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Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business – American Press

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business – American Press

Visit LC hires Bush, Strider

Visit Lake Charles has announced the staff additions of Timothy Bush as chief marketing officer and Anna Strider as director of digital strategies/online marketing. Bush and Strider have worked in the travel industry for years and bring with them experience and expertise in the realm of destination marketing.   

Most recently, Bush was the chief tourism development officer for OneSpartanburg, Inc., with the mission of building a vibrant Spartanburg through business, economic and tourism development. He was the president/CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism for nearly six years where he directed the strategic vision along with developing tourism products to drive more economic impact to the community. Bush was the marketing manager for Visit Macon with for nearly two years after having served as the vice president of sales and marketing for Experience Ruston for over seven years.

Bush started his career in journalism as a staff writer for the Beauregard Daily News prior to spring-boarding into his lifelong career in tourism as the executive director for the Beauregard Tourist Commission.

A graduate of the University of Louisiana Monroe, Bush earned a B.A. in journalism/public relations. He obtained his Certified Destination Management Executive designation by Destination Marketing Association International as well as completed the Travel Marketing Professional program by the Southeast Tourism Society. Bush has served as chair for both the LA Association of CVBs and the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition, and he was also recognized as one of the 2012 Forty for the Future: Travel’s Leading Talent.

Strider began her career in tourism at the St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission/Louisiana Northshore where she excelled to serve as the manager of marketing and public relations, promoting the destination through an assortment of programming from media buying and strategic planning to online promotions and representing St. Tammany at culinary festivals, PR events and consumer shows. She also managed film projects, developed social media campaigns, and participated in parish and statewide PR initiatives.

Strider initiated her Tourism and Event Management degree at George Mason University School of Business in Virginia prior to uprooting to Louisiana to complete her bachelor’s degree from Southeastern in Business Administration & Management. Strider earned her MBA from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2018, and she completed the 2020 Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy’s program by the Louisiana Travel Association. Strider started the three-year Travel Marketing Professional program by the Southeast Tourism Society in 2021.

Zaunbrecher joins law firm

Sigler, Arabie & Cannon of Lake Charles is pleased to announce that Alexandra A. Zaunbrecher has joined the firm as an associate.

Zaunbrecher’s primary practice areas are estate planning and administration, business planning and transactions, and taxation. She grew up in Lake Charles and graduated from Barbe High School.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Louisiana State University in 2014, with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a minor in business. Zaunbrecher received the degrees of Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma in Civil Law in 2017 from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center of Louisiana, graduating Cum Laude.

After admission to the Louisiana Bar in 2017, she received the degree of Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University School of Law in 2018, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2019. Zaunbrecher was a senior associate in the Mergers & Acquisitions Tax Group of KPMG, and mostly recently was an associate at Meadows Collier in Dallas, where she practiced estate planning and administration and business transactions.

Judson named to state panel

BATON ROUGE  Sara M. Judson of Lake Charles has been appointed to the Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority.

The Chenier Plain CRPA is a political subdivision of the state of Louisiana, and through its board of commissioners, is organized with the primary duty to establish, construct, operate, or maintain flood control works as they relate to hurricane protection, tidewater flooding, saltwater intrusion, and conservation. A secondary duty of the board is to establish flood control, adequate drainage relating to tidal or riverine flooding, and water resources development including but not limited to construction of reservoirs, diversion canals, gravity and pump drainage systems, erosion control measures, and marsh management, and is authorized to enter into contracts and agreements.

Judson is the president of Community Foundation Southwest Louisiana. She was nominated by the Police Jury of Calcasieu Parish.

Felder joins AMERISAFE

Matt Felder is the new Director of Marketing and Communications for AMERISAFE.

He oversees the company’s internal and external communication and marketing efforts, including community outreach, publication pieces, social media channels, video production and websites.

Felder comes to AMERISAFE with more than 15 years of experience, most recently serving 10 years as the director of communications in the marketing department of the Lake Charles Memorial Health System. He also worked as the field editor for the Texas Farm Bureau organization, and as a reporter and anchor for various TV stations throughout Texas.

He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Texas A&M University in College Station, and a Master of Journalism degree from the University of North Texas in Denton.

