Biz New Orleans January 2017

Page 1 JANUARY 2017



january 2017 JANUARY 2017



january 2017 JANUARY 2017


Editor’s Note

Another First


s a relatively new publication, just over two years old, Biz is still very much in the land of “firsts.” This month we debut another exciting one — our first-ever CEO of the Year and Business People of the Year. Most of these people we’ve featured in some capacity before, and those that haven’t been — like our “Couple of the Year” — well, stay tuned. Being the first issue of a new year, this magazine is packed with tips on how to make this the best year yet for both you and your business. Maybe this will be the year that you encourage a healthier, smoke free workplace, update those IT policies or get your finances in shape. If you’re a baby boomer looking to finally get back into shape, check out this month’s “Why Didn’t I Think of That,” where we feature an innovative new fitness center called Peak Forever. Finally, you may notice that there’s a bit of a trend that winds through these pages, and that is the concept of co-working. Not only are our CEOs of the Year set to open a co-working space at the Contemporary Arts Center with The Idea Village this year, but this month’s Great Offices is also a co-working space and our etiquette column discusses tips for working within such an arrangement. Personally, I think it’s encouraging to see this focus on collaboration and human interaction take hold in an age where technology seems to have created so much isolation. No screen is a substitute for a real, smiling face.

Happy New Year!


january 2017 JANUARY 2017


JANuARY 2017 | volume 3 | issue 4

Publisher Todd Matherne Editorial Editor-in-chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Antoine Passelac Photographer Cheryl Gerber Web Editor Kelly Massicot Assoc. Multimedia News Editor Leslie T. Snadowsky Contributors Maria Clark, Steve Cupp, Steven Ellis, Suzanne Ferrara, Pamela Marquis, Allison Plyer, Chris Price, Peter Reichard, Kim Roberts, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Keith Twitchell, Melanie Warner Spencer, Jaklyn Wrigley advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Maegan O’Brien (504) 830-7219 Senior Account Executive Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Account Executive Carly Goldman (504) 830-7225 PRODUCTION Production/Web Manager Staci McCarty Senior Production Designer Ali Sullivan Production Designer Monique DiPietro Traffic Coordinator Terra Durio administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan Director of Marketing & Events Cheryl Lemoine Event Coordinator Margaret Strahan Administrative Assistant Denise Dean Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription Manager Sara Kelemencky Subscription Assistant Mallary Matherne AABP 2016 Award of Excellence Best Feature Layout: Magazine | Bronze

110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95 — foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2017 Biz New Orleans. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Biz New Orleans is registered. Biz New Orleans is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Biz New Orleans are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner. 8

january 2017 JANUARY 2017







From the Lens

42 CEO of the Year

72 Great Offices

The Domain Companies’ Matt Schwartz and Chris Papamichael are led by a true love for the city and a passion for giving back. See also the year’s standouts in dining, entrepreneurism, technology and healthcare — plus our Couple of the Year.

The Warehouse co-working space

76 Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Peak Forever caters workouts to Baby Boomers.

88 Behind the Scenes Queork


january 2017

On the Cover (Left to Right) Matt Schwartz and Chris Papamichael, CEOs of The Domain Companies, inside The Beacon, the third of seven buildings that will comprise their behemoth South Market District in Downtown New Orleans. Photo by Jeff Johnston JANUARY 2017




30 Columns

22 NOLA By the Numbers

We need to keep water management close to home.

24 Dining Biz


The fall, and recent rise, of the West End.

26 Tourism Biz

The King Cake Festival returns.

28 Sports Biz

Mike Dunleavy gives Tulane basketball instant credibility.

30 Film Biz

New Orleans’ one and only movie tour



54 Maritime & Ports

20 Calendar

A recap of this year’s International WorkBoat Show.

32 Entrepreneur Biz

60 Banking & Finance

34 Biz Etiquette

64 Healthcare

Resolutions for the new year.

Tips for co-working conduct.

36 Tech Biz


It’s time to update your IT policies.

january 2017

Financial fitness advice for 2017

Exciting advancements for keeping you well

68 Guest Viewpoint

The costs of smoking in the workplace reach far beyond health.

Upcoming events not to miss

38 Biz Bits

Industry news

82 Q&A

Trepwise Founder, Kevin Wilkins

86 Around Town – Events Industry gatherings JANUARY 2017


Publisher’s Note

Civic Duty


ime and time again, I find people talking about how they dread receiving the letter in the mail calling them out for jury duty, and even worse, trying to wiggle their way out of it entirely. Last month I completed my civic duty of serving jury duty in Orleans Criminal District Court. After my recent experience, I feel that rather than avoid it, I must urge everyone to participate in the process. I guarantee doing so will give you more respect for the legal system and you will walk away with a new appreciation for it. It is one thing to engage online by commenting, sharing videos and articles about court proceedings and rulings, but another to engage in the process. By acting as a jury member, you are taking part in proceedings, helping shape the results and gaining a better understanding and appreciation of the system. In my four days of service I was selected to three jury pools, one being State vs. Hayes. Although I was not chosen to be among the final jurors in any case, I witnessed first hand the process and how the prosecution and defense identify prospective jurors. In each of the jury pools, each team of prosecutors from the District Attorney’s office did a great job of walking us through the facts and questioning the jurors on relevant information to make sure the defense would have an unbiased jury and a fair trial. I applaud Leon Cannizzaro and his team for this process. So now, when you get the notice in the mail for jury duty, please do not look at it as a burden, but instead as an opportunity to serve your community, meet a cross-section of New Orleanians and learn more about our justice system to make a difference. Todd Matherne


january 2017 JANUARY 2017


Meet the Sales Staff

Maegan O’Brien Sales Manager (504) 830-7219

Caitlin Sistrunk Senior Sales Executive (504) 830-7252

Carly Goldman Account Executive (504) 830-7225

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215


january 2017


january 2017 JANUARY 2017


Calendar Thursday, January 5

Thursday, January 19

New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce Biz to Biz Breakfast & Trade Fair 8-11 a.m. The Roosevelt New Orleans 130 Roosevelt Way

Friday, January 20

Tuesday, January 10 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast Sponsored by First NBC Bank 8-9:30 a.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium

St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Installation and Awards Luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Tchefuncta Country Club 2 Country Club Park, Covington

SBA Louisiana District Office Business Development Certification Workshop 10 a.m. SBA Louisiana District Office 365 Canal St., New Orleans

Tuesday, January 17 Kenner Business Association January speaker, Clancy DuBos 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Chateau Golf and Country Club 3600 Chateau Blvd, Kenner

New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Chamber After 5 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Press St. Station Restaurant 5 Press St.

Wednesday, January 25

Wednesday, January 11

New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance 5-7 p.m. The Irish House 1432 St. Charles Ave.

Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business & Breakfast 7:45-9:30 a.m. Legacy Kitchen 759 Veterans Memorial Highway, Metairie

Wednesday, January 25

Wednesday, January 11

Thursday, January 12

AMA New Orleans Don’t Just “Make the Logo Bigger”: Creating Better Agency-Client Relationships 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Location T.B.A.

Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson Seminar Series: Protecting Your Business Liabilities 9-10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 700 Churchill Pkwy., Avondale

Tuesday, January 31 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport Hotel 2829 Williams Blvd., Kenner

Tuesday, January 31 St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Seminar: Starting and Financing Your Business Idea 8 – 11 a.m. St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce 610 Hollycrest Blvd., Covington

We’d love to include your business-related event in next month’s calendar. Please email details to


january 2017 JANUARY 2017


Columns | NOLA By The Numbers

Sources: - The Coastal Index 2015, The Data Center

Water Management If we want to grow small business locally, we need to stop giving away construction contracts to out-of-state businesses.

I Allison Plyer is executive director and chief demographer of The Data Center in New Orleans. Dr. Plyer is author of The New Orleans Index series, developed in collaboration with the Brookings Institution to track the region’s progress toward prosperity, and she leads The Data Center’s research on the development of the water management cluster in Southeast Louisiana as published in The Coastal Index series. 22

n recent years, Southeast Louisiana has found itself in a new economic climate. In order to fill the gap left by legacy industries such as oil and gas that have shed jobs over the last several decades, renewed focus has been on growing small businesses. It is becoming increasingly evident that the emerging water management sector can be the innovative, small business hub that spins out major Louisiana employers for future decades. This so-called “water management” sector includes companies doing coastal restoration work, as well as those doing urban water management. Over the next two decades, at least $8.7 billion from BP will fuel coastal restoration and protection contracts, and with $2 billion from FEMA allocated for water management within the New Orleans levee walls there will be dollars over the next two decades that can go toward Louisiana companies,

january 2017

many of them small businesses. In addition, there is no doubt that markets for water management expertise will grow worldwide as many coastal areas struggle with rising tides and increasingly frequent flooding. To optimize the possibility that Louisiana can capitalize on these growing markets, we must ensure that we are using the billions of dollars in our own water management “pipeline” to grow expertise right here in Louisiana. How can we do this? By engaging locally rooted business in our water management industry. How many Louisiana businesses have benefited from water management contracts so far? We can largely answer this question by looking at the two main sources for water management contracts: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). On average (from 2010-2014) the Army Corps (who do mostly levee

building) was responsible for the bulk of construction contract money, providing $453 million in contracts per year. Of that $453 million, 81 percent (or $367 million) went to Louisiana businesses, leaving $86 million going to out-of-state businesses per year. The CPRA, on the other hand, is responsible primarily for coastal restoration efforts and has been responsible for substantially less in contracts than the Army Corps with only $94 million in construction contracts per year (or less than 21 percent of the Corps’ numbers) on average from 2007-2014. The CPRA has also been less likely to provide those contracts to Louisiana businesses, with only 39 percent of the contracts remaining in the state. That left $57 million per year on average going to out-of-state businesses. In the future, more water management contracts will flow through the CPRA. To fertilize the growth of water management expertise right here in Louisiana, it will be important that the CPRA provide more contracts to Louisiana businesses and encourage outside businesses to establish branch offices in Louisiana. n JANUARY 2016


Columns | Dining Biz Brisbi’s opened in 2013.

The Return of West End (Sort Of) While far from its former glory, there has been notable growth. BY Peter Reichard


runing’s. Fitzgerald’s. Augie’s Delago. Maggie & Smitty’s. Swanson’s. Etcetera. The main cluster of restaurants on Breakwater Drive at the parish line was once the culinary centerpiece of West End. Those were the days when the lakeshore played a big part in New Orleanians’ leisure time. The well-to do-cruised the water in their sloops, while shirtless ne’er-do-wells cruised the shoreline in their Camaro T-tops. At night, teenagers parked at the terminus of the roadway at the harbor entrance, known as the Point. At the opposite end of the Lakefront, kids squealed on the rides at Pontchartrain Beach. Like Pontchartrain Beach, the old West End, once so alive, lives on only in memories. The former restaurant strip on Breakwater Drive is now a picture of desolation. Rotted pilings memorialize


january 2017

the restaurants they once supported like tombstones on the water. Bruning’s lasted for 170 years. But too many hurricanes too many times did too much damage. And while as yet there is no sign of life in the western end of West End, the surrounding area has slowly but surely seen a resurgence in restaurants. Not long after Katrina, the Landry’s Seafood chain planted its flag on the most prominent spot on Lakeshore Drive, which Bart’s Lighthouse Inn occupied during the heyday of West End. How could there not be a restaurant here? The views are among the best in New Orleans. Down the road (or harbor inlet, depending on your mode of transport) are two relative newcomers, Brisbi’s and the Blue Crab both opened in 2013. Both offer dockside dining in brand-new buildings, and both serve seafood in the West End

tradition. Of the two, the Blue Crab is the more casual and bustling; Brisbi’s the more decorous and placid. The marina end of Pontchartrain Boulevard has welcomed a cluster of restaurants as well. Russell’s Marina Grill, in business for more than 30 years, is the anchor. The breakfast attracts a crowd, but the place is probably best known for its fried “Onion Mumm.” The West End area has for a long time had a Chinese restaurant or two (Imperial Garden, China Rose, Hong Kong). Ming’s, opened in 2014, is now filling that role. There’s also a sushi place, Wasabi. Like Russell’s, Two Tony’s has been around awhile as well, but it previously occupied a spot in Bucktown that had the misfortune of being in the footprint of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ pump station construction site. It’s the sort of place families with children gravitate toward: If little Jimmy doesn’t want fried shrimp, surely he’ll eat meatballs and spaghetti. Over on the Bucktown side of the area, old stalwarts like Deanie’s and R&O’s remain, although New Orleans Food & Spirits took over R&O’s spot after the latter moved next door. No shortage of seafood here. But apparently you can never have enough seafood in Bucktown. In 2016, a new place, Station 6, took over the old Two Tony’s spot. The husband and wife who own it both come with chef-ly résumés. Alison Vega Knoll brought Vega Tapas (and tapas generally) to Old Metairie in the 1990s; Drew Knoll once donned the chef’s hat at Emeril’s Delmonico. The name, as you might imagine, comes from the pumping complex on the 17th Street Canal that connects Bucktown (Jefferson’s East End) to West End. New restaurants may be on the way. Just up Lakeshore Drive from Landry’s is an old picnic shelter on levee district property. Billy Wright, who reopened Bud’s Broiler on City Park Avenue after Katrina, hopes to open a boiled seafood restaurant and coffee shop on the site, aptly named Billy Wright’s Olde New Orleans Boil House and Coffee House. The restaurant could open as early as spring 2017. But all of this leads back to where it started: Will the heart of West End on Breakwater Drive ever come back? n

Photo courtesy of Brisbi’s JANUARY 2016


Columns | Tourism Biz

Indulge for a Good Cause The King Cake Festival returns to Champions Square to raise money for Ochsner Hospital for Children.

