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Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp, center, gives a presentation at The Advocate's 2020 Economic Outlook Summit in January. He will update viewers in a similar online summit this month, while three other separate economic summits are planned for discussion of the Acadiana, New Orleans and statewide economies.

Four economic summits being held in late July and early August will tap business and community leaders for a big-picture understanding of the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans and statewide economies.

With the theme of "Bringing Back the Economy," each of the events will focus on the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, with a view toward any shortcomings and obstacles and emerging bright spots in the three major metro markets served by The Advocate in Baton Rouge and Acadiana and The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate, plus the state.

"The panels will explore trends that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to understand how they will affect our business communities in the months ahead," said Publisher Judi Terzotis. "Part of our mission is to facilitate conversation. Now, more than ever, our communities need to come together to help navigate these unprecedented times and return to a robust economy."

Each economic summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. via an online conversation among panelists and moderators. Each market's summit will be livestreamed through its corresponding website: for Baton Rouge, for New Orleans and for Lafayette, plus Facebook Live and YouTube. The statewide summit will be livestreamed through all three websites, plus Facebook Live and YouTube. There also will be print newspaper coverage of each event.

The schedule for the four summits is:

  • BATON ROUGE — JULY 28: An overview of the area economy will be presented by panelist Adam Knapp, president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Three other panelists will focus on specific industries in the region: industrial and petrochemical; the health care and medical sector; and commercial real estate. The panelists addressing those industries are Connie Fabré, president and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance; Terrie Sterling, CEO of health care firm Terrie Sterling Consulting, former hospital executive and co-chair of the Louisiana Resilient Commission; and Jonathan Walker, senior commercial sales and leasing executive at Maestri-Murrell Real Estate.
  • LAFAYETTE — JULY 29: Panelists are Ben Berthelot, president and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, who oversees tourism promotion and marketing for all of Lafayette Parish; Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association; Jennifer Clowers, vice president of finance for Our Lady of Lourdes; and Gary Wagner, a professor of economics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, whose role includes providing research, forecasting and outlook reporting on the regional economy.
  • NEW ORLEANS — AUG. 6: Topics will focus on tourism and hospitality, trade and the economy and economic development. Panelists are Brandy Christian, chief executive officer of the Port of New Orleans; Greg Feirn, CEO of LCMC Health; Michael Hecht, president and chief executive officer of GNO Inc.; and Jerry Reyes, general manager of The Westin New Orleans Canal Place.
  • STATEWIDE — AUG. 7: Panelists are Greg Bowser, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association, which represents more than 60 chemical manufacturing companies across Louisiana; David Dismukes, executive director and a professor at the LSU Center for Energy Studies; Don Pierson, the state's secretary of Louisiana Economic Development; and Melvin Rodrigue, chair of the National Restaurant Association and also president/CEO of Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans.

The midyear outlook follows annual summits held during the first two months of 2019 and 2020 in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette. Those panel discussions were held in front of an audience of business, civic, nonprofit and government leaders and livestreamed to larger online audiences. With these midyear events, panelists will be participating remotely from their offices, with questions directed to them from editors in newsrooms in each market.

Hancock Whitney is a sponsor for the Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette summits. LCMC Health is a sponsor of the New Orleans summit. Acadian Ambulance and AARP are sponsors for the Lafayette summit.

All four companies also are sponsors for the statewide summit.

Acadiana Business Today: Aldi to open distribution center in Alabama to supply Lafayette store, part of Louisiana expansion; Hancock Whitney posts $117.1 million quarterly loss