calls to action. “We asked very clear questions that prompted people to think about whether they were happy with their lives, and what they could do to make them better,” says Sprague. The piece garnered solid ROI for the client. Moreover, Champion was able to price it so that it was paid for with just one new enrolled student. Similarly, Champion helped a kitchen and bathroom designer get the word out about his services in a direct mail piece that used vibrant graphics to demonstrate his work. Again, just one new client offset the cost of the piece. “In many cases, we’re able to help a company deploy a new strategy they haven’t thought of to effectively reach new markets,” says Sprague. Champion serves customers across a variety of sectors, including banking, retail, health care, education, manufacturing, and oil and gas. Longtime customers include Community Coffee, First Guaranty Bank, LSU and many other regionally recognized brands who trust Champion for their attention to detail, high quality printing and great customer service.

Besides commercial offset and digital presses, Champion’s Baton Rouge location is equipped to produce large format signs, window and point-ofpurchase advertising, and other creative pieces like custom wall designs that reinforce a brand, provide inspiration or inform consumers. The company also provides a full spectrum of ad speciality and promotional printing, including apparel, drink ware, trade show items and more. Sprague, who comes from a graphic design and offset printing background, leads a team of sales people, graphic designers and technical experts who each embrace the art and science of creating the perfect printed product. Regular customers are taken on a tour of Champion’s Baton Rouge production facility so that they can witness the high level of design and printing that takes place every day. “Even after so many years in the business,” says Sprague, “there’s nothing like laying out a project, thinking through the design, the color and the messaging … and producing something to be really proud of. That’s something we take very seriously.” Our slogan says it all … we are “more than ink on paper.”







From the President At Champion Graphic Communications, we have a saying—more than ink on paper. This is not just a catch phrase or snappy tagline. It’s our business philosophy—the approach we take each day as we meet with new clients and start new projects. It’s our people philosophy, an attitude and a culture that we encourage our team to embrace. Although we’ve experienced our fair share of challenges along the way, 55 years is a long time to be successful at anything. A few years ago, Champion CEO Adam Reynolds and I were discussing the state of the printing industry and the perception that it was being forced to take a back seat in the digital world. We begged to differ. We knew our clients had marketing needs beyond what traditional print was offering and we knew we had the products and services to fit those needs. We invested in technology that allows us to offer our clients customized web portals to control their inventory or manage their brands, including social media content and distribution. Our state-of-the-art wide format printing department can round out a well thought out marketing campaign with branded signage, or we can enhance a space with custom wall graphics. Thank you, Baton Rouge, for so many great years. We are committed to serving this wonderful community for years to come.


President and General Manager

2000 2000 The company’s printing divisions grow again with the addition in 2000 of Transdata Systems, Inc. in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.





The company begins operating as Champion Graphic Communications by moving its Baton Rouge and New Orleans operations into the 45,000-square-foot facility located on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, making CGC one of the premier printers and marketing communications companies in South Louisiana.

Hired by Upton Printing in 1996 as a pre-press manager and then production manager of CGC’s Baton Rouge facility, Trevor Sprague is named president and general manager.


2015 2015 Champion adds wideformat capabilities as it continues to invest in new technology to serve its clients’ everexpanding needs.

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success


Shobe Financial takes proactive approach to help clients pursue financial goals FOR MORE THAN three decades, Edward Shobe of The Shobe Financial Group has worked to build a team of professionals who design financial plans for individuals and closely-held business owners. The company helps clients manage their financial lives and build their legacies. Shobe started Shobe and Associates Inc. in 1983, initially working out of a spare bedroom in his Baton Rouge home. The business has grown primarily through referrals and by maintaining a focus on helping others pursue life goals through good financial decisions. “From the beginning, we’ve always stuck to that,” Shobe says. “Helping people plan their financial lives is wonderfully satisfying. At The Shobe Financial Group, we support every client’s best



interests as if they were our own family. It’s simply our culture. The evidence is clear from the tenure of many 20- and 30-year clients.” Over the years the company has evolved with a second generation of leadership. Shobe’s daughter, Susan Shobe Windham, and her husband, Jason Windham joined the firm in 1998, about the same time as the company’s new identity was launched (The Shobe Financial Group). Less than a year later, on February 19, 1999, the business moved into their new headquarters on YMCA Plaza Drive in Baton Rouge. As a result of continuing growth, the management of the firm evolved and Shobe assumed the role of chairman while Jason Windham was appointed president in 2007. This tiered management created


AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Financial advisory company that helps people pursue life goals through good financial decisions TOP EXECUTIVES Edward Shobe, Chairman; Jason Windham, President; Craig Kliebert, Senior Vice President ADDRESS One Oak Square, 8280 YMCA Plaza Drive, Building 4, BR, LA 70810 YEAR FOUNDED..................................1983 PHONE.....................................225.763.7010 WEBSITE..................................... shobe.com EMAIL..................................info@shobe.com

the opportunity for other professionals to join and expanded resources for clients. Almost concurrently, a strong internship program was created that allowed LSU seniors to learn in a progressive financial services work environment. Many of the firm’s professionals today are graduates of this internship program. Currently, the firm has a staff of 18, including six


1998 1983 Ed Shobe establishes Shobe and Associates.

The next generation of leadership, Jason and Susan Windham, join the company. The company launches a new identity, The Shobe Financial Group.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

1999 Shobe builds and moves to a new headquarters.




CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, plus four candidates in the process of obtaining the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation, and an experienced support staff. “There is no other team like ours when it comes to planning and helping clients,” Windham says. “We’ve been very aggressive in developing skill sets among our professional staff, with major credentials to help suit our client’s needs.” The company’s commitment to technology has also helped them differentiate themselves within the financial services community and stay a step ahead to produce only the best for their clients. In fact, Shobe reminisces about driving to pick up the very first IBM personal computer in the Baton Rouge area. “We’ve always been on the leading edge of implementing technology,” he says. It was his belief then, as it is now, that technology provides an opportunity to deliver advanced services to clients by assisting with clear management and oversight of data. Today, the company serves clients throughout the country, but its hands-on approach to each individual client has remained the same. Shobe describes how the financial advisors work first to design a unique financial plan for each client that addresses all of the client’s short- and long-term goals. Once the client has approved a plan, the advisors work to help the client implement the plan and when necessary, bring outside resources to help with special needs such as estate planning, insurance, business documents, a line of credit, tax assistance or other specialized help. “We try to be the facilitator to oversee all the implementation for our clients,” Shobe says. Windham says that The Shobe Financial Group’s proactive approach is one of the key components of its business. “We’re big believers in continual planning,” he says. “With our concept, we create a plan to get the client started on the right path and then together, we continuously monitor and revise

the plan as their goals and circumstances change. We help our clients take the necessary actions … like a coach. Our advisors provide a custom, ongoing agenda of topics, timelines and action items to help clients in pursuit of their identified goals.” Some people reach out to the company solely for help managing their investments, Windham says, and the firm’s advisors are happy to assist with that. However, at The Shobe Financial Group, the client’s portfolio is often the last thing discussed. “Instead, our advisors focus on the client’s end goals and how those goals can be reached over time, then the investment strategy is designed to match the goals. Unless you know what they’re hoping to accomplish, it is difficult to sync a client’s needs with the portfolio. We’re always discussing a client’s personal goals and pairing them with their portfolios,” Windham says. One major segment of the financial planning services for The Shobe Financial Group is helping owners of closely-held businesses. Many local business owners excel at providing a product or service to their customers, but often want help managing their businesses, Windham says. “The components of running a business are often far different from the production of a product or providing of a service. We assist in the evaluation of the needs of a business, then assist in the implementation of an overall program to produce a more efficient business.” “We want to be a resource for those people who feel like they need some help with planning their financial lives,” Shobe says. “Our entire existence depends on high trust relationships with our clients … a place they can go for assistance, discussion, exploration and feel comfortable sharing events in their lives. Our clients are the cornerstone of our business. With each transition in their lives, The Shobe Financial Group is there to help guide them, ensuring they have a lasting legacy.”







Letter from the Chairman People always ask me how our company has lasted this long … what is our secret? I would reply that the secret to our company’s success consists of four things: • Attracting and retaining the right staff (over 100 years of experience) • Emphasizing continual education so we are informed • Being fully engaged with our clients to educate, communicate, monitor, and implement • Always seeking ways to make our clients’ lives more stress-free. With the advent of artificial intelligence and the internet, often the availability of information is mistaken for judgment, experience, and the intangibles of financial management. Our clients look to us to discern good financial information from bad in today’s “information age.” Our team is here for our clients every step of the way, providing the security of good thought process in their financial lives. Our unique processes and engagement in planning and wealth management brings objective advice that goes far beyond the numbers. The result is a financial plan designed for each chapter of a client’s financial life so they can focus on the things most important—their families, their business, their futures.









Shobe launches a new logo.

The financial planner intern/mentorship program is launched.

2018 Shobe celebrates 35 years in business.

2007 Jason Windham becomes president and Ed Shobe becomes chairman. The Shobe Financial Group is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Securities are offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success From left: Eric Kennedy, co-CFO; Sandra Kennedy; Daniel Kennedy, CEO; and Ryan Kennedy, COO



ProSource of BR poised for more growth in 2019 OPERATING A FLOORING business following the Great Flood of 2016 was quite a challenge, but with that behind him, Daniel Kennedy says his business is poised for even more growth and continued success. In October, ProSource of Baton Rouge—which sells wholesale flooring, cabinets and countertops to trade professionals and their clients—will celebrate 20 years in business. Kennedy owns seven ProSource stores in all, including locations in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, New Orleans, Mobile, AL, Jackson, MS, and Nashville, TN. Their newest location in Broussard, La., opened March 1. The business, which operates under the corporate name PS Wholesale Floors, has continued to diversify over the years. Today, it includes Menzie Flooring & Stone Company, Floor Surplus (an outlet store), a Carpet One retail store in Hammond, a production builder division, and a distribution center. Kennedy got his start in the flooring industry in


PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Wholesale flooring franchise that also offers countertops, cabinets and other fixtures for kitchens and baths

the late 1970s, working in a warehouse and driving a forklift for a carpet distributor. From there, he worked for several flooring manufacturers before going into business in 1993. The ProSource franchise was established in 1991 with more than 140 stores around the country. It offers a mix of products, including flooring for kitchen and bath, at low, wholesale prices. While Kennedy started with only three employees, he now has more than 170 people working for him, most of them in ProSource stores. Today, the Baton Rouge ProSource store does approximately $16 million in sales volume a year. “It happened rather quickly,” Kennedy says. “We did pretty well growing our business in the 2000s despite the recession.” When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Kennedy owned two stores. His original ProSource store in Baton Rouge had just moved from the Industriplex area to a new location on Airline Highway at

1995 1999


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

PHONE...................................225.248.4800 WEBSITE.................... prosourcewholesale.com

Interstate 12. “Our new business went through the roof,” he says, “and we were constantly managing growth, hiring new people and moving into new facilities.” By 2007 Kennedy owned five stores. Most of Kennedy’s customers are people who buy floor covering on a regular basis, like builders, interior designers, remodelers and installation companies. “We’re all about selling to trade professionals and their customers,” he says. When the 2016 flooding occurred, it brought a

2000 2003

The Kennedy family purchased a ProSource franchise in 1998 and opened their first location in October of 1999.

TOP EXECUTIVES Daniel Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer; Eric Kennedy, co-Chief Financial Officer; Ryan Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer

A second location opened in Jackson, MS.

2005 2006

The company purchased the Carpet One store in Hammond, La. and opened a distribution center in Baker, La.









From the CEO

wave of new customers and even more challenges. “The flood was very difficult. Our business at the main store tripled for the next several months,” Kennedy says. “The next year was all about keeping up with the increased demand.” 2018 was a “reset” year for the company. “We’ve been able to regroup and focus on getting the company back to smooth operations and making sure the stores are functioning the way we want them,” he says. All management and finance operations are now based at one facility, a new corporate headquarters located on Sherwood Forest Boulevard. Today, Kennedy shares the work load with his two sons and his daughter. His oldest son, Ryan, started working in the ProSource warehouse as a teenager

and grew up with the business. Ryan Kennedy says he was working toward an accounting degree at the time his father took ownership of the ProSource of Baton Rouge store. “We grew it from there and started looking at building a second location,” he says. “As the years went on, we just kept growing.” He now handles many operational duties alongside his father, including warehousing, IT and accounting. Daniel Kennedy’s youngest son, Eric, also works in accounting and his daughter Laura is managing some of their social media presence. “It’s impressive to go from one little store to where we are now in just 20 years,” Ryan Kennedy says. “It has been a busy time and the years have flown by … and we continue to expand.”


We are very thankful for the business relationships we have cultivated over the last 20 years. Supplying floor covering, cabinets and countertops to the trade has been rewarding. We are extremely proud of our staff. Each one takes their job seriously and shows their concern for every project they are involved in. Baton Rouge has really supported us since the beginning and from this base of business we have been able to expand across the region. We are so excited to open our newest location, ProSource of Acadiana, in Broussard, LA to cover the greater Lafayette area. Having 7 ProSource locations and other divisions has allowed us to improve our efficiency and purchasing power to offer more products and better prices to our customers in the construction and design community. Our philosophy is - it’s all about the People and the Products, so our main concern is to make sure our members have what they need when they need it. We have had to work through many challenges such as the flood of 2016 and more recently, the tariff wars which are still leaving us in a state of uncertainty. However, our outlook for the future is good. The market has held up surprisingly well after the flood business. As a company, we have reinvested in software, equipment, management staff, and inventory so we are well prepared for what’s ahead of us. With all that we have in place now, we look forward to what the future will bring!


Chief Executive Officer


2019 2019

ProSource of Acadiana recently opened a store in Broussard, La. near Lafayette. It is the company’s seventh location.

2007 The company purchased Menzie Stone Company and completed construction on a third ProSource location in Gonzales.


New location in Mobile, AL was opened in 2008.


ProSource had just opened Floor Surplus one month before the 2016 flood.

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success


Personal touch, attention to detail draw customers to Vivid Ink Graphics WALK INTO A restaurant, a bank or Tiger Stadium and chances are, you will see the work of Vivid Ink Graphics. Based in Baton Rouge, the full-service print communications firm provides products and services for many local, regional and national brands. As the area’s largest supplier of signs and graphic solutions, Vivid Ink Graphics’ work is readily on display throughout the region. Vivid Ink Graphics provides both small-format and large-format printing and graphic services. Smallformat graphics, for example, include everything from brochures and menus to newsletters and catalogues. Large-format graphics include signs, banners, fabrics and trade-show displays, among others. “We’re a one-stop-shop, which makes it easy for our customers,” says Stephen St. Cyr, Vivid Ink Graphics president and controller. “We’re truly

1995 1999

Stephen St. Cyr and Collin Keller form Vivid Ink Graphics at 11670 Cedar Park.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

experts in both large and small format printing, so we can help our customers with all their graphics and printing needs.” The company was established 20 years ago as a large-format printer. Meanwhile, First Graphix, another local printing company, focused on small format. The two companies recognized their strengths and areas of expertise and, three years ago, joined forces under the Vivid Ink Graphics name. Their combined skills have set the company apart from other printing firms. “As a full-service printer, we offer the beauty of both worlds,” says Margaret Crifasi, partner and vice president of sales. With the merger, the company expanded not only its capabilities, but also its reach. Previously, Vivid Ink focused on the local market with customers such as Raising Cane’s and Community Coffee, while

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Print communications firm specializing in signs and graphics TOP EXECUTIVES Stephen St. Cyr, President; Collin Keller, Vice President, Quality Control; Margaret Crifasi, Vice President of Sales; Chris Weilenman, Vice President Operations; Erin Ourso, Baton Rouge General Manager NO. OF EMPLOYEES............................. 130 YEAR FOUNDED................................. 1999 PHONE..................................... 225.751.7297 WEBSITE................................... vividink.com FACEBOOK.......... facebookcom/vividinkgraphics INSTAGRAM.......instagram.com/vividinkgraphics

First Graphix served clients like McAllister’s Deli and Fazoli’s. Now, Vivid Ink Graphics has a strong local and national presence—about 60 percent of the company’s business is in South Louisiana while 40 percent is with customers outside the state. After the merger, Vivid Ink Graphics developed an eight-year plan to double its revenue to $24 million

2000 2000-2006

VIG averages a 50% annual growth rate during this period and takes over the entire building at 11670 Cedar Park.