I Jennifer Gibson Schecter was

once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. Prior to New Orleans, she wrote for publications in the Midwest and New York City.


t is a special time of transition in New Orleans. The Christmas trees are being stripped of their décor and recycled into wetland protection material. The menorahs are being warmed in the oven to remove that last stubborn bit of candle wax. And, most visibly, the evergreen wreaths on front doors are being replaced with replicas of king cakes created by school children or crafty adults. The traditional king cake as it exists in New Orleans is an oval wonder of purple, green and gold sugar topping a brioche-type cake flavored with cinnamon. Hidden inside is a little plastic baby, representing good luck, the fact that “you’re it” and have to buy the next cake, and, yes, even the new mascot for our minor-league baseball team. One thing the arrival of that baby and its cake definitively represent, however, is the beginning of Carnival season. Harnessing our excitement for this special treat is the fourth annual King Cake Festival on Jan. 29, 2017, at Champions Square.

january 2017

More than 26 Louisiana bakeries will compete in multiple categories and will be judged by a panel as well as by the fans. Growing in popularity every year, more than 12,000 people attended in 2016. The King Cake Festival has become an important annual fundraiser for Ochsner Hospital for Children. A single past event raised upward of $170,000 for various pediatric programs. The family-friendly festival is free and open to the public and raises funds through sponsorships, vendor agreements and “tasting ticket” sales. To participate in the gluttony and fan judging, you can purchase 10 tasting tickets for $10. After you have tried 10 or 20 or 26 bakeries, you can vote for your favorite. The 2016 People’s Choice winner was Maurice’s French Pastries. Other categories and winners were: Best Presentation: Maurice’s Bourbon Street King Cake; Best Traditional Cake: Caywood & Randazzo Bakery; Most Unique: Tiramisu King Cake by Nonna Randazzo’s Bakery;

Best Non-Traditional Cake: Tiramisu King Cake by Nonna Randazzo’s Bakery; and Most Likely to Replace a Meal: Daddy’s Donuts Crawdaddy King Cake. Of course, eating myriad king cakes isn’t the healthiest thing you can do on a Sunday, so Ochsner, being the health-minded organization that it is, has incorporated athletic events into the festival. Start your morning with a run and those calories don’t count, right? The 4.5K Gladiator Rep Run kicks off the festival at 9 a.m. The 2.8-mile timed course leads runners around Champions Square and the upper level of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, incorporating eight ramps, 300 stairs and nine fitness stations lead by Ochsner fitness instructors. Each challenge must be completed to qualify as a finisher. If you aren’t a “Ninja Warrior” but still want to add some wellness to your festival experience, the Family Fun Run is planned for 9:45 a.m. This 1-mile run is a timed course around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. If you are running with a stroller, consider decorating it. There will be a contest for the best-decorated. For visitors who will be running, keep in mind that New Orleanians use any excuse to wear a costume. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of wigs and tutus. Beside “Best Stroller,” awards will be given to the first overall finisher, first youth male and first youth female finishers in both races. Awards include a year’s supply of free Smoothie King products and club level tickets to a 2017 Pelican’s game. There will also be live music. At the time of printing the lineup had not yet been announced, but previous years have featured Bucktown All-Stars, Flow Tribe, Cowboy Mouth, Amanda Ducorbier and others. The King Cake Festival is open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29. On-site registration for the fitness activities begins at 8 a.m. at Gate D on the Superdome deck level. Registration fees include both races, though you can choose to participate in one or the other. Preregistration is $15 for children 12 and under and $25 for adults. Day-of registration is $20 for children and $30 for adults. Fees include a T-shirt, bib number, Smoothie King samples and five tasting tickets for adults or five game tickets for youth participants. For more information on participating bakeries, the music lineup announcement and to pre-register for the races, visit n

Photo courtesy of Ochsner Health System JANUARY 2016


Columns | Sports Biz

Mike Dunleavy at a glance Dunleavy is Tulane’s 24th head men’s basketball coach in the program’s 106-year history. n His first trip to New Orleans was as an NBA rookie to play the Jazz. n He played college basketball at South Carolina from 1972-76 and was a sixth-round draft pick (99th overall) by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1976. n As a student majoring in psychology, the Brooklyn native was a straight-A student. n He has coached five Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers, including Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Moses Malone, Scottie Pippen, Arvydas Sabonis and James Worthy. n In addition to his basketball careers, Dunleavy worked for New York investment firms Standard & Poor’s and Merrill Lynch. n Dunleavy and his wife, Emily, have three sons: Mike Dunleavy Jr., who plays for the Chicago Bulls; Baker Dunleavy, the associate coach at Villanova; and James Dunleavy, an NBA player agent. n His brother-in-law, Miles Clements, and sisterin-law are both Tulane grads and longtime New Orleans residents. n

Instant Credibility Mike Dunleavy provides Tulane basketball hope and a high-profile name


chris price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football.


hen Troy Dannen took over as Tulane’s director of athletics a year ago, he set about changing the attitude and expectations of the Green Wave’s athletic program. “The biggest thing that I’ve found broken is the culture. Winning hasn’t been talked about,” Dannen, 49, said. “We’re here to win and be successful competitively.” In the last 12 months, Dannen has had the luxury to hire head coaches for his football, men’s basketball and baseball programs. While baseball has found sustained success and football has the novelty of a new on-campus stadium, Dannen described men’s basketball as “on it’s back, dead for nearly 30 years.” Then, a gift seemingly fell in Dannen’s lap. Mike Dunleavy, former NBA player, coach, and GM, wanted to take his first college-level job at Tulane. “When a guy of Mike’s pedigree presented himself,

january 2017

he gives us instant credibility overnight,” Dannen said. Dunleavy is the highest-profile name on Dannen’s roster, and arguably the most recognizable coach’s name in Tulane history. The 1999 NBA Coach of the Year, Dunleavy, 62, brings more than 30 years of NBA experience as a player, general manager and head coach to the Green Wave. He played guard in the NBA for 15 years from 1976-1990, including stints with the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks. While with the Bucks he served as an assistant coach while playing. As soon as his playing career ended, he began a 14-year career as a head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers, where he also served as general manager. “Coming here was all about a hidden gem,” Dunleavy said. “I thought Tulane’s campus and the city of New Orleans was

a great place to have a chance to build a program.” Known as a great talent evaluator, master strategist and teacher of the game, Dunleavy said he wants his team to play an up-tempo offense with multiple looks on defense. Yet he is pragmatic in his approach, saying the team can’t be remade overnight, especially in the framework of limited scholarships available to build the program. “The only chance we have of getting into the NCAA Tournament is by winning our conference,” Dunleavy said. “That means we have to consistently be the best that we can be.” That will be difficult. Tulane plays in the American Athletic Conference, a strong basketball league which features tough competition in Memphis, UConn, Cincinnati, Temple, Tulsa, Houston and SMU. Yet Dunleavy says he’s up to the challenge. “It starts at the bottom with a great foundation and then goes piece by piece,” he said. “Right now it’s all about growing. We’re learning to play as a group — we instead of me. We’re going through a learning curve and some growing pains with underclassmen. They’re learning how to read situations and react,” he said. “There are some positive things going on, and we’re going to keep building on that.” n Photo Chris Price JANUARY 2016


Columns | Film Biz

The One and Only Original New Orleans Movie Tours is the city’s only film-related business that isn’t threatened a bit by the downturn.

N Kimberley Singletary is the

managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.


obody knows more about New Orleans-shot movies than Jonathan Ray, owner of Original New Orleans Movie Tours. Seven days a week, Ray leads two daily tours out of a custom 10-seater van that leaves from the steps of the Algiers Ferry. For an-hour-and-a-half the van weaves around the city as Ray shares his encyclopedic knowledge of movies and television shows filmed in the Crescent City, dating back as far as 1951’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Television screens embedded into every headrest allow him to cue up scenes from each movie just as the van arrives, typically at the same spot the camera was placed for the film. The result is an experience that puts tour-

january 2017

goers right into the action. “It took me two years to do all the preparation and work required to start this business,” Ray says. “It was a lot of studying, a lot of notes.” Formerly a cameraman, Ray, a Connecticut native, decided to leave the movie business eight years ago. “The hours were just bad and work was always so uncertain,” he says. “I knew I needed to find something else.” After deciding to make the move to New Orleans, a place he’d frequently visited, Ray learned about the city’s roll in film and thought maybe he’d do a movie tour. “I went down to city hall to do the paperwork thinking to myself, ‘Man, there must be 20

of these already,’ but it turned out I was the first one. In fact I really had to do a lot of explaining of what it was I wanted to do.” That was six years ago. The Original New Orleans Movie Tour still remains the only one in existence. “I’m the only one who does this, and I’m a one-man show,” he says. “I think that as long as I stay small, I’ll probably stay that way. All of the knowledge is in my head, which means, essentially, that I am the tour. I can’t hire anyone, and I can’t get sick.” While he does get the occasional local, Ray says about 95 percent of those that pay $29 for a seat on the tour are from out of town. “They’re usually from the Northeast or Midwest, but I have been seeing a lot more international visits lately. Australia is a big one for some reason.” Ray comes off more as a lively comedic actor than a behind-the-scenes cameraman as he gleefully points out fun facts, like how the headquarters of “NCIS New Orleans” in the French Quarter is actually nothing more than a parking lot, how Roger Moore was speeding the wrong way up Madison Street in “Live and Let Die” and how, despite the fact that you can see Kevin Costner consoling himself with a drink while receiving news of the president’s death in “JFK,” the Napoleon House does not, and never has had, a television. If you’re lucky, he may even tell you about the only person he’s ever ran over in six years. It was Spike Lee. Ray’s love for the city and for the film industry here is evident from the first moment of the tour until the last, during which he admonishes tourists to go forth and only support movies made in New Orleans. “Don’t watch anything else,” he says. “Especially if it’s from Georgia. If you see that peach, shut it down.” On that note, Ray is not shy about informing visitors of the downturn in the industry of late, but told me it has had no affect on his business. “The film industry could go away tomorrow and I’d be the only thing left,” he says. “I have decades of films to talk about and that doesn’t change. I’m truly amazed that no one else here has found a way to generate long-term income from what has happened here — like a movie museum or something.” Now that's not a bad idea. n

Photo Cheryl Gerber JANUARY 2016


Columns | Entrepreneur Biz

Tips for 2017 Resolutions for a successful year

F Keith Twitchell

spent 16 years running his own business before becoming president of the Committee for a Better New Orleans. He has observed, supported and participated in entrepreneurial ventures at the street, neighborhood, nonprofit, micro- and macrobusiness levels.


lipping open a new calendar is always a good time to embrace new ideas, opportunities and possibilities. One popular — if not universally successful — way to do this, of course, is to make New Year’s resolutions. In that spirit, here are some possible 2017 resolutions for independent business owners and entrepreneurs. Fire at least one customer/ client. Let’s face it: There is at least one person in your business life who is taking advantage of you. Whether it’s asking for more, or paying less (or not at all) or just not being pleasant to work with, bottom line is they are sucking up your valuable energy without compensating you fairly for it. This can even affect your relationships with better customers or clients. Be thoughtful about how

january 2017

you do it, but go ahead and cut those ties. Reduce your high-tech risks. The internet is indispensable, and increasingly dangerous. From remote devices you control online to your wireless mouse, your vulnerability to hacking is on the rise. The risks can be compounded for smallbusiness people, who are much more likely to mingle personal and business technologies. Solutions? Use multiple passwords and change them often. Use very different passwords for personal and business. For every single thing you connect, ask yourself how necessary it is (for example, do you really care deeply about starting the oven before you get home?). In a similar vein, the evidence is mounting that cellphones are a health risk.

