Since 2008, innovative policies and focused economic development efforts have yielded remarkable results in Louisiana: more than 91,000 new jobs and $62 billion in new capital investment associated with the state’s recent economic development project wins. Here are some of those standout projects.
In September 2011, IBM sought new opportunities to serve its major domestic clients. The company needed to identify a location for a new technology center in a city that could support such an operation and provide a partnership with nearby academic institutions to foster research opportunities and develop talent. As the company began the site selection process for its new technology center, Louisiana emerged as one of more than a dozen potential locations.
Louisiana Economic Development leveraged a strong partnership with Baton Rouge’s consolidated city-parish government, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Louisiana State University (LSU) to develop a comprehensive incentive proposal. To address IBM’s desire to collaborate with higher education campuses, the State of Louisiana offered $14 million over 10 years to help the university double its computer science faculty and triple the number of annual computer science graduates by 2018, which would catapult LSU’s computer science program into the Top 10 in the country in terms of graduates.
In addition to the workforce solutions of LED FastStart®, LED offered the company $29.5 million in performance-based grants over 12 years, including $1.5 million from the City of Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish, to reimburse relocation, recruitment, facility operating and internal training costs. The public-private partnership provided a $30.5 million performance-based grant consisting of state, local and federal funding to build a nine-floor office building leased to IBM and owned and managed by the nonprofit Wilbur Marvin Foundation, an affiliate of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. That building is accompanied by a privately developed, 10-floor residential tower and a private recreational terrace joining the buildings above a multilevel parking garage.
IBM selected Baton Rouge for its new technology center in March 2013. By May 2015, the company moved into the new IBM technology center after operating in temporary office space during the construction phase. IBM expects to reach 800 employees by the end of 2016. The IBM team in Baton Rouge will work on projects such as using predictive analytics to help police fight crime or deploying technology in helping health officials prevent the spread of foodborne illness. IBM programmers in Louisiana are also transforming the way cities cope with aging infrastructure through predictive maintenance systems that will help engineers determine when or if maintenance is needed. The Baton Rouge center’s team members are developing ways to reach mobile customers in every sector of the economy: They identify constantly shifting business risks and opportunities, and create technology to deploy resources in more efficient and sustainable ways. In Baton Rouge, IBM’s advancement of analytics, cloud computing and other data tools is a leading example of why Louisiana has become a strong digital contender in the competition for new technology investment and knowledge-based jobs.
The partnership of IBM and LSU is producing results. LSU’s computer science enrollment has doubled since 2012, and the program has hired new faculty members. IBM and LSU have also partnered to launch two new study concentrations: data analytics and cloud computing.
In February 2015, IBM announced in a separate Louisiana project that it will establish a 400-job Application Development and Innovation Center in Monroe, from which the company will provide software technology services to clients across the U.S. IBM will partner with CenturyLink on research, development and product innovation, with the new IBM center anchoring an
88-acre, smart-growth designed development on CenturyLink-owned property that will include a complementary mix of residential, commercial and recreational uses. As part of the project, the State of Louisiana will provide $4.5 million in funding over 10 years for expanded higher education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual computer science graduates in Northeast Louisiana, much like it did for LSU. The State of Louisiana will provide $12 million for construction of new office space for use by IBM in Monroe.
Shreveport native Bill Joyce has a long history of developing visually stunning stories. As an author and illustrator, he has worked with Disney/Pixar to develop characters for computer-animated classics, such as Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, and he has developed multiple books for children of all ages. In 2005, he noticed an interesting transition.
“I realized that I was still traveling across the country while the industry was increasingly doing work here,” Joyce said of his home state.
Joyce found himself working on several film and TV projects at his Shreveport office with designer and special effects artist Brandon Oldenburg of Reel FX in Dallas, when Lampton Enochs moved his production services firm into the InterTech Science Park in Shreveport. The momentum in the entertainment industry was encouraged by state incentives, such as the Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit and the Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive. Sharing his vision with Oldenburg and Enochs, Joyce proposed the ultimate workshop for the production of quality animation, art and literature: Moonbot Studios.
Louisiana Economic Development staff acknowledged the unique opportunity to support the cutting-edge startup and to help the partners utilize both the LED FastStart® workforce development program and the Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit incentive. One of Moonbot’s first major projects was a short animated film based on a story Joyce had written several years prior, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Inspired by the events of Hurricane Katrina, the style of Buster Keaton and the whimsy of The Wizard of Oz, the 14-minute film brings to life a story about the power of books.
Capitalizing on the success of its popular short film, Moonbot Studios developed a multiplatform interactive system to further share the stories of Morris Lessmore. Through LED FastStart, the state provided strategic training for the studio, identifying instructors with expertise in application development that allowed Moonbot to collaborate with another Shreveport-based company, Twin Engine Labs. The result: a companion iPad app for the Morris Lessmore film.
“We’re a startup company,” Enochs said. “We didn’t necessarily have the wherewithal to go down that path and create the iPad book. But with the help from FastStart, we were able to create the iPad book.”
“FastStart enabled us to move quickly (and) bring in the right talent,” Oldenburg said. “They have been hands-on where it was needed and hands-off where it’s needed.”
Developed entirely by Louisiana talent, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore app received universal praise. Next, the company launched an interactive division that concentrates entirely on apps, e-books and games. Soon, downloads of the Lessmore app surged to the No. 1 spot on the iTunes paid-app chart, eventually becoming the No. 3 top-grossing app in all categories. In February 2012, the film that inspired Moonbot’s interactive division, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won the Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film. Moonbot Studios had landed.
In the studio’s first three years, it collected some of the industry’s most prominent awards, including Daytime Creative Arts Emmy® awards. It also received awards at the Cannes Lions, including two prestigious Grand Prix awards, five Webby awards and hundreds others. With a staff of nearly 50 skilled storytellers, animators and designers, the studio continues to develop a growing line of films, apps, stories and augmented reality platforms. In the last two years, Moonbot Studios released new books, such as The Mischievians; new apps and games, including Lollipop 3: Eggs of Doom; and interactive, augmented-reality projects, such as Diggs Nightcrawler.
