Category Archives: Press Release

NWLA Legislative Summit highlights wins for the state in 2019

BOSSIER CITY – The Bossier Chamber of Commerce, along with Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce and NLEP (North Louisiana Economic Partnership), hosted the Northwest Louisiana Legislative Summit at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, at CenturyLink Center.
The premise of the Northwest Louisiana Legislative Summit is to provide a look at the State of the State and provide a wrap-up of the 2019 Legislative Session. For this year’s format, we invited 14 state Legislators to participate in a panel discussion, moderated by the Council for a Better Louisiana President and CEO Barry Erwin, to talk about topics of great importance to our state: Tax Reform, Education, Infrastructure and Criminal Justice. As the top elected official in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards gave the keynote address, focusing on major wins for the state, and, specifically, Northwest Louisiana. 
Panelists included state Sen. Barrow Peacock, Sen. Ryan Gatti, Rep. Wayne McMahen, Rep. Larry Bagley, and Rep. Thomas Carmody. They all spoke about the importance of the topics presented, particularly education and infrastructure, touting wins within the state to raise the MFP, giving teachers and support staff pay raises and getting money allocated for the completion of the I-49 Inner City Connector. Rep. Bagley and Sen. Peacock worked together to have the I-49 Inner City Connector added to the now $700 million state infrastructure bill. 
“Every representative and every senator from here voted for the I-49 extension,” Bagley said. “So we are all united to get I-49.”
Gov. Edwards echoed many of these wins for the state for 2019, adding the Barksdale Interchange, and our area in hosting the National  Governor’s Association’s Cyber Conference in Shreveport-Bossier. On infrastructure, the governor announced more work on Interstate 20 as well as a commitment to invest in rural bridges throughout the state, to the tune of $90 million over the next three years.
“When we work together, we can do tremendous things for Louisiana,” Edwards said. “And make sure we will leave the state the way we want it be for our children and grandchildren so they will have opportunity and prosperity here in Louisiana. That’s what our mission is.”
The Bossier Chamber of Commerce hosts the Northwest Louisiana Legislative Summit, along with our regional partners – Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce, Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber and North Louisiana Economic Partnership – as a way to educate our membership and business community about the Legislative Session and state government. This year’s format gave our local state senators and state representatives the opportunity to speak directly to their constituents from the stage. The Summit is not and has never been a political event. The Bossier Chamber of Commerce does not endorse candidates for political office and only seeks to educate our membership and community about issues of great importance to our city, parish and region.

Bossier Chamber and business community to welcome new Bossier Parish teachers

New Teachers Luncheon helps start the school year

BOSSIER CITY— With more than 22,200 students attending Bossier Schools, the school district is one of the fastest growing districts in Louisiana in enrollment and performance. The Bossier Chamber, with sponsors Barksdale Federal Credit Union, Cyber Innovation Center and state Senator Ryan Gatti, will host a New Teachers Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on July 25, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites.

This luncheon is meant to welcome new teachers to Bossier Parish and show the business community’s support as they enter the Bossier Schools system for the first time in 2019.

“Showing our new teachers the Bossier community is behind them is more important than ever,” Bossier Parish Public Relations Director, Sonja Bailes said. “Fewer people are going into education, yet a high caliber teacher is shown to be the most important determinant in a student’s academic outcome.”

In addition to the luncheon, teachers will receive start-up materials and prizes from sponsors called New Teacher Supporters. Businesses can pay $175 to sponsor a new teacher to attend the luncheon. They also can offer promotional products and door prizes that can be useful for the teachers.

“By being a supporter, you are not only investing in a new teacher’s success, but our children’s futures as well,”  Bailes said. 

The Bossier Chamber recognizes the relationship between local businesses and the school system and values education as an important part of the quality of life we offer in northwest Louisiana.

UPDATED: Bossier Chamber urges School Board to withdraw tax propositions from May 4 ballot

Last Friday, the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors voted at a special called board meeting to take no position on the tax referendums on the May 4 ballot, but to offer feedback to the School Board. The Board recommended that the Bossier Parish School Board pull the propositions off the May 4, 2019 ballot and come back with a better collaborative offering. 