2005 2007

VIG builds a 10,500-square-foot building on Cloverland to handle continued growth.



by 2024. With $17 million in revenue last year, the company is on target to achieve this goal. Indeed, the company has experienced steady and significant growth. In Baton Rouge, Vivid Ink Graphics operates from a 38,000-square-foot facility on Airline Highway and is expanding next door into a bigger facility. The company also has an office on Poydras Street in New Orleans. Both locations have full sales and production operations. At the Baton Rouge plant, the company runs about 2,600 jobs a month, or about 130 jobs per day. Becoming a full-service firm has helped with this growth. “National customers in particular are looking for someone who can do it all,” St. Cyr says. “You have to do it all to be in the game.” The company is also introducing more local customers to its comprehensive services and encourages existing and potential customers to tour their plants. “We let our customers know all of our capabilities,” says Erin Ourso, Baton Rouge general manager. “They may not fully realize what this means until they see it in person.” Vivid Ink Graphics also produces tents, table top displays, banner stands, safety and inspection tags, custom labels, outdoor flags, way-finding signage, urn wraps and wallpapers. The team uses custom shapes, papers, inks and bindings to highlight a customer’s brand identity. Creating customized products is just the start. Vivid Ink Graphics also provides marketing fulfillment, production support, inventory management and shipping services. As Vivid Ink Graphics celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it’s clear that their success stems from the personal touch given to each customer. “Our attention to detail is why businesses choose us and remain with us. They can trust us with their brand,” Crifasi says. “Our goal is to make the customer look good,”

Ourso says as she notes the internal philosophy of the company: Be a hero to our customers and to each other. “We grew our business by saying yes when others said no,” St. Cyr says. “People come to us in a crisis and we help them when others might say it’s not possible.” This kind of customer service would not be possible without a talented and professional staff. Indeed, the company’s employees are the foundation for Vivid Ink Graphics’ longevity. Employees work in sales, design and pre-press, creative services, printing, finishing, inspection and packaging, and installation. Despite its success and reputation, the company is not content to rest on its laurels. The staff works continuously to improve their growing operations, which includes investing back into the company’s facilities and equipment. For example, in addition to expanding the company’s square footage, Vivid Ink Graphics recently added a high-speed production roll printer and a second cutter. “We’re always looking for ways to make ourselves more efficient,” says Chris Weilenman, vice president of operations. Evolving digital printing technology has affected both the quality of graphics and the time it takes to produce them. For example, in the past, printing a 4x8-foot exterior sign could take about 45 minutes. With newer, more innovative equipment, Vivid Ink Graphics can now produce that same sign in about one minute. Technology improvements have introduced a range of new opportunities such as fabric printing. Ironically in a continuous effort to become more efficient Vivid Ink Graphics has gone to an electronic (paperless) workflow for production throughout the plant. “It’s all part of our commitment to taking a complicated process and making it easy for our clients to invest in graphics while building their brands,” St. Cyr says. “That’s why our motto is ‘graphics made simple.’”







From the President As we celebrate our 20th anniversary at Vivid Ink Graphics, I have great appreciation for our customers and our team members. Our employees are responsible for our growth over the past two decades. More importantly, they determine our culture and emphasis on quality. And of course, we are thankful to each of our customers. At Vivid Ink Graphics, our culture and core values include the following: Serve the customer Work hard Do the right thing Get better and bigger Have fun We operate in a challenging business where everything is customized and turnaround times are very tight. But these challenges provide opportunities to stand out from our competition. We shine by making our customers look good under stress. The future looks very bright for Vivid Ink Graphics. Please accept my open invitation to drop in for a tour and cup of coffee. I would like to thank you in person.



2010 2010

The company expands into New Orleans with a full production and sales force.

2015 2014

VIG converts the former Circuit City building into a 38,000-square-foot state-of-the-art graphics center.



VIG merges with First Graphix and Chris Weilenman and Margaret Crifasi come on as partners. First Graphix is a printer with more than 20 years of experience and strong customer relationships in the restaurant franchise market. The merger allows each to capitalize on their individual strengths in the local and national markets.


VIG purchases Haverty’s 48,500-square-foot building next door to accommodate future growth.

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success From left: Jason Greene PT, MPT, OCS; Fabian Roussel MS, PT, ATC; Scott Dickie PT, DPT, COMT, OCS; and Chris Purvis PT, ATC, MS, CSCS



Peak Performance business model based on relationships THE PHYSICAL THERAPY landscape has changed a lot since Peak Performance opened its first clinic on Industriplex Boulevard in Baton Rouge in 1999. At that time, patients had to have a referral from a physician before they could even visit a clinic. Peak Performance’s business model was based on the idea of referrals, a practice that has served them well even after a 2016 law changed the way patients could access physical therapy services. “We knew when we opened that as physical therapists in the community, we needed to be a part of the medical community as well,” says Chris Purvis, managing member. He and his three partners— Fabian Roussel, Scott Dickie and Jason Greene—are all graduates of LSU’s Department of Physical Therapy. They worked for other practices before deciding to do something a little bit different.


YEAR FOUNDED................................. 1999 PHONE.................................... 225.295.8183 WEBSITE....................peakphysicaltherapy.com INSTAGRAM................ @peakperformanceptbr FACEBOOK................................................ facebook.com/peak performance physical therapy

The outreach program was an effort to give back to referring physicians. Peak Performance became involved with local schools and sporting events to provide on-site support, while also referring students and athletes to a physician for their ailments. “It allowed people to come to us with knee, ankle or hip pain and we could do an evaluation and then refer them to a doctor,” says Purvis. “We tried to

2000 Peak Performance Physical Therapy opens its first clinic on Industriplex Blvd.

ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

TOP EXECUTIVE Chris Purvis, Managing Member

“We wanted to marry our clinical knowledge and expertise with an exceptional experience for our patients from the time they schedule an appointment through treatment and even insurance and billing,” Purvis says. Peak Performance uses this approach at its seven clinics, with two more scheduled to open this year. The company’s second clinic was a satellite location inside Spectrum Fitness, a unique relationship that resulted in two more clinics with Spectrum and the eventual formation of a sister company to purchase the health club in 2009. “We started an association with Spectrum early on, and it was an extension of our outreach program,” says Purvis. “It put us in a place where a lot of people were going every day to exercise. Our patients can use all of the club facilities and amenities.”

2005 2001



PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Physical therapy provider with clinics across the Greater Baton Rouge area

Third clinic opens alongside Spectrum Fitness in Denham Springs.


Peak’s first satellite clinic opens inside Spectrum Fitness on Monterrey Blvd.


Peak leases space from Spectrum Fitness near Kenilworth.



become an active member of the medical community so that we were not only getting referrals, but also giving them.” Spectrum Fitness & Medical Wellness Centers are located on Perkins Road, in Southdowns and in Denham Springs. The Spectrum on Perkins Road is a 30,000-square-foot, full-service health club with a 2,500-square-foot Peak clinic inside. The Southdowns Village Shopping Center location has an 18,000-square-foot club, and the Denham Springs location is a completely renovated 20,000-squarefoot, full-service club with an outdoor pool and a 2,300-square-foot clinic. Even though patients can now come to Peak Performance on their own without a referral, Purvis and his partners have maintained those trusted relationships with local doctors in order to improve the patient experience. Purvis knows that a lot of people come into physical therapy anxious, in pain and worried that treatment is going to hurt even more. “We worked very hard to create an environment that was inviting and educational but also put people’s fears and anxieties at ease,” he says. Peak Performance doesn’t do X-rays, imaging or medication prescriptions, so the team relies on doctors for those services and more serious conditions. Nonetheless, physical therapy is different from seeing a physician. Most patients come to a Peak Performance location several times a week for a certain amount of time. For that reason, services need to be easily accessible and convenient to a patient’s work or home. The idea of convenience has driven Peak Performance’s expansion strategy, resulting in the opening of clinics in almost every part of the city. Denham Springs was the company’s third clinic, followed by

Perkins Road, Brusly, Dutchtown and Mid City. “It was an epiphany for us to say we’re trying to expand our footprint by allowing more patients access to our services and allowing physicians to refer,” says Purvis. “We need to be able to service their patients wherever they are.” The Dutchtown location is next to Dutchtown High School, giving kids the opportunity to just walk next door for treatment. Peak Performance has plans to open another clinic in Hammond in May, and one in Zachary next summer. When Peak Performance opened 20 years ago, its campaign focused on treating the athlete in everyone. “We take the principles of what you do in sports to get somebody back into the game as quickly and safely as possible,” says Purvis. “If you want to get back to work, gardening, or playing with your grandkids, it’s important whether you’re an athlete or not.” The current campaign is #choosepeak, which fits with the direct access law and Peak Performance’s expansion across the Greater Baton Rouge area. Purvis says that after 20 years of building a reputable name, potential customers now think of Peak Performance when they need physical therapy. Purvis no longer treats patients and focuses solely on administrative duties, but his partners still see patients full-time and ensure that the business’s original mission of a therapist-owned exceptional treatment experience is guaranteed for every patient. “We make sure the patient feels like there’s a continuity of care,” says Purvis. “We see early patients, late patients, and at Mid-City, we see patients on Saturdays. Someone may come in with a hip, back, neck or knee problem, but very often, it’s the result of other things going on. We treat the whole patient and not just the injury.”







From the Partners On behalf of the partners of Peak Performance Physical Therapy, and in celebration of our 20-year anniversary, we would like to recognize the contributions of everyone who helped us to create our company and the reputation we have today. Our spouses and families have been incredibly supportive, enduring our long hours at the clinic, in continuing education training, and at our many outreach events. We are a family-oriented company and realize the importance of those closest to us. From the beginning, our employees have enthusiastically bought in to our mission of personalized, friendly, high-quality patient service. Their work ethic, professionalism and dedication has been critical as we have grown to operate multiple clinic sites. We also extend our sincere thanks to the doctors and medical professionals who continue to trust us as part of the excellent care they provide. We appreciate their confidence in us and we could never have achieved our success without their support. Finally, we are grateful for our patients. They thank us often, but they give us as much, or more, than we give them. It’s so rewarding to see our patients improve and it makes us proud of our profession. As we look to the next 20 years, we appreciate the overwhelming support of the community and look forward to continually providing that ‘exceptional experience’ for those who trust us with their care. CHRIS PURVIS PT, ATC, MS, CSCS JASON GREENE PT, MPT, OCS FABIAN ROUSSEL MS, PT, ATC SCOTT DICKIE PT, DPT, COMT, OCS


2015 2017

Mid City Clinic opens at 750 Jefferson Hwy.


Brusly Clinic opens to serve patients on the west side.


Peak’s first ‘from the ground up’ clinic opens next to Dutchtown High School.

2019 2019

The company celebrates 20 years of exceptional patient service with plans to expand to Hammond and Zachary.

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


Legacy of Success LCTCS hopes to bring the number of graduates to 40,000 by 2020.


LCTCS is building Louisiana’s workforce of tomorrow NOT EVERYONE IS ready for the university experience at the age of 18, and many choose instead to attend a community or technical college. Some prefer to stay close to home or are suited to a smaller campus that provides individual classroom attention. Others have chosen a skilled trade that requires a short-term industry-based credential or two-year associate degree, allowing them to enter the workforce sooner. And many are older students who, for one reason or another, left high school or a four-year university before graduating and now long to complete their education or start a career. Fortunately, Louisiana residents can realize their professional dreams through the programs at a dozen schools which operate under the Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges System (LCTCS). LCTCS was established in 1998 under the leadership of Gov. Mike Foster, who wanted to boost the power of the state’s workforce and economic

development. In the 20 years since, LCTCS colleges have produced tens of thousands of skilled professionals—in the fields of health care, construction, IT, maritime, and oil and gas, among others. Under the leadership of its Board of Supervisors and Dr. Monty Sullivan, LCTCS has proven to be the model for partnerships among government, education, business and industry—and has set impressive goals for future growth. Support for LCTCS translates directly to economic success for Louisiana, says Sullivan. “There are 1.1 million working age Louisiana adults with a high school diploma or less,” he said. “They are struggling. They probably have two jobs to make ends meet. Many do not have health care, and we need to help them get the skills they need to get better jobs, higher salaries, and a brighter future for themselves and their families.” Growing a robust workforce is good for everyone,



ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Development organization that increases educational and workforce opportunities for Louisiana citizens through skills training and educational programs offered through 12 statewide comprehensive community and technical colleges. TOP EXECUTIVE Dr. Monty Sullivan, System President YEAR FOUNDED................................. 1998 PHONE................................... 225.922.2800 WEBSITE.................................www.lctcs.edu FACEBOOK................ facebook.com/GoLCTCS

creating more opportunities not just for skilled workers, but for professionals in every field and at every level. “Why would we want our best and brightest to leave Louisiana and go to Houston or Atlanta?” Sullivan said. “Just think what that is doing to our Louisiana economy and culture. It definitely has an impact and we have a responsibility to change that.” Enrollment has increased at LCTCS colleges in recent years as many of the negative attitudes



The Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) was created by the Louisiana Legislature as proposed by then Governor Mike Foster. Foster set out to create a higher education system that would boost the power of Louisiana’s workforce and economic development.



The new law that created LCTCS went into effect and merged the governance of Louisiana Technical College’s campuses with six existing community colleges (BRCC, RPCC, Nunez, SLCC, Delgado, and Louisiana Delta).

2005 2006

The LCTCS Foundation was started to lead and inspire support for Louisiana’s community and technical colleges through advocacy and engagement, college support, student success, and professional development.



toward technical and community colleges have fallen away. In these days of crushing student loan debt, the lower tuition of a community college and quicker pathway to sustainable employment makes LCTCS colleges a smart choice. The average starting salary of an LCTCS graduate is $48,500, while the average student debt is just $1,800, Sullivan adds. Fields with limited earning potential have been dropped from the curriculum to make way for courses that lead to more practical jobs. And the push to increase transfers makes community college the first step on the path to a baccalaureate degree rather than an alternative to it. This is especially important to older students. “Take a student who is 27 or 28,” Sullivan says. “In those intervening years since high school, what happens? Life, that’s what. Marriage, children, mortgages. Priorities are different, and that’s exactly why older students who choose to attend our colleges do so well.” The value proposition of LCTCS can be found in its graduates and their earnings. In 2017, LCTCS graduated 24,135 students, who went on to collectively earn $1.06 billion in 2018, in the Louisiana economy. Those statistics paint a positive economic future for students, for LCTCS, and for the state of Louisiana. LCTCS is determined to take advantage of the momentum already underway. Now in its fifth

year of a bold six-year-plan developed by its Board of Supervisors, LCTCS has partnered with employers across the state to customize academic and training offerings that align with available good paying jobs.


By 2020, LCTCS plans to: � double the number of graduates to 40,000 annually � double the annual earnings of graduates to $1.5 billion � quadruple the number of students who transfer to a 4-year university � quadruple partnerships with business and industry � double the LCTCS Foundation assets to $50 million “We can do this,” Sullivan says. “We have absolutely delivered on Gov. Foster’s promise from 1998. We continue to strengthen the workforce, improve families and communities, and lower the poverty rate. The economic expansion forecast for Louisiana is unprecedented with billions of dollars being invested by companies growing their operations here. We want to make sure that all of Louisiana’s citizens have the chance to participate fully in our exciting future.”






From the President At Louisiana’s community and technical colleges, we work to improve the lives of individuals through the transformative power of education and to build thriving communities throughout the state by providing accessible, relevant programs and collaborative partnerships that strengthen workforce and economic development. Our mission is as diverse as the students, communities, and industries we serve. Led by some of the best chancellors, faculty, and staff in higher education, we provide worldclass educational and workforce training to students seeking to earn an associate degree to enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year university. We also serve workforce training students seeking short-term, industry-based credentials aligned to local and regional workforce demands. Lastly, we offer adult education courses where students receive skill training/ high school equivalency preparation that allows them to simultaneously earn credentials in a stackable series aligned to family sustaining jobs. In short, we are democracy’s college and Louisiana’s workforce solution. The path to the middle class begins at the front doors of Louisiana’s community and technical colleges. More people educated and skilled and more people working and taking care of their families is what will continue to move our great state forward. I am excited about the future of Louisiana and its community and technical colleges, and the work we will do together. MONTY SULLIVAN

President, Louisiana Community and Technical College System

2010 2007

The Louisiana Legislature approved SB 377, which authorized the construction of new state-of-the-art workforce facilities statewide. Its companion, SB 204 was approved in 2013.

2015 2010

The LCTCS was granted approval to offer the Work Ready U program to provide services for adults seeking to obtain their High School Equivalency Diploma.

2019 2018

LCTCS celebrated its 20-year anniversary. In that time, LCTCS has produced over 320,000 graduates. The most recent graduating class collectively earned $1.06 billion dollars in the Louisiana economy.

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




From left: Sean Nelson, regional sales manager; Trey Beall, president; and Michael LaCour , VP of Operations

A game plan for sustained success WITH A REPUTATION for reliability, Gulf Coast Office Products could be described as a business’ best friend. It’s the number one Savin dealer in the U.S. for several years running, and the official partner of the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans Pelicans, Louisiana State University Athletics and UL Lafayette Athletics. It’s also the largest locally owned independent distributor of multifunction office machines in the state. The 42-year old company has offices in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, the Northshore and Lafayette. “We work across nearly every sector you can think of, from hospitality to health care, and from education to industry,” says GCOP President Trey Beall. “Our goal has always been to build trust, sincerity and authenticity with our customers, and for them to see us and our products as an efficiency accelerator.” Decades ago, office equipment featured copiers that only copied, and fax machines that only faxed. Today, those machines are multifunctional, allowing employees to copy, fax, scan and print on the spot. In an on-demand world where speed is everything, customers expect their machines to work at optimum capacity on a 24/7 basis. GCOP customers keep their office machines running without interruption thanks to a carefully

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Savin/Ricoh copiers, printers, document solution products

planned infrastructure, Beall says. GCOP’s internal management system sends electronic alerts to team members when a customer’s products need service or attention. In addition, the company’s expansive warehouse, part of its Baton Rouge office complex at I-12 and Airline, is stocked with a $1 million inventory of office machines and products, guaranteeing fast deliveries and minimal interruption. Beall has also shaped GCOP into a company known for philanthropy and a commitment to service. “I’ve always thought it was important to be visible in the community,” says Beall. “When you walk with community leaders and business owners down the path of purpose, you form a bond.” Beall networks with local nonprofit leaders to learn about relevant community issues. As a result, GCOP has supported several worthy causes, including buying bulletproof vests for local law enforcement, promoting awareness of cystic fibrosis, and joining in the fight against human trafficking. GCOP’s staff members are active in community walks, fundraisers and other forms of volunteerism across the state. For almost 20 years, GCOP has also underwritten athletic partnerships with some of Louisiana’s bestknown sports teams, including the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans Pelicans, LSU and ULL. “The passion and power of sports in Louisiana is

TOP EXECUTIVE Trey Beall, President NO. OF EMPLOYEES.............................. 110 YEAR FOUNDED.................................. 1977 PHONE....................................225.756.2644 WEBSITE...................................gcopnet.com EMAIL............................... info@gcopnet.com

undeniable,” says Beall. “Where else do 100,000 people come together, and it doesn’t matter what their backgrounds or education levels are—they are there for one shared cause. It’s a big part of who we are as a state.” Another key factor in GCOP’s success has been management by empowerment. Team members know their goals, but are free to use their own skills and strategies to reach them. It has resulted in a team comprised of many longtime employees who are loyal to their customers and to the company. “We have an incredible team,” says Beall. “That’s how we’ve been able to keep growing and serving our customers.”

