An 18 member Board has been chosen to lead a new economic development entity for Central Louisiana - Cenla Advantage Partnership (CAP). CAP is a private nonprofit economic development organization that is funded by the private sector.
A super majority of the Board is made up of investors in CAP. Open invitations were published in newspapers throughout CAP's nine-parish service area to invite people to apply for the remaining seats on the Board.
The members of the CAP inaugural Board represent companies and organizations both large and small, and many that do business throughout the region. They are:
Horace Austin, President, North Rapides Business and Industry Alliance
Charlie Baker, Purchasing Leader, Procter & Gamble
A.C. Buchanan, President/CEO, Rapides Regional Medical Center & Rapides Healthcare System
R. Blake Chatelain, President/CEO, Red River Bank
Joe Cunningham, Jr., President, Cunningham Financial Group, Natchitoches Parish
Jeffrey Garrison, M.D., Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Specialists
J. Lance Harris, CEO/President, Lance Harris Companies
Ken Hughes, President/CEO, Merchants & Farmers Bank, Vernon Parish
Horatio Isadore, CEO, H & I, Inc.
Todd M. Leleux, Owner, Noble Flight
Michael Madison, President and CEO, Cleco Corporation
Roy O. Martin, III, President and CFO, Roy O. Martin Lumber Company, LLC
Dorothy Oliver, Executive Director, LaSalle Community Action Association, Catahoula Parish/Administrative Office
Brent Scallan, Owner/President, Scallan Rentals/Contractors, Avoyelles Parish
Caroline Theus, President, Keller Enterprises, LLC
Buddy Tudor, President/Owner, Tudor Companies
Kelly Rush Williams, President/CEO, The Rush Companies, Allen Parish
Kyle Wolff, Agent, State Farm and member of the Economic Development Board of Avoyelles Parish
In February 2004 The Rapides Foundation named a Steering Committee to pursue fundraising and also to begin development of this organization by creating its mission, values and initial structure. The Committee worked to raise funds from the private sector to launch CAP. In November 2004 CAP reached a major funding goal, and the Foundation committed up to $1.5 million over the next three years to match the amount pledged.
The Foundation's mission is to improve community health. Research shows a strong, vibrant economy is one of the key factors for a healthy community, so that is why the Foundation is supporting this effort.
CAP's mission is to lead the region in economic development by identifying strategic priorities; coordinating and leveraging resources to promote existing business growth; and provide infrastructure and human capital to attract outside businesses to locate to Central Louisiana. CAP will place a premium on focused activities that feature collaboration among existing Central Louisiana businesses as well as Cenla economic development organizations.
CAP is the result of a year-long research and development process that began with a community meeting hosted by the Foundation in April 2003. The development of this organization is a response to challenges posed by private and public sector leadership in one-on-one and small group interviews that were held after the community meeting.
Now that the Board has been named, it will begin the process to become oriented to the CAP mission, and initiate the work that is needed to establish this organization. One of the Board's priorities in the first six months will be the recruitment of a strong CEO. CAP will conduct an extensive search to recruit an executive leader with tangible experience and a proven track record in economic development.