Last Thursday, I had the awesome and fortunate opportunity of attending the first ever State of Bossier Address luncheon hosted by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. As usual, the Bossier Chamber did an outstanding job hosting the event and I applaud the Bossier Chamber and the event sponsors for making an event such as this happen. For several years, the Bossier Chamber hosted a Fall Economic Outlook seminar and the State of Bossier Address idea grew out of this event.
The Bossier Press- Tribune has been a very active Bossier Chamber member for many years. BPT President David Specht has been on the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors for several years and is “Chairman Elect” for the Bossier Chamber board with his term beginning in January of 2016. I too was an active participant (mainly as a Bossier Chamber Diplomat for almost 12 years – serving as Diplomat Chairman in 2010). As of late, however, I have not been able to participate in Bossier Chamber activities/events to the degree that I once was able to do. However, I still make the events that I can make and in doing so, I have picked up on one of the Bossier Chamber’s Twitter hashtags that I have seen used so often over the last few months (#BossierInnovates). And, there is another hashtag that I saw used in a Facebook post the other day by Bossier Chamber President Lisa Johnson from a Bossier Chamber ribbon cutting (#bossieronthegrow).
How true this is! Yes, Bossier does innovate and Bossier is on the grow! As I have said many times before, how fortunate and blessed we are to live in a city/parish with a Chamber of Commerce, city/parish leadership and a political structure where officials are progressive and have an eye toward the future at all times! Believe me, this awesome situation definitely does not exist everywhere! It is rare! And, I will repeat once again something that I said in my first column as Publisher of this newspaper back on July 30, 2014: What a GREAT time to be in Bossier!!!! Actually, I have mentioned that in my column space several times since then!
Getting back to the State of Bossier Address, I made some fairly detailed notes during the three presentations. From my notes, the first speaker was Dr. Dave Norris from Louisiana Tech. Dr. Norris pointed out that Bossier now has a different economy..it is more competitive…and more innovative. He went on to say that Bossier is a community that supports innovation and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, Bossier has a great infrastructure support network. As such, public/private partnerships are working together in an extremely positive fashion. Dr. Norris also stated that Bossier Parish has experienced a 7 percent growth rate from 2010-2013. The national average growth rate is only 2 percent to 3 percent. So, look at where that places us! Also, Bossier Parish traditionally outperforms the State of Louisiana (as a whole) in almost every statistical category which actually mirrors more what is happening on a national level. Dr. Norris closed his remarks by stating that Bossier has a very healthy unemployment rate. And, our poverty rate is also very low. Finally, Dr. Norris noted that Bossier has a compatible workforce, businesses and community environment.
Next week, I will continue with the State of Bossier Address with my notes from the presentations of Bossier Parish Police Jury President Jack Skaggs and Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.
I am very excited about the future of Bossier. We all have so much to look forward to.
Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org