NLEP Celebrates the Best in Economic Development
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    February 6, 2018

    NLEP Celebrates the Best in Economic Development

    SHREVEPORT-MONROE, La. — North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) honored the best in economic development from North Louisiana at its Annual Meeting, called the Top Event. 2017 NLEP Board Chair Jerry Allen, Vice President of Revenue for CenturyLink, and NLEP President Scott Martinez announced the Top Award Winners. The Top Awards honor projects or persons that have made a tremendous impact in economic development throughout North Louisiana during the previous year.

    (Left to Right: NLEP Chair Jerry Allen; Chris McGrath with DHL Supply Chain & Brett Eager with Graphic Packaging accept the Top Project Award; and NLEP Pres. Scott Martinez)

    The Top Project Award recognizes a project that illustrates North Louisiana as a thriving region - a destination for high quality talent, innovative companies and global investment. This year’s TOP Project goes to Graphic Packaging International and DHL Supply Chain for a combined $274 million investment in Ouachita Parish. Graphic Packaging and DHL are developing a $154-million carton converting and logistics center in Monroe, LA. The new 1.27 million-square-foot facility will be the largest of its kind in the world and will create 93 new jobs. Graphic Packaging is also investing $120 million on upgrades to the existing West Monroe paper mill.  

    Chris McGrath, Senior Director, Real Estate Solutions for DHL Supply Chain accepted the Top Project Award on behalf of the logistics company. McGrath thanked NLEP for assisting DHL and Graphic Packaging on the megaproject, which represents the largest project in the State that is not oil and gas-related. 

    “NLEP’s hard work and coordination helped make this project a reality!” said McGrath. “Most people do not see all of the behind the scenes effort required to orchestrate major projects. To that point, NLEP's involvement in this project started in November 2015. Without the local knowledge and expertise exhibited by NLEP, this project may not have been possible. Thank you NLEP for a job well done!”

    Top-Of-Mind.pngThe TOP of Mind Award recognizes programs and partnerships that ensure a strong pipeline of talent to support current and future employers. The 2017 Top of Mind winner is Manufacturing Managers Council (MMC) of Northwest Louisiana.  The MMC annually sponsors and supports NLEP’s award-winning North Louisiana Manufacturing Week, which promotes career opportunities in manufacturing to high school students. Through the MMC’s support, student participation in the North Louisiana Manufacturing Week has increased by more than six-fold. In 2014, two school systems with 150 students visited eight tour sites. Four years later, 10 school systems with 1,100 students toured 31 tour sites.  

    TopAdvocate.pngThe next award, TOP Advocate recognizes an elected official serving in NLEP’s 14 parish region who has shown outstanding leadership in economic development. This year’s TOP Advocate is Lynn Treadway, Jackson Parish Police Juror and Chairman of the Economic Development Committee for Jackson Parish. Treadway has worked diligently to promote economic development in his Parish. He is currently working with NLEP to certify an 82-acre site adjacent to the existing Jackson Parish Industrial Park. He is also very engaged in workforce development both in Jackson Parish and in North Louisiana, serving on NLEP’s Workforce Committee.   

    Last but not least, NLEP’s TOP Leader Award recognizes an individual who has provided key support to the NLEP Board Chair. Selected by NLEP Chair Jerry Allen, the 2017 Top Leader is Stewart Ewing, Jr., CenturyLink’s former Vice President of Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary. Ewing was a founding father of NLEP and continued to support NLEP and economic development in the region.

    Top-Leader.pngDuring his 28 years as CenturyLink’s CFO, Ewing has played a significant role in the company’s acquisition strategy, negotiating all stages of purchase agreements, legal and regulatory matters and integrating the acquired companies into CenturyLink’s corporate structure and philosophy. Ewing’s extensive experience and contributions have been significant in transforming CenturyLink from a local telephone exchange company serving rural and mid-sized markets into an industry leader in advanced communications services with customers throughout the United States and abroad. Under Ewing’s financial leadership, CenturyLink, headquartered in Monroe, LA is now the second largest U.S. communications provider to global enterprise customers.

    “I congratulate all our Top Award Winners, whose significant accomplishments in economic development have led to meaningful economic progress for their communities,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, NLEP President. “Their work and leadership have helped to create a more thriving and robust region for future generations.”

    The Top Event also featured keynote speaker, Del Boyette, President and CEO of Boyette Strategic Advisors, one of the nation’s foremost economic development consulting firms based in Atlanta, GA. Boyette discussed the economic development trends that will impact North Louisiana and noted how workforce development is the number one issue facing our companies today.

    Boyette’s long career includes working with and leading state economic development agencies and consulting services at KPMG and Deloitte. He was the Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development for the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

    About North Louisiana Economic Partnership
    North Louisiana Economic Partnership, an Accredited Economic Development Organization, provides professional economic development services to the 14 parish region of North Louisiana, including lead generation and prospect management. The organization also represents the interests of North Louisiana with a unified voice and as a single point of contact. It acts as a catalyst, a convener, and a connector in the region to ensure that North Louisiana’s economic development potential is realized. Its vision is for North Louisiana to be a thriving region-a destination for high quality talent, innovative companies, and global investment.
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