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Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson  

Nine South Louisiana small businesses have been named as 2021 Louisiana Growth Leaders by Louisiana Economic Development.

The companies were honored during Spotlight Louisiana, an online event held Thursday. They are all members of the LED Growth Network, which consists of more than 500 companies from across the state that are classified as “second-stage businesses” – beyond the startup stage and poised for growth, but not yet mature. Companies enter the growth network by participating in programs for second-stage firms.

This year’s growth leaders are:

Ballard Brands of Covington; Peter Boylan III, president,

BBQGuys of Baton Rouge; Russ Wheeler, chief executive officer,

CyberReef of Shreveport; Hilton Nicholson, chief executive officer,

E-Claim of Harvey; Thomas Brown, founder and chief executive officer,

Genesis 360 Facility Maintenance & Construction of Baton Rouge; Craig Stevens, president,

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ITinspired of Baton Rouge; Rob Wise, co-owner and chief executive officer,

LogoJET of Lafayette; Susan Cox, president, founder and chief executive officer,

MasteryPrep of Baton Rouge; Craig Gehring, founder and chief executive officer,

Techneaux Technology Services of Lafayette; Ben Johnson, owner and chief executive officer, and

ThreeSixtyEight of Baton Rouge; Kenny Nguyen, co-founder and chief executive officer.

A panel of economic development professionals from across the state selected the growth leaders, evaluating applications based on growth, strategy, innovation, leadership, culture and philanthropy.

“As a former small business owner myself, I continue to be excited about innovative new resources being launched by our department,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said in a statement. “But what I am most excited about is the impact these programs are having on businesses in our state

Applications will be accepted for the 2022 Louisiana Growth Leaders class from October 1 through November 30. All LED Growth Network companies are eligible to apply. For more information about the LED Growth Network, Spotlight Louisiana or Louisiana Growth Leaders, contact assistant director of small business services Christopher Cassagne at Christopher.Cassagne@La.Gov or (225) 342-5882.

Email Timothy Boone at