According to Act 743 of the 2008 Regular Legislative Session, the council is comprised of members from stakeholder groups, which are business and industry, organized labor, state and local government and community organizations. The members must be owners, chief executive officers (CEOs), chief operating officers (COOs) or other high-ranking officials.
Todd O. McDonald<More info>
Todd McDonald started with Liberty Bank in May 2003 as a Mortgage Processor and has since grown into Vice President of Strategic Management. Within his role, Todd is responsible for uncovering, evaluating, and developing business plans for growth and performance improvement opportunities; leading high impact initiatives; and providing overall management for special projects initiated by the CEO and board. Before joining Liberty, Todd graduated with honors from Morehouse College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Business Management and recently graduated from the Executive MBA program Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in Chicago. Outside of the bank, Todd is the owner of several businesses involving real estate, technology, and fast food.<Close>
Gov. John Bel Edwards<More info>
The governor grew up in Amite, Louisiana as one of eight children. With four Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs in his lineage, he learned the importance of public service at an early age.
Governor Edwards graduated in 1988 from the United States Military Academy at West Point. The governor served eight years as an Airborne Ranger on active duty with the United States Army and commanded a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He went on to graduate Order of the Coif from Louisiana State University Law Center and set up a civil law practice in his home town of Amite.
In 2008, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 72, where he served for eight years until the voters of Louisiana elected him governor in November 2015.
Governor Edwards and his wife, First Lady Donna Edwards, have three children: Samantha Bel, Sarah Ellen, and John Miller.
Ava Dejoie<More info>
Secretary, Louisiana Workforce Commission, Ex-Officio
The Secretary has more than 15 years of leadership experience in public administration and is passionate about finding solutions that make Louisiana an outstanding place in which to live, work and grow a business.
Dejoie joined the LWC in 2012 and most recently was statewide coordinator of its Rapid Response Team. She earlier served as director of LWC special projects in the New Orleans area, including supervising the Avondale Employee Transition Center. Dejoie’s extensive background in Louisiana workforce development includes experience as a business liaison for the Louisiana Department of Education. In addition, she served as a board member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System from 1998-2007, Vice President of the Welfare to Work Partnership, Dejoie supervised creation of the partnership’s law project, and was recognized for the accomplishment by President George W. Bush in ceremonies at the White House. While with the partnership, she also helped secure funding for a process technology laboratory at L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans.
Senator Conrad Appel<More info>
Senator Conrad Appel of Metairie, Louisiana has 35 years management experience as Senior Executive of large general construction, construction management and specialty construction firms. He is currently President of ConstructionSouth, Inc. specializing in industrial and commercial general construction. His company has developed numerous successful residential and commercial real estate projects. He has been a licensed Real Estate Broker for over 25 years. He remains engaged in active promotion of the economic and civic climate of the New Orleans Metropolitan Region through participation in and senior management of numerous economic development and civic organizations<Close>
Joseph Ardoin<More info>
Joseph T-Boy Ardoin has served the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America for the past 15 years. Before joining the national Brotherhood, T-Boy served the Local 1098 of the Carpenters and Joiners. For the local he worked 16 years as the Business Agent.
T-Boy has not only worked in the trenches of the battles for fair wages and safe working conditions for the people of Louisiana but also during that time pursued advanced education through the George Meany Labor Law Center.
Mr. Ardoin did all this after having worked in the construction sector in early adulthood.
Valeria Aymond<More info>
Valerie Aymond is the CRO (Chief Resource Officer) for Gilchrist Construction Company, a Louisiana based heavy highway contractor. Her oversight includes the company’s resource divisions, including Human Resources, Information Technology, Organizational Development, Safety & Risk Management, Transportation, and Equipment.
Val has served on the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors since 2013, and chaired Chamber Board in 2016. She is active in the Central Louisiana economic development community and serves as a board member and also on the Executive Committee for (CLEDA) Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. Val is also a board member for the Rapides Workforce Investment Board and the Rapides Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. She is a member of the Central Louisiana Technical and Community College Institutional Advisory Committee and the Alexandria Downtown Rotary Club.
Ray Barker<More info>
Ray Barker has worked in the field of Human Resources for 32 years. Since September 2007, he has been the Director of Human Resources for Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport. Prior to returning to Louisiana, Ray spent 20 years in Human Resources roles with three multi-national companies made up of non-union and union workforces. From 1992 to 2007, he held Director and Vice President’s roles in Human Resources and Labor Relations with one of the world’s largest industrial minerals mining and processing companies and had responsibility for all Human Resources and Labor Relations functions.
