Thursday, 13 December 2012 19:21

Louisiana Business: Jindal, Drax Biomass, GNOF, LocalMed, Silicon Bayou winners

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silicon-bayouLouisiana Business news for today: Jindal, Drax Biomass, GNOF, LocalMed, Silicon Bayou winners...awards, awards and more good Louisiana news and awards



Drax Biomass

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal and Drax Biomass International Inc. CEO Chuck Davis announced a more than $120 million investment by the company in Louisiana, where Drax Biomass plans to build a wood pellet facility in Bastrop and a storage-and-shipping facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The project will create 63 new direct jobs, with 47 of the jobs Bastrop wood pellet facility and 16 jobs at the shipping facility in Port Allen near Baton Rouge. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 143 indirect jobs in the state. located at the Drax will ship wood pellets formed in Morehouse Parish to its U.K. energy facilities for use in generating renewable power.

Governor Jindal said, “The people of Bastrop and Morehouse Parish are no strangers to the challenges in dealing with the effects of the national recession. When Morehouse Parish received the news that International Paper would close its paper mill in Bastrop four years ago, we made a promise then to work with the leaders of the impacted communities to develop and execute a long-term economic recovery plan for this area. We committed to working together to get the people in this area back on their feet. We talked about making the local communities in this area stronger than before. That’s why since 2008, we have made a strong commitment to aggressively pursue companies that want to invest in Northeast Louisiana and create jobs here for our people.

“Today’s announcement by Drax is evidence that our work is paying off and we are attracting good companies here to create opportunities for our people. Drax could have invested in other states, but chose Louisiana because of our strong business climate and our incomparable workforce. Drax’s decision to invest here is not only good news for our economy and our workers, but also for our timber industry and this area.”

With 169,000 acres of timberland as a renewable resource hub in Morehouse Parish, Drax also will draw on forestry products within a 50-mile radius of its wood pellet facility, to be located 10 miles north of Bastrop in the Beekman community. The project will tap private and industrial landowners who manage sustainable forests in the region, using logs and residual forest products that will be sized and dried before being pelletized at the Drax plant. The pellets will be further sized and conditioned for transport to the U.K. via bulk cargo ships.

“This is an exciting step for us,” said Drax Biomass CEO, Davis. “With Louisiana’s support, we are looking forward to moving these projects through development and into construction during the first part of 2013. Drax Biomass is focused on building and operating clean, safe manufacturing facilities that will support local economies, create long-term jobs, and interface with regional forest industries.”
Historically reliant on coal to produce electricity, U.K. parent company Drax Group plc is advancing plans to transform into a predominantly biomass-fueled generator, burning sustainable biomass in place of coal.

For the Louisiana project, Drax Biomass also expects to generate 250 construction jobs at the peak of the yearlong building phase. Hiring will begin as the construction phase nears completion, estimated to be early in 2014.

The state began discussions with Drax in January 2012 about its plans for wood pellet facility. To secure the project, the state offered Drax a custom incentive package that will include a $1.7 million Economic Development Loan Program commitment that won’t require repayment if the company meets payroll performance obligations. Drax will receive the services of the nation’s No. 1-ranked state workforce training program, LED FastStart™, at no cost. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption program incentives.

“It is exciting to have an international company select Morehouse Parish as a site for their North American expansion,” said President Terry Matthews of the Morehouse Parish Police Jury. “The parish has a long history of welcoming industry, and this announcement confirms that we are still attractive to new development. The Morehouse Parish Police Jury is committed to do what we can to make Drax a successful addition to our community.”

“We appreciate the investment that Drax Biomass is making in our parish,” said CEO Kay King of the Morehouse Economic Development Corporation. “The plant will create not only jobs in our parish but sustain the forestry industry in our region. Developments of this size are always a team effort and there have been many dedicated people working at the state and local level to make this happen. It has been a pleasure for our organization to be involved in this process.”

