Media Releases

March 22, 2017
LIDEA Announces Economic Development Training Graduates
Knowledge and tools for economic development projects in Louisiana communities
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Economic Development Executives Association (LIDEA) is proud to announce the following students from throughout Louisiana have completed professional training in economic development and received a certificate of completion for the Business Retention and Expansion Course.  This is a required course for the Certified Louisiana Economic Developer accreditation, administered by Southeastern Louisiana University.
This two day, interactive course presents the core components of a BRE program and how to assess and address the concerns of local businesses.  The course was taught by nationally recognized expert Laith Wardi,CEO of Executive, Pulse, located in Erie, PA.  Secretary of Economic Development Don Pierson extended his congratulations to the students for participating.  “This training program is important to the state to maintain professionalism and best serve our communities for economic development activity in our state,” he said.
The following students are recognized as having successfully completed the training:
Jonathan Dean, CLECO, Jim Cavanuagh, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Eliza Eugene, EME Consulting Group, Janile Parks, Louisiana Economic Development, Liz McCain, Louisiana Economic Development, James Graham, City of Minden, Joe Mansour, Morehouse Economic Development, David Latona, DEMCO, Michael Tomlinson, St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, Paige Carter, Louisiana Economic Development, Maria McLellan, Maria McLellan Real Estate, Robert “Terry” Blackwell, Gulf States Real Estate Services, Jacob Nickens, St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, Eric Cormier, SWLA Economic Development Alliance, Dustin Matthews, CLEDA, Michael Tepper Louisiana Economic Development, Michelle Mahaffey, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, William Joubert, Southeast Louisiana Business Center, Sandy Summers, Southeast Louisiana Business Center, Brandy Boudreaux, Southeast Louisiana Business Center, Kate Wendel, JEDCO, Ryan Seal, Washington Economic Development, Rock Ete, Sumit Credits, LLC, Patrick Sadler, City of Alexandria, Tonya Corley, City of Alexandria, Robert Weeks, City of Alexandria, Amanda Moody, City of Central, Kelly Wells, Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation, and David Carter, Louisiana Economic Development.

February 8, 2017
LIDEA to Host a “Business Retention and Expansion Class” as part of its Professional Development Program
Knowledge and tools for economic development projects in Louisiana communities
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) is proud to announce they will be hosting a Business Retention and Expansion Course March 14-15, 2017, in Hammond, LA at Southeastern Louisiana University.  This is a core course required for seeking accreditation as a Certified Louisiana Economic Developer (CLED).  Registration closes March 3rd.
This interactive course presents the core components of a BRE program and why the concerns of local businesses need to be actively addressed. By building an understanding of business visitation techniques and survey methods, practitioners will be able to clearly gauge their community's business climate. Learn the "red flags" that may indicate a company is looking to move elsewhere, and learn how to structure an effective technical assistance program to respond to business concerns. This course helps participants understand how a BRE program relates to attraction, workforce development, small business finance, technology transfer and many other economic development activities.
“The CLED Program is just one of the ways that LIDEA promotes professional development in the field of economic development,” says Don Pierson, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development.  “Through courses such as this one, our state is ensuring the highest standards in training those tasked with growing our economy.”
“Thanks to our sponsors, USDA Rural Development, Delta Regional Authority, Louisiana Economic Development, American Electric Power (AEP), and GNO, Inc for making this course one of the most affordable we have ever offered,” according to  Scot Byrd, Professional Development Committee Chair.   
Course topics include:
• Establishing, maintaining and upgrading a BRE program 
• Creating effective models for business visitations and surveys 
• Customer-Relationship Management (CRM) techniques 
• Marketing a BRE program 
• Establishing an early warning system 
• Cluster and industry-focused BRE programs 
• Tracking and analyzing customer feedback and response 
• Quantitative and qualitative economic development metrics
To register for the course, location info and view the full agenda go to .

LIDEA Announces Leadership
Board and Officers Chosen for 2017

November 14, 2016

BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) has elected its board and officers for 2017. The Board of Directors includes representatives ranging from parish level economic developers, regional economic development organizations, state economic development officials, and industry consultants. In addition to its Board of Directors, LIDEA’s membership has elected its officers to help guide and prioritize the association’s 2017 activities. The 2017 slate includes:

  • President: Jerry Bologna, CEcD – Executive Director, Jefferson Economic Development Corp.
  • Vice President: Michael Tarantino – President/CEO, Iberia Industrial Development Foundation
  • Secretary: Grady Fitzpatrick – Senior Vice President, Business Development, GNO, Inc.
  • Treasurer: Don Allison – Partner, Advantous Consulting
Board of Directors:
  • Frank Fink (past president) – LaCEcD, Director of Economic Development, St. Mary Parish Government
  • Larry Collins – Executive Director, Office of International Commerce, Louisiana Economic Development
  • Rhonda Reap-Curiel, CcED – Owner, CENCOR
  • Jim Bourgeois – Executive Director of Business Development, One Acadiana
  • Scot Byrd – Vice President, Business Development, BBI Architects
  • Vic Lafont – President/CEO, South Louisiana Economic Council
  • Stacey Neal – Executive Director, Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation
  • David "Rocky" Rockett – President and Executive Director, Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation
  • Donald Pierson, CEcD (ex-officio) –‎ Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development

“In 2017, LIDEA is poised to grow membership, increase advocacy, and bring greater focus to economic development needs across the state of Louisiana.  We will accomplish this armed with a strong, collaborative relationship with Louisiana Economic Development,” said Jerry Bologna, 2017 President. “I look forward to leading this organization as our members intensify their efforts in one of the top states for economic development activity.”
LIDEA will continue to partner with allies throughout the state, including the eight (8) regional economic development organizations, Louisiana Economic Development, The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and the Committee of 100, among others.
“LIDEA is the voice of Economic Development professionals from across our great State and I look forward to working with our leadership team on important initiatives that will assist in strengthening business and growing jobs for Louisiana,” said Mike Tarintino, 2017 Vice President.

LIDEA and LED Enter into a Formalized Partnership

May 10, 2016

BATON ROUGE--The LIDEA Board is delighted to announce the completion of a formalized agreement with Louisiana Economic Development detailing new cooperative efforts between the organizations. On Monday, April 18th LED Secretary Don Person and LIDEA President Frank Fink signed the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) following the LA Economic Development Summit, an event which exemplified the coordination among state government, local and regional economic development, government officials, and business leaders from around the state.

The agreement outlines the parameters of how the two organizations will work together in order to promote economic development in the State of Louisiana.    

In exchange for their financial investment in LIDEA, LED will receive the following:
•    Recognition as a Platinum level sponsor of LIDEA’s fall economic development and marketing conference
•    10 registrations for the fall conference event
•    LED is entitled to all appropriate recognition and benefits that accompany such a sponsorship
•    50 memberships (25 regular memberships, 25 associate memberships) in LIDEA
Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson was extremely complimentary of LIDEA and our role in economic development in the state. “LIDEA is Louisiana's most important economic development team, as it links large and small organizations with the same purpose, to bring jobs and investment to our State, and support the companies that are operating here today,” said Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Pierson. “LED is proud to formalize our partnership and sponsor LIDEA's important efforts."

Other highlights in the agreement include reporting requirements by LIDEA on the resources, initiatives, activities and services conducted. The agreement also includes language on how LED will work with LIDEA in developing a cohesive legislative strategy.

We are eager to continue our strong partnership with LED and Secretary Pierson as we all work to promote our great state.

LIDEA Announces Leadership
Board and Officers Chosen for 2016

December 17, 2015
BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) has elected its board and officers for 2016. The Board of Directors includes representatives from parish level economic developers, regional economic development organizations, state economic development officials, and industry consultants. In addition to its Board of Directors, LIDEA’s membership elected its officers to help guide and prioritize the association’s 2016 activities. The 2016 board and officers slate includes:

  • President: Frank Fink, LaCEcD, Director of Economic Development, St. Mary Parish Government
  • Vice President: Jerry Bologna, CEcD, Executive Director – Jefferson Economic Development Commission
  • Secretary: Michael Eades, CEcD, President/CEO Ascension Economic Development Corp.
  • Treasurer: Don Allison, Partner– Advantous Consulting LLC
Board of Directors:
  • Larry Collins (new) – President/CEO – Livingston Economic Development Council, Chairman  Program Committee
  • Rhonda Reap-Curiel (new) – CEcD, Owner – CENCOR, Consulting Group, Chairman Legislative Committee
  • Michael Tarantino (new) – President/CEO Iberia Industrial Development Foundation
  • Jim Bourgeois (new) – Executive Director of Business Development for One Acadiana, Chairman Communications Committee
  • Donald Pierson – CEcD, ‎Senior Director of Business Development – Louisiana Economic Development and incoming Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development in the Edwards administration
  • Brenda Bertus – CEO, St. Tammany Parish Economic Development Foundation
  • Grady Fitzpatrick – Senior Vice President, GNO, Inc., Chairman Membership Committee
  • Michael Olivier – President, Committee of 100, Immediate Past President of LIDEA

