The New LABI Team Begins To Take Shape

labiA press release from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry yesterday makes note of a couple of interesting moves – and new gigs for a pair of dear friends of ours at the Hayride…

Business and industry is re-investing in Louisiana. Small businesses are too. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) is working to help Louisiana become the best location to start a new business or grow an established one.

As proof, LABI hired Renee Amar as director of its Small Business Council this week to lead its initiative to provide support for small-business owners. She is an experienced lobbyist, spokesperson and grassroots recruiter. For the past six years, Amar was the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). NFIB promoted her to that role after serving for nearly three years as the member support manager. Prior to joining NFIB, Amar worked for the Louisiana Hospital Association as their governmental affairs coordinator.

“Small-business owners are the backbones of our communities across the state, and we are committed to being an effective advocate for them. I am thrilled to have Renee join our team. She has a great record of accomplishment when working on behalf of business in Louisiana. She understands the issues, and will be a great asset for LABI’s small business membership,” said Stephen Waguespack, LABI president.

LABI has a proven record of accomplishment in the fight for small-business fairness. Amar will help LABI effectively represent the interests of small-business owners. Amar will use LABI’s new conference center technology to involve more small-business owners from across the state and enhance their ability to have their voice heard from their own offices, without a day’s travel to Baton Rouge.

“My dad owned his own construction company for the better part of my life. Watching his struggles over the years from fighting an over-reaching government to finding qualified employees, instilled a deep passion in me that will always fight for the free enterprise system,” said Amar.

Additionally, Brian Landry, LABI’s Vice President of Political Action, and its Technology Council Director, will lead the Energy Council following the retirement of Ginger Sawyer, LABI’s former Energy Council director.

According to Dr. Loren Scott’s 2014-2015 Louisiana Economic Outlook, the continuation of oil exploration will be central to economic growth in the state. The researchers expect employment levels to surpass the 2 million mark for the first time in the state’s history in 2015.

“Brian is a veteran lobbyist within Louisiana politics. His political experience makes him the perfect candidate to lead our work within this vital sector of our state’s economy. Brian led the technology initiative within LABI, and he understands how technology can help our energy members tell their story at the legislature. He’s perfect for the job,” said Waguespack.

“We know we’re on the verge of an energy Renaissance in Louisiana. I am excited about this new opportunity within our organization to work with our membership,” said Landry.

Amar will begin her work with the committee in the middle of November. Landry will immediately assume the Energy Council role.

LABI is the largest and most effective business-lobbying group in Louisiana. It is the state’s chamber of commerce and its state chapter of the National Manufacturing Association. LABI represents thousands of Louisiana companies’ interests.

When Stephen Waguespack took over as LABI’s new president, there were lots of people – and we counted ourselves among them – who questioned whether that organization’s role within Louisiana politics would remain what it is given the perception that Waguespack is “Jindal’s guy.”

And those are still open questions. But so far what we’re hearing is that Waguespack has been a hit with the LABI folks and that he’s off to a good start. Having Renee and Brian as integral members of the team would certainly be a reflection of that; they’re veterans who are known as fierce fighters for the private sector, and neither one of them fit the definition of “yes men.”

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