GNOF: Impact 2012
The Greater New Orleans Foundation announced today the release of its IMPACT 2012 Giving Guide which profiles local organizations that feed our hungry, house our homeless, care for our sick, visit our prisoners, and teach our children. The 38 nonprofits profiled in the IMPACT Giving Guide are 2012 IMPACT grantees, winners of the Foundation’s highly competitive IMPACT program which recognizes the best of the best nonprofits in the following categories: arts and culture, human and social services, education, and youth development.

“Because there’s so much giving in the last few weeks of the year, we want help inform those looking to make year-end contributions,” said Alice Parkerson, vice president for development at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “The nonprofits included in the IMPACT 2012 Giving Guide are efficient and effective with a proven track record of success.” Charity Navigator estimates that 40 percent of a nonprofit’s annual contribution comes at the end of the year.
“With so many requests and so many demands for limited resources, it’s all the more imperative that giving be impactful and informative,” said Parkerson. The IMPACT 2012 Giving Guide is available online until the end of the year at

Baton Rouge Bio Tech: LocalMed
On Wednesday, Governor Bobby Jindal and LocalMed CEO Keith English announced that the startup company will create 52 new direct jobs in Baton Rouge, supporting LocalMed LLC’s online and mobile technology platform that enables doctors, dentists and patients to schedule, manage and remember their appointments 24 hours a day. The software development company’s new direct jobs will pay an average salary of $52,000, plus benefits, and LED estimates the project will result in an additional 53 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 100 new jobs in the Capital Region.

Twin brothers Daniel and Derek Gilbert devised LocalMed’s business concept after Daniel Gilbert faced the challenge of juggling as many as eight different medical appointments a week while battling cancer. Upon entering remission, Daniel Gilbert joined his brother in cofounding LocalMed in 2011 at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center’s LSU Student Incubator. They later attracted additional investors including English, who joined the company as CEO in May. LocalMed’s strategic partnerships include a deal to place its scheduling software in more than 2,000 Stayhealthy kiosks nationwide, including locations in Kroger and other stores. More strategic partnerships in the healthcare industry will be announced in early 2013, when iTunes and Android apps also will debut.

Governor Jindal said, “We welcome LocalMed as Louisiana’s latest digital success story – one that combines an inspired business model, born in Louisiana, with our state’s best-in-the-nation incentive for digital media and software development companies. By strengthening our state with multiple policy reforms – governmental ethics, a competitive tax environment, fiscal responsibility, workforce development and education reform – we have made Louisiana the most improved business climate in America. LocalMed’s decision to build its business in Baton Rouge and roll out a nationwide model for healthcare scheduling proves that our combination of competitive incentives and aggressive reforms are creating exciting new career opportunities for the people of Louisiana every day.”

LocalMed's platform will allow patients to find doctors and dentists in their local area, schedule their medical appointments via a Web or mobile application, and remember their appointments through calendar sync and alerts. Doctors, dentists and other medical providers will use the same platform to promote, track and manage their appointments without tying up staff time. The LocalMed platform will allow patients to explore medical options online, determine which physicians fit their insurance plans, and find maps and directions instantaneously. Physicians will pay fees for new patients attracted through the platform while patients may use the service at no cost.

LED began discussing incentive options with LocalMed in August. To secure the project, the state will provide LocalMed with the services of the nation’s No. 1-ranked state workforce training program – LED FastStart™ – at no cost. In addition, the company is expected to utilize the Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, as well as Louisiana’s Quality Jobs Program.

“We are extremely pleased and excited that the State of Louisiana, Governor Jindal and Louisiana Economic Development have seen the value in investing the time and resources in LocalMed,” English said. “Programs like FastStart and the Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive have convinced us to stay in Louisiana and develop our company in Baton Rouge.”

English joined the company after building multiple successful telecommunications and Web-based firms, including LeadRev, a $36 million-a-year business when Selling Source LLC acquired LeadRev and English’s majority stake in 2008. At the time, LeadRev delivered more than 250,000 customer leads per month in the microloan, auto finance and specialty finance marketplace. The rollout of LocalMed’s flagship product in early 2013 will be joined by additional business deals that will help LocalMed gain a projected 1,000 physician and dental practice customers by the end of 2013 and 3,000 medical practices by the end of 2014. The company will begin its next round of fundraising in late 2013 to support that growth.