Jason Carl, left, and Steve Gammon

Warehouse Manager Keith Jackson stocks inventory.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

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. 2018. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com



(From left) Rod Thomas, Jessica McDaniel, Charisma Hall and Adam St.Pierre

The missing piece— Library resources complete the puzzle RUNNING A BUSINESS is a little like trying to assemble a 10,000-piece puzzle without a guiding photo on the box. The East Baton Rouge Parish Library is the missing piece business owners need to put it all together. Established in 1939, the library is now comprised of the Main Library and 13 community or regional branch libraries with a staff of more than 500 employees. Open to the public a cumulative total of 958 hours week, the Library is a complex operation dedicated to providing resources and information to inform and educate the Baton Rouge community. Think of the Library as a business partner, an advisor, a people developer. Businesses spend countless

dollars every year on training and resources. Why not use that money somewhere else? Subscription resources, training and development programs are all available for free from EBRPL Small Business Services. The Library offers free access to consumer data platforms to gain insights to customers and markets. Also available for free is news on various industries, trend forecasts, risk management, legal resources, and even heat mapping for planning business expansion. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” says Assistant Library Director Mary Stein. Smart businesses grow and develop their people by taking advantage of free online classes, access to hundreds of Gale courses, Lynda.com, workshops and other events that provide professionals with development opportunities that can impact their business and their career as a whole. A business consultant can be a great investment, but it can also be expensive and leave a company wondering what they really got for their money. Firms can be partial to certain programs or tools, and because they are sometimes endorsed by them, owners don’t necessarily get an objective opinion on the right resource for their needs. “Why hire someone and pay for services when your tax dollars have

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Free daily access to leisure reading, business resources, online databases and more TOP EXECUTIVES Spencer Watts, Director; Kristen Edson, Deputy Director; Patricia Husband, Assistant Director; Mary Stein, Assistant Director NO. OF EMPLOYEES...........................500+ YEAR FOUNDED..................................1939 PHONE.....................................225.231.3750 WEBSITE...................................... ebrpl.com EMAIL...................................eref@ebrpl.com

already given you access?” says Stein. A business librarian, on the other hand, listens and acts as a true resource guide—helping to navigate the plethora of information available. A business librarian will even meet with owners on-site to customize resources to match their unique needs, all at no cost. Adding another piece to the puzzle, the Library is a networking hub. Business owners and entrepreneurs meet and share their expertise. Local influencers lead workshops on government licensing and regulations, legal contracts, financing, hiring employees, accounting, paying taxes, marketing, advertising and other engaging topics. The East Baton Rouge Parish Library is the missing puzzle piece—connecting professionals with information, resources, materials and technology, while maintaining the human touch that this rapidly-evolving digital landscape is often lacking. AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


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. 2019. All rights reserved. Phone 225-928-1700 • Fax 225-926-1329








Our mission at RES Contractors, LLC is to continually provide value-added construction services to our customers by creating a successful partnership with them throughout the construction process.

(985) 252-3400 | www.res-usa.com 32

ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com





Strong partnerships have helped RES Contractors expand beyond Louisiana LOCATED IN THE heart of south Louisiana’s industrial corridor, RES Contractors is probably best known for creating successful partnerships with its clients. RES works in refineries, petrochemical plants, gas plants and production facilities at the state and national level. The company’s services include fabrication, mechanical and electrical services, pile driving, instrumentation and many others. “Our goal is to grow our footprint not just here in Louisiana, but beyond—already, we’re in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and throughout the Gulf South region,” said Don DJ

Torres, chief operating officer. “By the same token, we value quality over quantity and we never take a job unless we know we can do it well.” That means paying attention to detail and completing projects on time and on budget. “From day one, we’ve focused on client retention,” he added. “We achieve that by helping our clients find solutions and of course, making quality and safety a priority.” Clearly, their strategy is working. RES’ customer base numbers about 100 and includes several Fortune 500 companies. “Reputation is everything,” says CEO Joel Landry. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our ability to listen and acknowledge the challenges our clients face. That kind of relationship allows us to become a better solution-based partner and keeps us ready and prepared to meet their needs.” One way to meet those needs is to take a comprehensive approach, making all of their services available to clients rather than just one or two. “Working with one person and coordinating all of our services is a real benefit to customers,”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Promoter, contributor and provider of skilled personnel for industrial construction services, including mechanical, pipe and structural steel fabrication and installation, civil, deep foundations, electrical and instrumentation TOP EXECUTIVES Joel Landry, CEO; Mike Waguespack, CFO; Don DJ Torres, COO; Alisha Templet, Controller; Fred Henderson, VP of Business Development YEAR FOUNDED.................................2002 PHONE...................................985.252.3400 WEBSITE..................................... res-usa.net

said Fred Henderson, vice president of business development. “It reduces costs, time and effort. It’s an important part of our growth and our vision for the future.” RES’ reputation starts with its company culture, one that cares about its employees and their families, gives back to the community, and offers real opportunities. “Everyone here has a career path,” said Henderson. Indeed, the company believes in promoting from within whenever possible. It’s not unusual for an employee who starts out as a craftsman to be groomed for the role of foreman, then supervisor, on up to project manager. “Our team is amazing,” says Landry. “We’re proud of the skills and expertise of our employees, of course, and that professionalism extends to our main office, from accounting to HR to payroll. We get positive feedback all the time about our people. They are our biggest asset and the reason for our success.”

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




From left: Mark Ditsious, Bob Miller, Chris Vincent, Wade Berzas and Vaughn Crisp. Not pictured Robert Guidry

GDS team simplifies IT and provides secure connections for numerous industries GLOBAL DATA SYSTEMS works to simplify IT for its clients so they can focus on running and growing their business rather than managing their network. GDS, a managed IT and cyber security company, has been in business for more than 30 years. The company provides managed secure connectivity, voice and collaboration, managed IT, security services and cloud services for commercial


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

customers in health care, government marine transportation, oil and gas, and construction industries. “We started as a guy with a shop in his garage selling and working on computers,” says Wade Berzas, vice president of sales for GDS. Today, GDS is the number-one ranked managed services provider in Louisiana, with its headquarters in Lafayette and additional offices and sales and technical personnel in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lockport and Houston, Texas. GDS offers clients support through its network operations centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “We’ve continued to evolve,” Berzas says. “As the industry has changed, as the technology has changed, as customers have changed, we’ve continued to stay ahead of the curve and understand what our customers are going to need.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Provider of managed secure connectivity, voice and collaboration, managed IT, cloud services and more TOP EXECUTIVES Chris Vincent, President; Bob Miller, Chief Operating Officer; Robert Guidry, Chief Technology Officer; Wade Berzas, Vice President of Sales PHONE................................... 888.435.7986 WEBSITE.................................... getgds.com

Berzas says GDS is a great fit for those who may have several different locations and an IT staff that is struggling to keep up. “We come in with strategic initiatives and help to simplify IT for them,” he says. “We have expertise from the beginning of the IT process where applications are formed, all the way to the edge. End users might be working in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico with a satellite connection or in the top of a coporate high-rise office, and we provide them with a private, secure connection out there.” The GDS staff works closely with customers to understand their unique business challenges, says Robert Guidry, chief technology officer. The GDS staff looks at each business’s growth model and works to bring in the appropriate technology platform that will grow with the business. If the business is growing organically, it might benefit from a cloud services environment that will keep costs down in the early stages. He adds that if the business is growing

The Network Operations Center

through acquisition, it may be dealing with different systems and networks, and GDS can help to integrate technology. “We want our customers to focus on their main business and not IT,” he says. Often, when a company purchases a technology solution on its own, the burden falls on the company to install and maintain that technology and achieve the desired result, Berzas says. “We spend a lot of time getting to know our customers’ goals. We know what their issues are, and we craft services so the outcome is on us,” he says. “We take that burden off of our customers.” Bob Miller, chief operating officer, says another of GDS’s strengths is its staff. “We have a lot of experience and a lot of depth in all areas of IT,” he says. “Our team can handle just about any problem a business runs into because they’ve seen it before.” The office culture at GDS helps set the tone for how associates interact with the customer. “Our people are engaged not only in GDS, but also with our customer base,” he says. “I believe that’s a big reason we have a superior outcome for the majority of our customers.” Another aspect that makes GDS stand out is its consistency. Whether a business has two sites or 800 sites, GDS offers a consistent approach with a consistent outcome to give customers the support they need, says Chris Vincent, president. While the company offers around-the-clock support, GDS doesn’t just react. It uses data analytics to predict when an issue might present itself and preemptively prevent a strike. “It’s a very proactive approach,” he says. Over the years, cyber security has become a growing threat to businesses, Guidry says. While managing its customers’ networks, GDS staff can monitor what’s going on with a particular network and see any intrusions into it. On average, 205 days pass between when a network is penetrated and when the

customer notices something has gone wrong, Guidry says. Because of its close monitoring, GDS can immediately begin to develop preventive measures and secure the network for its customers before an attack happens. There are no magic beans when it comes to security, Berzas adds, and in the event that a business’s network is compromised, GDS works to quickly identify the issue, isolate it, eradicate it and get the customer back up and running, often in the same day. Over the last decade, GDS has grown at a steady rate of 12 to 20 percent per year, Vincent says. “The investment in our people is one of the biggest things we consistently do,” he says. “We’re also consistently improving automation and process control.” Going forward, the company is in the process of developing customer portals in order to see and manage their networks and respond more quickly.

GDS has a great number of support systems and is busy tying them together to create two-way data movement with the goal of getting data from one point to another more easily, Miller says. “We’ll be able to interact more easily, and they’ll be able to see what’s going on. We’re busy connecting all of our subsystems to make that happen. That’s part of the goal from an automation standpoint.” GDS uses data analytics from its customer base to improve service and take a proactive approach, Miller says. It is also utilizing software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) for proactive detection and anticipation, and GDS is looking forward to using AI to help with operational performance. “We want to be leaders. We want to be innovators,” Miller says. “We challenge our people every day and our people challenge us every day to get better.”

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




Creating powerful solutions for homes, businesses and communities ENTERGY LOUISIANA IS investing in infrastructure, new technologies and communities to power life for all Louisianans. With equipment spanning across the state, the company provides clean, affordable and reliable power to more than 1 million electric customers in 58 parishes. In Baton Rouge, Entergy Louisiana also provides natural gas service to more than 90,000 customers. Over the last five years, Entergy Louisiana has invested nearly $5 billion to modernize and strengthen its statewide infrastructure. This includes building new, highly efficient power plants while expanding and strengthening its grid. At the same time, the company has kept its rates among the lowest in the state and across the country. Entergy Louisiana has been a consistent presence in the lives of Louisiana residents and businesses for generations. Yet, maintaining this consistency involves change. As technology constantly evolves, Louisiana’s economy continues to grow and customer demands change. Entergy Louisiana is leveraging innovation and technology to develop services and products that go beyond simply keeping the lights on and the gas flowing. Indeed, Entergy is building customized energy solutions that will make customers’ lives easier and their businesses more competitive by giving 36

ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

them information and tools to manage their energy usage, lower their costs and be more environmentally sustainable. For example, advanced meters will enable Entergy’s customers to better understand, manage and customize their energy use, allowing them to potentially save money and reduce their environmental footprint. Customers will be able to manage their bills with real-time data, and innovative systems will provide information such as when an air filter needs to be changed. Enhanced technology also will reduce the frequency and length of outages by providing the company with data about how to improve reliability. And Entergy continues to diversify its portfolio by pursuing new sources of emission-free energy, such as solar power. “We are investing in the state’s future by providing our customers with the opportunities, tools, data and services they need to manage their energy usage, experience more reliable and resilient service, and lower their costs,” says Phillip May, Entergy Louisiana president and CEO. “We’re doing this through innovation and technology that deliver the sustainable values our customers demand.” Entergy Louisiana also goes beyond the power grid to serve its customers and communities. This includes contributing to economic vitality by helping

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Electric power production and retail distribution operations TOP EXECUTIVE Phillip May, President and CEO SERVICE AREA More than 1 million customers in 58 parishes. Nearly 93,000 gas customers in Baton Rouge area YEAR FOUNDED............... 1913 (Entergy Corp.) PHONE................................... 800.368.3749 WEBSITE....................... Entergy-louisiana.com

to expand existing businesses and attract new ones. Indeed, for every five jobs Entergy directly creates, another 16 jobs are created indirectly. The company also supports local communities through extensive charitable giving, such as supporting education and literacy initiatives, donating to law enforcement agencies, and providing disaster relief and recovery. “For us, investing in Louisiana means more than just investing in energy infrastructure,” May says. “It means supporting the people and communities throughout the state to ensure we have thriving communities. This is our home, too, and we want Louisiana to be successful well into the future.” Entergy’s commitment and its adoption of smart, reliable and innovative products and services, ensures that it will continue to be integral to how Louisianans live, learn, work and play by powering homes, small businesses and industries well into the future. The stories below introduce some of the 1,700 Entergy Louisiana employees who will help the company achieve these goals.





Chris Macaluso is both pragmatic and conceptual. These traits and experience — from his time as a U.S. Army field artillery surveyor to a meter serviceman and tampering investigator — make him well suited to lead a team tasked with laying the technological foundation for future products and services. Macaluso is the supervisor of advanced metering infrastructure deployment for Entergy in Louisiana. AMI, he says, will reduce the length of outages while providing customers with tools to better understand and manage their energy use. “It’s really exciting to know that our team is part of something that we’ve never done before. New technologies are transforming our company and the way we interact with our customers, for the better,” Macaluso says. To learn more about the benefits of AMI, visit energyfuturelouisiana.com

Greg Guilbeau credits his technical aptitude and goodwill to his father, a World War II veteran, and to a youth spent working on a farm in Lacassine, Louisiana. There, problem-solving was often done alone, requiring Guilbeau to work with his hands and think on his feet. He honed those skills, realized his strengths and went to college to study electrical engineering. Guilbeau oversees operations in Greater Baton Rouge as the senior region manager of customer service. Safety, service reliability and supporting friends and neighbors locally and across state lines through mutual assistance, are top priorities for him and his team. Guilbeau helped lead restoration efforts in Louisiana following four hurricanes and a major flooding event. “Our employees are among the best in the business when it comes to storm response,” he says. “Helping restore power for thousands in communities affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters only increases their resiliency and strengthens their resolve — even as they leave their families and, sometimes, affected property, behind. They truly love what they do.” To learn more about power restoration following a storm, visit: entergynewsroom.com/storm-center/restoration

Megan Norris’ life has revolved around power, from growing up in the heart of industry in Port Arthur, Texas, to working as an engineer at plants in southwest Louisiana. And most recently, she surpassed her powerlifting record by back squatting 300 pounds … twice. Norris is the plant manager of the Lake Charles Power Station, one of two combined-cycle, natural gas plants being built by Entergy Louisiana to complement the company’s diverse generating fleet and meet the needs of a growing Louisiana. Over the past year, Norris was tasked with building a team that will run the plant once it comes online in the summer of 2020. “It was very important to me that we built a qualified, diverse staff that reflected the communities we serve,” Norris says. “Our team looks forward to providing clean, reliable power for residents and businesses well into the future.” To learn more about infrastructure upgrades and other projects, visit: entergylouisiana.com/brightfuture

Jody Montelaro combines a sharp wit and a sense of humility that debatably comes from years of public service, studying law and partnering with local nonprofits and other organizations whose goals are to develop healthy, vibrant communities of tomorrow. As vice president of public affairs, Montelaro oversees governmental affairs, charitable contributions and coordination of volunteer efforts. He has seen the power of partnership at work, not only at the state Capitol and Louisiana Public Service Commission headquarters in Baton Rouge, but also through collaboration with the Public Affairs Research Council, Baton Rouge Area Foundation and New Schools for Baton Rouge, among others. “First and foremost, we power life,” Montelaro says. “Whether it’s offering emergency bill assistance through our Power to Care program or investing in organizations that provide critical services to supporting education, poverty solutions and workforce development efforts — Entergy and community partners are working year-round to improve our communities for Louisianans from all walks of life.” To learn more about the power of partnership, visit: entergylouisiana.com/ brightfuture/blog.aspx AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019



Port of GBR contributes to job market and growing trade GAINING IN ACCEPTANCE and reliability, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge’s container-on-barge (COB) services are just part of the deepwater facility’s success story for 2018 and beyond. “It has been amazing to watch it grow, and we’ve teamed up with some great companies to make that happen,” says Port Executive Director Jay Hardman. Part of the growth plan for one of the largest port systems in the world has relied on a “Field of Dreams” mentality: Build it and they will come. Hardman admits things haven’t always been easy. “But we now have the right trajectory and momentum to stay ahead,” he says. Expansion of deepwater berthing facilities, rail improvements and investment in new equipment are all part of that long-term plan. For COB services, which returned to the Port in 2016 and grew by 75 percent from 2017 to 2018, two new pieces of equipment are poised to revolutionize the operation. 38

ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

Financed nearly 100 percent by a grant from the Maritime Administration, the equipment is being manufactured by Taylor Machine Works in Louisville, Mississippi. One of the pieces will be used for heavy duty container handling and will increase the stacking height of empty containers. The other, a barge loader/unloader, will save on labor and make the moving of boxes onto and off of barges much quicker and more efficient. “We have been able to build in more efficiency, which translates to a smoother, more fluid operation, lowers costs and keeps the service competitive,” says Hardman. Tenants like SEACOR and Ports America have become anchors for the Port. Investing in new processes and equipment helps retain them and hopefully sparks word-of-mouth advertising. “We’ve gone from having no container movements since the COB service left in 2006 and initially very few containers after its return in 2016,


AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Maritime industry services and facilities TOP EXECUTIVE Jay G. Hardman, Executive Director YEAR FOUNDED.................................. 1952 PHONE.................................... 225.342.1660 WEBSITE................................... portgbr.com

to a service that’s now running on a regular basis,” says Hardman. “It’s kind of like a bus route. There is increased acceptance among regional shippers moving their products via containers on the Mississippi River versus truck and rail. As the service continues to grow, it is catching the attention of more and more potential customers.” The goal is to move a thousand boxes a week through the facility, and Hardman expects to achieve that number by next year. The Port is also considering a second dock as demand increases and is preparing to add four more acres of concrete paving for additional container storage.

