This year’s EXCEL Class found themselves diving into Economic Development for their 3rd session of the 2022 program! The class was greeted by Katie Chiasson, Chiasson Consulting 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 Assistant Director of Community Competitiveness, Robbie Abboud. 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. Kary Ritter III, 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. Danny Nugier of Supreme Rice was able to tour the class around the shipping department while onsite.
Next, the group traveled over to Rail-Logix, LLC in Lacassine, where they learned of the local business that served as a worldwide leader specializing in the storage, handling and switching of railcars for users in the petrochemical, energy, agricultural and logistics industries.
The class ended their day at Bayou Rum with Creed Romano, President/CEO of Jeff Davis Economic Development and Zach Hager, Vice President of Economic Development at One Acadiana, capitalizing on Jeff Davis Economic Development and 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 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 2022 Sponsors are as follows: First National Bank, Acadia Parish Assessor Jimbo Petitjean, First Guaranty Bank, Acadia Parish Farm Bureau, Home Bank, Landmark of Rayne, Acadia Parish Police Jury, Bank of Commerce, Dugas, Solieau & Breaux CPA Firm, Fezzo’s of Crowley, Rayne Building & Loan, and Rodney Lucas, Edward Jones.