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Leadership Tangipahoa

Press Releases

Date Press Release

Stacy Arceneaux & Cammie Proctor's Letter to the Editor on the Economic Development Session

For Immediate Release:                                                       12/22/15
Contact:                                                                                 Angelique Richardson, CPA, NP, CGMA

Stacy Arceneaux & Cammie Proctor's Letter to the Editor on the Economic Development Session

Dear Editor,

We have the privilege of participating in the 2015-2016 Leadership Tangipahoa Program for the past four months and have been learning all the interesting aspects of our Parish.  This month's journey exposed us to various companies and programs, and how they contribute to the economic development in Tangipahoa Parish.  

Our first stop was Neil Corporation where we were hosted by Debra Neil Baker, Principal, Chief Energy Officer and other members of her staff and leadership team.  This third generation company, which opened 70 years ago in Hammond, employs nearly 1,100 people throughout the country.   In addition to being the largest independent Aveda distributor in the U.S., Neil Corporation also owns nine Paris Parker salons and 18 Aveda Institutes.  They also sell and provide customer support for salon management software to customers all over the world.

Next, we visited the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Robert, where Erik Grant, Operations Manager, took us on a tour of their nearly one million square foot facility.  The distribution center ships approximately a quarter of a million dollars in food products to Sam's Clubs and Wal-Mart stores in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, W. Florida and Mississippi daily.  Our tour took us through the refrigerator and freezer area where we experienced temperatures of ten below zero.  The most interesting fact of the tour was that their highest volume product is bananas.  There are 13 rooms for bananas in their various ripening stages.

Local real estate developer, Ed Hoover, met us at Graham Packaging, one of his many properties in the parish.  There he spoke to us about the economic progress he has seen throughout the years for Tangipahoa and how the addition of the airport tower has significantly increased the number of corporations who travel here to conduct business.   We then toured the Graham Packaging, the sole producer of Folgers Coffee cans internationally.   Their 100,000 square foot warehouse holds 9 million coffee cans on site and the company produces 200 million cans per year. 

Our next stop was Chappapela Sports Complex, where Stacey Neal of the Tangipahoa Economic Development Foundation treated us to lunch.  Over lunch, Ryan Barker, Chappapela Sports Complex Director, shared some significant statistics with us regarding Chappapela's impact on the economy in Tangipahoa: In November 25,631 cars came through the park, in 2015 the complex hosted 37 weekend events that 25-58 teams participated in, with over half coming from outside of the parish, providing business for our local hotels and restaurants.   He shared that six new youth programs were created in the past eight months and that the complex will be hosting the All State Sugar Bowl Lacrosse tournament in January.

We then traveled to Roseland to visit Smitty's Supply Company, where Jason Ragusa kindly gave us a tour.  This billion dollar company, which started in the back of Ray Smith's van is now one of the leading manufacturers of lubricants and related products in the world.    It was fascinating to watch numerous specialty machines produce plastic containers in various shapes and sizes. 

We ended our day at Bracy's Nursery where owners Randy and Regina Bracy greeted us and took us on a bus tour of their 200 acre operation, where they employ 110 people.  Their business began as a "pick your own" peach, blackberry and blueberry farm in 1986.  Bracy's now sells an extensive variety of plants and trees to independent garden stores and landscapers from Oklahoma across the south to North Carolina. 

On behalf of the 2015-2016 Leadership Tangipahoa class, we would like to thank everyone who helped to make this day so informative and interesting.  We are thoroughly enjoying this program and highly recommend it to emerging leaders in our parish.  We look forward to learning more about our beautiful and unique parish in the coming months.   

Staci Arceneaux                                           Cammie Proctor
North Oaks Health System                           United Way of Southeast Louisiana - serving Tangipahoa