special supplement to new orleans citybusiness
OF THE YEAR
Rick Boyce, vice president
Jeff McCrory and marketing
director Adrian Simpson
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This spring marks CityBusiness’ inaugural Innovator of the
Year luncheon and awards ceremony. Its purpose is to honor
Louisiana companies and individuals that have demonstrated
innovation through products, services and research.
Although this is the first year for the statewide honor, we were
impressed with the outstanding nominations we received from
entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions,
medical professionals and engineers, to name just a few.
Many nominations reflected the state’s world-famous
food and drink industry, including our Innovator of the Year,
New Orleans Coffee Co., a small, family-run business that is
revolutionizing the old-fashioned technique of cold-brewing
coffee and bringing it to an ever-expanding market.
We were also amazed by the high-tech developments happening
in Louisiana, from building guitars literally using rocket
science to devising new medications and technology for use
around the world.
Congratulations to all the outstanding innovators. The publication
you are holding in your hands serves as a lasting salute
to the businesses and individuals that exemplify the spirit of
innovation thriving in Louisiana.
We challenge our readers to start thinking about nominees
for next year’s innovators today.
Innovator of the Year
OF THE YEAR
special supplement to new orleans citybusiness
Table of Contents
New Orleans Coffee Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5B
American LIFECARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7B
Autoimmune Technologies LLC . . . . . . . 8B
TEACH AN OLD DOG
Upgrading your production
facility requires a balance
between old and new ideas.
The old dogma in oil and gas says make the most
out of what you’ve got. At EDG, our engineers
possess the expertise to quickly assess your
platform’s workability. Just like that. Combining
engineering with a construction mentality, we
apply the latest concepts in oil and gas production
to your existing assets. Meanwhile, you meet (or
exceed) your production goals and upgrade
projects become your new best friend.
Dr. Nicolás Bazán/LSU
Neuroscience Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9B
CA Guitars Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10B
Delgado Community College
Ship Simulator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11B
EDG Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13B
Integrate Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13B
Dr. Ronald Lemon/
LSU School of Dentistry . . . . . . . . . . . 14B
Levy-Rosenblum Institute for
Entrepreneurship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15B
Mele Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16B
Richard Gray’s Power Company . . . . . . 17B
School Leadership Center . . . . . . . . . . 17B
Southern Candymakers . . . . . . . . . . . . 18B
Companies and individuals on the brink . 18B
COVER PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
Call 1-888-EDG-9298 for new ideas offshore.
The entire contents of this publication are copyrighted by NOPG LLC, 2002,
with all rights reserved. Reproduction or use, without permission,
of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited.
NOPG LLC, 111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie LA 70005, (504) 834-9292.
4B Innovator of the Year
New Orleans Coffee Co.
Entrepreneurs bring 150-year-old coffee-making
technique into the new millennium
The guys at New Orleans Coffee Co.are ready for
world domination. “Our goal is to bring the
product to the rest of Louisiana, into Texas and
Florida,into the rest of the country and
then ... conquer the world,” says
Marketing Director Adrian
Simpson, only half-jokingly.
In his British accent
— Simpson joined the
company last spring after
being marketing director
for Coca-Cola in his native
England — he sounds all the
Coffee Co. already
sells its patented
CoolBrew cold-drip concentrate and
Café Au Lait to more than 80 stores in
the greater New Orleans area, including
the north shore. Employee
Michael Parks,who is better known
as “Ump” because of his job
umpiring little league baseball
games, arrives around 5 a.m. each
weekday to start delivering the
goods to grocery and convenience
The cold filtration process
used to make the concentrate has
existed for more than 150 years
and is currently used by gourmet
coffee shops to make their iced
coffees, says company founder
Philip McCrory. This rids the
coffee of its bitterness. When
heat is used in the process, a
chemical reaction occurs that
converts the flavorful oils to
acids, he says. The longer coffee
Production manager Rick Boyce, vice president Jeff McCrory and marketing director Adrian Simpson
at New Orleans Coffee Co.’s Mid-City facility.
sits in a pot, the more bitter it tastes.
McCrory, a pharmacist by trade, started the
company in 1989 after getting sick of drinking
bitter coffee and not feeling inclined to
run out to a gourmet coffee
shop every time he had a
hankering. The quest for
a smooth cup even drove
him to powdered instant
coffee, “which actually
doesn’t taste like coffee at
all.” He figured there had
to be a better way; he
found it in the cold-filtration
The innovation, says
McCrory, is bringing the
cold filtration process to
a mass market. Customers can buy CoolBrew
and Café Au Lait in the refrigerated section of
most local grocery and convenience stores,
and the company supplies the coffee
concentrate used in mocha-flavored
Smoothies at Smoothie
King franchises nationwide. In
coming weeks, CoolBrew will be
available at H-E-B grocery stores
The company’s business
Dairy, meanwhile, is working
on expanding the reach
of Café Au Lait.
New Orleans Coffee currently
has capacity to produce
about 500 gallons a
day of the concentrate
and could up its production
to more than 1,000 gallons
a day if need be. If things
work out as planned, that should be soon.
The company is launching a marketing strategy
over the next six months where it plans to
focus on out-of-state business as far away as
Massachusetts and California. Simpson says the
company is in “advanced negotiations” with
several grocery store chains in those states.
Once the out-of-state campaign is up and running,
New Orleans Coffee will turn its attentions
back to the already-strong local market.
Although it still employs only eight, the
family-run company has come a long way
since McCrory founded it in Covington in a
building his brother owned there, where he
converted a couple of stainless steel barrels
into coffee extractors. The business’ electricity
comes from solar panels that McCrory
brought over from his solar-powered house.
Simpson points to the panels as a gauge of his
boss’ remarkable innovative spirit. “He doesn’t
just talk about things, he actually does
them,” Simpson says.
Three different locations and
eight years later, the company
moved into its
continued on page 6B
Innovator of the Year
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
continued from page 5B
current Mid-City warehouse two and a
half years ago.
The 30,000-square-foot facility on
Ulloa Street behind Mid-City Lanes
Rock N Bowl includes two large buildings
and a cooler for storing the
CoolBrew, which comes in seven flavors,
and the Café Au Lait, a product introduced
last year with business partner
Brown’s Dairy. The two extractors have
considerably larger capacity than the two
steel barrels at the Covington location.
A large sack of freshly ground coffee
beans sit in a corner of the room, to, as
McCrory says, “de-gas,” a process that
takes about 72 hours. The roasting
process creates carbon dioxide and
ground coffee must sit for a while to let
the gas evaporate.
The coffee beans arrive at the facility
green. Employees then roast (some in a
still-operational 100-year-old roaster),
grind and de-gas them. At that point,
the fresh grounds go into the extraction
vats and oils are extracted using the
cold-filtration process. The coffee
extract travels via a channel to the bottling
area, where it is bottled using a
semi-automatic bottling machine.
To prepare for anticipated growth,
New Orleans Coffee recently invested in
a fully automatic bottle-filling machine
and capper that will reduce seven to
eight hours of work to two or three.
McCrory says customers like the
CoolBrew not only because the colddrip
process provides coffee without bitterness,
but because it offers convenience.
“You can have a cup of coffee anytime
you want it and all you need is hot
water. You don’t have to have a pot or filter;
there’s nothing to clean up.”
