Shreveport Chamber honors 2017 and looks ahead to 2018 with Annual Membership Banquet

The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce held its 108th Annual Membership Banquet Tuesday night at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino.

The event recognized the accomplishments of 2017 while looking ahead to what’s in store for this year.

“The chamber stayed true to its mission of advancing economic growth,” Don Olson, 2017 chairman, said.

Some highlights included raising visibility in the nation’s capitol with three trips to Washington DC, and working with officials at Caddo Parish Schools. They also listened to the community to find issues important to them as travel infrastructure, entrepreneurship, and downtown development.

Olson passed the gavel to 2018 Chairman Steve Roop, of JP Morgan Chase.

“I’ve been to a couple dozens of these things and they start with, ‘What was I thinking?’ It’s a worthy question. The answer is that I owe a lot to this community.”

He said his goal for 2018 is to form coalitions with various local business organizations to consolidate brain and man power behind the area’s issues.

“I’ve challenged Tim that we farm out our common issues and have a common agenda so that when we go to Washington DC and walk into those legislators’ offices we’re united.”

The banquet also awarded Edward Crawford, III of Atco Investments, the Business Leader of the Year award.

Born and raised in Shreveport, he serves the area extensively, currently serving as a member of the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors, Centenary College Board of Trustees, and the LSU Health Sciences Foundation Board. He also has significant past service with the Community Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, Volunteers of America Lighthouse Program, YMCA BRF, First United Methodist Church, the Shreveport Opera, Shreveport Symphony, a trustee for Southfield School, and was a professor at Centenary College. A lifelong member of First United Methodist Church, he married his wife Laura in 1975 and they have four sons.

“Some of the things I have found myself doing was because I was complaining about how things should be. I found things didn’t get any better with me complaining. So I acted instead of complaining,” Crawford said.

On that note, he advised business leaders to engage with what is going on around them.

“There are organizations who need volunteers and supporters. Find something you’re interested in, something that is not going as good as you think it should and get involved,” Crawford said.