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Adam Daigle, Business Editor of The Acadiana Advocate, Looks Back on 2021

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Adam Daigle, Business Editor of The Acadiana Advocate, joined Discover Lafayette to look back at the biggest news of 2021. While we have all continued to deal with the effects of COVID in our workplaces and schools this year, the economy has done remarkedly well. Sales tax collections in the City and Parish of Lafayette have been the highest on record as people spend monies left over from the PPE funding as we emerge from the lockdown. While employers may still be having trouble finding enough employees, the demand for services and goods has skyrocketed. One of the biggest stories this year is the announcement of SafeSource Direct, a partnership between Ochsner Health with Trax Development to manufacture and distribute personal protection equipment. The joint venture is investing $150 million to retrofit an 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lafayette Parish and a new 400,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in St. Martin Parish. The projects are expected to create over 1200 total new jobs between the facilities, a huge win for our region and a big step to decreasing U. S. dependence on foreign countries supplying our healthcare needs. SafeSource Direct, a partnership between Ochsner Health and Trax Development, is investing to create two manufacturing facilities to create PPE, expected to create 1200 new jobs. A big win for travelers is the upcoming completion of the Lafayette Airport nears substantial completion. Setting the standard on how to fund construction with a combination of federal and state dollars, coupled with a short-term (eight month) sales tax imposed locally, the project is moving along on pace to open in January 2022. The new Lafayette Airport is expected to open in January 2022, setting the standard for how to accomplish funding and construction in the way officials promised taxpayers. Adam shared that when he moved here in 2018, much of the business reporting centered on developments in the corridor surrounding River Ranch in South Lafayette, but not so much now. While there is buzz about Chick Fil-A moving over to the old Red Robin building near CostCo as well as the German-owned Aldi Supermarket chain coming to Lafayette (one just about completed on Ambassador Caffery, with another two stores planned on Ambassador and near Louisiana Avenue), there hasn't been big news in that South Lafayette region. Sneaker Politics' Derek Curry recently announced that he and two partners will be developing a $50 million mixed-use, retail, residential, and entertainment project on Johnston Street near the corner of Mount Vernon Road. This is important news for one of the older areas of Lafayette which has lay dormant for years. Curry has been extremely successful with Sneaker Politics and announced his excitement about redeveloping this abandoned shopping center as a way to bring commerce back to the heart of Lafayette. Pictured are Jim Keaty, Derek Curry, Alex Luna, and Terry Crochet at the announcement of The Forum, a mixed-use development planned on Johnston Street at Mount Vernon. Photo by Leslie Westbrook of the Advocate. Lafayette Economic Development Authority announced big news with the hiring of Mandi Mitchell who replaced longtime CEO Gregg Gothreaux. Mandi has worked for years with Louisiana Economic Development, all while commuting from her hometown of Lafayette. We welcome Mandi and look forward to watching her use her talents and business acumen to continue to promote new development while taking care of existing businesses who keep our economy going. The Amazon Fulfillment Center in Carencro seems to be a reality! While Adam said there has not been an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, the 1.1 million square facility seems to be bustling with activity. An online search for jobs at Amazon at the facility cites high paying wages and a potential $3,000 bonus for new employees. Laurel Hess has been making the news the last couple of years for his business...

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    Kevin Guillory of LEED – Putting Love of God, Community, and Entrepreneurship to Work

