Wednesday, 12 September 2012 13:59

Louisiana Business: Jindal, Forum Energy, Jefferson Chamber, Gary LaGrange, BR Capital, Wetlands

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lagrangeToday's Louisiana business stories include--Gov. Jindal and Forum Energy, Louisiana Airports Get grant money, World Trade Center honoring Gary LaGrange, a job fair,  the Jefferson Chamber's mission, the Wetlands, the Lafayette chamber's social and a new Baton Rouge effort to jumpstart technology and real-estate ventures with money.



(Photo: Gary LaGrange)

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal and Forum Energy Technologies CEO Cris Gaut announced the company’s plans to  build a new 150,000-square-foot facility in St. Martin Parish to produce onshore and offshore drilling equipment for global customers. The expansion will create 125 new direct jobs with average annual salaries of more than $45,000, plus benefits.

Forum will make a $19 million capital investment in the plant, which will replace an existing facility in nearby Broussard, La. The project will retain 203 existing jobs, and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED) estimates the project will create an additional 300 new indirect jobs.

Gov. Jindal said, “Forum Energy has a long history of providing jobs for our people in Acadiana, and we’re proud the company chose to expand right here in our state. Forum Energy joins a long list of energy companies who are investing in Louisiana because of our world class energy infrastructure, strong business climate, and incomparable workforce.”

Forum manufactures a wide spectrum of oil and gas equipment that serves the global energy industry’s drilling, production and infrastructure segments. The company has more than 3,300 employees worldwide, in more than 80 business locations.

“We are very pleased to be expanding our presence in St. Martin Parish and Louisiana,” said Gaut, the chairman and CEO of Forum Energy Technologies. “We have a long history of manufacturing oilfield equipment here and have been very satisfied with the quality of the workforce available here.”

The state began working with Forum on its expansion project in April. To secure the project, the state offered an incentive package that includes a performance-based, $700,000 Economic Development Award Program grant to fund drainage infrastructure improvements at the site off U.S. 90, adjacent to the SMEDA Business & Industrial Park. In addition, Forum is expected to utilize incentives from the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Construction will begin before the end of the year and be completed by the fourth quarter 2013. Forum will begin hiring during the construction phase, and all 125 new positions will be hired within five years.

(Jindal press release)


Gary LaGrange. President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans is being honored by the World Trade Center with the C. Alvin Bertel Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of the Greater New Orleans port area. 

For more information or to register via phone, please call 504-619-9834.

Wednesday, September 26
11:30 a.m. Networking Reception, Followed by Award Presentation
12th floor, Westin Canal Place Hotel

Cost: $79.00, Tables of Eight $650.00.
Purchasers of a table will have a special sign with their company logo on the table.

Click here to register.


When: Saturday, Sept. 29, 6‐9 p.m., $30 general admission, free for T‐P employees losing their jobs

Where: The Howlin’ Wolf, 907 South Peters St., New Orleans

What: New Orleans subscribers to the daily newspaper THE TIMES-PICAYUNE are already counting the days until the end of the newspaper’s daily publication on Sunday, Sept. 30. In true New Orleans style, they’re throwing “Black, White & Read All Over,” a party with great food and music to honor the writers, editors, designers, printers, newspaper carriers and other employees soon to be unemployed by the 175-year-old publication.

New Orleans eateries, including Galatoire’s, Ralph’s on the Park, Rio Mar Seafood, a Mano, Cafe Atchafalaya, Liberty’s Kitchen and Whole Foods Market Arabella Station are providing complimentary cuisine to the party goers in honor of The Times- Picayune staff. The Dave Torkanowsky All-Stars and surprise musical guests are providing complimentary music.

T-P7 Talents & Treasures

In addition, the T-P7 Talents & Treasures auction is offering a trove of one-of-a-kind items and experiences from celebrity New Orleanians and lovers of the city, including Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, along with current and former newspaper artists and photographers, and New Orleans businesses. Online bidding is now open at, with a live auction for several high-profile items to continue at the conclusion of the Sept. 29 event.

dashTHIRTYdash, The Times-Picayune Employee Assistance Fund

The event is sponsored by dashTHIRTYdash, a non-profit created by newspaper alumni and New Orleans civic activists to raise money for the hundreds of Times Picayune employees and contractors losing their jobs because of the changes. The paper’s plans to focus on its website and publish thrice weekly beginning Oct. 1 have prompted many locals to dub the paper The SomeTIMES-PICAYUNE.

