October - Inspired Media



October - Inspired Media
OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com • page 3
Ascension raises sewer fees, puts
new parishwide system in motion
By Adam Pearson
ntil now, plans to
build a regional
sewer system
were just talk in Ascension
Parish. Decades went by
without action since public
officials first began to publicly address the mounting
pollution caused by underworking private systems scattered throughout the
But last month the Ascension Parish Council
agreed to raise the monthly flat fee for the parishwide
sewer service by $12.50 -- to $42.50 -- as it seeks
final approval for a low-interest $60 million loan
from the state Department of Environmental Quality
to build sewerage infrastructure.
The borrowed money would buy a new treatment
plant to discharge treated effluent into the Mississippi
River and build a system network along La. 73 and
La. 42 -- where work is partially covered by state
road-widening projects that is underway and has yet
to begin, respectively -- and along Airline Highway
from La. 73 to Bayou Manchac.
“This is the first step toward a parishwide sewer
system,” Ascension Parish President Tommy
Martinez said.
New construction could begin in less than a year
on the sewerage project following approval of the
0.95 percent interest loan and environmental work,
Martinez said.
Until recently, the DEQ was offering a loan of
only $18 million to begin work. But after several
meetings with parish officials, the scope of work
needed in the parish was broadened and the state
department tripled its loan offering, said Ken
Dawson, chief administrative officer of Ascension
“In no way does this solve all the problems of
treatment in Ascension Parish; this is just the beginning,” Dawson said.
In fact, estimates have put the cost of an entirely
new sewerage system on the east bank of the parish
at about $700 million to $750 million.
Dawson said he thinks that is a very conservative
figure, but only time will tell as a new network is
built and connected in coming decades.
Councilman Benny Johnson, who chairs the
Parish Council’s Utilities Committee, said the parish
has been losing “several hundred thousand dollars a
year” with the old monthly flat sewer fee of $30 and
that parish accounting officials have been “recommending to us as a council for years to raise those
Johnson said the new fee still won’t cover the
cost of building a parishwide system, but it will
largely stanch the hemorrhaging of money from the
parish’s general fund. He added that growth in the
parish could help the parish lower the monthly fee in
the future with the consideration of additional revenue sources.
Earlier this summer, parish officials worried the
federal Environmental Protection Agency would
implement a consent decree to improve current
wastewater systems in the parish if it didn’t build its
own treatment system.
Martinez said inaction also threatened growth in
the parish, with the DEQ increasingly warning of a
stop to issuing permits for wastewater systems.
“We put off a lot in years past,” said Martinez,
noting that raising fees for wastewater treatment has
been a difficult issue to broach with the public since
an under-serving system is not as easily recognizable
as say, a bad road.
But it was time for the parish to take a proactive
approach to ensure future growth is sustainable,
Martinez said.
The council agreed to dedicate $3.3 million from
the general fund to debt service each year on the
“It’s a big first step, and I’m proud that we can do
this, and I’m thankful that the DEQ will allow us to
do this,” Martinez said.
Editors Note..................................................................................................................4
Chamber Round Up......................................................................................................5
Around Ascension ........................................................................................................6
Newsmaker ....................................................................................................................7
Have Your Heard ........................................................................................................8
Business Update............................................................................................................9
Cover Story ..................................................................................................................10
Career Minded ............................................................................................................12
Person Wellnesss ........................................................................................................13
Moment of Faith ........................................................................................................14
Snapshots ....................................................................................................................15
Volume 3 Number 3
Howard Arceneaux
Margot T. May
Associate Publisher
Adam Pearson
Helen Wale Turner
Associate Editor
Jill McGraw
Suzanne Roberts
Marketing Executive
Teresa Steele
Business Manager
Jay Perniciaro
Carol Pierce
Tyler Winner
Pierce Creative Marketing Services
Web Master
Adam Pearson
Ascension Business Journal is a monthly
publication published by Arceneaux
Communications, LLC. Reproduction of any
content is prohibited without written permission
of the publisher. The publisher of Ascension Business
Journal reserves the right to refuse any advertising
which is deemed unsuitable for the publication.
Ascension Business Journal
P.O, Box 1474
Zachary LA 70791
[email protected]
Shell gets to work on possibly making Ascension site of world-class plant. The gasto-liquids facility would be near Sorrento, between La. 70 and River Road.
page 4 • OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com
Ascension chamber business expo attracts more than 75 vendors
he Ascension Chamber of Commerce
Business Expo on Sept. 5 at the
Lamar-Dixon Expo Center Trade
Mart building attracted more than 250 businesses -- of which, more than 75 were vendors
-- to network and share food and drink.
The second annual business expo had many
business sectors of the community represented:
restaurants, banking, insurance, healthcare,
media, telecommunications, construction and
the petrochemical industry.
