BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Economic Development honored 10 companies as Louisiana Growth Leaders at the 2022 Spotlight Louisiana event Thursday at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. The event also featured the presentation of the inaugural Louisiana Growth Leader Legend Award.
Louisiana Growth Leaders are selected by a statewide panel of economic development professionals who evaluate businesses in the LED Growth Network for community involvement and business success. The criteria include growth, strategy, innovation, philanthropy and leadership. The Legend Award is the LED Growth Network’s top honor, recognizing past leaders who have exhibited sustained success.
“From manufacturing to financial services, each of our 2022 Louisiana Growth Leaders and the inaugural Legend awardee have succeeded in bringing great products and services to the marketplace,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “The companies being recognized have persevered through challenges, capitalized on opportunities, and represent some of the best of what Louisiana has to offer. I look forward to their continued success.”
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser joined LED at Thursday’s Spotlight event to congratulate all the small business nominees and award recipients in attendance. The 10 companies honored as 2022 Louisiana Growth Leaders were:
● Flexicrew Technical Services of Metairie; Brandon Smith, president
● NANO Architecture | Interiors of New Orleans; Terri Dreyer, managing partner
● Online Optimism of New Orleans; Flynn Zaiger, CEO
● Southern Scripts of Natchitoches; LeAnn Boyd, CEO and co-founder
● Southern Services & Equipment of St. Bernard; Mindy Airhart, president and CEO
● Thomas Pump & Machinery of Slidell; James Thomas, CEO
● Trigon Associates of New Orleans; Michelle Herbert, CEO
● Universal Data of New Orleans; Jim Perrier, president
● Utiliserve of Bossier City; Zach Raley, president and owner
● VPG Construction of Harvey; Michael Merideth, CEO
“Tonight’s 2022 Growth Leader honorees are important companies in Louisiana, providing more than good jobs and a foundation of economic activity,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “They are community leaders and supporters, with vision and drive. I had the privilege of meeting many of this year’s recipients through LED Growth Network programs, hearing their stories of meeting challenges, and watching them succeed in scaling their companies. LED is honored to play a role in supporting their growth objectives and celebrating their hard-earned success.”
The inaugural Growth Leader Legend award was presented to Ruston-based Argent Financial Group, an independent wealth management firm.
“An early investor in Argent once encouraged us, ‘There may be a limit of what we can do in Ruston, but there is no limit to what we can do from Ruston,’” Argent CEO Kyle McDonald said. “Thirty-two years later, Argent is still headquartered in Ruston and boasts over 300 employees in 30 markets across 12 states, managing more than $38 billion of our clients’ assets. We are proud of our history and growth, and we are humbled to be the inaugural recipient of the Louisiana Growth Leader Legend award.”
In addition to awards for Growth Leaders, Chairman and President Dan Wyant of the Michigan-based Edward Lowe Foundation presented LED with the first-ever Founder’s Award in honor of the late Edward Lowe, who created the foundation to champion entrepreneurship.
“People often believe that when entrepreneurs move beyond the startup phase, it’s smooth sailing,” Wyant said. “But the second stage brings new issues that require changes in both organizations and leadership roles. With that in mind, LED is constantly tweaking existing programs and looking for new ones to help second-stagers continue their growth trajectory. It’s a pleasure to work with LED’s staff to expand their suite of services.”
Created in 2017, the LED Growth Network consists of over 550 companies accounting for nearly $4 billion in annual sales and representing more than 20,000 jobs. Growth Network members are small businesses beyond the startup stage but not yet fully mature. They enter the Growth Network by participating in one or more of the LED’s programs for second-stage firms. Detailed information about the honorees may be found here in Louisiana’s Entrepreneurial Engine 2022.
Applications for the 2023 Louisiana Growth Leaders class and 2023 Legend Award will be accepted from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, 2022. All LED Growth Network companies are eligible to apply for the Growth Leader award. All Growth Leaders are invited to apply for the Legend award.
For more information about the LED Growth Network, Spotlight Louisiana or Louisiana Growth Leaders or Legends, contact Assistant Director of Small Business Services Christopher Cassagne at [email protected] or 225.342.5882.