As for the Café Au Lait, a number of
factors make it stand out from its bigname
competitors. For one, it is made
using the CoolBrew concentrate and
fresh, low-fat milk from local bottler
Brown’s Dairy. It therefore has the same
shelf life as milk. Competitors’ versions
use powered milk and can sit on a grocery
store shelf for months. At 16
ounces, it is larger than most competitors’
Another uniquely New Orleans component
of the Café Au Lait is chicory, the
ground root of an herb that has many
fans in these parts. “Anyplace else in the
country if you mention chicory people
turn up their noses, but they’ll come
down here and drink coffee and chicory
in their café au lait and say it’s great.
They can’t wait to come back to New
Orleans and get it.”
Apparently, out-of-towners associate
CoolBrew with New Orleans too, perhaps
remembering the CoolBrew Café
that opens once a year at the New
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Simpson says the company does a brisk
business through its Web site, and that
it’s not uncommon for a customer to
Here is the latest poster touting Cafe Au Lait, which recently became available in EZ Serve stores.
order just a few bottles of CoolBrew and Coffee wants to expand its core following
to the rest of the country and per-
pay more for shipping and handling than
for the actual product. “It’s one of the haps, eventually, the world. “We’ve had
things they miss about New Orleans, like some people approach us to talk about
a praline or crawfish.”
exporting it for us,” Simpson says.
And Parks adds that he’s always pleasantly
surprised at how depleted the Simpson has checked out the closest
In his travels back home to the UK,
shelves are, of both CoolBrew and Café thing to competitors, coffee-flavored
Au Lait, when he makes his deliveries syrups, he says, which are “of very
and pick-ups. “I usually only bring back poor quality.” Indeed, New Orleans
a few bottles.”
Coffee Co. may soon be ready to take
Encouraged by the enthusiastic over the world.
response to the products, New Orleans
6B Innovator of the Year
Company brings eastern medicine to the managed care market
A trip to China in 1995 gave American
LIFECARE Chairman Ed Michael
Reggie the idea to transform his managed
care organization by incorporating the
healing arts. “At that time in the United
States there was tremendous backlash
against HMOs because of burdensome
restrictions on choice,” says Reggie.
“American LIFECARE elected to maximize
patient choice by offering its members
access to a broad range of complementary
and alternative medical services.”
The services, which became widely
available last year, include yoga, massage
and acupuncture. Members of the socalled
Healing Arts Network also get discounts
at Aveda Concept salons and
Smoothie King franchises. Members do
not pay extra to access the network, and
the process is simple: Members simply
show their insurance identification cards
to the receive discounts.
“Whereas members might perceive
massage to be a luxury enjoyed periodically,
they might be inclined to purchase
a Smoothie on a regular basis as a healthy
lunch alternative, for example,” says
Reggie. “It is these daily benefits to the
HAN member that make the network
truly unique.” He says the therapeutic
massage and other spa services have
proven extremely popular.
Judging from a surge in membership,
American LIFECARE’s Healing Arts
Network has been well received. Since it
was introduced, membership
increased from 534,000
to more than 690,000, making
the company the market
leader in this region.
provides health care networks
services to managed care
organizations, health insurers,
and self-funded employers.
Besides Louisiana, the
networks are available in
Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and
Alabama. The company began in New
Orleans in 1983.
For its blending of Eastern and Western
medicine, American LIFECARE is named
in an American Association of Health Plans
report, “Innovations in Health Plans.” It is
among a handful of managed care entities
in the U.S. behind the “Collaboration for
Healthcare Renewal,” an initiative geared
toward expanding the reach of complementary
and alternative medicine,products
The collaboration is building a national
database of complementary and alternative
medicine products and services so it can
A patient enjoys a massage at Bliss Day Spa, a participating
provider in the alternative medicine network.
examine and analyze cost-effectiveness and
utilization. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the
National Society of Actuaries and several
Fortune 200 employers are joining the
managed care organizations in the effort.
The emphasis on patient choice is
what makes American LIFECARE innovative,
says Reggie. The company offers a
full range of managed care services in
addition to its Healing Arts Network.
“In stark contrast to HMOs, which are
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
typically characterized by rigidity and
restrictions on choice, American LIFE-
CARE offers open access to a broad network
of physicians, as well as a variety of
complementary and alternative medicine
Other offerings include 24-hour,
seven-day telephone access to nurses
and disease management programs.
American LIFECARE’s networks
•A preferred provider organization
accessible throughout Louisiana,
Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and
parts of Alabama.
•A point-of-service plan which offers
deep discounts. Under this network,
available in Louisiana and southern
Mississippi, beneficiaries select a primary
care provider who refers the patient
to a specialist if necessary.
•TierOne, a network for hospital
employee health plans. Patients using
this plan get the highest level of benefits if
they seek treatment in-house.
•LIFECARE Discount Plans, a supplemental
product which provides significant
savings on dental, optical and
audiological services and products.
Visit our new shop in the French Market
1010 Decatur St.
Our popular mother store in the French Quarter
334 Decatur St.
New Orleans’ Best Pralines
Best Candy Award
Innovator of the Year
Autoimmune Technologies has only been
around since 1995, but the products it is
developing are more than a little ambitious
— even controversial. The biomedical
and biotechnology company develops
diagnostic tests, explores the mechanisms
that cause disease and researches
therapies for autoimmune disorders.
President Russell Wilson is a former
Tulane University professor with a doctorate
in cell and molecular biology. The
company is licensing its core technologies
from Tulane University Medical School,
where the initial research took place.
Autoimmune is working on researching,
patenting and getting approval for four
different tests, says Michael Charbonnet,
manager of the company.
The first test, called the APA Assay, is
for diagnosing fibromyalgia, a mysterious
disease that usually involves widespread
body pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances.
The patented APA Assay, according to
Autoimmune’s published research,
detects anti-polymer antibodies in the
blood of most patients with fibromyalgia
and fibromyalgia-like symptoms.
The data suggest the disease has a
physical basis and is not the psychological
disorder many doctors assume it to
be, Charbonnet says. “There has never
Company develops groundbreaking tests for autoimmune disorders
been an antibody response or immune
response and this is a spectacular
demonstration of it,” he says.
Autoimmune has engaged a company in
New Jersey to make the test kits and is awaiting
FDA approval to begin clinical trials.
The HIAP Test developed by
Autoimmune is patented and was
spurred by data suggesting a retrovirus
causes systemic lupus erythematosus and
three related autoimmune diseases:
Sjögren’s syndrome, Graves’ disease and
juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Lupus is
probably inherited but has an infectious
element as well, Charbonnet says.
Autoimmune is looking for a manufacturer
to produce the test kits.
The company’s test for human mammary
tumor virus does not detect a disease,
but rather detects a predisposition to it.
Data by Robert Garry, a professor at the
Department of Microbiology and
Immunology at Tulane University Medical
School, suggests that breast cancer is associated
with an endogenous retrovirus
(HMTV). This type of virus is passed
from parent to child.
“It’s an estrogen responder,” says
Charbonnet. “When estrogen kicks in,
the virus starts.”
Autoimmune’s test would discover if
someone has that inherited virus.
The test is in the patent application
stage. The company may not seek
FDA approval since it is a predictor
of disease, rather than a diagnostic
device and thus does not require it.
Autoimmune is working with a
health products company to commercialize
The most controversial of
Autoimmune’s tests, at least from
the Department of Defense’s standpoint,
is its ASA Assay, which
detects a particular antibody in
Gulf War Syndrome patients. In
Congressional testimony earlier
this year, Garry explained that his
research suggests that the illness is closely
associated with an abnormal immune
response to squalene — which he links
to anthrax vaccine containing squalene.
The U.S. Army researchers have sought
to discredit the work of Garry and his
researchers, he testified, but they subsequently
verified his discovery and applied
for a patent covering their own work on
squalene, even though Autoimmune
already holds a patent for their test.
