March 30, 2016 (St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana): The second annual Working on the Water Summit and Expo returned to St. Bernard Parish on March 22, 2016 at the Meraux Foundation’s Docville Farm, concluding a year of Working on the Water programming that began in May 2015. The dynamic line up of fishermen and resource agencies drew a crowd of more than 100 to the summit and expo. Parish President Guy McInnis began the morning with opening remarks. The keynote presentation of the event featured alumni from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. Other notable speakers included Christie and Bobby Lovell of White Boot Warriors, Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Shrimp, and Marcos and Boris Guerrero of Caminada Bay Premium Oysters. Grasshopper Mendoza & Steve Picou of the Louisiana Water Network moderated the summit.
“Working on the Water is all about showcasing resources to our coastal community. Today’s programming was diverse, with focuses on resiliency, government assistance, innovation, and more,” said Andrew Jacques, Executive Director of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF). “Our exhibitors brought tremendous amounts of knowledge to help those who work on the water grow their businesses and thrive.”
The 2016 summit was presented by the Meraux Foundation. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses served as the captain sponsor. The St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District and the St. Bernard Parish Government were deck hand sponsors.
The 2016 summit was the result of a partnership between SBEDF, the Regional Planning Commission (RPC), and the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The partnership allowed for expanded Working on the Water programming, including four workshops held through 2015.
Locally-based TMG Consulting was awarded the contract to serve as program manager for Working on the Water activities in 2015 through the 2016 summit, organizing all of the education outreach initiatives.
In addition to SBEDF, RPC, and EDA, Working on the Water activities are guided by an advisory committee comprised of Louisiana Economic Development, Nunez Community College, the Meraux Foundation, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, TruFund, Leadership St. Bernard, LiftFund, St. Bernard Parish Office of Tourism, GNO, Inc., National Wildlife Federation’s Vanishing Paradise Program, NOLA Vibe and the Louisiana Water Network.
Over the next several months, information presented at the summit, including video, will be uploaded to http://www.sbedf.org/working-water.
About Working on the Water
Working on the Water is an organization created after the 2010 BP oil spill. Its mission is to support coastal businesses and improve the resiliency of the coastal economy. To learn more visit www.workingonthewater.com.
About St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation
St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to promote economic development and commercial growth of St. Bernard Parish. The mission of SBEDF is to retain and create jobs, build wealth, and improve the quality of life in St. Bernard Parish. The Board of Directors consists of 28 voting members and 8 non‐voting honorary members and public officials, all of which serve as volunteers to the organization. SBEDF’s work is made possible through the general support of its investors, St. Bernard Parish Government, St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District, the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation and Cox Communications at the Champion Level and the Law Offices of Sidney Torres, III and Associated Terminals at the Pillars Level.
About the Regional Planning Commission
The Regional Planning Commission (RPC) serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, St. Charles, and St. John Parishes. The RPC is also the designated Economic Development District for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany Parishes. This regional body is comprised of a 31 voting member board with representation from each of the six core parishes and supported by a staff of planning professionals. This board, which consists of elected officials and citizen members, meets on a monthly basis to discuss issues that are regional in nature.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long‐term sustainable economic growth.