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Economics Day

Economics Day

Second Annual Economics Day

S. E. E. D. Center

Join us on February 12, 2014

SEED Center

Jon Gregory

Jon Gregory

Jon Gregory is a Managing Director of Innovate North State, the leading regional innovation catalyst organization in California's North State. Mr. Gregory is also a General Partner in the new Northern California Investment Fund, a regional angel investment fund making seed-stage equity investments in high-potential entrepreneurs.

Innovate North State culminates Mr. Gregory's 28-year quest to bring about a new rural economic development paradigm where innovation and entrepreneurship are considered essential ingredients for sustained economic growth.

Mr. Gregory previously founded Golden Capital Network, where he served as President and CEO. Golden Capital Network has hosted over 50 start-up and early-stage venture forums across the State in rural and metropolitan areas. Since then, start-ups showcased at these events received over $1.5 billion in angel or venture capital investments and created thousands of jobs.

Mr. Gregory is a frequently speaks on the topic of building innovation and entrepreneur ecosystems in California as well as nationally.

Doug Hall

Doug Hall

Picture Professional Innovator, Adjunct Faculty Member, Academic Researcher, and Best Selling Author are only a few of the hats that Doug Hall has worn over the years.

Doug began his entrepreneurial career at age 12, inventing and selling magic and juggling kits. After earning a chemical engineering degree from the University of Maine, he joined Procter & Gamble where he rose to the rank of Master Marketing Inventor - inventing and shipping a record nine innovations in 12 months.

Since, 1986, the Eureka! Ranch International team has helped corporations such as American Express, Nike, P&G and Walt Disney discover measurably smarter choices for growth while increasing speed and decreasing risk with innovation. It seems to work - the Ranch has a world-class 88% client repeat rate.

Today Doug is on a mission to bring his sustainable system for innovation to the masses. Innovation Engineering is a system that teaches individuals and companies how to increase speed and decrease risk with innovation. In partnership with the University of Maine's Foster Center for Student Innovation, Doug and his team have had the privilege of teaching over 1500 people in less then two years, Innovation Engineering.

Doug is the author of 4 best selling books and is a popular speaker on sales, marketing, creativity and innovation. He has hosted and starred on a wide range of network radio and television programs. He is a one-of-a-kind straight shooter who's a life member of MENSA and the world's leading expert on how to increase speed and decrease risk with innovation.

Conference Information

SWLA's Emerging Economic Ecosystem:
Championing Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Regional Collaboration

The Economics Day Team at McNeese State University and the SWLA Economic Development Alliance invite you to the McNeese campus Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center for Economics Day.

This year's event will focus on innovation and the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southwest Louisiana.  Robust economic activity demands a diversified talent pipeline and a regional support system for entrepreneurial activity.  These efforts are championed by those within the SEED Center.  

Unprecedented growth spurs opportunity, and opportunity is best leveraged through preparedness.  By addressing the needs of Southwest Louisiana, caused by the economic upturn, guest speakers will convey how to realize innovative ideas, hone talent, access resources, and build collaborative networks. 

Feeding the emerging economic ecosystem is essential to Southwest Louisiana's growth and prosperity.  McNeese and the SWLA Economic Development Alliance invite you to share their vision for a thriving Southwest Louisiana. 

Tentative Event Schedule

SEED Center Conference Room

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Event Schedule
Time Activity
8:00 - 8:30 Continental Breakfast and Check-in
8:30 - 8:45 Opening Session
  • Pledge of Allegiance
    Brandi McAdams
  • National Anthem
    Danielle Heffer
Welcome and Introductions
  • Dr. Phillip Williams, President
    McNeese State University
  • Honorable Randy Roach
    Mayor of Lake Charles
  • Mr. George Swift, President/CEO
    SWLA Economic Development Alliance
8:45 - 9:45 Keynote Address
  • Mr. Jon Gregory, Managing Director
    Innovate North State and General Partner of the Northern California Investment Fund
9:45 - 11:00 Panel 1:  Regional Support Systems and Connecting Entrepreneurs to Capital
  • Bill Jens, Asst. Professor of Accounting, College of Business, McNeese State University
  • John Matthews, Executive Director, Small Business Services
  • Ron McGinley, Managing Director, Angels of Southwest Louisiana
11:00 - 11:15 Feeding the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
  • Mr. David Conner, VP of Economic Development and International Commerce
    SWLA Economic Development Alliance
11:15 - 12:15 Keynote Address
  • Mr. Doug Hall, Founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch, Professional Innovator, Adjunct Faculty Member, Academic Researcher, and Best Selling Author
12:15 - 12:30 Lunch Served
12:30 - 1:45 Panel 2: Innovation as Preparation for the Talent Pipeline
  • Donald Begneaud, Founder, Begneaud Manufacturing, Inc.
  • Corinne Dupuy , Faculty Member, College of Engineering, UL, Lafayette
  • Doug Hall, Founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch
  • Nikos Kiritsis, Dean, College of Engineering and Director, Institute for Industry
1:45 Closing Remarks