Squalene is used as an adjuvant in animal
vaccines to produce a more enhanced
response. It has never been approved for
Dr. Russell Wilson and Dr. Peter Kulakosky of
human use, however. Charbonnet says
Autoimmune probably won’t get the test
approved by FDA because the U.S.
Veterans Administration could use it to
the extent required to help Gulf War syndrome
patients without getting approval.
To date Autoimmune has invested
about $2.5 million (all from its partners)
into product development. Wilson is leery
of VC money, however the company is
hoping to get a cash infusion at some point.
If and when success comes,
Charbonnet says he’d like to start a fund of
their own to help other entrepreneurs and
stop the state’s high-tech brain drain.
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
We listen. We lead.
And we honor our staff for earning Innovator of the Year honors!
Here’s to our entire pediatric program - medical staff, nurses, professional and support staff, as well as our Board
of Directors for contributing to the success of Jefferson Parish’s first and only Pediatric Emergency Room. We are
proud that the program has received an On the Brink honor in this publication’s Innovator of the Year Competition.
At West Jefferson Medical Center, we’re proud to be singled out in a competition that honors creativity and
business innovation. And we remain committed to providing the leading edge care that distinguishes medical
institutions like ours year after year.
8B Innovator of the Year
Dr. Nicolás Bazán
Director of the
Neuroscience Center of
Excellence at the Louisiana
State University Health
Founder — St. Charles
In the early 1990s, Dr. Nicolás
Bazán began looking for a way to
create a new kind of painkiller that
was nonaddictive and nontoxic to
the liver. In March of this year, he
received word from the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration that clinical
trials could begin for the treatment
of post-surgical pain using the
drug that came from those efforts.
Along the way, Bazán formed
a company, St. Charles
Pharmaceuticals, and garnered
nearly $1 million in federal grants
and $4 million in venture capital funding
to develop the new painkiller. He is now
developing some 10 additional new
drugs for afflictions such as stroke and
Alzheimer’s disease even as his painkiller
goes through the approval process.
“We are in the middle of phase 1 (clinical
trials) and the incredible thing is this
idea of a pill (came about) years ago, and
now people are swallowing it,” Bazán
says. “So it’s a full cycle of discovery.”
Bazán says the plan is to finish this
phase, which includes 40 to 50 people in
Texas,by July,then start phase 2.“I hope to
do phase 2 here in New Orleans,” he says.
The potential market for the new drug
is immense. Last year the market for
painkillers was $13 billion in America
alone, Bazán says, and it will likely grow
15% to 20% per year.
The reasons are many, but one important
factor is demographics: aging baby
boomers mean more illness and more
pain. There is pain associated with cancer,
pain after surgery,pain in children,he says.
“This is a very important area of medicine
where new treatments are needed.”
Bazán and a chemist from Spain, Julio
Alvarez-Builla of the Universidad de
Alcalá, designed the new drug as an
alternative to other analgesics, such as
acetaminophen (the active ingredient in
Tylenol), which can have toxic effects on
For instance, combining acetaminophen
and alcohol can cause severe liver
damage,Bazán says.Many liver and kidney
transplants are due to this problem,he says.
The developmental drug will not
mask fever, he adds. Other analgesics
that do reduce fever may not be appropriate
for situations such as post-surgery
Bazán created a nonaddictive, nontoxic painkiller.
since fever can indicate to doctors that a
patient has an infection related to the
He has two patents related to the
drug, which are owned by the LSUHSC
Foundation and licensed by St. Charles
Pharmaceuticals. He decided to start St.
Charles because he wanted to keep this
technology in New Orleans.
Bazán is originally from Argentina
where he directed a biochemical research
institute. But in 1981 he was forced to
leave by the right-wing military dictatorship
that ruled the country. The 59-year
old researcher is tireless, attending conferences
around the globe in addition to
conducting research. He constantly reiterates
the need for developing resources
in the biosciences as a means of economic
development in Louisiana.
“We need this new culture of innovation
desperately here,” he says. “It will
take a lot of effort and a lot of time.”
His firm attracted the attention of John
Koerner III, owner of Koerner Capital
Corp. in New Orleans, who invested $4
million to bring the painkiller through the
pre-clinical trials necessary before the FDA
approval process. St. Charles will seek a
second round of financing later this year.
He is continuing his work with Alvarez-
Builla and they have additional patents on
new drugs they are developing for treating
Alzheimer’s and stroke victims. Bazán is
also leading one of three teams in the state
using a $9 million federal grant to develop
nano and micro technologies. His team
will study neurosignaling, with projects
focusing on Alzheimer’s disease and memory
as well as macular degeneration and
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
gives you such far
both eastern and western medicine.
By offering HAN, American LIFECARE is the first and only
health insurance network in the region to integrate alternative
and traditional western medicine.
For no extra cost, you can offer your employees HAN, the
Healing Arts Network, for immediate discounts on services and
products such as acupuncture, massage, Aveda Concept
Salons®, Smoothie King ® and yoga. They simply show an
insurance I.D. card with the American LIFECARE logo; no
referrals or forms are required.
More than 42% of Americans now use alternative medicine
on their own, and pay full
price. We have responded to
this demand, so that you can
take the lead in offering maximum
NETWORKS AND SERVICES
Ask your health insurance agent about American LIFECARE or contact:
650 Poydras Street • Suite 1150 • New Orleans, LA 70130-6131
504.561.0600 Fax 504.679.0150 •
www.americanlifecare.com • email@example.com
Innovator of the Year
Rocket science meets music at CA Guitars Inc.
Home-grown composite guitars rock the music world
At a mere 2 years old, CA Guitars Inc. is
gaining a following among well-known
musicians for its acoustic and bass guitars
made of composite material. Several
albums coming out this summer and fall,
such as the latest record from country artist
Tim McGraw, feature guitars built by CA,
which is headquartered in Lafayette.
Jimmy Stewart, guitar player with country
act “Brooks and Dunn,” recently performed
on the Tonight Show using a CA
guitar. On the rock and roll side, backup
bands for Kid Rock and Bruce
Springsteen have played the guitars.
Business, as they say, is good. “We
have basically zero guitars in stock and
people are calling and begging for them,”
says Dennie Edwards, sales and marketing
director for the company. The guitars
are available through the company and at
30 music stores nationwide. They sell for
around $1,500 each.
As the company grows, it aims to
expand its distribution to more than 14
countries. “Distribution is set up in
Europe already, I’ve just got to have the
guitars,” says Edwards.
CA Guitars should be able to keep up
with demand when it moves into a 12,000-
square-foot building in
downtown Lafayette in a
few months. The move
will quadruple its space,
and the company has
expert Rich Lasner to
help bring production
from “20 a week to 20
sky is the limit really. We
hope to reach 75 (guitars)
a day in the building.”
The work force will grow
as well, from 20 to more
than 100. The company expects revenue
to increase by as much as 800%.
So what makes the guitars special?
They are amazingly sturdy instruments
that produce the high-quality tones of specialty
woods like rosewood and mahogany,
says Edwards. The are impervious to
changes in climate and humidity. Using
patented processes,the company tailors the
instruments to duplicate the tones of highquality
wood instruments. “We’re making
our own tone wood — sonically,” says
Edwards, who adds that the guitars are
environmentally friendly since they do not
Country artist Tim McGraw checks
out a limited-edition, custom guitar
use real wood.