Auction donations and event sponsorships for the Sept. 29 event are still welcomed; please contact T-P alumna Rebecca Theim at (702) 622-8154 or [email protected]. More information is at

 Louisiana Tech University Gets High Ranking

Louisiana Tech University has once again achieved a Tier One ranking among “National Universities,” according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Best Colleges list released Wednesday.

Louisiana Tech is one of only two public universities in Louisiana to achieve a Tier One “National Universities” ranking at #199 – the other being LSU-Baton Rouge at #134.  Louisiana Tech was also ranked among the nation’s Top Public Universities (#115) and saw its undergraduate engineering programs and undergraduate business programs ranked nationally as well.

The U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges survey criteria include metrics such as peer assessment, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rates, assessments by high school counselors, and alumni giving.  U.S. News & World Report also recognized Louisiana Tech’s graduate programs this spring in its 2013 Best Graduate School Report.  Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science was ranked #126 nationally of all engineering graduate schools and #66 in the biomedical/bioengineering category, and the College of Education ranked #154 of all education graduate schools.

.America’s Wetland

The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) today released a new report, “Beyond Unintended Consequences: Adaptation for Gulf Coast Resiliency and Sustainability,” that offers 30 recommendations for Gulf Coast sustainability based on research and testimony from a series of leadership forums held in 11 communities from Texas to Florida during a 14-month period in 2011 and 2012. AWF’s “BLUE RIBBON RESILIENT COMMUNITIES: Envisioning the Future of America’s Energy Coast” initiative brought together policymakers and stakeholders from environment, business, government, NGOs and other sectors to outline a roadmap for a more resilient coast.

“The observations, testimony, research, honest dialogue and desire to reach consensus on critical issues resulted in a remarkable report that represents the voice of the Gulf Coast,” said AWF Chairman R. King Milling at a Washington, D.C. press conference, when the report was officially released. “Instead of looking at the big picture and implementing a vision for long-term sustainability, the nation for too long has reacted to natural and man-made disasters alike with piecemeal, short-term fixes. The cost to the taxpayer for this reactive thinking has been tens of billions of dollars over the past decade, with little or no effort to address the cause of the problem to be found in these expenditures.”

The report’s recommendations fall into five distinct categories.

1)     Seek urgent federal action by resolving conflicting federal policies and practices. Contradictory rules, regulations and agency priorities impede coastal restoration by delaying projects and increasing costs. A more orderly, efficient process must be established to meet urgent needs.

2)     Deploy multiple lines of offense by decreasing regional vulnerabilities through cooperative action. Short-term thinking has led to consequence planning defined by inadequate, piecemeal fixes — mainly in the wake of disasters. The focus must shift to a long-term vision for the future that emphasizes adaptation by using innovative, systemic approaches that incorporate non- structural and structural elements.

3)     Allow innovation and enterprise to flourish by supporting strategies to facilitate regional stewardship. Bureaucratic barriers and a lack of smart incentives hinder the development of creative, efficient coastal restoration strategies. Unless policies and plans harness the power of new technologies, visionary research, market forces and local ingenuity, environmental degradation will continue to outpace restoration and protection efforts.

4)     Revitalize regional strengths and pride by empowering communities to practice self-determination. Coastal degradation and mounting vulnerabilities threaten entire communities, cultures and a valued way of life. Local citizens must adapt to changing circumstances to preserve their cultural heritage and build the foundation for a stronger future.

5)     Sustain action based on recommendations by communicating regional visions for resiliency. The degradation of the Gulf Coast
will continue to accelerate without
a robust, coordinated response that enlists all interested parties and every level of government.

“The input that led to this report came from a diverse set of voices that engaged in an intense process of debate, compromise and consensus building,” said Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, chair of the Blue Ribbon initiative. “This report lays out not only our challenges, but for the first time what can be done to meet them and move forward to restore our critical coastal landscapes.”

U.S. Senator David Vitter said,“Getting the transportation bill done, which led to the passage of the RESTORE Act, was a signal that the Congress was concerned about the future of America’s Energy Coast. As you can tell from this report, the clock is ticking and we are short on time to restore the values of our coast.”

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu added, “In the 10 years since America’s WETLAND Foundation was founded, we have made great progress in educating our colleagues about the importance of America’s Energy Coast and improving coastal flood protection. But as Hurricane Isaac has reminded us, too many of our coastal communities remain vulnerable. The findings and recommendations in this report detail better ways to protect our communities and promote the connected goals of economic progress and environmental sustainability. I look forward to working with America’s WETLAND Foundation, and the many other wonderful partners committed to coastal restoration and protection, to turn these recommendations into policy to help build a stronger, more sustainable energy coast.”

