Category Archives: Press Release

Four North Louisiana Parishes Strive to Become Work Ready Communities  

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, LA — Four North Louisiana Parishes will launch a new workforce initiative on June 20, 2018 at 8:30 am at the Bossier Civic Center that will enhance the region’s ability to recruit companies and to train a skilled workforce.  Representatives from over 20 regional organizations from Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto and Webster Parishes will announce plans to become ACT® Work Ready Communities. Employers, educators, business and community leaders are invited to attend the free public launch of the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative, by registering at actworkreadynorthla.eventbrite.com or call 318.677.2559.

“Over the last couple of years, we have seen increased attention given to WorkKeys and the ACT Work Ready Communities Program by companies and organizations that rank communities for their competitiveness in corporate site selection,” said Scott Martinez, President, North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP).  “By participating in this program, we can improve our region’s standing compared to other locations. Availability of a skilled workforce has become a top consideration of companies considering where to locate and expand.”

The ACT Work Ready Communities program is designed to assist a particular area, region or state in developing its workforce pipeline to provide skilled workers for employers by using the ACT WorkKeys System. The framework allows each participating community to measure and to improve the skill levels of its workforce through a standardized workforce skill credential—the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate™ (NCRC). Supported by data updated online by Iowa-based ACT monthly, communities in 26 states are either certified or working toward certification.

The process toward becoming Work Ready Communities began October 2017. NLEP convened regional representatives from local governments, K-12 and post-secondary education systems, workforce development, economic development and chambers of commerce to apply to the program as a regional team.  Since then, the regional team attended three of four ACT Work Ready Communities Academies, an executive leadership and a training program designed and hosted by ACT. To start the process of becoming certified Work Ready Communities, the team developed a common set of goals focused on increasing the number of National Career Readiness Certificate holders within different segments of the regional workforce. The next step is to build awareness, cooperation and commitment with local employers, policymakers, educators and economic developers.

“As a result of more stakeholders signing on to participate in this initiative, we will see an increased interest from our students who will begin to see the direct impact a quality Workkeys score can have on their future as a job seeker and successful employee,” said Superintendent Clay Corley, DeSoto Parish Schools.

This initiative is bolstered by the Louisiana Department of Education decision to begin funding the WorkKeys testing for some high school students, which has led to several hundred students in the four-parish area graduating high school with a WorkKeys certificate.  They can use this certificate to stand out to hiring managers if they want to go directly to work.  Area community and technical colleges are increasingly embedding WorkKeys in certain high demand programs, so that their graduates will have this additional tool to demonstrate mastery of the skills they need to be successful in their chosen career.

For more information on the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative, go to workreadycommunities.org.

ABOUT ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from kindergarten through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, go to www. act.org.

ABOUT NORTH LOUISIANA ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP

North Louisiana Economic Partnership, an Accredited Economic Development Organization, provides professional economic development services to the 14 parish region of North Louisiana, including lead generation and prospect management. The organization also represents the interests of North Louisiana with a unified voice and as a single point of contact. It acts as a catalyst, a convener, and a connector in the region to ensure that North Louisiana’s economic development potential is realized. Its vision is for North Louisiana to be a thriving region-a destination for high quality talent, innovative companies, and global investment.

BOSSIER CHAMBER RECOGNIZES AND HONORS MILITARY CHILDREN’S SACRIFICE

The Month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child

BOSSIER CITY – The month of April is designated as Month of the Military Child. This month’s observance focuses on showing support to military children in recognition of the sacrifices they make while their parent(s) serve our country. The Bossier Chamber of Commerce’s Military Relations Committee and Northwest Louisiana Military Support Foundation are partnering on two celebrations to help recognize military children and families.

  • KidFest, April 7, 5-8 p.m. at Bossier Civic Center, a fun festival of the Warrior Network with games, food, inflatables, displays, prizes, fun and much more! Military kids of all ages (and parents as well) are invited to attend.
  • Purple Up Day, April 13, 1:30 p.m. at Haughton Middle School, where we recognize the military children in the Bossier Parish School System.

So, why the color purple for “Purple Up Day”? Purple is the color used to signify all branches of military service blended together (U.S. Navy and Air Force blue, U.S. Marine red, and U.S. Army green). Businesses can get involved in Purple Up Day and show support for military children, too, by allowing employees to wear purple that day, or change their marquees to display supporting statements such as “We Support Military Children” or “Purple Up for Military Kids.” Additionally, businesses are encouraged to offer special discounts throughout the month of April for military children and families.

