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LABI Announces Honorees for 2021 Free Enterprise Awards

November 1, 2021

Baton Rouge, LA (November 1, 2021) – When Tom O’Neal, president of O’Nealgas, approached EnLink Midstream about donating desperately needed propane to devastated communities in the wake of Hurricane Ida, the natural gas supplier generously offered 50,000 gallons to support residents of southeast Louisiana. O’Nealgas, with a fleet of delivery and service trucks, partnered with EnLink to provide propane—typically sold into pipeline markets—directly into the hands of people in need to help run generators, cook food and power on-the-ground response operations. These companies are two of many being honored on Thursday, November 11, at the 2021 Free Enterprise Awards, sponsored by b1BANK and presented by Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI).

“During this difficult year, filled with pandemic woes, extreme weather and even supply chain disruptions, companies and individuals all over Louisiana stepped up to help those in need,” said Stephen Waguespack, LABI president and CEO. “But we also saw great gains during the legislative session on tax reform in Louisiana. We kept all this in mind while selecting the 2021 Free Enterprise Award recipients. Many are being heralded for stepping up and making a difference in the lives of Louisianans, while others are being awarded for helping create a healthier climate for business in our state.”

LABI’s annual award program honors companies and individuals who demonstrate exemplary commitment and contributions to Louisiana’s business climate and their communities. The 2021 Free Enterprise Awards will be held at the LABI Center for Free Enterprise at 500 Main Street in downtown Baton Rouge and will begin at 6:30 p.m. Following the ceremony, a “Business and Boots” block party will kick off at 8 p.m.—with a portion of proceeds going to hurricane relief—and will feature band Parish County Line. For tickets or more information, click HERE.

The 2021 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.

· James M. Lapeyre, Jr., Laitram, LLC

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

· 2021 Company of the Year – Less than 100 Employees:

  •  Advantous Consulting
  • Prescriptions to Geaux

· 2021 Company of the Year – Greater than 100 Employees:

  • O’Nealgas, Inc.
  • EnLink Midstream
  • Abnar, Inc.

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

· 2021 Businessperson Honoree (posthumous): Former Governor Buddy Roemer

· 2021 Young Businessperson Honoree: Tyler Gray

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

· 2021 Manufacturer of the Year – Less than 100 Employees:

  • Atlas Feed Mills
  • Laissez Versez

· 2021 Manufacturer of the Year – Greater than 100 Employees:

  • John Deere Thibodaux, Inc.
  • Drax Biomass

Workforce Innovator of the Year Award honors individuals or organizations that have provided substantial 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.

· 2021 Workforce Innovator of the Year: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation

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

· 2021 Economic Development Partner of the Year: Josh and Toni McAllister with the Louisiana Loggers Association

Also on November 11, LABI will also honor those legislators recognized in the LABI Annual Scorecard as “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs), All-Stars and Honorable Mentions for their support of pro-business legislation during the Louisiana Legislature’s 2021 session.

“It was a historic legislative session for the business community,” Waguespack said. “From streamlining our sales tax collections to demanding transparency in education spending to funding critical infrastructure, these legislators fought through times of frustration and contention to get it done. I have no doubt Louisiana will be a better place for business because of their efforts.”

Forty legislators were named as “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs), scoring a perfect 100 percent on bills important to LABI and the state’s business community during the 2021 legislative session. Those members are Senate President Page Cortez (R-Lafayette), Sen. Mark Abraham (R-Lake Charles), Sen. Stewart Cathey (R-Monroe), Sen. Heather Cloud (R-Turkey Creek), Sen. Mike Fesi (R-Houma), Sen. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie), Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell), Sen. Patrick McMath (R-Covington), Sen. Barry Milligan (R-Shreveport), Sen. Robert Mills (R-Minden), Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton), Sen. Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City), Sen. Mike Reese (R-Leesville), Sen. Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge), Sen. Bodi White (R-Central), House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales), Rep. Beryl Amedee (R-Houma), Rep. Tony Bacala (R-Prairieville), Rep. Beau Beaullieu (R-New Iberia), Rep. Raymond Crews (R-Bossier City), Rep. Phillip DeVillier (R-Eunice), Rep. Michael Echols (R-Monroe), Rep. Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Julie Emerson (R-Carencro), Rep. Les Farnum (R-Sulphur), Rep. Barbara Freiberg (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Ray Garofalo (R-Chalmette), Rep. Jonathan Goudeau (R-Lafayette), Rep. Tanner Magee (R-Houma), Rep. Danny McCormick (R-Oil City), Rep. Wayne McMahen (R-Minden), Rep. Richard Nelson (R-Mandeville), Rep. Chuck Owen (R-Rosepine), Rep. Thomas Pressly (R-Shreveport), Rep. Troy Romero (R-Jennings), Rep. Laurie Schlegel (R-Metairie), Rep. John Stefanski (R-Crowley), Rep. Phillip Tarver (R-Lake Charles), Rep. Chris Turner (R-Ruston), Rep. Jerome Zeringue (R-Houma).

Overall, 21 legislators were named “All-Stars,” scoring 90 percent or higher on legislation important to LABI and Louisiana employers during the 2021 session. Those All-Stars are Sen. Bret Allain (R-Franklin), Sen. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge), Sen. Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles), Rep. Ryan Bourriaque (R-Abbeville), Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan (R-Lafayette), Rep. Larry Frieman (R-Abita Springs), Rep. Foy Gadberry (R-West Monroe), Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs), Rep. Mike Huval (R-Breaux Bridge), Rep. Sherman Mack (R-Albany), Rep. Scott McKnight (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath), Rep. Greg Miller (R-Norco), Rep. Buddy Mincey (R-Denham Springs), Rep. Joseph Orgeron (R-Larose), Rep. Bob Owen (R-Slidell), Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), Rep. Polly Thomas (R-Metairie), Rep. Debbie Villio (R-Kenner), Rep. Mark Wright (R-Covington).

Legislators named as “Honorable Mentions,” scoring 80 percent or higher on legislation important to LABI and its members during the 2021 session are: Sen. Louie Bernard (R-Natchitoches), Sen. Eddie Lambert (R-Gonzales), Sen. Rick Ward (R-Port Allen), Sen. Glen Womack (R-Harrisonburg), Rep. Larry Bagley (R-Stonewall), Rep. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette), Rep. Ronda Butler (R-Ville Platte), Rep. Dewith Carrier (R-Oakdale), Rep. Paula Davis (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Daryl Deshotel (R-Marksville), Rep. Mary DuBuisson (R-Slidell), Rep. Gabe Firment (R-Pollock), Rep. Bryan Fontenot (R-Thibodaux), Rep. Brett Geymann (R-Lake Charles), Rep. Stephanie Hilferty (R-Metairie), Rep. Dodie Horton (R-Haughton), Rep. John Illg (R-River Ridge), Rep. Barry Ivey (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Pineville), Rep. Tim Kerner (R-Lafitte), Rep. Joe Marino (I-Gretna), Rep. Jack McFarland (R-Jonesboro), Rep. Nicholas Muscarello (R-Hammond), Rep. Neil Riser (R-Columbia), Rep. Rodney Schamerhorn (R-Hornbeck), Rep. Francis Thompson (D-Delhi), Rep. Bill Wheat (R-Ponchatoula). To review a full list of those honorees, please click HERE for LABI’s 2021 Legislative Scorecard.


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