For their project The Numberlys, Moonbot released multiple platforms for enjoyment of the story, including games, a short film and a picture book. The studio also has developed interactive apps for the Ford Fusion, the National Wildlife Federation and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Having acquired the film rights to two books, The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli and Olivia Kidney by Ellen Potter, Moonbot intends to be the first company to produce a full-length animated film in its entirety in Louisiana.
With more than 35,000 helicopters delivered around the world since its 1935 founding, Bell Helicopter continues a legacy of high-quality helicopter production as a member of the Textron Inc. family of businesses. Bell Helicopter created the SLS category — denoting short distance, light payload, single engine — in the 1960s, when the Bell 206 Jet Ranger propelled the company to tremendous success.
Though the company evolved to produce larger helicopters for diverse markets, customers lobbied for the Jet Ranger’s return to the SLS market after its production ceased in 2010.
In December 2013, Bell Helicopter announced the company’s formal selection of the Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana for development of a new manufacturing facility. Completed in late 2015, the Lafayette Aircraft Assembly Center will begin producing the new Bell 505 Jet Ranger X in 2016.
The company chose Louisiana for final assembly of the SLS helicopter after a highly competitive, multistate assessment of existing facilities and greenfield sites. The state’s incentive package for the Bell Helicopter project included performance-based grants of $4 million for lease support, $3.8 million for infrastructure and equipment, and $200,000 for relocation expenses. The availability of a skilled, technical workforce figured prominently in Bell Helicopter’s selection of Louisiana, and the company has taken full advantage of the LED FastStart® workforce training program, most recently working with LED FastStart aviation experts to devise a custom training program for new plant employees.
The new 82,300-square-foot, $26.3 million hangar facility was completed in August 2015 and is built on a 14.5-acre site that Bell Helicopter leases from the Lafayette Regional Airport. The building project was funded by the State of Louisiana with Bell Helicopter investing $11.4 million in equipment and tooling. The company ramped up the hiring process for the facility in early 2015, and assembly operations are expected to start soon with deliveries to follow in 2016 after certification of the aircraft. The facility will create 115 new direct jobs in Lafayette, with an average annual salary of $55,000, plus benefits. The project also will result in an estimated 136 new indirect jobs. Meanwhile, Bell Helicopter will maintain employment of more than 60 existing jobs at a pair of aircraft service and component sites in the Lafayette area.
The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is designed to meet the requirements of today’s civilian SLS operator. It seats five passengers and can be used for multiple missions, including corporate transportation, remote job-site transportation, firefighting applications and law enforcement.
“We considered several sites for this new facility, and Louisiana’s proposal demonstrated the state’s commitment to economic development,” Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison (2009-2015) said. “The state’s established aerospace industry and exceptional workforce training programs were also key factors in our decision to make Louisiana a partner in expanding our manufacturing footprint.”
A world industry leader choosing to locate in the state is evidence that Louisiana’s growing aerospace market is backed by access to a skilled, experienced workforce, as well as key resources and suppliers. To date, Bell Helicopter has received more than 350 letters of intent from around the globe for the Bell 505. The five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter leverages Bell Helicopter’s proven technology and nearly half-a-century of experience defining the short-light-single market with the original Bell Jet Ranger.
GE Capital — as a major part of one of the world’s most successful companies, General Electric — had incredible reach in 2010, providing capital for real estate and corporate transactions, refinancing and restructuring for more than 1 million businesses of varying sizes.
That year, GE Capital determined the company needed its own dedicated center of technology support. Meanwhile, Louisiana had emerged as a growing tech hub, so much so that by 2012 it ranked No. 1 for digital media performance by Business Facilities magazine. As GE Capital was conducting a nationwide evaluation of locations, LED created a customized incentive package to address the needs of the company.
To facilitate a pipeline of highly trained graduates who could take on key roles for the company, the state committed $5 million over 10 years to fund expanded computer science programs at the University of New Orleans and other campuses. Louisiana also offered the services of LED FastStart® to begin the process of identifying the best talent for GE Capital. FastStart ultimately provided customized workforce development solutions to identify and recruit talent, including the creation of recruiting videos and design of a website landing page showcasing the lifestyle and cultural attractions of New Orleans.
The state offered a $10.7 million performance-based grant to GE Capital to reimburse costs associated with relocation, recruitment, office refurbishment, lease expenses and office equipment. Additionally, GE Capital qualified for the state’s Quality Jobs Program, which provides up to a 6 percent annual rebate on new payroll for up to 10 years. In February 2012, officials announced the creation of a new GE Capital IT Center of Excellence in New Orleans.
GE Senior Vice President and General Counsel (2005-2015) Brackett Denniston said, “When selecting a location for a center of this importance, we considered many attractive options across the country. Louisiana rose to the top of our list because of the advantages it offers in terms of talent, infrastructure, location and environment. We are proud to be bringing this state-of-the-art facility to one of America’s signature cities in a state committed to growth. We look forward to building on GE’s already strong presence in Louisiana with these high-wage, highly skilled jobs. This center will be an important resource for GE Capital and the New Orleans community.”
FastStart’s recruiting services proved successful. At the dedication of the Technology Center in April 2013, GE officials announced they were ahead of their hiring schedule. FastStart developed many resources for GE Capital, such as customer video scenarios covering professional development topics, the creation of a unique identity for the New Orleans site, and the design of social media-based recruiting campaigns.
GE Capital partnered with FastStart and the University of New Orleans computer-engineering staff to create the Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program, or SWEAP. Students in SWEAP attend classes linked to GE Capital’s computer science needs, gaining work experience, mentoring and industry training. Launched in January 2014, the program began with 15 students and grew to 40 by the end of 2015. Once finished with their undergraduate course work, students will be able to pursue IT certifications through GE Capital, and some will be hired as apprentices.
By late 2015, parent company GE had formulated plans to divest many of its GE Capital holdings, thus opening the door to new possibilities for the strong technology hub it had created in Louisiana. Today, the reconfigured GE Digital Solutions Technology Center in New Orleans occupies 60,000 square feet of office space in the New Orleans Central Business District and is home to approximately 250 high-quality technology professionals. Over time, GE will pursue a commercial strategy of redeploying the New Orleans center to serve the software needs of industrial customers in the electric power, water, oil and gas, and other segments.