For more information about Month of the Military Child, please contact Kattie Hollay, Military Relations Liaison, at mrc@bossierchamber.com or call (318) 746-0252.
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State of Bossier Address to highlight 2017 successes and 2018 outlook for Bossier

Luncheon will highlight panel of Bossier Parish mayors and BPPJ president

BOSSIER CITY – Bossier Parish and City leaders will partner with the Bossier Chamber of Commerce to present The State of Bossier Address on April 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn’s Garden Event Center.
In its fourth year, the luncheon, presented by sponsor CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System, will feature a panel, including Benton Mayor Shelly Horton Jr., Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker, Haughton Mayor and Plain Dealing Mayor David Smith, as well as the Bossier Parish Police Jury President for 2018, Glenn Benton.
These officials will sit on a panel together, starting the discussion by telling the audience about their successes and challenges in 2017 and moving forward into 2018. Then, the panel will be asked questions, submitted by Bossier Chamber members, for a Question and Answer session.
In addition to parish and city leaders, Douglas White, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at LSU Shreveport will give a regional economic outlook with statistics and information specific to Bossier Parish as well as points of interest to the business community.
“The State of Bossier Address is a great annual event for the Chamber and for Bossier,” said Bossier Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Johnson. “This event shows our community and our region what great things are going on in Bossier and how the city and parish are emerging as leaders in innovation and growth in the area.
“But, more importantly, the State of Bossier Address shows the strong partnerships within our community and how our local leaders are working together to grow Bossier.”
Tickets to the event are still available at $40 each at www.bossierchamber.com. For more information, contact the Bossier Chamber of Commerce at (318) 746-0252.
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LET’S TALK ABOUT THE LEGISLATURE

Seminar Series debut focuses on where the Legislature is headed in 2018

The special session has ended without much action; the regular session begins on Monday and there is a lot of speculation about a second special session.

Want to know where we go from here? So do we.

That’s why the Bossier Chamber of Commerce is hosting our first Government Relations Seminar Series to talk about the state we are in: Where is the Legislature on key issues and where do we go from here?

Join us on March 15 at 8 a.m. at Jimmy’s Seafood & Steak at Margaritaville Resort Casino as we welcome Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s Camille Pampell Conaway, Senior Vice President of Policy and Research. Conaway leads public policy analysis, development, and research initiatives across a range of issues important to business.

Thank you to the sponsors of this event: Citizens National Bank, Red River Bank, Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway, Mosley Title Company, Roberts and Murphy and Townsquare Media.

Tickets are $25 each and include a full breakfast. You can get tickets at www.bossierchamber.com.

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Bossier City a hot market

Numerous job fairs springing up in March

BOSSIER CITY — Several career fairs are popping up all across Bossier City. With each new company that opens its doors, there comes a slew of available job opportunities. Not only is Bossier seeing new growth within the realms of new business, the area is also noticing a surge of growth and expansion among existing business. In addition to the upcoming fairs listed below, the Bossier Chamber partnered with TAPS Plus (Transition Assistance Program) on an industry-specific job fair today for our local military men and women — this time for the manufacturing and law enforcement industries. Career fairs are indicative of a thriving economy and Bossier City offers its residents a multitude of prospects within the realms of job placement, including these upcoming events:

BPCC Nursing and Allied Health Graduate Career Fair

Thursday, March 22

12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Nursing and Allied Health Building

Building H, First Floor

6220 E. Texas St.

Bossier City, LA

Virginia College Career Fair

Friday, March 23

10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

2950 E Texas St. Ste. C

Bossier City, LA

Career Fair – The Blake at Bossier City

Tuesday, March 27

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bossier Parish Library Historical Center

2206 Beckett St.

Bossier City, LA

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Tour de Bossier with Pierre Bossier garners Silver Addy Award

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is pleased to annouce that the Tour de Bossier with Pierre Bossier web series produced within the Chamber’s Be Bossier branding campaign have won a silver at the Shreveport-Bossier AAF Addy Awards.

All Y’all Media wrote and produced the video web series for Be Bossier. Tour de Bossier with Pierre Bossier is a series of videos about Bossier Parish’s namesake – General Pierre Bossier – timetraveling from 1847 to 2017! Pierre goes on adventures throughout Bossier City and Parish, amazed by the wonders of modern life in Bossier as he learns about technology, samples local cuisine and visits landmarks.
The series was a hit on Facebook, garnering more than 200,000 views just in the five weeks it aired and the numbers have continued to grow. The Be Bossier campaign is a marketing campaign for Bossier City and Bossier Parish, led by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with partners the City of Bossier City and the Bossier Parish Police Jury.