“It’s all about community involvement,”
said Luke Marchand, owner of Carli-Co Cafe
in Gonzales, a major sponsor of the event.
Waguespack and Associates Insurance
teamed up with LeBlanc Nissan to sponsor the
chance for attendants to win a new car -- no
lucky winner drove away with the prize -while other major sponsors included BASF
Corp., Coca-Cola, Eatel and St. Elizabeth
While many door prizes were given away
to attendees and vendors, two lucky people
both won iPad Minis: Karen Musemeche, of
American Gateway Bank, and Kay Wilkins, of
American Red Cross.
Scott Duplechein, the 2013 World
Champion Jambalaya Cook, served up his winning fare on behalf of the Jambalaya Festival
Karen Musemeche, marketing coordinator at Gateway Bank, won a mini-iPad at the Ascension Chamber of Commerce
Business Expo at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center Trade Mart building on Sept. 5. Presenting her with the award is Sherrie
Despino, president and CEO of the Ascension Chamber, and Mike Waguespack of Waguespack Insurance.
Annual golf tournament
The Ascension Chamber of Commerce is hosting its
annual golf tournament on Oct. 7 at the Pelican Point
Golf Club from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission for the tournament, which benefits the
Leadership of Ascension Class in 2014, is $125 per player and $500 per team.
Registration and lunch is at 10 a.m.; the tournament
begins at 11:30 a.m.
October luncheon sponsored
by Alaric Corp.
The Oct. 10 luncheon for members of the Ascension
Chamber of Commerce is at Elegant Affairs in Gonzales
and hosted by Alaric Corp. of Prairieville.
The 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. lunch, at 14190 Airline
Hwy., is $15 for members, $20 for non-members.
Leadership Alumni Social
Join fellow Leadership alumni at The Lake at Lamar
Dixon on Oct. 16 for meeting new people and renewing
old friendships.
The 4 p.m. event, at 9030 St. Landry Rd., Gonzales,
is $10 per person. Guests are welcome.
Ribbon cutting at
Merle Norman Cosmetics
Join the chamber at 10 a.m. on Oct. 15 for a ribbon
cutting at Merle Norman Cosmetics and Boutique, 625-4
S. Burnside Ave., Gonzales. The event is free.
Business after-hours Halloween event
Join fellow Leadership
alumni at The Lake at
Lamar Dixon on Oct. 16
for meeting new people
and renewing old friendships.
The 4 p.m. event, at
9030 St. Landry Rd., Gonzales, is $10 per person.
Guests are welcome.
Telephone: (225) 647-7487 • Fax: (225) 647-5124
Email: [email protected]
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1204, Gonzales, LA 70707-1204
Physical Address: 1006 W. Highway 30, Gonzales, LA 70737
Monday - Thursday, 8am - 4:30pm
Friday, 8am - 12 noon
OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com • page 5
Nucor production delayed by dome collapse
ucor Steel Louisiana in Convent said late
September it will delay start of production
until the end of the year after one of the
three storage domes collapsed last month and remains
under investigation.
Nucor had planned to start production within a few
weeks and ramp up in the fourth quarter of this year.
The plant will be the world’s largest producer of
direct-reduced iron, which uses natural gas to process
iron ore so that it can be used in electric furnaces. The
Prairieville ranked No. 2 suburb by Coldwell Banker
Of the roughly 1,500 communities it surveyed for its series “Best Places to Live,”
Coldwell Banker ranked Prairieville at No. 2, coming behind Cottage Lake, Wash., a
suburb of Seattle.
The communities were ranked based on increased year-over-year levels in employment and unemployment percentages below the national norm, along with a range of
attributes that include access to grocery stores, banks, proximity to good schools, ease
of commuting by car and community safety.
Prairieville, noted as one of the fastest-growing communities in the state, was commended by Coldwell Banker for its proximity to “more than 25 specialty chemical and
petrochemical flagship plants clustered along the Mississippi River. With more reciprocal industries populating the town and forming an individual supply chain for products,
it captures a strong resident labor force specializing in manufacturing, education, health
and social services.”
“These communities have the American ideals we love, the suburban dream intact
and a population that is finding jobs at a better rate than the national average,” said
Budge Huskey, president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
“That is the definition of a thriving community.”
M.P. Evans tract rezoned for
commercial and residential uses
The controversial rezoning of the 341-acre M.P. Evans tract on the south side of
Interstate 10 near La. 44 went back and forth between the Gonzales City Council and
Planning and Zoning Commission for months, but on Sept. 23 the City Council unanimously rezoned the land to a mix of commercial and residential uses for retail, office,
housing and apartment space.
The city had annexed the site in March 2012, resetting the zoning to three houses
per acre from the previous zoning of one house per acre.