Cameron LNG is a new liquefaction processing complex and liquefied natural gas export terminal situated on an industrial-zoned site along the Calcasieu Channel in Hackberry. It is located 18 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and within 35 miles of five major interstate pipelines.
Louisiana’s highly ranked business climate and an abundance of affordable natural gas helped attract a $10 billion investment in Cameron Parish to build the facility. Cameron LNG, which broke ground on its latest $6 billion phase in October 2014, is a joint venture owned by affiliates of Sempra Energy, Engie (formerly GDF Suez), Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Japan LNG Investment LLC, the latter a joint venture formed by affiliates of Mitsubishi Corp. and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha.
The Cameron LNG project will retain 60 existing jobs and create 140 new direct jobs, with salaries averaging $80,000 per year, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates an additional 657 new indirect jobs will result in Southwest Louisiana and surrounding parishes, with the development of the new LNG facilities expected to generate 3,000 construction jobs in the region.
Completion of all liquefaction facilities and the launch of full operations at the Cameron LNG site will occur by 2019. Initial LNG shipments will begin by the end of 2017, with additional liquefaction facilities coming online in 2018 and 2019, when the site will be capable of producing 12 million metric tons per annum. The company is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs
and Industrial Tax Exemption programs as it hires employees and places the capital project in service.
With more than 6,000 employees at 60 global locations, AAR sought to expand its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul — or MRO — business in 2013 due to client demand. Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles featured a $21 million, 112,000-square-foot MRO facility, and one of the airport tenants was in the midst of relinquishing its lease. Eager to tap into the region’s skilled MRO workforce, AAR agreed to lease the space and absorb approximately 250 jobs from the exiting tenant.
A Top 100 defense contractor, AAR serves the nation’s largest commercial airlines, cargo carriers, and militaries of the U.S., U.K., Japan and others. The sophisticated aerospace assets at Chennault International Airport provided an excellent match for the services AAR clients required.
To ensure Louisiana provided ample talent, the state committed $3.7 million to create a national Aircraft MRO Center of Excellence at nearby SOWELA Technical Community College. The MRO Center of Excellence will not only support existing talent in the aviation industry, but also provide a pipeline of talent for the future, supporting AAR and other MRO providers in the area.
To further enhance recruiting and training efforts for AAR, the state offered the comprehensive solutions of its LED FastStart® workforce development program. In October 2014, AAR occupied the MRO space at Chennault, where it will create 500 new direct jobs. The facility provides the company with the capacity to service the world’s largest contemporary aircraft and wide-body aircraft. With AAR ranking as the largest aircraft MRO organization in North America and the third-largest in the world, Chennault anticipates significant growth in jobs and commerce at the site.
From supporting NASA projects at the dawn of the space race to protecting organizations from virtual threats, CSC continues to provide next-generation information technology services to a global clientele while consistently driving change in the IT industry. CSC technology centers lower costs, optimize performance and develop innovative solutions that support the company’s IT and customer portfolio.
Founded in 1959 as Computer Sciences Corporation, CSC now employs 80,000 professionals serving corporate and government customers in more than 70 countries.
In 2013, CSC officials began exploring new facility options for a next-generation technology center. The company hired a consulting firm to complete a national site selection search of 134 potential locations around the country.
Louisiana’s Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) in Bossier City piqued CSC’s interest. CIC operated the National Cyber Research Park, which sought an anchor tenant for the 3,000-acre campus in Northwest Louisiana. CSC originally planned a smaller expansion — fewer than 300 employees — but State of Louisiana and CIC leaders developed a proposal to maximize the company’s planned investment.
Louisiana committed funding for a 116,000-square-foot, next-generation technology center and additional incentives to generate new tech talent. In addition, local governments would support the larger facility with data-center infrastructure. With the National Cyber Research Park’s close proximity to Barksdale Air Force Base, recently discharged service men and women would supply part of a workforce skilled in software development, application modernization and other technology roles. The military component was an important consideration for CSC, which is dedicated to hiring veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses.
CSC announced its selection of Louisiana in February 2014 and soon occupied 40,000 square feet within the Cyber Innovation Center as a temporary location. In September 2014, CSC broke ground on the next-generation technology center at the National Cyber Research Park campus, with the intent to fill 800 jobs during its first four years in Louisiana.
To further support a pipeline of talent for CSC, the state committed $14 million over 10 years for expanded higher education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual graduates in computer science and related fields. Of the $14 million, at least 65 percent will be provided to Louisiana Tech University to quadruple the total number of undergraduate degrees awarded annually in computer science, computer information systems and cyber engineering over the next five to six years, not including advanced degrees. That growth is expected to place Louisiana Tech among the nation’s Top 20 schools for the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees awarded annually by an engineering school, with a No. 1 national ranking anticipated for cyber engineering.
CSC also will receive the services of the LED FastStart® workforce training program and is expected to utilize the state’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive and the Quality Jobs Program. The landmark project will rank as one of the largest technology projects in Louisiana history upon its completion in early 2016. On Nov. 30, 2015, a spinoff of CSC’s federal IT services unit combined with SRA International to form a new company — CSRA — that includes the Louisiana operations formerly operated by CSC.
In 2010, Folgers — a subsidiary of Fortune 500 firm, The J.M. Smucker Company — invested $69 million in the expansion of its two existing Louisiana-based coffee production facilities in Orleans Parish and its distribution center in St. Tammany Parish. Specifically, Folgers retained 450 existing jobs and committed to the creation of 120 new direct jobs at an average annual salary of $42,000, plus benefits. By 2015, the company had reached total employment of approximately 700 in the New Orleans area.
The Folgers New Orleans facilities, which opened in 1960, represent the company’s largest production site. Combined, LED estimates the expanded facilities will generate $17.2 million in new state tax revenue and $4.9 million in new local tax revenue over a 10-year period, excluding corporate income taxes and local property taxes. LED and company representatives worked together to identify and pursue opportunities to increase the long-term competitiveness of the Folgers operations in the New Orleans area.
