July 21, 2015 10:00 AM

Peter Ricchiuiti

Peter Ricchiuti will offer the keynote address for the 2015 luncheon honoring Acadiana’s Top 50 Private Companies and nine publicly traded companies Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the Cajundome Convention Center at noon.

Ricchiuti is a respected economist and professor at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, where students twice voted him top teacher on campus citing his keen insight and trademark humor as key reasons. A graduate of Babson College, Ricchiuti started his career at the investment firm of Kidder Peabody & Co. and later served as the chief investment officer for Louisiana, where he successfully managed the state’s $3 billion portfolio. In 1993 he founded Tulane’s nationally acclaimed Burkenroad Reports student stock research program, which engages 200 business students in search of overlooked and underpriced stocks in six Southern states. He and his program have been featured widely in the financial press, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and The New York Times. Ricchiuti also hosts a weekly investment program called Out to Lunch on public radio in New Orleans. The popular program will be available to local listeners via KRVS this fall.

Each year ABiz compiles a list of Acadiana’s top privately held firms based on gross revenues and publishes the roster in a special issue in July, along with analysis and commentary on the trends that emerge. “Through the years our firm has had the privilege of working with many of the companies who will be honored at this event and we understand first-hand how important quality information is to their success,” says Clay Allen, managing partner at Allen and Gooch, legacy co-sponsor of the Top 50 luncheon. “That’s exactly what Peter Ricchiuti will bring to this audience, and we’re delighted to welcome him back. Given his leadership role at one of the top business schools in the South, he will provide a respected and valuable perspective on the Louisiana economy at a critical time for Acadiana’s business leaders.”

Front row: Raymond Jackson, Laura Pryor, Troy Broussard, Tony Robertson, Jessica Allain, Eric Waltner, Jacob Favaron, Desiree Auzenne, Patrick Johnson, Stacey Kennedy, Emile Joseph, Clay Allen and Randy Theunissen; Back row: Frank Flynn, Al
Photo by Robin May

Whitney Bank also returns as presenting co-sponsor of the ABiz Top 50 event. “We’d like to congratulate the companies on the list. Acadiana has long been recognized for its entrepreneurial talent, and companies like these drive our local economy and make us the envy of other cities and regions. As a bank with deep Louisiana roots, we understand and appreciate the courage, tenacity and commitment it takes to make the list,” says Lafayette market President Bill Hendrix, also noting the bank’s strong historic relationship with the keynote speaker. “Several years ago, our investment management group began studying the reports produced by Peter’s students and in December 2000 created the Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Fund. We licensed the name from Tulane and started the fund with $200,000. Today it has over $750 million in assets and is the top performing small cap fund among a universe of 280 peers.”

Seated, left to right: Larry Attenhofer, Byron Breaux, Duayne Richard, Bill Hendrix, June Hamlin, Nancy Trahan, Richard FrugeStanding, left to right: Zachary McNeal, Nick Richard, Ben Smith, Brent Benoit, Brandon Hyde, Gregory Zaunbrecher, Sto
Photo by Robin May

The Acadiana Economic Development Council presents the Spirit Award each year at the luncheon to one local company headquartered within the seven parishes its members serve. The award itself is an original piece of art designed by artist Kelly Guidry to represent exemplary entrepreneurism, community involvement and leadership. As is custom, the name of the winning firm is kept secret until the day of the event.

Additional sponsor support comes from The LHC Group, headquartered in Lafayette and providing home health, hospice and long-term acute care in 29 states. The Pinnacle Group, provider of insurance and financial services, returns as the VIP parking sponsor, and One Acadiana debuts as a sustaining sponsor for the luncheon this year. Vidox Motion Imagery is the digital media partner again for 2015.

Individual tickets are $50 each. Reserved tables for eight are available for $495. For tickets or additional information, contact Robin Hebert via email at robinh@theind.com or by phone: (337) 769-8603. Deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 12.