“We are pleased to welcome LocalMed to Baton Rouge,” said Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden. “This innovative and new software development company truly exemplifies the Creative Capital of the South. We look forward to helping them grow and expand their business in the Capital Region.”

By the end of the year, LocalMed will employ 12 at its Sherwood Forest Boulevard office. The company will add another 10 to 15 employees in information technology, marketing, sales, customer service and operations during 2013, with employment ramping up to 38 by 2015 and 52 the following year.

Before graduating from the Louisiana Business & Technology Center’s LSU Student Incubator, LocalMed became one of four firms to win venture capital funding at the 2012 LBTC Venture Challenge, a competition held each April.

“We founded the LBTC/LSU Student Incubator in 2010 to stop the brain drain of great LSU graduates who often found employment outside the state,” said LBTC Executive Director Charles D’Agostino. “We now have nearly 15 full-time companies that have started this way and are employing more than 35 students and full-time employees.”

LouisianaTech Movers and Shakers

Last night, the online publication Silicon Bayou News honored the top 100 movers and shakers. Here are the recipients from across Louisiana. Congratulations. Aaron Grant
• Aaron Miscenich
• Adele Tiblier
• Alyson Kilday
• Amith Nagarajan
• Andrea Chen
• Andrew Larimer
• Antonio LaMartina
• Barrett Conrad
• Benjamin Cappiello
• Bob Miller
• Brandon Iglesias
• Brendan Finke
• Brent McCrossen
• Brian Bordainick
• Brian Rodriguez
• Bryan Barrios
• Charles Easterling
• Chris Laibe
• Chris Reade
• Chris Schultz
• Clayton White
• Conrad Green
• Cory Fabre
• Craig Cordes
• Craig Juengling
• Curtis Heroman
• Czarina Walker
• Daryl Marse
• David Crais
• David Rieveschl
• Drew Brees
• Dustin Puryear
• Gary Soloman, Jr.
• Hugh Uhalt
• James McNamara
• Jamie Smyth
• Jared Loftus
• Jason Nicosia
• Jeff Lyons
• Jeff Pellegrin
• Jen Medbery
• Jennifer Fowler
• Jeremy Hunnenwell
• Jesse Hoggard
• Jessica Shahein
• Jimmy Roussel
• Joe Ellis
• Joe McMenemon
• John Christie
• John Elstrott
• John Grindley
• John Schneider
• Jolie Benson
• Jonathan Brown
• Keith Hanson
• Ken Hanson
• Kenneth Purcell
• Kerry Kirby
• Kevin Langley
• Kyle Monti
• Laurie Azzano
• Leslie Jacobs
• Lina Stern
• Manuel Valencia
• Mark Graffagnini
• Mark Kurt
• Mark Lewis
• Matt Candler
• Matt Culpepper
• Matt Shwery
• Matt Tritico
• Matt Wisdom
• McKenzie Coco
• Megan Hargroder
• Michael Azzano
• Michael Gollner
• Michael Hecht
• Michael Melito
• Ned Fasullo
• Neel S. Sus
• Nic Perkin
• Niki Papazoglakis
• Patrick Comer
• Patrick Mulhearn
• Paul Dietzel
• Peter Bodenheimer
• Peter Ragusa
• Ralph Maurer
• Rand Ragusa
• Richard Montgomery
• Robbie Vitrano
• Ron Bievenue
• Ross Barrett
• Sal LaMartina
• Sarah Elizabeth Dewey
• Scott Wolfe Jr.
• Sean Simone
• Seth Froom
• Shawn Usher
• Shuchi Khurana
• Stephen Loy
• Sudhir K. Sinha, Ph.D.
• Terry Jones
• Tiffany Starnes
• Tim Williamson
• Tom Cox
• Tom Fischmann
• Trevor Reeves
• Wendy Overton
• Will Scott
• William Joyce
There are more than 100 names on this list. A few people are grouped together because of companies, projects or organizations. Over the next two weeks we will be posting this list in sets of 10 with details about each honoree. We’ll also be posting more about the nomination, judging, and party-making process.




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