NLEP’s Top Event Celebrates 2017’s Best in Economic Development

 North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) last night honored the best in economic development in North Louisiana at its Annual Meeting, called Top Event. 2017 Chair Jerry Allen, Vice President of Revenue for CenturyLink, and NLEP President Scott Martinez announced NLEP’s 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. 

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. 

The 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.  

The next award, TOP Advocate recognizes an elected official serving in NLEP’s 14 parish region that 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, the TOP Leader Award recognizes an individual who has provided key support to our NLEP Board Chairman. 2017 Top Leader, selected by the NLEP, is Stewart Ewing, former Vice President of Finance for CenturyLink.  

“I congratulate all our Top Award Winners, who will be honored for their significant accomplishments in economic development at NLEP’s 2018 Annual Meeting,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, NLEP President. “Their work led to meaningful economic progress for their communities.”

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 will discuss the economic development trends that will impact North Louisiana. His long career includes working and leading state economic development agencies and consulting services at KPMG and Deloitte. Boyette 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. Additionally, NLEP President Scott Martinez will deliver a presentation highlighting economic development accomplishments from 2017 and will announce the 2017 Top Award Winners.