Annual Meeting

An event at the Convention Center

Annual Meeting 2021

Like all communities across our great nation, Greater New Orleans was profoundly tested in 2020. However, few places in America have the experience, teamwork, and pride of place to weather difficulties as well as GNO. We continue to work every day to reduce the harm from COVID-19 to lives and livelihoods, while positioning ourselves for the very real opportunities that exist on the other side.

With this honest but optimistic outlook, we are pleased to present the GNO, Inc. Annual Meeting 2021 – Better Tomorrow. This event reviews the challenges and progress of last year, and the path to growth and prosperity going forward. Specifically, we recap updates to GNOfuture, our 10-year action plan, in the context of a prospective post-COVID-19 economy.

Now more than ever, we thank you for your partnership, and hope you enjoy the event.

2021 Annual Meeting Presentation

2021 Video Highlights

Better Tomorrow speaks to our opportunity, and obligation, to pivot out of COVID-19 in order to create a better tomorrow for our region’s economy, by capitalizing on the economic trends accelerated by the pandemic.

Better Tomorrow also speaks to a discipline and a drive we must all have, to keep improving, no matter what the obstacles. Through this determination and resiliency, we will become better people, lead better organizations, and become a better community.

We truly believe this. Greater New Orleans will be even better, tomorrow.

Below is a playlist of highlights from the feature presentation, Better Tomorrow, which reviews key components of our GNOfuture strategy – opportunities for growth in Trade and Logistics, Digital Media, Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Space, Wind, and Lifestyle Choice.

2020 Year in Review

Of course, 2020 was dominated by COVID, and its impact on lives and livelihoods.  At GNO, Inc., we drew on our experience going back to Katrina, Macondo – and even 9/11 – to help our business community mitigate the worst impacts of the crisis, and find some silver linings.  We know from these experiences that you can honor those who have lost, by rebuilding lives and livelihoods in a way even better than before.

  • To begin, Governor Jon Bel Edwards made GNO, Inc. the co-chair of the Resilient Louisiana Commission Economic Development Task Force.  In this role we began to address the profound challenges to our businesses, by developing concepts like cashflow relief.
  • In response to the COVID-19 crisis, GNO, Inc. set up GNOpivot, a website where companies who were changing their business model to serve urgent need – and create new revenue sources – could find customers.  Over 75 businesses are using GNOpivot, including clothing-makers who have pivoted to masks, liquor distillers who have pivoted to sanitizer, and makerspaces that have pivoted to the 3D printing of shields.
  • Recognizing that it is not only businesses that need to be matched, but also workers, we established GNOmatch.  On GNOmatch, employees who had been laid off due to COVID could find work in sectors that were surging, like delivery, and companies struggling to keep up with demand could find needed staff.
  • We also advocated forcefully for liquidity assistance for businesses that had been shut down, through no fault of their own.  Based on our past experience, we wrote an early concept for what because the Paycheck Protection Program.  The PPP has gone on to become the largest, fastest, and most impactful small business assistance program in American history, delivering 5,000% more funding than in Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
  • Finally, we understood that the most basic need of business is timely, clear and actionable information.  That is why we developed our evening Coronavirus updates, received by thousands, and why we are now publishing a “Vaccine Dashboard,” that shows our progress towards herd immunity.
  • But 2020 was not just about fighting COVID.  Some business sectors, in fact, remained hot!  One of those was food manufacturing, and we were thrilled when the Louisiana Pepper Exchange announced that it would invest $2M and create 50 jobs in a newly renovated facility in the Lower Garden District in Orleans Parish.
  • And foreshadowing the post-COVID opportunity in logistics, Medline, the nation’s leading medical supplier, announced a $25M, 400-job, million-square foot advanced distribution facility on the Northshore, that now will locate in Hammond.  As we like to say at GNO, Inc., Medline is down with PPE!
  • In another indication of good things to come, Service Corporation International, in Jefferson, decided to bring 115 office positions back to the US, from India and Mexico, and we then beat out Houston to get the jobs placed here.   SCI shares their building with Sleep Number, who expanded to GNO from Minneapolis a few years ago.
  • We also saw continued digital media growth.  Multinationals like Keywords and Shutterstock invested in GNO, and new companies opened here.  Gramercy Labs, run by a Jesuit and UNO grad, expanded from New York, London and Dublin to New Orleans.  Raistone opened, a FinTech company with a mission to “democratize working capital.”  And Benzait, a data analytics company, announced plans to open here.
  • Continuing our push on video game development, we launched Microsoft Game Camp, in partnership with Unity, Xbox, and Adobe.  Over 400 Louisianians applied to take part in Gamecamp, where they build their own video game while being mentored by industry experts.  Microsoft, by the way, owns inXile in New Orleans, and High Voltage Software, also here in New Orleans, does the coding for Fortnite, the most played video game in the world (by your kids).
  • Finally, in the industrial sector, a clean-energy company called Arq will invest $40 million at the IMTT site in St. Rose.  They will create over 40 direct and indirect jobs with a process that converts coal waste to clean energy.  And in New Orleans East, Italian company IriaPak is opening a faculty that makes plastic packaging, adding value to the feedstock made in the River Region.
  • On the policy side, challenges notwithstanding, we were able to bring home some important wins for Greater New Orleans.
    • We spoke at the White House about the importance in refining and expanding Opportunity Zones
    • Working with our congressional delegation, we were able to pass the Water Resources Development Act, and eliminate over $600M in accrued interest for Louisiana for our post-Katrina hurricane protection system