Owned by the heirs of Merritt P. and Ruth Walker Evans Jr., the land has long been
a cow pasture dotted with pecan trees and oak trees.
Many nearby residents had argued that a rezoning for commercial uses would cre-
$750 million plant is expected to produce 2.5 million
tons of DRI a year.
No one was injured and no pollution was caused by
the collapse of the dome, used to store iron ore pellets,
authorities said.
ate too much traffic and change their quality of life in the area, but councilmembers and
city officials also argued that the estate made concessions to their original intentions for
the site.
Evans named principal of Donaldsonville High School
Marvin Evans, a former associate principal at Donaldsonville High School, was
named the school’s principal in September.
Evans replaces outgoing Principal Esrom Pitre and had served as interim principal
since Pitre announced his departure in August.
Evans joined the Donaldsonville campus in 2011. He had previously worked in the
Dallas Independent and East Baton Rouge Parish and the New Orleans Recovery
School District.
Dawson hired as parish chief administrative officer
Ken Dawson, who had worked as the chief executive assistant to Ascension Parish
President Tommy Martinez since March 2012, was hired as the parish’s chief administrative officer in September.
Dawson, a mechanical engineer by trade, is the parish’s first chief administrative
officer in more than three years. The position puts him second in command to
Martinez, he said.
Dawson’s duties are wide-ranging, including work in planning and zoning, public
works and taking a lead on big projects such as building new sewerage infrastructure.
Dawson is the former president of the West Feliciana Police Jury.
Eatel acquires Baton Rouge-based Venyu Solutions Inc.
Eatel of Gonzales bought Baton Rouge-based Venyu Solutions Inc. last month in a
move the telecommunications company said will allow it to provide more services to
business clients.
Terms of the deal with Venyu, a national data center provider, were not disclosed.
As a subsidiary of Eatel, Venyu will keep its name, employees and location in the
Bon Carre Business Center on Florida Boulevard.
Eatel, which had $135.6 million in revenue in 2012, according to The Advocate, is
now positioned to offer cloud-based Internet services to businesses and provide the data
center for storage of information and hosting Web services.
Crown Crafts does deal to distribute UK-based baby products
Crown Crafts Inc. of Gonzales reached a deal last month with Gro Co. of the
United Kingdom to distribute nursery and sleeping products.
Crown Crafts, based in the Regions bank building at 916 S. Burnside Ave., will distribute Gro’s goods through Crown subsidiary Crown Crafts Infant Products, according
to The Advocate. Those products include swaddles that come without snaps and and
travel blinds that block sunlight from entering car windows.
Crown Crafts is a publicly traded company with a distribution warehouse in
California. In August it reported its first fiscal quarter earnings dipped to $822,000, or 8
cents a share, from $897,000 a year ago, The Advocate reported.
Premier Lanes movie theater expected to open for Easter
Premier Lanes Entertainment Center has Easter weekend marked as its target
date for opening the movie theater side of its complex on Airline Highway.
The new theater will host 11 movie screens, four of which will be 40 feet tall
and capable of showing 3D movies.
The movie theater will have a total seating capacity of 1,700, according to
general manager Stuart Moss.
Malco Theatres Inc. opened Premier Lanes in December of 2012; it also owns
Metro Bowl and Circle Bowl in Baton Rouge.
“So this will be our first theater in Louisiana,” Moss said.
In fact, Moss said the Gonzales entertainment center will be the first of Malco
Theatres’ to have bowling alleys, a gaming center and movie theater in the same
page 6 • OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com
‘Take Back the Night’
The Iris Domestic Violence Center for domestic family violence in the Capital
Region is hosting its annual Take Back the Night event on Oct. 7 at Jambalaya Park in
The 6:30 to 8 p.m. event is free.
For more information, call (225) 389-3001.
Alzheimer’s support group
St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting the Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area support group on Oct. 2, 9, 16 and 23 as part of an educational series for newly diagnosed
Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones.
The 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. classes take place in the Sr. Vernola Conference Room;
attendance is free.
The series is held twice a year, in April and October. Seating is limited.
For more information, call (225) 621-2906.
Loss and grief support meeting
St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting a grief and support meeting on Oct. 3 for those
who have suffered any kind of loss -- a loved one, a job or even a dream.
Mary Ann Abel, a licensed social worker, conducts the meetings, which take place
every Thursday.
The 6 to 7 p.m. meeting takes place in the Sr. Vernola Conference Room.
For more information, call (225) 621-2906.
Breast cancer survivor celebration
St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting a breast cancer survivor celebration on Oct. 4 in
the Sr. Vernola Conference Room.
The 2:30 to 4 p.m. event includes guest speakers and doctors specializing in medical oncology and cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Attendance is free.
For more information, call (225) 621-2906.
