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Game On: Positioning Ourselves for the Future

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76th Annual Meeting

January 23, 2024

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Business Person of the Year Finalists

And the finalists are ...

Bethany Fouts, a dedicated mother, Air Force spouse, and avid supporter of local businesses, relocated from Tennessee to Bossier Parish after obtaining a master's degree in marketing. Beyond her professional pursuits, Bethany embraced the role of a foster and adoptive mom, extending her love and care to three siblings from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Balancing a family of six, including four adopted children, Bethany seamlessly transitioned back into the workforce, bringing her expertise to Locals Love Us as a successful sales and social media professional. Her passion lies in promoting and championing local businesses, a sentiment she actively instills in her children. Bethany's determination, combined with her deep connection to Bossier Parish, fuels her tireless efforts in working for the betterment of the Shreveport-Bossier community she takes immense pride in being a part of.

Gregory Kallenberg, currently holding the position of Founder and Executive Director of the Prize Foundation, stands as the esteemed recipient of the LEH Champion of Culture Award. His instrumental contributions to the Louisiana Film Prize and Prize Fest have not only transformed Shreveport-Bossier into a vibrant arts and culture hub but have also generated a remarkable positive economic impact of over $12 million for Northwest Louisiana. In addition to his role as Founder and Executive Director of the Prize Foundation, Gregory is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, celebrated for his work on projects such as "Rational Middle of Immigration," providing insights into the complexities of immigration in America. His directorial portfolio extends to films like "The Long Game," exploring energy development in West Texas, and the well-received "Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future." Having earned the prestigious title of "Champion of Culture" by the Louisiana Endowment of the Humanities in 2019, Gregory, with a background in journalism, exemplifies versatility and professionalism, leaving an indelible mark on the realms of film and culture. His multifaceted contributions underscore his commitment to making a lasting impact in these dynamic fields.

Loreli Lopez, the proprietor of PPT, Inc., stands as a prominent figure in the concrete contracting landscape of Northwest Louisiana. Her success in the industry is matched by her noteworthy
contributions to volunteer work, solidifying her as a respected community leader. Loreli has been at the forefront of a scholarship program for several years, showcasing a profound commitment to supporting students in their academic pursuits. In 2023, her dedicated efforts bore fruit with the successful securing of a substantial $15,000 donation through HHA. This financial boost further reinforces her mission to empower students and facilitate the realization of their academic dreams. Beyond her role as a business owner, Loreli's leadership extends to actively participating in the reconstruction and construction projects of Northwest Louisiana through collaborative partnerships. Her influence as the owner of PPT, Inc. resonates far and wide, leaving a lasting positive impact on both her business and the Shreveport-Bossier community at large.

Christian Mudd, a dynamic entrepreneur at the youthful age of 28, serves as a Territory Manager at H&E Equipment Services, Inc. His entrepreneurial spirit shines through as he has successfully initiated four businesses since 2020. Collaborating with his wife Brittany and supported by their children, Christian launched Mudd & Kennon Development in 2020, focusing on the construction of commercial properties. In 2021, he ventured into the retail sector with the establishment of Sterling Spirits, a flourishing liquor store in Haughton. Building on this success, Pine Ridge Investments was founded in 2022, further solidifying his presence in the commercial property development arena. Continuing his innovative journey, Sterling Spirits II was established in 2023 in Bossier, specializing in events and catering. Beyond his commitment to business, Christian is deeply engaged in community service. He generously volunteers his time with the Dream Hunt Foundation and actively contributes to schools, sports programs, and various charitable endeavors. Christian's dedication is evident in his meticulous time management, as he invests substantial hours into each project. His unwavering determination is a testament to his commitment to both the prosperity of his businesses and the well-being of the community.

Ashley Warner, the dedicated General Manager of Louisiana Boardwalk, is a consummate professional recognized for her unwavering commitment to both her professional role and the broader community. Her active involvement with the Tourist Bureau Board in Bossier and valuable contributions to the Bossier Chamber Board underscore her commitment to regional success and collaboration.
At the forefront of hosting numerous community events, Ashley has proven to be instrumental in attracting more people to the area. Her proactive leadership style has not only heightened the visibility of her business but has also significantly enriched the local community. Nominated for her exemplary contributions, Ashley Warner stands out for her active engagement in key local organizations, strategically hosting events that effectively promote both her business and the region. Her consistent pursuit of innovative ways to support and uplift the community showcases her as a driving force for positive change, contributing to the creation of a vibrant and thriving local environment. Ashley's outstanding efforts make her a true testament to the transformative impact of dedicated leadership in both business and community development.