The story of CA
Guitars starts with a
man who ditched the
corporate life to follow
his dream. After a successful
15-year career as an
aerospace engineer for
Seal decided to lend his
skills to something he
really loved: Guitars. An
amateur musician from
Bay St. Louis, Miss., Seal experimented
on his own guitar by replacing its wooden
top with a composite blend he created
using techniques he learned making parts
for the National Aeronautics and Space
Seal pared his Martin Marietta hours
down to part time, eventually quitting to
devote himself full time to building the
perfect guitar in a shed behind his home
in Bay St. Louis. His brother-in-law Barry
Sallinger, at the time an attorney in
Lafayette, encouraged him until he finally
got it right. Seal and Sallinger, who left his
job as an attorney, launched CA guitars in
fall 2000. The main facility is in Lafayette,
but Seal still has a 2,000-square-foot
workspace near his home in Bay St.Louis.
Seal and Sallinger initially approached
national manufacturer Peavey. The company
was so impressed it offered to market
the instrument. There was only one problem:
The deal called for moving manufacturing
operations to Asia.
Similar proposals from other manufacturers
followed. But Seal and Ellis
refused to move. “I think our desire to be
part of the local culture and local economy
with the help of people like LEDA
(Lafayette Economic Development
Authority) and the Louisiana Music
Commission helped reinforce the idea
that we were right to stay in Louisiana,”
The company has relied on the help
of private local investors to get things
going. It participates in numerous local
music festivals each year.
In coming years, CA Guitars plans to
partner with other companies to build
other musical products such as speaker
enclosures and instrument cases.
Marine Radar School
Full Mission Bridge Simulator
An innovative approach to maritime training
10B Innovator of the Year
• Prime Location – City Park Campus
• U.S. Coast Guard/STCW Approved Courses
• State-of-the-Art Training Facilities
• Mississippi River Visual Database
• Exceptional Instructors
• Customized Inland and Offshore Training
• Only Bridge Simulator in Louisiana
Contact: Delgado Community College, Marine Radar School, 615 City Park Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119-4399
Phone: (504) 483-4266/483-4157 • e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • Internet: www.dcc.edu
Navi-Trainer Full Bridge Simulator
Delgado ship simulator becomes a hub for maritime training
In the center of a building tucked away in
the back of the Delgado Community
College City Park Campus, there’s a program
in motion to bring maritime professionals
from across the globe to New
Orleans to learn more about their craft.
Delgado, in a cooperative effort with
the Louisiana Department of Labor
and the college’s Maritime Advisory
Board, has brought the latest in ship
simulation technology home.
The Navi-Trainer Full Bridge
Simulator created by Truancies Marine
USA is the first maritime
simulator of its kind in the
region. Funded through a
$12 million grant from the
state’s Incumbent Worker
Program, the simulator has
helped approximately 400
maritime workers complete
newly mandated U.S.
Coast Guard training programs
since it began operating
in December 2001.
When the maritime
industry learned of the
new training requirements
many thought they would
lose their jobs, says
Kathleen Mix, associate
dean of Delgado’s community
outreach. The industry must
meet the continuing education requirements
by 2002. However, she says at the
same time the new mandates were
issued, the state’s Incumbent Worker
Training grants became available.
The idea to use the grant money to
Delgado, in a
with the Louisiana
Department of Labor
and the college’s
Board, has brought
the latest in
help out the maritime industry was the
brainchild of Louisiana Labor Secretary
Gary Forster. Mix says it made perfect
sense to match the fund with the industry
that needed it the most — an industry
that means so much to the future of
both the city and the state.
“What Delgado is trying to do with
the Incumbent Worker Program is build
a partnership with both the maritime
industry and the state. We’re also building
a future for quality training at an
affordable cost,” says Rick Schwab, project
manager for Delgado’s
Schwab says the simulator
is the most important
aspect of the Incumbent
Worker Program because
it gives mariners real-life
and crisis management
training that cannot be
recreated in a classroom.
He says individuals in
courses on everything
from radar to navigational
charting can first learn
about the instrumentation
in lecture and then get
practical experience using
it on the simulator.
The Delgado Maritime Advisory
Board is made up of industry employees.
Working one-on-one with the
board, community outreach personnel
were able to design specific training
programs and high-tech classrooms
that met the needs of the industry.
The simulator gives mariners real-life navigational experience and crisis management training.
The simulator is in a room that looks like the
bridge of a ship.
With funds from the Incumbent
Worker Program, Delgado was able to
train over 6,000 maritime workers in
more than 20 course topics last year.
“People are coming from all over
because our programs are much more
affordable than others,” Schwab says.
He estimates that between 50% and
60% of all maritime workers trained at
Delgado are from out of town. He says
that benefits the city and state in the
form of tourism dollars.
The simulator itself is housed in a
room designed to look like the bridge of a
ship, complete with the latest in operational
maritime instrumentation such as
ARPA radar and electronic chart system.
Surrounding this “bridge” is a series of
screens which project 240 degrees of
computer-generated simulator mission
images. Using video footage and precise
topographical data of the Mississippi
River and other waterways throughout
the world, software designed by Transas
gives the simulator operators a realistic
view of travel on each watercourse.
The simulated missions are as varied
as the imagination. Instructors can
ease novices into operating watercraft
as small as an inflatable powerboat all
the way up to an oil tanker. The simulator
recreates the precise characteristics
of each vessel including turn time
and draft. Instructors can also add
complications to missions such as
other vessels or even weather-related
problems like high winds or lightning.
“The simulator allows the individual
About half of the maritime workers trained at
Delgado are from out of town.
being trained to grow with experience.
We can start with a mission that has few
complications and add things as the
student gets better,” Schwab says.
The initial simulator system and
related software cost about $300,000,
but Schwab says once the simulator is
complete with additional upgrades, it
will be worth approximately $1 million.
Everything that occurs during the simulation
exercise is videotaped and tracked on
navigational charts so those instructors can
later debrief the students on what occurred.
They can even recreate an incident investigation
following an accident where instructors
role-play as interviewers, questioning
the captain and other bridge personnel
about what happened during the mission.
—By A.J. Mistretta
Innovator of the Year
Get your best ideas of the year!
2002 BUSINESS TO BUSINESS SHOWCASE
Please join us for a fantastic day of face-to-face selling with
over 100 business booths. Take this opportunity to promote
your business to hundreds of executives & talk about what
you & your company can do for their business.
For booth or sponsorship information please
call Ben Clement at 293-9260
12B Innovator of the Year
3D technology helps
In its bid for business in the
worldwide oil and gas industry,
engineering firm EDG
Inc. has a distinct advantage.
In 2001 the Metairie-based
company, which handles all
phases of planning and construction
of oil and gas production
state-of-the-art laser technology.
This move enabled
EDG to create precise, computerized 3D
models of offshore platforms.
The Cyrax 3D Laser Scanning system
was developed by the San Francisco-based
CYRA Technologies Inc.in the late 1990s.
Initially used in land surveying and architectural
projects, the tool was continually
upgraded over several years by CYRA until
officials realized its potential as a means of
modeling plant equipment and piping.
EDG Chief Operating Officer Tim
Moreau was the driving force behind the
company’s purchase of the laser scanner.
He believed the system would allow the
company to more accurately capture
data for 3D modeling of existing facilities,
thereby making the planning of
modifications safer and less costly than
more traditional methods.
“This technology lends itself to getting
the data into the 3D computer programs
quicker,” says Erby Aucoin, EDG
engineering technician. “If we can actually
import the information into the program
without inputting it manually then
we’re ahead of the curve.”
When oil and gas companies want to
make changes to existing platforms, engineers
must go to the site and take exact
measurements of the structure. They
bring those measurements back to the
office where designers add new components
to the models.