To secure the expansion, LED committed an incentive package that included a performance-based grant of $3 million for relocation costs, a Modernization Tax Credit of $2.1 million and a $500,000 Economic Development Award Program grant for publicly owned infrastructure improvements. Folgers received the customized workforce solutions of LED FastStart® and utilized the Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.
The New Orleans expansion project consolidated all the company’s coffee production from out-of-state locations into Louisiana. At the time, the project not only provided a huge economic boost for the people of greater New Orleans, but it also marked the continued revitalization of the region and underscored the confidence that major companies were showing in the workforce and business climate of Louisiana.
For more than 60 years, Louisiana-based Danos has served as a strategic partner to oil and gas operators across the globe and has provided production asset management, from specialized workforce support to construction and fabrication.
With 1,100 employees based in Louisiana or working in offshore Gulf of Mexico operations linked with the company’s Louisiana base, Danos is one of the major economic drivers in Louisiana’s Bayou Region and a key contributor to global energy solutions, with 1,600 employees worldwide.
In 2013, Danos began looking to relocate its headquarters from a growth-constrained site in Lafourche Parish. The company ultimately selected a Terrebonne Parish site in the Houma metro area after an exhaustive search of potential locations along the Gulf Coast, including Alabama, Mississippi and Texas sites. In 2015, the company moved into its new $10 million headquarters facility after opening a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing site in Amelia as an additional part of its expansion project.
At the new facilities, Danos will create 426 new jobs over the next three years as it leverages new deepwater oil and gas opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico, along with land-based and international energy growth opportunities.
LED estimates the Louisiana projects, with their combined $30 million capital investment, will result in an additional 871 new indirect jobs, for a total of nearly 1,300 new jobs in the state. Of the 426 new direct jobs, 326 will be at the headquarters site with salaries averaging $75,000 per year, plus benefits. The remaining 100 new direct jobs will be created at the manufacturing site with salaries averaging $65,000 per year, plus benefits.
The company’s expansion project also retained 400 existing land-based jobs in Louisiana and created 200 construction jobs. Danos will retain some fabrication operations at its former headquarters site in Larose, where the company has operated since its 1947 founding in Lafourche Parish.
The Dow Chemical Company has a 60-year history in Louisiana, with six operations that support 6,000 direct and contract jobs in the state, representing a direct annual payroll of $312 million.
The company is completing a $1.06 billion investment in two new polyolefins plants — one for producing next-generation synthetic rubber and another for high-performance polyethylene — and capital upgrades to its ethylene capacity at the company’s 3,300-acre site in Plaquemine. The new plants will increase the supply of chemicals for Dow’s Performance Plastics unit, with applications in adhesives, sporting goods, diaper components, automotive interiors and exteriors, carpeting, home furnishings and personal care products.
The project retains the 1,380 existing workers employed directly by Dow and will create 71 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $49,000 per year, plus benefits. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 470 new indirect jobs, for a total of 541 new jobs.
The Dow project is creating 1,200 construction jobs as well as 150 permanent new contractor jobs to support the expansion. LED began discussing the Plaquemine expansion project with Dow in February 2013. To secure the project, Louisiana provided Dow with a $2.84 million Modernization Tax Credit, to be claimed over five years, and the comprehensive solutions of the LED FastStart® workforce training program. In addition, Dow is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs upon completing the expansion project near the end of 2016.
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality products, such as fresh fruits, green salad blends and other healthy snacks. In the mid-1970s, after more than seven decades in New Orleans, the company relocated its shipping operations from the Port of New Orleans to the Port of Gulfport in Mississippi.
In May 2014, the company returned to the Port of New Orleans with plans to ship 60,000 to 78,000 containers per year, boosting overall port container volume by 15 percent. A Louisiana State University economic impact study estimated the project will result in 270 to 350 new permanent jobs in New Orleans – based upon the range of cargo shipped – and an increase in total economic output of $373 million to $485 million over the next 10 years.
In addition, port officials confirmed New Orleans has received more Chiquita export business than anticipated – such as clothing, tools and machinery for operating a farm and harvesting bananas. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana provided Chiquita a performance-based incentive of $16.70 per 20-foot container (with a maximum payment of $1.302 million in each project year) to offset increased shipping and handling costs. The project will strengthen Louisiana and New Orleans ties to Central America while improving shipping services between the destinations. The Chiquita project also strengthens the reputation of New Orleans as a premier port for handling temperature-sensitive cargo.
In 2011, Germany-based Benteler Steel/Tube was exporting more than 25 percent of its steel tube production to the United States. The high concentration of export volume presented the company with a new opportunity to more effectively deliver its product to customers.
Company executives made the strategic decision to expand operations into North America and build their first hot-rolling tube mill in the U.S. The company evaluated locations across the U.S., examining more than 100 sites in 13 states. Benteler sought a location with the necessary qualities for such a large investment: a location with access to waterways and interstates, and sustained support from the region in which it would invest. Most importantly, the company required a talented workforce familiar with manufacturing processes to support the proposed investment.
Louisiana was well-equipped to provide a competitive location for Benteler, with state and local officials identifying an ideal location at The Port of Caddo-Bossier in Northwest Louisiana. Located on the Red River, the site would allow Benteler to ship products easily to core markets in Texas and the Midwest. In addition, the Red River Waterway Commission, The Port of Caddo-Bossier and the Caddo Parish Commission agreed to contribute a combined $11.6 million for infrastructure improvements to support a new facility at the port.
To address the company’s crucial workforce needs, the state offered the services of the LED FastStart® workforce training program. Additionally, state officials partnered with the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, the City of Bossier and the Bossier Parish Police Jury to facilitate construction of a new $22 million advanced manufacturing training facility to support a pipeline of talent for Benteler.