Ray is a former United States Marine and a graduate of Central Lafourche High School and Nicholls State University. He grew up on Valentine Sugars Plantation, and is proud to once again be a resident of Lafourche Parish.
Larry Berger<More info>
Larry Berger is the 3rd generation to work in the highly specialized field of jewelry and appraisals. His family began the business in 1926 with Canal Loan and Jewelry. For over 30 years Larry and his family have provided expert witness in Federal and State court in the field of appraisals and jewelry as well as appraisal work for the FBI, DEA, and JPSO.
Although the company his entire family began served as a retail and wholesale jewelry store for approximately 70 years, it has always specialized in diamond jewelry. For this reason the company eventually became known as Larry Berger Diamonds and has maintained the philosophy to help all customers with jewelry needs.
Larry has a history of public service through on various boards. 6 years - Ronald McDonald Board, 3 years - Jefferson Performing Arts Society Board, and 4 years - Louisiana State Boxing Commission.
Kathy Bobbs<More info>
Kathy J. Bobbs, President and Chief Executive Officer for The Regional Health System of Acadiana, spearheads growth and development for hospitals in the health system including Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Lafayette Surgicare. Prior to joining Women’s & Children’s, Bobbs worked at various HCA facilities in Arkansas and Louisiana.
A longtime volunteer in the Lafayette community, Bobbs serves on the boards of One Acadiana and Home Bancorp and served as a United Way of Acadiana member from 2003 – 2011 past chair in 2007. She is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Louisiana.
In 2006, Bobbs was recognized as one of the Top 10 Women in Lafayette and in 2007 was selected as one of the Women Who Mean Business by The Independent.
Senator Gerald Boudreaux<More info>
Senate President Appointed
Gerald Boudreaux is committed to “serving” and “working” for the residents of District 24 to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the state of Louisiana.
Currently, Senator Boudreaux has been the Director of Parks and Recreation since 1985 and also serves on the Board of Directors for: Miles Perret Cancer Services Center, Ragin Cajun Athletic Foundation (RCAF), Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (LSHOF), Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS), and Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Committee (1985-Present).
He was won many awards throughout the years for his outstanding work, skills and abilities as well as being a Trailblazer, an award from the Greater Lafayette Black Chamber of Commerce. Gerald is a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, where he serves as a “Trustee.”
Michael Boudreaux<More info>
Michael Boudreaux began his career in the hospitality industry in Baton Rouge working at the local Godfather’s Pizza while attending Woodlawn High School. After high school, Michael joined the Louisiana National Guard. He serve his country in the Guard Reserves for eight years. During that time, Michael attended Southeastern University, LSU. Michael joined the team of Juban’s Creole Restaurant & Caterer and became General Manager. In 2008, he invested and became co-owner and President of Juban’s, Inc. In 2008, he and the Juban family also bought the Silver Spoon which was later converted into a southern style bistro and renamed Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar.
A member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association since 1992, Michael served as Vice President of the local Baton Rouge chapter (2007, 2008) and President (2009) and LRA State Board of Directors (currently).
Representative Joseph Bouie, Jr.<More info>
Speaker of House Appointed
Dr. Joseph Bouie is a retired Professor of Social Work and former Chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans. Dr. Bouie received his Ph. D. from Clark-Atlanta University, his MSW from Tulane University and his B.A. from Southern University at New Orleans. His professional experience includes 40 years as a Social Work Educator, University Administrator; community organizer, and specialist in the field of Substance Abuse as a program developer, trainer and researcher.
His teaching, research and writings are in the areas of Administration, Community Organization, Leadership, and Substance Abuse. As a consultant and community volunteer, he has served on many community, state, and national boards. Dr. Bouie has shifted his public service focus to city and state governance to utilize his educational, administrative, and organizational expertise. He is the Louisiana State Representative for District 97 and currently serves as Chairman of the Louisiana Black Caucus.
Keith Brand<More info>
Governor Appointed, Organized Labor Representative
Keith Brand is an electrical apprenticeship instructor at the Louisiana Technical College. He recently retired as the Training Director for the Baton Rouge Area Electrical JATC. He has been a certified Journeyman Inside Wireman for over 40 years. Keith has served as a member and officer or board member for the Louisiana State Apprenticeship Council, the Apprenticeship and Training Administrators’ Association of Louisiana, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 995, the Louisiana AFL-CIO, the Baton Rouge Area Building and Trades Construction Council, the National Electrical Training Directors’ Association, Louisiana’s Statewide Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, and the WIC in some capacity since 2008 either as a member or advisor.<Close>
Susan Broussard<More info>
Susan Broussard joined Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC’s human resource team in 2011 after managing the company’s public relations function. Currently Ms. Broussard is the general manager of human resources and public relations and has more than 20 years of service with the company. Cleco is a regional energy company headquartered in Pineville, La. The utility has approximately 287,000 customers in Louisiana and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Ms. Broussard has degrees in journalism and mass communication and a graduate degree in communication.