The Gulf Coast produces 30 percent of the nation’s domestic energy, one-third of the seafood consumed in the U. S. and is home to critical habitats and ecosystems. Data from a $4.2 million study commissioned by Entergy and AWF quantified the economic value of what is at stake. The livelihoods of 12 million people, natural resources that support $634 billion in annual GDP, and assets valued at more than $2 trillion are increasingly vulnerable to storm surge, flooding, wind damage and the effects of sea level rise. The study also identified $49 billion in investments over the next 20 years that could avert $137 billion in losses.

The BLUE RIBBON RESILIENT COMMUNITIES effort was led by Dardenne as chair, Texas State Chair and Texas Railroad Commissioner Buddy Garcia, Mississippi State Chair and Department of Marine Resources Executive Director William Walker and Alabama State Co-Chairs State Senator Vivian Davis Figures and State Representative Randy Davis.

AWF Managing Director Valsin A. Marmillion praised the leaders of the effort along with the dedication of everyone involved. “The most important impact of this initiative might be community empowerment. The Blue Ribbon forums have mobilized the energy, expertise and dedication of an entire region to protect its heritage and secure its future,” he said.

Information on the initiative, as well as a copy of the report is available at

Jefferson Chamber

In the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, the Jefferson Chamber is sending 28 business leaders and local elected officials to Washington D.C. to discuss important issues concerning regional flood protection.

Originally scheduled as an annual visit with the Louisiana Congressional Delegation, the Washington Fly-In will now shift its focus toward the recent developments that affect the region’s ability to sustain economic development.

“After witnessing first-hand the damages suffered by Jefferson and our neighboring parishes, we hope to show that hurricane and flood protection is a major issue that affects all of Southeast Louisiana,” said Todd Murphy, Jefferson Chamber President. “We are making it a priority to voice our concerns in Washington and to come back with solutions.”


The team will be meeting with key officials and relevant government agencies to discuss flooding in areas such as the Town of Lafitte and St. John Parish, which ultimately shut down the west escape route for residents during Isaac. In addition, the team will be meeting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discuss solutions.

According to a poll conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, 46 percent of surveyed congressional staffers said that in-person visits are very influential in helping them form opinions.

The Washington Fly-In is an event that is organized by the Government Committee of the Jefferson Chamber and is sponsored by Adams and Reese LLP, Peoples Health and PetroTV. The event will take place September 12 -14, 2012.

To view the full 2012 Washington Fly-In Agenda, please visit

Lafayette Chamber


           September Business After Hours at the newly renovated Oakbourne Country Club.

Hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and beverages will be served.

"Where Tradition Embraces today's Generation"    



September 19, 2012

5 - 7 p.m.


Oakbourne Country Club

3700 E. Simcoe St.

Lafayette, LA 70501

Admission Fee

$2 for Members

$5 for General Admission 

Go to the Lafayette chamber website

Louisiana Job Fair--Bradken 

Bradken Inc., with support from LED FastStart™, will conduct a job fair Thursday, Sept. 13 at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Amite, La., steel foundry will fill 50 new jobs, and all interested applicants should attend the job fair at SLU's University Center, located at 500 Western Ave. in Hammond.

Bradken's latest hiring expansion follows a major capital expansion and job creation announcement by Gov. Bobby Jindal in February 2011. Then, Gov. Jindal announced the company would complete an $18.1 million expansion and create 171 new direct jobs while retaining 179 existing workers at the Amite foundry. Today, Bradken employs 360 in Amite, already exceeding the job target announced in 2011.

Gov. Jindal said, "With this latest expansion, Bradken will exceed 400 quality jobs as one of the leading private sector employers in Tangipahoa Parish and Southeast Louisiana. Companies like Bradken are expanding here because of Louisiana's strong business climate and world-class workforce."

At SLU in Hammond, the Bradken job fair will take place in Rooms 122, 125 and 127 of the University Center. The job fair will target applicants interested in hourly positions at the company's recently expanded facility in Amite. Positions will include highly skilled welders, arc and oxy-fuel cutters, core makers, grinders, NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) personnel, NDT supervisors, foundry process assistant (AutoCAD), melt supervisor, crane operator, maintenance electrician, maintenance mechanics, machinists, melt department, and sand system. Bradken's expansion will create 50 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $40,000, plus benefits.


$$ for Louisiana Airports

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., on Tuesday announced $3.6 million for several airports across Louisiana. The grants will go toward improvements and repairs at Jonesville Airport, False River Regional Airport, Thibodaux Municipal Airport, Monroe Regional Airport, Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Morehouse Memorial Airport, Union Parish Airport, Ruston Regional Airport and Winnsboro Municipal Airport. The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“These are important grants for the many businesses and facilities across the state that rely on air service,” Sen. Landrieu said. “It’s a great boost to ensure Louisianians receive the proper safety standards and high-quality services they deserve.”