Protect yourself by using speaker phones, keeping your phone off your person when you are not using it, and putting it in airplane mode whenever possible. Manage your online time better. While it is vital to business success to stay on top of emails, they can also be a real productivity-eater. Plan specific times in your day when you will read and respond to emails. Similarly, try to set specific parameters for other online activities; this will help you stay focused on the task at hand and minimize wasted time. Few distractions on earth can match the internet! On a related note, allow yourself to disconnect completely as often as possible. We all need time away from our work — truly away. Whether you are listening to music, watching a game or hanging with friends, it’s not really downtime if you keep sneaking peaks at your phone, checking emails, etc. Check your online business profile at least once a month. With so many different sites now available where people can comment on their experiences with you, the opportunities for negativity are seemingly endless. This goes way beyond the more customer-centric businesses like stores and restaurants to include all kinds of consultants, professionals, etc. Do a search for your company name, your name and any other words that might be associated with you; and if there are untrue and unfair things being posted, do as much as you can to counteract them (see the July 2015 Entrepreneurship column for some tips on this). Hug yourself every day. Metaphorically, of course, but find a way to remind yourself daily to take a minute to ref lect on what about you and your work makes you happy. It could be your creativity, the contribution you are making to society, the quality of life you are providing for your family or staff, or simply the fact that you have the not-so-common privilege of working for yourself. This sounds all airyfairy, but so often the last thing we celebrate is ourselves. We deserve our own appreciation and respect. If you can find someone to share that hug with, even better! n

Photo Thinkstock JANUARY 2016


Columns | Biz Etiquette

Code of Conduct Five tips for peace and productivity in coworking spaces


Melanie Warner Spencer is editor of

New Orleans Bride Magazine. Her writing has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, the Houston Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her everready stash of blank thank-you notes. Submit business etiquette questions to Melanie@


ccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 65 million Americans (40 percent of the workforce), will be temporary employees, independent contractors, freelancers or solopreneurs by 2020. The Global Coworking Survey forecasted in January 2016 that by the end of the year, more than 10,000 coworking spaces would open across the world in response to the growing need. New Orleans ref lects the trend with the number of spaces growing in recent years to include Propeller Incubator, The Blue House, The Warehouse, Launch Pad and Landing Zone as popular places to rent space, collaborate and hold meetings and events. The spaces themselves often feature a combination of private offices, desks in open

january 2017

areas, tables, lounge areas and meeting rooms. This somewhat new way of working presents a new set of business etiquette challenges. With all of that in mind, here are a few tips for peaceful and productive coworking: n Hold the Phone: The No. 1 complaint reported by coworking space owners and members is people talking loudly on their phone or using their phone in quiet zones. Keep the peace by keeping conversations quiet, brief and in designated areas. Many coworking spaces offer phone booths or rooms, but if that’s not an option, simply step into the hallway or outside. n Scouts Honor: The Boy Scouts of America abide by the “Outdoor Code.” Scouts are taught the four C’s: Clean, careful, considerate and conservation-minded. This is of course geared toward being

in outdoor spaces but also works for a coworking space. Clean up after yourself (especially in common areas, such as shared tables, meeting rooms, the kitchen or coffee station). The careful portion in the Boy Scouts code has to do with preventing fire and leaving no evidence of fire, so let’s assume you aren’t setting fires (literal or figurative) and boil that down to leaving no evidence of having been in common spaces. Be considerate of others and respect them and the property. Finally, don’t be wasteful with the items provided by the space owners and management, which can mean everything from conserving energy and water to going easy on the snacks and beverages. n Sharing is Caring, But … It’s a coworking space, so naturally there is an atmosphere of collaboration and perhaps even sharing and borrowing resources and tools. That said, don’t be the person who never has basic items, such as pens and paper. Bring your own supplies. Many spaces offer lockers so you don’t have to haul items around all the time. n Sugar and Spice: Be friendly and kind. n Social Network: Coworking spaces are places to mix, mingle and work with others you might not normally encounter. Be sure to take advantage of the connections offered through your coworking space. Also, give shoutouts to your favorite coworking spaces on social media and talk them up to colleagues, friends and clients to get a little good karma out there for your space and help them get new members. Coworking spaces aren’t for everyone, but those who use them report high levels of satisfaction, productivity and wellbeing. The Harvard Business Review says people who belong to coworking spaces “report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average for employees who do their jobs in regular offices.” The HBR’s studies indicate people who cowork thrive because they “have substantial autonomy and can be themselves at work.” Who doesn’t want to work in a place where you can be yourself? Just be sure you are tapping into your best self and not the loud, messy and crabby side. If you don’t want to give up those aspects of your personality for a few hours a day, perhaps a home office is a better option. n Photo Thinkstock JANUARY 2016


Columns | Tech Biz

It’s Time The new year is the perfect time to update your IT policies.

L Steven Ellis

has spent the last 16 years working at the intersection of business and technology for Bellwether Technology in New Orleans, where he serves as the company’s vice president.


ike many tech-oriented people, I find the idea of reviewing and developing corporate policies about as appealing as sticking a needle in my eye. But this is the month to eat vegetables instead of pizza, to drink water instead of beer, to exercise instead of watch Netf lix, and to work on IT policies instead of tech toys. Fortunately, unlike many other New Year’s resolutions, just a little effort spent on policies can have long-lasting benefits. Why IT Policies Are Important I’m sure a lawyer (which I am not) could give a long, detailed explanation of why policies are necessary from a legal perspective (which is important) but my concerns have more to do with day-to-day operations. With technology in particular, I often find that a combination of technical misunderstanding, differing assumptions and lack of communication result in a disconnect between business executives’ expectations and an organization’s capacity to deliver. Properly developing poli-

january 2017

cies prompts executives to think through questions and potential consequences — hopefully with the IT department’s input — and to arrive at thoughtful answers, clearing up misunderstandings and establishing uniform assumptions in the process. Looking beyond the IT department to the company as a whole, the days of a strict delineation between business life and personal life when it comes to technology are seemingly over, and businesses take a wide variety of approaches in defining what’s acceptable. Consequently, employees need guidance, and developing and distributing policies ensures that everyone is aware of the company’s views and rules. Broadening the Scope If your company is like many small businesses, the existing IT policies (if they exist at all) probably consist of an outdated document that addresses issues like personal use of company computers and forbidden websites. As we grapple with the ubiquity of social media and mobile devices,

the rise of new cybersecurity threats, and the ever-increasing importance of and reliance on technology, a 10- or 15-year-old document is due for an overhaul that incorporates and thoughtfully addresses issues that did not exist when the original policies were created. Whether part of a single, comprehensive document or a set of smaller documents, every small business should have the follow policies, at a minimum: Information Security Addresses passwords, confidentiality and remote access for all employees. Addresses security controls, data retention, disaster recovery and much more for IT management. Acceptable Use Addresses use of company resources and expectation of privacy. Prohibits illegal or malicious activity. Mobile Device Addresses business use of personal devices, rules for company-supplied devices and use of mobile device management. Social Media Raises awareness of potential impact of social media activity and provides guidelines for appropriate content. Developing Your Policies Many of the issues and questions addressed through IT policies do not have a single right answer. Your attorney, your IT department, and Google can and probably should all help with the process of developing them, but ultimately it is up to executive leadership to determine what’s appropriate and in line with an organization’s requirements and outlook. Starting from Scratch? • If you have never created IT policies for your business (or question whether you’ve done it right) there are a variety of assistance options online that will provide free samples, including: • • • • If you’re looking for a more customized option, the following company offers IT policies tailored to your specific needs within an hour. Prices range from $149 (5 policies) to $599 (21 policies). • n

Photo Thinkstock JANUARY 2016


Biz Bits - Industry News Around town

New Orleans is the 9th largest exporting metro and 85 percent of Louisiana exporters are small businesses, so small business is big business for Louisiana…We look forward to convening, collaborating and connecting with both our new and existing membership base and key community partners to both highlight trade and champion key trade-related projects. This month Caitlin Cane assumes the role of CEO of the World Trade Center of New Orleans (WTCNO), a non-profit organization of over 1,000 corporate and individual members dedicated to fostering and promoting international business and trade in Louisiana.

CALL FOR ENTRIES JLNO Offering Fellowship to Woman Entrepreneur The Junior League of New Orleans will open the application process for its Women Entrepreneur (WE) Fellowship with an Open Application Night at its headquarters (4319 Carondelet St.) on January 11 at 6:30 p.m. The fellowship includes professional guidance, a $2,500 grant, a technology grant up to $2,500, access to work/meeting space, nonprofit board training and marketing opportunities with JLNO’s membership. The application deadline is February 3 and the winner will be chosen at this year’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, March 19-24.

AIA New Orleans Design Awards

Port of Greater Baton Rouge Receives $1.75 Million Grant U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen (right) visited with Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge to officially award a MARAD grant of $1.75 million for container on barge service — a joint effort between the two ports. The visit and award ceremony was held at the SEACOR AMH office Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 at the Port’s Inland Rivers Marine Terminal in Port Allen, Louisiana.

35 Percent Increase in New Business in St. Tammany The recently-released third quarter 2016 report by the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation (STEDF) reports that business in the parish rose 35 percent over the third quarter of 2015. New single-family building permits increased 34 percent year-over-year and hotel sales increased 27 percent.


january 2017

The call for entries for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New Orleans 2017 Design Awards is now open. Entry forms and fees are due no later than 5 p.m. on January 17, 2017. Those submitted past the deadline will incur a $35 late fee. Project submissions are due to the AIA New Orleans office (1000 St. Charles Ave.) no later than February 22, 2017.

Tulane Business Model Competition Entrepreneurs from any college or university are invited to vie for more than $40,000 in cash and prizes through the Tulane Business Model Competition. Hosted by the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the contest is open to any team led by at least two students that has demonstrated a markettested ability to adapt to customers’ needs. To enter, teams must submit a company description and other details by 11:59 p.m. on January 27, 2017 at

Recent Openings

Phyllis M. Taylor Maker Lab at Mount Carmel Academy On December 12, the Phyllis M. Taylor Maker Lab at Mount Carmel Academy was officially dedicated. A creative, hands-on space, the lab encourages students to collaborate, innovate and create through cross-curricular projects in religion, science, technology, engineering, art and math. Part of the school’s Project Based Learning curriculum, the lab also includes 16 MakerBot Replicator 3D printers and a laser engraver.

Burns & Wilcox Burns & Wilcox, a leading independent insurance wholesale insurance broker and underwriting manager, opened a new office at 2121 Airline Dr. in Metairie on December 5. Part of the H.W. Kaufman Financial Group network of 1,600 professionals, Burns & Wilcox has been operating in New Orleans for the past 30 years.

In & Out Smart Repair A smart device repair center boasting same-day service called In & Out Smart Repair opened at 3006 Elysian Fields Ave. in St. Roch on November 15. Key services include smartphone, tablet and computer repairs.

EJGH Kenner East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH) opened its latest Kenner location on December 9 at 671 W. Esplanade Ave. The primary care facility offers extended hours — with patient appointments available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Harrah’s New Smoking Courtyard On December 1, Harrah’s New Orleans celebrated the opening of its new 3,265square-foot smoking courtyard located outside of the casino’s valet entrance. The courtyard includes more than 60 slot machines ranging from 1 cent to $100 in a climate controlled environment that will be open year-round.

We’d love to include your business-related news in next month’s Biz Bits. Please email details to JANUARY 2016



january 2017


Close your next deal at one of these business-friendly bistros.

The All New Feelings Marigny Cafe & Courtyard Bar 2600 Chartres St. (Corner of Franklin Ave) | (504) 945-2222 Feelings Cafe, Bar & Courtyard Lounge is wowing guests with creative home-style New Orleans fare and hand crafted cocktails made with house infused liquors. The vibe is upbeat, casual and fun! While the name “Feelings” goes back for decades, everything has been renovated. Executive Chef Scott Maki has transformed the menu, delighting the palate and the pocketbook.

Windsor Court 300 Gravier St. | (504) 522-1992 Lunch in New Orleans just got a huge promotion. At The Grill Room at Windsor Court, lunch isn’t climbing the corporate ladder, it’s at the top of the food chain. Join us for a meat and three gourmet plate lunch for just $19.84. Why the $19.84 price point? That’s a nod to the hotel’s opening. Enhance your lunch with $2 martinis made with Tito’s Vodka or Plymouth Gin. So call a recess, adjourn the meeting because it’s time for lunch. Served six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Broussard’s Restaurant 819 Conti St. | (504) 581-3866 Visit a historical Grand Dame restaurant celebrating the tradition of Reveillion since 1920. Conveniently located in the heart of the French Quarter, Broussard’s Restaurant & Courtyard has been serving classic New Orleans dishes with a twist for 96 years. Whether it’s for brunch, dinner or happy hour, choose to dine in the majestic main dining room or in the palatial courtyard. Broussard’s - a local dining tradition since 1920.

Reginelli’s Pizzeria 930 Poydras St. | (504) 586-0068 Business meetings are more fun at Reginelli’s Pizzeria! Enjoy seasonal salads, house-made focaccia sandwiches, hand-tossed pizzas, rich pastas and more. Professional service in a casual environment bringing New Orleans The Perfect Pizza for over 20 years. Catering available with free delivery right to your gathering. JANUARY 2016


Domain Dominates


january 2017

Photo Domain Companies

Biz New Orleans CEOs of the YEar, Matt Schwartz and Chris Papamichael are transforming New Orleans one project at a time.


Completed in March 2016, The Beacon at South Market (1000 Girod St.) features one- and two-bedroom apartments that come with a long list of amenities, including a library, media center, fitness center and a landscaped rooftop courtyard.

By Kim Singletary

ow do you choose the top CEO in Southeast Louisiana? Years ago it would have been an easier job — likely someone in the oil-and-gas industry. But today, with the post-Katrina diversification, there is no shortage of business leaders paving new pathways in an effort to strengthen the region and the economy. That being said, as the editorial team sat down to brainstorm names for our first-ever award, it turned out to be an easier task than we had anticipated. Matt Schwartz and Chris Papamichael were the natural standouts for all of us — the first names on everyone’s list. Not only do they embody the city’s youthful entrepreneurial spirit (Schwartz is 39 and Papamichael is 42), they do so mixed with a good dose of altruism that together is transforming the region. Of course their high-profile project, the South Market District, has become a beacon of success, managing to stand out among the crowd at a time when New Orleans is experiencing a boom in urban development not seen in more than a decade. Really there are five reasons we felt Schwartz and Papamichael deserved this honor: they have a strong connection and love of New Orleans; they are changing the landscape of the city; they have portrayed that New Orleans “never say die” tenacity in their desire to fill a need; they are committed to giving back; and they are focused on the future of the city and the region. JANUARY 2017


The goal from the beginning was to create innovative, mixed-use projects that transformed communities. Domain has done just that in New York, New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Shown here is an exterior shot of The Beacon at South Market in New Orleans.

