LABI Logo Get Involved

LABI Announces Honorees for 2020 Free Enterprise Awards

November 6, 2020

BATON ROUGE, LA (November 5, 2020) – After a statewide nomination and selection process, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) is pleased to recognize ten companies and individuals selected as the 2020 Free Enterprise Awards winners. Their unparalleled devotion to their employees, local communities and Louisiana’s future will be formally recognized during the Free Enterprise Awards Reception, presented by ExxonMobil, in Baton Rouge on November 12, 2020. 

“In a year that has brought so many unexpected challenges to Louisiana's business community, LABI is honored to recognize this group of leaders who are truly impacting our state economy and helping open the doors of opportunity,” said LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack. 

The 2020 Free Enterprise Awards will be held at the LABI Center for Free Enterprise at 500 Main Street in downtown Baton Rouge. A cocktail hour will begin at 5:00 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 6:00 p.m. For tickets or more information, click HERE.

The 2020 LABI Free Enterprise Awards recipients are as follows:
The Ed Steimel Achievement Award honors long-standing membership and service to LABI and recognizes individuals who have committed extraordinary time and effort to improve the quality of life in Louisiana.

  • Adrianne Baumgartner, Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson

Free Enterprise Champions are individuals who demonstrate exemplary commitment and contributions to the state’s business climate and their local communities.

  • 2020 Businessperson Honoree (posthumous): Governor Mike Foster
  • 2020 Young Businessperson Honoree: Nial Patel, Cornerstone

Company of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement among Louisiana companies.

  • 2020 Company of the Year < 100 Employees: Gray Insurance Company 
  • 2020 Company of the Year > 100 Employees: Stine Lumber Company 

Manufacturer of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement among Louisiana manufacturers.

  • 2020 Manufacturer of the Year < 100 Employees: Thomas Pump & Machinery 
  • 2020 Manufacturer of the Year > 100 Employees: Shell 

Workforce Innovator of the Year Award honors individuals or organizations that have provided substantial innovations or contributions to workforce development in Louisiana. The award recognizes those who have excelled in creating, implementing, or supporting a high-caliber education or workforce development initiative aligned with closing the employment gap. 

  • 2020 Workforce Innovator of the Year: Danos 

Economic Development Partner of the Year Award recognizes exceptional leadership by an economic development or business organization.

  • 2020 Economic Development Partner of the Year: The Independent Insurance Agents of Louisiana 

In conjunction with the Free Enterprise Awards, LABI will also honor those legislators recognized in our annual scorecard as “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs), All-Stars and Honorable Mentions for their support of pro-business legislation during the Legislature's regular session and first special session of 2020. 

“During these sessions, we saw a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents come together to support smart, pro-business measures,” Waguespack continued. “Their work will both help our economy begin to recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple hurricanes, as well as start the process of breaking down the persistent barriers to business growth that have held Louisiana back for decades.”

