DENVER, Colo. – The Council of Development Finance Agencies presented Louisiana Economic Development Assistant Secretary Brenda Guess its 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday at the National Development Finance Summit.
CDFA annually recognizes individuals whose contributions to the development finance industry have had a lasting impact on the way programs are operated, managed and administered.
A 35-year veteran of LED, Guess was appointed assistant secretary in January 2022, chiefly responsible for guiding agency programs that grow Louisiana’s small business sector. She previously served as director and manager of Business Incentive Services, where she administered a variety of state programs developed for the creation, retention and expansion of Louisiana businesses and industries. Guess holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s in marketing from Southern University.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive the CDFA Lifetime Achievement Award,” Guess said. “Being a ‘recovering banker,’ as I often say, I came to Louisiana Economic Development in 1987 and discovered a passion for strengthening communities through job creation and economic growth. I thank LED for giving me the many opportunities over the years to continue to grow, and share this honor with my colleagues, whose constant support and inspiration sustain me.”
The state’s support for small business increased dramatically after Gov. John Bel Edwards took office in 2016. It will expand further in 2022 with the infusion of at least $74.2 million in State Small Business Credit Initiative funding from the U.S. Treasury. LED has been designated as the state agency to oversee disbursement of those federal funds, which are designed to provide small business credit support and investment as well as to increase access to capital among socially and economically disadvantaged business entities and underserved communities.
“We are extremely proud of Assistant Secretary Guess and the lasting impact she has had on Louisiana’s business community,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “CDFA could not have selected a more dedicated public servant for this distinguished recognition. I know Brenda will continue to make a difference in the coming months as she leads our team’s administration of SSBCI and partners with small business owners and their communities to grow entrepreneurship in Louisiana.”
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting award-winning programs like LED FastStart, rated the No. 1 customized workforce training program in the U.S. 13 years in a row. In 2021, LED attracted 64 new economic development projects representing over 18,100 new direct and indirect jobs, 9,700 retained jobs and more than $20.5 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana and employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.