  • Now, we have turned our attention to promoting a consolidated regional agenda for infrastructure priorities, so we can maximize the benefit to Greater New Orleans from the expected federal  infrastructure package.
    • Providing liability protection for businesses from frivolous COVID claims
    • Protecting funding for early childhood education
    • Enhancing the Angel Investor Tax Credit for Opportunity Zones
    • Extending the Historic Preservation Tax Credit
    • Reducing the jury trial threshold, to help bring down auto insurance
  • Our GNOu demand-driven workforce program continued to expand, with new programs like:
    • Urban Construction Management at UNO
    • A Maritime Service Technician Program at Delgado, NTCC, and Nunez
    • A Masters in Data and Computer Science at TulaneAt the state level, we helped pass key legislation, including:
  • Also in education, we launched StudyNOLA, which sells Greater New Orleans as an education destination.  We have 13 higher education institutions, of outstanding quality and diversity, including the only public/private HBCU cluster in America.  It is about time we started using our schools as a competitive advantage!  Check it out at
  • Our New Orleans Music Economy effort continued, with a new website, a newsletter, and a just-launched database of all of our musical assets, like recording studios, in the region.  You can check it out at
  • Our effort on economic mobility and Black wealth creation gained momentum in 2020.  We have workstreams focused in entrepreneurship, career advancement, youth development, public policy, and the digital divide.  In entrepreneurship, we held a panel in partnership with the White House, that included Xavier, Dillard, SUNO, the Urban League and the Regional Black Chamber.  As a result of that event, we now have a paid internship apprenticeship program, which supports HBCU students interning at local startups.
  • We are also partnering closely with Black Tech NOLA, which aims to become the go-to national event for black entrepreneurship and tech talent, and with the Urban League on a number of initiatives, including a Capital Growth series, and on building a corporate framework for racial equity.  Here at GNO, Inc., it is our goal to have an economy where all citizens participate to their fullest potential.
  • Finally, just like you can’t cancel Mardi Gras, you can’t cancel great rankings!  And here are just a few that came in for 2020:
    • #1 Logistics leader in the USA
    • #5 for growth in digital entrepreneurs
    • State of the Year honors for Louisiana
    • Finally, New Orleans was ranked as one of the “five types of city that will win the recovery”