Just as COB shows some impressive growth, so do the deepwater docks on the Mississippi. Activities by tenants Drax Biomass, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Genesis Energy, Center Point Terminals and Contanda are keeping the docks extremely busy and are resulting in increased ship calls. On the heels of last year’s upgrade of 3,500 feet of deepwater real estate, the Port is completing a $10 million upgrade to its fendering elements and mooring points. Hardman says they are also rehabilitating a berth on the north end of the docks for barge and ship utilization. Bringing that berth back up to standard will be a $15 million effort that will ultimately provide an additional deep draft ship. Drax Biomass, which has helped revitalize Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s timber industry, is still growing its wood pellet business and will be adding two pellet mills to its operations. Having four mills will more than double the tonnage of wood pellets that move through the Port. Drax’s innovative operation has increased ship calls and highlighted the need for rail improvements. Union Pacific Railroad has completed the expansion of its interchange tracks along La. Hwy. 1 in a $12 million upgrade, and the Port’s planned $20 million-plus rail chambering yard on the south side of the Intracoastal Waterway is moving forward. “Anticipated demand for the chambering yard has already increased since the project’s inception due to the growth of wood pellet shipments,” says Hardman. Louis Dreyfus Commodities has been working to construct a $20 million rail facility with tracks to accommodate 110-car grain trains. Completion is

expected in the second quarter of 2020 and will impact not only Port operations, but regional farmers as well. “When the 2018 soybean market challenges hit … if the rail improvements had been built, it would have allowed Dreyfus an additional mode of transportation to source good quality beans,” Hardman explains. “Once their rail project is completed, we’ll have one of the most modern and efficient grain elevators on the Mississippi River.” Longstanding Port tenant Center Point Terminals has also added rail tracks and loading facilities that

access the Port’s Deepwater Complex, allowing them to handle more cargo and generate more jobs. Combining truck, rail and barge delivery of U.S.grown grain and other products will allow for more diverse modes of import and export, not to mention cement the Port’s top spot in the industry. Always looking to the future, Hardman says Port leadership is considering the possibility of a second COB service operation on the east bank of the Mississippi River. “We have a good, long-term plan to stay ahead of the curve,” says Hardman. “Things will look very different at the Port this time next year.”

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




From left: Deatreaus Johnson, school counselor, and Tashawa Daniels, first-grade magnet teacher, with first-grade magnet students at The Dufrocq School

Fostering a healthy, safe, drug-free life for EBR students WHAT IF THERE were a program that helped parents and teachers foster positive mental, emotional and physical health in young people—especially those kids who have it rough? What if this program could step in and offer engaging school-based workshops on topics like bullying, drug and alcohol awareness, and overcoming difficult situations? And what if the program could offer one-on-one sessions in which children or teenagers could meet a qualified specialist and learn better coping skills? That program, considered a model program around the country, does exist. Since 1981, I CARE has provided prevention education to students on the topics of substance abuse, violence, and crisis response and management. The program’s purpose, says Executive Director Erin Pourciau Bradford, is to equip students with the decision-making skills to

navigate the pitfalls of growing up and succeed in school and in life. “I love the fact that when people find out we’re from I CARE, they say, ‘and you really do care,’” says Bradford. “We have found that our students make healthier choices because of what they and their parents or caregivers have learned through our programs.” I CARE’s staff of 20 professionals is on hand to serve any school in East Baton Rouge Parish. It’s a tall order. There are 46,000 students in the public schools alone, and I CARE is also available to private and parochial schools. But I CARE has perfected an efficient model in which training modules are disseminated in several ways. Tier 1 sessions are directed at an entire school population. For example, I CARE might deliver a schoolwide workshop on drug prevention or drunk driving. Tier 2 sessions are for small groups and can be tailored to the needs of an individual classroom. Tier 3 sessions involve licensed prevention professionals from the I CARE staff who work with individual students who might be facing very specific issues, including post-disaster trauma, abuse or grief. All curricula are developed in house or are borrowed from national best practices models.

From left: I CARE Director Erin Bradford, Deatreaus Johnson, school counselor, and Tanya Griffin, I CARE Specialist


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com


An alcohol, drug abuse and violence prevention program NO. OF EMPLOYEES.................................... 20 YEAR FOUNDED....................................... 1980 PHONE..........................................225.226-2273 WEBSITE..............................icare@ebrschools.org

I CARE also provides valuable continuing education for school counselors, social workers and educators on a number of prevention and mental health topics. These include the well-respected Adverse Childhood Experiences (or ACE workshops) which help kids who have experienced traumatic or stressful incidents by teaching them lifelong coping skills. Another workshop, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) teaches participants to recognize the warning signs of suicide and help individuals create a plan to ensure their immediate safety. This summer, I CARE will host an annual conference at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center for parents and professionals on a variety of prevention topics, including bullying, opioids, domestic violence, underage drinking and human trafficking. “Training the community to become more comfortable helping children deal with the many issues they face today is so important,” says Bradford. “Building resiliency in young people is a big part of our 21st century vision.” Bradford says I CARE’s mission is more relevant now than ever before. “Young people face intense new challenges today, from opioids to gun violence to intense poverty,” she says. “With our established track record and strong community relationships, we have the ability to respond and make a positive impact on kids’ lives.”



From left: LPFA Board of Trustees Casey R. Guidry; Ronald H. Bordelon; David W. Groner; Michael C. Darnell; and (seated) Guy Campbell, III, Chairman; and Craig A. Cheramie

LPFA partners with ULM to establish osteopathic medical school THE LOUISIANA PUBLIC FACILITIES AUTHORITY is providing pivotal support in addressing the shortage of health care providers in Louisiana. In September 2018, the University of Louisiana Monroe broke ground for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) located at Heritage Park on the banks of Bayou DeSiard. The LPFA provided $30.8 million in bonds to finance construction of the medical school, which is on schedule to welcome its first class in the fall of 2020 and its first graduates from the four-year degree program by 2024. These graduates are expected to help address the shortage of health care providers, specifically primary care physicians in rural areas such as Northeast Louisiana. Established in 1974, the LPFA serves as a conduit issuer of bonds for nonprofit organizations, businesses, and public entities to help reduce financing costs on their projects. By providing the means for qualifying projects and entities to receive tax-exempt financing and achieve interest cost-savings, the LPFA supports economic and community development across the state.

“The LPFA is excited to partner with the University of Louisiana Monroe to provide health care professionals throughout Louisiana, but especially for rural and underserved regions,” says Martin Walke, LPFA’s vice president of economic and program development. The new osteopathic medical school fits well with the LPFA’s mission to further education, health care and economic development in Louisiana. The school will bring an estimated economic impact of up to $75 million to the region. Critically, it will lead to more doctors, thus better access to health care in the region and across the state. VCOM will offer Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees. Osteopathic doctors take an additional 200 hours of training dedicated to the musculoskeletal system and osteopathic manipulation with an emphasis on whole-body or whole-person wellness. As licensed physicians, DOs can practice any specialty, as well as write prescriptions and hospitalize patients. Osteopaths in Northeast Louisiana practice pediatrics, oncology, family practice and orthopedics, among other specialties. VCOM, which has campuses in Blacksburg, Va., Spartanburg, S.C., and Auburn, Ala., will be the first osteopathic medical school in Louisiana. The state has three existing medical schools: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and Tulane University. Included in the 100,000-squarefoot building on the ULM campus will be classrooms and study rooms, an anatomy lab, an

From left: LPFA’s executive staff includes Tricia A. Dubroc, Vice President of Student Loans and Administration; James W. Parks, II, President and CEO; and Martin Walke, Vice President of Economic and Program Development

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 EMAIL.................................. walke@lpfa.com

osteopathic manipulative medicine lab, and a simulation and standardized patient center. In addition to helping improve access to health care in the state, the LPFA has continued ensuring higher education is more accessible and more affordable for Louisiana students and parents through its education division, the Louisiana Education Loan Authority (Lela). Lela’s student loan refinancing program, RefiHELP, provides relief for students and parents who are locked into paying federal or private student loans at high interest rates or making monthly payments on multiple loans. Lela’s RefiHELP offers refinancing with no origination fees, flexible repayment options and fixed rates as low as 5.5 percent. Lela also offers free, one-on-one college planning and financial counseling sessions to help college-bound high school students and their parents negotiate the complex process of applying for grants, scholarships and financial aid. More than 400,000 students have received assistance since Lela’s creation in 1984. As a self-supporting authority that operates solely on self-generated revenues, the LPFA has never requested or received any tax or other appropriation from the state of Louisiana for its operations. The LPFA’s operating expenses are covered through revenues generated by fees on bonds issued by the authority. AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




Involved citizens help make Central a ‘model city’ ALTHOUGH CENTRAL REMAINS one of Louisiana’s newest cities, it continues to blaze trails in innovative municipal management. The city recently elected a new mayor, police chief and city council members with a focus on maintaining and protecting the quality of life highly valued by residents. After serving as Central’s chief administrative officer for eight years, David Barrow was elected mayor. Barrow hit the ground running when he took office January 1. “We had a great transition and we’re getting things rolling,” Barrow says. “We’ve done some reorganizing and restructuring, so we’ll be more efficient and better able to provide new services.” High on the list of priorities are addressing planning concerns and ensuring public involvement in planning proposals and other initiatives in the city. Public input and transparency are critical as the city develops, Barrow says. “We have to make sure everyone is heard,” he says. “Everyone is not going to agree on everything,

From left: Matt Zyjewski, Ray Louis, Mayor David Barrow, Terri Parnell, and David Ratcliff


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

but people need to feel like they are a part of the process.” This means, for example, holding more public meetings and getting more people involved in providing input on issues of development and strengthening planning and development codes. Barrow says such issues matter to residents, as the city experiences an increase in development, but not population. In part, this is due to young residents growing up and staying in Central, yet needing a home of their own. Incorporated in 2005, Central encompasses 66 square miles in the northwest area of East Baton Rouge Parish. The city’s population stands at approximately 28,000. With a city staff of three employees, Central privatizes most of its municipal services to the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), including administrative services, planning and zoning, code enforcement, engineering and stormwater analysis, public works, permit and inspection, and financial and budget services. IBTS began providing services for Central in 2011 and the company won a new contract in 2018. Privatizing city services enables Central to spend its municipal revenue, which is based solely on a 2 percent sales tax, on targeted projects such as streets and drainage, which rank high on residents’ list of priorities. Barrow says this arrangement reduces pressure on Central’s budget.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Municipal government serving the residents of Central, a 66-square-mile area in the northwest corner of EBR Parish POPULATION.................................. 28,000 INCORPORATED................................2005 PHONE.........................City Hall: 225.261.5988 City Services: 225.262.5000 WEBSITE................................ centralgov.com

“Our tax money is spent on city services,” he says. “We’re not spending a lot on retirement and benefits that can cripple other cities’ budgets.” Central also continues to focus on economic development, particularly business retention and development, and minimizing sales-tax leakage by enhancing amenities and improving the workday economy. “Our residents want Central to retain the rural feel it has always had, while bringing in amenities so they don’t have to drive into surrounding cities when they need something,” he says. Although Central does not lie on an interstate or major highway, the city falls on one of only three routes between East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes, thus Central gets significant traffic coming across the Magnolia Bridge, which can lead to increased sales tax revenue. Barrow says the new administration is ready to move forward and do its best for Central. “I’m proud of our people. They’ve shown patience and understanding, and have helped us as we get our administration going,” he says. “We’re very prudent in our budgeting each year. Contracting out a lot of city services has worked well for us, and we’ve got a budget surplus every year,” he adds. “We’re a model city.”



Bill Leach, VP of IT Security, makes a presentation to customers.

32 years of seamless, strategic IT services throughout the Gulf South TRANSFORMYX HAS GROWN to become one of the leading IT companies in the region, providing a full complement of services to small and medium-sized businesses as well as large enterprises across the Gulf South. With a staff of 75, the Baton Rouge-based company serves a broad spectrum of clients across many different sectors. President and CEO Claude Bethea says the company’s steady growth is the result of creating services that directly answer the evolving needs of clients. Transformyx provides collaboration services, cloud services, enterprise networking services and cyber security services to more than 1,000 customers across the country, with most centered in the Gulf South region. Cyber security, a topic that is in the news practically every day, should be a key objective for all companies, says Bethea. “The world has changed, and we think the foundation of every customer relationship starts with a conversation about IT security, including governance, risk and compliance,” says Bethea. “Our philosophy is if you don’t have a strong security practice, you’re vulnerable to real threats that can happen to any business at any time. And once a breach occurs, it can be a huge drain on resources and customer productivity.” To better serve customers’ cyber security needs,

Transformyx has significantly expanded its IT security division. Now led by Bill Leach, a retired Naval officer with 30 years of experience in information assurance and security, the division includes 12 IT security specialists who can diagnose and design real strategies for helping companies protect their critical data, financial records and customer information, while offering solutions in an “as-a-service model.” Another major objective of the company is the continued growth of services for small to medium sized commercial businesses (SMB). Many clients have seen both personnel and geographical growth the last two years and Transformyx has found new ways to help them use technology and cloud-powered services to work more efficiently and reduce costs. “Companies with disparate locations have to deal with a multitude of technology issues and tech vendors on a day-to-day basis, including internet providers,” says Ned Fasullo, who manages Transformyx’s SMB sales from Texas to the Florida panhandle. “We’re creating business outcomes through consolidation of their services and using Transformyx’s cloud-based services to reduce overall costs. It makes everything easier for the client.” With data centers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Transformyx is capable of delivering both cloud services and internet bandwidth to its enterprise and SMB clients alike, many of whom work in retail

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Cloud, collaboration, enterprise networking, IT security, managed IT services TOP EXECUTIVES Claude Bethea, President and CEO; Jim DuBos, Vice President and CTO; Paul Buteaux, Vice President of Sales; Charles Rougeau, Vice President of Engineering NO. OF EMPLOYEES.............................. 75 YEAR FOUNDED..................................1987 PHONE.................................... 225.761.0088 WEBSITE..............................transformyx.com EMAIL....................................info@tfmx.com

health care, food and beverage, construction, oil and gas, law and financial fields. “We have created a closed loop of services for our clients,” Fasullo says. As part of a security first approach to IT, Transformyx continues to service all key areas, including collaboration tools that allow some clients to go “serverless,” like voice and video software that connects employees across separate locations, and Microsoft’s Office365 platform. Used correctly, says Fasullo, these tools can save a company time and resources on travel while building a sense of community and connected team work among team members. It’s especially helpful for companies that have extended and/or rural locations. Aside from its owned data center in Baton Rouge, Transformyx’s data center in Dallas, opened in 2016, is a Tier 3 facility with more than 108,000 square feet of space. Located 15 minutes from Love Field Airport, the site is convenient for customers in the Gulf South who may need disaster recovery or business continuity capabilities and desire those services to be “out of region.” AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




The Roland Family

Owner says family ties are big part of Window World’s appeal THE ROLAND FAMILY makes it clear that hard work and business know-how are family traits. They own and operate Window World franchises in Louisiana, Texas and Florida, which carry the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Their Louisiana franchise ranks number one in sales and installation across the U.S. In fact, their annual volume of window installations makes them the leading window installation company in America, year after year. There’s a strong family connection in the company. CEO Jim Roland’s twin sons Jacob and Macon started working in the business at age 15—doing manual labor in the Window World warehouse. “They’ve had to work their way into the management side of the business the same as anyone else,” says Roland.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

“I’m proud to say my boys have earned respect through their own achievements.” Today, Jacob is Texas regional manager for the Roland family’s franchises, while Macon serves as corporate production manager, overseeing installation, service and personnel in Louisiana, Texas and Florida. Their younger sister Sarah is one of the company’s top sales performers year after year. Although the company is family-owned and operated, Roland runs it like a corporation. “We have rules that apply equally to my sons and anyone else performing those functions in the company,” he says. “We serve 20,000 to 30,000 customers a year, so there are a lot of different moving parts. To take care of them, we have to have systems, programs and rules, whether your last name is Roland or not.” Roland is proud of what his children bring to the table. Macon has implemented regular customer service weekend trainings with installers, while Sarah was especially compassionate and effective in dealing with customers after the 2016 flood in Baton Rouge. “That’s a big part of our appeal,” says Roland. “We promote our products as American-made, and we are proud that our ownership is

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Energy-efficient replacement windows TOP EXECUTIVE Jim Roland, CEO YEAR FOUNDED................................. 1980 PHONE.................................... 225.706.2100 WEBSITE....................... windowworld-btr.com FACEBOOK...............................facebook.com/ windowworldbatonrouge

local. If it’s Sarah on a sales call or Macon on a production call, it’s easier for the customer to trust us to do the things we’re promising to do.” Family owned businesses operate with a certain level of trust, and Window World has several longtime employees who are very loyal to the company. Roland can take off work to go fishing or hunting because he trusts his team to make good decisions and handle the day-to-day operations. “One of the advantages of stepping aside is the concept of mentoring and helping others grow,” he says. Roland is proud of the legacy he has built and is happy to hand it over to the next generation. “It’s a source of pride to have built a business that has durability and sustainability,” he says. “I know my children are going to be very involved in changing with the times and constantly improving customer service.”



