This year’s EXCEL Class found themselves immersed into Economic Development for their 3rdsession of the 2019 program! The class was greeted by Katie Chiasson, Senior Business Developer for Cleco and the founder of Leadership EXCEL upon arriving at the Cleco – ULL Alternative Energy Center, a facility conducting research on natural waste products, like rice hulls and wood chips, and converting it into clean energy.
Patrick Witty, Director of Community Outreach and Small Businesses for Louisiana Economic Development (LED) followed as he briefed the group on the basics of Economic Development and how communities are achieving success through it alongside LED Director of Community Competitiveness, Stacey Neal. After, Dr. Mark Zappi, Executive Director of the Energy Institute of Louisiana discussed the collaborative partnerships for economic growth—specifically through higher educational research. The group finished the morning off with a tour of the Alternative Energy facility with Dr. Stephen Dufreche, director of the facility!
The group then went just down the street to tour JohnPac Manufacturing, a facility right here in Acadia Parish that manufactures small and bulk woven polypropylene bags for the local and global market.
Over lunch, John Morgan, Vice President of Supreme Rice spoke to the class about the economic impact of the rice industry not only locally, but internationally. Next, the group traveled over to Gulf Island Ship Yard on the Mermentau River, where they learned of the local business that served as a worldwide leader in project management, construction, and servicing of offshore and onshore facilities. The class ended their day at Bayou Rum with Rebecca Shirley, Director of Business Development at One Acadiana and Katie Chiasson, capitalizing on One Acadiana’s efforts to promote & grow the 9-parish service area as well as a wrap up of the day. The day concluded with a tour of the distillery and its expansion in Lacassine.
Leadership EXCEL stands for Experience in Community, Enterprise and Leadership. The program is designed to prepare emerging leaders to meet the future leadership needs of our community. Through the exchange of viewpoints and experiences, participants are exposed to the challenges, opportunities, and vital issues affecting Acadia and Jeff Davis parishes.
The EXCEL program is hosted by the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Jeff Davis Chamber of Commerce and thanks to the following sponsors, the Leadership EXCEL program is possible. The 2018 Sponsors are as follows: Acadia General Hospital and Lafayette General Health, First National Bank, Jennings American Legion Hospital, Encore Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Acadia Parish Farm Bureau, Acadia Parish Assessor Jimbo Petitjean, The Bank, Bank of Commerce, Dugas,