Petzold, Twisted Root BC, CSRA take home top Business Awards

BOSSIER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NAMES
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AND BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR AT THE 70TH ANNUAL GALA

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce honored top business and community leaders as the organization celebrated 70 years of excellence in business. The event kicked off with a cocktail hour prior to the program, and a toast to the Chamber’s 70 years by the 2015 Business Person of the Year Mike McSwain and 2016 Business Person of the Year Barry Regula.

The Chamber hosted more than 500 business professionals at the CenturyLink Center for the area’s largest networking event, sponsored by Clay Young Enterprises. The Bossier Schools TAP Jazz Band provided entertainment for the evening, complete with their rendition of “There’s No Business like CHAMBER Business” to play off of the famous song and movie “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

Each year, the Chamber takes time to celebrate the successes of the previous year while sharing plans for the year ahead. Outgoing Chairman of the Board Terry Moore of Merrill Lynch passed the reins to incoming Chairwoman of the Board Dana Smelser of CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health. Incoming board members were recognized and the coveted awards of Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year were announced, sponsored by the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation.

This year’s nominees are a group of leaders who excelled in the areas of leadership, growth and involvement.

2017 Business Person of the Year Nominees

Dr. G. E. Ghali, LSU Health

Gregory Kallenberg, Film Prize Foundation

Trey McGuire, The Warrior Network

Terry Petzold, Magee Resource Group

2017 Small Business of the Year Nominees

Amark Metals, Inc.

ANECA Federal Credit Union

Bossier City Farmers Market

Brewer Physical Therapy

The Frilly Magnolia Boutique

Twisted Root Burger Co. – Bossier City

2017 Business of the Year Nominees

Barksdale Federal Credit Union

Cintas Corporation

CSRA Integrated Technology Center

Margaritaville Resort Casino

 

Terry Petzold was named the Bossier Chamber’s 2017 Business Person of the Year for his work to help build a workforce for our region and market Northwest Louisiana as a great place to live, work and play.

Twisted Root Burger Co. – Bossier City was named the Bossier Chamber’s 2017 Small Business of the Year as this business has quickly made a success out of what would seem an ordinary business. But when you do business extraordinarily, treat your “home” as a special place and tout its strengths for all to see as well as having owners who give their time within the community – you have a winning combination.

CSRA ITC was named the Bossier Chamber’s 2017 Business of the Year for their impact on the local economy by adding high-skilled jobs and helping to diversify the local workforce as well as their swift help for our neighbors after the hurricanes in Houston and beyond.

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Winner bios below

 

TERRY PETZOLD, MAGEE RESOURCE GROUP: Terry Petzold is the managing partner of Magee Resource Group, LLC, a global technology, cybersecurity and healthcare recruiting staffing firm headquartered in Shreveport. Terry has been recognized as one of the world’s top producing headhunters and is considered an expert in workforce development. Over the past several years, his influence in the northwest Louisiana market has been crucial to its expansion, due to his team’s recruitment of both companies and candidates to the area, specifically in the IT, healthcare, cyber and federal arenas.

After purchasing the 20-year-old business, Terry reinvented the company’s entire culture. Most recently, he relocated his business to downtown Shreveport to attract millennials. Terry is a member of the Committee of 100, Shreveport Bossier Military Affairs Council, North Shreveport Business Association, and GBEDF. He is a 40 Under 40 honoree, and an Honorary Commander for Barksdale Air Force Base 2nd Bomb Wing, 2nd Communications Squadron. He was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and NLEP, AMIkids, and serves as Finance Chair for the Bossier Innovates Foundation. Terry is also a Board Member for First Chance, a public and government service nonprofit helping train and equip law enforcement officers to save lives. He also serves on the Advisory Board for BPSTIL and the board of Step Forward. Terry is married to Emily Ackeberg Petzold and they have three children. Terry and his family are very active with the Simple Church. He is also the president of the Stonebridge Community Association.