She is a member of the Louisiana Diversity Council, Alexandria Country Day School Board of Trustees, Louisiana College Board of Visitors and workforce development groups with Rapides Parish and the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce.
Bruce Busada<More info>
Bruce Busada serves as the President of Ayers Institute as well as Diesel Driving Academy.
As a founding member of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association and the Commercial Driver Training Foundation, Bruce is committed to educating Louisiana residents for the needed work in the fields of transportation and logistics. Bruce has also served as a member of the Board of Louisiana Association of Private Colleges and Universities, Louisiana Motor Transportation Association, Career Education Colleges and Universities, Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance Commission, Louisiana Tuition Trust Authority, Shreveport Jaycees, Ark-La-Tex Ambassadors, Inc., Better Business Bureau, and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.
Conrad Carriere<More info>
Conrad Carriere has 35 years of experience in Operations Management from various industries. He has 20 years of experience as a business owner and operator, 18 years of experience working in asset reliability and strategic performance optimization in the Electric, Petro-Chemical and Nuclear industries, 13 years of experience as coach, mentor, and park operator in the New Orleans Recreation Department and Orleans Parish High Schools, 4 years of experience as Parish Council President, teacher, and mentor in an Orleans Parish Church and 8 years as a member of the Knights of Columbus Troop #3343 – (Secretary for 24 months). Mr. Carriere has worked with the construction, information and technology, chemical, retail, and service sectors of business and industry giving him a wealth of knowledge to lend to his already considerable public service work.<Close>
Stephen David, Jr.<More info>
Stephen David joined the Hancock Bank (now Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank) Management Associate Program in 2005 shortly after completing his marketing degree at Louisiana State University in 2004. During the next decade, he quickly evolved as one of Hancock and Whitney Bank’s most recognized and admired young leaders.
Stephen currently serves as Regional Retail Manager, managing all locations in Livingston, Ascension, East Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parishes including Lafayette, Lake Charles as well as all locations West stretching to Houston, TX.
He is currently serving as immediate past chair after serving two terms as chair of the Board of Directors of the City of Central Chamber of Commerce, which he also served as first vice-chair and treasurer and business relations committee co-chair. He is also on the board of directors for the Sales and Marketing Executives.
Jason Dedon<More info>
Jason Dedon works as the Business Manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union 995 in Baton Rouge, where he has also serve on the union’s Executive Board in the past. He also serves as the Secretary Treasurer for the Greater Baton Rouge AFL-CIO Central Labor Council and is a Board Member on the Baton Rouge Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee. He lives in St. Amant with his wife, Ashlie, daughter Reace, and son, Ty.<Close>
Jason Engels<More info>
Jason Engels is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Central South Carpenters Regional Council, which represents 5,500 skilled carpenters from Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Mr. Engels collaborates daily with business, labor and industry to create a productive workforce that makes the region’s construction community more competitive and puts more people to work with a rewarding career that supports a good quality of life. Mr. Engels is also steering an aggressive recruitment campaign to bring more skilled carpenters to the area to address manpower shortages in the industrial sector. Mr. Engels is a native of Louisiana and a graduate of Louisiana State University. He earned the position to lead the Central South Carpenters in 2004 by making his way through the ranks as a professional carpenter. He is well known in the construction community for his sound leadership, business acumen, and technical proficiency.<Close>
Richard Flick<More info>
Richard Flick is President of Banner Automotive. Owner of Banner Chevrolet in New Orleans and Banner Ford in Mandeville.
He currently serves as President of the Greater New Orleans New Car Dealers Association, Board Member of Louisiana Automobile Dealer Association, Board Member of Louisiana Automobile Dealer Association Self-Insurance Fund, Board Member of the Ford Consumer Experience Movement, Member of Young President’s Organization , Member of Northshore Business Council, Member of the Greater New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of Boys Hope Girls Hope, and Board Member of St Paul’s High School Renaissance Committee.
Thelma French<More info>
Thelma Harris French is the President/CEO of Total Community Action, Inc., New Orleans’ federally designated anti-poverty agency. She has served as the Director of Board Operations and Intergovernmental Relations for the Orleans Parish School Board and Executive Assistant for Federal and State Programs for former mayors of New Orleans, Marc Morial and Ray Nagin.
