North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) won three Excellence in Economic Development Awards during the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada on September 19, 2017. These highly competitive awards are peer-judged, recognizing the world’s best economic development programs, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders.
NLEP won the Silver Award for Real Estate Development and Reuse; the Silver Award for Human Capital; and the Silver Award for Video/Multimedia Promotion. These prestigious awards are bestowed by IEDC, the largest membership organization serving economic developers in the world.
“Winning three awards of excellence in business development, workforce development, and marketing validates that NLEP’s economic development program is among the best,” said NLEP President Scott Martinez, CEcD. “Because our region’s population size is over 500,000, NLEP competed successfully against major cities like New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.”
The IEDC Excellence in Economic Development Awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. Panels of judges reviewed 625 entries this year based on stringent criteria. The entries are segregated into three different population categories: between 25,000 and 200,000; between 200,000 and 500,000; greater than 500,000.
“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the North Louisiana Economic Partnership,” said Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN and 2017 IEDC Board Chair. “Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”
In the category of Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse, the Eatel Business Tier III Data Center received recognition for the renovation of the historic Selber Bros. Department Store in downtown Shreveport. The Parish of Caddo played a major role in the $20 million-dollar redevelopment project, which converted the blighted Selber Bros. property into the State’s only Tier III data center- the highest certification for any data center in Louisiana. The renovation project revitalized downtown Shreveport and generated 15 new direct jobs, 19 indirect jobs and retained 10 employees.
“We are thrilled to receive the IEDC Real Estate Redevelopment & Reuse Silver Award in recognition for our Tier III Data Center in Shreveport,” says Sarah Ganong, Director of Marketing for EATEL Business.
“We will continue to work with NLEP to ensure that technology-focused businesses can flourish in the area by providing essential business services and powerful technology.”
The second Silver Award for a Human Capital Program honored NLEP’s Northwest Louisiana Manufacturing Week program, developed in partnership with the Manufacturing Managers Council of Northwest Louisiana. The workforce program promotes manufacturing as a career option to high school students to help meet the workforce needs of advanced manufacturers. High school students tour manufacturing sites and technical colleges and learn why manufacturing careers are both lucrative and rewarding. Students also receive educational and career information that will help prepare them for careers in manufacturing.
“When we first piloted the Manufacturing Week program in 2014, we started in just two parishes with 150 high school students visiting seven facilities,” said Angie White, CEcD, NLEP Senior Vice President, Workforce. “Today we have a 1,000 students from 10 school districts from all over North Louisiana visiting 30 tour sites. The program has had a profound impact on how students now view modern manufacturing.”
The third Silver Award for Video/Multimedia Promotion recognizes NLEP’s innovative strategies to market North Louisiana to the rest of the world. In 2016, NLEP developed videos showcasing our role in economic development and our development ready sites in North Louisiana. These videos shown on video brochures, a custom packaged portable video player, can be delivered directly into the hands of corporate decision-makers. The videos and video brochures offer a multi-sensory experience that allows North Louisiana to stand out from the crowd. The strategy is highly cost effective and has generated business development leads and investment in our organization, yielding a tremendous return on investment.
“Economic developers have to think outside the box when it comes to promoting and marketing our communities,” said Christine Rambo, CEcD, Senior Vice President, Communications/Marketing. “Today communities are competing on a global level, and NLEP is always looking at ways to maximize our resources to tell North Louisiana’s story to the rest of the world.”