Total joint replacement education class
St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting an education class on Oct. 7 for those who have
undergone are about to undergo a surgery for knee or hip replacement.
The 9:30 to 11 a.m. class takes place in the Sr. Linda Conference Room. It provides
patients a chance to talk to others who have undergone similar procedures and learn
what to expect in recovery. Attendance is free.
For more information, call (225) 621-2906.
Growing up: class for pre-teen girls
St. Elizabeth Hospital is hosting a conference for mothers and daughters to learn
how to cope with the emotional challenges preteen girls often face while going through
This matter-of-fact discussion -- designed for girls ages 9 to 11 -- is on Oct. 8 in the
Sr. Vernola Conference Room, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The cost for attendance is $15; pre-registration is required.
For more information and registration, call (225) 621-2906.
CrossFit competition
A CrossFit competition will be held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on Oct. 19
and 20 -- it’s the second annual Deep South Shootout, powered by Progenex.
Individual events will take place on Saturday of the event; team events will take
place that Sunday. Up to 300 individual positions and 150 team positions are available.
For questions regarding judging, sponsoring, or volunteering, event sponsors say
contact CrossFit 225, CrossFit NOLA or CrossFit Lafayette.
Carson and Barnes Circus
The Carson and Barnes Circus is coming Oct. 21 to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.
The circus will hold two shows at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Admission at the gate is $16 for adults and $10 for children.
For more information, visit carsonbarnescircus.com
Soc Hop in October
The Ascension Senior Citizen Soc Hop will get jumping on Oct. 25 in the
Ascension Gym at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.
The Soc Hop begins at noon and ends at 3 p.m.
The Soc Hop was originally scheduled to take place in late September, but Ascension
Parish President Tommy Martinez pushed it back a month to avoid any potential conflict
with the Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship and festival.
Cajun Village Fall Fest
The Cajun Village and C&C Treasures are hosting the annual Fall Fest in Sorrento
Oct. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
The event is free and located near the intersection of La. 22 and La. 70.
Cajun musicians are also invited to play at Fall Fest. For more information, call
(225) 675-6313.
O'Connor recognized for
excellence in emergency nursing
ammy O'Connor, director of Emergency Services for St. Elizabeth
Hospital, was presented with the Mae Webb Excellence in Emergency
Nursing Award by the Louisiana Council of Emergency Nurses at its annual conference in Baton Rouge on Aug. 16.
O'Connor was recognized for making the St. Elizabeth Hospital Emergency
Department a safe place to work through implementation of Workplace Violence
Prevention, and emphasizing staff education related to emergency nursing, including
her efforts to encourage all staff registered nurses to obtain certification in emergency nursing.
In addition, O’Connor was recognized for consistent maintenance of both
employee and patient satisfaction, which have been above the 90th percentile for the
past six years.
“Tammy is an outstanding attribute to our organization, both personally and professionally. Her work over the past several years to improve the level of service provided in our emergency department, in and of itself, is commendable," said Yvonne
Pellerin, St. Elizabeth Hospital's vice president of Patient Care. "But, Tammy’s
efforts to improve emergency services across the state by sharing her time and talents through the Louisiana Nurses Association makes her truly deserving of this
The Mae Webb Excellence in Emergency Nursing Award is named in honor of
Louisiana’s Emergency Nurses Association founder and honors a member of the
organization who has consistently demonstrated excellence in emergency nursing
and who has made significant contributions to the profession of emergency nursing
and to the Louisiana ENA.
Doty is RPCC’s new chancellor
With the retirement of River Parishes Community
College Chancellor Joe Ben Welch this summer,
Louisiana’s community and technical college board in
September unanimously selected Dale Doty as RPCC’s new
Doty, who will become the school’s second leader when
he begins the job in mid-November, is currently vice president of academic affairs at Florence Darlington Technical
College in Florence, S.C.
"Dr. Doty has a rare combination of academic, techniDale Doty
cal, and business and industry experience. He has demonstrated the resolve and commitment necessary to lead River Parishes Community
College to new heights, said Joe May, president of the Louisiana Community and
Technical College System. “It is an exciting time for RPCC as construction is underway on a new state-of-the art campus in Gonzalez which will accommodate the college’s growth and respond to the needs of business and industry. They are in the planning and fundraising stages of Phase II, which will include a $9 million Center for
Advanced Technology which will require a 12 percent private match.”
The Center for Advanced Technology will accommodate several programs such as
automotive technology, disaster management, nursing, welding and allied health.
OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com • page 7
Airport extension to attract more planes
By Adam Pearson
he Louisiana Regional Airport in Ascension
Parish isn’t on the radar of many private and
corporate jets, and that has sent many
Ascension travelers to Baton Rouge and New Orleans
runways instead. But by late spring or early summer of
next year, the airport in the Burnside area south of
Interstate 10 will be put on the maps of jets capable of
flying at 10,000 feet -- literally.