Johnson, Shiver finish academy

ALEXANDRIA — The Louisiana Travel Association celebrated the graduation of Visit Lake Charles’ Tara Johnson, meeting sales manager, and Kristen Shiver, visitor experience manager, from the Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy at the association’s 2022 annual meeting.

The 24 members of the LTLA class spent 2021 developing their leadership skills while learning from seasoned professionals throughout the tourism industry. The goal of the program is to equip each class member with knowledge and skills that will enrich their tourism-related organizations, therefore strengthening the state-wide tourism industry.

Members of the class also gave back to the tourism community by selecting businesses within the industry for pro-bono projects. Collectively, the value of the tourism product enhancement and marketing work produced by the class exceeded $100,000.

Edmiston elected chair of board

ALEXANDRIA — Kyle Edmiston, president/CEO of Visit Lake Charles was recently installed as Chair of the Louisiana Travel Association Board of Directors at the association’s annual meeting.

Returning members on the board of directors include two members of the Lake Charles hospitality industry — Mike Buckley of Golden Nugget Casino and Resort and Nimesh Zaver with Hotels of Lake Charles —  and John Crook of the Vernon Parish Tourist Commission.

Officers on the executive committee and members of the board of directors are elected during the annual meeting. Each year, the chair of the board selects a nominating committee that is comprised of members who are not up for re-election and who are not seeking office. This committee is responsible for presenting a slate to the members of the association that recognizes all regions of the state and all segments of the tourism industry.

Feazell named BHS director

Beauregard Health System in DeRidder has announced that Haley Feazell has joined BHS as the new director of maternal-child services.

Feazell is a graduate of Northwestern State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in nursing back in 2016.

Since then, Feazell has worked as an RN earning high praise for her hard work and dedication to patients and their care.

Chief Nursing Officer Kie McNabb praised Feazell, and noted that she is a major asset to the Labor and Delivery staff at BHS.

“Feazell’s dedication to providing patients the proper care they deserve brings an energy to our Labor and Delivery staff that is second to none,” McNabb said.

Sowela faculty, staff honored

Sowela Technical Community College faculty and staff were recently honored at the annual Louisiana Community and Technical College System annual conference. Honorees were nominated by fellow Sowela employees. The conference and award ceremony were held virtually this year with the following individuals recognized:

Outstanding Faculty Member: Johnathan Darbonne.

Darbonne is a welding assistant master instructor at Sowela and has been with the college for 10 years. Darbonne is also an alum of Sowela with a technical diploma in welding. His credentials include NCCER CORE, Craft Instructor Certifications, and 6G welding certifications in SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, and FCAW. He also brings years of prior work experience as a structural and pipe welder and foreman at WPS Industries, Shaw Modular Solutions, CB&I, and DSI.

Outstanding Professional Staff: Laura LaFleur.

LaFleur has 24 years of experience at Sowela Technical Community College. She is the registrar and has held many critical positions within the office of admissions, testing center, and office of the registrar. She is the go-to person for campus-wide registration, policy and procedure creation, and data mining and analysis of student data. LaFleur is a proud graduate of Sowela.

Outstanding Professional Support Staff: Tammy Abraham.

Abraham is the executive assistant to the vice chancellor at Sowela. Abraham was part of the recovery team after Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Her positive attitude was instrumental in helping her coworkers through this challenging time. A proud Sowela alum, she is the first to arrive and the last to leave, ensuring that the team runs smoothly and effectively.

Distinguished Retiree: Jo Schexneider.  After 30 years of service, Schexneider retired last year from her position as chief information officer at Sowela. Schexneider is a pioneer in the IT field at Sowela, developing the IT department from scratch and was an integral part of its leadership and development. She played a pivotal role in eLearning and moving the college into the digital landscape. She would optimize technology offerings creatively through grants, capital, and operational funds. Schexneider served in many roles at Sowela from instructor to executive leadership team member. She worked tirelessly after Hurricane Laura to bring the buildings back online and provide students with the connectivity to continue their programs.

Bruce named strategist for BBA

The Beauregard Baptist Association has named Tom Bruce as its new mission strategist.

Bruce previously served as a pastor at First Baptist Church of Sulphur for more than 20 years.

The association is made up of 44 churches in Allen, Beauregard, Rapides and Vernon parishes and serves as a resource to churches, and as a liaison to the Louisiana Baptist Association, and Southern Baptist Association.

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business