By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2018 Issue
The New York Times said it “may well be the last cohesive cultural enclave in the U.S.” and Anthony Bourdain called it “special, unique, unlike anywhere else.” The world says, “Cajun Country” and locals say “Acadiana.” They’re all referring to one place: South Louisiana.
Maybe you haven’t experienced the region—located midway between Houston and New Orleans—or its hub city, Lafayette, ranked “Happiest City in America” by Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch and recognized as Southern Living’s “Tastiest Town in the South”, or maybe you have, and you just didn’t realize. The nine-parish (county) area is the home to businesses touching lives across America and is most notably home to McIlhenny Company, maker of TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce products.
Across the decades, TABASCO® has become a cultural phenomenon as well as a culinary staple. It’s sold in 195 countries and territories worldwide. Mcllhenny Co.’s current CEO, Tony Simmons, is McIlhenny’s great-great-grandson. While only 3 percent of family businesses make it to the fourth generation, TABASCO® is already in the hands of the fifth generation. The world’s most famous pepper sauce celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.
McIlhenny Co. was founded more than a century ago by one man with a bold idea, and South Louisiana has continued cultivating innovative companies that are able to expand in the region because of a history of a loyal, committed workforce.
“We’ve learned how to build the wheel without experience, and it’s because of our workforce,” Matt Stuller, Chairman and CEO of Stuller, Inc. says. “They are wonderful, quality people who care and love to make people happy.”
LHC Group became the second-largest home health care provider in the country when it completed its $2.4 billion “merger of equals” with Louisville, Kentucky-based Almost Family Inc. in April of 2018. LHC Group now has 780 locations across 37 states and has grown into a national publicly traded company with 30,000 employees that work in home health, hospice, and personal care services.
Started in the trunk of Matt Stuller’s car, Stuller, Inc. has grown into one of the largest jewelry setting manufacturers in the world. Employing over 1,600 professionals that provide next-day delivery of more than 200,000 different items to over 40,000 jewelry professionals worldwide, you or someone you love is likely to be wearing jewelry manufactured at Stuller, Inc.
Schumacher Clinical Partners (SCP) is a privately held, physician-driven company dedicated to helping hospitals and providers focus on delivering high-quality patient care. As one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing health care organizations, SCP partners with more than 7,200 providers to help care for 8 million+ patients annually with innovative, patient-centered solutions covering the entire continuum of care, including emergency medicine, hospital medicine, wellness programs, and consulting services.
“From day one, South Louisiana’s strong healthcare ecosystem and pro-business climate have helped us become leaders in our industry” said Schumacher VP Iva Lee Clement
What started out in 1971 as a small ambulance company, has developed into a multi-faceted, globally reaching company. Acadian Companies has more than 4,300 employees, 500 ambulances, six medical helicopters, and five airplanes, and serves a population of more than 20 million.
What’s more is companies that don’t call South Louisiana their original home are making headlines, too. The most recent coming from global tech firm CGI, one of the largest independent IT and business consulting services firms in the world. After the company publicized it exceeded its initial goal of hiring 400 professionals—a year ahead of schedule—its IT Center of Excellence in Lafayette, CGI and Gov. John Bel Edwards announced it would undergo a major expansion and hire 400 additional professionals in the coming years in the city of Lafayette.
Between South Louisiana’s diverse infrastructural network and its nationally ranked workforce development program (No. 1 for eight consecutive years), the region is ripe for expansion and companies are taking notice and tapping into the rich culture of curiosity, grit, and a strong sense of community.
“Incentives certainly help solidify business decisions, but if you don’t have access to the talent you need, investments won’t be sustainable. What keeps us in communities is being able to hire, and what brings talent to a place is their ability to build a life there. South Louisiana’s renowned quality of life is a significant driver in talent relocation.” Will LaBar, Vice President, CGI Federal.
Whether you call it Cajun Country, South Louisiana, or Acadiana, one thing is certain—when you do business here, you’re in good company. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SWLA: GLOBAL GROWTH SURGE
In the spring of 2017, Lotte Chemical USA announced a project that is proof the five-parish area of Southwest Louisiana not only is growing in population and economic vitality, but garnering the interest of firms that want to do more than build production facilities in the area: the company announced it would establish its headquarters in Lake Charles (relocating from Houston). This decision bolsters the company’s footprint in Southwest Louisiana, after it announced the construction of a $1.1 billion monoethylene glycol—or MEG—plant at the junction of I-10 and I-210. Lotte had already closed an investment deal with Westlake Chemical for the construction of a $1.9-billion ethane cracker complex on the same 250 acres the MEG and headquarters office will be located. In total, Lotte is involved in more than $3 billion in projects in Southwest Louisiana.
SWLA has more than $120 billion in announced projects. Production and packaging of liquid natural gas is the catalyst for the historic growth.
Growth is encouraging local and state leaders to entice new workers to the region, which in investing in quality of life projects, recruiting retail operators, and servicing the construction of an estimated 11,000 homes.
George Swift, President and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, has overseen a constant effort to identify key assets in the five-parish region (Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jeff Davis parishes), and marketing them to the world.
“The southwest side of Louisiana is in a strategic location with access to ports, airports, rail, the Intercoastal Canal, and America’s premier pipeline that delivers industrial products across the country,” he said.
“Working with our partners in the governor’s office and Louisiana Economic Development, we’ve been able to get the attention of some of the world’s best companies. They not only liked what they saw, they decided to build their company footprints in southwest Louisiana.”