“LIDEA is looking forward to working with Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards, his administration, and the Legislature to provide input on the state of business incentives,” said Frank Fink 2016 LIDEA President.”  The organization will build upon the foundation established by 2015 LIDEA President Mike Olivier’s leadership.”
LIDEA will continue to partner with business allies throughout the state such as the eight (8) regional economic development organizations, LABI, and the Committee of 100, to name a few.
“This will be a transitional year under the new administration, and LIDEA is focused on taking advantage of opportunities across Louisiana,” said Jerry Bologna 2016 LIDEA Vice President.
To learn more about LIDEA and its members go to

LIDEA Hosts 2015 Annual Conference
Issues of Relevance to Louisiana’s Economic Future

September 29, 2015

BATON ROUGE-- The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) will address some of the most relevant issues facing economic development professionals in the global competitive economy during its 2015 Annual Conference in Baton Rouge the week of October 19.
Trends and best practices in incentives, workforce development, site location, leadership, and brand messaging will be presented by national experts during the two-day meeting being held at the Capital Hilton Hotel, October 19-21.   Betty McIntosh, Cushman & Wakefield Incentives Division on how Louisiana can be competitive;  Jim Walton, CEO of Brand Acceleration on the most effective messaging; and Jay Moon, President & CEO, Mississippi Manufacturing Association on the changing face of workforce, are just a few of the presenters. Additionally, attendees will hear Lafayette's story on the successful selection by Bell Helicopter presented by Ryan Martin, Bell Helicopter, Jubal Smith, Jones Lane LaSalle and Gregg Gothreaux of LEDA.
“We are paying close attention to the issues impacting the economic development professional and will continue to do so for years to come, said LIDEA President, Mike Olivier.    We want to provide our members and other attendees with the knowledge and tools needed to continue to improve Louisiana’s economy.” 
LIDEA is hosting two events for its young professionals those age 35 years and under.   “We reached out to this group to ask them about their interests, Olivier reported, “and created a session which will provide them time for one-on-one discussion with the national consultants who will be presenting at other times during the conference, as well as affording them an  opportunity for open discussion with the board.  This is an important membership sector to LIDEA," he added.
Prior to the start of the conference, attendees will have the option to attend a special pre-conference forum on Public Policy, offered as part of the Certified Louisiana Economic Developer program in partnership with LSU and LED. The Monday afternoon program running from 1-5 will provide insight into public policy, developing a strategy, engaging members and present LIDEA's strategy for economic development legislative matters. Presenters include : Jim Richardson, PhD and Jared Llorens, PhD of LSU's Public Administration Institute, Steven Procopio, PhD , Public Policy Director, PAR, Norman Morris, CEO,  Louisiana REALTORS®, Jim Patterson, VP Governmental Relations, LABI, and Rhonda Reap-Curiel, CEcD, CENCOR Consulting Group.
Certified Louisiana Economic Developers (CLEDs) and CEcDs certified by the International Economic Development Council will receive recertification points for attendance at the conference. 
To register for the conference or pre-conference and view the full agenda visit


Baton Rouge - -LIDEA recognizes the efforts of Representatives Taylor Barras, Chris Broadwater, Julie Stokes, and Walt Leger, and Senators J. P. Morrel and Mike Walsworth to support economic development during the 2015 Regular Legislative Session.

Combined, these representatives and senators supported LIDEA's efforts to provide tools for state, regional and local economic developers to improve the economic health of their respective communities.

Barras and Stokes will receive the Legislative Champion award for their efforts which included sponsoring legislation or amendments, providing information and questions during key votes, and gathering support for LIDEA's overall agenda.

Broadwater, Leger, Morrel and Walsworth will receive the Legislative Allies award for their efforts to support LIDEA's agenda during floor debates and in committee.
"We recognize the difficulty all of our legislators faced going into the session and are proud to have worked with them to continue to strengthen our economic development tools for greater returns to both the State and local communities, as well as the companies which make the investment in capital and jobs, " stated Rhonda Reap-Curiel, LIDEA Legislative Chair.

"The legislators we recognize this year are representative of those who continue to support our efforts to increase capital investment, increase wages and increase the ability of our citizens to qualify for higher wage jobs in their communities."

The awards are not based solely on scorecard reporting, but on efforts recognized by LIDEA's legislative committee.

Formal presentation of the awards will take place in Baton Rouge on October 20 as part of LIDEA's annual conference.


LIDEA sponsors Real Estate Development & Reuse Course- August 11-12, 2015 in Baton Rouge

Join the 12 current registrants from Alexandria in what has been a highly effective course using a learning laboratory methodology with real case studies on real estate development and re-use projects.     The course is geared to Louisiana community and economic developers, elected officials, civic leaders, chamber executives and other professionals interested in understanding the process of identifying and developing real estate for industrial and commercial uses.   

