Over the past two months, Leadership EXCEL has traveled through Jeff Davis Parish and Regional Lake Charles learning more about what each economy has to offer not only to the area and state, but to the globe!
Their August trip brought them to Jeff Davis Parish where they began in Lacassine, Louisiana greeted by Marion Fox, President & CEO of Jeff Davis Parish Economic Development at the Jeff Davis Rail Loading Facility. The class was about to see first hand, the development of the Rail Logix structure throughout the park and hear how locals are able to haul rough rice over seas. The group then traveled back to Jennings where they were welcomed in at the Jennings American Legion Hospital by Mindy Hetzel and given updates on his hospital as well as new technology and programs the facility is now gaining. The class then found themselves down in Lake Arthur for lunch at the Regatta with Ronnie Petree of Home Bank and then a quick tour of the L’Banca Albergo which is Italian for “The Bank Hotel”! Later that afternoon, they received a tour of the beautiful Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home back in Jennings. Upon arrival, they were greeted by the facility administrator, Matthew Duhon. The class ended their day with a quick tour and update on the progress of the New Gator Chateau at the Oil and Gas Park off of Interstate 10.
This year’s Leadership EXCEL Class spent their September trip in Lake Charles! The group first found themselves over at the Seed Center, welcomed by Vice President of Business and Workforce of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance, R.B. Smith. They then made their way over to visit with Phillip Bertrand at the Farmers Rice Milling Company to learn a little bit more about the rice industry in Calcasieu Parish. After, they spent some time at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino where they were able to visit with the Community Development Manager, Elizabeth McLaughlin. The class spent lunch over at SOWELA Technical Community College where they heard from Project Manager, Gus Fontenot, SWLA Economic Development Alliance and Cheri Soileau, MPO/Director of Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development Commission. They ended their afternoon with a visit to Chennault Airpark and Crying Eagle Brewery!
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. This program would not be possible without Acadia General Hospital, Lafayette General Health, Home Bank, Jennings American Legion Hospital, Acadia-St. Landry Hospital, Farmers State Bank, Rayne Building & Loan and Suzy Webb with Acadia Parish Farm Bureau.