 

TWISTED ROOT BURGER CO. – BOSSIER CITY: Twisted Root Burger Co. opened its Bossier City location in 2016 making franchise owner Grant Nuckolls the first multi-unit franchisee within the Twisted Root family. Instead of building a brand new space from the ground up, Nuckolls saw character and charm in a former gas station located off Airline Drive and completed a total remodel on the existing structure. Twisted Root Bossier City is a large supporter of Barksdale Air Force Base, so much so that the décor of the Bossier City location pays homage to the base with Air-Force themed exterior murals and a scale replica of a B-52 bomber, which flies out of the dining room wall. Twisted Root is also known for its array of community events including in-store spirit nights and fundraisers (which in 2017 alone, the Bossier City location was able to host over 30 groups generating over $5000 for the organizations), trivia nights, sports night, and meet and greets with legendary military veterans like Lt. Col. Dick Cole, the 100 year old Doolittle Raid Pilot. In addition to serving as a member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, Twisted Root Bossier City is also a member of the Bossier City and Greater Shreveport Chambers of Commerce.

 

CSRA Integrated Technology Center in Bossier represents our region’s commitment to partnership, working alongside the state of Louisiana, Louisiana Economic Development, the City of Bossier City, Bossier Parish, Cyber Innovation Center and local higher education partners.

In less than four years, CSRA has recruited and hired more than 700 employees between their two Bossier facilities. In 2017 alone, CSRA hosted four job fairs to hire hundreds of employees. With plans to exceed their commitment to Bossier and Louisiana, the company plans to meet and exceed its commitment to create 800 jobs at the Integrated Technology Center alone.

As a key to their future success, CSRA partners with local higher education institutions to create a prime pipeline of talent for their facilities, staying engaged in curriculum discussions so local students are work-ready upon graduation. Many of these employees are coming from a variety of Louisiana higher education institutions and 35 percent of the current ITC employees are military veterans.

In September 2017, the federal government enlisted CSRA after Hurricane Harvey to help survivors navigate the system toward recovery. Overall, CSRA helped more than one million survivors from not only Hurricane Harvey, but Hurricanes Irma and Marie as well as the California fires.

CSRA employees are active members of local chambers and economic development entities and the company has sponsored local events like Give for Good and Girls Who Code as well as serving as a partner in the Bossier Chamber’s inaugural Innovation NWLA summit on entrepreneurship.

Military Relations Committee to spread Christmas cheer to local military

Bossier Chamber committee will deliver cookies to local service men and women

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce Military Relations Committee will be delivering approximately 5,000 cookies to local military members this holiday season, thanks to the help of Boomtown Bossier City, which is sponsoring all of the cookies.

“This is an important gesture that we show to ALL of our local military community members because we want to show our units that we recognize and appreciate them for their commitment and sacrifices to our country,” said Kattie Hollay, Military Relations Liaison for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.

The Committee, along with representatives from Boomtown Bossier City, will be delivering cookies on Wednesday, Dec. 20, to the 307th Bomb Wing, 2nd Bomb Wing, Air Force Global Strike, 8th Air Force, MEPS (Military Entrance and Processing Station), National Guard (in Bossier and Shreveport), Marine Corps Reserve Unit, Navy Reserve Unit and Army Reserve Unit.

For more information, contact our Military Relations Liaison Kattie Hollay at mrc@bossierchamber.com or (318) 746-0252.

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Lt. Col. Fish named 2017 Young Professional of the Year

Lt. Col. William “Bill” Fish, Jr. USAF, was honored as the recipient of the 2017 Young Professional of the Year Award at the annual 40 Under 40 Awards and Gala Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Shreveport Convention Center.

“The Young Professional Initiative (YPI) is a core program of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, and 40 Under 40 is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the emerging leaders in our community,” said Dr. Timothy Magner, President of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. “We are delighted to recognize this year’s class and to celebrate Lt. Col. Fish as the Young Professional of the Year for his leadership on behalf of our community and his service to our nation. Lt. Col. Fish is an excellent example of the caliber of our airmen and his engagement in the Shreveport-Bossier community highlights the positive relationship that exists between our community and Barksdale Air Force Base.”

Originally from Flagstaff, Az., Lt. Col. Fish is currently the Commander of the 11th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB. As a member of the 2nd Bomb Wing, Lt. Col. Fish deployed multiple times to the Pacific and flew combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Fish continued his education earning a M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University and graduated from the US Army Command and General Staff College. Lt. Col. Fish returned to Barksdale following an assignment to United States Strategic Command where he helped shape the nation’s nuclear plans.

He has served in multiple positions including the 2nd Bomb Wing’s Director of Staff where he represented the Wing at multiple civic organizations including the Greater Shreveport and Bossier Chambers of Commerce.