She has served as a workforce trainer, a consultant, and a national task force member. She has participated in several national demonstration grant training teams, and presented at numerous state, regional and national conferences in the areas of organizational and performance management, sustainability and team building. She is a graduate of Dillard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Masters in Sociology from the University of Houston, with further study at Louisiana State University’s Governmental Services Institute. She is a member of several boards and commissions and is active in her community.
Larry Gibbs<More info>
Lawrence (Larry) C. Gibbs earned a BS in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge in 1969. Larry founded Gibbs Construction on July 4, 1976.
Mr. Gibbs is a member of the Jefferson Business Council and the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Gibbs has twice received the Associated Builders & Contractors Member of the Year Award, in 1982 and 1992. Larry’s community service includes the President’s Advisory Board at Jesuit High School, the board of trustees and the building committee of St. Martin’s Episcopal School, member of the Loyola University Business School Visiting Committee, the board of directors of the New Orleans Job Initiative (NOJI) and the East Jefferson General Hospital Business and Professional Committee for Development. Currently, he is an active member of the Chief Executive Organization (CEO) and serves on the Foundation Board for the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD).
Brent Golleher<More info>
Brent Golleher is charged with leading all aspects of communication between LMOGA and the Louisiana Legislature. Brent also runs LMOGA’s political action committee- the MC PAC. Before joining LMOGA, Brent was the Manager of Government Relations and Political Affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America in Washington, D.C. In this role, he assisted in planning strategy, communicated with Capitol Hill, and provided political analysis for congressional races. His responsibilities also included operating the largest oil and gas association PAC in the country, IPAA’s Wildcatter Fund. Prior to that, he worked as a legislative assistant in Rep. Jim McCrery’s (LA-04) Washington, D.C. office. Brent is an LSU graduate and lives in Baton Rouge with his wife and daughter.<Close>
Charlie Habig<More info>
Charlie Habig is currently the Business Agent fo the Local 198 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union. He has served the workers of Louisiana in this position for just over 15 years. During that time he has also served young adults, training to enter the workforce, as an Instructor of welding in the Apprenticeship Program. Previously Charlie was the Training Director for the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, and before that he spent 15 years working in Mechanical work and HVAC. His previous work included nearly 20 years in various shops and plants including Nuclear plants around the country.<Close>
Rep. Patricia Haynes-Smith<More info>
House Speaker Appointed
Representative Patricia Haynes-Smith began her career in Louisiana service as a teacher in East Baton Rouge Parish (EBR) School System. She went on to work with ExxonMobil and the LSU Community University Partnership before serving two-terms as president of the EBR School Board. Rep. Haynes Smith is well known in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana for her tireless effort to champion causes she believes in. She is currently serving second terms in both the Louisiana House of Representatives and as chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. Her awards are too numerous to list here but include the first Martin Luther King Distinguished Leadership Award in Politics, the “Fannie Lou Hamer Political Award” from Grambling University, the Nurse-Family Partnership “Champion Award” and she was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Louisiana School Board Association. She was recently accepted into the prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship Program.<Close>
John Hopkins<More info>
John was a member at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 446 in Monroe, Louisiana for 43 years and then retired in July 2012. He was the Assistant Business Manager for 3 years and then served as the Business Manager/Financial Secretary of the local Union for 18 years before retiring. Although he is retired, John Hopkins remains active as the Training Director for the Monroe Electrical Apprenticeship and Training.<Close>
Mayor Edward R. Jones<More info>
Edward R. Jones was sworn in for his second consecutive term as the 7th mayor of the city of Grambling, Louisiana, on December 30, 2014 . He had previously served eight years (two terms) on the Grambling City Council and as mayor pro tempore during his second term. He later joined the English faculty at Grambling State University, a position from which he retired after twenty-five years of service. He is the owner of a Cingular and Sprint franchise. His professional affiliations include the World Conference of Mayors, Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Board of Directors; Grambling Economic Development Corporation, president; Grambling Legends Square Taxing District, and the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce. He was a 2015 honoree of the Louisiana-Mississippi Salute to Black Elected and Appointed Officials and Public Servants and was bestowed Honorary Mayor of the City of Tuskegee, Alabama, by Mayor Johnny Ford.<Close>
Leigh King<More info>
Leigh King joined Cox in 2004 as Vice President, Cox Business, the company’s service provider for small, medium and large businesses, as well as governmental and non-profit organizations. Since joining Cox, he has overseen the merger of Cox’s Acadiana, Baton Rouge and New Orleans sales forces into a Louisiana team. Under his leadership, COX Business Louisiana has seen significant growth in new Business Subscribers, Revenue, and Profitability.
