Innovation in Northeast Louisiana: CenturyLink and Lamb Weston Power Progress on Global and Local Scales

Innovation in Northeast Louisiana: CenturyLink and Lamb Weston Power Progress on Global and Local Scales

Location of CenturyLink in Monroe Louisiana

CenturyLink, Monroe

CenturyLink commands more markets every
year as the
number two
U.S. telecommunications provider to global enterprise customers.

CenturyLink: Connecting Customers to the Future

Riding a crest of strategic telecom deals, Louisiana-based CenturyLink commands more markets every year as the No. 2 U.S. telecommunications provider to global enterprise customers. In May 2018, Frost & Sullivan named CenturyLink Company of the Year in Latin America for unifying telecommunications and IT services via best-in-the-business platforms for those customers.

That innovation extends into more than 60 countries, and it originates from CenturyLink’s global headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana.

The State of Louisiana and CenturyLink have formed partnerships to help the company expand global services by growing local assets, including the 300,000-square-foot Technology Center of Excellence that in 2015 nearly doubled space at the Monroe headquarters.

CenturyLink is now poised to offer an expanded, robust portfolio of communications solutions focused on our customers’ networking and IT services needs.
Glen F. Post III//Board Member and Former CEO, CenturyLink

“Our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, will benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions, our complementary managed services and our highly talented workforce.”

Image of the CenturyLink Client Innovation Center where the company partners with IBM to create software innovations for U.S. customers

At the CenturyLink Client Innovation Center, the company partners with IBM creating software innovations for U.S. customers.

Integration from the Ground Up 

Some 2,700 of the company’s global team of 52,500 employees work in or near the Louisiana headquarters campus, where CenturyLink has established a leadership role in a rapidly changing industry. In 2009, the company acquired Kansas-based Embarq, followed by the 2011 acquisitions of Qwest and Savvis. Less than a year ago, CenturyLink acquired Level 3 Communications and formed a $24 billion-a-year enterprise linking more than 100,000 fiber-enabled buildings across 350 metro areas.

The company’s Technology Center of Excellence in Monroe houses a technology R&D lab, network operations center and collaborative space for employees to brainstorm ideas on network, cloud and IT frontiers. Also on site is a Client Innovation Center, a partnership with IBM that sparks software innovation for U.S. customers. Part of what’s helped the company grow so significantly in Monroe has been its ability to attract and retain top-notch talent.

“We have the best team in the industry, people who are focused on driving an enhanced customer experience,” says new CEO Jeff Storey, who joined the company after leading Level 3.

To attract more talent, the company launched Century Village, a New Urbanist lifestyle center on 80 acres across the highway from headquarters. Anchored by a 400-job IBM office, and offering a diversity of housing options, retail shops and outdoor amenities, the development makes it easy for bright, young professionals to embrace Northeast Louisiana.

Location of ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston in Delhi Louisiana

ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston, Delhi

Lamb Weston: The Platinum Standard for Potatoes

Lamb Weston works with the LSU AgCenter to develop a variety of sweet potato optimal for the company’s frozen potato products

Partnering with the LSU AgCenter, Lamb Weston developed a variety of sweet potato optimal for the company’s frozen potato products.

When the No. 1 U.S. producer of frozen potato products wanted to expand its sweet potato reach, Lamb Weston found competitive advantages in Northeast Louisiana.

Demand for sweet potato fries soared from 1998 to 2008 and remained high. Beginning in 2007, Lamb Weston leaders worked with Louisiana officials on plans for a production center dedicated to frozen sweet potato products.

A linchpin of the plan existed at the LSU AgCenter Sweet Potato Research Station in Gilbert, a Northeast Louisiana community near Delhi, where the company begin construction in 2009 and opened a 164,000-square-foot facility less than two years later. But this was no ordinary manufacturing plant.

Innovation through Sustainability

Working through an intensive design-build process with Fisher Construction Group, Lamb Weston developed the Louisiana site as the world’s first LEED Platinum frozen foods facility, as certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Lamb Weston developed the Louisiana site as the
world's first
LEED Platinum frozen foods facility.
  • Methane gas produced by potato waste is recycled to heat the Delhi plant.
  • Energy-saving equipment makes the site 40 percent more efficient than a conventional plant.
  • Food Processing magazine named Lamb Weston Delhi the runaway choice for Green Plant of the Year.

But perhaps the greatest innovation came when LSU AgCenter researchers went to work. Taking Louisiana sweet potatoes with a reputation for the best taste, they developed a variety with thicker skin to withstand bruising on mechanized conveyers; they heightened the sweet potatoes rich orange color; and they developed a longer sweet potato optimized for slicing into fries.

The acknowledgment that the research station contributed to the decision to locate in Louisiana is an example of an institution of higher education fueling economic development in our state.
David Boethel//Former Vice Chancellor of Research, LSU AgCenter

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