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|Olivier talks up Committee of 100|
Former Secretary of Economic Development Michael Olivier knows business growth is all about relationships.
Sometimes it takes years courting businesses before they decide to move into a region. He said relationships developed even a decade ago are now paying off, Olivier said.
He recalled recruiting a company, Future Pipe Industries, to locate in the United States.
"They're not a small company," Olivier said. "They have about 4,000 employees and they do about $1 billion in business a year, but they had not been in the United States."
"We began recruiting them in 1991, and they finally came to the United States in 2004," he said. "So, economic development is a process, and sometimes it can be a very long process, but it's all built on relationships."
Olivier spoke Friday at West Monroe Convention Center during an event sponsored by the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce.
Olivier is CEO of the Committee of 100 for Economic Development, a non-profit organization that includes the top CEOs of private and public companies in Louisiana.
The Committee of 100 was created in 1992 "to provide leadership and resources to bring about positive change in government, education and the economy to improve the quality of life for all the people of Louisiana and a promising future for the citizens of the state," according to the organization's mission statement.
Local members of the Committee of 100 include George Cummings, president and CEO of Progressive Bank; John Mark Wilhite, owner of Louisiana Plastics; Randy Ewing, former state senator; Glen Post, chairman of CenturyLink; and James Davison, Lincoln Parish businessman.
"What these people bring to the table is just immense," Olivier said. "Just their rolodexes or their speed dials can contact people from all over the world.
He said the Committee of 100 may have around 100 people now, but that's simply the organization's name, and the group will welcome any business professional in the state into their ranks.
"The intent is to work with Louisiana Economic Development to do things they might not be able to do, and help expand their capacity to reach others," Olivier said.
He said one of the goals of the committee is to assist in the long-term economic growth of the state. He also said the committee will continue to work with Louisiana Economic Development Corp. to build more relationships with businesses all over the world.
"From those relationships, we hope to bring businesses to Louisiana," Olivier said. "Our focus will be business and economic development. The bottom line is the committee will be acting as a catalyst for seeking new programs that will further the drive for business growth in our state."