GNO, Inc. Announces Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy
Caitlin Berni | [email protected] | Published on July 11, 2014
NEW ORLEANS — Today, GNO, Inc. announced the launch of the Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy (CCRE). CCRE is a business led coalition that will create an educated, informed voice of advocacy for sustainable restoration efforts in Louisiana’s wetlands, rivers, deltas, and coastline.
“Water is the existential issue for Southeast Louisiana,” said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Our region has a take-it-or-leave-it opportunity to make strategic investments in the environment today that will ensure continued economic growth and opportunity tomorrow, and CCRE will help ensure this happens.”
“Partnerships such as these allow the state to engage business interests and other stakeholders so that we can work together to achieve our goals of restoring and protecting this valuable resource, coastal Louisiana,” said Jerome Zeringue, Executive Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
CCRE will be chaired by Marty Mayer, President and CEO of Stirling Properties, “As Chairman of CCRE I’m excited about the role the business community will play in coastal restoration efforts. With the coming influx of funding from the RESTORE Act and other oil spill related settlements, we have a unique opportunity to ensure the continued prosperity and sustainability of Southeast Louisiana. The issues ahead of us are more than just environmental challenges—they are economic, civic and cultural. I’m looking forward to the impact this unprecedented effort will make on this crisis.”
“The business community is critical to advancing coastal restoration, and the Walton Family Foundation is proud to support the CCRE as part of the growing chorus working on these issues,” said Kristin Tracz, Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation. “We believe smart restoration projects, based on the best available science, will create economic opportunities for Southeast Louisiana now, and for generations to come.”
Members of CCRE include a diverse group of CEOs and executives from the Greater New Orleans region, Baton Rouge and Terrebonne – Lafourche regions:
- Marty Mayer, President & CEO, Stirling Properties (CCRE Chair)
- Justin Augustine, Regional Vice President, Veolia
- Dale Benoit, Owner, Print-All, Inc.
- Rita Benson LeBlanc, Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans
- Sharon Bergeron, Vice President of Commercial Lending, Coastal Commerce Bank
- Donna Fraiche, Founding Member of Baker Donelson’s Louisiana offices, Former Board Member of the Louisiana Recovery Authority
- Fran Gladden, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, Cox Communications Southeast Region
- Philip Gunn, Managing Director of New Orleans Office, Postlethwaite & Netterville
- Will Hales, Assistant Vice President, Iberia Bank
- Tara Hernandez, President, JCH Development
- Merritt Lane, President & CEO, Canal Barge Company, Inc.
- Jay Lapeyre, CEO, Laitram, LLC
- G.F. Gay Le Breton, Managing Director, Chaffe & Associates
- Brandon Nelson, Vice President of Commercial Banking, Whitney Bank
- Mark Spansel, Partner, Adams & Reese
- Lizette Terral, President, New Orleans Region, JP Morgan Chase Bank
- Mickey Thomas, President & CEO, South Louisiana Bank
- Brent Wood, State Government Affairs Manager, Chevron
“Implementing the Coastal Master plan is a necessity because we are at the end of the line when it comes to saving our coast,” said Dale Benoit, Owner of Print-All, Inc. “I hope through the CCRE, GNO Inc. can increase awareness to the issue and accelerate the rebuilding process while identifying economic development opportunities for local companies and workers along the coast. We have to be mindful that the work takes place with the least amount of impact to our culture and fisheries.”
“The future success and growth of our region is directly tied to the preservation and restoration of our coastal wetlands,” said Rita Benson LeBlanc, Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. “Our family, teams and other business interests are committed to helping tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our greatest resource- our coastal wetlands. I look forward to continuing to work with GNO, Inc. and our business community to lead the way in creating sustainable solutions”.