“The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a part of the 40 Under 40 Gala,” said Lisa Johnson, President and CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. “Each year, we see another class of talented young people engaging in the community and making a difference. Congratulations to the 2017 class. We are extremely excited to honor Lt. Col. William “Bill” Fish as this year’s Young Professional of the Year, as Barksdale Air Force Base and its airmen serve as an integral part of our community’s success.”

Dedicated to improving the quality of life in our region, Lt. Col. Fish helped establish the Roots for Boots Airman Sponsorship program, supports The Global Power Museum Association, and Evangel Learning Center among other organizations. Lt. Col. Fish has two children with his wife Jennifer.

Education & Innovation Luncheon: Sen. Sharon Hewitt encourages female STEM students

La. Sen. Sharon Hewitt highlights Education & Innovation event

Bossier Innovates Foundation awards 9 scholarships to Bossier Parish high schoolers

For the second year, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce hosted the Education & Innovation Luncheon: Inspiring Women in Stem, sponsored by Bossier Parish Community College along with Barksdale Federal Credit Union, Benteler Steel/Tube, Cyber Innovation Center, Forte and Tablada, and Northwestern State University.

This luncheon, highlighted STEM education as well as the STEM job sector — an industry expected to grow faster than other occupations in the next decade but one which is lacking in female representation.

To encourage more females to enter STEM professions, the Bossier Chamber invited successful women in STEM fields and 75 Bossier Parish and Caddo Parish female high school students to attend the event and sit together, a way to encourage the students to continue to reach for successful careers in STEM-related fields.

The event featured Louisiana Sen. Sharon Hewitt, a former engineering executive who managed major deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico for Shell. Recently, Sen. Hewitt authored Senate Bill 225, which creates the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council under the purview of the Board of Regents.

Hewitt told the audience she was “inspired” by them as she saw the students in attendance. She told the students her story – as a female in the male-dominated world of engineering.

“I was the only female in my mechanical engineering class,” she said. “I didn’t see myself as a female; I saw myself as an engineer.”

“The guys offshore didn’t quite know what to do with me, and that’s OK because I didn’t quite know what to do with them. But, we were all there to do a job,” Hewitt explained of her first job working as the Shell engineer on off-shore rigs. Hewitt said she earned their respect, and they, hers. “And I believe I did a good job.”

After engineering, Hewitt moved to another male-dominated sector – state politics. And she encouraged the females in the room to join her there in the coming years to help guide our state’s government. Hewitt is doing that with her STEM bill.

Hewitt said, nationally, 48 percent of students are interested in STEM fields but only 26 percent are STEM-ready. In Louisiana, 52 percent of students show an interest in STEM but a mere 14 percent are STEM-ready based on ACT scores.

And, Hewitt said she wants to help Louisiana fix that.

“I want Louisiana to be the go-to state for STEM talent,” she said. And, the advisory council produced from Senate Bill 225 is a step in doing that, as well as guiding the education of Louisiana’s future.

As a final note of encouragement, she told the students: “Outwork everyone else and prove you are the best…anything you want to be!”

The Bossier Innovates Foundation awarded nine scholarships to Bossier Parish high school females who have declared they plan to seek a major in a STEM-related field in college. The scholarships were sponsored by AT&T, Brown Builders, Fire Tech Systems, Forte and Tablada, Magee Resource Group, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and STARBASE Louisiana.

And the recipients of $1,000 scholarships were:

Kenzie Farquhar, Haughton High School

Jade Champagne, Benton High School

Megan Cox, Benton High School

Hailey Densmore, Haughton High School

Brianna Rogers, Parkway High School

Kayla Cassidy, Benton High School

 

The recipients of the $500 scholarships were:

Jocelyn Feaster, Parkway High School

Bailee Rattanachai, Haughton High School

Miranda Pickard, Haughton High School

Additionally, the Bossier Innovates Foundation honored two STEM teachers with the Excellence in Education & Innovation Award. The recipients were Laurie Salvail, a teacher at Kingston Elementary School, and Terence Flores, a teacher at Caddo Magnet High School.

The Education and Innovation Luncheon is part of 2017 Innovation NWLA, a day promoting all things innovation in Northwest Louisiana. This year’s focus will be Building Our Brand, showcasing all of the great opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in our region. For more on the full day of innovation, visit https://innovation-nwla.eventbrite.com.

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ABOUT THE BOSSIER INNOVATES FOUNDATION: The Bossier Innovates Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, endeavors to enhance the economic and social opportunities of northwest
Louisiana, as well as the quality of life of its citizens, through educational programs, workforce development, enhancement or expansion of existing facilities and programs, and collaborations with community partners.