Benteler broke ground on the nearly $1 billion project in September 2013, and operations began at the site on Aug. 1, 2015. The site will include a seamless steel tube mill and a second-phase steel mill. Both phases represent a combined 1.35 million square feet and sit on 330 acres at the Caddo-Bossier port. Thus far, 250 employees are on the payroll, with a ramp-up to approximately 550 planned over 2016 as full commercial production gets underway. The second phase of the project — to build a steel mill and casting facility — will add 200 to 250 workers.
The 65,000-square-foot Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology emerged from the partnership between Louisiana officials and Benteler leadership upon the initial announcement. The center was dedicated in October 2014 and immediately began to support the training efforts for Benteler manufacturing projects in Shreveport. The center features specialized equipment focused on manufacturing technology and designed to specifically support manufacturing skills training needed by Benteler. At the center, Benteler trains workers on a mock steel-tube rolling station that simulates production in the Shreveport facility. Benteler can accommodate more than 220 employees at one time in the technical training space.
Bossier Parish Community College faculty led the training, along with officials from LED FastStart, Benteler and specialized vendors. Once Benteler’s primary needs are met, the facility will serve other area manufacturers and act as a regional hub for advanced manufacturing support and training.
For Bossier Parish Community College, the new training facility serves students in the college’s Division of Technology, Engineering and Mathematics while supporting certification programs that target manufacturing skills.
Launched in a basement with one phone and a single client, CGI today stands as the fifth-largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. In 1976, 26-year-old entrepreneurs Serge Godin and André Imbeau founded CGI and guided the company to significant growth in its first decade. As CGI consulted with clients, it pioneered the outsourcing of many IT functions. This trend prompted CGI to evolve into a consulting and systems integration company, and in 1986 it began the process of acquiring companies that specialized in related projects.
With operations in 40 nations and employment of 68,000 today, CGI’s growth strategy and attention to technology trends solidified the company as a global leader. In the past decade, the company began investing in onshore delivery centers in the U.S. Many current CGI clients pushed for domestic locations, and federal agencies stipulated their work be completed within the country. Domestic work also provided a higher level of security for customers in the healthcare and finance industries. By 2012, CGI had invested in sites in Texas, Virginia and Alabama. The onshoring trend continued, and opportunities emerged for CGI to better position itself for new clients.
Louisiana Economic Development began working with CGI in July 2012 to make the case for a CGI investment in Louisiana, presenting the company with options across the state. With a major university, Lafayette provided a pipeline of talent for new technology projects, and the Lafayette Regional Airport offered the opportunity for prospective new clients to fly into the region to meet the partners who would create their products.In April 2014, CGI announced its selection of Louisiana for a new 400-job technology center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) Research Park. The State of Louisiana secured the project, in part, with a $4.5 million higher education initiative over 10 years to be led by UL Lafayette. As part of the initiative, the university will triple the number of annual computer science graduates produced in its School of Computing and Informatics, thereby providing a consistent pipeline of talent for CGI and placing UL Lafayette among the Top 25 programs nationally for the annual number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the field. Additionally, CGI leaders will have the opportunity to collaborate with UL Lafayette faculty to develop curriculum tailored to CGI’s projects. The state also committed a $13.1 million performance-based grant to fund the construction of a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at the UL Lafayette Research Park, to be leased by CGI. The new facility will serve as the company’s showcase product development building, an advanced center to host potential clients and to demonstrate the work of CGI employees in real-time.
The technology project, with the research park facility now under construction, will create 400 IT jobs and generate an economic impact of more than $90 million annually over the next five years, according to company estimates. In addition to the partnership with the State of Louisiana, UL Lafayette and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, CGI will receive the customized workforce solutions of LED FastStart® for employee recruitment, screening and training. An estimated 100 company employees will work on projects that will qualify for the state’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive.
“Our partnership with Lafayette represents a groundbreaking model for CGI — bringing together the local community to identify opportunities for innovation that can be applied globally, while tapping the talent and resources of Louisiana,” said Dr. James Peake, a CGI executive. “As a continuation of our relationship with the state, this partnership will serve as a model of corporate-community cooperation for keeping technology jobs in America.”
In 2009, Gardner Denver Inc. announced tentative plans to consolidate two of its production plants into one. The plants, one in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and the other in Monroe, manufactured Thomas-brand products for the company’s Gardner Denver Thomas subsidiary. The products included pumps and compressors used in medical and pharmaceutical equipment, automobiles, food processing equipment and more. The facilities in Monroe and Sheboygan had similar production and machining lines, but the Sheboygan facility was much larger than Monroe.
Company officials were evaluating a consolidation to either Monroe (about 70 employees at the time) or the Sheboygan facility (about 300 employees at the time), but given Sheboygan’s size, they determined it would be easier to consolidate the two locations in Wisconsin.
By shuttering the plant in Monroe, the company would eliminate 70 jobs in Louisiana. Louisiana Economic Development quickly dispatched its Business Expansion and Retention Group (BERG) to make a case for Louisiana. Gardner Denver leadership was receptive to the BERG team, but if the company was to move the Sheboygan operations to Monroe, it needed assurance of finding and quickly training the skilled workforce needed for new manufacturing positions in Louisiana. Additionally, for a move from Sheboygan to Monroe to be successful, the company required additional support to disassemble and reassemble its production lines.
Coordinating with local officials, LED crafted a competitive incentive package that included a $193,000 grant to Louisiana Delta Community College to train certified manufacturing specialists. The grant provided Gardner Denver with the opportunity to work with school administrators to craft the necessary training for a potential workforce pool. The incentive package also included the services of LED FastStart®, which would provide a training program tailored to the specifications of Gardner Denver’s processes.
The Monroe community also contributed to the incentive package. Gardner Denver’s manufacturing building was owned by the City of Monroe, so Monroe officials joined with those in the parish to provide funding for an 81,000-square-foot building expansion with a discounted lease rate. Additionally, if the company agreed to the provisions of the incentive package and consolidated the Wisconsin facility into the Monroe location, LED would provide Gardner Denver with a performance-based grant of $8.7 million for relocation of equipment and key personnel.
