People & Flashes - April 2008

LITE has doubled the size of its staff. As technical director, a newly created position, Marty Altman will oversee LITE’s research, IT and software development teams. He has 17 years of experience in simulation and training, animated feature films, theme park attractions, games and education. He served as technical director at Walt Disney Feature Animation and technical art director at Electronic Arts and has a master’s degree in computer science from University of Central Florida. His credits include the feature films Mulan and Lilo and Stitch. Dioselin Gonzalez joins LITE as a research scientist. Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Simon Bolivar University and a master’s degree in technology, specializing in graphics and collaborative virtual reality programming from Purdue University. Returning to the United States from Singapore where she most recently taught at Nanyang Polytechnic, Gonzalez will now help develop advanced visualization applications for the different immersive visualization systems at LITE. Gonzalez is fluent in many 3D and virtual reality programs, including C/C++, .NET, Python, VRJuggler, OpenGL, OSG, Boost, and AGTk. Justin Gondron brings seven years of IT experience to LITE and has joined the team as system administrator.  Complementing Gondron’s vast experience with database creation is fluency in several computer languages including C++, VB.Net, VBA, VB and J Script, ASP.net, HTML, XML and Java. Gondron previously worked as an IT manager at America’s Pizza Company and with the Key Accounts division of Cingular Wireless. As media and integration specialist, Chillon Thomason will support and maintain infrastructure for advanced visualization research and presentations for the different immersive visualization systems at LITE.  Thomason previously worked as the marketing producer/video producer for KATC where she managed the Tools for Schools project and wrote and edited various news packages. Thomason also worked extensively with the Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel as project manager in Atlanta. Marsha Miller is the newly appointed executive assistant to the executive director. Having most recently assisted the CEO of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Miller has also worked extensively in the financial and legal industries. She has a bachelor’s degree and paralegal certificate from UL. Amy Soileau joins the LITE team as executive assistant to the chief operating officer.  A 2006 graduate of UL Lafayette, Soileau brings experience from her role as a management trainee for Enterprise Rent-A-Car and also as a personal marketing assistant at Bath Junkie. Francine Williams-Alexander joins the LITE team as an administrative assistant, bringing experience from both Sears and Palm Desert National Bank. Williams-Alexander is a 2004 graduate of UL Lafayette. Also at LITE, two consultants have been promoted to staff members: Erin Fitzgerald, who has been working as a marketing consultant for the past eight months, has been named public affairs manager. Prior to her consulting position with LITE, Fitzgerald worked with various Acadiana and Baton Rouge newspapers, including The Independent Weekly and Baton Rouge Business Report and was a business sales associate in the business-to-business division of Cingular Wireless. Fitzgerald is responsible for administering and supervising work/activities to establish and maintain communication and presence between LITE and the general public, including internal and external audiences. Paul Fung, a 2005 Fine Arts graduate of UL Lafayette, joins the team as a 3D modeler. Originally from Lafayette, Fung has worked as a consultant for LITE for the past 14 months. Fung will develop 3D models for the different immersive applications at LITE, primarily working on industry-specific projects. Additionally, he will lead the artistic concept design and provide guidance to developers on integrating the models into the software tools.

The Planned Giving Council of Acadiana has installed the following new officers: attorney William Friedman, president; Sharon Bourgeois, 232-HELP/211, past president; Julie Falgout, UL Lafayette Foundation, VP programs; Jeanette Alcon, Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic, VP membership; Kathy Rosenberg, St. Genevieve Catholic School, secretary; Sarah Berthelot, United Way of Acadiana, chair of Philanthropy Day; and Sarah Hyde, Cathedral-Carmel School, chair of Leave A Legacy. The PGCA is a nonprofit organization that provides a forum for the exchange of planned giving ideas in the Acadiana area.

Francisco Lopez of Scott is one of five national first prize winners of the Rosetta Stone Stories contest. The Rosetta Stories contest was held to find the most compelling real-life tales about how learning a new language has made a difference in people’s lives. Lopez will receive a three-level CD-ROM set of Rosetta Stone Version 3 Personal Edition software in the language of his choice. Lopez was brought up to speak Spanish as a second language, which has helped him to communicate with Hispanic patients in a Louisiana hospital where he now works. He plans to use Rosetta Stone to learn French so he can converse with even more patients and co-workers. “Our world would be a better place to live in if we’d only embrace the positive aspects of other cultures and break down communication barriers by learning a second, or possibly a third language, as many European children already do,” Lopez wrote in his winning essay.

Adam J. Curry and Jacob C. Roberie and Kevin Young have been promoted to managers at Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick. Curry specializes in the areas of taxation and wealth management. He received his CPA license in 2003. In 2006, Curry earned the NASD Series 7 and NASAA Series 66 licenses and is a licensed financial advisor, assisting the firm’s clients with their financial and investing needs. Roberie practices in the areas of taxation and wealth management and has been a CPA since 2007. In 2006, Roberie earned the FINRA Series 7 and NASAA Series 66 licenses and is a registered financial advisor. Both Curry and Roberie are registered representatives with 1st Global Capital Corp. Young, who works out of the firm’s office in Eunice and earned his CPA license in 2002, specializes in auditing of governmental, banking, nonprofit and non public business entities. All three managers are members of the American Institute of CPAs and the Society of Louisiana CPAs.