Prior to Cox, King served as General Manager for Adelphia Business Solutions where He was responsible for all of Adelphia’s Assets in Louisiana and Mississippi. King began his career in the Telecommunications Industry in Houston with GTE Mobilnet (now Verizon). King has over 23 years of Telecommunications experience building, launching and growing Business Units for Teligent, Winstar, Urban Media, Adelphia and now Cox Communications. King has overseen Telecommunications, Networks and Operations in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Nashville, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, LA. and Jackson, MS.
Norisha Kirts<More info>
Norisha Kirts is an experienced development and communications professional with expertise in fundraising, planning, project management, public outreach, community and public relations, and data analysis and research. Norisha is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). She owns and operates NRK Construction, a fully licensed general and specialty contractor firm. Norisha previously served as Director of Development for the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business, where she led a number of key initiatives on behalf of the college focused on collaboration with business and industry stakeholders. Most recently, Norisha led the energy initiative in conjunction with the dean, faculty, and industry executives and launched an energy program for students, to meet the hiring needs of the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry. Norisha is active in the Baton Rouge community. She serves as Board President of THRIVE, Louisiana’s first public boarding school specifically targeted to serve students from underserved populations, and is active in the Junior League of Baton Rouge, where she has led several projects and key initiatives.<Close>
James LeBlanc<More info>
James M. Le Blanc has worked as a civil servant to the State of Louisiana as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections for over 40 years. Starting his correctional career in the Business Office at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in 1973, Le Blanc promoted through the ranks with a commitment to working hard and making a difference. Throughout his career, he’s been known for the in depth research and analysis he’s conducted in implementing programs that were “evidence based” even before the description existed. Some examples include the Department’s Youthful Offender Program, Faith and Character Based Housing Program, and the beginning of the Department’s reentry initiative, then known as Corrections Organized for Reentry (CORe). It was in January 2008 when Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Le Blanc to the Cabinet position with responsibility for statewide correctional operations. In 2016, he was reappointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to continue to lead the charge in corrections for a third term.<Close>
Robert J. (Bob) Lobos<More info>
Bob has over 35 years of combined executive and senior level leadership experience in retail, manufacturing, professional and service industries. He is a graduate of Marquette University and a retired Air Force/National Guard Officer with additional experience in training, administration, and management.
Bob has been employed in the corporate world as well as owned, operated and grown his own businesses, including a children’s clothing and school uniform company, printing company, manufacturing plant, wholesale distribution company, and a business growth and sales force development company. He currently owns and operates the Wolf Creek Business Growth Institute, a regional sales force development and business growth company, and has done so for the last seventeen years.
Bob and his wife, Mary, have six children and thirteen grandchildren. They enjoy playing tennis and providing entrepreneurial training and credit counseling throughout south Louisiana for first-time business owners as part of Project Raise Louisiana.
Robert Miller<More info>
Mr. Miller joined MMO in 1997 as Director of its Reliant Transportation Group. Mr. Miller was promoted to Vice President of Business Development in 2001 and assumed his current position in 2004. In 2008, he and two others purchased MMO. Under his ownership, MMO has been recognized three times as the Baton Rouge Business Report's Top 100 Privately Owned Businesses for 2007, 2009 and 2010. MMO has also been listed on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing companies for 2008, 2009 and 2010. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served in Operation Desert Storm. Mr. Miller is a graduate of Auburn University. He also is a previous board member for Special Olympics Louisiana and Louisiana Governor's Mansion Board. He has served on the Board of Directors and has held Legislative Chair for the Louisiana Association for Behavioral Health. He has also been a member of Leadership Health Care for Nashville Health Care Council. He was chosen by the Baton Rouge Business Report as one of Baton Rouge's Top 40 under 40.<Close>
Gerry Mims<More info>
Gerry Mims has served the United Steelworker Local 1505 for 40 years. Mr. Mims served on the Louisiana Paper-worker Council as President of Jackson Board for 27 years. Gerry has lived a life committed to helping working people to have better working conditions. He has an additional commitment to children and their access to get a better education. Gerry worked in paper industry for Westrock for many years but his true work has been in the service to the people of Louisiana.<Close>
Charles Moniotte<More info>
Charles Moniotte has been involved in the financial management of companies for over 40 years. His previous experience includes ownership of Desselle Maggard Corporation along with his current ownership of Moniotte Investments and Kiln Drying Systems. Moniotte Investments specializes in providing customized facilities locally to counter offered incentives to companies to move these businesses to other states. Kiln Drying Systems (KDS) is a manufacturer of Kilns for Drying Lumber. KDS installs these Kilns thru out the Southeastern United States. Charles also utilizes his CPA background in volunteering his services to startup companies and to non-profit organizations. Charles serves on several Boards including being the Treasurer of the La. Chemical Industry Alliance since 2002.<Close>
Brent Moreland<More info>
Brent Moreland became the Shreveport Area Electrical JATC Training Director in 2013.