Gardner Denver officials agreed to consolidate both facilities at the Monroe location. In August 2009, the company broke ground on the Monroe expansion and announced it would retain the 70 jobs already in place while creating more jobs at the Monroe facility. LED adhered to its end of the agreement and dispatched FastStart leaders to support the transition from Sheboygan to Monroe. FastStart representatives traveled to Sheboygan and observed, monitored and documented the work of the 15 product lines that would be moved to Louisiana.
The biggest challenge was transporting equipment and operations 1,000 miles across five states from Wisconsin to Louisiana. FastStart provided real-time support to ensure a seamless move, monitoring the transport of equipment on its journey to Louisiana.
To address the company’s workforce needs, FastStart conducted a highly successful job fair. Additionally, FastStart produced guidelines to be used on the production floor. It provided assistance with recruiting, training, and quality assurance to fit the company’s consolidation plans. When the company broke ground on its expansion in Monroe, FastStart already had delivered 4,800 hours of customized training for Gardner Denver. In 2011, two years after the groundbreaking, Gardner Denver had a fully trained staff of approximately 300 to operate its plant in Monroe.
Procter & Gamble
Since 2005, Procter & Gamble has more than doubled capacity at its Pineville fabric care facility, where it produces consumer mainstays such as Tide, Cheer, Gain and Dreft laundry detergents. The site, which opened in 1969, covers nearly 1 million square feet under roof on 112 acres and includes a $128 million expansion completed in 2012 to bring Tide Pods production to market.
P&G’s capital investment enabled the company to reconfigure the Pineville plant to deliver the Tide Pods all-in-one capsule of detergent, stain remover and brightener. The expansion created 105 new direct jobs and 567 new indirect jobs. The new jobs paid an average starting salary of $42,000 a year, and Procter & Gamble retained nearly 400 existing P&G jobs with the expansion. P&G utilized the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption incentive programs as part of the major expansion. Later in 2012, P&G announced the creation of an additional 50 jobs at its Louisiana manufacturing operations, with the movement of dry laundry production from Augusta, Georgia, to Pineville.
Today, P&G’s Pineville operations employ approximately 600 people in Central Louisiana, and the growth of the P&G site has aided accompanying growth by suppliers in the greater Alexandria area.
Packaging vendor PaperWorks relocated carton-finishing operations from New York to Alexandria and invested $1.6 million to renovate an existing industrial building for 43 new direct jobs. To secure the project, Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $125,000 award from the state’s Economic Development Award Program. Also, P&G supplier Plastipak Packaging expanded its capacity with a $9 million capital investment that will increase production capacity in the first quarter of 2016, adding 20 new positions to its existing 205 jobs in Pineville. Both companies are utilizing LED FastStart® and the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
Ronpak Inc. is a leading manufacturer of custom-printed paper bags, packages and wraps for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Since Ronpak’s founding in 1947, the company has constantly developed new products to meet customer demand, which often means working closely with Ronpak’s packaging sites to develop new products that have innovative properties.
Today, Ronpak produces an extensive assortment of carry-out paper bags, portion-control bags and food wraps with a huge range of choices for such clients such as McDonald’s, Target, Safeway, CVS, Sony Pictures and many more.
In 2012, the company opened a $16.8 million paper goods manufacturing plant in Shreveport that created 175 jobs and joined the company’s additional manufacturing locations in New Jersey and California.
The company cited support and incentives from state and regional economic partners, as well as the quality workforce available in Shreveport, as major reasons for selecting the city. Impressed by its Louisiana experience, Ronpak relocated its corporate headquarters a year later from New Jersey to The Port of Caddo-Bossier in Shreveport, creating 100 additional new jobs.
The company’s headquarters is housed in a new 155,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility. By 2018, it projects employment of 275 people in Shreveport with an average annual salary of more than $40,500, plus benefits. LED estimates that those direct jobs also will result in 783 new indirect jobs, leading to a total of more than 1,000 new jobs in the state.
To secure the project, LED offered Ronpak a $3.55 million performance-based grant for capital equipment purchases at the new manufacturing plant in the original announcement. For the headquarters relocation and manufacturing expansion, the state provided Ronpak a performance-based grant of $2.25 million to offset additional equipment costs and a performance-based grant of $900,000 to offset leasing or financing costs related to the headquarters. Ronpak also utilized Louisiana’s Quality Jobs, Industrial Tax Exemption and LED FastStart® programs.
Globalstar Inc. offers high quality, low-cost satellite voice and data services to commercial and recreational users in more than 120 countries around the world. One of only a limited number of companies in the world that actually owns its constellation of satellites, Globalstar recently has invested more than $1.2 billion in procuring and deploying a second generation of more modern satellites. Moreover, Globalstar is the world’s first low-earth-orbiting, global-satellite voice and data company that is on track to deliver and deploy a second-generation satellite constellation, giving the company a significant advantage over its competitors.
In 2010, after considering a variety of locations in other U.S. states and Canada, Globalstar announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters to Covington from Milpitas, California. Additionally, Globalstar relocated a variety of other global business functions to Covington, including product development, finance, accounting, sales, marketing, corporate communications and customer care.
To secure the headquarters relocation, Louisiana Economic Development committed a $4.4 million performance-based grant to Globalstar for the reimbursement of relocation costs and a $3.7 million performance-based grant to offset facility costs for Globalstar’s new headquarters and research and development operations in Covington. Through LED FastStart®, LED provided customized workforce support to Globalstar, including assistance with employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery.
By 2011, Globalstar exceeded employment of 100 at its Louisiana headquarters and affiliated operations. The company expects to reach a total of 593 jobs with an average salary of $72,000, plus benefits, by 2020. LED estimates the direct new jobs will result in the creation of approximately 800 new indirect jobs, for a total of roughly 1,300 new direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana.
As it develops software critical to the deployment of its mobile satellite communications products, Globalstar is utilizing Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, worth up to 25 percent of certified development expenditures and up to 35 percent when applied to Louisiana-based payroll expenditures. Globalstar continues to receive assistance from the LED FastStart program, the nation’s top-ranked state workforce development program.
