BATON ROUGE, La. — Throughout September, American Airlines is featuring Louisiana as a great place to live, work, play and invest, in American Way, the in-flight magazine published by the world’s largest airline. The magazine includes a 48-page special section – Spotlight Louisiana – that chronicles Louisiana’s past, present and future through a statewide tour, a feature about Louisiana’s global impact, a city guide, a look at how university partnerships are building the state’s workforce, and a look at how Louisiana communities are building for the future.
“We’re so excited about Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards tells American Way in the September issue. “I believe we have an era of prosperity ahead of us that we haven’t seen in a very long time. That’s not just a gut feeling, but based on all of my discussions with our economic development professionals, our congressional delegation and CEOs of companies investing in Louisiana.”
Gov. Edwards is featured in the magazine’s “My Louisiana” story while a “Trailblazers” feature highlights the leadership of LSU President F. King Alexander, CenturyLink President and CEO Jeff Storey, Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault, Tulane University President Michael Fitts, Ochsner Health System President and CEO Warner Thomas and Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.
“There’s no industry that has changed the world more than telecommunications over the last 20 to 25 years, and CenturyLink has been a driving force behind many of those innovations,” says Storey, who leads a Fortune 500 company of 50,000 employees that’s headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana.
Of its university mission, LSU’s Alexander says, “The work that we do is not just about solving our problems, but about solving the region’s, the nation’s and the world’s problems through our research and teaching.”
In the global impact story, GE Digital’s Kevin Dawson explains why his company chose Louisiana and helped build one of the fastest-growing technology regions in the U.S. “As more companies come to the state, and we all compete for the best talent, it creates a great dynamic that ensures companies continue to focus on fostering fun, innovative and challenging places for people to work,” says Dawson, the chief information officer for GE Digital New Orleans.
Navigating a regional roster of over $100 billion in announced projects, George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance says, “We want to be known as the clean energy capital of the world, and with about 10 liquefied natural gas facilities, we will probably have more concentrated in our area than anywhere else. But we also want to be known as a place that you can live and enjoy the outdoor life of Southwest Louisiana with hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities on the water.”
The magazine features the Baton Rouge-based Water Campus at the intersection of the state’s research mission and its recreational heritage. In a “Changing the World” story, Spotlight Louisiana focuses on work by the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority; The Water Institute of the Gulf, a not-for-profit research institute; and the LSU Center for River Studies — three pillars of the 36-acre Water Campus.
“The Water Campus will provide leadership with its role in coastal protection and restoration, and could have global impact through its river modeling, and the development of software that brings predictability relative to storms and flooding,” says LED Secretary Don Pierson, who highlights the challenge of harnessing sufficient water for agriculture. “With the current projection of 9 billion people on the planet by 2050, we need to double agricultural production to feed the world, and so we are positioning the Water Campus to be at the center of all areas of water-related studies. Water has always been critical: In the future, it will be even more urgently important.”
Also featured in Spotlight Louisiana are Lafayette Regional Airport’s future $90 million terminal; the I-20 Cyber Corridor anchored by Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana Tech University and Monroe; and the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance’s groundwork in establishing its 10-parish region as an ACT Work Ready Community – one focused on measuring and closing the skills gap needed for the workforce of the future.
“Differentiating yourself, if you’re not New York, Atlanta or New Orleans, can be very difficult, and a lot of sameness sets in,” CLEDA President and CEO Jim Clinton says. “As we looked into building an identity and making sure we understood who we were, we realized that we had a really good tradition of on-the-ground creativity; of artists, artisans and people who could work with their hands and their minds. And then we had this emerging history of manufacturing, so we put those two things together.”
What GNO Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht describes as the New Orleans region’s competitive business advantage – “low-cost, high-culture” – also helps drive record numbers of tourists to Louisiana.
“Last year, we saw 47.1 million visitors and nearly 1 million international travelers,” says Lt. Gov. Nungesser. “We see that number continuing to grow as more people stay longer and see more of Louisiana than just one city or one town, and they come back because the people they meet become friends for life.”
American Way engages more than 16 million monthly passengers with messaging that goes beyond the in-flight magazine to mobile, digital and social media solutions. At 48 pages, Spotlight Louisiana is the largest special section American Airlines has ever produced about an airline market with its publications partner, London-based INK Global.
For a digital view of Spotlight Louisiana within the September issue of American Way, visit Spotlight.INK-Live.com.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant Louisiana economy. In July 2018, LED gained Accredited Economic Development Organization status from the International Economic Development Council, and is the only U.S. state economic development agency currently holding the AEDO credential. Also in 2018, LED FastStart® – the department’s acclaimed workforce training program – earned its ninth consecutive No. 1 ranking from Business Facilities, while Site Selection ranked Louisiana as the No. 2 state for infrastructure that supports economic development. To learn more, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com.