New Orleans-area business briefs for April 19, 2015 _lowres

Brad Grantham, Zehnder Communications

Nominations sought for business ethics awards

The Better Business Bureau is taking nominations for the 2015 Douglas Manship Sr. Torch Awards for Ethics in Business.

The award is open to all for-profit businesses that serve Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes.

Nominees must be in business for at least three years and will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges against a list of practices and policies that demonstrate high ethical standards of behavior toward customers, suppliers, employees and the communities in which they do business.

Applications must be turned in by May 31. Go to batonrouge.bbb.org. Awards are presented to four businesses, representing categories based on business size. Winners will be honored at the 2015 Torch Awards Banquet in October.

Community Coffee outsources data center

Community Coffee Co. has streamlined its data center operations to support its growth by outsourcing those services to Venyu, a local cloud-computing, co-location data center.

“We were becoming too large to keep investing in our home office data center,” said David Fahr, Community’s director of technology.

As demand for Community Coffee increased with 24/7 online services, the data center has become “the very engine that powers today’s sales,” Fahr said.

Internal IT operations were being taxed, and the company was outgrowing its power needs, space for IT devices and HVAC unit capabilities.

“While we did have the space to expand, time constraints quickly became roadblocks. In addition, I wanted the IT team to focus on business applications rather than spending valuable time ensuring the HVAC was working properly or if the generators had enough diesel fuel,” Fahr said.

Sears Outlet Store opens in Lafayette

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. has opened a Sears Outlet Store at 2001 NW Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette.

The 18,000-plus-square-foot stores stock hundreds of items, including one-of-a-kind, discontinued, used, reconditioned, overstocked and cosmetically blemished products such as home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, apparel, mattresses, sporting goods and tools. Items are marked below manufacturers’ suggested retail prices. Each location provides customers in-store and online access to products.

Errol Marshall is store manager.

The store’s grand opening event will be April 23-26.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (337) 234-0018 and website is www.searsoutlet.com/.

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. and its dealers and franchisees operate 1,250 stores across all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Bermuda.

Lafayette oncology unit undergoing redesign

University Hospital & Clinics in Lafayette plans to redesign its 10-bed outpatient oncology unit.

The redesign will improve patient access and efficiency. The unit, which serves as the oncology clinic and infusion clinic, sees about 400 to 500 oncology patients per month. That patient volume allows only limited space for infusions on days when the oncology clinic is open.

Plans are to renovate the fifth-floor wing of the hospital known as “5 East” to construct a new nurse’s station. The infusion clinic will be separated from the oncology clinic by relocating there once renovations are complete.

With completion expected by the end of April, the infusion area will be a 14-bed space, with room for potential growth.

A second phase of the renovation will include updating the existing oncology clinic. New space will be created to accommodate more staffing. Freed-up space will also provide more room for residents to practice during oncology rotations.

Seminar to address jobs in film industry

A seminar titled “Louisiana Film Jobs 101” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 21 by the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Career Center at 7711 Goodwood Blvd. in Baton Rouge.

The seminar will include an overview of the south Louisiana film industry, common jobs and resources available from the New Orleans Video Access Center.

Registration and more information are available at (225) 231-3733 or llee@ebrpl.com.

Alternative fuels expo, conference scheduled

The Louisiana Alternative Fuels Conference & Expo will be held May 22 at the Energy, Coast & Environment Building on the LSU campus.

The conference is free and open to the public.

The event aims to educate and assist public and private fleet managers to diversify transportation fuels in their fleets using alternative fuels and taking fuel-saving measures.

The event is hosted by Louisiana Clean Fuels, in collaboration with the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership, and sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

For registration information and agenda, go to louisianacleanfuels.org.

Zehnder agency adds crisis communications

Zehnder Communications has formed a crisis communications division within its public relations department.

The agency is based in Baton Rouge, with offices in New Orleans and Nashville, Tennessee.

Brad Grantham will lead the division as senior crisis communications manager. He also will serve as chief strategist on day-to-day public relations accounts.

A former TV news director and assignment manager, Grantham was public relations account supervisor for Peter Mayer Advertising in New Orleans.

“Zehnder has seen significant growth in crisis communications as clients recognize the value of taking a more proactive and preventive approach with their reputations,” public relations director Ann Edelman said.

Zehnder Communications is an advertising agency, with services that include strategic marketing, public relations, media placement, creative services, social media, interactive design and programming.

USDA investing in watershed projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is investing $10 million this year in 27 new high-priority watersheds and 13 existing projects that will help improve water quality and strengthen agricultural operations.

Two new watersheds in Louisiana will be funded through the agency’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative to help farmers adopt conservation systems to improve water quality and habitat and restore wetlands. The Cane Bayou-Little Creek watershed in Richland Parish and Lake St. Joseph-Clark Bayou in Tensas Parish will utilize the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help farmers adopt conservation systems.

The investment is part of a commitment of $100 million over four years to address water quality concerns in priority watersheds while boosting rural economies.

Nominations sought for LSU fast-growing firms

Nominations are being accepted for the fifth annual LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses.

Nominations will close May 1 and the last day to submit an application is June 12.

The program is hosted by the LSU Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute.

Nominations and applications can be found at www.lsu100.com. Anyone can nominate a company for the LSU 100. Individuals also may nominate themselves.

The nominator’s information is not made public. To be eligible companies must have been in business for five years or more; have verifiable revenue of at least $100,000 for 2011, 2012 and 2013; have a former LSU student as owner of at least 50 percent of the company or as chief executive officer, president or managing partner; and operate in a manner consistent with the mission of LSU and SEI.

The 2015 LSU 100 awards will be presented Oct. 23 at the L’Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge. For information, visit www.lsu100.com or call (225) 578-0313.