Craig and Kristen Greene with their children

Medicine is just one passion in Dr. Craig Greene’s life of purpose HEALING AND HOPE are high on the list of Dr. Craig Greene’s contributions to the Baton Rouge community. As an orthopedic surgeon, he improves the quality of life for people of all ages. But medicine is just one of his many passions. From family to public service to humanitarian relief, Greene’s commitment extends in many directions, allowing him to always live a life of purpose.

Dr. Craig Greene treats a patient at Baton Rouge Orthopaedic Clinic.

Indeed, he and his wife Kristen work hard to set a positive example for their five children, focusing on faith and family, and encouraging them to help others whenever they can. “I often tell my kids that when they grow up and choose a profession, they should keep this in mind: Don’t just make a living. Make a difference.” Greene lives by those words. Aside from his thriving practice with Baton Rouge Orthopaedic Clinic, he has performed dozens of surgeries on medical mission trips to Colombia, Mexico, Honduras and Africa. In 2010, he helped organize a 12-member medical team that traveled to Haiti to provide relief to earthquake victims. And his Dr. Greene Foundation (greenecharity.com) provides disaster aid throughout the world. Kristen, a special needs physical therapist who has worked with Special Olympics, one day brought up the idea

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Orthopedic surgeon with Baton Rouge Orthopaedic Clinic and founder of the Greene Team Charitable Fund, a humanitarian and disaster relief organization MEDICAL SPECIALTIES Orthopedic surgery, sports medicine PHONE.................................... 225.924.2424 WEBSITE......................... craigcgreenemd.com

of adoption. “She said, ‘our family has so much love to give, we should share it with a child who really needs it,” Greene says. “So we traveled to China last August and brought home Boomer, who was two at the time. It’s unbelievable how he has brightened all of our lives.” Greene is serious about civic responsibility, too. In 2017, he was elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, an office he will hold through 2024. His civic efforts led him to consider the military. “I had always regretted that I had not served my country,” he said. “And it turns out that the U.S. Navy needed orthopedic surgeons.” Greene went through the training and is now a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Anyone else might be exhausted to even consider what Greene has already achieved. But he says it’s the key to his happiness. “Scripture says it’s better to give than to receive and I know from experience that this is true,” he says. “My feeling is that if I see a situation where I can be of help, then I want to do my part. It brings me peace and personal fulfillment.” AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




Isabella Heck, left, and McKenna LeBlanc

OLOM students reflect school’s mission through prayer, knowledge, service OUR LADY OF MERCY Catholic School has a decades-long tradition of translating knowledge into social and faith-filled action. When he founded the school in 1953, Fr. Louis Marionneaux envisioned a place where children could learn the values of family and the Catholic church while also developing an exceptional academic and spiritual foundation. More than half a century later, the school’s mission statement reflects this founding vision: prayer, knowledge and service. Under the guidance of Fr. Cleo Milano and Principal Chris Porche, M.Ed., Our Lady of Mercy continues to cultivate an environment of success through faith, academics and service for its students from age 3 through 8th grade. “We don’t just teach ABCs and one-two-threes,”

Music teacher Patti Hayes, left, and assistant Taylor Beadle with their 3-year-old class


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

Porche says. “We want to make sure we are teaching the whole student. This includes their spiritual and social lives in addition to academics.” During the past five years, Mercy, which is located in the growing Mid City area, has experienced a 26 percent increase in enrollment, yet classroom size remains at 25 students per class. This growth has led to a campus-wide expansion project laid out in a 20-year master plan that will see new facilities built and existing ones revitalized and equipped for a contemporary learning environment. “We were running out of space to house students, so we started really investing in our facilities and infrastructure,” Porche says. With support from Mercy’s capital campaign, Traditions for Tomorrow, a new lower-school elementary building that will accommodate more than 400 pre-K through second-grade students has opened. Equipped with its own library, cafeteria, and music and art rooms, the facility establishes space for students on both sides of Marquette Street. The school is also building a new gymnasium scheduled to be completed in August. The gym will provide much needed space for the school’s sports teams, which have been using an old church as their gym. “We’ve got 18 basketball teams and 12

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Catholic elementary and middle school for students age 3 through 8th grade TOP EXECUTIVE Chris Porche, M.Ed., Principal YEAR FOUNDED..................................1953 PHONE.................................... 225.924.1054 WEBSITE............................... olomschool.org EMAIL.......................cporche@olomschool.org

volleyball teams, but with just one court, only one team can practice at a time,” Porche says. The new gym will include two courts, locker rooms, concessions and storage space. Mercy has also invested in classroom technology. Mercy is an Apple school, with Apple TVs, devices and document cameras in each classroom. Many of the teachers are Apple certified and promote the use of technology throughout their curriculum. The school also is on track to become a Google classroom, with plans to bring one-to-one technology to the middle school beginning in 2020-21. In addition to Mercy’s successful campus growth, the school has seen academic success with improved standardized test scores. Three years ago, the school adjusted its curriculum to be more in line with the skills needed for the standardized tests. Mercy students participate in service projects to better understand the needs of the Baton Rouge community. For example, students support Volunteers of America, the Bella Bowman Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul by donating their time and goods. “We get our kids as involved as possible in helping the needy,” Porche says. “We want to make sure they understand it’s all about living in a community and giving back.”



CEO Randy Pierce positions DEMCO for future success DEMCO’S NEW CEO Randy Pierce took over in late August, and over the last seven months, has been hard at work to position the utility co-op for future success. Pierce comes to DEMCO from the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives, where he served that association for 22 years as its chief executive officer. Pierce gained valuable experience in marketing, lobbying, employee training and other areas that are essential to all cooperatives. His previous experience also includes a role as director of marketing and public affairs for Cajun Electric Power Cooperative and director of member services for Valley Electric Membership Cooperative in Northwest Louisiana. DEMCO is Louisiana’s largest electric cooperative

serving 110,000 metered members and 8,500 miles of power line in seven parishes—Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa and West Feliciana. Founded in 1938, DEMCO is one of the largest co-ops in the country. As CEO, one of his first moves was to bring in a group of national consultants who work with co-op utilities to look at DEMCO’s processes, procedures and policies. Pierce says he and the DEMCO staff were given excellent input on how to improve some of the day-to-day operations to make the co-op more efficient. Those visits resulted in some structural and workflow changes to the organization. “We’re doing everything we can to take a look at what we’re doing for our members and to make sure

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Electric cooperative which serves more than 110,000 meters in seven parishes of Southeast Louisiana TOP EXECUTIVE Randall Pierce, Chief Executive Officer NO. OF EMPLOYEES............................. 218 YEAR FOUNDED..................................1938 PHONE.......1-844-MYDEMCO (1.844.693.3626) WEBSITE................................... DEMCO.org FACEBOOK...... facebook.com/DEMCOLouisiana

we’re doing it in the best way,” Pierce says. Going forward, he says he would like for DEMCO to be in a better position to not only service existing members, but to also attract new members, including residential, commercial and industrial. DEMCO’s most valuable resource is its employees, Pierce says, and it has many employees with decades of experience. “We’ve had employees with a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge who have retired over the last couple of years,” he says. “Our approach is to promote individuals from within whenever possible, and then add staff to departments where we’re a little thin so that we are well positioned to respond to new and existing members.” He says he comes to the co-op with a marketing mindset and what he hopes is an empowering management style. “We try to put folks where they can perform and do what they do best,” he says. “DEMCO exists to serve our members,” says Pierce. “We are committed to having the right people in the right positions to deliver safe, reliable and affordable service to our members for generations to come.” AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




Executive Director Paul Aucoin

Port of South Louisiana is premier sea gateway for U.S. import and export traffic THE PORT OF South Louisiana’s Executive Regional Airport continues to undergo improvements that will make it an attractive option for executives checking on businesses in and around the port. The airport is just one component of the Port of South Louisiana, which stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River in St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes. It is the largest tonnage port district in the Western hemisphere, and in 2018, the port’s facilities handled more than 303 million short tons of cargo, brought to its terminals via vessels and barges. Goods such as grain, coal, crude and petrochemical travel through the port to reach 31 U.S. states, two Canadian provinces and 26 million people


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

through an integrated system of river, rail, road and air infrastructure. The Port of South Louisiana is ranked 16th in the world in tonnage, and is the only U.S. port that ranks in the top 20 of the nearly 5,000 ports in the world. Paul Aucoin, the port’s executive director, says the port’s regional airport is available to make it convenient for office personnel with non-commercial private planes to fly in, conduct their business and fly out. The 51 existing industries within the port district have access to the airport, along with the use of a courtesy vehicle. “We are making a lot of improvements to the airport that make it attractive to the industries along the river,” Aucoin says. He says he is looking forward to growing the airport, which in turn will help the port continue to grow. The airport’s terminal was remodeled following Hurricane Isaac in August 2012. The improvements include a sitting area for passengers, a boardroom and a lounge for pilots to use while their passengers are conducting business. Additionally, the port opened a public transient hangar—a $600,000 project—for overnight guests, and is building 10 “T-Hangars” for the public to

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Mississippi River port which handles more than 300 million short tons of cargo annually via vessels and barges TOP EXECUTIVE Paul Aucoin, Executive Director LOCATION 54-mile stretch along St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes PHONE....................................985.652.9278 WEBSITE..................................... portsl.com

lease through the port. It is also preparing to resurface the runway. Aucoin says that having an airport also makes the port more attractive for new businesses that are considering a location within the port’s jurisdiction. “It’s important for our port that we continue to grow,” he says. One of Aucoin’s most important roles is advocating to make sure the mouth of the Mississippi River remains dredged to 50 feet. This is essential, he says, because if this point falls below 50 feet, vessels are restricted in their load size, and that results in economic loss. “If you can’t load your ship fully, it becomes a problem,” Aucoin says. A plan put together with other ports and submitted to Congress would fully utilize the $9 billion in the Harbor Maintenance Tax fund and would ensure this would not ever be a problem again, Aucoin says. “That’s one of my goals … to make sure this project is fully funded and the legislation is enacted,” Aucoin says. “The entire U.S. depends on the Mississippi River.”



Mougeot Architecture uses sketches, 3D software, animation tools to help clients visualize projects FOR MOUGEOT ARCHITECTURE, which is celebrating its 15th year in business, every project brings new and exciting opportunities for discovery. Space, light, context, materials, and earth converge to create new forms. As an artist creates a work of art one brush stroke at a time, Mougeot Architecture understands the importance of each project phase and provides its full attention throughout the entire design/construction process. “One of our strengths as a firm is project visualization,” says David Mougeot, principal partner. “We work with clients to develop a functioning building utilizing a variety of tools including old-school hand sketches, 3D computer modeling software and 3D animation tools. This process provides the client an opportunity to virtually experience the project inside

Rendering of the St. Amant Fire Department under construction

and out before the design is finalized. We value client collaboration and the shared experience in bringing our designs to reality. Our unique capabilities have allowed us to service clients with a very broad range of project types and sizes successfully. Some of our more recent projects include educational, municipal, commercial offices, retail, health care, master planning and industrial.” Mougeot routinely receives positive feedback from his clients. For example: “They have proven to be true professionals capable of bringing our visions to reality.” — Tommy Martinez, past president of Ascension Parish, speaking about the parish’s new governmental complex

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Professional architecture firm TOP EXECUTIVE David M. Mougeot, AIA, Principal YEAR FOUNDED.................................2005 PHONE...................................... 225.767.1717 WEBSITE...................mougeotarchitecture.com FACEBOOK...............Mougeot Architecture LLC

“Their performance was outstanding and exceeded expectations.” — Rudy Simoneaux, P.E., Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority, on the LSU Center for River Studies “Designing the expansion was a pleasure because of their professionalism and availability.” — Angela M. Latino-Geier, president/CEO of Associated Builders & Contractors, on the ABC New Orleans/Bayou Chapter campus expansion

The Mougeot Architecture team with Sorrento Fire Chief Nelson Pinion on right

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




Junior Myliyah Jefferson works at Arthur J. Gallagher.

Cristo Rey is ‘the school that works’ WHEN CRISTO REY JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL opened its doors in Chicago in 1996, it billed itself as “the school that works.” That’s because students participated in an innovative work study program that prepared them for success in college and future careers. In 2016, Baton Rouge followed suit with the opening of its own Cristo Rey Franciscan High School sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program operates like a temporary employment agency within the school, providing each student with five days a month in an entry-level, professional job during all four years of high school. Students earn most of their education costs while gaining real-world

K. Scott Wester, CEO of Our Lady of the Lake, is pictured with Cristo Rey students, some of whom have worked in the hospital’s IS department and in the gift shop.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

work experience that strengthens their skills, creates self-confidence and gives them a headstart in the professional world. As they gain real job experience, they come to appreciate the value of classroom learning and develop a connection to their community. The school has made a huge difference in the lives of many young people. One student’s learning disability makes academics challenging, but after three years of experience in an office environment, he is a model employee who is confident and self-assured. He has been given an opportunity to shine despite his academic struggles. Another student grew up in a household in which the family spoke only Spanish, and she was nervous about her English speaking skills. Placed as a receptionist in a busy office, she was encouraged to step outside of her comfort zone and now greets customers, takes phone calls and makes announcements with ease. She communicates effectively on a bilingual level—a skill that makes her valuable in the job market. Local businesses benefit from the program, too, by serving as mentors and developing future job candidates. “Our partnership with Cristo Rey creates a unique opportunity for families and students who may not otherwise have access

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Private Catholic high school that provides a college-prep education and is known for its innovative work/study program TOP EXECUTIVES Eric Engemann, President; Carissa Graves, Vice President for Community Engagement; Claire Willis, Principal NO. OF STUDENTS............................... 169 YEAR FOUNDED..................................2016 PHONE..................................... 225.615.7479 WEBSITE................................. cristoreybr.org

to this educational option,” says Steve E. Webb, Jr., president and CEO of Neighbors Federal Credit Union. “The program has provided Neighbors FCU with a path to continue our commitment to education in the communities we serve. We are proud to demonstrate our motto (Build Relationships that Matter) with the outstanding team at Cristo Rey.” Fae Foster, human resources manager at Guaranty Media, agrees. “The work study partnership allows us to help pay the school tuition for two Cristo Rey students in exchange for the work they do for us,” she said. “These children come from limited economic backgrounds and otherwise would not have access to a college preparatory school or the chance to work alongside professional individuals. Guaranty is happy to provide this opportunity to kids in need in our community.”



Product knowledge, personal service account for Elite’s Success THE PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIP between Zeke Avci, Murat Avci and Tommy Brignac spans a period of more than 30 years in the automotive industry. From their humble beginnings as a detailer, salesman, and mechanic at another local dealership, each sharpened their automotive knowledge and business skills, and graduated into management. When their former company failed to adapt to the wants and needs of more informed buyers, they decided to change this “old school” approach and branch out on their own. In 2016, the team established Elite Import Group. Housed in a 15,000-square-foot warehouse at the intersection of Airline Highway and Siegen Lane, customers will find an extraordinary mix of some of the most beautiful cars on the market today, including Lamborghini, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Lexus, Maserati, Land Rover and Infiniti. Elite carries most domestic and import lines, and there is something for every budget.

