Friday, 14 September 2012 11:50

Louisiana NGO Buzz: BRAC, LTC Governor's Awards, New Orleans Chamber

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NGO Today's edition of Louisiana NGO Buzz focuses upon Louisiana business and technology.  The New Orleans and the Baton Rouge chambers  both have an interesting event.  The Louisiana Technology Council is showcasing its Governor's Award featuring Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne:

New Orleans Chamber


New Orleans, LA, September 14, 2012 — Join Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Louisiana and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce as we present Josh Linkner, Entrepreneur and NY Times best selling author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity on Thursday, October 11, 2012 as the keynote speaker for our third quarter business breakfast series located at The Roosevelt New Orleans, Roosevelt Ballroom, Mezzanine level, 123 Baronne Street from 7:00am-9:00am.

Josh Linkner will discuss how to support, connect and engage the entrepreneurial and corporate community. Pre-registration admission is $30, walk-in guests admission is $40. Sponsorship opportunities are available at the following levels: Gold-$3,000, Silver-$2,000, Bronze-$1,000 and Corporate-$500.

This event is sponsored by our 2012 Chamber’s Chairman’s Council members: Adams & Reese, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana, Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company, Cox Louisiana, Entercom New Orleans, Entergy New Orleans, Inc., Fidelity Homestead Savings Bank, First NBC Bank, Harrah’s New Orleans Casino & Hotel, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Marco Outdoor Advertising, New Orleans CityBusiness, Peoples Health, Shell Oil Company, UTSI, Veolia Transportation Services, Inc. and WDSU.

Gold Sponsors include: Sean M. Bruno Certified Public Accountants and Dirks Capital, LLC. Corporate Sponsors include: Bowen, Miclette & Britt and Waldemar S. Nelson & Company, Inc.

Organizations that support entrepreneurs are welcome to reserve an exhibitor table for this event to promote your entrepreneur programs. Our Entrepreneurial Energizers/Exhibitors to date include Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Louisiana, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Idea Village, Launch Pad, Louisiana Economic Development, Metro New Orleans Sourcelink, Propeller, Regional Planning Commission, Seedco, South Coast Angel Fund, Tulane University and The University of New Orleans.

Guests are encouraged to pre-register in advance for this event and all New Orleans Chamber of Commerce events. Please visit our website at to register or call 504-799-4260 for more information.

The New Orleans Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2003 to provide chamber members with the opportunity to build mutually beneficial business partnerships within the City of New Orleans.


If you’d like more information about the events, or to schedule an interview with the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, please contact Keisha McGee at 504-799-4260 or email Keisha at [email protected].

Baton Rouge Area Chamber


The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week (BREW) will feature a high-stakes pitch competition, similar in format to ABC’s popular show, Shark Tank, with companies competing for investment commitments before a live audience.  Five regional business leaders agreed to come prepared to invest $25,000 or more in entrepreneurs or start-up companies if the deal is right.  SeNSE will lead and facilitate the evening’s pitch competition.  Applications to pitch an idea are now being accepted by visiting the BREW website,


“This is unprecedented for the Baton Rouge area and an enormous opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups to get vital capital for their business.  Winners of this competition have an opportunity to receive a cash investment and valuable mentoring from extremely successful entrepreneurs,” said Adam Knapp, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.  “The participation by these five regional business owners and their willingness to put money on the line is a great example of why the Capital Region is a great place for entrepreneurs and innovators to develop and craft their ideas.”


The regional business owners who have come forward as investors and judges in this competition include the following:

  • Todd Graves is the owner and founder of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a fast-food restaurant specializing in fresh chicken fingers.  Graves started his business with one store in Baton Rouge, LA and now has locations in seventeen states.  He has been recognized in Nations Restaurant News, Chain Leader, QSR, Entrepreneur, Rolling Stone, and USA Today.  He has appeared on FOX News Network's “Your World” with Neil Cavuto and “FOX and Friends”, as well as highlighted on CNN Headline News's “Pulse on America” series.  Graves was also featured in Entrepreneur's Young Millionaires cover story.  In 2002, the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report named him the Young Businessperson of the Year.  In 2008, Graves was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2010 he was awarded the SCORE Award for Outstanding Socially Progressive Business. 
  • Mike Wampold is the founder and owner of Wampold Companies, a real estate company focused on development, construction, major capital renovations, and property management that employs over one hundred people in Louisiana.  The company has worked on several well-known buildings in the Capital Region including City Plaza, II City Plaza, Chase North Tower, Shaw Plaza, and the recently completed Renaissance Hotel.  Wampold Companies has developed, constructed, and/or performed major renovations on approximately 4,000 multi-family housing units located throughout the state and currently owns and manages over 700,000 rentable square feet of commercial office properties.  In 2001, Wampold was named Businessperson of the Year by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.  He is also a member of the Louisiana State University Foundation and a past board member of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
  • Lane Grigsby is the founder and chairman of the board of Cajun Industries, a nationally recognized construction leader that has successfully completed over $2 billion in contracts providing a broad range of services to various markets, including government work, water quality, power, manufacturing, and industrial.  Grigsby founded the Baton Rouge branch of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), which became the premier chapter in the United States.  He served in every position, including chapter president and state president and spent eighteen years on the board of directors.  He has received ABC's Man of the Year award twice.  He has also served on the board of directors for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, The Shaw Group, advisory board of the College of Engineering at LSU, and the Construction Industry Advisory Council, and is a past chairman and current member of the board for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
  • Joe Agresti is president and co-owner of Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge.  He has increased sales in all departments by over 200 percent and profits by over 400 percent since he joined the business.  He was awarded the prestigious Mercedes Benz Best of the Best Award in 2005.  In early 2010, Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge was named Silver Best of the Best for their performance during 2009.  This award is the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz recognition, saved for only ten dealerships nationwide.  In the same program, Agresti was recognized by Mercedes-Benz USA as the top ranked dealer in the United States for 2009.  Additionally, he has been selected as Louisiana’s Young Business Person of the Year in 2007 and Louisiana’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2008. 
  • Kevin Couhig is the founder and CEO of Source Capital.  He presently serves as the chairman of PreSonus Audio Electronics, is on the board of managers of Bon Carre Business Center LLC, and is on the board of US Agencies Insurance Company, where he is the chairman of the corporate governance committee.  Couhig has been a director at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau, City Club of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Business and Technology Center, and the Baton Rouge Soccer Association.  He was an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Levy-Rosenblum Institute at Tulane University and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1985 by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.