A record 69 legislators (nearly 50 percent of the entire body) were named as “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs), scoring a perfect 100 percent on bills important to LABI and the state’s business community during both sessions. Those members are Senate President Page Cortez (R-Lafayette), Sen. Mark Abraham (R-Lake Charles), Sen. Bret Allain (R-Franklin), Sen. Louie Bernard (R-Natchitoches), Sen. Stewart Cathey (R-Monroe), Sen. Heather Cloud (R-Turkey Creek), Sen. Mike Fesi (R-Houma), Sen. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie), Sen. Bob Hensgens (R-Abbeville), Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell), Sen. Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles), Sen. Patrick McMath (R-Covington), Sen. Barry Milligan (R-Shreveport), Sen. Robert Mills (R-Minden), Sen. Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City), Sen. Mike Reese (R-Leesville), Sen. Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge), Sen. Bodi White (R-Central), Sen. Glen Womack (R-Harrisonburg), Rep. Beryl Amedee (R-Houma), Rep. Tony Bacala (R-Prairieville), Rep. Larry Bagley (R-Stonewall), Rep. Beau Beaullieu (R-New Iberia), Rep. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette), Rep. Ryan Bourriaque (R-Abbeville), Rep. Rhonda Butler (R-Ville Platte), Rep. Raymond Crews (R-Bossier City), Rep. Paula Davis (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Daryl Deshotel (R-Marksville), Rep. Phillip DeVillier (R-Eunice), Rep. Mary DuBuisson (R-Slidell), Rep. Michael Echols (R-Monroe), Rep. Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Kathy Edmonston (R-Gonzales), Rep. Julie Emerson (R-Carencro), Rep. Les Farnum (R-Sulphur), Rep. Gabe Firment (R-Pollock), Rep. Bryan Fontenot (R-Thibodaux), Rep. Barbara Freiberg (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Larry Frieman (R-Abita Springs), Rep. Foy Gadberry (R-West Monroe), Rep. Ray Garofalo (R-Chalmette), Rep. Jonathan Goudeau (R-Lafayette), Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), Rep. Dodie Horton (R-Haughton), Rep. Mike Huval (R-Breaux Bridge), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Pineville), Rep. Sherman Mack (R-Albany), Rep. Danny McCormick (R-Oil City), Rep. Jack McFarland (R-Jonesboro), Rep. Scott McKnight (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Wayne McMahen (R-Minden), Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath), Rep. Buddy Mincey (R-Denham Springs), Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville), Rep. Bob Owen (R-Slidell), Rep. Chuck Owen (R-Rosepine), Rep. Thomas Pressly (R-Shreveport), Rep. Neil Riser (R-Columbia), Rep. Troy Romero (R-Jennings), Rep. Rodney Schamerhorn (R-Hornbeck), Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), Rep. Vinney St. Blanc (R-Franklin), Rep. Phillip Tarver (R-Lake Charles), Rep. Polly Thomas (R-Metairie), Rep. Chris Turner (R-Ruston), Rep. Bill Wheat (R-Ponchatoula), Rep. Mark Wright (R-Covington) and Rep. Jerome Zeringue (R-Houma). 
Overall, 20 legislators were named “All-Stars,” scoring 90 percent or higher on legislation important to LABI and the state’s employers during both sessions. Those All-Stars are Sen. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge), Sen. Eddie Lambert (R-Gonzales), Sen. Fred Mills (R-Parks), Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton), Sen. Jay Morris (R-West Monroe), Sen. Rick Ward (R-Port Allen), House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales), Rep. Dewith Carrier (R-Oakdale), Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan (R-Lafayette), Rep. Stephen Dwight (R-Lake Charles), Rep. Charles Henry (R-Jefferson), Rep. Stephanie Hilferty (R-Metairie), Rep. John Illg (R-River Ridge), Rep. Barry Ivey (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Tim Kerner (R-Lafitte), Rep. Greg Miller (R-Norco), Rep. Nicholas Muscarello (R-Hammond), Rep. John Stefanski (R-Crowley), Rep. Francis Thompson (D-Delhi) and Rep. Debbie Villio (R-Kenner). 

Legislators named as “Honorable Mentions,” scoring 80 percent or higher on legislation important to LABI and its members during both sessions are Sen. Patrick Connick (R-Marrero), Sen. J. Rogers Pope (R-Denham Springs), Rep. Ken Brass (D-Vacherie), Rep. Chad Brown (D-Plaquemine), Rep. Jeremy LaCombe (D-Livonia), Rep. Joe Marino (I-Gretna), Rep. Joe Stagni (R-Kenner) and Rep. Malinda White (D-Bogalusa). 
To review a full list of those honorees, please visit


For press inquiries, contact:
Mitch Rabalais
Communications Manager
(985) 317-8509
About the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was organized in 1975 to represent Louisiana businesses, serving as both the state chamber of commerce and state manufacturers association. LABI’s primary goal is to foster a climate for economic growth by championing the principles of the free enterprise system and representing the general interest of the business community through active involvement in the political, legislative, judicial and regulatory processes. Find out more information at