Jason El Koubi, who joined One Acadiana’s predecessor, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, four years ago and successfully navigated its transformation into a powerful regional business and economic development organization, has resigned as president and CEO to accept a job in Virginia. He has been named executive vice president of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the state economic development authority for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The new job, the No. 2 position in the organization, reunites El Koubi with Stephen Moret, his former boss at Louisiana Economic Development and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Moret, who left LED to head the LSU Foundation in mid-2015, joined VEDP in January.
Jim Bourgeois, One Acadiana’s executive director of business development, will serve as interim CEO effective immediately; El Koubi will remain with One Acadiana through the end of July.
“Jim has been with One Acadiana since its inception. His leadership over the last 2.5 years gives us every confidence in his ability to guide our organization through this transition,” One Acadiana Chairman Frank Neuner, managing partner of NeunerPate, said in a press release announcing El Koubi’s departure.
Since joining One Acadiana in September 2013, El Koubi worked with top business and civic leaders to develop and launch “The Campaign for One Acadiana,” a five-year, $15 million initiative to deliver a new, nationally competitive regional economic development program for the nine-parish region.
Under El Koubi’s leadership, the organization established a platform for regional leadership and cohesion across nine parishes and helped secure public support for major infrastructure projects, including the new Lafayette Regional Airport terminal and the I-49 Lafayette Connector. It also launched a business-focused regional workforce development strategy that has supported rapid retraining and re-employment for hundreds of displaced oilfield workers.
Additionally, One Acadiana launched a business attraction, expansion and retention programs and created a site development program that has dramatically increased the inventory of Acadiana’s certified industrial sites.
“Leading One Acadiana has been one of the greatest privileges of my career, uniting my passion for our state and region with my professional interests,” El Koubi says in the release. “I’m particularly grateful to the leaders who had the courage and vision to create One Acadiana, the group of investors whose leadership and commitment turned the One Acadiana vision into reality, and the tremendously capable One Acadiana staff for their commitment to passionately advance our mission every day. ... One Acadiana is a catalyst for unlocking our area’s tremendous potential through business and civic leadership,” he continues. “Sustaining these efforts will have a direct and positive impact on the long-term economic trajectory of our community, region, and state.”
Prior to joining One Acadiana, El Koubi served as assistant secretary of LED under then-Secretary Moret and had previously worked with him as policy director of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, which Moret headed from November 2004 to January 2008. El Koubi also has experience as a performance auditor with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and as a project consultant/environmental engineer with Trinity Consultants.
1A will conduct a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.