All applications must be submitted through the website by the close of business on October 12, 2012.  Applicants chosen to participate in the live pitch competition will be notified prior to or during the week of October 29, 2012.  Pitches can be made by entrepreneurs or start-ups from anywhere, but must be willing to move to the Baton Rouge area should they be chosen and accept funding from an investor wishing to invest locally.


"This high-stakes pitch night has been a long time in the making!  We are excited to host this event with BRAC and the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report and put real money into the

hands of start-up entrepreneurs,” said Sean Simone, SeNSE chairman.  “As a start-up founder, I know how hard it can be to get the capital and the awareness necessary to launch a successful business.  This event will be that opportunity for a handful of start-up entrepreneurs."


Several other events are being held as part of BREW 2012, and the schedule is being updated frequently.  Visit for events details.  Additionally, registration is available for anyone interested in receiving updates, participating in planning of events, or sponsorship opportunities.


About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area, the Creative Capital of the South.  Serving as the voice of the business community, BRAC’s investors includes more than 1,200 organizations whose employees represent over a third of the workforce.


About SeNSE

SeNSE is a results-driven organization that is focused on connecting the Louisiana entrepreneur community and cultivating the best ideas into reality. With over seven hundred members and thirty entrepreneurial-focused events hosted over the last three years, SeNSE is a go-to resource for start-up entrepreneurs and the professionals that cater to them.


Louisiana Technology Awards


2012 Regional eWards Winners will compete for this year's Governor's Technology Awards in 6 categories.  The nominees are as follows:

Outstanding Leadership in Technology

  • Neel Sus, President - Susco Solutions (Baton Rouge)
  • Charles F. D'Agostino, Executive Director - LA Business & Technology Center (Baton Rouge)
  • Geoff Daily, Executive Director - FiberCorps

"Coup d'Tech"

  • 365 Connect, LLC - Locate, Lease and Live Platform (New Orleans)
  • Turner Industries - CraftTrax Check In (Baton Rouge)
  • LANtec - Corporate Training Solutions for LA Workforce (Lafayette)
  • WaLa Inc. - Big Data Platform (Shreveport)

Technology Product of the Year

  • NMD, Inc. - eMerge Software (New Orleans)\
  • Vinformatix, LLC - Medsonic (Baton Rouge)
  • Apex Innovations - Hemispheres Stroke Competency Series (Lafayette)
  • Dr. Erez Allouche - Geopolymer Concrete Technology (Shreveport)

Best Application of Technology

  • Crescent Guardian, Inc. - Behavioral Analytics Software (New Orleans)
  • Harbor Telematics - Crane Data System (Baton Rouge)
  • Bizzuka, Inc. - On Demand Web Content Management System (Lafayette)
  • Praeses - Nuclear Enterprise Tracking System (Shreveport)

Growth Company of the Year

  • Geocent, LLC (New Orleans)
  • Twin Engine Labs (Shreveport)

Technology Educator of the Year

  • Dr. James Van Scotter, Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) Program Advisor - LSU (Baton Rouge)
  • Dr. Sheryl Abshire, Chief Technology Officer - Calcasieu Parish School (Lafayette)
  • Pam Varnado - Loyola College Prep (Shreveport)

John Miralles, Director of LSU Shreveport's Animation and Visual Effects (AVE) Program - LSU Shreveport (Shreveport)

 DATE:  Wednesday, September 19th

TIME:  11:30am - 1:30pm
LOCATION:  L'Auberge Casino & Hotel (777 L'Auberge Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70820
COST:  $50 Individual Ticket; $800 Table Sponsor (includes 8 individual tickets)

Register here




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