Thirty years ago, a group of forward-thinking business leaders came together to develop the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO). During the regular session of the 1987 Louisiana legislature, lawmakers put forth HB 908 to consolidate the Industrial Development Board of Jefferson Parish with the Jefferson Port District. JEDCO was born.
JEDCO celebrated thirty years of economic development successes and progress at an evening reception on Wednesday, September 13th. The commemorative event, held in the lobby of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, provided an opportunity for JEDCO’s many collaborators, partners, and supporters to honor the organization’s impact on the Jefferson Parish community.
“We have so much to be thankful for over these three decades and that is why we are celebrating tonight,” JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna said. “Over the last 30 years, JEDCO has played a vital and impactful role in the Jefferson Parish business community. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the regional business leaders, our civic and elected officials, and our partners who have helped us enhance the economic climate in Jefferson Parish.”
Over the last 30 years, JEDCO experienced many economic development achievements. The organization financed nearly 500 projects, resulting in over $317 million in investment for Jefferson Parish. JEDCO’s award-winning Business Retention team held thousands of meetings with existing companies to maintain business health and facilitate expansions. JEDCO created the parish’s first economic development strategic plan, The Jefferson EDGE, which has served as a road map for economic growth since its inception in 2000. In 2008, JEDCO became Louisiana’s first local economic development agency to achieve accreditation through the International Economic Development Council, an accolade shared by less than 60 organizations across North America. JEDCO brought over $1 billion in foreign direct investment into Jefferson Parish and worked with large international players such as Laitram, Zatarain’s, Smoothie King and others, while staying true to Jefferson Parish’s roots as a small business community.
“With so much to be proud of, I can assure you we aren’t resting on our laurels,” Bologna said. “Building on that foundation, our momentum continues with major projects being announced throughout the parish.”
This year, JEDCO attracted Select Comfort, a $1.3 publicly traded national brand that designed the Sleep Number mattress. The company chose to locate their newest contact center in Elmwood with plans to create up to 225 jobs. This is just one of many projects happening in the Jefferson Parish community in which JEDCO had a hand.
The JEDCO30 Anniversary Reception, presented by Peoples Health, featured live music by The Benchwarmers, a medley of delicious hors d’oeuvres by Messina’s Catering and Events, and unique accent lighting throughout the venue by Abstract Productions. An ice sculpture in the shape of the JEDCO logo served as a conversation piece for guests.
Among those in attendance were JEDCO President & CEO Jerry Bologna, Jefferson Parish President Michael S. Yenni, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto, Jefferson Parish District 1 Councilman Ricky Templet, Jefferson Parish District 2 Councilman Paul Johnston, Jefferson Parish District 5 Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken, JEDCO Chairman Bruce Layburn, Henry Shane, Pat Shane, Jack Stumpf, Delgado Community College Chancellor Joan Davis, UNO President Dr. John Nicklow, Select Properties owner Lee Giorgio, Laitram President Jay Lapeyre, Insurance Commissionor Jim Donelon, Peoples Health Vice President of Marketing and Communications Nick Karl, and Jefferson Chamber President Todd Murphy.