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LABI Spotlights Louisiana Free Enterprise Awards Winners

November 6, 2017

BATON ROUGE, LA (November 6, 2017) — After a statewide nominations and selection process, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) is pleased to announce that eight companies and individuals have been selected for the 2017 Free Enterprise Awards. Their unparalleled dedication to their employees, local communities and Louisiana will be formally recognized at an evening reception hosted by APTIM in Baton Rouge on November 16, 2017.

Stephen Waguespack, LABI president and CEO stated, “We are pleased and proud to recognize these LABI members who steadfastly create jobs, make and export Louisiana products and services, and provide support for their communities to grow and prosper. We are proud to work with them every day and look forward to honoring their hard work and dedication to the state on November 16th.”

The 2017 Free Enterprise Awards reception will be held at APTIM headquarters in Baton Rouge, LA at 6:30 p.m. on November 16, 2017. For tickets or more information, click here or call 225-928-5388.

The 2017 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. 2017 Honoree: Roland M. Toups, Turner Industries Group LLC

Free Enterprise Champions are individuals who demonstrate exemplary commitment and contributions to the state’s business climate and their local communities. 2017 Businessperson Honorees: John J. Finan, Jr., Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and James M. Lapeyre, Jr., Laitram LLC. 2017 Young Businessperson Honoree: Donny Rouse, Rouse’s Supermarkets

Company of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement among Louisiana companies. 2017 Company of the Year > 100: Graphic Packaging International, Inc. 2017 Company of the Year < 100: LUBA Workers’ Comp

Manufacturer of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement among Louisiana manufacturers. 2017 Company of the Year > 100: Dow Chemical Company. 2017 Company of the Year < 100: Cajun Chef Products, Inc.

Workforce Innovator of the Year Award honors individuals or organizations, which 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 and/or workforce development initiative aligned with closing the employment gap. 2017 Workforce Innovator of the Year: SSA Consultants

Economic Development Partner of the Year Award recognizes exceptional leadership by an economic development or business organization. 2017 Economic Development Partner of the Year: North Louisiana Economic Partnership

In conjunction with the Free Enterprise Awards, LABI will honor those legislators recognized in the 2017 LABI Legislative Scorecard as “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs), All-Stars and Honorable Mentions. In 2017, 17 LABI MVPs will be recognized for their perfect scores on major legislation that affected the state’s economy. Six senators and 13 representatives will also be honored for their status as LABI All-Stars, scoring 90 percent or higher on the legislation selected for the Scorecard analysis. Finally, LABI will recognize 23 additional legislators with Honorable Mentions for scoring 80 percent or higher in the 2017 regular session.

Waguespack explained, “This year, the LABI Legislative Scorecard highlights members who sought bipartisan solutions, worked to improve the budgeting process and tax code, and voted to support a stronger business climate in Louisiana. We thank them for their service and exemplary commitment to free enterprise and are pleased to publicly honor them on November 16th.”

The 2017 Scorecard was released in August 2017 and can be found online at

2017 MVPs:
Senator Bret Allain (R-Franklin)
Senator Page Cortez (R-Lafayette)
Senator Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City)
Representative Mark Abraham (R-Lake Charles)
Speaker of the House Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia)
Representative Robert Billiot (D-Westwego)
Representative Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette)
Representative Patrick Connick (R-Marrero)
Representative Mike Danahay (D-Sulphur)
Representative Phillip Devillier (R-Eunice)
Representative Julie Emerson (R-Carencro)
Representative Tanner Magee (R-Houma)
Representative Blake Miguez (R-Erath)
Representative Greg Miller (R-Norco)
Representative John Stefanski (R-Crowley)
Representative Polly Thomas (R-Metairie)
Representative Jerome Zeringue (R-Houma)
2017 All-Stars:
Senator Conrad Appel (R-New Orleans)
Senator Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City)
Senator Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell)
Senator Eddie Lambert (R-Gonzales)
Senator Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton)
Senator Mike Walsworth (R-West Monroe)
Representative Tony Bacala (R-Prairieville)
Representative Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge)
Representative Raymond Crews (R-Bossier City)
Representative Paula Davis (R-Baton Rouge)
Representative Stephen Dwight (R-Lake Charles)
Representative Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge)
Representative Lance Harris (R-Alexandria)
Representative Cameron Henry (R-Metairie)
Representative Nancy Landry (R-Lafayette)
Representative Kevin Pearson (R-Slidell)
Representative John Schroder (R-Covington)
Representative Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport)
Representative Julie Stokes (R-Kenner)
2017 Honorable Mentions:
Senator Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge)
Senator Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville)
Senator Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles)
Representative Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans)
Representative Beryl Amedee (R-Houma)
Representative Johnny Berthelot (R-Gonzales)
Representative Chris Broadwater (R-Hammond)
Representative Chad Brown (D-Plaquemine)
Representative Jean-Paul Coussan (R-Lafayette)
Representative Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge)
Representative Reid Falconer (R-Mandeville)
Representative John Guinn (R-Jennings)
Representative Stephanie Hilferty (R-Metairie)
Representative Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe)
Representative Dodie Horton (R-Haughton)
Representative Frank Howard (R-Many)
Representative Chris Leopold (R-Belle Chasse)
Representative Jack McFarland (R-Jonesboro)
Representative Steve Pugh (R-Ponchatoula)
Representative Jerome Richard (I-Thibodeaux)
Representative Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge)
Representative Major Thibaut (D-New Roads)
Representative Malinda White (D-Bogalusa)


For press inquiries, contact:

Camille Ivy-O’Donnell

(817) 944-5091


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