Leadership Bios

Louisiana Economic Development is led by a dedicated team of experienced professionals who believe in Louisiana's potential.
 
Don_Pierson

DON PIERSON

Secretary, LED

In January 2016, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Don Pierson, CEcD, to serve as Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. Pierson had served as LED Assistant Secretary and Senior Director of Business Development 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 Gov. John Bel Edwards’ primary representative to governmental officials, local communities, and site selector consultants on all economic issues. Pierson possesses three decades of economic development experience, and is a certified economic development professional.


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LEADERSHIP

Under Secretary Pierson’s leadership, LED became the only state agency in the U.S. recognized as an Accredited Economic Development Organization by the International Economic Development Council. In July 2018, the Southern Economic Development Council bestowed Honorary Life Member status upon Pierson – SEDC’s highest honor – for his career accomplishments. Since January 2016, LED has attracted economic development project wins resulting in over 34,000 new jobs, 31,000 retained jobs and $40 billion in new capital investment for Louisiana. Secretary Pierson earned the 2018 Eugene J. Schreiber Award from the World Trade Center of New Orleans for lifetime achievement in international trade. In July 2019, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appointed Pierson to the U.S Investment Advisory Council for his expertise in attracting and retaining foreign direct investment in the U.S.

EXPERIENCE

Before coming to LED, Pierson served for 17 years in the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, community as Executive Director of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation. He is a past president of LIDEA, the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association, and also served as president of the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Executives Association.

In 2000, Gov. Mike Foster appointed Pierson to the Louisiana Economic Development Council; and a year later, to the Department of Economic Development Reorganization Task Force. In 2005, Gov. Kathleen Blanco appointed Pierson as LED Assistant Secretary. Aware of Pierson’s economic development expertise and leadership, Governor Blanco’s successor, Gov. Bobby Jindal, appointed Pierson as LED Assistant Secretary in 2008. Pierson became Governor Jindal’s appointee for The Aerospace Alliance for Aviation in 2009, and in January 2016 became the Secretary for LED.

DEDICATION

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Pierson served as an Airborne- and Ranger-Qualified Infantry Officer in the 82nd Airborne Division for five years. He has also served as a deacon at Kings Highway Christian Church in Shreveport. He is married to Kay Spearman Pierson and has two adult children, Jerry and Rachel.


Leadership Mandi Mitchell

MANDI MITCHELL 

Assistant Secretary

Mandi Mitchell serves as LED’s assistant secretary, managing initiatives and programs related to legislative and congressional relations, community competitiveness, small business services and state economic competitiveness.


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EXPERIENCE

Prior to her appointment as assistant secretary in June 2015, Mitchell served as the director of governmental affairs and federal programs, which involved the expanded responsibilities of congressional affairs and LED efforts related to ports, transportation and coastal restoration. In 2012, Mandi joined LED as director of governmental affairs with a focus on working with legislative leaders and local government officials on LED priorities and issues. 

Before joining LED, Mitchell was an independent business owner and consultant, providing governmental affairs, legislative lobbying, business development and community relations consulting services to a number of business clients. She served as the regional manager of external affairs at AT&T (formerly BellSouth Telecommunications) from 2004 to 2009, and worked in the field of electrical engineering from 1998 through 2000 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and from 2000 through 2004 at BellSouth Telecommunications.

EDUCATION

B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of New Orleans
M.B.A., University of New Orleans


Leadership Anne Villa

ANNE VILLA, C.P.A.

Undersecretary

Anne G. Villa serves as LED's undersecretary, responsible for the functions of the office of management and finance, human resources, performance management and reporting, entertainment industry development as well as business incentives within LED.


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EXPERIENCE

Prior to joining LED in March 2012, Villa was in the private sector for more than 20 years. She most recently served as vice president of Operations and Finance for MDI Entertainment LLC, a Scientific Games company. During her tenure at MDI, she managed daily operations, vendor relations, customer service, strategic planning and forecasting. Prior to MDI, she was in the logistics industry for 10 years as a finance manager for Exide Technologies as well as Ryder Systems Inc.

EDUCATION

B.B.A., Accounting, Georgia State University 
C.P.A., State of Georgia, Certificate No. 21450


brad lamber

Brad Lambert

Deputy Secretary

Brad Lambert serves as LED's deputy secretary, overseeing the business development and workforce operations of the department, including business development services, business expansion and retention, lead development, business intelligence and LED FastStart®.


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EXPERIENCE

Prior to his appointment as deputy secretary in late December 2016, Lambert spent 24 years at Harris, DeVille & Associates, a Baton Rouge-based public and governmental affairs firm. He specialized in issues management and strategic communications planning and further responsibilities included media and crisis communications training, media and governmental relations, public opinion analysis and litigation public relations.

Lambert continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, having recently served as board chairman in 2014 and 2015. He also served as alumni board president for LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication in 2013 during the school's centennial.

EDUCATION

B.A., Journalism-News Editorial, Louisiana State University
M.P.A., Louisiana State University