With $4.1 million in federal and state grants, the airport will extend its runway by 1,000 feet -- among other
improvements -- and meet minimum requirements for
placement on so-called high altitude aviation maps that
long distance aircraft subscribe to. “I’m told that’s going
to be a tremendous thing for us,” said Janet Gonzales,
manager of the Louisiana Regional Airport. “I think it
opens up the door for more business to have an ease of
access to our area.” At 4,000 feet in length, the northsouth runway currently prevents many aircraft from filling their fuel tanks to full capacity before takeoff. That
diverts many aircraft with passengers traveling to
Ascension Parish to land in Baton Rouge or New
Orleans instead, Gonzales said.
At the same time, revenue is driven by hangar fees
and earnings of 10 cents for every gallon of fuel
pumped at the Louisiana Regional Airport, Gonzales
said. The airport does not collect landing fees. A 5,000foot runway, Gonzales said, will allow many of those
aircraft to top off with fuel before takeoff. In fact, the
longer runway will also allow jets to depart and land in
bad weather.
“That ease is what we’re looking for,” Gonzales
said. As it is now, Gonzales said it’s not uncommon to
see business travelers
fly into the airport under fair conditions and get
forced to fly out of Baton Rouge or New Orleans
because of poor weather.
The airport manager also notes that some companies’ insurance policies do not allow aircraft to operate
The Louisiana Regional Airport near Burnside will soon begin construction on its runway to extend it by 1,000
feet -- which will put it on high altitude aviation maps that many private and corporate jets subscribe to -- with
$4.1 million in federal and state grants.
on runways shorter than 5,000 feet. However, the longer
runway won’t mean bigger aircraft will begin crowding
Burnside’s airspace. Gonzales said it just means that it
will be a more attractive destination for those that
already do, and relevant to those that currently do not.
The 1,000-foot extension will be added to the south
side of the runway. The state Department of
Transportation and Development said most of the grant
money, $3.8 million, is funded by federal dollars.
Gonzales said the runway work should begin no later
than early December and take five months to complete.
The taxiway will also receive improvements during that
Because most of the runway work will occur during
page 8 • OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com
the winter, Gonzales said normal flights shouldn’t be
affected. During the winter air is denser and aircraft can
take off quicker, also allowing them to fill up with more
fuel.It’s the thinner air of summer, Gonzales said, that
requires a longer runway. However, the airport will
have to close for two days and also operate
with a 3,000-foot runway during construction. “We
may end up losing some of the jet traffic that we’ve
been getting, but fortunately it’s in the winter months,”
Gonzales said.
The airport does not keep traffic records, Gonzales
said -- it doesn’t have an air traffic control tower -- but
normally has at least 100 planes based there at any
given time.
BASF to add polyurethane blending facility to Geismar by 2015
By Adam Pearson
he new BASF polyurethane blending facility slated for Geismar on La. 30 was originally intended to be built in Houston, and
had even been dubbed the “Yellow Rose” for its
Texas ties, officials with the German chemical manufacturer said last month.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, however, said his administration’s influence, replete with a new business climate
crafted by state lawmakers and an undeniably highly
skilled workforce, eventually persuaded BASF to
expand its Geismar plant and spend $42.6 million
here for the new facility.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I’ll say it anyway -- I’m glad we plucked that yellow rose from
Texas and brought it to Louisiana,” Jindal said at an
early September press conference at the Geismar
Designed for the blending of polyurethane raw
materials into products used for many uses, including making furniture and automotive upholstery, the
new BASF facility -- which could begin production
by 2015’s second quarter -- will create 22 direct
jobs with an average annual salary of $72,300, plus
benefits, and up to 175 jobs during construction.
The expansion is the fourth major construction
project that BASF has announced for Louisiana
since 2009 for a total of more than $350 million in
capital investment, Jindal said. “In that time, these
expansions have resulted in more than 600 new jobs
in Louisiana,” Jindal said.
The facility expansion will add to BASF’s more
than 2,000 employees and contract workers already
working at its Geismar plant, Jindal said. “The new
blending facility will allow BASF to blend
polyurethane right here, in our state, rather than
shipping it out of state,” Jindal said.
“We’re catching more of that value, creating
more wealth at home.”BASF said it will begin construction in the second quarter of 2014. Cheap
domestic natural gas “is really facilitating an economic renaissance” in the industry, said Tom Yura,
general manager of BASF’s Geismar site and a senior vice president, and is a key enabler in allowing
the production of “world-scale economics right here
in Louisiana.”