Joey Babineaux, broker for Keller Williams Realty Acadiana, will take on the additional position of productivity coach, working one-on-one with agents, empowering them to build successful businesses through support and accountability. Babineaux has more than 25 years of experience in the real estate industry and has been with the firm since January 2004. Also at Keller Williams, commercial real estate consultant Paul Beaullieu was the top producing Realtor in dollar volume of sales based on statistics from the Realtor Association of Acadiana’s Multiple Listing Service for 2007; Beaullieu has two decades of experience in the real estate industry. In 2007, he had more than $39 million in total closed sales volume. He was named the No. 2 agent among over 80,000 agents by Keller Williams Realty International in dollar volume of sales. J. D. Pierce (not pictured) has joined the company in the Lafayette market as team leader. Pierce has three years of experience as a Realtor and quickly became a top-producing agent in this market, having previously worked for Re/Max Acadiana. He also has management experience in the restaurant industry.

Jill Meaux and Jennifer Adcock have been named partners in The Training Source. Meaux, who has been with The Training Source since March 2006, has a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology from Southwest Missouri University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in management from Southeastern Louisiana University. She is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance. Adcock earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from UL Lafayette where she graduated cum laude with a master’s degree in human resources. Jennifer is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. The Training Source partners with company executives to maximize their investment in people as measured by increased employee productivity and profitability, reduced turnover and decreased legal risk.

Suzanne Krenz has joined MidSouth Bank as senior vice president for payment strategies. She will lead strategic planning for payment strategies with a keen focus on developing and implementing leading edge cash management solutions for the small to mid size businesses in all of the bank’s markets. She has more than 12 years in the financial services industry and seven years in cash and treasury operations management. Prior to joining MidSouth Bank, Krenz worked for AIG in Houston as vice president for market planning and research and before that for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in San Francisco as vice president for cross-channel marketing services.

Tiffany Angelle has been promoted to vice president, financial advisor at the Lafayette office of Stanford Group Company, a member of the Stanford Financial Group. Angelle joined Stanford in 2004, having previously worked in the banking industry in the Lafayette area. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from UL Lafayette and is a member of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Beta Gamma Sigma, a national business honor society.

Katie Chiasson, director of economic and business development at Cleco, has been certified as a Professional Community and Economic Developer from the Community Development Council. Chaisson has been involved with community economic development for 20 years, having held leadership positions at chambers of commerce and remaining active on regional economic development boards. She is also a member of the Louisiana Economic Development Council. Chaisson is a part of the Louisiana Department of  Economic Development’s initiative to customize the approach that smaller parishes and communities use to maximize their economic development potential and strengthen their efforts to grow. Chiasson has been with Cleco since 2001. She works with the company’s economic development team.

Entrepreneur magazine named Great Harvest to the “Top 500 Franchises” of 2007 in its 29th annual ranking list published in its January 2008 issue. Great Harvest has made the list for six years in a row and is the only company with the special niche of 100 percent whole grain bread made daily from freshly ground, premium wheat from the high plains of Montana. The editorial staff of Entrepreneur spends months pouring over data and analyzing company statistics to develop the rankings. To be eligible for the rankings, a franchise must have more than 10 units and must be seeking additional franchisees in the United States. Companies are judged on financial strength and stability, growth rate, startup costs, number of years in business, percentage of terminations and size of the system. Great Harvest ranked 256th on the list. Founded in 1976 in Great Falls, Mont., Great Harvest Franchising Inc., has more than 210 bakeries throughout the country, including the Lafayette bakery on Kaliste Saloom Road.

HB Rentals, a Superior Energy Services company, is delivering vital modular living area facilities to on and offshore projects in Angola and Azerbaijan through two new deals. HB Rentals has established a new relationship in Baku with AIOC, which is renting a pair of eight-man sleeper cabins for use on the MV Pacific Raider on an initial year-long contract, with options to extend. The cabins were the star of HB Rentals’ stand at Offshore Europe in 2007, illustrating the high standard of accommodation on offer to the industry. The 32 x 11 linked modules are DNV 2-7.1 approved and A60 fire resistance certified — the minimum standard required by AIOC and BP in the Caspian region. Modifications were carried out at HB Rentals’ manufacturing base in Aberdeen, Scotland, to ensure the cabins met AIOC’s requirements before being mobilized to Baku. The vessel is working on the CARSP project in the Chirag, Central Azeri and DWG fields and has previously been host to HB Rentals modules during another project. Meanwhile, Expro Group has taken delivery of a 20 x 14 combined shower and toilet unit at its Malongo Base in Cabinda Malongo, Angola, while a permanent structure is being built for its staff. Broussard-based HB Rentals is the world’s largest supplier of temporary on and offshore accommodation modules, operating from two additional major global hubs in Aberdeen, Scotland, and Singapore.

At two kickoff events in early March, MidSouth Bank welcomed two more retirement facilities into the Senior Crimestoppers Program. The bank also was recognized by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation for its long-term commitment and sponsorship of the SHCPF’s Senior Crimestoppers Program. MidSouth Bank has been participating in the program since 2004, first partnering with Chateau Terrebonne in Houma. MidSouth Bank made separate charter presentations to the administrators at their respective facilities, one to Jill Babineaux of Lady of the Oaks Retirement Manor in Lafayette and the other in Baton Rouge, both of which will benefit from the bank’s partnership with SHCPF. To help fund the fast-growing program, MidSouth Bank has pledged a portion of the earnings from a more than $1 million investment security. “We are making a long-term investment in this program through at least 2012, and so far we are serving 379 qualified residents in three parishes Lafayette, East Baton Rouge and Terrebonne,” said Janice Savoie, MidSouth Bank’s regional retail manager who is heading the program for the bank.