A dozen local entrepreneurs were recognized Wednesday as being among a group of 100 standout firms that are helping drive the city’s economy forward.
NOLA 100 is a collaborative initiative of local entrepreneurs and organizations — including EO Louisiana, the local arm of national nonprofit Entrepreneurs’ Organization — to recognize the city’s leading entrepreneurs. So far, 41 have been inducted into the group, which organizers hope will reach 100 by 2018, the city’s tricentennial.
This year’s inductees are Keith Porta, of APC Construction; Brian Danos, of Civic Source; Marlande Mauberret, of Crystal Clear Imaging; Thomas Brown, of E-Claim.com; Huong Nguyen, of Freshy Food; Alex Hernandez, of Hernandez Consulting; Chris Reade, of Look Far; Wesley Palmisano, of Palmisano Group; Mark Wheitner, of Refreshment Solutions; Jeffrey Doussan, of Road SNAP; David Schonberg, of Schonberg and Associates; and Lisa F. Cookmeyer, of Trigon Associates.
John Georges, CEO of Georges Enterprises and owner of The Advocate, served as the reception’s master of ceremonies. Georges’ other business interests include Imperial Trading, a century-old wholesale grocery company, and the historic Galatoire’s restaurant in the French Quarter.
Georges ticked off a list of major challenges Imperial has faced since its founding, including world wars and several devastating storms.
“Imagine what it was like 100 years ago,” he told a crowd of a few dozen at a reception. “Yet 100 years later, we’re still around, we’re vibrant, we’re a $1 billion company, and it’s largely because we’re headquartered right here in New Orleans.”
In early 2013, months after The Times-Picayune reduced its print frequency, Georges and his wife, Dathel, purchased The Advocate. The paper hired many of The Times-Picayune’s top journalists. Drawing a parallel to the crowd’s entrepreneurial climate, Georges described being able to leverage the newspaper’s existing resources in Baton Rouge and “almost create what we call a startup company” in New Orleans. “It’s truly a New Orleans success story,” he said.
To be eligible for the NOLA 100, a company had to be founded since 1999; had $1 million in revenue in a single fiscal year or in the 12 months that ended in January, with the intent of having at least half of its sales outside Louisiana; and must reside in the 10-parish metro New Orleans area.
Editor’s Note: This story was changed March 21, 2016, to correct Lisa F. Cookmeyer’s name.