Category Archives: 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

Cyber: Job Creation & Elimination Breakfast preps workforce of tomorrow

BOSSIER CITY — On Wednesday, Nov. 14, guests of the Cyber: Job Creation & Elimination Breakfast, held at the La Tech Academic Success Center, got to hear from prominent guest speakers about the future of the cyber field.

Several things were discussed including the cyber job market and the projected future of the field.

Jack Skaggs, with the Bossier Parish Police Jury and the Coordinating & Development Cooperation, shared some insight on the local government’s investment in the cyber job market. He touted the public and private partnerships that helped build the National Cyber Research Park, and he says that the growing cyber opportunities here can help keep the talent in the area.

“This was an opportunitity to build an economic leg that wasn’t dependent on the base.”

One prominent point that Skaggs made was by exposing children to the cyber realm early on in their education, we are culitvating the future workforce.

“Cyber is the future. This is the next industrial revolution.”

Skaggs says this is a way to keep families together because kids can pursue cyber here and also be able to find a job here when they graduate.

One prime example of this is Thomas Bush. He is a BPCC student from Bossier. He talked about what jobs cyber is creating and eliminating. He says that cyber is far reaching and it touches every industry. In the future, most task oriented jobs will be replaced with artificial intelligence.

Bush hopes to pursue cyber at Louisiana Tech once he finishes his main courses at BPCC. He realized his love for technology when he was exposed to early cyber education like the robotics program at his school.

“Technology has always appealed to me. I want to use it to help the government one day.”

Dr. Sumeet Dua with La Tech closed out the breakfast by discussing the role higher education plays in
preparing future generations.

“Cyber is not just a skill we could have. It’s a skill we should have.”

He also touched on how important cyber security is going to be in the very near future.

“Cyber security is at the front of national security,” Dua said.

The Cyber Job Creation & Elimination Breakfast is 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

FB Album:

18-Cyber Job Creation and Elimination Breakfast Release

Education & Innovation Luncheon highlights growing cyber field

Bossier Innovates Foundation awards 10 scholarships to Bossier, Caddo high schoolers

Bossier City — For the third year, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce hosted the Education & Innovation Luncheon. This time, the event focused on “Cultivating Generation Cyber,” and was sponsored by Bossier Parish Community College along with Barksdale Federal Credit Union, Louisiana Tech University and Citizens National Bank.

The event featured Kevin Nolten, member of the Workforce Development, Education and Public Outreach Committee of the Louisiana Cyber Commission and NICERC Director of Academic Outreach, who touted Louisiana’s spot in the cyber landscape.

He says Louisiana is on the map for cultivating talent and helping build a workforce pipeline for cyber. NICERC reaches 2.4 million students across the United States. They work with an education model — focused on cyber, STEM and computer science curricula — that was developed right here in Bossier. Locally, they continue to work with higher ed institutions in addition to Bossier Schools to invest in the talent.

“We have to know the foundations are at that K-12 level,” he said.

The event also featured three college students studying cyber including Kylie Kalinowski. She moved to the area from Michigan because when she was doing online research about where to study cyber, she said Louisiana kept popping up at the top of the list. Now she is a freshman Computer Science major with a concentration in cyber security at Louisiana Tech.

She addressed the high school students at the luncheon during her speech saying, “It’s incredible how you have all of these cyber opportunities in your own backyard.”

Nolten agrees with her. He says that Louisiana has the only state level cyber commission in the country. The state is making waves in the cyber field, and people are starting to notice.

“That’s something to be proud of,” Nolten said.

Nolten also went over what business, industry and government are doing for the community to help ensure that more people are equipped to join the cyber security workforce.

According to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report, there will be approximately 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs by 2021. Nolten says these are mindblowing statistics, but now they are working toward a solution.

At the luncheon, the Bossier Innovates Foundation awarded 10 scholarships to Bossier and Caddo Parish high school students who have expressed an interest in a cyber-related field of study. The scholarships were sponsored by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), Magee Resource Group and Northrop Grumman.

And the recipients of $1,000 scholarships were:
Brandi Butler, Caddo Magnet High School
Ian Duncan, Caddo Magnet High School
Creighton France, Benton High School
Wesley Goins, Captain Shreve High School
Zachary Grames, Airline High School
David Jara, Parkway High School
John Norris, Benton High School
Benjamin Sanguinetti, Benton High School
Ethan Ubeda, Caddo Magnet High School
Logan Wilhite, Airline High School

Additionally, the Bossier Innovates Foundation honored one teacher with the 2018 Excellence in Education & Innovation Award. This year’s recipient was Richard Scott, who serves as an instructional leader at a local department of defense youth program called STARBASE.

