April Kleinpeter has been promoted to general sales manager of Courtesy Lincoln Mercury at 6885 Johnston St. Kleinpeter has more than 16 years of experience in the automotive industry and has been with Courtesy Automotive Group for seven years, most recently working as finance manager at Courtesy’s GMC location. Kleinpeter is being assisted in her new role as GSM by sales managers Steve Roy, who handles new vehicles, and Carlton Francis, who is in charge of pre-owned vehicles.
A distinguished coastal scientist, Dr. Robert Twilley has been named to the top research post at UL Lafayette. As vice president of research he will oversee the office of research, and many of UL’s research centers and economic development enterprises. Twilley most recently served as associate vice chancellor of research and economic development at LSU, commuting to Baton Rouge from Lafayette. His area of expertise is wetland ecology and rehabilitating damaged wetlands. He has also studied climate change extensively and its effect on states along the Gulf of Mexico. Twilley returns to UL, where he began his career in 1986 as an assistant professor in the biology department. He served as a professor in the department beginning in 1995 and was director and founder of UL Lafayette’s Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology from 1999 through 2004. In 2000, he was recognized with the UL Foundation’s Distinguished Professor Award. In a letter from UL President Joseph Savoie announcing the hire, Savoie writes that Twilley “is a respected scholar and scientist who also has extensive administrative experience. I’m confident that Dr. Twilley will be a strong leader who will help UL Lafayette continue its development as one of the Top 100 public research universities in the nation.” Twilley’s first day at UL will be Aug. 15; he takes over research at a university ranked second among research expenditures in the state with $58.6 million, according to an analysis of National Science Foundation research and development expenditures by public universities in Louisiana. His departure from LSU continues a recent trend of administrators and scientists leaving the state’s flagship university in the midst of budget cuts that have made finding suitable replacements extremely difficult, reports The Advocate. The paper notes that LSU has lost its provost, vice chancellor of research and economic development, multiple deans and other administrators and faculty.
Mary Ellen Henry, CEO of Crowley-based JohnPac Inc., was elected president of the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association at the recent spring meeting held in Naples, Fla. FIBCA is the North American association for the voice of the polypropylene bulk bag industry for dry, flowable packaging materials. Henry also served as president in 2004 and 2005.
Allstate Insurance Co. has named Chris Mahoney of Lafayette its Agent of the Year for the state of Louisiana. Mahoney was chosen for superior standards in customer loyalty and dedication to community relationships, as well as business growth during the fiscal year. Mahoney was also named to Allstate’s Chairman’s Inner Circle Conference.
Home Bank has promoted Commercial Banking Manager Gary Broussard to senior vice president. Broussard has 33 years of banking experience, eight with Home Bank. He is a graduate of UL Lafayette, the Graduate School of Banking at LSU, and has a continuing education degree in trust banking from the Cannon Financial Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Broussard is a past president of the Louisiana Young Banker’s Association, serves as the Southwest Louisiana regional representative on the Louisiana Bankers Political Action Committee and is a member of the budget and finance committee at Oakbourne Country Club. Home Bank also promoted Special Assets Officer Steve Caillier to vice president. Caillier, a Louisiana state-certified residential appraiser, began his banking career in 1970 and has more than 20 years of experience in residential appraisals. He has been with Home Bank for nine years, conducting inspections, appraisals and overseeing collections. In his new position, Caillier will focus on special assets management. Additionally at Home Bank, Celeste Lafleur Rushing, vice president and credit department manager, was among the 194 bankers receiving diplomas in June from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. This three-year program provides courses covering all aspects of banking, economics and related subjects.
Janet C. Leleux has joined IberiaBank as senior vice president and commercial relationship banker. Leleux has more than 25 years of banking experience, most recently serving as senior vice president and senior relationship manager for JP Morgan Chase in Lafayette. Leleux earned a BS in finance from LSU. She works out of the IberiaBank Tower downtown.
Driver Lee Matte of Dupré Logistics’ Duson Energy Group won first place in the 5-Axle Flatbed division at the Louisiana Motor Transport Association’s annual Truck Driving Championships in Baton Rouge. The event is held in cooperation with the American Trucking Association. Matte’s win qualifies him to participate in the American Trucking Association National Trucking Driving Competition in Columbus, Ohio. Other Dupré Logistics drivers were Joseph Soileau, who competed in the 5-Axle Tank division, and Phil Strickland, in the 5-Axle Van division. Member company truck drivers with outstanding driving records go head-to-head in the event’s nine divisions of competition, which consist of a written test from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a personal interview, a pre-trip inspection of a commercial motor vehicle of the vehicle class in which they are driving and an obstacle course with six problems they must maneuver the vehicle around. This year’s competition hosted 99 Louisiana drivers from several different companies.
Angelle Theriot has joined the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce as events director, responsible for the planning, supervision and execution of all chamber events. She creates and manages the budgets, coordinates logistics, secures sponsorships, manages ticket sales and registrations and carries out any additional aspects to ensure a successful event. The Breaux Bridge native moved back to Lafayette after 12 years in Minnesota. She graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and leisure services. She completed her internship at the Houston Zoo as the special events intern and previously worked for Downtown Lafayette Unlimited as events and parcs coordinator.
The Grand Ballroom of the Marriott World Center in Orlando was the stage for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana to receive recognition at the MEP National Conference. MEP centers provide manufacturers with an array of services that focus on growth, productivity and efficiency. MEPOL is one of 65 MEP centers in the nation, and is in partnership with UL Lafayette. Diana Simek was named Champion of the Year, which recognizes outstanding advocates of the manufacturing extension mission and is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated an overwhelming commitment to the business growth and transformation of U.S.-based small- and mid-sized enterprises through continued support of the MEP system. Simek is a member of MEPOL’s Industrial Advisory Board. Dave Thomas was named Group Practitioner of the Year, an award that recognizes a group of MEP members whose specialized contributions have made a significant impact in the MEP system. These groups may have come up with a new product or service, improved an important process, or developed and expanded knowledge management and sharing within an organization or across the enterprise.
Renee Hernandez has joined Prescriptive Marketing as media specialist. She most recently worked in the local newspaper business and has more than four years of media sales and marketing experience in the Lafayette area. Additionally, she has worked with Squire’s Formal Wear in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee in a media buying capacity. Hernandez is handling all aspects of local and national media including traditional print media, electronic media and Internet media.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.