Business of the Year Finalists

And the finalists are...

AT&T Louisiana has emerged as a key player in the region, making significant strides in fiber expansion, introducing new cell towers for enhanced coverage, and actively participating in impactful community service projects. Noteworthy is their steadfast support for Bossier Parish Community College's Fiber Optics Training Program, showcasing a deep commitment to workforce development. Beyond business, AT&T Louisiana's engagement with local schools, contributions to scholarship programs, and involvement in initiatives for individuals with criminal records underscore their dedication to community enrichment
and social responsibility. Their comprehensive approach to business and community impact positions them as highly deserving candidates for this prestigious award.

In Bossier City, the innovative mind behind Boba Xpress and Café Boba Tea, Lang Earb, has revolutionized the boba tea experience over the past seven years. Her unwavering commitment to quality is evident in every detail, from thoughtfully selected tea blends to premium ingredients, ensuring patrons savor the epitome of boba perfection. Earb's vision extends beyond crafting exceptional beverages; it encompasses creating an inviting environment where customers feel valued. As a business owner, Earb strives not only for profit but to inspire others, sharing her journey of overcoming challenges in a foreign land. Actively contributing to charitable causes like the Domestic Violence Task Force and supporting dog rescues, Lang Earb intertwines boba tea excellence with a commitment to community, empowerment, and global philanthropy.

Express Employment Professionals
in Shreveport/Bossier, owned by Blake and Kristi Wren, is dedicated to empowering success and inspiring hope in the community. With a mission to bring hope through employment, they provide comprehensive solutions for job seekers and local businesses, acting as advocates for associates and serving as the Human Resources department for enterprises. Over the past decade, their commitment has resulted in serving thousands of associates/employees, collaborating with numerous local businesses, and creating substantial payroll for Shreveport/Bossier. With a new building and an expanded Skilled Trades division, Blake and Kristi Wren continue to prioritize others, aiming to provide hope and serve their community. As active community members, they believe in the bright future of Shreveport-Bossier, making Express Employment Professionals a nationally recognized staffing firm globally.

Give Me 3, founded in 2017, is more than a retail entity; it symbolizes a business venture driven by a desire for something more significant. Guided by God's direction, creativity, and a family history of small business ownership, Give Me 3 has expanded its reach to 41 states and international destinations in six years. Beyond commerce, it has evolved into a platform for philanthropy, supporting educators, acknowledging single mothers, and contributing to Christmas initiatives for disadvantaged children. Give Me 3 embodies a space of prayer, resilience, and a testament to promises, transcending the typical retail experience.

Jeter Therapy Group is a dedicated partner in assisting individuals of all ages, including children and adults, in achieving their goals through speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Their clinicians address unique challenges presented by each patient daily, staying abreast of the latest training, techniques, and education to provide top notch care to the community. Expanding its outreach with multiple locations across Louisiana, Jeter Therapy Group aims to reach and treat a broader spectrum of patients, playing a significant role in shaping the success of future generations by helping individuals reach their full potential.

Lamb and Associates, a locally based promotional item business, demonstrated resilience post-pandemic by focusing marketing budgets for clients. Successfully restructuring their approach, they expanded and created new avenues for businesses to promote themselves. Lamb and Associates not only ensures brand consistency but also facilitates accessibility of logoed items for members and potential members. Their innovative thinking has propelled their own growth and positively impacted other businesses in Northwest Louisiana. By assisting businesses in creating efficient and professional platforms for obtaining promotional items and apparel, Lamb & Associates contributes to the success of their clients' directives.

LifeShare Blood Center plays a crucial role as a provider of blood and blood products to hospitals and clinics in Bossier City. Despite supply chain disruptions and labor challenges post- Covid, their dedication ensures a stable and readily available blood supply for the local, regional, and extended communities. Their daily efforts involve recruiting volunteer donors to meet the ongoing demand for blood needed in various medical situations, contributing significantly to healthcare resilience in the face of ongoing challenges.

Celebrating 100 years of service in the Bossier community, Willis-Knighton Health System has evolved from a small hospital to a comprehensive health system with five hospitals, support services, Quick Care centers, and over 150 physician offices. Recognized as Louisiana’s top-performing hospital in 2023, Willis Knighton has expanded its reach by adding a Suburban Physician Primary Care Clinic, introducing groundbreaking technologies for joint replacement and prostate cancer treatment. The organization launched Reach Out and Read, provided free physicals for high school athletes, expanded residency programs, and supported military readiness. Post-COVID-19 challenges strengthened WKHS, making it more resilient and adaptable to meet evolving healthcare demands in the region.

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