See our fact sheet here!

Bossier Chamber urges Bossier Parish School Board to withdraw May 4 propositions

Business Community seeks collaboration to restructure tax referendum

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has recommended that the Bossier Parish School Board pull the Tax Referendums on the ballot for May 4, 2019.

Because this tax is retroactive to 2019 and would impact business and economic growth, the Board echoes the sentiments of the poll conducted of the Bossier Chamber membership that this referendum is too much of a tax burden at one time.*

Other factors include:
• Governor John Bel Edwards has proposed a statewide teacher pay raise in 2019.
• According to the Bossier Parish Tax Assessor’s office, 2020 is a reassessment year for property in Bossier Parish.
The Bossier Chamber Board seeks a solution that does not destroy the budgets of the small businesses that make this economy run, gives teachers incentives to build a great school district and gives the administration the tools it needs to recruit.

We cannot let a solvable issue divide a Bossier community that has historically been so unified.

*These two propositions are property tax millages for residents and businesses. For the business community, property tax millages mean a tax on buildings, land, inventory, machines, fixtures, furniture, equipment, etc.

State of Bossier address to highlight 2018 successes and 2019 outlook for Bossier

BOSSIER CITY – Bossier Parish and City leaders will partner with the Bossier Chamber of Commerce to present The State of Bossier Address at 11:30 a.m. on April 2 at the Hilton Garden Inn’s Garden Event Center. In its fifth 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 Jack Hicks as well as the 2019 Bossier Parish Police Jury President, Doug Rimmer.

Economist Dr. Harold Christensen, who has taught economics and served as the director of the Center for Economics Education at Centenary College, will lend his expertise to speak on the growth of Bossier as well. Christensen’s areas of expertise include interest rates, network economics, fleet utilization and business valuations. He will give a comparative economic analysis for Bossier City/Parish. His presentation will include train graphics that help illustrate the economic impact of this mode of transportation in our area. 

“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 for our 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 available at $45 each at For more information, contact the Bossier Chamber of Commerce at (318) 746-0252.###

Bossier Chamber earns U.S. Chamber’s 5-star Accreditation

BOSSIER CITY – The United States Chamber of Commerce today awarded the Bossier Chamber of Commerce with 5-Star Accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as one of the elite chambers in the United States who receive 5-Star Accreditation,” said Lisa Johnson, President/CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. “5 stars can be looked at as an individual accomplishment for our staff, as a board accomplishment or as an investor accomplishment, but I know this could not have been done without the collaborative work we do with our partners and within our community day-in and-day out at the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.”

“It was exciting five years ago when we became a 4-Star Chamber but I knew that wasn’t the end. I knew we could be a 5-Star Chamber. With our staff and our board members, we have worked diligently for our investors to reach this goal,” Johnson said. 

Accreditation is the only national program that recognizes chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement. 

“Each day, chambers of commerce are working hard to put the American dream within reach of every hardworking business owner” said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, U.S. Chamber vice president of Federation Relations and Institute for Organization Management.  “The Accreditation designation tells chamber members as well as the greater business community, this is an organization that has effective programs, sound finances, and is a strong advocate for their interests.”

In order to receive Accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in their operations and programs, including areas of governance, government affairs, and technology. This extensive self-review can take 6-9 months to complete. Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars, or 5-Stars. The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Bossier Chamber announces 2019 board leadership

Barksdale Federal Credit Union CEO Patrick Gullatt to lead Board

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce its 2019 board leadership, with Barksdale Federal Credit Union CEO Patrick Gullatt taking the helm for 2019. Gullatt takes over the chairman role from Dana Smelser of CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health, who served as chair in 2018. “I’m excited to get started on the work of 2019,” Gullatt said. 
2019 Board of Directors Executive Committee (name, role on the board, business they represent):