Grants provide:

  • $480,000 to the Jonesville Airport to improve the runway safety area. This grant project will improve the runway safety areas by bringing them into compliance with FAA standards. Jonesville Airport is a general aviation airport.
  • $280,000 to False River Regional Airport in New Roads, La. This grant will fund the rehabilitation of the runway, which is needed to maintain structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris. False River Regional Airport is a general aviation airport.
  • $600,000 to Thibodaux Municipal Airport for the rehabilitation of its runway lighting. The current runway lighting system has reached the end of its useful life and requires rehabilitation to enhance safe airfield operations during low visibility conditions. Thibodaux Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport.
  • $640,000 to Monroe Regional Airport for the rehabilitation of existing apron pavement that has reached the end of its useful life. This grant will provide funding for Phase I of the project. Monroe Regional Airport is a nonhub primary airport.
  • $1.2 million to the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, La., for the rehabilitation of the runway. Work is needed to maintain structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris. Lakefront Airport is a reliever airport.
  • $250,000 to Morehouse Memorial Airport to rehabilitate the taxiway lighting. The current taxiway lighting system has reached the end of its useful life and requires rehabilitation to enhance safe airfield operations during low visibility conditions. Morehouse Memorial Airport is a general aviation airport.
  • $72,000 to Union Parish Airport in Farmerville, La., to fund the design for the rehabilitation of the runway that is needed to maintain structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris. Union Parish Airport is a general aviation airport.
  • $51,600 to the Ruston Regional Airport to fund the design of the apron expansion that is needed to increase capacity for jet aircraft. Ruston Regional Airport is a general aviation airport.
  • $45,000 to the Winnsboro Municipal Airport to fund the design of the rehabilitation of the apron that is needed to maintain structural integrity of the pavement. Winnsboro Municipal is a general aviation airport.

New Baton Rouge Capital Venture

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA (September 11, 2012) Springboard Baton Rouge, an entrepreneurial business accelerator downtown, and Vision City Development Group, a real estate development entity, will officially unveil the formation of Capital Regions Venture Partners, a venture capital fund, this Friday, September 14th, at a noon luncheon to be held at the Kress Gallery in the Kress @ Third & Main building.

CRVP is being established with an initial investment from founding members of $5,000,000. The fund has received more than $1,000,000 in founders’ subscriptions prior to this official public announcement. The principal purposes of the fund are to provide initial seed capital to startup and emerging technology and digital media companies and pre-development monies towards game-changing area real estate projects.

“A venture capital fund has always been a key component in the on-going evolution of the SpringboardBR and Vision City strategies,” said John Schneider, managing partner of both entities. “Now that the SpringboardBR accelerator program is a reality and the Kress and Hotel Indigo operations are in successful economic commerce, we are ready to capitalize on the positive goodwill generated and expand our vision on these dual fronts.”

SpringboardBR will also introduce on Friday the group of 4 companies selected to participate in its Fall 2012 Startup Accelerator Program. Vision City will identify several potential real estate projects that are being evaluated as either renovation or new construction possibilities.

The featured speaker for the luncheon, sponsored by BancorpSouth Insurance Services/Wright & Percy Insurance, will be James Digby, managing partner of Rockstart, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based business accelerator. Rockstart has a 6-month program that culminates in the final three weeks with selected startups travelling to Silicon Valley and visiting with other accelerators, meeting other entrepreneurs, and pitching to investors and venture capitalists.

“James is now in the San Francisco area for this year’s Rockstart program conclusion,” said Wendy Overton, a leader in the Baton Rouge entrepreneurial community and program coordinator for the event. “He has not only accepted CRVP’s invitation to take a side trip to Baton Rouge for the occasion, but it is our hope that he will also bring the principals of one of Rockstart’s startups, VideoAvatars, to the event to make a presentation.”

Attendance at the event will be limited to 75 attendees. A free buffet lunch will be catered by Stroube’s Restaurant with meal service beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the formal program commencing at noon. For more information and to reserve a seat, please RSVP [email protected].




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