Louisiana Business 2: LANO Prez ranked; New Orleans Startup funded; $9.8 transportation grant

louisianaPres. of LANO named among top 50

Ann Silverberg Williamson, President & CEO of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, or LANO, has been named among 50 of the nation’s leading nonprofit executives in an annual ranking released August 1 by industry publication The Nonprofit Times.
For the fifteenth consecutive year, the NPT Power & Influence Top 50 ranking has surveyed executives from across the country to compile a list of nonprofit leaders whose work best addresses the unique challenges of their time.

According to its publishers, this year’s anniversary edition reflects an opportunity to look back and forward, highlighting both seasoned executives and the “next generation” of nonprofit leaders to guide the sector through coming decades.
Williamson occupies a unique position on the list, having served in executive human service roles in state government and now leading a state-wide association of nonprofits, organizations that together form the backbone of service delivery to Louisiana’s most needy citizens.
Williamson is cited specifically for her advocacy of new nonprofit revenue models in a state that has seen sector-wide declines in funding following a post-Katrina surge in charitable donations. Under her leadership, LANO documented this decline through reports and public testimony related both to natural disasters and later, the man-made devastation of the Gulf Oil Spill.
In addition to providing evidence for a crisis in nonprofit funding, Williamson’s LANO demonstrated an effective organizational response by diversifying the Association’s funding sources, reducing expenses, expanding partnerships, re-investing in membership value and emerging as a stronger, more focused organization, better able to meet its mission.
Under Williamson’s guidance, LANO has translated these necessary lessons of nonprofit sustainability into a diverse, multi-media curriculum delivered through new electronic and print publications, a unique social networking platform, access to online funding databases and management libraries, live seminars, one-on-one coaching, regional institutes and annual conferences.
These efforts have in turn increased LANO’s membership, deepened its partnerships with business and foundation leaders, and helped rebrand the Association as an effective nexus for nonprofit and community collaboration.
Williamson expressed gratitude for this recognition, which she says directly reflects the hard work and vision of her staff. “Coming amid LANO’s own 15th Anniversary year,” said Williamson, “this appreciated recognition reminds us to continue taking the best of what LANO has done and move it forward. We need to keep our work relevant and alive to meet today’s needs; this will take our best efforts and the support every change-maker we can enlist for the cause.”
Sharing the spotlight with Williamson in this year’s ranking are veteran philanthropic luminaries like James Firman, President & CEO of the National Council on Aging; Bill Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Rebecca W. Rimel, President & CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts; and Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. Emerging leaders in the newest nonprofit arenas are also on the list, including Wendy Harman, Social Media Manager for the American Red Cross, and Ben Rattray, Founder and CEO of Change.org.
For more information about the work of LANO, Ann S. Williamson and her staff, contact Matt Mullenix, VP for Public Relations, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see www.lano.org.

Louisiana receives $9.8M in transportation grants
U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced that South Louisiana will receive $9.8 million in federal transportation grants. Together, the 12 grants from the Federal Highway Administration will fund repairs, new construction, future planning studies and upgrades to South Louisiana’s varied transportation infrastructure.

More than $3.3 million will fund repairs along 10 miles of I-10 from the Lafayette Parish line to the Atchafalaya Floodway Bridge in St. Martin Parish. In Iberville, Orleans, St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes, $2.7 million will go toward upgrading and fixing ferry vessels and terminals. Another $1.4 million will be used to design and construct the North Boulevard Promenade, the central section of the Baton Rouge Greenway.

“These funds could not have come at a more crucial time. Louisiana’s infrastructure—from its roads and bridges to ports and levees—is literally crumbling and falling apart,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Repairing South Louisiana’s transportation network will create jobs, keep commerce flowing and strengthen this critical infrastructure that supports vital offshore energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Earlier this year, the American Society of Civil Engineers released a detailed report card on Louisiana’s transportation system. In the report, no section of Louisiana’s infrastructure received a grade higher than C, and the report found that its overall infrastructure is either “marginally performing” or “crumbling.”