Brent graduated from the Shreveport JATC in May of 2007. He has been in the electrical field for 15 years and is a member of IBEW Local 194 in Shreveport, LA. Prior to becoming Training Director, Brent worked as a foreman for HMR Electric and Bossier Electric. He was also on the JATC Committee from 2007 through 2013. Brent holds many other responsibilities with the registered apprenticeship. He sits on the Louisiana State Apprenticeship Council, two different occupational advisory committees for the Northwest Louisiana Technical College System, two different Workforce Development Boards, and is a member of the ATAAL. Along with his JATC duties, Brent is the sitting chairman of the IBEW local 194 Executive Board and the past Recording Secretary.
When Brent isn’t working at the JATC, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors. Brent has been married four years to his wife, Ashley. They have one daughter, Amy Grace, who is six weeks old. Brent and his family currently live in Elm Grove, LA.
Patrick Mulhearn<More info>
Patrick Mulhearn is the founder and past president of the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association and headed the Celtic Studios from 2009 until July of 2017. Before joining LED, Mulhearn began his career working as an advertising copywriter at the Weill Agency. His work on WWL-TV’s “Spirit of Louisiana” campaign earned him a Regional Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
In 2016, Mulhearn and Celtic opened the studio to thousands of evacuees seeking shelter from the historic Baton Rouge flood. He was invited to Capitol Hill to tell Celtic’s story before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business Entrepreneurship which designated Celtic as the nation’s small business of the week. His actions earned him the Emerge Center of Baton Rouge’s first ever Activist-in-Action Award, and Celtic was named the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s 2016 Company of the Year for businesses under 100 employees.
Susan East Nelson<More info>
Susan East Nelson is Principal/Owner of PFD Consulting, a small-business consulting firm that supports organizations with legislative drafting and analysis as well as government relations and grant writing. Ms. Nelson is also an attorney licensed to practice in Louisiana, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.
Ms. Nelson has over 20 years of experience in journalism, politics, community development and public policy. Prior to starting her own business she worked as an Associate with the worldwide consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton where she spent over five years in government project management and acquisition consulting. Ms. Nelson’s experience in workforce development began in 1997, and she previously worked with the National Association of Workforce Boards in Washington, D.C., by helping workforce investment boards throughout the country leverage their public-private partnerships for workforce success. She has also supported union apprenticeship solutions to make regions 21st century workforce ready.
Jim Odom<More info>
Jim Odom is a successful entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in creating companies and growing businesses. His current company, PreSonus, Inc., is a worldwide leader in digital electronics for media production with offices in the United States, China, and Europe. With PreSonus, Jim established a network of manufacturing partners in China that deliver products to 62 countries worldwide. PreSonus, Inc. has been listed in Inc 5000’s Fasting Growing Companies in America for the past several years. He is also the personal recipient of several prestigious awards.
Jim served eight years as Director of Research for Odom Hydrographic Systems, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of underwater bathymetry systems. He also serves on many boards and commissions such as the Board of Advisors to the College of Electrical and Computer Engineering at LSU.