The workshop, scheduled for August 11-12, 2015 in Baton Rouge at the LSU Executive Education Complex, exposes attendees to the issues involved in site acquisition, legal entitlements and infrastructure development through a land development laboratory case study.  Speculative building programs and downtown and neighborhood development strategies are also discussed. Students are given a current overview of trends in financing land purchase and infrastructure development in Louisiana.  View Agenda

Developed real estate is a vital element in an effective economic development program. Corporations prefer to locate and expand in communities that have prepared sites and vacant buildings. Economic development corporations in rural communities in particular have to take the lead in site development.

Stacey Neal, Executive Director of Economic Development, Tangipahoa Parish Government shared with us how this workshop helped put vacant buildings back into use in her community.  “The Real Estate Development and Reuse course was very beneficial to me because my community had several existing facilities that had been vacant for quite a while.  Being able to look at those buildings for uses ‘outside the box’ helped us to market them differently and turn vacant buildings into useable space,” she said.  

The workshop is being taught by real estate development expert, Mark Waterhouse, who has facilitated for three prior years bringing over 30 years of experience.   

NLEP designated as an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) by the International Economic Development Council 


North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) has been designated as an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest membership association for economic and community development professionals in the world. NLEP stands among a select group of 43 economic development organizations across North America to receive the AEDO designation.


“NLEP is proud to receive the AEDO designation and be recognized as a top performing economic development organization,” said Scott Martinez, CEcD, NLEP President. “The IEDC accreditation process is a very comprehensive and rigorous peer review of an economic development organization’s professionalism, expertise and capacity. I would like to thank our dedicated staff, board members and most importantly our 167 investors that have made NLEP one of the top economic development organizations in North America.”


Earning the AEDO designation tells the community and prospects that NLEP attained a high level of excellence, assuring that their trust is well placed and their business is in good hands.  The AEDO program is a means of recognizing professional excellence and provides organizations with independent feedback, critical evaluation and peer mentoring from industry experts, including an analysis of the organizations strengths and weaknesses and recommendations for improvement.  “North Louisiana Economic Partnership displays the professionalism, commitment, and technical expertise that is deserving of this honor,” said Jeff Finkle, IEDC President and CEO.


The accreditation process is a two phase process.  Phase one is a document review of the organization’s development, structure and activities, including articles of incorporation, bylaws, budgets, strategic plan, staff resumes, marketing plan and collateral.  Phase two is a site visit by two Certified Economic Developers™ to assess the organization in action; to verify information submitted; to interview staff, board members, business leaders, and community stakeholders; and to evaluate the facilities and office resources.


LIDEA selects Edmonson & Associates to Write USDA Grant

The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association has selected Jim Edmonson of Edmonson & Associates to compile information and submit a grant application on behalf of LIDEA for the USDA's Rural Development Block Grant program for the purpose of providing scholarships to individuals engaged in economic development in rural communities or for economic development entities with limited resources. For additional information regarding the grant application and awarding, please contact Professional Development Committee Chairman Scot Byrd. 

LIDEA Takes Action in Support of Louisiana’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center Funding

Baton Rouge, LA, January 23, 2015: The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) announced today the issuance of a Resolution in support of continued funding for the Louisiana Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).  Established in 1989 to increase the number of federal, state and local governmental contracts awarded to Louisiana small businesses, LA PTAC has helped local companies secure $4.5 billion since its inception.  Providing a wide range of assistance, LA PTAC offers Louisiana companies one-on-one counseling sessions, educational classes and seminars, as well as governmental matchmaking events.

Currently there is no assurance that State funds will be allocated for the 2015-16 budget year.  The federal government is offering a grant of $294,000 through the Defense Logistics Agency to support LA PTAC—provided the State of Louisiana match funds of $185,000 prior to the grant deadline of February 2015.

In recent years, the total impact in new income to Louisiana through the LA PTAC services total $1.57 billion, creating 19,272 new direct jobs and 25,023 indirect jobs.  Through the assistance that this program provides to Louisiana small businesses and manufacturers, $104.2 million in new taxes have been paid to the State, $70.8 million in sales taxes have been generated, and $33.5 million in personal income taxes were created.


The Board of Directors of the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association, representing the membership of professional economic developers throughout the state, unanimously adopted the resolution to sustain the LA PTAC program—and encourages the Jindal administration to support Louisiana small businesses by honoring the contribution that they make to our state economy and providing them the crucial resources they require to promote Louisiana’s local economic development.  To view the resolution, please click here.



The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) is a 50-year professional organization whose mission is to increase the effectiveness of individuals involved in the practice of economic development in Louisiana through education, public policy advocacy, and collaboration; LIDEA is the voice of the economic development profession in Louisiana.  More information, including the resolution, can be found at