This year’s EXCEL Class found themselves immersed into Economic Development for their 4th session of the 2018 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 Small Business and Community Services for Louisiana Economic Development followed as he briefed the group on the basics of Economic Development and how communities are achieving success through it. After, Dr. Mark Zappi, Dean and professor in the College of Engineering at the UL-Lafayette 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!
Over lunch, Paul Molbert, Lafayette General VP of Network Development and Government Relations discussed the changing landscape of healthcare and its positive economic impact on the community, region & state. Next, the group traveled over to Gulf Island Ship Yard on the Mermentau River, where they learned of the global impact of a local business. Leadership EXCEL wrapped the day up with Rebecca Shirley, Director of Business Development at One Acadiana, capitalizing on One Acadiana’s efforts to promote & grow the 9-parish service area. The day concluded with a tour of Bayou Rum 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 Crowley 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 Parish Farm Bureau Agent-Suzy Webb, Acadia – St. Landry Hospital, Acadia General Hospital & Lafayette General Health, Jennings American Legion Hospital, Home Bank, Farmers State Bank and Rayne Building and Loan.