  • Patrick Gullatt – Chairman (Barksdale Federal Credit Union)
  • Barry Regula – Chair Elect ( Margaritaville Resort Casino)
  • Nicole Wilhite – Finance Chair (Citizens National Bank)
  • Dana Smelser – Past Chair (CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health)
  • Sandy Cimino – Government Relations Chair (Community Bank of Louisiana)
  • Meredith Johnson – Business Development Chair (Realty Executives SBLA)
  • Daniel Keeton – Program Development Chair (Gibsland Bank & Trust)
  • Col West Anderson, USAF Retired – Military Relations Chair (Boeing)
  • Jonathan Reynolds – Marketing Chair (Carter Credit Union)

Now Announcing Nominations for the Bossier Chamber Annual Gala

BOSSIER CITY – On Tuesday, February 5, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce will honor top business and community leaders at the 71st Annual Gala. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and will host approximately 600 business professionals at the CenturyLink Center for the area’s largest networking event. 

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 Dana Smelser of CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health will pass the reins to incoming Chairman of the Board Patrick Gullatt of Barksdale Federal Credit Union. Incoming board members will be recognized and the coveted awards of Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year, presented by our award sponsor the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, will be announced. This year’s nominees are a group of leaders who excelled in the areas of leadership, growth and involvement. 

Business Person of the Year nominees

  • Isaac Palmer, CEO, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System
  • Jack “Bump” Skaggs, President & CEO, Coordinating and Development Corporation
  • Tim Wilhite, CFO/General Counsel, Wilhite Electric 

Business of the Year nominees

  • The Frilly Magnolia Boutique
  • Red River Motor Company
  • InstaGraham Events
  • Pediatric Therapy Partners
  • Flying Heart Brewing & Pub
  • Brookshire Grocery Company
  • AEP Swepco

This year, we want you to “Take Flight” with us as we honor those in our business community that are helping growth in our region. 
Tickets and corporate tables are still available at or by calling (318) 746-0252. 


Nominations press release:

Military Relations Committee to spread Christmas cheer to local military

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.

“We want to wish all of our local military happy holidays. It is important to give back to them for everything they do for us. We know these cookies are just a small treat, but we hope they feel the support and well wishes behind the gesture,” 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 Tuesday, Dec. 18, 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 or call (318) 746-0252.

18-MRC cookies press release

Spark Tank Showcase displays innovative ideas from Barksdale AFB airmen

On Thursday, Nov. 14 attendees of the Spark Tank Showcase: Lunch and Learn, held at the Sci-Port Discovery Center, got to hear three innovative idea pitches from Barksdale Air Force Base airmen. The event was designed to give a platform to airmen, so they can share their ideas and also win money to implement those ideas.

For all three Spark Tank participants, the main goal was to create concepts that best showcased innovation and process improvement. If they can reduce the amount of man hours to complete a task, then that time can be spent furthering the Global Strike Command Mission at Barksdale.

SMSgt Gregory Butler believes this event, as well as Innovation North LA, is important because it helps cultivate innovation in our community.

“We want to help grow Innovation North Louisiana because when we talk about innovation and process improvement—we can really learn a lot from each other,” SMSgt Butler said. “There is a way the civilian sector does something and the way that the military/goverment side does it, so we can all help each other. I think that helps build a network for our community.”

At the showcase, Tsgt Charles Coy explained how his virtual welding trainer concept would reduce the safety hazards involved when training airmen to weld. The program also would provide universal training and cut costs by $72,000 annually.

Another time-saving idea was a rust removal laser proposed by Tsgt Aaron Mcullum. He says the laser would cut cleaning time from 45 minutes to 7 minutes. It also doesn’t harm the person using the laser and provides no damage to the material being cleaned.

The final pitch was given by Tsgt Nate Hale. He proposed an engine change trailer that would help make changing an aircraft engine a much easier process. The trailer would reduce time and personnel used for tool check out/turn in.

SMSgt Butler says they hope to do another Spark Tank Showcase in January 2019.

The Spark Tank Showcase: Lunch and Learn is a part of 2018 Innovation North LA. This year’s focus is showcasing all of the great opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in our region. For more information on the events, visit

18-Spark Tank Showcase Lunch and Learn Release