Strong NOLA connection While they both may hail from the same town of Syosset, New York (32 miles east of Midtown Manhattan), Schwartz and Papamichael actually didn’t meet until they became Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers at Tulane University. “He was a senior, I think, when I was a freshman, and we just hit it off,” Schwartz says. “Before there was any talk of business at all we had established a close friendship.” “We have similar personalities, similar senses of humor,” Papamichael adds. “But I’d say our personalities are more complementary than the same. I tend to take a more laid-back approach and he tends to be more hard-charging.” While Papamichael grew up around real estate — his father was an investor — Schwartz says his interest in the business only came after taking a class with Rodolfo J. “Rudi” Aguilar, a professor of practice in the finance department at Tulane. “I was looking for something entrepreneurial, and I liked the idea of creating something, so real estate seemed like a good fit,” Schwartz says. “Rudi was great — in fact, I still have a friendship with him.” In addition to finding his future 44

january 2017

occupation, Schwartz also met his wife, Christa, while at Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business. Also from the East Coast (Pennsylvania), Christa is the founder of Studio Interior Design, which has offices in both Manhattan and New Orleans. The first to graduate, Papamichael returned home to New York and got a job with W&M Properties (now Empire State Realty Trust). Schwartz later followed and the friendship continued. “I helped Matt secure his first job after graduation with Related Capital,” Papamichael says. “We actually lived in the same building.” While working for others, Papamichael says the two friends always knew that someday they would branch out on their own. “We wanted to create our own brand, make our own mark, and we both had this strong desire to focus more on community development.” “I had built up experience with developing public/private partnerships, and Chris was working with large-scale community assets,” Schwartz says. “Together we wanted to work on mixed-income/mixed-use projects.” In 2004, the two made the leap, forming the Domain Companies. “We played around

“Who we were at the outset is still who we are today.” - Aaron Amitin, executive vice president of the Domain Companies and president of Domain Management Photo Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Finished in December 2014, The Paramount at South Market (611 O’Keefe Ave.) was the first building to be completed at South Market District.

with a lot of different names,” Papamichael says. “In the end we decided that with a primary focus on multifamily, we were building what would be our customer’s residence, or domain. It just stuck.” Within a year of launching, the duo decided to add to their team, bringing in Aaron Amitin as executive vice president of the Domain Companies and president of Domain Management. “I financed the first couple of deals for the company — Overlook at West Hill in Ithaca and Spring Creek Gardens in Brooklyn,” Amitin says. “Both Matt and I had worked at Related Capital together. I then left Related and joined Domain.” Amitin says he was drawn to Domain because it “was going beyond the bounds of development to really enhancing the community and giving back. Who we were at the outset is still who we are today.” Amitin runs the management arm of the company — no small task. “We operate almost every asset we own,” he says. “At first we had third parties managing, but we wanted to create such a strong sense of culture and identity in our products — we had this clear objective to achieve. In order to do that, we realized we had to take control.” Photo Domain Companies

Changing the landscape While Schwartz and Papamichael continued their work in New York, Schwartz says New Orleans was never far from their mind. “We would come back down any chance we got,” he says. “Christa and I actually got married the April before Katrina hit.” Just before Katrina, Schwartz and Papamichael had been looking at a project in New Orleans. While the storm changed everything, it did nothing to dampen the two men’s interest in the city. Instead, it energized them. “We came down on the first commercially available flight about a month or so after Katrina,” Papamichael says. “We wanted to be part of the rebuilding effort.” The two had set their sites on the Tulane corridor, but the road was not going to be easy. “When we first came in we were working with the recovery programs,” Schwartz says. “From the end of 2005, through 2006 and most of 2007 we were largely in Baton Rouge working to develop those programs. Once that was done, we used them to help finance our development.” Being the first mixed-use developer on the scene post-Katrina was not easy. While Schwartz and Papamichael were far from the

“When Matt laid out the business plan to me, it was all about being a stakeholder in communities. It was what you hope to do, really, once you reach the level of success we’d all achieved.” - Vinny Keeler, executive vice president and chief financial officer JANUARY 2017


Besides focusing on the needs of their residents, Schwartz and Papamichael are also dedicated to green building practices. The Paramount, shown here, is LEED Silver certified.

only ones drawn to the city’s possibilities, they were one of the few that ended up staying. “To be successful in this business you can’t give up easily,” Schwartz says. “In this case, post-Katrina, this was more challenging than most, but we were just so passionate about what we were trying to do that we decided we weren’t going to give up, not under any circumstances.” Both men realized that in order to make a real difference, they had to think big. “We were able to pick up large parcels of land through economies of scale, which enabled us to really change the neighborhood,” Papamichael says. “All in all, it was close to 800 apartments [for the Tulane corridor revitalization, which includes the Crescent Club, Preserve, Gold Seal Lofts and Meridian]. We started construction in 2007 and completed in 2009.” About the time construction began on Tulane, Domain rounded out its executive team with the hiring of Vinny Keeler, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Keeler was serving as CFO of Metro Loft Management, which specializes in the conversion of historic Downtown New York City structures into mixed use. Prior to that, he had eight years of public accounting experience focusing on complex development incentive programs. 46

january 2017

“My buddy Tony came to me one day and said, ‘You’ve got to meet these guys, they’re just like us,’” Keeler says. “They were sharp, hungry and eager. When Matt laid out the business plan to me, it was all about being a stakeholder in communities. It was what you hope to do, really, once you reach the level of success we’d all achieved.” Keeler says Schwartz and Papamichael lead by providing guidance, then “they rely on us to put the actions forth.” “There’s a lot of collaboration,” says Amitin. “We really work as a team to develop strategy and guide the direction of the company.” Although the executive team is split — with Schwartz and Papamichael based in New Orleans and Amitin and Keeler based in New York City, they manage to keep in close contact. “We talk on a daily basis,” Amitin says. “We have telecom or video conference meetings on a weekly basis, and we’ll fly down to New Orleans and they’ll fly up here at least once a month. Every year we also do a strategic planning meeting offsite. This year it was four days in Seattle.” Buoyed by the success of the Tulane corridor, the now complete executive team turned to the needs of a city now in recovery. “We saw the city shifting from primarily energy- and tourism-based to a much more

diverse economy.” Schwartz says. “With that shift came the entrance of a knowledgebased workforce that created a demand for downtown housing with high-quality amenities that was in short supply.” Within 18 months, Papamichael says the company had acquired 5 acres of land for what was to become the $450 million South Market District. “It involved negotiating purchase deals with more than 25 landowners, but it gave us the ability to create 200,0000 square feet of retail and a neighborhood of 1,000 luxury apartments and condominiums.” As of mid-December, Domain has completed five of the seven planned buildings, 75,000 square feet of retail and 334 apartments in what is the first mixed-use, transit-oriented development in Downtown New Orleans. The latest addition to South Market is The Standard, a 15-story condominium development that Schwartz promises will be “the finest residential building in New Orleans.” “We saw a need through our luxury rental properties for a luxury for-sale condo product,” Papamichael says. “This is going to be the highest level of luxury you will find in the market.” True to Domain’s tendency to “go big,” The Standard will feature a lobby that doubles as an Photos Domain Companies and Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Outside of residences, Schwartz and Papamichael have created projects in New Orleans like The Park (top) — which marries 27,000 square feet of retail with 435 parking spaces — and the Ace Hotel (bottom), a 234-room boutique hotel that includes 25,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, entertainment and meeting space.

Fast Facts: The Domain Companies Founded: 2004 Employees: Just over 120, split between offices in New Orleans and New York City Total Current Units in New Orleans: 847 Total Current Units in Baton Rouge: 331 Total Investment in Louisiana: Nearly $500 million either completed or under construction, with $200 million in the pipeline JANUARY 2017


art gallery, nearly 30,000 square feet of outdoor amenities — including a pool with private cabanas and a pet play area — a library and clubhouse featuring a full chef’s kitchen and a full-time concierge. All of this will sit atop 24,000 square feet of retail space geared toward art galleries and boutiques. The 89 one-to-three-bedroom residences start at $575,000 for a one-bedroom and boast floor-to-ceiling windows, solid whiteoak flooring and nothing but top-of-the-line finishes and features. Sales have already begun and the first move-ins are anticipated in the spring of 2018. This past year Domain also opened the $76 million Ace Hotel, completed in March 2016. Taking advantage of both state and federal historic tax credits, the Art Deco boutique hotel was created by marrying two historic building with a brand new structure. In addition to 234 rooms, it features 15,000 square feet of retail, plus restaurant, entertainment and meeting space.

Giving back From Domain’s inception, Schwartz and Papamichael’s vision of creating communities, not just developments, has meant a focus that goes far beyond the bottom line. “We have always aligned our primary 48

january 2017

business with the interests of the community,” Schwartz says. “This means that when we look at our footprint, we’re looking at more than what we can do financially.” Schwartz says the company’s My Community Program is “now a part of anything we do.” The program encompasses both a resident and employee component. “For every property, the staff chooses three organizations that they feel are having an impact on their community,” he says. “Each time a tenant signs or renews a lease, that tenant can choose where we will donate $25.” Each property has its own resident service director, and the company just hired a community engagement manager. Employees are permitted, and even encouraged, to use work time to volunteer with any organization they like. And that work is outside of what the company does together. “Our conference room is actually filled right now because we’re working on creating cards for kids in the hospital as we speak,” says Keeler from Domain’s New York offices. “Tonight we’re working with the Ronald McDonald house,” Schwartz says of the New Orleans branch. “We support them financially but tonight some of our employees and residents are coming together to cook a holiday dinner for those in need.”

Both Schwartz and Papamichael have created a company culture focused on giving back and strengthening neighborhoods. Shown here is the company participating in New Orleans Community Day last year.

Schwartz and Papamichael personally walk the walk when it comes to giving their time. Among their many projects, Schwartz serves as chairman of the board of Liberty’s Kitchen, while Papamichael serves on the board of the Louisiana Children’s Museum. “When we look at partnering with an organization, we’re always looking beyond just making a financial contribution,” Schwartz says. “We want something that can align with our unique capabilities. For instance, we were able to help rebuild Comiskey Park in Mid-City. It was a perfect fit for us because it’s a park just off Tulane Avenue that is used by our staff and residents and our access to construction materials and skilled labor means we could come in and knock it out.” Since Domain developments frequently include a component of affordable housing, the company also works to provide services needed by these residents, which can include distributing “Back to School Bags” to students, providing workout programs for elderly residents, and offering free tickets to operas, ballets and concerts. Photo Domain Companies

TOP and BOTTOM: Schwartz currently serves as chairman of the board for Liberty’s Kitchen, a nonprofit cafe that trains at-risk youth for jobs in the service industry. His wife, Christa, an interior designer, designed the space.

DOMAIN TIMELINE Under Construction Estimated Completion Date Spring 2018 The Standard at South Market (New Orleans) Estimated Completion Date Summer 2017 The Shop at the Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans)

Completed April 2016: The Addison (Baton Rouge) March 2016: Ace Hotel (New Orleans) March 2016: The Beacon at South Market (New Orleans) Dec. 2014: Eleven33 (Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY) Dec. 2014: The Paramount at South Market (New Orleans) Oct.: The Park at South Market (New Orleans) Sept.: The High Grove (Baton Rouge) Jan. 2012: Gold Seal Lofts (New Orleans) Sept. 2010: The Shop at Crescent Club (New Orleans) Dec. 2009: Markham Gardens (Staten Island, NY) Feb. 2009: Park Lane at Sea View (Staten Island, NY) Feb. 2009: The Meridian (New Orleans) Dec. 2008: The Crescent Club (New Orleans) Nov. 2008: The Preserve (New Orleans) July 2008: Spring Creek Gardens (Brooklyn, NY) May 2007: The Overlook at West Hill (Ithaca, NY)

Just getting started Papamichael says the company has a lot to look forward to in the new few years. “Of course we’re excited about the opening of The Standard,” he says. “We’re also going to be opening a co-working space at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC).” Set to open summer 2017, The Shop will serve not only as the center of operations for The Idea Village, but as a hub of entrepreneurship for technology, arts and cultural-based businesses in Downtown. Envisioned as the missing “village” part of The Idea Village, The Shop will play host to educational and social meetups and events year-round, and the CAC will serve as the new home to New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Photo Domain Companies

“With this project we’re bringing a different kind of product to market that will provide that networking outlet that really helps complete what we’re doing with the South Market District,” Papamichael says. Looking beyond what is currently in the works, Schwartz says Domain will continue to look for challenges. “Our projects require years of planning and work, and that path is always filled with many obstacles,” he says. “Sometimes that means there’s people telling us left and right why something will never work or can’t be done. When that happens I know we’re on the right path.” Schwartz acknowledges that as a leader he is a bit “intense,” but insists it all comes from excitement over what they do. “I try

and communicate that excitement with our employees, and I set high goals for both myself and the business. You have to foster that confidence — it’s essential to overcoming the challenges we face every day.” Perhaps the easiest example of the differences between Schwartz and Papamichael lies in how they choose to spend what little downtime they enjoy. “Well, being intense,” Schwartz laughs, “I’m drawn to intense sports like hockey, boxing and skiing. I also have three beautiful daughters — ages 8, 6 and 8 months — so as a family we’re always out enjoying the city. We’re big music and food fans.” Papamichael, on the other hand, typically opts for a quieter retreat. “My wife and I have a farm in Folsom,” he says. “My wife is really into animal rescue so we’ve got everything up there — pigs, goats, chickens. I love to go up there on the weekends. Getting out of the city just for a bit is a real stress reliever.” n JANUARY 2017




Michael Gulotta

andrea chen

Taking risks has paid off for chef Michael Gulotta. After devoting six years working his way up the ladder with the Besh Group, Gulotta left his position as executive chef of Restaurant August in 2014 to open MoPho in Mid-City near City Park. It was a daring move at the time, when the neighborhood had yet to become the dining destination it is today. MoPho has since cemented its place in the local dining scene with its creative fusion of Vietnamese and New Orleans cuisine. Gulotta is not to be pigeonholed, however. In 2016 he opened not one, but two restaurants — joining the team at Tréo this year to open TANA, which celebrates New Orleans’ Italian and Creole heritage, and opening MayPop this year. Named after a variety of passionflowers, the Southeast Asian mixed with Southern dining establishment is located inside the South Market District’s Paramount building. Not only has Gulotta achieved local success, he has also built a reputation nationally. Food and Wine Magazine proclaimed him the “Best New Chef” last April and Bon Appetit nominated MoPho for “Best New Restaurant” in 2014. In December 2016, he was also named “Chef of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine.