Mike Palamone<More info>
Mr. Palamone is a Principal/member of the Board of Directors of Urban Systems Inc., a Traffic/Transportation Engineering and Land Use planning firm. Mr. Palamone has the responsibility of business management and the firms’ marketing strategies and new market initiatives. With over Thirty-Five years of experience in the engineering and construction industry, Mr. Palamone directs a skilled staff of over twenty professionals with annual revenues over 2.5 million. Mr. Palamone served as the firms’ CEO/Managing Partner for over 15 years through 2012, when he stepped aside for emerging young leadership for the firm.<Close>
Peggy Allen Parker<More info>
Peggy Parker is the President of Allen’s Electric Motor Service, Inc. The company was established in 1979 by Peggy’s father, Floyd Allen, as a small electric motor repair shop, where Peggy was the Bookkeeper and Office Manager. When Peggy’s father retired in 1984, she purchased all company stock. Peggy spent the first 15 years winding motors, learning everything she could about the electric motor business, and building a customer base, forming the foundation for the lucrative business Allen’s has grown into today. Peggy is a member of WBENC South, SBEA, LA Economic Council of CEO Roundtables, and has been recognized in Forbes Magazine as a Woman-Owned business. She is married and has three children and eight grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys hunting, fishing, reading, yoga, and watching her grandchildren play sports.<Close>
Sonia Perez<More info>
Sonia Perez is President of AT&T Louisiana, responsible for developing the overall strategic direction of AT&T’s corporate activities in the state. Since 2010, Sonia has lead AT&T’s state workforce of more than 4,200 employees and 6,300 retirees, oversees AT&T’s operations, and directs teams responsible for implementing public policy, legislative, regulatory and philanthropic initiatives. She is the first woman to serve as President-AT&T Louisiana. Sonia currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Xavier University of Louisiana and also holds positions as Chair of Louisiana’s business roundtable, The Committee of 100 and as Secretary of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. Additionally, she has had the distinction of being appointed by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards as Chair of his Economic Development Transition Team and to the Workforce Investment Council. In 2006, she was the first Latina elected President of the Texas Exes, alumni association for the University of Texas at Austin.<Close>
Don Pierson<More info>
In January 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards appointed Don Pierson to serve as Secretary for Louisiana Economic Development (LED). Pierson served as Assistant Secretary and Senior Director of Business Development for LED since January 2005. With executive-level leadership, his duties include the implementation of domestic and international economic development programs and job retention and creation efforts for the State of Louisiana. He is Governor John Bel Edwards’ primary representative to governmental officials, local communities, and site selector consultants on all economic issues. Pierson has over 27 years of economic development experience, and is a certified economic development professional.<Close>
Dr. Jospeh C. Rallo<More info>
Commissioner of Higher Education
Dr. Joseph C. Rallo was appointed on January 2, 2015 as the 8th Commissioner of Higher education for the State of Louisiana. Previously he served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Texas Tech University System (TTUS). Prior to that appointment, Dr. Rallo was selected as President of Angelo State University, a component campus of the Texas Tech University System. He was also the Provost and Academic Vice President at Western Illinois University and the Dean of the College of Business and Administration and the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Dr. Rallo has held senior leadership positions on several boards and served as the Chair of the Texas Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors, President of the Texas International Education Consortium and member Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).<Close>
Louis Reine<More info>
Louis began his career as an apprentice, graduating from the apprenticeship program as the outstanding apprentice. As an active member in his local union, he served as an Apprenticeship Instructor, and later as an Apprenticeship Director. After brief employment with the U.S. Department of Labor, he returned to Carpenters Local1098 to be the Administrator of their Health and Welfare and Pension Benefits Funds. In 1997, he became Assistant to the President of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, and in 2002 he gained the responsibilities of being the Director of Legislative Activities and the Statewide Political Director for the Louisiana AFL-CIO. In October 2004, Louis was appointed Secretary Treasurer by the Executive Board, and in 2005 was elected to that position by the delegates at the 2005 Annual Convention. On February 25, 2014, He was unanimously elected to serve another term as President of the Louisiana AFL-CIO. He serves on numerous boards and commissions on behalf of working men and women of organized labor.<Close>
Natalie Robottom<More info>
Natalie Robottom was elected President of St. John the Baptist Parish in May of 2010 as the first female and first African American elected to the position and re-elected in 2015. She currently serves on numerous boards and commissions in leadership positions. Robottom is Past President of the Region I & II Police Jury Association of Louisiana, Past-President of the Black Caucus Police Jury Association of Louisiana, former Guild First Vice-President for the Urban League of Greater New Orleansan executive board member of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, a member of the South Central Planning and Development Commission, a board member of Greater New Orleans, Inc., the River Region Caucus, the Louisiana Super Region Rail Authority, the Regional Economic Development Initiative, the Regional Planning Commission, the Sales Tax Streamlining and Modernization Commission, La Parishes Against Coastal Erosion (LaPACE), and National Association of County Officials.<Close>
Missy Rogers<More info>
Missy Rogers is an LSU-educated Mechanical Engineer. She and her husband founded Noble Plastics in the fall of 2000. Noble offers injection molding services, engineering design analysis, and robotic automation design and manufacture.
Noble Plastics has customers as diverse as Department of Defense Ordnance programs, QVC inventors, sporting goods companies, local and national energy companies, and international manufactures. Noble is committed to the best use of technology and data to produce consistent, precision solutions for our customers.
Ronald Rosser Jr.<More info>
Ronald got his start in construction in 1991. He then attended Sullivan Vocational Tech, Bogalusa campus in 1993, where he took welding classes. In 1998, he became a member of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60, and worked for Lou-Con Inc. as a pipewelder at Murphy Oil Company.