“As a business leader in a coastal community, I believe it is critical to safeguard our current and future assets so that we can continue to expand and grow our businesses with confidence,” Sharon Bergeron, Vice President of Commercial Lending, Coastal Commerce Bank. “Yet while protection of our current economy is paramount, Southeast Louisiana is also in a unique position to expand our expertise of coastal restoration and export this specialized knowledge to new regions, thereby creating new jobs and new industries for Louisiana firms and residents.”
“As a Louisiana native, I have always enjoyed the water in my personal life—yet coastal issues are now integral to my professional work as well,” said Fran Gladden, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Cox Communications Southeast Region. “Through my role as Vice President of Government and Public Affairs with Cox Communications, I’m aware of the pressing issues facing our customers, employees and local officials in Southeast Louisiana and I’m looking forward to learning more about how coastal restoration will impact our communities. Long-term, sustainable solutions for land-loss are important for homes, families, and businesses alike.”
“As a real estate developer working in the urban context, I recognize that coastal restoration is an issue which extends far beyond the coast,” said Tara Hernandez, President of JCH Development. “The economic impact, regional sustainability and cultural heritage of our coastal communities are integrally linked to the health of our metropolitan areas and it is time for the broader business community to make a meaningful impact on this issue.”
“As the CEO of a Louisiana-based global manufacturing company, my passion for coastal restoration is directly linked to both our past and future,” said Jay Lapeyre, CEO of Laitram, LLC. “Laitram, LLC was founded 60 years ago in New Orleans to automate shrimp processing along the Gulf Coast, and our business still depends on having a the quality of life to attract and retain a highly skilled and productive workforce. Our commitment to this region, our employees, their families justifies our active engagement in a variety of initiatives to protect our coast and communities, and is an important part of why I look forward to continuing my civic involvement in these efforts through the CCRE.”
“Coastal restoration is not a political debate,” said Brandon Nelson, Vice President of Commercial Banking at Whitney Bank. “It is a necessity to ensure our children’s children will be able to call this place home. All of the strides we have made as a business community to further economic development will all be for naught if we don’t address this issue…as I have yet to see a booming economy below the seas.”
“The Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy provides Louisiana with its last, best chance of victory in the battle against the erosion of our coast,” said Mark Spansel, Partner at Adams and Reese. “By holding our ground and advancing our cause, our state will not only protect its citizens and their businesses, but will also foster a whole new industry around coastal restoration and flood protection. I am proud to be part of such a critical mission.”
“The crisis of coastal erosion has extended far beyond environmental concerns and can no longer be framed as an issue to be dealt with tomorrow: the land-loss occurring today poses an imminent threat to our culture and economy. I’m looking forward engaging with CCRE to champion both the cultural preservation of this region and our ongoing economic vitality through these vital restoration efforts,” Lizette Terral, President, New Orleans Region, JP Morgan Chase Bank.
CCRE’s mission is to:
- Promote the business case for coastal restoration in Louisiana
- Maximize RESTORE Act funding and other federal funds that are allocated to Louisiana
- Ensure that RESTORE Act funding and other federal funds are spent on their intended purposes
- Leverage RESTORE Act funding and other federal funding to direct other revenue streams
- Create opportunities to engage local businesses and workforce in implementation
Funded by the Walton Family Foundation, CCRE will support an integrated “three-legged” framework of coastal restoration, appropriate structural flood mitigation, and non-structural flood mitigation. The first step for CCRE members will be to participate in unique coastal experiences, including sea plane and boat tours of Louisiana’s coastline to see firsthand our challenges and opportunity. CCRE will also advocate for policies that promote, protect and drive resources to Louisiana’s coast.
About Greater New Orleans, Inc.
GNO, Inc. is the regional economic development organization, serving to coordinate, consolidate, and catalyze economic development activity. The GNO, Inc. Mission is to create jobs and wealth in the Greater New Orleans community. The GNO, Inc. Vision is for the Greater New Orleans region to fulfill its potential as one of the best places in the country to grow a company, and raise a family.
More information can be found at www.gnoinc.org.