“Relocating to Covington will help dramatically reduce our operating costs as we execute our next-generation strategic initiatives,” Globalstar Chairman and CEO Jay Monroe said. “We are positioning Globalstar for long-term success by lowering our cost of operations, improving revenue growth and speed to market for new products through vertical integration and through the introduction of new and innovative products developed in Louisiana. The Gulf Region boasts much lower taxes and employee cost of living compared with our former home in Silicon Valley. Combined with the work ethic and resourcefulness of the state’s workforce, you have an extremely attractive environment for innovative global companies such as ours.”
With its relocation decision in 2010, Globalstar entered the state at the vanguard of a rapidly growing trend of software development, digital media and IT companies choosing Louisiana for major new technology operations. The tech sector now is Louisiana’s fastest-growing industry, buoyed by such expanding employers as CenturyLink, IBM, CSRA, CGI, EA, Gameloft, GE, High Voltage Software and others.
EA, or Electronic Arts, is one of the world’s leading interactive entertainment software companies and is the creator of some of the planet’s most recognizable video game franchises, including The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Mass Effect™ and Dragon Age Inquisition, the winner of more than 130 Game of the Year awards in 2014. Baton Rouge has been a part of the company’s growth and success since 2008.
In 2006, EA sought to reduce the number of its quality assurance sites by centralizing software testers in a single facility where employees would fine-tune a wider variety of games. EA sought an area with a concentration of talent that ideally possessed a familiarity with gaming systems and software, combined with computer technology and software development skills. Prospective employees would need the necessary training to meet EA’s high standards for quality assurance. The company also required a state-of-the-art facility capable of providing a location to test and analyze the company’s new products.
To fulfill EA’s need for talent, Baton Rouge offered a unique advantage with the talent pool available at Louisiana State University (LSU) and the potential for collaboration with different university programs. LSU offered to renovate a building on its South Campus for the project, with the commitment that the university would construct a state-of-the-art facility on LSU’s main campus. In the permanent Louisiana Digital Media Center home, EA would share space with LSU’s Center for Computation & Technology — a high-performance computing center engaged in academic and business research — and with the LSU digital media program AVATAR, or Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technology and Research, which prepares students for the real-world intersection of creativity and technology.
EA went on to utilize Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, the strongest incentive of its kind in the nation, and quickly moved into the renovated facility on LSU’s South Campus. The center carried significant part-time roles to tap into the talent pipeline of local college students and to accommodate their study schedules and lifestyles. Students made up roughly half of the employee roster. EA also benefited from the training services provided by the LED FastStart® workforce recruitment and training program.
FastStart designed a series of interactive training modules that utilize a gaming platform and incorporate game play into the training. The platform felt much more like “play” than “study,” which was precisely the sort of format EA wanted to provide for its game testers.
Since the announcement, EA’s presence in Baton Rouge continues to grow. In February 2013, the company moved into the newly constructed, 94,000-square-foot Louisiana Digital Media Center on the LSU main campus. Initially committing to 220 full- and part-time positions in 2008, EA has exceeded its commitment of an annual payroll of $5.7 million, and now employs approximately 400 people, with employment reaching nearly 500 in peak testing months.
The Louisiana Digital Media Center and its diverse programs unite faculty from many disciplines and enable students to conduct research and complete projects in virtual environments. By sharing the same facility, EA can collaborate with the academic programs and accelerate research that supports the work of its North American Test Center on the LSU campus.
Founded in 1940, Nucor produces more U.S. steel than any other company and maintains a commitment to high-quality, profitable steel products. Nucor planned a multiphase iron and steel project to help achieve its long-term goal of increasing control over its raw materials supply.
The company began evaluating potential sites during 2006 that included the Convent community in Louisiana, located on the Mississippi River with favorable port access about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Nucor’s plans included a direct reduced iron facility, which uses direct reduction technology to convert natural gas and iron ore pellets into high-quality DRI — the raw material used by Nucor’s steel mills. The planned DRI facility would have an annual output of 2.5 million tons of iron.
A Louisiana Economic Development team met with officials from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to address the company’s permitting needs in an effective manner. Louisiana has developed an expedited environmental permit-processing program that enables the state to issue permits in a more expeditious manner than other states in the country. After considering international sites, Nucor made a final site selection of Louisiana and broke ground on the Convent site in March 2011.
LED FastStart® assisted Nucor in identifying the right talent and in preparing for operation of the new equipment at the facility. Louisiana offered Nucor performance-based grants of up to $160 million contingent on the company completing five phases totaling $3.4 billion in capital investment and 1,250 direct jobs. In March 2014, company and state leaders dedicated Nucor’s first-phase, $750 million DRI facility. By mid-2015, Nucor exceeded its first-phase target of 150 jobs with employment of more than 165. Upon its dedication, the DRI plant had achieved the highest performance of any standalone DRI site in the world.
ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston
To meet the growing consumer demand for sweet potatoes, Lamb Weston, a subsidiary of Fortune 500 company ConAgra Foods Inc., developed plans for a large-scale facility dedicated to high-quality, frozen sweet potato products. With a long history of growing sweet potatoes and enhancing production through research, Louisiana proved to be an ideal location for Lamb Weston’s new facility. Louisiana Economic Development aided the project by partnering Lamb Weston researchers with agricultural specialists from the LSU AgCenter Sweet Potato Research Station in Northeast Louisiana.
With construction beginning in mid-2009, the company joined Gov. Bobby Jindal and local officials in dedicating the new 164,000-square-foot food processing facility in November 2010. In addition to providing 275 direct jobs upon opening, the site earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, becoming the first frozen foods plant in the world to earn the LEED Platinum designation. A host of energy-saving measures installed at the site made the Lamb Weston facility 40 percent more efficient than a conventional plant, with the site winning best industrial project from Engineering News-Record in 2012 and green plant of the year from Food Processing magazine in 2011.
To support the development of the local workforce, LED FastStart® created a customized employee recruitment, screening and training package for Lamb Weston. The State of Louisiana provided Lamb Weston with a $32.4 million performance-based grant from its Mega-Project Development Fund.