Welcome and Introductions

Mayor Randy Roach

Jon Gregory

Mayor Randy Roach was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana and graduated from LaGrange High School in 1969. He earned his undergraduate degree in accounting and his law degree at Louisiana State University, completing his education in 1976. He and his wife, Nancy, have two children and five grandchildren.

Mayor Roach was elected as Mayor of Lake Charles in 2000 to fill the unexpired term of the previous mayor. In 2001, he was re-elected and began his first full term. He was re-elected in 2005, in 2009, and again in 2013. As mayor he has worked closely with city and parish governments and other agencies to form partnerships and pool resources that benefit not only Lake Charles, but the entirety of Southwest Louisiana.


Don Begneaud

Don Begneaud

Don Begneaud, Founder of BEGNEAUD Manufacturing, Inc, is no stranger to the metal world. He has been working with metal for over 30 years and bases his design and knowledge on the best teacher of all - experience. Don majored in Industrial Technology at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. In 1978, with the oil industry booming, along with the increasing demand for his work, Don opened BEGNEAUD. In 1980, Don made the decision to put his degree on hold in order to focus his efforts full-time on BEGNEAUD. Twenty-eight years later, what started out as a one-man welding shop has evolved into a precision sheet metal job/contract shop, which caters to a wide variety of industries.

Corinne Dupuy

Corinne Dupuy

In January 2014, Corinne Dupuy accepted a teaching position within the College of Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Prior to this, she was the Director for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana (MEPOL) which she helped to create in 1997. MEPOL is a sponsored program of UL Lafayette serving Louisiana manufacturers statewide. Corinne has a Master's Degree and a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and is a certified Innovation Black Belt. She also serves as a board member for the Louisiana Center for Manufacturing Sciences.

Dr. Bill Jens

Dr. Bill Jens

Assistant Professor of Accounting. Dr. Jens began at McNeese in 2010. He earned his Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Central Florida. He has extensive business background as a former Fortune 500 Vice-President, CFO of a NASDAQ listed company, divisional president and board member. He has many publications and conference presentations from a diverse range of topics including banking, capital structure, tax issues and other. He teaches "Accounting Information for Decision Making" and "Corporate Reporting and Analysis". Dr. Jens holds the 2012-13 Arthur Hollins Endowed Professorship.

Dr. Nikos Kiritsis

Dr. Nikos Kiritsis

Dr. Nikos Kiritsis is Dean of the College of Engineering at McNeese State University and director of the Institute for Industry - Education Collaboration. Prior to that Dr. Kiritsis taught mechanical engineering courses at McNeese and served as interim director of the Research Services and Sponsored Program office. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Kiritsis is one of the founding members of the McNeese State University Innovation Center where he teaches Innovation Engineering courses and serves on the managing board of the McNeese Student Business Incubator. Dr. Kiritsis also holds an Incubator Management Certificate from the National Business Incubator Association.

Event Organizers

David Conner
David Conner

Vice President of Economic Development & International Services

SWLA Economic Development Alliance

Contact: (337) 433-3632 x213

Clair Hebert
Clair Hebert

Event Organizer

Southwest Region Project Manager, Economic Development and Expansion, Entergy

Contact: (337) 431-6230

Donna Whatley
Donna Whatley
Administrative Assistant

Burton College of Education

Contact: (337) 475-5432
Tracy Mclemore, Ph.D.
Tracy Mclemore, Ph.D.

Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education

Contact: (337) 475-5432

Lonnie Turpin
Lonnie Turpin
Event Coordinator
Instructor of Management and Business Administration 

Contact: (337) 475-5551

Morgan Murray
Morgan Murray

Housing Grant Administrator

SWLA Economic Development Alliance

Contact: (337) 802-3984

Maps & Parking

Campus Map

Parking Map