Monday, May 27, 2024

LABI unveils LA23, announces new board of directors

by BIZ Magazine

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) revealed early findings of its LA23 strategic plan at the 2023 LABI Annual Meeting to more than 1,000 LABI members, business leaders and legislators.

Through LA23, LABI intends to define and articulate key issues and strategies that can help Louisiana become an economic leader in the South. This strategic plan is an 8-year vision, but with specific near-term milestones to provide informed policy guidance for candidates in the fall 2023 elections. Project leads Ted Abernathy and Beverly Haydel, along with Stephen Moret and Dr. Stephen Barnes, participated in the annual meeting’s Morning Program discussion, detailing LA23 and how Louisiana compares to other southern states. 

“LA23 is a collaborative effort to create a road map for Louisiana’s future,” said LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack. “We are in the process of gathering input from business leaders, outside consultants and Louisianans from every corner of the state to create a clear-cut vision of where Louisiana needs to go. Our state has a tremendous opportunity at this time—an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.” 

To learn more about LA23 or participate in our survey, click HERE to visit the LA23 website. 

LABI also announced its officers and Board of Directors for 2023, along with new members of the 2023 LABI Emerging Leaders Council (ELC). The LABI Board is made up of 100 influential business leaders representing companies throughout Louisiana who champion the principles of free enterprise. The ELC is a group of young entrepreneurs from LABI member companies who are being trained to play an active role in Louisiana’s business climate. 

“These business leaders will join others at LABI in shaping Louisiana’s future today,” said Stephen Waguespack, president and CEO of LABI. “This is a pivotal year for our state in terms of elections and strategic planning. There has never been a more important time for the business community to step up, so we look forward to having these new leaders on the team.” 

Jude Melville, CEO of b1BANK, will serve as the chair of LABI for 2023. He replaces Christel Slaughter, CEO of SSA Consultants, who becomes the immediate past chair. Jason DeCuir, partner at Advantous Consulting, will serve as the board’s vice chair.  Tom Cox, president of, will become secretary while Scott Ballard, founder of Ballard Brands, will serve as treasurer. 

“As a believer in the influence for good our business community has on our state’s fortunes, I look forward to the opportunity to make a difference this year as chair and appreciate the trust our membership has granted me,” said b1BANK CEO Jude Melville. “In addition to our normal efforts, I am particularly excited about our LA23 initiative. Louisiana needs an aspirational vision and a bold plan for achieving that vision. I am confident we can contribute greatly to both, and I look forward to working with Stephen and the LABI team on its important body of work.” 

Other appointments include: 

· Melissa Bordelon, president and CEO of the Tangipahoa Chamber of Commerce, will serve as this year’s president of Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives 

· Tommy Faucheaux, president of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, will serve as the annual Trade Association Representative 

· John Overton, owner and CFO of Turn Key Solutions, will serve as the Small Business Representative 

· Arthur Dupre, president and CEO of Arete Scholars, will serve as Chair of the Emerging Leaders Council 

LABI members new to the Board of Directors: 

· David Aubrey: AT&T Louisiana 

· Camille Ivy O-Donnell Bentin: Chevron U.S.A., Inc. 

· Melissa Bordelon: Tangipahoa Chamber of Commerce 

· Jessica Breaux: Amazon 

· Charles Dabadie: ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery 

· Arthur Dupre: Arete Scholars 

· Tommy Faucheux: Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association 

· Laura Ferrell: Cheniere Energy, Inc. 

· Rick Flick: Banner Automotive Group 

· Manard Lagasse: Associated Grocers, Inc. 

· Jason Latiolais: Barriere Construction Company, L.L.C. 

· Jeff Plauche: Boh Brothers Construction Company, LLC 

· Jeff Poche: Holcim U.S. 

· Chuck Spicer: Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Inc 

· Bo Staples: NextEra Energy, Inc. 

· Drew Tessier: United Pacific Railroad Company 

· Oric Walker: Atmos Energy 

LABI members new to the Emerging Leaders Council (ELC): 

· Valerie Bernard: Transformyx 

· Will Chadwick: Elifin Realty 

· Courtney Debetaz: Performance Contractors 

· Madison DeWitt: Phelps Dunbar, LLP 

· Matthew Dickerson: Pulpmill Services Inc. 

· Caleb Etheridge: Etheridge Pipeline and Conduit, LLC 

· Jennifer Forest: MARTCO, LLC 

· Lauren Gleason: United Health Group 

· Jordan Hultberg: Red River Bank 

· Rachael Jeanfreau: Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. 

· Trey Ledet: Gibbs Construction 

· Drew Maranto: Pelican Craft Brands 

· Dillan Rider: RSG Wholesale 

· Mary Robinson: Advantous Consulting, LLC 

· Heather Roemer: b1BANK 

For a full list of 2023 LABI board members, click HERE.

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