Combine the natural resource with the state’s
economic development atmosphere, and it becomes
“an incredible one-two punch that allows companies
like BASF to continue to grow,” Yura
said. “There’s no way a company could invest $350
million by itself,” Yura said of the state’s help. The
Department of Economic Development said it
secured the project with a custom incentives package that includes a $1.2 million tax credit that can
be claimed over five years, provided BASF meets
payroll targets.
BASF’s hiring for the new jobs is expected to
take place in 2015.“We appreciate their continued
investment in our community and their confidence
in our ability to provide to provide a quality workforce for these added assets,” Ascension Parish
President Tommy Martinez said.
The announcement of the new polyurethane
blending facility follows announcements for a new
surfactants plant, scheduled to begin production next
year, a formic acid plant announced last year and a
methylamines plant completed in 2011.
BASF operations in Geismar currently support a
combined payroll of approximately $200 million
BASF in Geismar and Gov. Bobby
Jindal announced early September that
the La. 30 plant will add a $42.6 million polyurethane blending facility by
2015, creating 22 direct jobs with an
annual average salary of $72,300,
plus benefits.
each year, the Department of
Economic Development said.
“If you think about this location specifically, we have the syn-
ergies, with our infrastructure and
personnel that currently exist, and
if you think about it from the business perspective,” it allows us to
quickly provide solutions to our
customers, said BASF DNT site
manager Julie Faye.
OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com • page 9
gets to
work on possibly
Ascension site of
world-class plant
By Adam Pearson
efore Shell announced last month that it is
considering building a $12.5 billion gas-toliquids facility in Ascension Parish, its negotiations with parish officials “got hot and heavy last
July” as the chemical manufacturer also considered
sites in St. James Parish and Texas, said Ascension
Parish President Tommy Martinez.
Now a 2,600-acre site, spread out between La. 70
and River Road and tucked between the DuPont
Burnside plant and the Motiva administration building
on River Road, is the potential home to 750 full-time
jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000, plus
benefits, near Sorrento.
“This is the largest announcement that’s ever been
made in Ascension, it probably dwarfs Nucor,”
Martinez said, referring to the direct-reduced-iron
facility under construction in St. James Parish, just
south of the Sunshine Bridge.
Martinez said Shell notified parish officials about
two years ago that it was a possible contender for a
new plant that will use natural gas to create cleaner-
burning transportation fuels, such as diesel and jet fuel,
and the building blocks for lubricants, plastics and
The new Shell facility is not a sure thing. The company will spend at least another two years performing
preliminary engineering and nailing down permits, said
Mike Eades, chief executive officer of the Ascension
Economic Development Corp., before it makes a final
decision to build here.
“And then it’s five years’ worth of construction,”
Eades said.
And that construction is a major task the city of
Gonzales and the parish will have to prepare for,
Martinez said.
Officials estimate up to 10,000 workers will be on
site during the peak of construction.
“We need a little time to get ready for a project of
this magnitude,” Martinez said, noting there will have
to be plenty of more housing built to handle that many
All total, the state Department of Economic
page 10 • OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com
Development said the facility could create about 3,900
indirect jobs for about 4,600 new jobs in the state.
The state Department of Transportation and
Development said an estimated $32 million in road
improvements will be needed to be made to prepare for
the Shell facility.
Shell would help fund certain projects, including
turning lanes, as plans are being put in place for
widening La. 70 to four lanes from La. 22 to the
Sunshine Bridge, and widening La. 22 to four lanes
from Interstate 10 to La. 70. The work could be completed by the fall of 2016.
The estimated $12.5 billion construction figure for
the GTL facility is conservative, according to the state.
Eades said he understands the Shell facility would
rival the company’s nearly $20 billion Pearl GTL facility in Qatar and process approximately 140,000 barrels
of gas per day.
LSU estimates the project would produce a total
economic impact of $77.6 billion over the construction
period and first 15 years of operation.
The state offered Shell a competitive incentive
package that includes a performance-based grant of
$112 million to reimburse costs associated with road
improvements, land acquisition and other infrastructure
costs. Shell also would receive the services of the
state’s workforce training program and qualify for
Louisiana's new Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive
-- a 12 percent payroll rebate for each GTL job -- as
well as the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
“Here in the heart of Louisiana’s world-scale petrochemical industries, the Gulf Coast GTL project would
give thousands more of our people an opportunity for a
rewarding career right here at home,” said Gov. Bobby
Jindal. “We know that the final investment decision is
yet to come, but we also know that Shell’s selection of
Louisiana proves once again that there’s no better
place in the world for major business investment.”
Shell said it will begin the permitting process
“Should we move forward with the project, we
expect project costs to be well in excess of the minimum spend that was agreed upon with the State of
Louisiana,” said Executive Vice President Jorge Santos
Silva, who directs Integrated Gas activities for Shell
Upstream Americas.
