Press Releases

JEDCO Announces 2012 Business Awards

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 business awards. The organization recognized the winners at its 26th annual luncheon in front of hundreds of Jefferson Parish business and community leaders.

Jefferson Parish businessman Mike Maenza is the founder of MMI Culinary Services. Maenza received the JEDCO Business and Retention Award for his company’s lasting impact on the Jefferson Parish economy. He got his start in Jefferson Parish in 1986. Maenza began a catering company more than 20 years ago, a venture that led to other businesses and investments in the parish. Today, MMI Culinary services more than 4,000 restaurants around the world.

AAC Enterprises was awarded the Small Business of the Year Award. AAC began as an Ebay store in 1999 and grew into a full-scale company, specializing in developing customized automotive light products. They came to Jefferson Parish in 2010 with just six employees. In two years, they’ve added an additional 14 employees. The company has grown their revenue by 212% over a three-year period.

JEDCO’s 2012 Chairman of the Board, Jim Garvey, awarded Lynda Nugent-Smith with the JEDCO Chairman’s Champion Award. Nugent-Smith distinguished herself as a leader in economic development in Jefferson Parish. She is the chairman of the Jefferson Community Foundation, a JEDCO commissioner, and a past chairman of both the JEDCO Board and the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors. She is on the committee that helped streamline Jefferson Parish’s permitting process as well as Mayor Mike Yenni’s Economic Development Task Force in Kenner. Nugent-Smith also helped organize a new charter school in the Parish.

“This group of award winners is just exceptional,” says JEDCO Executive Director Lucien Gunter. “I am so proud of the successes that each of these men and women have known in the time they’ve been in Jefferson Parish. These types of companies and individuals are vital to ensuring that the Jefferson Parish economy continues to thrive. We are so grateful for the contributions they have made to this community.”

The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) presented Senator Conrad Appel with the Legislative Champion Award. LIDEA is a statewide association of state, regional and local economic developers, chambers of commerce and industry professionals dedicated to protecting the economic health and vitality of the state of Louisiana. The organization recognized Appel for his staunch support of pro-business policies. Appel was instrumental in the creation of the Office of International Commerce within LED. He also works very hard to improve the quality of education throughout the state of Louisiana. He authored the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Act in the hopes that every child participating in a Pre-K program receiving public dollars is in kindergarten already.

The JEDCO luncheon is an annual event to recognize and show support of Jefferson Parish businesses. The 2012 annual luncheon was held at NOLA Motorsports, a new, state-of-the-art facility in Avondale.