The Education and Innovation Luncheon is part of 2018 Innovation North LA. This year’s focus is showcasing all of the great opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in our region.

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.

18-ED and INN luncheon release

LACCE names 2019 Board, including Bossier Chamber President Lisa Johnson

Bossier Chamber President Lisa Johnson to serve on board

(October 31, 2018) The Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Executives (LACCE) has officially installed its 2019 Board of Directors and President, Paula Ramsey. Ramsey is Vice President of the Chamber Southwest/Southwest LA Economic Development Alliance located in Lake Charles.

Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lisa Johnson will continue her service on the LACCE Board of Directors for 2019.

LACCE and its Board Members represent chambers of commerce from all areas of the state. The organization is the only statewide association formed for the advancement of local chambers, chamber executives and staff.

The Association holds an annual conference each fall to update chambers across the state on industry trends, business issues, and operations stability. LACCE membership includes fifty chambers of commerce in Louisiana, representing over ten thousand businesses and over one hundred thousand employees.

The following chamber professionals will serve on the 2019 Executive Board:

President – Paula Ramsey, Chamber Southwest/Southwest LA Economic Development Alliance; Incoming President – Sandra Lindquist, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce; Treasurer – Jeremy Hidalgo, Broussard Chamber of Commerce; Immediate Past President – Deborah Randolph, Central LA Regional Chamber of Commerce

The following chamber professionals will serve on the 2019 Board of Directors:

Melissa Bordelon, Hammond Chamber of Commerce; Camille Conaway, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry; Jamie Hanks, West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce; Lisa Johnson, Bossier Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Timothy J. Magner, Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce; Raquella Manuel, St. Landry Chamber of Commerce; Amy S. Thibodeaux, Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce; Lacey Toledano, St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce; April Wehrs, Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce

LACCE is the professional development organization for chambers of commerce executives and staff members in Louisiana. LACCE equips chamber professionals with leadership development opportunities and tools to build innovative chambers.

Bossier Chamber President Lisa Johnson to serve on board

Bossier Chamber wins 2018 LACCE Chamber of the Year

BOSSIER CITY, La. – The Bossier Chamber of Commerce was recognized on Monday evening as the 2018 LACCE Chamber of the Year, in the Large Chamber Category.

Recognized for their strong work in advocacy in 2018 as well as their partnership with the City of Bossier City and the Bossier Parish Police Jury on the Be Bossier campaign, the Bossier Chamber was awarded the highest honor by the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Executives at the organization’s Annual Conference and Awards dinner on Monday, Sept. 24 at Margaritaville Resort Casino.

The Bossier Chamber was judged to have excelled in three categories: Community Development, Organizational Development and Professional Development.

It is the goal of the LACCE Chamber of the Year Award program to recognize those chambers that have distinguished themselves and their community through excellence in chamber management. Eleven chambers applied for the award in 2018, and the entries were judged by an out-of-state panel of judges comprised of current chamber executives. Recognition is based on the past 12 month’s accomplishments.

The winners of all of the 2018 Chamber of the Year Awards were (chamber sizes defined by revenue):
Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce – small category
Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce – mid-size category
Bossier Chamber of Commerce – large category



BOSSIER CITY — Education is the foundation upon which we build our future. We all know that having a strong education system is crucial in developing and sustaining a quality workforce. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date on all the new developments in the Bossier Parish education system. At the State of Education Address on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 8:30 a.m., you can hear some of our finest leaders in education give an update on what is happening at Bossier Parish Schools. The breakfast address will take place at the Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning (BPSTIL).

This event is a great opportunity to hear from 3 outstanding guest speakers including Deputy, of Network A for the Louisiana Department of Education, Emily Bradley, University of Louisiana System President Dr. James Henderson, and Superintendent of Bossier Schools Scott Smith.

Our guest speakers will touch on topics such as:
•School accountability and letter grades
•The state of higher education
•Challenges and successes of Bossier Schools
•Why K-12 education matters
•Vision for the future of the district

“Knowing about Bossier Schools’ triumphs, as well as the changes facing our district, is important not only for parents but everyone in Bossier Parish, because we are all stakeholders. Though K-12 education is experiencing seismic shifts, Bossier Schools sees it as an opportunity to better position our students for academic success,” said Smith.

While listening to these amazing guest speakers, you can enjoy a tasty breakfast prepared by the talented culinary students at BPSTIL. This is an event you don’t want to miss!

Special thanks to our sponsors Valveworks USA, Bossier Parish Community College, Citizens National Bank and United Way of Northwest LA.

Individual tickets are $35 and tables are also available for $600. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at (318) 746-0252.

