(Kenner, LA) – The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) celebrated a year of resilience, strength, and economic development advancements at its annual year-end meeting Thursday. The 2021 JEDCO Annual Luncheon, sponsored by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company, is JEDCO’s largest event of the year, offering opportunities to highlight the organization’s successes in front of hundreds of regional business and community leaders. This year’s event touched on major projects and initiatives, such as the rollout of the Jefferson EDGE 2025 long-term economic development strategic plan, the construction of the first model home in Terrytown, and significant economic development wins for the community. JEDCO also spent time addressing the organization’s impactful response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida.
JEDCO announced the recipients of its 2021 business awards at the event. As this was the first Annual Luncheon hosted since 2019, JEDCO recognized multiple award winners in most categories.
Small Business of the Year: JEDCO recognized small businesses that contributed to the Jefferson Parish economy and pivoted in the midst of multiple crises over the last several years. This year, JEDCO selected three companies to receive this prestigious recognition, all of which are dedicated to investing in Jefferson Parish long-term.
Computrols: Computrols designs, manufactures, and services state-of-the-art building automation systems throughout the U.S. and abroad. With over 30 years in the industry, the Gretna-based manufacturer has established a solid reputation as a leader in automation systems for large facilities. High-rise office towers, military bases, hospitals, schools, and government monuments across the United States and the world benefit from the power, simplicity, and reliability of Computrols building automation products. During the pandemic, Computrols literally helped improve and maintain the air their clients and partners were breathing to ensure a safe return to work. They pivoted their building automation systems to specifically display variables that would mitigate the presence and spread of COVID-19 in a building; they covered everything from air quality monitoring, countdown to filter changes, carbon dioxide levels, fresh air changes, and average humidity level. Their clients include some of the largest hospital systems in the area, so while medical teams were caring for the ill, Computrols’ cared for the staff and everyone present in those facilities.
Crystal Clear Imaging: From building wraps and stadium branding to retail signage and transportation graphics, Crystal Clear Imaging (CCI) has been establishing excellence as a signage solutions specialist in Jefferson Parish since 1999. The company has been the official signage solutions partner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans since 2005, a partnership that was just extended once again this year. During the pandemic, CCI never shut down its operations and it was able to keep all employees on the payroll. The business identified opportunities to pivot during the pandemic, creating social distancing signage for grocery stores, pharmacies, and other businesses. CCI also began producing plexiglas shields, becoming the main supplier for the Superdome, Smoothie King Center, local grocery stores, small businesses, and educational institutions, including Tulane and Loyola.
Therapeutic Learning Center: Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC) is an innovative pediatric Occupational, Speech, and Physical Therapy practice dedicated to improving the well-being of children within the greater New Orleans area. This woman-owned business, pioneered by founder Jenny Domiano, has experienced meteoric growth over the last four years. In 2018, TLC employed 9 people. This year, the company employs 31 full and part time employees. TLC has two locations in Jefferson Parish. During the pandemic, TLC pivoted to provide virtual therapy (or teletherapy) to clients in their homes. Most therapy sessions have resumed to in-person. Jenny and her growing team serve the children of Jefferson Parish through compassionate, quality, innovative care.
Business Retention & Expansion Award: Each year, JEDCO selects a recipient that has been instrumental in the retention and expansion of jobs and businesses within Jefferson Parish to receive the prestigious Business Retention & Expansion Award. This year, the special recognition was awarded to Angela LaCour, AVP of Stewart Enterprises. Stewart Enterprises, which has had a presence in Jefferson Parish for over 100 years, was acquired by Service Corporation International eight years ago, retaining 130 jobs in Jefferson Parish at the time. When the company considered expanding and reshoring job functions, SCI looked at both its Jefferson Parish location and its headquarters in Houston. Angela advocated for these jobs to be located in the Elmwood facility. With her vision and advocacy, Stewart Enterprises worked closely with JEDCO, Louisiana Economic Development, and the Jefferson Parish Council to bring 120 jobs into our community. These new positions represented a recapturing of jobs from overseas, a tremendous win for JEDCO and Jefferson Parish.
Chairman’s Champion Awards: JEDCO always affords the organization’s chairperson with an opportunity to select one individual who has positively impacted the Jefferson Parish economy.
2021: JEDCO’s 2021 Chairwoman of the Board, Teresa Lawrence, presented Todd Murphy with this year’s Chairman’s Champion Award. Todd Murphy served as the President of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce for over 9 years. Under his leadership, the Jefferson Chamber increased membership and revenues by 35% and became five-star accredited, a designation only 219 out of 7,000 organizations across the US have achieved. Additionally, the Chamber won three State Chamber of the Year awards from the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives under Todd’s tenure. He has been an avid champion for the Jefferson Parish business community and a tremendous asset and valued partner to JEDCO.
2020: Additionally, 2020 Chairman Mickal Adler selected Jefferson Business Council Executive Director Tim Coulon as his Champion this year. Tim stepped into the executive director role in 2020. He has long served Jefferson Parish in many capacities. from head of the Jefferson Parks and Recreation Department to Jefferson Parish President. When he moved into his role as executive director of the JBC, Tim helped push through important initiatives for the business community and served as an advocate of the Spend Local JP program to educate consumers on the benefits of supporting homegrown business in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The JEDCO Annual Luncheon has long served as an opportunity to formally showcase annual wins for JEDCO, but this year feels especially poignant,” said JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna. “After two years apart, we finally came together once again to celebrate and acknowledge what our community has been through since early 2020. Jefferson Parish has displayed the resilience, strength, innovation, and collaboration that we all have come to expect. Additionally, the businesses we recognized this year played a tremendous role in the advancement of our economy, exemplifying what it means to seek opportunity and growth in crisis. Their work advances us forward and builds momentum as we move into a new season. We are so grateful for their contributions to Jefferson Parish.”
JEDCO recognized multiple key project partners at the Annual Luncheon as well, including Louisiana Economic Development, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Port of New Orleans and the Public Belt, the Jefferson Parish Council and Administration, and multiple business organizations such as the Jefferson Business Council and the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce. The 2021 JEDCO Annual Luncheon took place at the Hilton New Orleans Airport on Airline Drive.