Dan Borne, president of the Louisiana Chemical
Association, said it’s too early to know how Shell’s
business would fit with the other plants in the region.
“It might, for example, require materials from other
plants in the area to use in its processes and it might
produce products that other plants in the region use for
their production,” Borne said. “This is one of the
strengths of Louisiana’s petrochemical industry. There
is a lot of synergism between and among different
plants in the parish, in the area and in the state.”
Shell announced late September it is considering building a $12.5 billion gas-to-liquids facility in Ascension
Parish, which would employ up to 750 workers in full production. The location of the 2,600-acre site, which is
near Sorrento off River Road just north of the Sunshine Bridge, is between the Motiva administration building and
the DuPont Burnside plant.
OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com • page 11
Career M i n d e d
Carol PierCe
Make the Jump Now
I can’t force
myself to do
what I don’t
really want to do. It
doesn’t work! The
harder I try, the more I
seem to fail, and the
unhappier I become.
To make matters
worse, my confidence level keeps getting lower and
“Yet when I’m happy doing what I love, I go
above and beyond to do the best job possible . . . no
matter what’s involved, how hard it is, or how long it
takes. I oftentimes reach success beyond my wildest
dreams and truly look forward to going to work every
Does that describe you?
Then why are you settling by applying for a job
where you won’t be as happy or as productive as you
love to be?
Make that jump now. Do your homework before
going any further with your job search. Ask yourself
the following questions:
Do I love working with people, or am I better
working with things; i.e., sitting at a computer all
day, working in a lab analyzing material, inspecting
equipment, etc.?
Do I prefer working indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both?
Do I enjoy doing the same tasks all
day long, or do I thrive performing a
variety of job duties?
Do I like the same schedule each
day, or must I have a flexible schedule?
What is most important to
me: salary, benefits, work environment, opportunity for advancement?
Do I enjoy being micro-managed, or
must I have the freedom to accomplish
my job in the best way I know how?
Do I need to work all by myself, or
do I prefer being on a team working
toward a common goal?
Am I willing to travel or relocate
Do I prefer being part of management or holding a position which doesn’t require my supervising others?
How far away from home am I willing to commute?
Pay close attention to each of your
answers. You’ve just described the type
environment where you thrive and
enjoy working.
Use all 10 answers as a guide when
doing your job search. Eliminate every
position which doesn’t fit your criteria.
Then get busy applying for those
positions which do meet your requirements.
Yes, such jobs do exist when you
know exactly what you do want and
what you refuse to put up with any
more. You may be surprised at how
your ideal job may now seem to appear
from out of nowhere. But that’s no
accident. Once you do know what you
don’t want, you have a much easier
chance landing that job you do want.
Carol Pierce is a success coach and
the author of “Jump Now.” She creates
professional resumes and teaches people how to communicate more effectively, be better organized, use their time
more wisely and be more successful
achieving what they really want. To
contact Carol or to order her book, call
225-474-4923 or visit
page 12 • OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com
PERSONAL W e l l n e s s
Attention desk jockeys: get vertical!
uring National Chiropractic Health
Month this fall, Dr. Jay Perniciaro and
other chiropractic physicians across the
country will promote the importance of joint
health and the vital role physical activity plays in
keeping joints healthy and pain free.
Vertical, focuses on getting off the
couch or out of the office chair and
standing or moving each day.
Most people nowadays know
someone with joint pain, and jointreplacement surgery -- particularly
involving hips and knees -- is commonplace. What many do not know, is
that simple lifestyle changes can help
prevent the needing for this type of
surgery and keep joints healthier
“No one is doomed to invasive
joint-replacement surgery in order to
remain active and pain-free well into
one’s golden years,” says Dr.
Perniciaro. “A chiropractic doctor can
help by providing exercise and
lifestyle recommendations, nutritional
advice, and natural approaches to
managing aches and pains. Just a few
healthy lifestyle changes, over time,
can make a real difference.”
In honor of National Chiropractic
Health Month, Dr. Perniciaro offers
these tips to help you get vertical and
stay pain-free:
Stand up: Office dwellers can look
into using standing desks or treadmill
desks. But if you’re stuck sitting all
day, you can still stretch your legs
with a short walk about every 20 to
30 minutes.
Take micro-breaks: Frequently
stretch your neck, arms and wrists,
back and legs. Simple stretches
include neck rotations, fist clenches,
arm dangles and shoulder shrugs.
Get moving: You don’t have to
work out like a pro athlete, just aim
for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of
exercise three to five days a week.
Eat right: A healthy diet -- rich in
fruits, vegetables and healthy fats -can help reduce inflammation and
joint pain. Also, limit red meat,
refined sugar and white flour. Just a
few simple changes can have a positive impact on your health.