Andrea Chen witnessed firsthand the commitment and care that long-term residents and volunteers put forth to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now, in her role as executive director of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, she works daily with entrepreneurs to shape the city’s future. Founded in 2009, Propeller is an incubator for socially conscious startups and nonprofits that target systemic problems in New Orleans. The four areas of focus are water, health, education and healthy food access. Propeller had generated more than $20 million in revenue and helped establish 60 ventures including community farms, a food hub, a wetlands kayaking tour company and a maternal healthcare collective. Earlier this month, Propeller was awarded a Kauffman Foundation grant of $420,000 over two years to support women and minority entrepreneurs. Propeller was one of 12 recipients selected from 376 applicants across the country. In a letter announcing the grant award, Chen said that Propeller will use the money to start a neighborhood-based consulting program for businesses along the Washington and Broad commercial program. “We envision New Orleans as a city not only known for its entrepreneurship and its comeback in the wake of disaster, but also for social justice to right our country’s greatest wrongs, and for economic empowerment that creates equitable and inclusive growth,” she said.

of the year

Business people of the Year All year long Biz New Orleans highlights business people who are out there succeeding and making a difference in our region. Here are a few of our favorites from 2016.


january 2017


Tech Leader


Business couple

Sean Carrigan

Gregory C. Feirn

Two years ago, tech innovator Sean Carrigan, along with business partner and engineer Jason Palmer, developed a solution to a common problem experienced in our smartphone reliant world with the creation of MobileQubes, a cordless, small battery pack that allows consumers to charge any device with a USB port — including tablets and iPads — while on the go. The battery packs are dispensed from automated, self-service kiosks. Users can rent them for $4.99 a day and 99 cents for every additional day. As of July of 2016 there were 110 kiosks nationwide, with hopes to expand to 500 locations. The startup has secured more than $1 million in investments and signed deals with big-name partners such as Caesar’s Entertainment and Amtrak. In March 2016, MobileQubes was awarded a $100,000 prize from the Coulter Idea Pitch competition that took place during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

As chief executive officer of LCMC Health, Greg Feirn heads one of the largest healthcare systems in the state, boasting over $1.3 billion in revenue and more than 8,200 employees and 2,100 physicians. Originally from Wisconsin, Feirn joined the Children’s Hospital family in 1998 as the organization’s comptroller. When LCMC Health was established in 2009, he was chosen as chief financial officer before being promoted to president, then chief operating officer and ultimately to CEO in May 2014 at the age of 45. The LCMC Health system operates five hospitals in its network including Children’s Hospital, Touro, New Orleans East Hospital, West Jefferson Medical Center and University Medical Center (UMC) in New Orleans, which opened in August 2015. The $1.2 billion facility is home of the Rev. Avery C. Alexander Academic Research Hospital. Feirn served as the lead negotiator for the public-private partnership with the state of Louisiana that created UMC. The facility contains the region’s only level 1 trauma center and trains more than 2,400 medical, dental, nursing and allied health students annually. In December 2016, Becker’s Hospital Review, a national healthcare publication recognized Feirn as one of the top 135 Nonprofit Hospital and Health System CEOs to know in 2016.

Brandy and Frank Christian

of the year


of the year

Powerhouse couple Brandy and Frank Christian are spearheading huge projects in two different areas of the business world in New Orleans. The dynamic duo arrived in the city from San Diego when Brandy accepted the position of chief operating officer with the Port of New Orleans – the first woman in the organization’s history to claim that title. She spent 15 years at the Port of San Diego, last serving as vice president of strategy and business development. “My goal as the CEO of the Port of New Orleans is basically going to be to build upon the success and growth we’re already seeing,” Brandy said in an interview for New Orleans Magazine last July. “I also want to continue to build an organization where every employee is excited to come to work each morning.” Meanwhile, her husband Frank has taken on the task of re-envisioning the future of NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale after spending two decades working special events planning in San Diego. When the park opened in 2012, it was with the hope of hosting regular IndyCar series races — a vision that never fully materialized. Since he was named CEO of the park in January 2016, NOLA Motorsports has switched gears, now focused on renting its facilities to groups for recreational outings and corporate team-building trips. The park is about 20 minutes outside of New Orleans and sits on 350 acres of developed land. JANUARY 2017



january 2017

Perspectives A closer look at hot topics in three southeast Louisiana industries

54 Maritime & Ports

60 Banking & Finance 64 Healthcare JANUARY 2017


Perspectives | Maritime & Ports

A bridge consol from Imtra Corp. out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, that features a user-friendly ergonomic design was among the products featured at this year’s IWBS.

Rising Tide The outlook for 2017 was looking up at this year’s International WorkBoat Show & Annual Conference text and photography By CHRIS PRICE


fter several years of a declining market, hope was the buzzword at the International WorkBoat Show & Annual Conference (IWBS), held Nov. 30-Dec 2 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The largest commercial marine trade show in North America, IWBS annually attracts more than 10,000 people from around the world who work on coastal, inland and offshore waters to network, 54

january 2017

discover new products and services and learn about evolving issues affecting the commercial maritime industry. IWBS’ conference sessions and workshops are produced by the company that owns WorkBoat Magazine and They say IWBS attendees spend millions of dollars annually on marine equipment and services, and together represent $2.3 billion in buying power.

“We’ve got to be here,” said Eric Bollinger, vice president of sales for Bollinger Shipyards, a Lockport, Louisiana-based company that operates shipyards, construction and repair facilities across the state and builds offshore supply vessels, military and government vessels, barges, lift boats, specialty vessels and tugboats. “The WorkBoat Show is a good chance for us to see our customers and meet with our strategic vendors. It’s the venue for all in international maritime to voice concerns, show off their products and services, but to also meet shipbuilding firms, vendors that supply engines, gears and all for the maritime industry. It’s also a good forum for everybody to get together to discuss strategies going forward. This is the place you want to be.” Bollinger adds that after slipping in recent years, there is hope that the marketplace will soon pick up momentum.

“Every marine vendor worldwide attends this show, selling and demonstrating their products and services,” said Kyle C. Wild, a vice president at Ellsworth. “It exposes us to a whole international market that we wouldn’t get otherwise. It offers new opportunities for further business not just locally, but nationally and worldwide.” Propelling business was the same reason Poseidon Barge Co., a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based barge builder and lessor with local distribution in Belle Chasse, was a vendor at the show. “We’re here to expand our customer base,” said Mike Lane, a project manager at Poseidon Barge. “This show allows us to see customers on a regular basis as opposed to traveling and visiting them individually door to door. We’re hoping to pick up additional business and exposure in the marine industry.”

Transportation Funding International Exposure The chance to meet insurance underwriters and brokers from around the world drew the Ellsworth Corp., a Metairiebased insurer, to this year’s IWBS.

More than 1,000 exhibitors took part in this year’s show. Shown here is a propeller by Veth Propulsion.

Talk of increasing transportation funding by the president-elect had many at the show excited about the potential prospect for their bottom lines. Lane said Poseidon Barge’s business is JANUARY 2017


primarily geared to bridge-building and pile-driving contractors who work on inland rivers and lakes where large deck barges can’t access. “Right now a lot of contractors that own their own sectional barges, all of their equipment is sitting, so that’s less opportunity for us to rent equipment. Sometimes contractors who aren’t working will lend to others who are. If we can get more projects going, then equipment will get used and be out on projects. That gives us the opportunity to replace old equipment or they’ll need to rent from us more.”

Automation Trending Following the year that saw self-driving cars and even a beer delivery truck, it should come as no surprise that talk of automated boats and other vessels was a hot topic at the show. Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics was on hand to display its autonomous control and remote command systems, which founder Michael Johnson said enables unmanned piloting of vessels to improve productivity and efficiency, as well as safe operations in hazardous environments. The company hopes to have a commercial product available in the first half of 2017. Johnson was involved in the salvage operation of the Costa Concordia, the cruise liner that ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy in January 2012. Crews worked around the clock to keep oils booms around the wreckage to protect the surrounding environment, but because of traffic to the work site, the booms often failed to work effectively. 56

january 2017

Philip Aldridge, an investor with Sea Machines Robotics that lives in Slidell, tries out the company’s remote command system.

Johnson’s team envisioned an autonomous active boom management system that could safely and easily interact with all the other marine traffic around it, allowing the environment to stay protected while providing the means for other manned boats to efficiently transit in and out of the protected area. Sea Machines is currently developing three systems that allow varying levels of autonomy, said Alex Lorman, the company’s chief technology officer. Sea Machines’ remote command system allows wireless control of a vessel within 1,000 meters of the pilot, usually a manned vessel. The autonomous navigation system uses vessel-based sensors to give the craft a degree of self-awareness, enabling it to self-motor from point to point while avoiding active and passive obstacles or collaborate in tandem with another vessel. The autonomous control system upgrades traditional manually piloted vessels to be operated with a reduced or zero on-board crew. Programmable safety triggers such as hold station, engine stop or return to safe-zone protect the vessels in case of loss of communications, prohibited zone entry, unyielding traffic or system failures. Johnson said automated workboats could

soon be deployed for work in Louisiana in environmental cleanup, surveying and firefighting applications. “During the Deepwater Horizon spill, local fishermen and their boats were used in the cleanup. This put operators, whose expertise was not spill cleanup, in direct exposure to crude oil and dispersants,” Johnson said. “Within the first month, several of these fishermen presented with symptoms such as headaches, upper-respiratory irritation and nausea, with some cases so severe as to require hospitalization.” Another concern was the physical and economical effects that summer heat would have on the cleanup. Recovery personnel had to use personal protection equipment including full coveralls, boots, gloves and respirators in high heat and humidity. To combat heat-related injuries, workers were commonly set on a rotation of 20 minutes of work followed by 40 minutes of rest to keep responders safe. But it effectively tripled man hours, driving up costs. Unmanned workboats can venture into spill areas too dangerous for human operators and would help to reduce health and safety hazards by allowing operators to be located away from danger.

Who attends the IWBS? The International WorkBoat Show is where all things commercial marine converge. It is attended by: n shipyards and commercial boat builders; n marine architects and engineers; n equipment manufacturers and distributors; n port authorities and engineers; n oil exploration and production executives; n military buyers and government officials; and n marine surveyors. Source: International WorkBoat Show JANUARY 2017


TOP: A gorgeous diving helmet was on display courtesy of Standard Calibrations Inc. out of Chesapeake, Virginia. BOTTOM: A marine engine by Cummins Inc. out of Charleston, South Carolina.

Did you know? There are nearly 55,000 maritime jobs in Louisiana that contribute more than $11.3 billion annually to the state’s economy, according to a Pricewaterhouse-Coopers study commissioned last year by the Transportation Institute.


n Louisiana ranked No. 1 in the United States in maritime jobs per capita, with an estimated 1 in 5 Louisiana jobs connected to the maritime industry, resulting in employment income of more than $3.5 billion every year.

Companies will need as many as 3,000 additional employees for maritime operations in Louisiana in the next five years, according to maritime employers surveyed by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Louisiana Community Technical College System. n

Source International WorkBoat Show

periods of time and overnight by not requiring crew breaks or changes,” he said.

Looking Forward

“A faster cleanup creates less working risk for the operators and reduces overall cost while returning the maritime environment to its prior state as fast as possible,” Johnson said. Heat-shielded unmanned workboats are also being developed for marine firefighting. Depending on the type and severity of fire being fought, an unmanned boat can get closer to danger in certain situations and may be better for fighting hazmat or overhead fires that would be hazardous to humans. With the addition of on-board 58

january 2017

infrared thermal cameras, the automated fireboat can transmit real-time imagery of the heat situation to the operator and the automated controls can keep the water stream continuously aimed at the highestheat areas without the assistance of the operators, Johnson said. “Unmanned vehicles can proceed in weather and sea conditions that would generally be unpleasant to crew on board small launches. Additionally, an unmanned vessel can operate continuously for extended

With a stagnant economy, especially in the local oil and gas sector, several vendors said that before the show they were worried about attendance figures, but the concern was largely unfounded. On opening day only 100 fewer people showed up compared to last year, and only a handful of vendors didn’t come back, Wild said. Bollinger said he has been to several trade shows across the country in the last year and this was the best attended that he’s seen. “Being in a down market, we were questioning what kind of turnout the show would have,” Bollinger said. “But I’m pleasantly surprised. It’s been a good turnout, and we’ve had a great f low of customers.” Estimating how much the show will mean to their businesses was difficult for most vendors to say, however all are expecting a boost. “To quantify how much business we’re going to get at this show is difficult to tell,” Bollinger said. “We’ll see in a few months. I’m excited about the new year and what’s to come.” n JANUARY 2017


Perspectives | Banking & Finance

Resolving to Be Financially Sound Local bankers offer up their top money management tips for business and personal success. By Suzanne Ferrara


t’s a new year, and as always come the promises of self-improvement — running the gamut from getting in shape to making more money. One of the top stressors of Americans seems to get buried underneath everything else and can become a load we carry throughout our lives. Just like our health, our level of financial fitness, if not in check, makes most of us feel uneasy and out of control no matter how much we are worth. Experts say avoiding or correcting certain repetitively bad mental and management habits can keep financial wellbeing from becoming psychologically burdensome.