The grants announced today include:
• $3.3 million for repairs along 10 miles of I-10 from the Lafayette Parish line to the Atchafalaya Floodway Bridge in St. Martin Parish.
• $1.1 million to Baton Rouge’s Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Program (TCSP) to construct the North Boulevard Promenade, the central section of the Baton Rouge Greenway. The funds will also provide a continuous pedestrian and bicycle corridor that will link the adjacent neighborhoods.
• $930,535 to repave Louisiana Route 10 between Louisiana Route 43 to Louisiana Route 441 in Greensburg, La.
• $900,000 for work zone traffic management on US 90 Business in New Orleans.
• $400,000 to fund the proposed construction of a seven span, 546-foot long bridge over Bayou LaFourche.
• $345,600 for the Creole Nature Trail, a National Scenic Byway in Southwest Louisiana, for a bike trail feasibility and planning study.
• $69,100 to prepare a corridor management plan for the Flyway Byway, a National Scenic Byway between Lake Charles and Lafayette.

Ferry boat infrastructure
• $965,000 to repower main engines, replace propellers and replace tail shafts to improve fuel efficiency and emissions reduction in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes.
• $965,000 to replace 30-year-old engines with new, Tier II engines and drive systems in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes.
• $400,000 for replacement of hydraulic ramps with rolling gates on four vessels in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. The project will improve compatibility between ferry vessels and terminals within the system.
• $260,000 to convert the mooring systems from manual operation to electronic controls at both landings in Iberville Parish.
• $158,000 for security cameras, automated vehicle and passenger counting upgrades, software improvements, and climate control systems improvements at six terminals in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.

The CABLWire for Thursday, August 02, 2012 from CABL
Economic Development & Higher Education
It seems like the last few weeks have seen a spurt in various reports and rankings that show where states stand on a variety of economic factors. For Louisiana there's been some good news for the short term, but some storm clouds on the horizon when it comes to the long-term outlook. Click to read more.

- According to news reports, East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes account for 62 percent of the available voucher seats statewide.
- Louisiana was ranked as the #1 state for the digital media industry by Business Facilities magazine. Get their latest 2012 State Rankings Report.

New Orleans tech company gets funding
Today, the New Orleans Startup Fund announced the closing of an initial round of financing for Zlien, a mechanics lien filing service that helps contractors and suppliers manage liens, claims, and receivables nationwide. The Startup Fund invests in high-growth companies located in the Greater New Orleans area.

“The Startup Fund is delighted to invest in Zlien, a business providing a turn-key service to the construction industry, helping companies manage and enforce lien rights,” said Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the Startup Fund. “This infusion of capital will allow Zlien to create new jobs in New Orleans and to expand its online platform to fuel rapid growth nationally.”

Zlien provides both large and small construction companies an easy, cost-effective way to collect on outstanding debts.

“This is a very exciting time for Zlien. It's our mission to make mechanics lien filing and compliance simple for the construction industry, and this funding is going to help Zlien continue its aggressive development of solutions in this space,” said Scott Wolfe, CEO of Zlien.

“NOSF has been a significant asset to our company. More than guidance through the funding process, the Startup Fund has been concerned about our business, connecting Zlien with highly qualified contacts who not only understand our company's goals and challenges, but who are actually willing to help. The experience and knowledge we've collected working with NOSF absolutely matured our company at least three times faster than we could have done on our own.”

Zlien’s executives boast strong New Orleans ties, and the decision to locate their business in New Orleans was an easy one, according to Wolfe.

“There's no better place to start a business right now than New Orleans. There's a lot of talent in the city and the entrepreneurial community is a tight-knit bunch with a real solid base of resources,” Wolfe said.

Moreover, New Orleans native Jennifer Smiley serves as Zlien’s COO, where she has guided the company to year-over-year growth.

The New Orleans Startup Fund is funded through a combination of private donations and public programs, including the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Louisiana Office of Community Development/Disaster Recovery Unit.

ROMNEY GETS A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS: Fresh off his rocky foreign trip, its Mitt Romney 's first day campaigning on U.S. soil since last Tuesday. And he'll be joined in Basalt, Colo. by a handful of Republican governors, including some top vice presidential contenders. Among the potential running mates alongside Romney today: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who will make his first public appearance with the presumptive Republican nominee aside from fundraisers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
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Louisiana's upcoming, two-day state sales tax holiday is aimed at helping small businesses recover from the recession.

On Friday and Saturday, shoppers can make purchases free of the 4 percent state sales tax. The exemption applies to the first $2,500 of the purchase price of each eligible item. Local sales taxes will apply unless the local taxing authority allows its own exemption. The state tax holiday does not apply to vehicles, meals, admission to events and taxable services such as hotel occupancy or rentals.
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