From left: Murat Avci, Zeke Avci and Tommy Brignac

By focusing on their product, providing personal service, and establishing a company atmosphere of low pressure and family-oriented relationships, Elite quickly earned a reputation for quality cars and fivestar customer service. Not only has Elite received CarGuru’s “Top Rated Dealership Award” for the past two years, but in 2018, earned the coveted “Distinguished Service Award” from their peers, the Louisiana Independent Automotive Dealers Association (LIADA). “It is all about the car,” says Brignac. “The right car will sell itself. Focusing on each individual car from the day it arrives at Elite until the day it is delivered to its new owner is what we do best. We have an extensive 100-point inspection and reconditioning process that ensures the product meets or exceeds expectations, and if it doesn’t, we will make it right or find the perfect one that does.” Customer reviews and a high volume of repeat business underscore Elite Import Group’s habit of treating each customer like a member of the family. And the relationship does not end with the purchase. The company stands behind every car it sells, and customers are encouraged to stay in touch with Elite with any concerns or questions after the sale. “Our relationship with our customers only grows after their purchase,” says Murat Avci. “’Welcome to our Elite Family’ is not just what we say to our customers … we believe they are ‘family’ and it’s not uncommon

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Automotive dealership that specializes in used luxury, sport and specialty vehicles TOP EXECUTIVES Zekeriya Avci, Finance Manager/Partner; Murat Avci, Sales Manager/Partner; Thomas Brignac, Operations Manager/Partner YEAR FOUNDED..................................2016 PHONE................................... 225.636.5400 WEBSITE........................eliteimportgroup.com EMAIL.................... zeke@eliteimportgroup.com murat@eliteimportgroup.com tommy@eliteimportgroup.com FACEBOOK........ facebook.com/eliteimportgroup INSTAGRAM......instagram.com/eliteimportgroup

to see their brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends or co-workers at our dealership in the weeks after that sale—not always to make a purchase, but sometimes just to visit our uncommon store.” While most of Elite’s 1600 vehicle sales have been made in the metro area, clients have come from as far away as California, Maine and Canada, helping Elite reach a three-year revenue total of more than $31 million. Elite Import Group is also active in the community, sponsoring The Baton Rouge International School, Catholic High School, Ascension Parish’s high schools, and the Baton Rouge Red Cross, among others. “Three years ago, we set out to be a different kind of car company, to change people’s perceptions about the used car industry,” says Zeke Avci, “and we are humbled by the support the Elite team has received from the community. It has helped us prove to ourselves and to many others that sometimes ‘change’ is a good thing.” AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019











Accounting firm has local roots, but broad reach ESTABLISHED IN 1924, Hannis T. Bourgeois provides accounting, tax and consulting services to a diverse client base, representing a variety of industries and nonprofit organizations. With more than 130 staff members, HTB maintains offices in Baton Rouge, Denham Springs and New Orleans. An innovative firm operating in a historically conservative industry, HTB employs members of four generations in the workforce. Throughout its 95 years in business, the firm has been deliberate about its commitment to accommodate team members through a culture of inclusion. Hallmarks of HTB’s culture are work flexibility and civic-mindedness. “We want a culture that’s attractive to all and inclusive of the different generations,” said Monica Zumo, managing partner. HTB strives to deliver value to its clients by providing proactive accounting and advisory services. HTB wants to help their clients be successful, not just deliver a tax return or a financial statement.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

They pride themselves on building strong lasting relationships. The company’s accounting services include assurance services, tax planning and preparation, accounting and payroll services. Driven by market need, HTB developed a CFO/Controller for Hire program. As the name implies, the service offers financial expertise and oversight to small and midsized businesses that are unable to sustain a full-time chief financial officer. HTB also offers business valuations, assistance with mergers and acquisitions, litigation support and internal control advisory services. Through its membership in Allinial Global, one of the industry’s premier professional associations, HTB is able to leverage global resources not typically available through a local firm. “Clients want proactive accounting and advisory services,” said Zumo. “We continually strive to deliver value to our clients.” Five years ago, HTB launched a young professionals group, YoPreaux, to help staffers under age 40 progress more rapidly in their careers and forge connections with more tenured staff members. The self-directed group, which boasts nearly 100 percent participation of eligible employees and interns, focuses on networking internally and externally. Throughout the year, YoPreaux organizes special events designed to promote professional development and community service. Marquee events include regular business lunch and learn sessions, the

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Accounting, business valuations, assurance, litigation support, CFO for hire, tax and consulting services for individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations TOP EXECUTIVE Monica Zumo, Managing Partner PHONE....................................225.928.4770 WEBSITE.................................... htbcpa.com

firm’s annual Service Saturday—a day of planned community service—and annual trivia night, which has grown to include young professionals from other organizations. Recognizing HTB’s success with YoPreaux, other area employers have sought to develop similar programs. “It is great to work for a firm that invests in its staff,” says Gordon Clark, YoPreaux champion. “HTB has given us the ability to create fun events while also giving us the tools to improve our professional skills and teaching the importance of improving our business development skills early on in our careers.” Building on its success with YoPreaux, HTB launched a women’s group to help female staffers cultivate networks and further develop their business acumen. “HTB’s Women’s Initiative is an opportunity for the women in the firm to engage with and learn from one another,” says Jill Kindler, who serves on the Women’s Initiative committee. “I am grateful to work for a firm that values all employees and recognizes the need for retaining and developing women.” HTB is more than a CPA firm. HTB is a firm of trusted advisors dedicated to their clients and community. Giving back to the community is a big part of their culture. HTB encourages their team to take an active role in the community by getting involved and making a difference.



From left: Garrick Rose, Dwana Williams, Theo Richards, Bill Deville, Darrell Brown, Amie McNaylor and James Godwin

For CATS, the road ahead shows new ridership trends AS THE PUBLIC and private sectors continue to grapple with Baton Rouge’s traffic challenges, Capital Area Transit System (CATS) recently implemented a major service improvement plan, its first since 2014. Working to develop and implement a mobility plan unique to the city, CATS is in its second year of a five-year strategic plan that represents the organization’s commitment and accountability to the public from which it derives partial funding. “The strategic plan is designed to show the community our vision and our priorities,” says Mark Bellue, president of the CATS Board of Commissioners. “It also allows for public input and updates.” Through the plan, CATS is serving an additional 18.9 percent of the Baton Rouge population. By eliminating underperforming stops and routes, CATS created a new route and extended existing ones to serve areas like River Road and Greenwell Springs Road, and provides better frequency and coverage in other areas. CATS suspended fares and offered free transportation for the first week the

Mark Bellue, President of CATS Board of Commissioners, left, and Bill Deville, CATS CEO


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

changes were implemented. By deploying 35 new buses and replacing its aging fleet, CATS has reduced average wait times to 30 minutes or less during peak service hours and has decreased its number of preventable accidents. The new buses feature security cameras and free Wi-Fi, amenities that have been well received by riders. To assist the public in understanding route changes and other improvements, CATS is also updating maps and bus signage, conducting public information sessions and seeking opportunities for more community engagement. “We want the public to know we’ve accomplished quite a bit, but much more remains to be done,” says CEO William Deville. Three electric buses are on order and will be used initially for regular fixed-route service and ultimately dedicated to the Bus Rapid Transit network. In pursuit of BRT, CATS is creating a 10-mile bus route corridor (the Plank-Nicholson Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project) from Plank Road to Nicholson Drive as a more cost-effective alternative to the tram project in that area. Success of such rapid transit plans is expected to lead to more partnerships with business and government. Working collaboratively with the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, and with city-parish, state, and federal governments, CATS is seeking to improve the vision for the BRT to include redevelopment, land improvement and blight improvement – all of which are expected to result in further economic development. CATS is preparing to launch a six-month microtransit pilot project of a mobility alternative testing on-demand service in a defined area. Currently, the entire

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Regional transit authority for Baton Rouge, providing fixed-route service, paratransit service and more TOP EXECUTIVES William J. “Bill” Deville, CEO; Darrell Brown, CAO NO. OF EMPLOYEES............................ 300 YEAR FOUNDED..................................1970 PHONE................................... 225.389.8920 WEBSITE..................................... brcats.com FACEBOOK.................. facebook.com/CATSBR TWITTER................................... @BTRCATS

service area is under consideration, with emphasis on a few key, high-demand areas. “We recognize traffic congestion issues and believe that people will be attracted to rapid transit, but only if they have mobility alternatives,” says Deville. “People have practical concerns. ‘What if I need to leave work early? What if my child is ill at school?’ That’s where ride-share comes into play.” In these instances, Deville says, microtransit can play a vital role. He explains that there will be microtransit zones in which riders will have transportation alternatives similar to those provided by popular ride-share services like Uber and Lyft. CATS is working with TransLoc to develop software and dispatching capabilities in preparation for the microtransit pilot. Long-range plans call for more routes and express lines (like the existing Plank Road route), additional shelters, shorter wait times, additional transfer hubs and the potential expansion of microtransit. “We’re always seeking to improve,” Deville says. “It’s important to realize that although we’ve made some big changes, we’ll have a chance to tweak our services. Once routes are established and ridership trends reveal themselves, we’ll take that feedback and adjust accordingly.”


HealthLOGIC pharmacy offers more options, more support, more solutions AT FIRST GLANCE, HealthLOGIC Pharmacy doesn’t look like your typical retail pharmacy. It doesn’t necessarily operate like one either, combining the services of several types of pharmacies in one. It’s a concept crafted by two local brothers— Val and Jourdan Generes—and Matt Skellan. The brothers were inspired as they cared for their aging parents. Jourdan, who has a background in insurance and pharmaceutical and medical device sales, describes the complications he encountered sorting pills and making sure medications were refilled in a timely manner for his parents. “Like most children, we experienced the transition of being cared for by our parents to having to care for them,” he says. “Because of our father’s heart condition, medications became more complicated and difficult to manage. We found ourselves having


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

to meet with our parents weekly to organize their pill boxes and make sure the medications were taken appropriately.” The brothers thought there had to be a more efficient way. “We decided as a pharmacy to bring some longterm care packaging options to retail patients,” says Jourdan. “Our dad’s medications are now all synced up and packaged for him at the pharmacy. I don’t have to worry about whether or not he’s taking them properly.” Not only does this process help patients manage multiple medications, but it also ensures that pills are taken as intended, easing the burden for caregivers. If HealthLOGIC discovers that a prescribed medication is not covered by a patient’s insurance plan, the staff will research another option, such as a similar medication that may be compounded at an affordable price. The most common specialties that require compounding services are dermatology, veterinary and urology (erectile dysfunction) medications. “Growing up in New Orleans, everyone drove to the independent neighborhood pharmacy down the street,” says Val, who was an IT consultant for many years. “We wanted to offer the same pharmacist-patient experience, but with the added level of convenience and technology everyone now expects.” With locations in Baton Rouge and

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Retail pharmacy offering extra conveniences such as compounding, special prescription packaging, and delivery service TOP EXECUTIVES Val Generes, Co-Owner/Operator; Jourdan Generes, Co-Owner; Matt Skellan, Co-Owner; John Mark Rolling, Pharmacist in Charge (PIC) YEAR FOUNDED..................................2017 PHONE....................................225.978.3336 WEBSITE................... healthlogicpharmacy.com FACEBOOK...facebook.com/healthlogic pharmacy

New Orleans, the focus on convenience carries over into an app that allows patients to manage their prescriptions from anywhere and refill their medications through the website. Text notifications and delivery or pick-up options are available at both locations. “We’re not quite like any other pharmacy that we know of,” says Matt, who has experience in the specialty pharmacy space. “We’re here to make people’s lives easier.” HealthLOGIC pharmacist John Mark Rolling, who earned his undergraduate degree at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, takes pride in the ways HealthLOGIC goes above and beyond for its patients. “In addition to our personalized service for patients, we try to service doctors and provide as much help to them as we can,” he says. “We’ll call the insurance company and find out what’s covered. We can customize and compound for a variety of different situations. We make the process as seamless as possible for providers and patients alike.”



Towne Center location employees from left: Kyle Hawthorne, Julie Wray, Sue Moise, Meg Martinez, Shirley Cook, and Tommy O’Connor. Not pictured: Roger Sullivan and W. Bowen McRae Jr.

Second BR location creates convenience for Raymond James clients ALTHOUGH THE FIRM still operates out of its original office space downtown, Raymond James and Associates Inc. has added a second location in Baton Rouge, making it more convenient to do business in the capital area. The new location is in Towne Center at Cedar Lodge, at the corner of Corporate Boulevard and Jefferson Highway, and it brings the firm’s total to 10 branches in Southeast Louisiana. The full-service brokerage and investment firm handles estate planning, financial planning, retirement planning, college planning, insurance and annuities, tax planning and other wealth management needs. The advisors have had a strong presence in Baton Rouge for quite some time, according to Colin Seibert, managing director and senior vice president of investments, and branch manager for Baton Rouge and Houma. They were originally with Morgan Keegan, a regional firm based out of Memphis until it was acquired by Raymond James in 2012. “We’ve been expanding ever since,” Seibert says. Recently, they have experienced tremendous growth through recruiting efforts led by Complex Manager Jude Huval, and in July 2017, took on three

advisors and three support staff from Wells Fargo, which was operating from an office in Towne Center. The advisors wanted to stay on that side of town, while Raymond James wanted to increase its presence in South Baton Rouge. The office space was remodeled to the firm’s specifications, with room to eventually expand. The staff moved back in September 2018 and has space to hold seven advisors. The Towne Center office space offers convenience and flexibility for clients who might feel that making a trip to downtown is cumbersome, says Jenny Bernard, Baton Rouge branch operations manager and complex administrative manager for the Southern Louisiana market. For example, she says, if a client needs to drop off a check or paperwork, the client can go to either office. “It’s an opportunity for us to be where the growth is,” she says. “Our folks who work in it love it, and we’ve gotten nothing but positive reviews from the clients.” At some point this year, the company plans to remodel its downtown office space as well, Bernard says.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Multinational firm focusing on all aspects of wealth management TOP EXECUTIVES (Baton Rouge) Rolfe Miller, WMS, Managing Director, Sr. Vice President, Investments; Gary Smith, CIMA®, CFA, CPWA®, Managing Director, Sr. Vice President, Investments; Lisa Westmoreland, Managing Director, Sr. Vice President, Investments; W. Bowen McRae, Jr., JD, CRPC®, Sr. Vice President, Investments ADDRESS 445 North Blvd., Suite 500, Baton Rouge 7350 Jefferson Hwy., Suite 490, Baton Rouge NO. OF EMPLOYEES......34 in Baton Rouge, LA YEAR FOUNDED.........1962 in St. Petersburg, FL PHONE................................... 225.344.9020 WEBSITE................................................... raymondjames.com/southernlawealthmanagement

Raymond James experiences very low turnover from its employees, Seibert says. “Everyone here has been here 15 to 20 years. It’s more of a family atmosphere.” The advisors at Raymond James own their books of business, he says, and have the flexibility and independence to build their practices however they see fit. “Our success has been a product of our model,” Seibert says. “It’s very independent. It’s very client-centric.” AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




New York Life Chairman and CEO Ted Mathas, left, and New York Life Council President and Agent with the New Orleans General Office Donna Elison in the home office in New York. (Photo provided by New York Life)

New York Life Agent Donna Elison named nation’s top producer LOUISIANA-BASED NEW YORK Life agent Donna Elison is quick to credit her company for her success in serving Gulf Coast clients for more than a decade. New York Life is the nation’s leading mutual life insurance provider, Elison says, delivering innovative financial products and strategies that make it possible for agents like her to help corporate clients plan for future events. But what Elison might not reveal off the bat, is that she was recognized as New York Life Council President in 2018, an honor bestowed annually for the top agent in the company. Elison earned this recognition by ranking as the highest producing agent among New York Life’s more than 12,000 licensed agents, while adhering to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. It was a dream she had pursued for years, having earned the number two spot in both 2013 and 2014. Today, she wears the coveted New York Life Council President blue blazer and has secured a permanent place in the company’s history.


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

“It feels incredible to have the strength of New York Life behind me,” says Elison. “I could not be prouder to represent this company and to offer my clients solutions to their business planning needs.” Elison is based in her hometown, New Orleans, but she serves clients throughout the Gulf South, including Texas, Alabama, Florida and, of course, Louisiana. After being in the business since 2006, Elison has developed a niche for the construction and energy industries, bedrock sectors across the region. Based on each client’s specific needs, Elison creates a plan that uses corporate-owned life insurance to address issues such as succession, cash flow, buy-out provisions and others. The cases Elison works on are highly complex, requiring intense research, patience and thoughtful fact-finding. “I’m lucky,” she says. “Every step of the way, I am backed by the reputation of New York Life and its incredible team of thousands of nationwide employees who work diligently to offer our clients the best possible products and services.” Elison’s roots in the business world stem from working with the late Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints owner and well-known businessman. In 2005, the year that Hurricane Katrina hit the Crescent City, Elison was looking for a new challenge and interviewed with New York Life. She signed on as an agent with the company in 2006. It was a rocky start. She was not only displaced by the storm, but also recently divorced and a single mother, facing a new set of challenges related to her mother who had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Still, she dug deep, working hard to develop new professional

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE The nation’s leading mutual life insurance provider, delivering innovative financial products and strategies for clients ADDRESS 639 Loyola Ave., #1900 New Orleans, LA 70113 PHONE................................... 504.559.2254 WEBSITE...................... www.donnaelison.com

skills while juggling intense responsibilities at home. “It was a struggle early on, but I always tried to put my genuine self forward and be as open and honest with my clients as possible,” she says. “I have always believed in what this incredible company has to offer, and that shows in every interaction.” Today, Elison immerses herself in offering seamless service to existing clients and in showcasing solutions to new prospects. She can spend several months researching a case before a sale is even closed. It’s a dynamic field, full of constant changes driven by law, policy and the marketplace, but she thrives on offering customized solutions that address each business’s needs and future concerns. “What is really satisfying is being able to tailor the right solution for a client,” she says. “Bringing a business owner peace of mind is a great feeling and something I’m really proud of.” Elison also finds time to give back. She supports several regional causes, including leukemia-lymphoma, cerebral palsy, the Special Olympics and others. “I really believe in Louisiana,” Elison says. “It’s where my heart is.”