Previously, the process of collecting the
data meant that at least four engineers
would have to fly to the site and spend anywhere
from three days to several weeks
taking manual measurements. In addition
to being time-consuming, the process was
often dangerous, with engineers having to
scale scaffolding erected on the platform.
The Cyrax 3D system allows entire
precise images to be scanned within minutes.
For instance, Aucoin says one view
of a complex pipeline system where a
team of four engineers would have to
spend three days completing measurements
would take two individuals with the
Cyrax system only 20 minutes to scan.
The Cyrax laser uses a green pulse laser
light that is emitted from the scanner
through a window and bounced off
Engineering technician Erby Aucoin looks at a 3D image
on a laptop computer.
objects up to 450 feet away. As the light
returns, the time and intensity of each dot
in the laser’s view is measured by the scanner
and captured by a laptop computer.
The scan can then be linked to other
scans shot from different angles to produce
a rotatable 3D image of the entire
object. Engineers can measure each point
in the scanned image to any other point in
the image, then import the scanned object
into 3D drafting software like AutoCAD.
Aucoin says EDG estimates they are saving
their client companies between 5% to
10% of total project cost. Other problems
like field welds — on-site alterations of component
parts — and interference between
new and existing plant components are
drastically reduced with the Cyrax system.This
translates into less downtime on
the platform and additional savings for the
company. EDG has used the laser scanning
technology in a handful of offshore
projects for companies like Chevron USA
Production Co. and Marathon Oil Corp.
Since acquiring the Cyrax and related
software, EDG has worked closely with
CYRA in providing feedback on the system
in an attempt to improve the quality of
its performance. CYRA has made seven
upgrades to the software program in the
past 14 months based on that feedback.
“A new version of the software just
came out this month which will automate
several functions and speed up the entire
modeling process. It’s getting better but
we still have a ways to go,” Aucoin says.
In 2001 the Cyrax system brought in
approximately $250,000 in revenue to
EDG. The firm projects that figure will
double in 2002, with Cyrax technology
eventually accounting for 10% of total
Aucoin says EDG is open to exploring
other potential applications of the
Cyrax laser including scanning landmarks
and statues for preservation purposes.
He says if local buildings like the
Cabildo should somehow become damaged,
a 3D model of the structure would
allow engineers to obtain exact measurements
for its restoration.
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
Company finds its niche in
environmental data management
When entities like US Steel, Conoco
and the Louisiana Department of
Environmental Quality need scientific
data compiled, they turn to Baton
Rouge-based Integrate Inc.
In the 12 years since it was founded by
entrepreneur and chemist Dr. Michael
Crouch, Integrate has developed a number
of software systems designed to manage
chemical and geographical data.
Crouch comes to the business with an
impressive background: He has 30 years
experience in analyzing and managing
environmental data and founded a laboratory
that became one of the first to qualify
for the Federal Contract Laboratory
Program to analyze data from Superfund
sites. In 1990, he struck out on his own by
The company’s flagship product is
TerraBase, an environmental database
system introduced in 1997 that the company
offers as an application service
provider. TerraBase allows clients to
access data over a secure Web site.
Using TerraBase, clients may see aerial
photos of their facilities along with
related chemistry and geological data.
They may access this data in seconds,
regardless of their computer or operating
system. “They can look at hundreds of
megabytes of information over a normal
modem,” says Crouch.
The information can be easily shared
with select individuals such as engineers,
consultants or lawyers. “Whoever has
permission can access all or part of the
data, wherever they are, and that’s a big
deal,” says Crouch. He adds that while
numerous companies provide scientific
data management services, very few, if
any, provide a Web-enabled application.
Integrate has carved out a niche in the
environmental information management
industry, which is clearly on the rise. A
recent study by Boston-based market
research firm BTI Consulting Group
Inc. says the environmental management
information systems industry will
reach $6 billion by 2005 and is growing
at 35% per year.
Integrate’s piece of the pie is relatively
small, but Crouch is confident his company
will grow along with the industry.
The company was recently valued at $25
million and he expects to increase its
market value to $100 million over the
next two years.
Early this year, Integrate’s growth
prompted Crouch to raise venture capital
for the first time since the company was
founded.Integrate used the funds to move
Entrepreneur and chemist Michael Crouch
founded Integrate 12 years ago.
its software to the Web, build a data center,
purchase the powerful servers that run
TerraBase and begin an aggressive sales
and marketing campaign.
Crouch says the company raised $2
million of its $5 million goal. “We’re in the
growth phase right now,” says Crouch.
“We’ve always done well, but we figured if
we’re going to go national we’ve got in
invest in our infrastructures.”
Integrate has already “gone national”in a
sense: The company manages groundwater
data for all landfills for Waste Management
in the country, and for huge global operations
like ExxonMobil, Citgo, Canadabased
Imperial Oil, and PPG Industries, a
global supplier of coatings, glass, fiber
glass and chemicals based in Pittsburgh.
Integrate is divided into three operating
divisions: data management services, software
sales and development, and Webbased
services. Data management is the
consulting arm that helps entities organize,
manage and maintain their data. The software
sales and development division sells
desktop versions of software and enters into
joint development contracts with partners.
Web-based services section provides applications
such as TerraBase, the fee-based
application service provider. Currently,
most revenue come derived from data
management services, Crouch says.
Another new service Integrate plans to
offer by the end of this year is Validate
Online, which will provide automatic validation
of analytical data. The process of
checking the data against federal guidelines
normally takes four to six weeks, but
the Validate Online service will complete
the process in minutes. Integrate will offer
it to anyone who needs the service.
As Integrate beefs up its offerings, it
will be adding to its staff of 20 before the
end of the year, says Crouch.
Innovator of the Year 13B
Dr. Ronald Lemon
Dental invention draws inspiration from unlikely source
Sometimes the simplest ideas come when
you least expect them. Just ask Louisiana
State University dentist Ronald Lemon,
who got his inspiration for a new dental
cement delivery device seven years ago
while watching a documentary on the
Lemon says for years dentists were
plagued with the problem of applying a
mixture called mineral trioxide aggregate
during dental surgery. The MTA was
developed in the early 1990s and was wellreceived
by the dental community as the
most effective compound available for use
around tooth roots and exposed nerves.
However, in their search for an effective
method of delivering the material, dentists
wound up destroying other devices and
wasting a lot of the expensive mixture.
The problem was that MTA’s composition
was similar to a mixture of sand and
water.The gritty substance would clog the
devices it passed through, making the
material virtually unusable.
Enter Lemon. The documentary he
watched on the construction of the
Hoover Dam made him realize what had
to be done to use MTA effectively. In
order to keep the concrete from drying,
the dam contractors had kept the mixture
vibrating as it was poured. “I figured
if we could keep the MTA vibrating then
it would remain mixed throughout the
application process,” he says.
Lemon took to his garage where he
quickly taught himself how to use a soldering
gun. Next he took a series of broken
dental instruments and took them
apart, made adjustments and created
something altogether new. “You have a lot
more failures than successes when you’re
trying to make something like this,” he
says.“But I was determined to get it right.”
With prototype in hand, Lemon went
to Denstply, the largest dental supply
company in the world and the sole distributor
of MTA. In a boardroom of
stone-faced company executives, Lemon
demonstrated what his device could do.
“When I had finished my presentation
the CEO turned to his assistant and
said ‘Get the box,’” Lemon recalls. “The
assistant returned with a box full of
instruments that the company had created
to apply the MTA. I figured I was
doomed. Someone had already come up
with this. Then the CEO grabbed a
nearby trash can and dumped the contents
of the box into it. I went from deflation
to inflation just like that.”