Lamb Weston embarked on a second phase of the Delhi food processing plant that expanded the company’s capital investment commitment from $156 million to $211 million and will increase its job commitment to an eventual 500 direct jobs.
Sasol Limited is an international integrated energy and chemical company that leverages the talent and expertise of more than 32,400 people working in 37 countries. Sasol develops and commercializes technologies, and builds and operates world-scale facilities to produce a range of high-value product streams, including liquid fuels, high-value chemicals and low-carbon electricity.
In 2011, Sasol announced plans for major new gas-to-liquids and ethane cracker complexes at its existing facilities in Westlake, near Lake Charles. Sasol continues to pursue the GTL complex and anticipates a final investment decision at a later date. Meanwhile, the company made a final investment decision to develop the ethane cracker and six associated chemical manufacturing plants in October 2014, with construction beginning in conjunction with a March 2015 ground breaking event.
That world-scale project, with $8.1 billion in formal capital spending, will roughly triple Sasol’s chemical production capacity in the United States. Sasol will create 500 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $88,000, plus benefits, as permanent positions associated with the ethane cracker complex. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in another 2,395 new indirect jobs, and the company estimates 5,000 construction jobs will be generated by the project during the next several years. Beyond the $8.1 billion capital investment, Sasol will spend $800 million for infrastructure improvement, land acquisition and utility improvement costs at the site.
“By the time construction is complete in 2018, Sasol’s investment will total almost $9 billion, making it one of the largest investments in our company’s history,” said Steve Cornell, Sasol’s executive vice president of international operations. “Along the way, we’ll create more than 5,000 construction jobs and more than 500 full-time positions, 200 of which have already been filled.”
The ethane cracker complex will include six chemical derivatives plants and is expected to launch commercial production of ethylene in 2018. The complex was part of a larger project announced in December 2012 during the feasibility stage, with the other component being a large-scale, gas-to-liquids facility that would increase the total number of new direct jobs to more than 1,250.
Louisiana’s role in cultivating the Sasol project began in early 2011, when it identified a 650-acre site near Sasol’s existing Westlake facilities as optimum for the project’s needs. To secure both the GTL and the ethane cracker complexes, Louisiana offered Sasol a performance-based grant of $115 million for land acquisition and infrastructure costs associated with the facility. Sasol must develop the GTL complex to receive that incentive. The company also will receive the services of LED FastStart® workforce training program for both complexes. In addition, the GTL complex will qualify for Louisiana’s new Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive while the ethane cracker complex will qualify for the Quality Jobs Program, with the payroll incentives applied for up to 10 years.
To support Sasol’s workforce needs during construction and operations, the state is investing $20 million for a new training facility and associated equipment focused on industrial technology at SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles. LED broke ground on that SOWELA Sasol Regional Training Center with company and college officials in October 2014. Finally, Sasol is expected to utilize the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program for both the
ethylene and GTL facilities. Sasol has selected multiple Louisiana-based contractors to support construction of its ethane cracker and derivatives complex, representing a commitment of more than $1 billion in contracts so far.
From its headquarters in Monroe, CenturyLink ranks as the nation’s third-largest telecommunications provider, a Fortune 500 company with Internet, TV, voice, data and cloud-based computing services. CenturyLink completed a series of strategic acquisitions that vaulted the firm from a regional telecom into a global telecommunications leader and an innovator in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprise customers.
Following major acquisitions of Embarq and Qwest, Louisiana leaders convinced the company to retain and expand its Louisiana headquarters, with two projects that will add 1,150 new direct jobs, push CenturyLink’s Louisiana-based annual payroll beyond the $200 million mark, and grow Monroe-area employees to more than 2,600.
As part of those expansions, CenturyLink completed its new 300,000-square-foot Technology Center of Excellence in March 2015. Nearly doubling CenturyLink’s existing headquarters space, the new technology center includes a technology research and development lab, a network operations center, executive briefing center, customer experience center and collaborative office and meeting space. CenturyLink hires a significant number of software developers who solve complex problems, create automation, and engineer new services, with the Technology Center of Excellence expected to drive development of innovative products and services throughout the company’s operations.
To secure the headquarters expansion, Louisiana Economic Development offered the company a customized incentive package, including a performance-based grant of $14.9 million toward the headquarters expansion. LED extended its funding of CenturyLink’s telecommunications partnership with Louisiana Tech University to a total of $2.1 million over seven years, a higher education initiative begun with the prior expansion in 2009. Additionally, LED provided 150,000 square feet of discounted space in the state-owned Accent Building in Monroe through 2015, which provided swing space for CenturyLink staff during construction of the expanded headquarters facilities. CenturyLink also is utilizing the LED FastStart® program, as well as LED’s Quality Jobs program.
“This is another landmark event in the evolution of Monroe’s expanding economy,” Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said about the company’s Technology Center of Excellence dedication. “These new jobs and the partnership opportunities CenturyLink continues to create have made Monroe a destination for 21st century job seekers.”
Innovation already is at work next-door to CenturyLink’s headquarters. In February 2015, IBM officials announced the company will open a 400-job IBM Application Development and Innovation Center that will partner with CenturyLink and others on projects. The IBM center in Monroe will anchor a new 88-acre, mixed-use development employing smart-growth principles and will include a complementary mix of residential, commercial and recreational usage options. The Monroe IBM center will provide CenturyLink and other clients with application development, application management and system integration services in areas such as analytics, security and mobile communications. That project will include a 10-year, $4.5 million higher education initiative designed primarily to boost the number of annual graduates in computer science, cyber engineering, data analytics and related fields in Northeast Louisiana.
The innovative public-private partnerships support CenturyLink’s technology investments and strategic growth initiatives in Louisiana. At the same time, they sustain a pipeline of high-tech talent through an exceptional education system, a highly ranked business climate and a growing technology corridor along Interstate 20.
“IBM is expanding in Monroe and CSC is growing in the Shreveport-Bossier area, which is also home to the Cyber Innovation Center and Barksdale Air Force Base,” said CenturyLink CEO and President Glen Post. “Our higher education institutions combined with job growth and our natural and human resources make North Louisiana an attractive place to live and work.”