From left: Corrin Connelly, Christel Slaughter, Rudy Gomez and Bill Slaughter

SSA Consultants help companies develop and retain talent OVER THE COURSE of its nearly 50-year history, Baton Rouge-based SSA Consultants has helped transform companies through high level strategic planning and organizational development. A growing component of that work includes leadership development—equipping executives with the tools they need to succeed, lead and innovate. Today’s workplace puts new demands on companies in order to remain competitive and retain talent. “We’ve seen an elevated interest in organizations investing in leadership development for their people,” says SSA Consultants Partner Rudy Gomez. “This is happening for a number of reasons, but it’s very much a critical part of keeping an organization healthy.” One big reason for the trend is the continuing generational transition of leadership as baby boomers retire. Another force is robust movement in the job market. No longer do professionals expect

to stay with the same company over the course of their careers. Instead, they’re changing jobs—and sometimes fields – with new frequency. Professionals are also more likely to physically relocate today than in the past, meaning companies are constantly onboarding new team members. Leadership development is also on the rise because professionals are more interested in work environments that value personal and professional growth. It’s not just millennials who feel this way, says SSA Partner Anita Byrne … it’s every generation. Therefore, it’s critical that organizations institute systems that train employees to be the best they can be. “Today, everyone is interested in a work environment that fosters growth,” Byrne says. “They want to do interesting, challenging work and develop as many skills as they can on the job. We see this across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.” SSA’s leadership development programs are tailored to fit the needs of each client. Some training programs are oneon-one coaching sessions designed for high level executives and managers. Other sessions are built for teams. Modules can be delivered at a client’s work site, or in a retreatstyle setting at SSA’s Bluebonnet Boulevard campus. SSA works with individual companies in Baton Rouge and across the country, and develops training programs for professional associations to offer their membership. Leadership is the ability of an individual to organize people into high performing teams, says

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Consulting firm that provides leadership development, strategic planning and organizational design for business, industry, health care and government agencies ADDRESS 9331 Bluebonnet Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA 70810 PHONE.................................... 225.769.2676 WEBSITE................................consultssa.com

Gomez. But, he adds, any effective leader must start by understanding his or her leadership style. “Your style versus that of your employees and peers is a core component of leadership development. It’s often where we start,” says Gomez. “Our core personality traits typically don’t change much. However, if we want to be good leaders, it’s important to be aware of our unique leadership styles and grow our skills over time.” Coaching, mentoring and showing a company how to cross-train employees across disciplines are other components of SSA’s work. SSA also helps companies create systems that provide regular feedback to employees beyond annual performance reviews. “Employees are thirsty for guidance, and they want it delivered more than once a year,” Byrne says. “That’s no surprise in a world where you can have dinner at your doorstep in 20 minutes.” It’s really about creating an environment of constant improvement, Byrne says. “There are many different ways companies can give their employees feedback on a regular basis,” she says. “We love showing how an employer can be more intentional about building strong leaders and good teams. It’s a game changer for success.”

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




Lake After Hours at 8751 Sullivan Road








Lake After Hours celebrates 20 years of fast, convenient care WORKING AS EMERGENCY room physicians 20 years ago, Drs. Kevin DiBenedetto and Graham Tujague noticed that many of the cases coming into the ER were for conditions better treated in an urgent care setting. Respiratory ailments, influenza, minor injuries and more were part of a case load that competed with life-threatening issues for time and attention. “We saw many patients because they needed relief and couldn’t wait for an appointment with their regular doctor,” recalls Tujague. “At that time, we’d seen models of urgent care clinics across the country and we thought it sounded like a good idea for Baton Rouge.” In 1999, Tujague and DiBenedetto, together with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, opened Lake After Hours urgent care clinic on Perkins Road, launching one of the first physician/ hospital urgent care partnerships in the nation. Two decades later, Lake After Hours treats more than 150,000 patients annually at 17 locations across

Dr. Graham Tujague


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

Dr. Kevin DiBenedetto

Baton Rouge and neighboring communities. “When we started we had no idea Lake After Hours would be the success it is today,” says DiBenedetto. “Our goals were simple. We wanted to deliver excellent care for minor injuries and illness quickly and efficiently.” DiBenedetto and Tujague still treat patients in Lake After Hours clinics. While fast, convenient care is at the heart of what Lake After Hours does, it’s the seamless connection to OLOL that sets it apart. For urgent care patients needing additional treatment, Patient Navigators can set up expedited follow-up appointments with the appropriate OLOL physician. “Lake After Hours plays an important role in our community as far as having access to the right care, at the right place, at the right time,” says Scott Wester, president & CEO of Our Lady of the Lake. “Their numerous locations give patients the choice to get the care they need closer to home, and through our partnership, there is a smooth transition when more advanced care is required.” The Lake After Hours business model continues to innovate. Its clinics were the first in the state to be accredited by the Urgent Care Association demonstrating a commitment to quality and the highest level of patient care. All Lake After Hours clinics feature on-site X-rays as well as lab testing for conditions like the flu, blood sugar levels, urinalysis and more. The clinics also offer breathing treatments and IV fluids.

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Lake After Hours Urgent Care Clinics provide fast, convenient medical treatment for minor illnesses, injuries like colds, flu, cuts and fractures, and near-site occupational health services LOCATIONS 17 clinics across Baton Rouge and its surrounding areas PATIENT VOLUME More than 150,000 patients annually WEBSITE........................... lakeafterhours.com

Working with its affiliate, Total Occupational Medicine, Lake After Hours’ extensive network of clinics throughout the region offers a near-site occupational health solution for area employers. Services include substance screenings, pulmonary function tests, DOT physicals, lab work and more. Employees who use a nearby Lake After Hours clinic will be seen quicker and will generally return to work sooner. Lake After Hours is also a pioneer in telemedicine, offering the high-tech option to patients at select clinics that want to be seen quicker. Virtual visits are conducted in the same manner as regular faceto-face exams, but by Lake After Hours clinicians at another location. Support staff are at the patient’s side to collect information necessary to make a diagnosis which is then transmitted to the offsite provider via a secure, online video system. “The technology is really effective for patients with conditions like sore throats, ear infections, flu and lots of other issues,” says DiBenedetto. “It’s also great for rechecking injuries to make sure they’re healing properly.” At the end of the day, the physician founders of Lake After Hours recognize that providing excellent, consumer-friendly care in an urgent care setting will always be their focus. *In some locations, Lake After Hours does business as Lake Urgent Care.



Bryan Naquin

‘Experience center’ showcases latest and greatest in technology “A good name is more desirable than great riches … to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” BRYAN NAQUIN FOUNDED his company on this proverb 16 years ago, and he’s proud of the reputation he has built for Acadian Home Theater & Automation. Customers across the country, especially in the southeast, trust him with creating a personalized technology experience for their home. “Everybody’s different, and every home is different,” says Naquin. “The main thing people want is a cohesive, integrated experience where everything works together.” Naquin says consumers often get overwhelmed by the amount of information and products on the market today. To address that, Acadian Home Theater & Automation is building a new experience center to showcase the latest and greatest technology.

The home-like experience center space will include a kitchen, home theater, office and technology wall. Customers can see and touch the products and “experience the magic,” says Naquin. “It will be like you’re stepping out of Louisiana and into a major city. We’re showcasing technology no one else has ever seen.” This means ideas like circadian lighting, where interior light bulbs change colors throughout the day to mimic the light outside and the body’s circadian rhythms. There’s also RGB lighting in every color of the rainbow to set different moods and scenes, in addition to 8K televisions, high-performance audio and state-of-the-art cameras for security. The experience center is part of Acadian Home Theater & Automation’s new corporate headquarters on Perkins Road. Scheduled to open June 1, the 10,000-square-foot space will include the business’s operations, warehouse, office space and room for future growth. It will also house a full training lab that

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Multi-zone audio/video and smart home technology firm TOP EXECUTIVE Bryan Naquin, President/Owner YEAR FOUNDED.....................................2003 PHONE....................................... 225.906.2589 WEBSITE.................................... aciexperts.com FACEBOOK.... facebook.com/Acadian Home Theater

Naquin says will be the first of its kind in the state, allowing technical training to be done in-house and manufacturers brought in for demonstrations. Naquin says his number one mission is to be a good steward of people’s money. “I care about the end user, what’s best for them, what has great value, and what’s easiest for them to use,” he says. All of Acadian Home Theater & Automation’s services are tied together under one app for the customers who want to control everything—from window shades to music and thermostats—from their cell phones. And if Netflix goes out late at night, two call centers staffed with trained technical advisers are available 24/7. Acadian Home Theater & Automation is poised for growth. For seven consecutive years, it has been named a “Top 100 Integrator” by CE Pro, the leading information source for the custom electronics industry. It’s the only Louisiana company to receive this recognition. Naquin, whose first job out of high school was installing alarms, plans to double the company’s size in the next five years. He admits that he’s ultra-competitive, but also credits his company’s success to a focus on service. “In our company culture, we are obsessed with delivering the ultimate customer experience,” he says. “When you do what you say you’re going to do and deliver superior service, you have no choice but to grow.” AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




The Data-Tel team

Data-Tel technicians know all about making connections FROM COMPUTER NETWORKS to security systems to accounting methods, most businesses and organizations could not operate if they were not wired for connection. That’s where Data-Tel of Louisiana’s expertise comes in. Data-Tel specializes in the design and installation of structured cabling systems, low-voltage systems wiring, fiber optic and copper. The Walker-based company provides design, implementation, project management, installation and maintenance in many markets, including financial, retail, government, education and medical. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the woman-owned and family-operated company has built a reputation with customers throughout the Gulf Coast region for its ability to manage largescale conversion processes within a short time frame. “We’re known for our ability to complete a task quickly and with maximum efficiency for our customers,” says Bart LeBlanc, Data-Tel’s secretary/ treasurer. For example, if a retail store or bank takes over another company or moves into another company’s location, the wiring in the facility must be converted to meet the specific needs of the new company, including wiring for security cameras, sound systems or cash registers. Emily LeBlanc, president, says that with proper planning and coordination, Data-Tel can complete most conversions in one night, ensuring the customer does not lose valuable operating time. “We’ll make sure our customer has a seamless transition with minimal down time,” she says. In the two decades since the LeBlancs established Data-Tel, the company has experienced consistent 60

ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

growth, increasing annual revenues from $1 million to more than $3 million and growing from 12 employees to 22. Data-Tel installs about 1.4 million feet of cable per year. In addition to converting wiring in existing and renovated facilities, Data-Tel works with new construction. The company is licensed in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and has a contract with the state of Louisiana to provide structured cabling systems and low-voltage wiring for government projects. By designing systems with a 15-year lookout, Data-Tel helps businesses ensure their telecommunications cabling infrastructure will keep up with the business’ technology needs. Unlike other companies, Data-Tel owns several testers, which allow the company to more effectively and efficiently troubleshoot, service and certify cabling. Data-Tel also owns fiber fusion splicers that can be deployed on demand to eliminate the customer’s downtime in emergency situations. And Data-Tel’s technicians participate in continuing education, including programs offered by multiple manufacturers as technologies improve. Over the past decades, network requirements have evolved tremendously, which has led to a growing demand for cabling improvements. From the main frame days of low capacity cable to today’s choices of fiber optics, UTP copper and wireless connectivity—all are driven by speed requirements and cost efficiencies while being held to industry standards. “Today we design, project manage, and install all the latest up-to-date network infrastructure being produced by manufacturers, with the ability to

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Structure cabling, computer, telephone, fiber-optic cable design and installation TOP EXECUTIVE Emily LeBlanc, President YEAR FOUNDED................................. 1999 PHONE..................................... 225.273.4521 WEBSITE............................... datatelofla.com EMAIL..........................emilyl@datatelofla.com

support speeds of up to 40 Gb,” said Bart LeBlanc. “The huge increase in bandwidth requirements has forced the cabling industry to match and exceed those numbers. Because of our relationships with today’s manufacturers, we can offer the full backing of their warranties, some of which extend beyond 25 years at no cost to our clients.” Data-Tel has a certified Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) on staff. To achieve the RCDD certification, a professional must demonstrate knowledge in the design, integration and implementation of telecommunications and data transport systems and their related infrastructure. Data-Tel is also a corporate member of Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) and has BICSI certified installers on staff. In addition to building low-voltage wiring systems, Data-Tel also builds relationships. Indeed, Emily LeBlanc says Data-Tel’s relationship with customers extends well beyond the 8-to-5 workday, with the Data-Tel technicians available 24/7. “We provide each customer quality service,” she says, “and that means being there at 9 p.m. when the phone rings if that’s when they need us. We appreciate that our customers have choices. All of our employees operate under that philosophy.”



From left: Tim Harms, Greg Avant and Brenda Roundtree

New owners protect company’s legacy of quality and excellence THE LATE DICK ROUNDTREE got what his wife Brenda calls the “selling fever” after a friend introduced him to copy machine sales. Roundtree eventually bought the company he was working for and changed the name to Dick Roundtree Copiers. That was 43 years ago and the business still carries his name today. Tim Harms, one of the new managing partners and COO of the company, says, “Dick was a pioneer in this industry. He was one of the early adopters and business leaders in this area.” At a time when most businesses were using carbon paper and typewriters, Roundtree offered a better solution in the form of the copy machine. Brenda says her husband believed in the Toshiba brand of copier and wanted to be the best in the business. Roundtree saw his business through what could be

Brenda and Dick Roundtree


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

described as a technology revolution from the 1980s all the way into the digital age. The company was a six-time recipient of the Toshiba ProMasters Service Award recognizing dealers for outstanding technical support and customer service. “He was very committed to not only technology and the Toshiba brand, but also to his customers,” says Harms. “He would do almost anything necessary to keep his customers satisfied and happy.” As proof, Volunteers of America was one of the Roundtree’s first customers and they remain loyal to the company today. That level of loyalty and customer service is what attracted Harms and his partners Greg Whittington, Greg Avant and Walter O. Bigby Jr., to acquire Dick Roundtree Copiers at the end of 2018. The new ownership group also operates Innovative Office Systems, and C.F. Biggs in the Shreveport/Bossier City area, in addition to locations in east Texas and south Arkansas. Greg Avant is also a managing partner. He has been in the technology service business for more than 20 years—17 of those as an award-winning manager for companies like Lanier and Ricoh. He and Harms worked together for years and Avant jumped at the opportunity to team up again with his former colleague. Avant says he is excited to help provide customer focused, world-class services to his Baton Rouge area clients. “You know, if I had sold the company to anyone else, they would have

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Award-winning Toshiba direct dealer and provider of sales and service for copiers and printers, digital signage, and more TOP EXECUTIVE Tim Harms, Chief Operating Officer YEAR FOUNDED..................................1976 PHONE.................................... 225.926.1996 WEBSITE.................. dickroundtreecopiers.com

wanted to change the name and change how we do everything,” says Brenda Roundtree. “But Tim and the team kept the name and are moving right along, just like Dick was still there. That was really important to me.” Dick Roundtree passed away in February of 2018 at the age of 83, but his legacy will live on in the copier industry. “We are keeping the Dick Roundtree name because there is so much history and goodwill in the marketplace,” says Harms. “We plan to operate the business as Dick intended while also expanding our capabilities.” That expansion will be both geographic and service-based. The company will continue to handle copiers and printers, but also digital signage and service on all brands of printers, while remaining a loyal Toshiba dealer. “We are excited and happy to continue the legacy that Dick Roundtree started, and we look forward to getting to know our customers like Dick did and taking care of them with world-class service and products,” says Harms. “Dick Roundtree Copiers has been exceeding expectations since 1976. If you’re looking for a dedicated, customer-focused business technology partner, keep us in mind.”