january 2017

Illustration Thinkstock

Exterior of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), whose mission is to “empower consumers to take more control over their financial lives,” gives the following descriptions of a consumer with financial well-being: 1-has control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances 2-can absorb financial shock 3-on track to meet financial goals 4-has the financial freedom to make choices that allow one to enjoy life This innate desire to be financially secure and in control of our money matters runs deep with baby boomers and millennials alike. Many boomers were hit by financial setbacks as their retirement funds were squeezed by unforeseen circumstances, including the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. “They are faced with an investment dilemma as they approach retirement,” adds Fritz Gomila, principal with ThirtyNorth Investments, LLC. “As they look to reduce risk in their portfolios in favor of income-generating investments, the traditional place to go is bonds.” However, Gomila points out that the current low interest rate environment for bonds “isn’t generating the necessary income.” Stephen Wessel, Investar Bank’s New Orleans regional president, adds, “For baby boomers, retirement preparedness is the biggest fear, but taking a few steps now can help ease your mind.” And for millennials? “A major source of stress and anxiety is their financial future, but the best two assets they have are that they are usually well-educated and young,” says Wessel. Add to the mix of fiscal uneasiness are entrepreneurs who are trying to stay ahead of the game in a highly competitive market. Biz New Orleans spoke with a handful of Greater New Orleans bankers and financial planners about their top money management tips for both personal and business banking and planning. They offered the following advice. Photo by Ted Eytan JANUARY 2017


Personal Banking Check List Budget and keep track. First and foremost, flesh out your budget by comparing your income and expenses; seeing this in black and white can have a significant impact. Experts say review your household budget yearly, if not bimonthly, and make adjustments when necessary. “This is where you may find that you are spending more than you thought on certain things and allows for better prioritization,” advises Chris Ferris, Fidelity Bank’s executive vice-president, chief of retail banking and operations. Keeping track will also give you a sense of control and help you maintain a positive attitude about your money management. “There is a very important first step to budgeting that you cannot skip if you want to have a real budget that you can live with and that can help you save regularly toward your goals, and that is tracking your spending,” says Julie Gunter, community development director for the Federal Reserve Bank. Gunter advises writing down your day-to-day spending for a couple of weeks in order to make an accurate budget. “You’ll be amazed to see how little amounts can add up through the work week and month.” Once you have the budget, online banking will make keeping track an easier task, plus it offers two more advantages, says Home Bank’s New Orleans Market President, John Zollinger IV. “This will allow you to notice if there are any suspicious transactions on your account much faster than looking at your monthly statements, and it will keep you more aware of your spending habits.”

Control credit card debt and credit scores. Make sure your credit card spending doesn’t spin out of control and exceed what you have in the bank. “In the new year, use a credit card as you would your debit card: pay off the balance in full,” advises Kuebel. Credit card debt can directly affect your credit report, but, unlike in years past, you can receive free annual reports from three different agencies and it won’t affect your financial reputation. “Pick a day of the year — most will recommend your birthday — to pull your credit report,” says Kuebel. “Doing this will allow you to review any misreported information that may affect your ability to borrow funds in the future.”

Protect your assets. In addition to the aforementioned advice to monitor accounts online for suspicious activity, Zollinger strongly advises a few other security safeguards. “Consider always writing ‘ask for ID’ on the back of your credit card or ATM/debit card. This will prompt the waiter or clerk to ask for your ID to make sure that you are present when your card is being used.” If your purse or wallet are stolen, or if you cannot find your credit or debit card, expedite the cancellations. “Keep the toll-free numbers of all your credit cards handy, and not in your wallet,” continues Zollinger.

Business Banking Checklist Form solid relationships.

Maintain a rainy-day fund. Maintaining a “rainy-day” fund, or a savings for the unexpected, is crucial for both maintaining peace of mind and keeping financial fears in check. Extra income or additional assets, like pay raises, annual bonuses and tax refunds, should be tucked away in this fund and not deposited into a checking account where it will vanish overnight. Kelly Kuebel, IBERIABANK’s private banking relationship manager, advises to “put that money aside as if it did not exist. Pay yourself first! Set aside a certain amount from each paycheck to protect against the unexpected.” Ferris adds, “An auto transfer or direct deposit to savings is an easy way to stay on track.”


january 2017

Establishing a long-term relationship and affinity with the bank with which you conduct business is key to your overall success. In the same vein, Wessel says, “View your banking arrangement (for both loan and deposit products) as a long-term relationship.” Wessel also offers this advice: “Find a banker who understands your business and industry, including your creditworthiness and your seasonal borrowing needs.” Zollinger concurs. “Running a small business can be a lonely job. Your banker works with many different companies and encounters many situations in their career, so foster that relationship.”

Sustain honest dialogue. Once you establish that relationship with a banker, Wessel suggests, “Meet with him or her at least once a year, and offer updates or insights into your company’s finances and future plans.” Brad Jongbloed, Fidelity Bank’s senior vice president and chief commercial banking officer, says it’s crucial to maintain open and honest dialogue with your banker. “This helps ensure the banker can meet your needs and problem solve. Illustration Thinkstock

Nobody likes any last-minute surprises when trying to bring a loan to the closing table.” Wessel agrees with such transparency. “Be up front and honest about your long-term plans as well as how you see the next 18 to 24 months for your business.”

Know your business and fees. “Businesses thrive on good information, so keep good accounting records and know how your business is doing,” advises Zollinger. He says tracking your business activity is very important for the health of your organization. “It can also allow better access to capital when you need it.” Jongbloed adds this tip: “As a small business owner, it is critical that you understand your business’s cash flow cycle.” Zollinger also recommends you update your personal financial statement at least once per year. “This will act as a personal financial check-up. Understanding what you own, and who and how much you owe is important.” You also want to make sure you are aware of bank fees. “It is just as important to discuss options for your deposit needs as it is for loan pricing,” adds Wessel.

Utilize technology. All banks today offer various technology aimed at helping you expediently manage both your business and personal accounts. “Ask your banker how technology can improve your business,” advises Zollinger. “Mobile banking, online banking, treasury management and remote deposit capture have allowed community banks to compete without having as many locations, but still delivering personal service.” Ferris believes technology “services like Apple Pay, Mobile Deposit Capture and Touch ID” can also help keep your financial life in order.

Investment Checklist Be cautious and know the risks. When it comes to investing, you want to make sure you err on the side of caution and don’t make mistakes you’ll regret. ThirtyNorth’s Gomila says trading on emotion can be costly. “Be cautious about changing long-term investment strategies based upon short-term headlines and events.” Protecting your financial assets, he continues, is critical. “Make sure you understand the risk in your portfolio. The last thing you want is to take more risk than necessary to earn your returns.”

Take advantage of your 401(k). As for your 401(k) plan, be sure you’re getting the most advantageous returns for your dollar. “Save as much as possible through your 401(k) plan at work, taking full advantage of company matching and the tax treatment of these accounts,” says Gomila, who adds that it’s essential for you to do your homework. “If your plan rewards you for saving, take advantage of it because in these accounts the tax advantage can accelerate compounded growth.”

Final Thoughts Remember this: no matter what your resolutions are, the key to success is sticking with your plan to reach your goal. Whether in personal or business financial matters the advice of American author H. Jackson Brown Jr. (author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book”) applies: “Watch your finances like a hawk.” For many, monetary security can simply mean having a sense of knowing exactly where you stand financially. While diligently saving and investing reap great fiscal rewards, doing a better job at managing your money can provide intangible recompense, including peace of mind, regardless of how much you have in the bank. n JANUARY 2017


Perspectives | Healthcare

7-Minute Workout

Lose It!

The Year in Health

CalorieKing iOS Food Search

With new apps, exciting advancements and a strong focus on wellness, 2017 could be your healthiest year yet. By Kim Roberts


his year promises to be a big one when it comes to technological advancements in health, starting with a plethora of health apps designed to keep users on track with their health goals.

Smartphone Health “The CalorieKing iOS Food Search is a free app and available on the web. This app allows you to search for the nutrition facts for foods, drinks and even chain restaurant meals. It even lets you change the serving size to update the information,” says Touro dietitian, Julie Fortenbarry, RD, LDN. “If you want to know how many calories, carbohydrates and fats are in a large order of fries from McDonald’s, this app will give you all of the nutritional information you need. “Another app that is free and available on Android, iOS, Kindle or the web is Lose It! This app is designed to help you achieve your 64

january 2017

weight loss goals,” she adds. “You put in information like weight, height, rate of weight loss and total weight loss goal, and the app will recommend how many calories per day to eat. It allows you to log your daily intake by searching for foods or scanning the barcode. Lose It! also has the ability to automatically track the number of steps you take each day, and it lets you record exercise.” The app offers multiple interactive features. “You can also add friends, earn badges and participate in challenges,” she adds. For those with limited time, resources and space to exercise, one option is the 7-Minute Workout app. “It is a high-intensity, interval training workout that takes a total of seven minutes and only utilizes a floor, chair and a wall,” Fortenbarry explains. “The app teaches exercises that will work different parts of your body at 30-second intervals with 10-second rests. It’s like having a personal trainer on your phone.”

Currently being evaluated by the FDA, the Pillcam measures vital signs from within the body.

Ingestible Sensors On a larger, non-phone-related scale, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an ingestible electronic sensor (in capsule form) that can measure heart rate and other vital signs from inside a person’s body. This technology is in the FDA approval phase, and is just now being reviewed by local facilities for its viability. The capsule is basically a package with many sensors and a microphone and is about the size of a multivitamin. It can monitor respiratory rate and heart rate from within the body, with the goal of enabling physicians to make quick and long-term assessments easier on patients. It is anticipated that the sensor package will stay inside the body for about one or two days before being excreted by the natural method. More intensive monitoring would require the ingestion of multiple pills over a period of time. Genetics Paint a Clearer Picture Close to home, Tulane Medical Center President and CEO Dr. William Lunn says the future of healthcare definitely includes genetics. “We believe that wellness for the new year should focus on the big three: genetics, diet and exercise,” he says. “We address these big three through our Hayward Genetics Center, Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine and the Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine. Finding out about a person’s genetics is a big part of early identification and treatment,” he says, adding that an individual’s genetic code holds the key to how they respond to medication and what medication will and won’t work for them. “Genetic counseling is a communication process which involves providing information about the consequences of the Photo courtesy of Given Imaging Ltd. JANUARY 2017


In addition to high tech health and fitness amenities, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s new Wellness Center includes centers for imaging, sports medicine, neurosciences, pain management, spinal conditions, rehabilitation, weight management, wellness education, urgent care, women’s breast health and aquatics.

disorder, the chance of developing or passing on the disorder for a given person, and ways to prevent or treat the disorder,” he says. “We are trying to be a leader locally as well as nationwide through our human genome project, as well as our various other projects designed to improve the quality of life in our community.” The Hayward Genetics Center at Tulane Medical Center is the Gulf South’s only comprehensive clinical genetics center that offers genetic diagnosis, counseling and therapy for prenatal, pediatric and adult inherited conditions. The center is one of the only full-service biochemical, cytogenetic and molecular labs in the state and offers services and treatments for conditions such as: inherited diseases, birth defects, developmental delay, autism, inborn errors of metabolism, preconception and prenatal counseling/testing, adult cancer risk assessment, cancer genetic counseling and abnormal metabolic newborn screening. Enhancing Quality of Life Locally Looking toward the future of health in the United States, Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, said that lifestyle diseases are a major concern. “In the medical field, we have great concerns for the future of healthcare as far as the increase in the trend of childhood obesity, which is still growing, as well as the instances of diabetes and heart disease that are still on the rise,” he says. “We really want to be able to make a positive impact in the tri-parish area in people’s lives and enhance people’s standard of life.” To that end, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center has developed a five-story, technologically advanced Wellness Center designed to improve the health and well-being of the region through 66

january 2017

prevention, fitness, education, rehabilitation, and focused sports and wellness services. In addition to high tech health and fitness amenities, the facility includes centers for imaging, sports medicine, neurosciences, pain management, spinal conditions, rehabilitation, weight management, wellness education, urgent care, women’s breast health and aquatics, which features a lap pool and warm-water therapy pools. “We hope we can be a significant player in the health and success of this community,” Stock says. “We believe that encouraging wellness is the future of healthcare, and it is important to draw attention to it and the impact it has on lives. Someone has got to be the leader and set an example, and we are taking the lead with the Wellness Center.” Marrying Advancements with Expanded Access In 2017, East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH) plans to continue its ongoing expansion of services, introduce freestanding emergency departments in both Metairie and Kenner. “The new departments come after introducing a renovated breast care center with even more 3-D mammography with our new tomographic imaging capabilities in radiology oncology,” says John Sartori, director of marketing and communications for EJGH. “This technology is the latest in providing doctors with even greater views of cancers in their earliest, most treatable stages.” The hospital also welcomes 2017 with greater patient access than ever before. “With locations throughout the region, including Destrehan, Lakeview, Old Metairie, River Ridge and of course Metairie, we can now see patients in some clinics as late as 8 p.m. on weekdays and even during Saturday hours,” he says. Photo courtesy of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

Sartori adds that EJGH is also the first hospital in the region performing radial cardiac procedures. “This procedure is so patient friendly, stents can be implanted for the heart through the veins in the patient’s arm,” he says. “Imagine heart surgery that can take place while the patient is alert and wearing street clothes.”