Lemon holds his invention, a dental cement delivery device.
Lemon says the beauty of his
device lies in its simplicity. The
actual handheld applicator
attaches to most ultrasonic
equipment already in dentist’s
offices. The applicator vibrates
just like ultrasonic cleaning
tools, keeping the MTA mixed.
To hold the substance and dispense
it, a Teflon sleeve that
holds approximately .10 grams
of the MTA is fitted over a piston
at the tip of the applicator.
The device will be available in
several different shapes to allow
dentists to get MTA into all
areas of the mouth.
Each device will cost about $90 and
most users will want to acquire four different
shapes to complete all possible
procedures with MTA, Lemon says. LSU
owns the patent to Lemon’s invention.
Dentsply took over development of the
device, which is currently awaiting final
approval from the FDA.
A non-ultrasonic version of the applicator
has been on the market for one month,
Lemon says, but the real thing won’t be
available until sometime later this summer.
Lemon’s applicator has far-reaching potential
In addition to being used in regular
root canals and related procedures, the
device will also be used by dentists in procedures
where the patient has sustained
oral trauma and has exposed roots.
Lemon predicts the next big group to use
his device will be pediatric dentists.
At least 10 percent of all dental procedures
in the future will likely involve
MTA and the ultrasonic delivery system
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
Where innovations come to life.
Congratulations to our innovators
Dr. Nicolás Bazán
Innovator of the Year
Dr. Ronald Lemon
School of Dentistry
Innovator of the Year
Dr. John Burgess
School of Dentistry
On The Brink
1600 Canal Street • Suite 1010 • New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
(504) 568-3712 • Fax (504) 568-3460
14B Innovator of the Year
Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship
Curriculum helps businesses grow and prosper
The Levy-Rosenblum Institute for
Entrepreneurship started in 1992 with
two goals in mind: develop an innovative
entrepreneurship curriculum and involve
Tulane University and the A.B. Freeman
School of Business more actively in the
“We started with nothing,” says John
Elstrott, director of the institute and a former
economist at the Freeman School.
The school received a $750,000 gift
from the Levy and Rosenblum Family
Foundation, which it used to endow the
institute. The gift paid $50,000 a year,
the yield of which was 5%. “So we had
$2,500 to work with,” Elstrott says.
The institute now has four distinct projects
in the community doing everything
from working with family businesses to
helping low-income families start businesses,
get an education or move into homes.
“I had some expertise and interest in
getting research out of the research environment
and into the commercial environment,”
So he worked with the Department of
Energy helping commercialize research
from federal labs. This provided the
institute more money, including funds
for his salary and a half-time secretary,
Lina Alfieri-Stern. She eventually earned
a master’s degree and became associate
director of the institute.
She now runs the individual development
account collaborative of Louisiana.
The IDA serves more than 200 lowincome
families locally by working with
them to help them save money to buy a
home, get an education or start a business.
The money they save is matched by financial
backers in New Orleans, including
local banks and corporations.
Stern is working to expand the concept
to other communities in the state as
well. Elstrott says they would like to start
a similar program at the high school level
to complement the Academies of
That program works with Booker T.
Washington and John McDonogh Sr.High
School students and teachers. Students
learn about entrepreneurship and the skills
needed to be business owners. Student
must form a business that draws on their
skills or hobbies. The curriculum includes
field trips and summer internships.
The institute also formed a partnership
with the Tulane Association Business
Alumni to create the TABA Community
Service Program.The goal is to extend the
Pictured (counterclockwise) are Alanna Pugh Bailey,
Lina Alfieri Stern, Louisa Frederiksen, John Elstrott,
Rosalind Butler and Donna Darensbourg.
Freeman’s School’s resources while giving
students hands-on experience.
Students each donate 25 hours or more
each year to assist 10 to 15 nonprofit
organizations and local businesses with
support and assistance.
Levy-Rosenblum also works with family
businesses through its Family Business
Center. This provides a peer learning and
training environment to help family businesses
grow and prosper and add to the
region’s economic development,
Elstrott says. “Family
business represents some of the
most successful entrepreneurs
in the region,” Elstrott adds.
Many family businesses
deal with leadership and succession
issues as well as family
communications and dynamics.“It
has brought us closer to
our members and helped us
place interns in our jobs,” he
says. This means more out-ofstate
students end up here permanently
instead of going back
home, and perhaps even starting
their own business,he says.
The center has served 75 businesses
and now has 20 members
who pay an annual fee for the center’s
periodic programs and forums.
As for funding,Elstrott says the institute
is entrepreneurial. The family business
center has corporate sponsors, while the
IDA collaborative has support from banks,
foundations and government contracts.
He is seeking a sponsor for the Academies
of Entrepreneurship. “My deal with the
dean is we have to pay our own way,”
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
Women of the Year
Recognizing exceptional achievement among
local professional women
Help us identify the city’s most successful working women
In a special supplement coming up in CityBusiness, we’ll name Women of the Year from
the local area. We will identify, profile and honor these professional women, whose successes
in business and contributions to the community have set the pace for the future of
our region. We are looking for innovative leaders who are making waves with their energy,
ideas, achievements and commitment to excellence. Nominations are welcomed from all
Deadline: August 30, 2002
Three ways to submit a nomination form:
1) Fax it to Women of the Year at 504-837-2258
2) E-mail it to email@example.com
3) Mail it to Women of the Year, CityBusiness, 111 Veterans
Memorial Blvd., Suite 1810, Metairie, LA 70005
Feel free to attach additional sheets if necessary.
A panel of judges will use nomination forms and independent research to make final selections.
Self-nominations are accepted. The Women of the Year will be profiled in CityBusiness and
honored at a special event.
City, state, zip:
Company phone number:
Nominee’s E-mail address:
Education (dates/type of diplomas, degrees, technical training):
Business accomplishments (job responsibilities, special projects, business-related affiliations):
Community involvement (nonprofits, civic, state and national organizations):
Achievements and awards:
Innovator of the Year
Covington firm gambles on a new printing process to corner the local market
Mallery Mele spent a year and a
half investigating sublimated printing
before taking the jump into the
process at Mele’s Covington plant.
So far the investment is paying off
Last year the company did
about $800,000 in sales related to
the process and Mele expects that
to grow to between $1.2 and $1.4
million this year. If that seems
ambitious, he points out that
national firms are doing up to
$100 million a year in sales.
The process involves printing
special inks onto a piece of paper,
which is then transferred onto
material using very high heat and
pressure. This causes gasses to
release, and dye explodes onto
the material to create an array of
colors, Mele says.
The process can be used to create any
number of products, including swimsuits,
flags, doormats, mouse pads, potholders,
even pillows. Right now the market is
focused mostly on polyester materials, but
Mele can print on a variety of substrates
such as silk and even ceramic.
One of Mele’s clients, Toland
Mallery Mele at Mele’s Covington plant
Enterprises, put the bug in Mele’s ear
about getting into this highly specialized
form of printing. Toland is one of the
largest flag manufacturers in the country
and produces many home items such as
garden flags and doormats. Toland buys
$3 million in sublimated paper outside
the state. “Mele’s move into this product
has helped us keep more of that money at
home,” says Jeff Sands with
Toland. “As Mele develops
more customers outside
Louisiana, they bring more
money into our economy
and become a better vendor
Mele is now one of the
few companies in the Gulf
South producing dye sublimation
and is now competing
at a national level. “We
are opening up our market,
whereas (before) we were
selling just to the metro
area,” Mele says. “Now we
go to California and New
York to very high-end merchandising
marts. So the
opportunities have expanded,
but it’s a very high-end
technical industry. We are skimming the
Sands predicts Mele’s work on digital
imaging will have a major impact on the
entire industry. There are now about 12
companies nationally doing sublimated
printing competing for a growing $300
million market, he says.
