We recently attended the annual meeting of Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), where our very own Maura Donahue, Executive Vice President with DonahueFavret Contractors, Inc. was installed as the 2016 Board Chair. Maura was our Chamber Board Chair in 1998. Many of our Northshore leaders were also in attendance, including Marty Mayer, CEO of Stirling Properties, who was our Board Chair in 2006 GNO, Inc. Board Chair in 2010. The theme of the luncheon was “Leading to the Future.” During the presentation to over 1,000 attendees, we learned that 2015 was a remarkable year for business development projects in the region, with nine announcements and two major global events that will bring over $2.3 billion in capital investment to the region. As the theme intended, there was a focus on cultivating new leadership, in order to ensure continuity and on-going improvement. Transformation takes time.
Being one of the ten parishes included in the GNO, Inc. region, we have much to be proud of as well, including shopping options that many citizens are looking forward to. Driving around the area, we constantly see new businesses coming in, new office parks and new housing developments going up.
In Mandeville, I’m sure most of you are aware that Whole Foods will soon be opening in the old Albertson’s in the Stirling Center on Hwy.190. The popular retailer Forever 21 has already opened next door and already is a top producer in the chain. Fresh Market in Northlake Shopping Center is expanding, and Covington’s well known and loved locally owned Acquistapace’s Supermarket will open a second location for their wine and cheese specialties!
Along the Hwy. 190 corridor south of Covington, Northpark has practically doubled in size with the opening of Greengate Drive. Rain Carbon Inc. relocated their corporate headquarters here over year ago, and Diversified Foods and Seasonings LLC, as well as Fauntleroy Latham Weldon Barré Architects will soon be moving in next door. Up front, a new retail space has welcomed MHM Urgent Care, Dunkin’ Donuts and Jimmy Johns. Many of us are looking forward to next week’s ribbon cutting at Nothing Bundt Cakes whose doors just opened. More businesses are certain to follow in the months and years ahead.
Things are happening in Madisonville as well. Last year FedEx built an impressive distribution center off of Hwy. 1077. And if you have children, no doubt you’ve heard about Elevation Station, the northshore’s first ever trampoline park that has quickly become “the” place for birthday parties.
The fact that so many businesses are locating here, and that existing ones are expanding, says a lot to the economic vitality of our parish within the larger region. Together with our partners, we still have work to do. As a matter of fact, there is even more work because of the results, because now we have even more businesses to represent. Our Chamber’s leadership will continue to work together with our partners, our government and elected leaders to ensure continued positive results and job. We will maintain and strengthen our voice of business to maintain our quality of life while achieving the growth so important to our parish, state and country’s well-being.
While GNO, Inc. CEO Michael Hecht and his staff have done an extraordinary job in the past decade, they fully credit the voluntary support of business leaders, time, talent and treasure, and call upon the same going forward. He stated in a follow up message:
- We are blessed – Greater New Orleans is blessed with world-class economic and cultural assets.
- We are at a critical juncture – We cannot take our economic progress over the past decade for granted, and we must continue to focus on creating the conditions for long-term job growth and wealth creation.
- Leadership matters – And not just leadership today, but leadership over time, over generations. The reality is, the transformation of Greater New Orleans is not a ten-year process – it is a thirty-year process, a generational process.
A video which focused on the region’s rising leadership featured members of the GNO, Inc. young professionals group called the NextGen Council. We encourage our readers to view the PowerPoint and video shown during the event which can be found at here.