State of Ed Press Release PDF: 18-State of Ed Release


BOSSIER CITY — Since 2004, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce has been recognizing the courage, valor and honor of our local first responders at its annual Patriot Awards. This year, we will continue to honor our local first responders who go above and beyond the call of duty. Patriot Awards finalists and the 2018 winners will be announced at the Bossier Chamber’s 2018 Patriot Awards held on Sept. 11 at 11:30 a.m. at the Bossier Civic Center. It is presented by Willis-Knighton with Shreveport Communications serving as award sponsor. Special thanks to our platinum sponsors Citizens National Bank, Eagle Distributing, Life Air Rescue and Townsquare Media.

The purpose of this event is to honor local first responders and thank them for all they do for the community. The event first started as a festival to honor the brave in 2002, but it was transformed into an awards ceremony in 2004.

“Since the tragedy of 9/11 and the passing of the Patriot Act, it is important for communities to continue to recognize their first responders – our silent heroes,” says Lisa Johnson, President of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.

Guest speakers for the event include Dr. Phillip Demond Fletcher, founder and director of CoHO, and founder of Humanity Matters, as well as, Mark Cooper, an emergency management expert.

Fletcher will be discussing military leadership and courageous responsibility at this year’s awards. He was enlisted into the Active Army in August 2000 and commissioned as an officer in September 2002. Fletcher received his Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnic Studies from University of California, Riverside, his Masters of Theology and Apologetics from Liberty University, and his doctorate of Organizational Leadership from Regent University.

This decorated former Army officer is currently the founder of two non-profit organizations and the author of, “The Excellence of God: Essays in Theology and Doxology.” He hosts a weekly podcast on topics like leadership, nonprofits, religion and philosophy. In the past, he has given a Tedx Talk at the University of Central Arkansas.

In addition to Dr. Fletcher, we will also host Mark Cooper as a guest speaker for the Patriot Awards. Cooper, formerly of Bossier City, has served in many emergency management roles. From historic floods to catastrophic hurricanes, Cooper has aided in many different disaster scenarios including hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008 along with the BP oil spill in 2010. He previously served as head of Louisiana’s disaster management agency; worked in California in response to Los Angeles riots, earthquakes and wildfires; and most recently was the Senior Director of Global Emergency Management for Wal-Mart.

Cooper also serves on the United Nations ARISE Executive Board for global resiliency and served on the FEMA National Advisory Council to the Administrator. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School/Center for Homeland Security and Defense.

Check out our YouTube page ( to see a video of Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington talk about the importance of these Patriot Awards.

Tickets and tables are available for the Patriot Awards luncheon. Tickets are $45 and tables are $800 for this premier event. Tickets are available online at or by phone at (318) 746-0252.

PDF of Press Release: 18-Patriot Awards

Bossier Chamber’s Hemingway attends Community Development Institute

CONWAY, Ark. – Jessica Hemingway, Director of Communications/Public Policy for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, was among 50 regional business leaders who attended Year 1 of the Community Development Institute – Central (CDI) at the University of Central Arkansas. Hemingway received a scholarship from AEP SWEPCO to attend the program.

“CDI was a great environment to learn more about building the whole community,” Hemingway said. “The insight I gained through this program will help me steer outreach within the Bossier-Shreveport community as a whole, and specifically within the business community. It was especially valuable for me to attend CDI as I help guide the Be Bossier campaign to help brand Bossier City and Parish within our parish, region and tri-state area.”

At the closing ceremony, Hemingway was named the CDI Year 1 Champion. She was chosen by her peers in Year 1 as the person who is engaged, concerned, committed, compassionate and inclusive, and demonstrates leadership that inspires and unites.

“I was extremely honored to have been chosen by my classmates as the CDI Year 1 Champion,” Hemingway said. “The coursework and simulations really bring the group together in discussion and community. I could not have asked for a better group to get to work alongside during my CDI coursework.”

Additionally, Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lisa Johnson, who has attended CDI for four years – completing the program and the Advanced Year course – served as a class director in 2018 for Year 3 participants.

CDI trains community leaders and economic development professionals on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities. This is achieved by developing the ability of participants to identify community assets, set goals, encourage collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, and bring communities, organizations and businesses together to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues.

The complete institute experience is a three-year program, with one week of training per year. Participants move through the program curriculum in cohorts, and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development.
UCA is the birthplace for the Community Development Institute, which started in 1987 in partnership with Entergy, Southwestern Bell, and ARKLA. Since that time, CDIs have been established in Texas, Alabama, Idaho and Illinois, and a national governing and certification body, the Community Development Council, has been created.

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 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


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.


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.


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 or call (318) 746-0252.