“Mele is now bringing in money from
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
out of state for sublimated projects and
keeping money in state that used to
leave,” Sands says. “The real breakthrough
will come with digital and Mele
is leading the nation in that.”
Mele says the company, which has
locations in Kenner and Mid-City as
well, converted one of its large lithographic
printers in Covington to sublimation
and uses specialized software that
allows it to print the paper that contains
the dye digitally.
“Now we can show people prototypes
of the final product and still achieve quality
in final production,” Mele says. The
company can print one piece of art and
repeat it a thousand times. “That is
unheard of. Normally people cannot
have this kind of flexibility.”
The company’s next step is to move
from just producing the sheets with dyes
for printing to actually manufacturing
products and selling them directly to
large retailers or other companies. For
now, however, Mele is just getting used to
a rapidly changing world.
“It’s a new market for me as well,” he
says. “So it blows my mind at times we
can do this.”
16B Innovator of the Year
Richard Gray’s Power Co.
Device helps electronics reach their full potential
What began in 1999 as a small moonlighting
venture between a technology
guru and an audiophile has turned into a
million-dollar business with more than
5,000 products sold worldwide.
“Our first product was the Richard
Richard McCarthy, co-owner of
Richard Gray’s Power Co.
Gray’s Power Company. It’s a product so
powerful that we actually named it a power
company,” says RGPC co-owner Richard
McCarthy of the power-correction device.
McCarthy says Richard Gray, a wellknown
electronics technician, understood
that home audio and video equipment
plugged into regular outlets did not reach
its full potential because of interference.
As the current from the transformer on the
street makes its way to the equipment, it
encounters noise and cross-talk from other
appliances which filter power.
“If we could all plug our equipment
directly into the transformer on the
street we would. Obviously that’s
impossible. But Richard Gray figured
out a way to get us closer to that ideal,”
Standard power line conditioners or
surge protection devices are wired in series
and therefore give added power resistance
and choke performance potential. In electrical
terms, “choke” means to prevent or
retard performance. In contrast, the patented
Richard Gray power correction device
is wired in parallel, effectively moving
power from the street transformer directly
next to the equipment without any interference.
After years of experimenting, Gray
came up with a prototype for his device
in 1997. When he described his technology
and the way it worked to
McCarthy, who was one of his clients,
McCarthy saw a potential business venture.
The two realized that with Gray’s
inventions and McCarthy’s entrepreneurial
know-how they would easily
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
have a means of supplementing their
existing income. Neither expected the
device would have such a profound
impact on the electronics market.
McCarthy says the RGPC’s patented
“Electric Flywheel Effect” works to overcome
lapses in current, filling in gaps
when demand temporarily overcomes
supply, providing a more natural audio
experience as well as a sharper, deeper
image on all video formats.
The Chicago-based Transformer
Manufacturers Inc. manufactures all of
RGPC’s products, which are in turn
distributed to more than 200 dealers
across the globe.
“With our unique product we have
created a whole new category of technology
that is in the process of changing
the way audio, video and home-theater
systems are installed. Everything until
now has been Band-Aids that have
reduced noise but also limited the
dynamics in current. We’re changing all
of that,” he says.
McCarthy says he estimates RGPC
products, which retail for between $700
and $1,200 depending on model, save
between 5% and 15% of energy costs.
“We believe this technology will become
increasingly more popular until there’s a
Richard Gray device in every home in
America,” he says.
Sales at Richard Gray have increased
steadily since 1999. With 2001 sales
already at $288,989, McCarthy expects
2002 fiscal year revenues to surpass $1
McCarthy says he believes the RGPC
is the best surge-protection system on the
planet. If a current surge is strong enough
to penetrate the system’s choke device,
another component will automatically
blow the fuse the system is connected to
in order to stop the surge from damaging
“The RGPC provides state-of-the-art
protection from both lethal spikes and
constant smaller power surges that
plague electronic parts, causing eventual
failure,” McCarthy says.
Several new Richard Gray products
await patent approval and are expected
to hit the market soon. McCarthy says
the unique, transparent design of
Richard Gray’s High Tension Wire
allows for optimum current transfer,
which provides better power delivery
Another product, Richard Gray’s
Substation, will be a step-down transformer
used to isolate all of the plugs in a
high-end home theater system, providing
more advanced current protection without
School Leadership Center
Nonprofit group brings new dimension to school improvement
“It’s hard to remember
your objective is to
drain the swamp when
you’re up to your neck
in alligators.” That’s
the analogy School
Leadership Center of
Greater New Orleans
President and CEO
Brian Riedlinger uses
to describe the plight
of school principals. In
the principal, because
of problems or “alligators”
facing the school, Approximately 125 principals have participated in the fellows program since 1997.
never has the opportunity to work toward The center also has an eight-week program
for aspiring principals designed to
improvement. The key for leaders in education,
Riedlinger says, is to be able to set a prepare individuals to become school leaders.
According to available data, between
course of action and not become daunted.
That’s the idea behind the School 40% and 60% of principals in Louisiana
Leadership Center, a nonprofit organization
where area principals and educa-
five years, making the preparation of poten-
will be eligible for retirement within the next
tional leaders come together to get the tial replacements essential, says Riedlinger.
skills and support they need to make a For proof of the center’s effect on principals
and their schools, Riedlinger points
lasting difference at their schools. More
than 70,000 students at 120 schools in to an outside study conducted by the
Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Bernard and St. Tammany parishes are in the spring of 2001. The study showed
represented by the center.
students in the area covered by the center
Baptist Community Ministries began scored nearly 40% higher than their peers
the center in 1997 as a means of improving
educational leadership in the five-
LEAP tests. “The increase was even con-
in other parts of the state on the Iowa and
parish area. Part of the original $6 million sistent across socioeconomic boundaries,
grant provided by the ministries foundation
was used to recruit 13 area princiing
below the poverty level have tradition-
which is unusual since those students livpals
who in one year designed the basic ally scored lower ... We think the results
program. Since then, other community show that (the center) is helping all schools
organizations have donated additional work smarter, not harder,” he says.
funds to specific programs at the center. Riedlinger says the center’s emphasis
While traditional development centers on continued support beyond the principal’s
time in the program is what sets it
for educational leaders usually give limited
workshops dealing mostly with management
skills,Riedlinger says the center’s pating in programs and then returning to
apart from all the rest. Instead of partici-
programs offer a more comprehensive their schools isolated from their colleagues,
principals are constantly con-
approach to leadership development.
The focus at the center is not on isolated nected with the center and each other
skills, he says, but on each principal’s ability
to improve his or her particular school. “Research tells us that it’s that consis-
once they are fellows.
Riedlinger says the organization is tency that makes the difference,” he says.
unique in that it allows principals from “It’s very easy to lose track of your goals
public, private and parochial institutions and objectives when you’re fighting problems
every day.” One of the common mis-
to share solutions to common problems
and network with one another.
conceptions that the center combats is the
Approximately 24 principals each idea that all schools should work to
year are invited to join the center’s fellows
program. The two-year program “There are a lot of people who say if you
improve in the same areas,Riedlinger says.
involves monthly meetings as well as work on these seven areas then you’re
spring and fall institutes where principals going to be successful. That’s not the case.
discuss such things as how to change the What we do here is work with each principal
on their specific school because each
culture of a school or bring about longterm
structural transformations that will one is different and each one has its own
have a positive impact on the institution’s specific problems,” he says.
