Lafayette attorney Elaine Durbin Abell received the first Leah Hipple McKay Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism. The award was presented at the 66th Annual Louisiana State Bar Association meeting in June. Established last year, the award will be presented annually to a lawyer in Louisiana who has made significant long-term contributions to his or her state or local community by providing volunteer services. Abell is a founding board member and current chair of the Community Foundation of Acadiana. She is also a founding board member for the Woman's Foundation of Acadiana as well as Women's and Children's Hospital and is currently on the board of directors for IberiaBank. Additionally, she recently served on the search committee to appoint the new chancellor of the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. She chaired the LSU Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana State Mineral Board. Abell is a member of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and has been involved with several governmental organizations. In 2006, the The Independent Weekly honored her with its "Women Who Mean Business" award.
A native of New Orleans, she attended LSU and received her law degree from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. She has practiced law in Lafayette since 1971.
Raymond Walters, an Edward Jones financial adviser, received the A.F. McKenzie Achievement Award for his outstanding sales and service efforts in the past year. The award is named for Al McKenzie, who developed the firm's training program during his nearly 60 years with Edward Jones. Walters is one of 1,673 of the firm's more than 10,000 financial advisers to receive this award.
Errol "Charlie" Babineaux Jr. of Dwight Andrus Insurance has obtained the Certified Insurance Counselors designation. To earn the designation, Babineaux completed the five required CIC institutes and passed exams in the areas of personal lines, commercial casualty, commercial property, life and health, and agency management. Babineaux, who lives in Lafayette, has a degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi with an emphasis in insurance and risk management.
Dawn Guidry, a Coldwell Banker Pelican Real Estate agent, recently obtained the Graduate of the Realty Institute designation. Now in her sixth year of residential sales, Guidry has closed transactions totaling more than $1 million dollars. She received the Top Selling Agent award in 2006. To earn the GRI designation, Guidry attended an intensive series of a minimum of 90 hours of classroom instruction, covering subjects in contract law, professional standards, sales and marketing, finance, and risk reduction, all of which aim to educate practitioners about local, state and national real estate practices. GRI courses are taught by leading real estate professionals from around the country.
Lafayette attorney Warren Perrin, who serves as president of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, was inducted into the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum Foundation's Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame on July 28. The honor was created in 2005 to acknowledge Louisiana's men and women who have served their community, state and nation in the professions of law enforcement, judiciary and related fields.
Certified Public Accountant Kelli M. Broussard has been promoted to senior auditor at Thibodaux Hebert Deshotels LeBlanc. She joined the firm as an auditor in 2005 and specializes in performing audits, reviews and compilations of corporations, non-profit organizations and other various entities as well as the preparation of corporate tax returns. Broussard received her MBA from UL Lafayette in 2005 and became a CPA in January of this year. Also, Jude M. Boudreaux and Lindsay M. Fontenot have joined the firm as a staff auditors. Both earned bachelor's degrees from UL in May, Boudreaux in business administration and Fontenot in accounting.
MidSouth Bancorp Inc., parent company of MidSouth Bank and MidSouth Bank, Texas, has been named one of the country's top performing small capitalization banks by the investment banking firm Sandler O'Neill + Partners. MidSouth Bancorp is one of only 24 banks and thrifts to achieve the prestigious Sandler O'Neill Sm All-Stars'Class of 2007 status, the first time the Lafayette, La.-based bank holding company has been recognized since the inaugural list was published four years ago. In 2006, 34 institutions made the cut. This year's list includes nine alumni from the 2006 class, welcoming 15 new members to the exclusive group. The list's sole Louisiana bank and one of only two from Texas, MidSouth Bancorp was chosen from a field of 610 publicly traded banks and thrifts with a market cap of less than $2 billion. To identify the two dozen institutions that stood out, Sandler O'Neill analyzed growth, profitability, credit quality and capital strength. That screening methodology eliminated 96 percent of the companies being evaluated.
Teche Federal Bank plans to construct a new location in Baton Rouge's Towne Center at Cedar Lodge, between Carrabba's Italian Grill and Chase Bank. The Towne Center banking facility will be Teche's fifth Capital City branch.
The Graham Group's work for East Mississippi Electric Power Association received several state and national honors during the 2007 PRism Awards Competition, hosted by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, and the Spotlight on Excellence awards program, sponsored by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. EMEPA received a PRism, or top honor, for its Web site, "emepa.com" developed by Graham Group Interactive. Graham also won Spotlight on Excellence awards for the EMEPA Annual Report design and for the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina advertising campaign titled "Your Light in the Storm," which won first place in the best advertising campaign category. The campaign included print, radio and web advertising.
Ben Serrette has joined Firefly Digital as programmer, a newly-created position. Serrette attends UL Lafayette, where he will graduate in the fall. He previously worked for The Vermilion, UL's student newspaper.