Workplace Health Most people spend the majority of their day at their job, which makes it easy to focus on work and forget about healthy habits. What we do during work hours can have a profound impact on our overall health, and healthy people are typically more productive, more constructive and require fewer sick days. “It’s important to remember to stay healthy while in the workplace,” says Tulane’s Lunn. “Get away from your desk, take deep breaths, clear your head, detach from the distractions a couple of times a day. I would suggest getting up from your desk at least once an hour. We are big proponents of the “stand-up or pop-up desk, so much so that the CEO at our Lakeview Regional Medical facility, Brett Kolman, has his stand-up desk attached to a treadmill and uses it throughout the day.” Lunn also recommends staying away from caffeine and carbonated drinks after noon. “Just drink water all day for the best results,” he says. “The caffeine really interferes with sleep patterns if you consume it after noon. It is also a good idea to stay away from sweet treats and all of those empty calories in order to maintain weight goals and energy levels during the work day.” Stock advises employees to take advantage of wellness screenings offered by employers. “Find out about the wellness benefits that your company offers and schedule the annual screenings to take preventative steps to preserving your health,” he says. “Also, learn more about yourself, your gene pool and what you have inherited so you know what health risks may be in your future. Stock advises workers to pay attention to the small things. “Take as many breaks as allowed, and exercise or walk or at least stretch throughout the day,” he says. “Make sure you take a lunch break and eat sensibly; do not skip this meal. One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy this year, and everyone has heard this so many times, is to be sure to get plenty of sleep. That is really imperative to good health.” n

Illustration Thinkstock JANUARY 2017


Guest Viewpoint

The Costs of Smoking It’s not just a health issue, it’s bad for business.


nti-smoking campaigns are nothing new. Heartbreaking images and stern warnings have been disseminated via print, television or digital media as long as many of us can remember. The good news is the overall number of adults who smoke cigarettes is falling. The bad news is it is still quite high. This article is not intended to highlight the dangers of smoking, but rather to demonstrate that the costs of smoking are not always health-related. Smoking cigarettes carries an economic cost, too and, as an employer, you are probably paying it.

Jaklyn Wrigley is an attorney with the Gulfport Office of national labor and employment law firm, Fisher Phillips. She represents employers in state and federal courts, as well as claims pending with state and federal agencies.


january 2017

Steve CUPP is a partner with Fisher Phillips’ Gulfport office. He has devoted his practice to representing management interests in various areas of labor and employment law , including traditional labor litigation before the National Labor Relations Board, handling Department of Labor wage and hour audits, Title VII litigation, and litigation of Fair Labor Standards Act cases.

Smokers Are On Your Payroll It is estimated that 40 million — or nearly 17 percent — of adults in the United States smoke cigarettes. This percentage is increased in parts of the South, particularly Louisiana and Mississippi, where between 21.4 percent and 25.3 percent of adults are currently smokers. Given the prevalence of smokers in the United States, it is almost a certainty that some of them are your employees. But why does this matter? Indisputably, smokers are much less healthy than nonsmokers. Their overall health is worse and they are sick more often, which typically results in more sick days taken. Smokers miss approximately twice as much work as their nonsmoking counterparts. To an employer, this translates to cost, and American workers who smoke cost American businesses billions of dollars each year.

But taking steps to curb smoking in your workplace is not without risk. Consider the following: n Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA will only permit employers to maintain a premium differential for smoking versus nonsmoking employees as long as the employer establishes a nonsmoking program that meets certain requirements as part of a wellness program, and then reduces premium rates as a “reward” for participation. n Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA prohibits discrimination in offering benefits to qualified individuals with disabilities. Although courts have yet to classify smoking as a disability, the health issues A couple of 10-minute breaks each associated with smoking are workday over the course of the year frequently classified as such. means your smoking employee is working nearly a month less than a Additionally, the ADA prohibits non-smoking employee. discrimination against an accepted disability and makes it illegal to discriminate against They Are Costing You Money employees who are “regarded as” being disabled, even if they are not According to the Centers for Disease Control, the total economic actually disabled under the law. Given the breadth of its coverage, it cost of smoking is more than $300 billion per year. A big component is realistic that a court may allow a lawsuit to proceed based on an of this cost is lost productivity. To estimate some of the costs for lost argument that charging a higher premium to a smoker is sufficient productivity, think of how many breaks a day the average smoking grounds to state a “regarded as” claim. n Applicable State Law: In Louisiana and Mississippi, for instance, employee takes. This may seem minimal, but a couple of 10-minute employers may not require employees or applicants to abstain from breaks each workday over the course of the year means your smoking smoking during nonworking hours. This effectively means that employee is working nearly a month less than a nonsmoking employee. employers in these states may not refuse to hire an applicant simply In addition, studies show that your smoking employees are also less because he or she is a tobacco user. In other states, a premium productive because the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine (which occur differential may not be imposed on the grounds it constitutes approximately 30 minutes after a smoke break) cause a loss of focus. discrimination against smokers. It’s easy to see how lost productivity carries a projected cost These examples do not represent an all-inclusive list of the of more than $3,000 per year per smoking employee. But that is possible legal issues an employer may face when evaluating how to not the only component of the total economic costs. The direct reduce smoking in the workplace. You may have to consider your healthcare cost of a smoking employee is approximately $2,000 per employee. When you multiply $5,000 by the total number of smoking bargaining obligations with a union, the requirements of a legally sound wellness program, whether you are required to provide leave employees in your workplace, the costs add up quickly. for certain medical issues caused by smoking under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or whether the Fair Labor Standards Act requires Employers Are Taking Action you to pay employees for their smoke breaks. In today’s business environment, employers are driven to minimize costs and maximize productivity. Because smokers can What’s The Takeaway? adversely impact both, employers are targeting them. While many employers have taken steps to reduce smoking by their As a first step, many employers either allow limited smoke breaks workforce for health reasons, for others “money talks.” Regardless or have banned smoking and using e-cigarettes in the workplace of the motivation, the outcome is the same: Employers who work to through a policy in the company’s handbook. More recently, curb smoking among their employees are likely to both financially employers are charging a higher insurance premium to employees benefit from their efforts and help smokers to stop smoking. But first, who smoke. In fact, the Affordable Care Act allows insurers to raise employers should evaluate state and federal laws and regulations that smokers’ premiums up to 50 percent over those paid by nonsmokapply, and determine whether taking steps to reduce smoking is right ers in recognition of the increased healthcare costs associated with for them. While implementing a plan is not without risk, when done the smoking employees. Finally, some companies, where allowable, are correct way, the savings can be significant. n refusing to hire smokers altogether. Photo Thinkstock JANUARY 2017


PUBLISHER’S NOTICE: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Ace and the Louisiana Open Housing Act, which make it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. For more information, call the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-273-5718.


january 2017





Great Offices


january 2017

Working Together A circa-1800s Bywater warehouse enjoys new life as a co-working space. By melanie warner Spencer photos Jeff johnston


eb designer Erin Allen counts among her co-workers a lawyer, a freelance photographer, and staff members for a construction company, an event production business, an architectural firm and a technology company. It’s a diverse mix — each leases space at The Warehouse, a circa-1800s building in the Bywater that over the past 200 years has served as a warehouse for both cotton and furniture. In 2011, after many years of abandonment and neglect, one of the building’s walls collapsed onto Dauphine Street. The building was quickly slated for demolition by the city. A group of neighbors alerted now co-owner Albert Walsh, who immediately decided to purchase it and transform the oncedilapidated eyesore into a co-working space that he christened The Warehouse. The space opened in May 2016. In recent years, co-working has increased in popularity, including around New Orleans. The Warehouse is among several spaces in the city that have found a niche in this brave new world populated by freelancers, solopreneurs, seasonal workers and small companies looking to save money and share equipment, as well as — more often than not — knowledge and ideas. At The Warehouse, an uber-hip location, minimal cool design and a roster of events for members and the public combine to create a space that’s at once homey and creatively energizing.

A casual seating area greets members and visitors at The Warehouse, a 10,000-square-foot co-working space in the Bywater neighborhood. The space is furnished with a mixture of low-slung leather West Elm sofas and chairs made by Matthew Holdren from wood salvaged during the restoration of the building. JANUARY 2017



“I wanted to make a space that I wanted to work in,” says Allen, who in addition to running her web design business from The Warehouse, also tackled the furnishing and decoration of the space and handles its marketing. “I like the concept of being around other people.” Allen used minimalist design to help keep member costs affordable and used current office design trends as her inspiration. The result allows the 19th-century industrial architecture to take center stage. Exposed brick walls, wood beam ceilings and polished concrete floors are married with a mix of clean-lined furniture from IKEA, West Elm and Modern Market, as well as custom pieces — some made by Allen’s friend Matthew Holdren, who specializes in using reclaimed wood — employing wood salvaged from the site. Members and visitors are welcomed by a cozy, residential-style conversation area with low-slung, brown leather West Elm sofas and plants and artwork by photographer and Warehouse member Bryan Tarnowski. The perimeter of the space holds two phone booths, 22 private offices of varying sizes, and suites for member companies requiring room for multiple employees. Semi-private desks, dedicated desks and communal tables populate the open space. Allen and Walsh converted metal watering troughs into water features, each with a lush collection of plant life, that serve as pleasant noise reducers. “When I walk in each morning, it’s a sense of relaxation, creativity, productivity,” says co-owner Steve Nutting, who joined business partner Walsh after serving for many years in the Coast Guard. He says he enjoys being around so many different members of the business community. An interior bike rack provides safe storage for members who prefer to ride to work. The sleek, black paper stone counter in the kitchen is offset by a salvaged vintage sink and a blue metal St. Claude sign placed on top of white IKEA cabinets adds to the sense of place. Pieces by local artist Jessica Normington decorate the walls 74

january 2017


throughout The Warehouse, as part of the ongoing effort to host rotating shows. Regular yoga classes are held on the new rooftop deck, which soon will include a bar for parties and events. “I’m not a person who likes to be in my own office by myself,” says operations manager Erin Wilson, whose vintage metal, factory-style desk sits in the open area not far from the entrance. Block letters on the desk welcome members and visitors with a simple greeting, “Hello,” and a vintage metal fan on the right side of the desk looks as if it came with the place. Wilson says she enjoys being the first person everyone sees and talks to when they visit or sign up as members, many of whom have been personally recommended by existing members. “I’ve been able to collect the people I love to work with in one spot,” says Allen. “It is exactly what I want an office to look like.” n

At A Glance Company Name: The Warehouse Address: 3014 Dauphine St. Office completed: May 2016 Architect: Tracie Ashe, Studio WTA Interior designer: Erin Allen Furnishings: IKEA, West Elm, Modern Market and custom Size: 10,000 square feet Main goal: Creating a variety of offices and workspaces Biggest challenge: Noise reduction Standout feature: Exposed brick wall and 360-degree skylight 3 4


1- Erin Wilson, operations manager, says she enjoys being the first person people see and talk to when they come into the space. Her metal factory-style desk is adjacent to the entry seating area.


2- A black paper stone counter in the kitchen is offset by a salvaged vintage sink and a blue, metal St. Claude sign placed on top of the white IKEA cabinets. 3- For the restoration of the building, The Warehouse worked with Tracie Ashe, partner and project manager at Studio WTA. Web designer and member Erin Allen also handled the decoration and furnishing of the interior. 4- A bike rack provides safe storage for members who ride to work. 5- There are 22 private offices of varying sizes and suites for member companies requiring space for multiple employees. 6- The building was built in the 1800s and has previously served as both a warehouse for cotton and furniture. JANUARY 2017


Why Didn’t I Think of That? Creative Businesses Taking Hold in Southeast Louisiana

Building Up

Baby Boomers the


january 2017

Fitness entrepreneur Jonas Deffes is breaking into a largely untapped market with his brand new concept, Peak Forever. By Pamela Marquis | Photography cheryl gerber


n the ’80s, the fitness trend was all about neon spandex and feeling the burn to tunes like “Let’s Get Physical.” Now, those former aerobicizers are looking for something else in their fitness routine. New Orleanian Jonas Deffes is catering his newest fitness concept and center, Peak Forever, specifically to the baby boomer market. Open only a few months, Peak Forever already has 60 members and Deffes says he expects to ultimately serve 300 mature clients at his 1,200-square-foot studio at 4500 Magazine St. “We are extending our services and tapping into a market where there is clearly a need,” says Deffes, who is also a personal trainer. “We found that older clients in their 50s, 60s and older needed a place to go to exercise. We are serving clients who want to get excited about being fit again.” Deffes operates some of the most successful fitness boot camps in the area, including the New Orleans Adventure Boot Camp and Supra CrossFit Body Transformation Center. He holds a license with the Louisiana State Board of Health as a sports therapist and a certified personal and strength trainer. He’s also a Level One CrossFit coach and a National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association certified adventure boot camp instructor/owner. Since 2003, when he opened his first pain therapy clinic to help people with chronic and acute pain from sports and fitness injuries, Deffes has continued to build on his successes, growing his company into a six-figure business and becoming one the top 100 fitness entrepreneurs in the industry according to Fitness Business. Deffes says that the departure into this new target market is “a big risk but we are confident it will pan out.” He has good reason for his confidence. The fitness industry is growing, and its potential remains huge. According to data from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the U.S. health club industry pulls in about $16 billion in annual revenue. Over the last 20 years, the number of people with club memberships has more than doubled and the number of clubs has nearly tripled. Within the booming fitness marketplace, Deffes saw a niche that was not being specifically catered to: all those baby boomers. According to U.S. Census reports, there are 78 million baby boomers — defined as the group born between 1946 and 1964 — and they

Peak Forever — located at 4500 Magazine St. — has only been open a few months and already boasts 60 members. The goal is ultimately to serve around 300.

