People & Flashes - September 2008

Licensed mortgage loan originators Bonnie and Wilson Thibodeaux have joined Home Mortgage Associates, Lafayette’s oldest mortgage broker firm. The husband and wife team has more than 16 years of combined mortgage lending experience. Bonnie, who previously worked for Home Mortgage Associates, has an additional 18 years in the banking industry. Both are active in the Realtor Association of Acadiana and are members of the Louisiana Mortgage Lenders Association and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

Brian Sokol has been promoted to vice president of strategy and development, domestic and international, for the Knight company where he will be responsible for identifying and building business opportunities to enhance the Lafayette-based company’s strategic growth nationwide and internationally. Sokol has more than three decades of experience in fishing services and the oil and gas industry, and was instrumental in the creation of Knight Fishing Services in 1999. Sokol attended Nicholls State University, majoring in petroleum technology.
Connie Bernis has been promoted to branch manager for the Lafayette office of Advancial Federal Credit Union. In her new role, Bernis is in charge of all branch operations and management functions and is leading a team of seven employees. Bernis previously served in many operational capacities at Advancial, which she joined as a teller in 1998. She most recently was branch supervisor.

Tina Partigianoni has joined Coldwell Banker Pelican as corporate finance director. Partigianoni has more than 10 years of experience in business, receiving a BS in education from UL Monroe in 1996 and an MBA from UL Lafayette in 2003. She has served as vice president-administration, office manager, assistant controller, director of finance, and credit manager at Acadiana area businesses, most recently working for Bruce Foods Corp.

Michael E. Burrows was selected from a field of 17 candidates to fill the second-in-command role at Lafayette Regional Airport, deputy director of aviation. Burrows’ new duties include a variety of administrative, maintenance and operations activities. Specifically, he is the designated security coordinator and acts as director of aviation when necessary. He also is responsible for the continual assessment of conditions of the entire airport, as well as negotiating and administering contracts. Also at the airport, Anthony Hebert has been named airport operations specialist. Hebert’s duties include overseeing the day-to-day operations of the airport to ensure activities are in compliance with all Federal Aviation Administration FAR Part 139 standards. Prior to joining the airport, Hebert worked for Colgan Air Inc. in Manassas, Va., as a repair coordinator. He is a graduate of the UL Monroe with a bachelor of science in aviation.

Thomas Huval has been named chairman of the board of directors for Farmers-Merchants Bank and Trust Co. Huval has been a director since 2006. He is executive vice president of mergers & acquisitions for Brown & Brown Louisiana Inc. (formerly Huval Insurance Agency), the nation’s 6th largest insurance intermediary. He also is the owner of Accel Protection & Technologies. Active in the community, Huval is a graduate of Leadership Lafayette XI; a past member of the Diocese of Lafayette school board; a board member of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana; and past president of the Breaux Bridge Area Chamber of Commerce.

Kelli Shealy, director of human resources at Fenstermaker, has earned certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. Awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute, the SPHR certification signifies that Shealy possesses theoretical knowledge and practical experience in human resource management. To become certified, an applicant must pass a comprehensive examination and demonstrate a strong background of professional human resource experience.

A team of Lafayette area bankers with more than seven decades of combined financial services experience has joined Business First Bank to lead the Baton Rouge-based bank’s expansion into the Acadiana market. Eric Marter, Jo D. Breaux, Larry Lanclos Jr., Tina Kaufman, Annette Corzine, Madonna Dugas and Lauren Frederick, many of whom have previously worked together in the financial services industry, have joined Business First Bank’s banking center in the Oil Center at 900 E. St. Mary Boulevard, Suite 100. The bank was founded by former Gov. Buddy Roemer. Additional offices are planned for Lake Charles, Houma and Texas.

Special Olympics Louisiana has named Lafayette Lanes the winner of its “Area Corporate Benefactor of the Year” award. This honor is given to businesses that exceed expectations in their service to the athletes of Special Olympics Louisiana. The award was presented at the annual Sports Awards Banquet in Baton Rouge to Lafayette Lanes manager Randy LeBlanc, who has been involved with the programs of Special Olympics since 1979. An educator, LeBlanc uses his teaching skills to train Special Olympics volunteers to teach the athletes how to bowl. Every year he conducts a seminar for 8-20 people, training them on the fine points of teaching the sport to Special Olympics athletes. Lafayette Lanes is also used by UL Lafayette and several area high schools as part of their physical education courses.

Coldwell Banker Pelican has been named to the prestigious Coldwell Banker Chairman’s Circle. The designation is awarded to companies that attained closed adjusted gross commission income of $8 million or more during the 2007 calendar year. Coldwell Banker Pelican is one of only 78 Coldwell Banker companies throughout the world to receive the award, an honor it has earned for three consecutive years.

Devon Energy has donated $24,000 to Lafayette Habitat for Humanity to help in the construction of homes for victims of Hurricane Rita in Vermilion Parish. The donation is helping Habitat build homes in partnership with some of those local families who have been struggling to rebuild their lives. Bryan Molaison of Devon presented the donation in front of a Habitat house in Vermilion Parish. The home is one of six being built at Habitat’s 12-lot subdivision off Gladu Road near Kaplan. A volunteer crew of Devon employees worked on two of the homes in May and plans to return to help with the remaining homes, all of which will be completed by December of this year.

Guidry Beazley Architects, Acadiana’s oldest architecture firm, has changed its name to Architects Beazley Moliere to reflect the addition of Albert Moliere as a partner. In business for more than 50 years, the firm has been responsible for many of the area’s most significant structures, including office buildings, shopping centers, banks, schools, post offices, hospitals, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, the John M. Shaw Federal Courthouse, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, NOAA Estuarine Habitats and Coastal Fisheries Center, and the Lafayette Public Library. “It has been over a year since senior partner Larry Guidry passed away,” says firm President Charles Beazley. “He joined the organization in 1965 and was instrumental in building a well respected practice.” Moliere joined the firm in 1998 as a project manager and became a partner in 2005. Beazley began as an intern with the group in 1971, became a partner in 1985 and was named president in 2006. Architects Beazley Moliere most recently was recognized for its work on the 52,000 square-foot, $19 million renovation and addition to Lafayette General.