Innovator of the Year
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
Candy shop goes after the right markets, enjoys sweet rewards
Strict adherence to old-school candymaking
traditions, tenacity and targeted
marketing have been the keys to success
for French Quarter-based Southern
After a 25-year career as a biology professor
at Tulane University, Dana
Tompkins decided to completely switch
paths and open a candy store with husband
Robert and son Peter, who had
found success managing a candy store in
Atlanta. The family also enlisted the help
of Peter’s friend, Chuck Williams, who
helps manage the operation today.
With the House of Blues not yet open,
business was slow at first at the store at
334 Decatur St., which opened in early
1992. “We lost more money the first year
than I ever thought was possible,” says
Dana Tompkins. She and the store’s two
other employees — Peter and Williams —
would stand on the street and offer praline
samples to the few passersby.
Despite slow business, they persisted.
They watched House of Blues go up in
1994 and the once-deserted stretch of
Decatur come to life. With an influx of
tourists, not to mention frequent orders
from the House of Blues for its VIP
guests, the business grew.
Southern Candymakers’ creations
are based on family recipes and the
inventory is constantly evolving. Recent
additions include Bourbon Street Bark
and Jackson Squares, with mainstays
Tortues (Southern Candymakers’ version
of the candy known as a “turtle”),
and old-fashioned pralines.
Five years ago, the entrepreneurs
decided to open a location in Martha’s
Vineyard, at the urging of head candymaker
and manager Jill Demeny, who is
from the area and knows how the population
swells in the summer. This location
is open “from just after JazzFest
until Labor Day.”
The business was recently able to
expand locally as well, opening an additional
location six months ago at 1010
Decatur near the French Market. “In the
year 2001 (compared with 2000), we
grew by 50%,” says Tompkins. The
company predicts a further 50% increase
in revenue this year.
One of the reasons Southern
Candymakers enjoys success in a full market
is because it augments in-store sales with
other avenues of distribution.It markets the
candies through Junior League and other
charity events throughout the region and in
Dana Tompkins, Chuck Williams and Peter Tompkins at
Southern Candymakers’ original Decatur Street location.
California. Tompkins attends about a
dozen such shows each year, usually in the
months leading up to the holidays.
The store also does a brisk mail-order
business through its full-color catalogue,
which is sent to those who request it
when they visit the stores. Mail order
now represents 25% of sales, she says.
Last year, Southern Candymakers
added on-line sales.
Because the candy is handmade,
Southern Candymakers does not have
many wholesale accounts, Tompkins
says. It does, however, sell its candy
to gift shops in upscale hotels like the
Ritz-Carlton. Other retail clients
include Butterfield’s and Blue Frog
Chocolates. It even exports its
Tortues to a gift shop in Japan,
“which is doing a thriving business
selling our candies exclusively.”
Local hotel clients include the
Sheraton, International House and the
Hotel Intercontinental, which order
custom candy assortments for their
most valued clients, candy trays for
parties and pralines to place on guests’
pillows in lieu of the usual mint.
The company also gets business
from local corporations.“We have been
fortunate to have many companies both in
New Orleans and elsewhere give our candies
as their corporate gifts and to serve
our candies at functions,” says Tompkins.
And if the business’ growth is not proof
enough that the candy is top-notch,
Southern Candymakers has won several
prestigious awards. Its No. 1 seller, the
creamy praline, took the Best Candy in
Show award at the Atlanta National
Gourmet Show, beating out more than
PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
On The Brink
Besides our 2002 honorees, these individuals and companies were also nominated for their innovations.
Dr. John Burgess
Professor and Chairman of
LSU School of Dentistry
Dr. Burgess developed an innovative dental-filling
material that releases fluoride but
also wears well. According to LSU School
of Dentistry, no similar materials have been
Burkenroad Reports at the A.B.
Freeman School of Business
Peter Ricchiuti, director of research
Founded in 1993, Burkenroad Reports is
the nation’s first university-sponsored securities
analysis program. Market investors
interested in “getting in early” on small,
successful companies look to the
Burkenroad Reports. Last year, the companies
followed gained a collective 3.9%,beating
both the Standard & Poor’s 500 and
the Russell 2000.
Department of Chemistry
Li developed a process by which manufacturers
can substitute water as a solvent for
toxins like benzene. The process has widespread
applications in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals,
chemicals, polymers and plastics.
He received a 2001 Presidential Green
Chemistry Challenge Award from the EPA
for this innovation.
E-commerce Service Providers Inc.
President Joey Auer
As president of thriving IT-solution company
Diamond Data Systems Inc. since 1992,
Joey Auer knows the local tech scene inside
and out. About a year and a half ago, Auer
saw the need for e-commerce solutions for
brick-and-mortar stores and founded a new
company, E-commerce Service Providers.
The company sets up and manages e-commerce
sites for its clients for a commission of
sales. Its client list currently includes Tony
Chachere’s Creole Foods in Opelousas.
Kajun Kettle Foods Inc.
Co-owners Monica Davidson and
Kajun Kettle is perhaps better known for
one of its flagship products, Crawfish
Monica, which got its start at the New
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1981.
Since then husband and wife team Monica
Davidson and Pierre “Pete” Hilzim (who
named the famous crawfish dish after his
wife) have expanded their product line to
include sauces, seasonings, marinades and
pre-made food products such as sauces.
Clients includes numerous upscale and
chain restaurants. They also market their
products through a Web site.
MakeBuZZ is an on-line marketing firm that
provides consultation and Internet marketing
services. It helps business design strategies
to drive traffic to their Web sites. The
firm is currently developing an artificial intelligence
system that controls customer acquisition
in real time.
President Mark J. Alleman
Since last year, Micromaster has offered a
wireless application that integrates with business
accounting software. It allows a remote
sales rep to enter orders via a WAP-enabled
cell phone or other palm device.The entry is
then transmitted to a remote server and can
be immediately retrieved using the import
capabilities of the business software.
State Farm Insurance/
Xavier University partnership
Xavier University and State Farm Insurance
Co. established a partnership to create a
community-based technology, education,
counseling and community center in the St.
Roch community of New Orleans.
Members of the community will benefit
from computer training for adults and
children, counseling services and educational
support services. State Farm will
supply financial assistance in the creation
of the downtown center as well as providing
computers, office equipment and
West Jefferson Medical Center
Pediatric Emergency Room
The only emergency room dedicated to
the treatment of children in Jefferson
Parish opened in December 2000 and has
expanded its services and hours of operation
throughout last year. So far it has
assisted more than 6,000 patients as well as
their families, and admissions and revenue
are increasing steadily.
The Worley Companies
The product/service nominated was
WorlTrac, an automated insurance claims
management software platform. Worley
provides claims and risk management, loss
adjustment and investigative services to
insurance companies, corporations and
18B Innovator of the Year
G ENERATING S OLUTIONS F OR T HE F UTURE.
At Entergy, we understand how vital economic growth is to New Orleans. That’s why we're finding
new ways to help build a better future for our city. It's a commitment made to our customers by our
more than 2,000 New Orleans-area employees.
We're investing millions of dollars to upgrade our systems and add new equipment to meet the
needs of a growing community. We’re adding two new state-of-the-art electric substations that will
help support future growth. And we're developing and funding initiatives that will attract new
business and more jobs to New Orleans.
At Entergy, everyone understands that working together in our community generates more than
power. It generates solutions.
1-800-ENTERGY www.entergy.com ©2001 Entergy Corporation