In January 2003, Ronald went to work for the Tri-State Pipe Trades as a Union organizer. In March 2004, he was elected as President of the St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes Central Trades and Labor Council. In 2012, he was elected President of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60 where he still serves today. He also serves on the Louisiana State AFL-CIO Executive Board.
David St. Etienne<More info>
David St. Etienne is the President and CEO of Ultimate Technical Solutions, Inc. At UTSI, Mr. St. Etienne provides overall management to the organization as well as providing strategic planning, budgeting, sales forecasting and overall operations and leadership.
In addition to his nearly 40 years of Executive Management and leadership of UTSI, David also completed multiple programs of study at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire after majoring in Industrial Engineering studies at Delgado and working as an Industrial engineer at the beginning of his career.
Mr. St.Etienne is currently a member of the Jefferson Workforce Development Board an Chairman of the Black Chamber of Commerce New Orleans. He is a past Board Member of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Minority Business Council, and Board of St. Georges Episcopal School. He also serves the Jefferson Business Council, Young Leadership Council and the Light House of the Blind.
Dr. Monty Sullivan<More info>
Monty Sullivan was selected as the fourth President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) in February 2014. Prior to being selected president, he served as Chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans. He also served as Executive Vice President for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Before joining LCTCS, Sullivan served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Research for the Virginia Community College System.
Monty is married to Kelley Miles Sullivan, a Registered Nurse and a graduate of John Tyler Community College. The couple has four daughters.
C. A. Buck Vandersteen<More info>
Buck Vandersteen is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Forestry Association, a private trade association representing landowners, loggers, and the forest industry. He is a professional Forester and Tree Farmer. His responsibilities include: public relations, governmental affairs, membership development and education, and promoting the practice of forestry in Louisiana. Buck is involved in the forest products industry in various capacities, including growing, harvesting, and using forest resources. He served with the Peace Corps in Liberia, West Africa, as an advisor to that government in forestry-related matters. He received the Distinguished Service to Forestry Award in 1996 from the Louisiana Society of American Foresters and became a Fellow in the Society in 2004. In 2008, he was awarded Member of the Year by the Louisiana Society of Association Executives. In 2013, he received the Presidential Award for Leadership by the Louisiana Society of American Foresters. Mr. Vandersteen has been inducted as a member of the Louisiana Agricultural Hall of Distinction.<Close>
Secretary Marketa Walters<More info>
A national leader in the field of children and family services, Marketa Garner Walters has worked for more than 20 years to improve the lives of children. From 1996 to 2004, Walters served as CEO of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana. Once elected, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco tapped her to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Social Services, Office of Community Services, which was Louisiana’s child welfare agency.
After serving four years under Governor Blanco, and another year under Governor Bobby Jindal, Walters served as Director of the Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Center, a national technical assistance center focused on best practices in child welfare. She served as a child welfare consultant until Governor John Bel Edwards appointed her Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services in January 2016.
John White<More info>
Ex-Officio, State Superintendent
John White was named Louisiana State Superintendent of Education in January of 2012. That year he launched Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to ensure every child is on track to college or a professional career. In the time since, White has worked to unify the state’s fragmented early childhood system, to modernize expectations and curriculum for all students, to professionalize the preparation of educators, to provide pathways to prosperity for all high school graduates, and to provide families with expansive school options irrespective of their financial means. Prior to being named State Superintendent, White served as Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District, overseeing the nation’s first system of publicly-funded charter and non-public schools in New Orleans and launching the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone. White previously served as Executive Director of Teach For America – Chicago and Teach For America – New Jersey. He serves as chairman of the independent non-profit advocacy organization Chiefs for Change and is an Academic Visitor to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.<Close>
Tom Yura<More info>
A native of Austin, TX, Tom Yura has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon completion of his studies, he joined BASF’s Freeport, TX manufacturing site. Tom has responsibility for BASF’s Geismar site, the largest of the corporation’s North American manufacturing locations. In this role, he oversees the daily operation of 25 plants that manufacture 25 different products, including urethanes used in foam insulation, shoes, and furniture; chemical intermediates used in adhesives, coatings, plastics, water and gas treatment; and surfactants used in detergents. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Tom’s civic and charitable work includes serving on the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers. He is also on the board of the Louisiana Chemical Association and chairs its Safety and Health committee, is vice-chair on the board of directors of the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, as well as being on the board of directors for the Capital Area United Way, Boy Scouts of America Istrouma Area Council, Ascension Parish Chamber of Commerce, and Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce.<Close>