    52:08

    Kevin Guillory, Office Coordinator for the Louisiana Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (LEED) Center at UL Lafayette, BI Moody College of Business Administration, joins Discover Lafayette to discuss his career journey and putting his love of God, community, and entrepreneurship to work.    A two-time graduate of UL- Lafayette, Kevin has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master's of Business Administration. One of his greatest gifts may be his understanding of God's will and the importance of following his intuition when making important decisions in life. His early career path took him from working with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, to learning HR skills with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville TX, to working logistics for Bruce Foods, and finally to UL-Lafayette. He worked first with UL Admissions and then landed his dream job with LEED working under the helm of Dr. Geoffrey Stewart and Jonathan Shirley. Kevin Guillory is working his dream job at the Louisiana Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (LEED) Center at UL Lafayette. Working with people on their entrepreneurial journey has taught him a great deal about himself. While he never thought he could be a risk-taker, he has come to realize that he combines his logical and analytical skills while listening to his inner wisdom and intuition when taking bold steps. "We are all risk-takers." In his position with LEED, Kevin coordinates the activity and logistics of the LEED Center, and in preparing grants and contracts.  In this role, he has the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs, students, and community organizations. LEED offers technical assistance to start-up companies to support job growth in Acadiana. Three regional programs (Accelerate Northside, Accelerate Evangeline and Accelerate St. Landry) have offered six-week programs providing guidance in creating business plans, obtaining loans, understanding finances, attracting customers, and staying in business. While the Accelerator programs would typically cost $450.00, a grant from the U. S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) in Economic Adjustment Assistance funding to UL - Lafayette funds the operation, necessitating only a $25 payment by participants. Other partners have also contributed to make the program possible including LEDA, the Greater Southwest Black Chamber of Commerce, One Acadiana, the McComb Veazey coterie, the NAACP, Acadiana Workforce Solutions, the Lafayette Public Library, and the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center among others. "I've always wanted to be a part of the community. The business people I have met through the Accelerator Programs have inspired me in the way they support each other." Photo by Mary Comaci For more information on LEED and the Accelerate programs, visit https://business.louisiana.edu/leed. Kevin attributed his many mentors who have guided him in his journey, beginning with his dad who imparted his wisdom. He has had pastoral mentors, older co-workers, professors at UL-Lafayette (Dr. Geoff Stewart and Dr. Lise Anne Slatten), and Patrick LaBauve whom he partnered with while working with the 705 on the "Do Good Project." Community engagement in Lafayette is important to Kevin; while he, his wife, and child live here, the rest of his family is in Lake Charles. One of his proudest achievements has been partnering with librarians at Northside High School when he visited the campus and realized there were no business or leadership books in the library. By reaching out to his colleagues at UL-Lafayette Business school, Upper Lafayette Economic Development, and others, Kevin was able to present donated business books to fill this much-needed resource for young students. Kevin served for two years as Civic Committee Chair on the Board of Directors of The705 - Young Leaders for a Better Acadiana. He serves as Secretary for New Hope Community Development of Acadiana (which prov...
  • Discover Lafayette podcast

    Marc Brattin, Foundry Rock Band, Performing in Lafayette Thanksgiving Weekend 2021

    43:40

    Marc Brattin, Lafayette native and life-long musician, joins Discover Lafayette to discuss his band Foundry's upcoming concert on November 27, 2021, as well as his career journey. Marc started playing drums at age 12 and moved to Dallas at 17 to join a rock band with the encouragement of his mother. He has been successfully working in music ever since as a songwriter and drummer. He also serves as producer, promoter, manager, and booking agent for his band, Foundry, who will be performing at the Cajundome Convention Center Saturday, November 27. The event will also stream live. Tickets may be purchased at https://www.foundryrocks.com or on Ticketmaster. Foundry is an American Hard Rock Band featuring Marc Brattin's (drummer) along with his bandmates Chris Lorio (guitar), Niko Gemini (bass player), and Mark Boals (singer). Marc founded the band eight years ago and it is his "baby," a labor of love, which he describes as having a borderline heavy metal sound with great guitar and hard-hitting drums. The band writes its own music and features melodic vocals, "not screaming." The band also enjoys doing "remakes" of popular hits from Lady Gaga ("Poker Face") and Pink Floyd ("Money") in keeping with Las Vegas themes, where the band is based. At the November 27th concert, they will unveil their latest remake featuring one of the most popular songs recorded by the Bee Gees. Foundry was organized by Marc Brattin eight years ago and features a hard rock sound akin to Metallica and Black Sabbath. With melodic singing, hard-hitting drums, and great guitar, their sound typically attracts people in their 40's, 50's and 60's. Foundry is appearing at the Cajundome Convention Center on November 27, 2021. Local sports fans will enjoy Foundry performing the National Anthem at both the UL-Lafayette Basketball game at 11 AM followed by UL-Lafayette football's last game of the season at 3PM. Marc promises it will be delivered in the traditional format with four-part harmony and will showcase the band's singing talent. "Follow your dream and do what you want to do. Just do it. Peers, parents, and mentors will guide you and steer you, so take all that in. They have good advice for you. Being broke just isn't cool, so be responsible. But do what you want; you only live once. You'll be happy." Marc Brattin Marc shares how there were no opportunities for hard rock musicians in Lafayette when he was coming up. Today's musicians can record in their bedroom and it comes out pretty good. But to bring a song to the radio, brand it with a video, artists still must go into a proper studio to record it "for real." The bar is still high for releasing a song. "Mp3's just don't cut it. If you want to be real, you have to go for real." Marc also serves as Entertainment Director for FACET, an executive coaching firm founded in Lafayette LA, offering services across the U. S. We thank Marc Brattin for sharing his story and look forward to a fun concert by Foundry on November 27, 2021, Thanksgiving weekend!

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