For more tips on living healthy
and pain-free, visit ChiroHealthy.com.
care Chiropractic Physician with offices in Donaldsonville, Gonzales,
Plaquemine, Baton Rouge and Denham Springs specializing in drugless pain
relief. No referral is necessary and he accepts most every health plan. Call
him directly with questions (225) 473-3990.
Dr. Jay Perniciaro is a primary
OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com • page 13
MOMENT OF F a i t h
“Do I Have Biblical Faith?”
y family and I went to a theme park several
years ago and after watching the killer whales
do their thing we began to exit the aqua-theatre. As we left the facility, I noticed they had put the word
“BELIEVE” on the large screen. My first thoughts were,
“What do they want us to believe? Believe in ourselves?
Believe in belief? Believe in the power of whales?”
After kicking these questions around in my mind, I
concluded that the words “faith” and “believe” have been
lost to a hundred conflicting and vague definitions. I want
to challenge us this month to think through what we really
You are reading this article more than likely because
you have some interest in the Bible or spirituality. If that is
true, it is very important that we think through these questions, “What is biblical faith?” and “Do I have it?”
When we read the Bible we find, like the theme park,
there is an announcement to “BELIEVE.” However, the
Scripture does not leave it open ended. Within the
Christian faith we are not allowed to custom design our
faith as if we were building a house. The call to believe in
the Bible is not a trip through the buffet line at the
Piccadilly where we pick and choose what we want.
In fact the book of Jude gives an impassioned plea for
followers of Jesus “to contend earnestly for the faith which
was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 3)
When the Apostle Paul spoke to the Philippian jailer in
Acts 16, the jailer had asked in a moment of spiritual trauma, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) The
jailer wanted some answers about personal faith and salvation. Paul’s response is simple and powerful, “Believe in
the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
As we think through the whole concept of faith, it is
important to realize that biblical faith has three essential
1. Faith has content. The Christian faith has substance
and foundational truths centered on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:3,4)
2. Faith requires agreement with the content. Namely,
do I agree with the biblical record of who Jesus claimed to
be and what he accomplished through his life, death, and
Pastor Law’s family: Dr. Jim Law and wife Gwynne, (clockwise starting on left) Lydia, Daniel, Naomi,
Miriam, Nathan, and Esther.
3. Faith is actual trust in Jesus as the Son of God and
Savior. It means a personal commitment to Jesus Christ
who died for my sins and rose again from the dead.
The Bible was written that you would believe this message. Biblical faith has historical content, requires agreement with that content, and must be received personally
into one’s life.
One of the most popular hymns today sung by
Protestants and Catholics alike is “In Christ Alone” written
by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Some have predicted
that this hymn will be the “Amazing Grace” of our generation. If you have not listened to it, I would urge you to go
online and listen to this bold declaration of biblical faith.
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest
drought and storm.
What heights of love,
what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled,
when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
May you cast the anchor of your life upon the rock of
Christ. All other ground is sinking sand.
Dr. Law is a senior pastor of First Baptist Church
Gonzales, located at 1217 S. Burnside Ave. You can contact him by phone at (225) 647-8575, by email at
[email protected] or on Facebook or Twitter @drjimlaw.
Ribbon Cuttings
Mateusz Dabrowski opened PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans in mid-September on La.
30. The coffee shop is the second business to open in a new retail strip on the 400 block
of La. 30, following Just Mattresses' opening in July. A nail salon will reportedly open
soon between the two businesses.
The Ascension Chamber of Commerce in mid-September hosted a ribbon cutting at
the new office for Counseling and Psychological Services, 12320-D Hwy. 44, Gonzales.
Dr. Sumer Ledet, psychologist, and Dawn Lundin, licensed clinical social worker and
therapist, practice at the office.
page 14 • OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com
In memory of Ronald "Rocky" Morris, who died June 14 in the industrial accident
at C.F. Industries, the fire station at 1428 Hwy. 1 South in Donaldsonville was renamed
the Ronald "Rocky" Morris Fire Station. Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez
also proclaimed Sept. 9, 2013, as a day of dedication to Morris and the fire station.
Morris had worked for more than 35 years at C.F. Industries and served on the Rescue
Team and Fire Brigade.
The Gonzales Rotary Club in early September presented a $10,900 check to Pastor
Matthew Dupre and the St. Theresa Food Bank, an outreach program of the St. Theresa
Avila Catholic Church. For more information about the food bank or to donate, call
(225) 647-6588, ext. 13.
Photo Credit By Delores Arnold (Sorrento, LA)
The Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival took off
on Sept. 27 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center for the second annual year, with balloonists floating around Gonzales and Ascension Parish throughout the weekend.
OCTOBER 2013 • Ascension business Journal • www.ascensionbusiness.com • page 15