Photo Cheryl Gerber JANUARY 2017


Deffes also operates the New Orleans Adventure Boot Camp and Supra CrossFit Body Transformation Center.

make up about 26 percent of the U.S. population. Not known as the healthiest generation, a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that a sample of baby boomers had higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol than their parents’ generation. “I’ve always been about helping people; that’s why I got into fitness,” Deffes said. “Now, I want to reach out to a more mature client. Many people mistakenly assume that their decreased vigor is just an unavoidable effect of aging, but it is actually a result of low fitness levels. You can’t stop yourself from getting older, but you can stop living with below-normal levels of strength, fitness and health, and a low quality of life. This program isn’t about building hard bodies, it’s fitness that might simply be about being able to pick up your grandchild.” Deffes says an older client’s goals are typically a bit different from those just looking for weight loss. Sure, many want to lose weight, but they may also be focused on improving their posture, lowering their cholesterol, increasing bone density against osteoporosis, alleviating 78

january 2017

joint pain and avoiding falls. “Our clients don’t want to feel patronized or babied,” says Heidi Sherman, a Peak Forever trainer. “They want a challenging experience that works at their speed.” The program begins with a thorough consult with Peak Forever staff that takes into account physical limitations due to diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and other health conditions. “We offer individual modifications to simplify movements and reduce intensity,” says Deffes. “This was something I could manage,” says Peak Forever client, Martin Covert, 63, a former Times-Picayune writer and now full-time actor. “I was to a point where I was a wimp when it came to opening jars and was starting to have trouble pulling T-shirts over my head to get them off. Weak.” Covert is happy to see his improvement. “My waistline is slowly and methodically shrinking, my arms and shoulders are finally showing strength, my posture is naturally improving because my abs and core are tighter and more firm, “ he says. “Peak has treated me to a new sense of accomplishment because of the design of the mostly non-stressful workouts. Who knew it was relatively easy to gain strength by rowing, ski pulling, lifting increasing greater weights and doing every kind of floor and wall exercise imaginable? Doing it all under the close watch of trainers who make sure you prevent injury is also a huge plus in my book.” The program focuses on obtainable goals. Gone are bulky machines and clanging free weights. Deffes uses low-impact equipment and builds cardiovascular strength with control that puts less stress on joints. “We are increasing our client’s stamina and mobility,” says Sherman. “We want to increase our client’s range of motion and work at their speed.” Ann Farmer, a 65-year-old real-estate agent, started the program six weeks ago and says she enjoys the variety of exercises and the individual attention Peak Forever offers. She says the groups are small and focus on form and each client’s respective abilities. “I recently lost 80 pounds and knew it was time to get in shape,” she says. “Pilates just wasn’t enough. I came in with the goal to do one pushup. I can now do five pushups on my knees. I’m still working on doing one regular pushup, but I feel so proud of my progress. I never worry that they will push me too hard.” It’s proven that regular exercise provides numerous health benefits in older adults, including improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, lipid profile, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and neurocognitive function. Regular physical activity is also associated with decreased mortality and age-related morbidity in older adults. JANUARY 2017


“You know, as we get older it’s not just about our appearance,” says client Regina Valenti, a 55-year-old paralegal. “We worry about quality of life. We are looking at and more worried about our mortality.” A recent Harvard alumni study found that modest increases in life expectancy were possible even in those patients who did not begin regular exercise until age 75. “There is a history of heart disease on both sides of my family, and after I came down with pericarditis in 1989, I started a doctorprescribed aerobic workout program, “ says Covert. “I started working out to increase my strength and breath control. Now, later in life, after knee problems (under control by diet and taking glucosamine), and a diagnosis of “thin bones” that leads to osteoporosis, doctors suggested a greater upper-body workout regimen to prevent possible damage.” Deffes knows his exercise program is working but believes that the social aspect of his program is just as important to his clients’ success. Clients enter into his clean and streamlined facility and interact with a computer that tracks their goals. They can check in on the progress of others and encourage one another. They can also see what’s going on in the book clubs and many social events being offered. “This is a caring environment,” says Farmer. “We are getting together for a fundraisers for cancer and training as a group for the Crescent City Classic. It’s just such a supportive environment.” Deffes is starting his business locally with 10 locations around the Gulf Coast and plans to eventually go national with this idea after he 80

january 2017

You won’t see any big, bulky machines at Peak Forever. instead, the focus is on low impact equipment and building cardio strength.

says he works out the kinks and schedules and builds his advisory board of experts. A social media expert, he believes he gets great results from his online presence by offering convenience and useful content. “We also use texting to stay in touch with clients because it’s immediate,” he says. “People are always checking their phones.” Formerly a sponsored skateboard champion, Deffes has evolved into a successful businessman and a bit of a social worker. “I like to feel good about what I do,” he says. “I don’t have to be in the spotlight. I just want to do something that will make my children proud of me. This is my way to be creative. I’ve had a lot of success with fitness. I am not just that skateboard guy with a beard. I want to create a better product and life for my clients.” “We are not Curves or Silver Sneakers,” he adds. “We are an exciting new options for seniors to take control of their fitness in a supportive and fun environment.” In such a short amount of time, Deffes already has clients singing Peak Forever’s praises. “I can get the pickle jar open in a snap now,” says Covert. “And my T-shirts are better fitting and lift off easily after just a few months of these workouts.” n

Photo Cheryl Gerber JANUARY 2017



“Entrepreneurship is in the oxygen in New Orleans.”


january 2017

Photo Cheryl Gerber

trepwise Founder Kevin Wilkins has spent the past five years guiding New Orleans companies from startup to multi-million-dollar success story. By Keith Twitchell


n recent years, New Orleans has earned a justifiable reputation as a great place to start a business. What has been less certain is the sustainability and long-term growth of many of these fledgling enterprises and how the local environment is geared to support this. Enter Kevin Wilkins, founder of trepwise, a firm dedicated to serving as a growth catalyst for entrepreneurial cities. A Boston native and successful businessman himself, Wilkins moved to New Orleans full time in 2011 and rapidly immersed himself in the nascent entrepreneurial culture, serving as entrepreneur in residence and COO of the Idea Village, sitting on the board of Propeller, consulting with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business program and helping to form the New Orleans Angel Network. Since launching his own business, Wilkins has worked with over 500 area organizations on the systems, structures and practices they need in order to grow and become sustainable. Of these, about 40 percent are nonprofit organizations. On the startup to success spectrum, his clients have ranged from pre-launch ventures to $200-million-per-year businesses. Biz New Orleans recently sat down with Kevin Wilkins to get his views on what it takes for a business to realize its full potential and how New Orleans is faring as a breeding ground for larger-scale success.

Kevin Wilkins has worked with over 500 area organizations to help them take their business to the next level. JANUARY 2017


Biz New Orleans: How do New Orleans businesses struggle with moving from startup to large, successful business, and what are you doing to help businesses overcome that gap? Kevin Wilkins: I’m actually seeing a lot of traction with companies that are growing from the early stage to the more mature stage. When I came here seven years ago, you had a lot of great ideas, and New Orleans has a lot of great support systems to help new ideas and early-stage companies. Where there was a gap was once they’re off the ground, and once they don’t qualify for free services anymore, suddenly you ask, ‘Where is the support for those companies?’ At that point, companies perhaps need support with their marketing and branding … to evolve their organization … with performance management … with understanding capital and investments. I started trepwise to help fill that gap. Our work here is to help build capacity across both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that are growing and need support in terms of the systems and processes and structure. Biz: What are some of the main barriers to making that leap? KW: I would argue that a lot of the barriers were historically here. New Orleans was an oil-and-gas city, a tourism city; there wasn’t a lot of industry here. I come from Boston, where there was a lot of industry. When you have a lot of industry you have a lot of management who has experience. With the inf lux of talent to New Orleans right now you are seeing more people with experience who are willing to help these organizations grow, whether it be through volunteerism with the accelerators or through mentorship. The other issue historically was capital: You need capital to help grow companies. When I first moved here, there weren’t a lot of people locally who were investing in companies. We helped establish the New Orleans Angel Network; now people locally are investing in companies. The insight there is if you can’t get local people to invest, you’re not going to get national people to invest. But now there’s an established base of investors through this angel network. There are multiple networks of angel investors in New Orleans now who are willing to invest in these companies. With experience and mentorship, and with the access to capital that is somewhat newer to the city, you are really seeing barriers being taken down in order for these companies to grow. Biz: In terms of angel investors, don’t they typically say that they’re going to help a business grow, but then they want it to then be sold so they can get their return back? What can an entrepreneur do that wants to grow their company but maintain control? KW: A lot of these angel investors are not looking for control of the company, they are looking to help grow the company [until] there would be an event that would allow them to recoup their gain on that investment. But in doing so, the entrepreneur can still maintain control in terms of making the decisions. It’s all about alignment of goals. You just have to find the right investor to align with the entrepreneur’s goals in terms of what growth looks like and what an exit looks like. I’ve seen angel investors [and] standard investors invest in companies for the long term, like you have a 7-to-10-year plan. Some investments might be a 3-to-5-year plan. There’s no set formula … of “When I invest, I expect a liquidity event.” And there are other sources of funding, so you might want to choose convertible debts, you might want to go to a bank, to get lines of credit. Biz: Let’s say that I’ve reached that point where we’ve launched, we’re off the ground. What are a couple of key next steps I should be taking? KW: I always focus on culture. No matter what stage the company is in, culture is so important. Making sure you always continue 84

january 2017

TOP: Trepwise’s nine person advisory team represents more than 50 years of business knowledge. BOTTOM: Blue Oak BBQ owners Ronald Evans Jr. and Philip Moseley are among trepwise’s clients.

A Sampling of Trepwise Clients n

The Arts Council of New Orleans


Greater New Orleans Foundation


Bart’s Office Moving


Grow Dat


Liberty’s Kitchen




Tales of the Cocktail

Broadmoor Improvement n Association n


Gray Insurance


to focus on why you do what you do, what the vision is, making sure your mission’s really clear, making sure your value system’s really clear. I always say you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. We often focus on getting the right people in the right chairs doing the right jobs. And whether you’re a for-profit company or a nonprofit, you need to always understand the impact that you want to make and you always want to be measuring it. Get the organizational structure right and know how you need to evolve that structure in order to continue to grow. Biz: You said that you feel that there is a good infrastructure for entrepreneurs right now. Can you describe that a little bit? KW: I was so impressed when I first arrived here with the number of accelerator programs; they really help support the entrepreneurs. We’re very actively involved with Idea Village and their sector-based accelerator programs. We’re also very involved with Propeller, which is more of a social impact accelerator focusing on four key sectors. The premise is entrepreneurship as an agent of change, and that the city will be better if entrepreneurship continues to grow. Entrepreneurship is in the oxygen in New Orleans. After Katrina, everyone needed to become an entrepreneur. If you decided to stay you had to do things differently— new ideas, new approaches. You also had to have a system around you to help support those new ideas, with curriculum and mentorship and advisory services to help you grow. If you have an idea in any sector in New Orleans there is support for you. You just need to go and find it. Biz: Let’s talk a little more about that idea of agents of social change. How does that actually happen? KW: How that happens is that we work with organizations that are established to help in the education space, and like every other organization, it’s the same questions: What is their culture? What is their structure? What is their impact? How do they structure themselves financially? What is their messaging? What is their branding? The same business acumen is used across all the sectors for these organizations, Whether you are Whetstone in the education space, trying to help manage performance management in schools; True School trying to do innovation within the school systems; GrowDat trying to provide food access to the underserved markets; Liberty’s Kitchen trying to educate youth in workforce development — these are organizations making a real difference in New Orleans right now. But they are also organizations that need to be managed, that need to grow, that need structure, goals, measurements, financial security … so that’s where we enter, to make sure they are sustainable. Biz: What are your thoughts on how New Orleans can go from being a great place to start a business to being a great place to operate a business? KW: When I first moved here, I was seeing a lot of activity, I was seeing a lot of ideas, but it wasn’t really mature, it was very earlystage companies across multiple sectors. It is a fantastic place to start a business if you have an idea and it’s well thought out and you have a vision for it. There’s a lot of support in New Orleans to help establish that idea. I now see New Orleans with the access to capital, with the access to mentorship, with the access to firms like trepwise to help grow and sustain. I see it as a city that’s welcoming, inclusive. I see it as a great city to help grow a business. n JANUARY 2017


Events State of Jefferson Annual Luncheon

2016 Louisiana International Trade Gala

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport Hotel

The Boeing Pavilion at the National WWII Museum

This annual rundown of what’s new in Jefferson Parish featured local leaders including the honorable Cynthia Lee-Sheng with the Jefferson Parish Council, JEDCO leader Jerry Bologna and Keith Conley with the Office of the Parish President, Jefferson Parish.

A celebration of the state’s international business community, the Louisiana International Trad Gala is the largest fundraiser of the year for the World Trade Center New Orleans. This year’s recipient of the esteemed Eugene J. Schreiber Award went to Gary LaGrange, CEO of the Port of New Orleans.







1. Mildred Zorick-Congemi, Amanda Schott and Angel Dubreuil 2. Cynthia Lee-Sheng 3. Tony Barattini, Eva Hart, Elena Cuccia and Rolando Sandoval 86

january 2017

1. David Fennelly, Catherine and Joe Accardo and Todd Fuller 2. Dominik Knoll 3. Gary LaGrange and daughter Caroline Gilmore Photos by Cheryl Gerber

BGR 2016 Annual Luncheon

2016 JEDCO Annual Luncheon

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Orleans Marriott

Hilton New Orleans Airport

CBS News President, David Rhodes, was the guest speaker at this year’s BGR (Bureau of Governmental Research) Annual Luncheon.

During this year’s Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) the organization highlighted the achievement of local companies like Fresh Cane and Dyno Nobel and welcomed incoming Chairman Bruce Layburn.







1. Arthur Mears, Jim Bean and Kenny Martinez 2. David Rhodes 3. Chris Boyd, Carolyn Scofield and Keith Brannon Photos by Cheryl Gerber

1. Corinne Pritchard, Melissa Bologna and Cynthia Grows 2. Jerry Bologna 3. Joe Liss, Lloyd Clark and Lacey Bordelon JANUARY 2017


Behind the Scenes

Cork Construction Beginning in May 2016, locally-based cork accessories retailer, Queork, began manufacturing its own products from a warehouse at 1001 South Broad. The company’s six employees were almost all trained via an externship program conducted by the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP).

Photo by Jeff Johnston 88

january 2017

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.