Team Real World

Team Real World rescues clients stuck in ‘storming’ MANAGING A BUSINESS or organization can sometimes seem like a constant storm. Frustration, disagreements, lack of communication and ineffective meetings can become the norm, with everyone on a different page and productivity and growth minimized. This is called storming. Team Real World, a Baton Rouge-based consulting and training firm, helps companies successfully get out—and stay out—of storming. “We are really good at helping companies address the things that keep them from growing to the next level: internal tensions, frustrations, miscommunication and lack of alignment,” says Maurice Velasquez, Team Real World’s founder and senior consultant. “We expect storms on the journey of leadership and management, but many companies today get stuck in it.” Organizations typically respond to storming by focusing in the wrong place. “Everyone thinks they need to train the front liners, but that’s only a BandAid,” Velasquez says. “If the organization wants to get to the next level, they must first help the executives and middle managers increase their collaboration and alignment. It’s a sensitive issue but we help make the journey practical and effective.” Team Real World has designed an “alignment model” and training program that helps ensure the executive and management teams are on the same page regarding the organization’s direction, goals, timelines, projects and overall structure. For this


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

realignment to become the new normal, Team Real World then helps train the supervisors and frontline staff, and provides ongoing, reinforcement coaching to ensure the organization doesn’t slip back into unproductive storming. The program is outlined in Velasquez’s new book “Journeying Beyond the Storm,” which he wrote as a quick-read guide for executives and managers. The book is available for free on Team Real World’s website. The program has been applied successfully across multiple industries, large and small companies, and among the for-profit, nonprofit and public sectors. “Executives and managers are frustrated because they know they could get ahead with growth, but they can’t get on the same page,” Velasquez says. “They need a real practical solution. We roll up our sleeves and help at a practical level. We are ‘real world’ about this.” After assessing a company’s problems and devising a tailored game plan for each client, Team Real World provides a plan for their journey out of storming. First, the company establishes a rhythm for communicating and making decisions. Next, the company builds teams around specific projects and ensures those teams work well internally and externally. Finally, everyone touches base regularly to ensure follow-through and completion. This alignment model often includes a company-wide, weekly shout-out huddle. “It provides structure, and it works,” Velasquez says. “With a rhythm of communication, collaboration and regular touchpoints, they are no longer dominated by

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Executive and management leadership, management development, organizational alignment, coaching, training, workplace culture, customer service, sales TOP EXECUTIVE Maurice Velasquez, Founder and Senior Consultant YEAR FOUNDED.................................. 2008 PHONE............................. 225.772.4357(HELP) WEBSITE............................. teamrealworld.com

storming. Instead, they have good conversations, productive meetings and they make better decisions as a team.” Jim Lloyd, president of Cornerstone Flooring, worked with Team Real World for two years. “I look back at it, and it is one of the best things I could have ever done, not only for my future and my family’s future, but for everyone on our team,” he says. Chad Scott, managing partner of CORE Health, agrees. “We are still using Maurice’s strategies and model to stay aligned long after he finished working with us. I find myself marking pages of his book to make sure I go back and revisit them.”   “Disagreements may still occur, but once you are aligned, those do not have a detrimental effect on growth and productivity,” Velasquez said. “There are key tools and habits we help the company master and when they master those, it’s transformative for their business. It gives them the confidence to get back to their goals. We get them unstuck from all the storming.” *For new clients, Team Real World offers a free consultation or training session..



From left: Kynley Lemoine, Amy Dighton, Grace Kennedy and Daniel Williams

Clover is a small agency with big results AMY DIGHTON, OWNER and creative strategy director of Clover Creative Agency, may be self-taught in the areas of marketing and branding, but she is certainly skilled at getting potential clients to stop and take notice of a product or service. “In this industry, if you’re not learning, you’re dying,” Dighton says. “I’m always pushing my clients. If you keep with the old ways, you’re going to keep with the same old results.” This is evident with the rise of e-commerce and social media marketing. Dighton finished college in the early 2000s with a sociology degree. She quickly landed marketing jobs for which she was a good fit—first in the dental field and next with a local blow dry bar—all the time learning as much as possible about branding. After the birth of her second child, Dighton went off on her own as a freelancer, starting Amy Dighton Design in January of 2016, designing logos and managing social media accounts while working from home. The business took off with clients from all over the world who trusted her with web

design, photography and videography. Dighton soon needed to hire help to keep up. “I’ve been in the industry for 10 years, but I have a team now. That’s why I changed my name,” she says. “Often, when other moms or friends would hear of my success, they would comment on how lucky I was. In actuality, it isn’t luck at all … just hard work and great timing. That’s why we are called Clover Creative Agency. We become our clients’ lucky charm.” Clover Creative Agency launched in January of 2019 and now has a staff that includes a project manager, copywriter, graphic designer and a drone photographer. “We have found that many of our clients left larger agencies for more personal and responsive service. So as we grow, we want to continue to hold on to what made us different,” Dighton says. “We exist to get people to stop and notice a client’s product or service, then convert them to a sale or lead,” Dighton says. Her clients often remark that they want an ad or a logo “that pops,” she says. “We will give you that ‘pop’ and elevate your business to the next level.” In today’s digital world, there are so many images fighting for a customer’s short attention span, Dighton says. She says it reminds her of watching a koi pond, where all of the fish rise to the surface and start flipping around, making it difficult to keep an eye on just one. “That’s what the abundance of digital content looks like,” she says. “If your visuals are not spectacular, prospective buyers or clients won’t even notice you. Simply having a website or a facebook page is not enough anymore.” Vibrant, cohesive and strategic

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Designs strategically driven websites, social media marketing, and provides custom solutions for building brands TOP EXECUTIVES Amy Dighton, Owner and Creative Strategy Director; Kynley Lemoine, Client Relationship Manager NO. OF EMPLOYEES................................6 PHONE....................................225.685.9072 WEBSITE................... clovercreativeagency.com INSTAGRAM..................@clovercreativeagency

marketing is also important, she says, and that’s what Creative Clover Agency provides. Working in marketing, she has noticed many businesses have several different people working on their branding, from billboards to websites to social media, which leads to a lot of inconsistency. When Dighton works with a client, everything is cohesive and all aspects of the marketing work together to attract and keep the customer. “There are so many little stopping points before you get that client,” she says. “It has to be a seamless experience.” Creative Clover Agency uses animation, drone footage, influencer connections, social media advertising, and business-to-business marketing to stay one step ahead in the koi pond of marketing. Looking to the future, Dighton says she would like to help her clients even more by delving deeper into the customer’s entire experience, from the person who answers the phone to the wallpaper hanging in the office. “All of those touch points from the moment they encounter you … all of those things are important,” Dighton says. “We can help take you to that next level.” AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019








G Donna Saurage



Community Coffee marks a century of success ONE HUNDRED YEARS ago, Cap Saurage started a fledgling coffee company in the barn behind his home and named it in honor of his community of family, friends and neighbors. A century later, Community Coffee Company has evolved from the small family business Cap founded in Baton Rouge to the largest family-owned and -operated retail coffee brand in the country with premium coffees and teas sold nationwide. The coffee industry has changed considerably, says Donna Saurage, the company’s third-generation owner. “Ten or 20 years ago, we brewed our coffee at home and drank it before we left for work,” she says. “Now, we drink our coffee everywhere, and we have nitro cold-brewed coffee and lattes in a bottle.” Where people buy their coffee also has changed, with online sales now a significant part of Community Coffee’s business. Keeping up with changing consumer demands is challenging for any company, but Community Coffee approaches market shifts as an opportunity. “We’ve always been willing to innovate and keep up with what consumers want. We’ve never been set on doing things the way we always did,” Saurage says. “We watch trends and do our research. We’re constantly testing new products. Because we’re family-owned, we can be nimble.” This approach has


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

worked well for the company, with revenues doubling in the past 10 years. Maintaining a quality product amid market and industry changes has been central to Community Coffee’s century of success, passed down through the years from Cap to his son, H. Norman Saurage Jr., to his grandson, H. Norman Saurage III, and great-grandson Matthew C. Saurage. “You have to make sure the standard remains,” Saurage says. “My two sons and I, along with our green coffee team, taste the coffee each week to make sure the quality and standards remain consistently high. When people see our brand, they immediately know who we are and what we stand for.” As Community Coffee celebrates its 100th anniversary, Saurage says being family-owned sets the company apart from others. Talented leadership at the helm is important too. “Although quarter-to-quarter earnings are important, leadership is strategic and plans are long-term for our employees, our shareholders and our business,” she says. Such a community-focused attitude is reflected in how the more than 800 employees embrace the company’s long-held values of people, integrity, customers, safety and brand. “Our employees talk about ‘our company,’ not ‘the company’ or ‘your company,’” Saurage says. “Everything we do has to be as good as our coffee— from our drivers to our analysts, from the accounting team to those in our warehouses. We are the people we hire. They keep our values alive.” Community Coffee also is indelibly intertwined with the communities where its coffee is produced and consumed. “It’s really part of our DNA to give back,” Saurage says. The company donates approximately 2.5 percent of its pre-tax revenue to charities and organizations, such as those supporting education, military, and the environment. For example, Community Coffee

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Importer, roaster and distributor of the highest-quality coffees and teas TOP EXECUTIVES Matt Saurage, Chairman; David Belanger, President and CEO NO. OF EMPLOYEES.......................... 800+ YEAR FOUNDED.................................. 1919 PHONE................................... 225.368.3900 WEBSITE....................... communitycoffee.com TWITTER.......................... @communitycoffee FACEBOOK................................................ Facebook.com/community coffee company

has sent more than 7 million cups of coffee to activeduty military personnel and donated more than $7.4 million to educational programs. The company also supports coffee farmers, helping with environmental sustainability efforts, upgrading technology, and building educational and medical infrastructure in coffee farming communities. The future for Community Coffee continues to look strong, says Saurage, whose son Matt serves as chairman of the company. “From farm to cup, there’s a tremendous future in coffee—the different ways it’s brewed, packaged and consumed, with different flavors and different origins,” she says. Indeed, the values and community approach that Cap imbued in the business provide Community Coffee a solid foundation as the company heads into its second century. “I firmly believe in another 100 years, we’ll have the same values and we’ll still make great-tasting coffee,” Saurage says. “There will be Saurages around to make sure the company keeps going … we’re looking forward to the next 100 years.”



AccuTemp team creates positive experiences for customers JOSHUA DAVIS MAKES it his business to change the way people think about air conditioning repair. As the owner of AccuTemp, he wants to focus on positive experiences rather than simple transactions. His approach has been paying off. The company, which services residential and commercial air conditioning and heating, and commercial refrigeration systems, recently expanded to offer electrical services, and Davis has plans to add a plumbing department soon. The company also services commercial restaurant equipment. “One phone call to us can take care of everything in the home or office,” Davis says of his vision for the company.

AccuTemp started with just two employees—Davis and his father, who founded the business in 2006. Today, Davis employs 50 people and has plans to expand. The company is renovating a facility on North Harco Drive to accommodate its growing staff and range of services. The 30,000-square-foot building is four times bigger than the previous AccuTemp location giving the company space to fabricate sheet metal in-house, providing even faster service to clients. AccuTemp also recently became the official air conditioning and heating service partner of LSU Athletics. Davis credits the company’s success to the way his employees treat their clients. “When we step into a home, we want to make sure we’re addressing all their needs so that the system not only operates, but is customized to suit their needs,” he says. “The AccuTemp team is always willing to go above and beyond,” He recalls a customer who needed help moving a large appliance while AccuTemp was working at her home. “We moved the appliance but scratched the floor,” Davis says. “We spent $3,000 to pay for the repairs using the highest quote because that’s the type of company we are. If you do your part and do what is right, you’ll always come out ahead. Those are the stories that build the portfolio of who we are.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Service provider for residential and commercial air conditioning and heating; commerical refrigeration; and restaurant equipment TOP EXECUTIVE Joshua Davis, Owner NO. OF EMPLOYEES.............................. 50 PHONE....................................225.230.4593 WEBSITE.............................. accutempbr.com

That kind of dedication to customer service helped earn AccuTemp a Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics in 2018. “That was a big deal for us—knowing that we were competing against Baton Rouge businesses across all industries and professions, and we were still able to receive that award,” he says. Davis says none of his success would be possible without his team. Some of his top-performing employees came to the company with no air conditioning experience, but he took them on and taught them the ropes of the business anyway. “It’s more important to hire people with good character and a strong work ethic,” he says. “We can always teach good people how to do the physical work.” Davis is a big believer in promoting a positive workplace culture, so the company spends a lot of time on training and emphasizes values like professionalism and integrity. “We believe that to provide the best service, we have to continue to invest in our team,” he says. AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019




From left: Derryl Didier, Herb Thomas, Cecilia Gomes, Matthew Landry

Didier Architects known for unique and highly functional designs ESTABLISHED IN 1947, the company known as Didier Architecture has been offering architectural services to the Greater Baton Rouge community for 72 years. Derryl Didier joined the firm in 1996 when it was known as Jerry L. Watts & Associates. Watts recruited Didier from a firm in Orlando and mentored him on the nuts and bolts of becoming a successful architect. “I could pull designs out of the sky, but I didn’t necessarily have all the tools to create drawings that were buildable, economical and durable,” says Didier. “Jerry taught me the value of paying attention to detail and explaining things graphically in a way that contractors could understand.” With a background in construction and a diverse collection of architectural tools, Didier became a partner in 2004. The firm’s name was changed to Watts Didier Architects in 2011, and when Watts decided to retire six years later, Didier was ready to take the helm. “Jerry and I worked together for a very long time and we’re just continuing his legacy,” Didier says. “We’re still the same firm, and we’re growing.” Didier’s wife Bridgit joined the business three years ago as COO and CFO, and handles general


ANNUAL REPORT 2019 | AnnualReportBR.com

management and marketing. She keeps her husband grounded and manages the day-to-day operations. Matthew Landry has quickly earned the title of associate and Didier says he’s trying to pay it forward by mentoring this young Design Merit Award winner to be the next generation of the firm. The firm’s design philosophy is founded on certain principles. “We design for the client, we produce timeless designs, and we are innovative—architecturally, structurally, and functionally. Didier Architecture designs for each client individually, striving to understand their business personality and marketing strategies. We bring the client in and find out where they’ve been, where they’re trying to go, what their brand is—and we try to build on that,” he says. “For instance, their logo could become important and their building could be another extension of their marketing process.” In terms of growth, the firm is excited about new client relationships with Business First Bank, Team Mazda and The Council on Aging. For Business First Bank, Didier and his team created a master plan for a property in Port Allen, as well as a new branch bank design. The client loved it and now, two years later, that contemporary design is becoming

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Architecture firm with a 72-year history and a design portfolio that includes many specialized architectural and master planning projects. TOP EXECUTIVES Derryl Didier, Owner and Principal Architect; Bridgit Didier, Chief Operating Officer PHONE................................... 225.744.0008 WEBSITE.......................didierarchitecture.com

a reality and is being used as a prototype. A new administration building for The Council on Aging and a complete redesign of Team Mazda’s building on Airline Highway are also currently in progress. Didier Architecture has a new office in Prairieville, which keeps Didier and his wife closer to their home and their daughter’s school. When he’s not designing, Didier can be found sitting behind the drum kit or enjoying a great craft beer and cigar. “I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing,” he says. “We enjoy what we do at Didier Architecture, and we enjoy taking care of our clients. We develop long-lasting relationships with our clients so it’s important that they’re happy with our work.”



David St. Marie, left, and Brent Duet

Finding new ways to protect and restore Louisiana’s coast BRENT DUET AND David St. Marie grew up in the community of Cut Off, where they saw the effects of coastal land loss firsthand. Years later, as co-owners of Coastal Engineering Solutions, they are now helping a growing roster of Louisiana parishes and municipalities find ways to protect and restore their land. Duet started the firm on his own about four years ago and brought St. Marie on board two years later. Today, they have six employees who assist them on projects that build up coastal land and reduce the risk of flooding. As their business has grown, Duet and St. Marie’s highly specialized expertise has attracted opportunities to work in other states, but they prefer sticking to projects close to home.

“This is the area we really want to concentrate on,” St. Marie says. “There are enough problems and work in this state to keep us busy for a while.” As one of the state’s few specialized and focused coastal engineering firms, there is a unique urgency to the company’s work. “If something’s not done, some of these areas will be uninhabitable because the effects of storms are greater and greater every year due to land loss,” Duet says. Two of the firm’s top clients are the governments of Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes. There, Duet and St. Marie have repurposed sediment dug up during dredging of the Mississippi River—which often would not be used beneficially—to build new coastal land which helps reduce the risk of flooding. Clients are advised to embrace the “Multiple Lines of Defense” strategy. One type of project commonly recommended by Coastal Engineering Solutions is to build ridges in open water, which act like speed bumps that reduce waves before they reach land, softening the effects of storm surge in coastal communities. Another is to encourage clients to consider non-structural coastal protection measures, such as elevating homes, offering residents a better chance

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE Planning, engineering and design of large-scale water resources, flood protection, shoreline protection, and coastal ecosystem restoration projects TOP EXECUTIVES Brent Duet, President/Owner; David St. Marie, Vice President/Owner PHONE....................................225.953.2546 WEBSITE.................... coastalengsolutions.com

at co-existing with water in South Louisiana. Duet focuses on coastal restoration, while St. Marie specializes in protection. Though they grew up in the same community, they didn’t get acquainted until after Hurricane Katrina while they were working on post-disaster inspections and recovery efforts. They found that their different skill sets complemented each other. “We believe we provide the best services in the state,” Duet says. Both previously worked for large engineering companies, but have come to see the benefits of being a small firm—like being able to hone their niche and build trusting, close relationships with clients they care about. “I do believe that the smaller specialized firms like ours are the best parts of this industry,” Duet says. The personal touch they can give to their projects helps them stand out from other firms. “All the places we used to go hunting and fishing are open water now,” St. Marie says. “To work in a field where you can do something to prevent more loss—that’s really fulfilling.”

Construction on the East Bank Levees Mitigation Project in Plaquemines Parish

AnnualReportBR.com | ANNUAL REPORT 2019


NAI L&B Back Cover BRBR Annual Report b.pdf 1 3/27/2019 2:17:37 PM











What value does your real estate agent bring to you? Did you know that cap rates are not returns? Our agents know that and more. We offer advanced technologies in research, marketing, and financial analysis. From immersive 3D property tours and drone work to discount cash flows and site selection demographics, NAI Latter & Blum puts more than a sign on your property.



Profile for Baton Rouge Business Report

Baton Rouge Business Report's 2019 Annual Report  

Read about the successes of Capital Region companies in this special advertising publication from Baton Rouge Business Report.

Baton Rouge Business Report's 2019 Annual Report  

Read about the successes of Capital Region companies in this special advertising publication from Baton Rouge Business Report.