Rockett: Progress in Bossier evident in many ways

0
257
CSRA's Customer Engagement Center on Benton Road in Bossier City. (Photo by Allen JM Smith)

Progress in Bossier over the years has been evident in many ways.  Growth in population, the diversification of industry and the forward-thinking leadership at the Parish and City level has helped Bossier to be successful in securing new development. Many different factors support Bossier’s attractiveness and reputation for being a great place to do business.

Over the past two years, the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation (GBEDF) has been a part of several projects which have added hundreds of jobs to the local market and have helped to continue our efforts in diversifying our community’s economic landscape.

You can see examples of projects listed below that the GBEDF has contributed to.  Notice they are diverse within the industries that make up our economy, however, they are similar in that they have all chosen to do business in Bossier for different reasons.

Honda North America (Holmes Honda)
Locating in Bossier City at Innovation Drive, Honda North America requested a dealership location based in a high growth area.  When construction is complete, the dealership is expected to initially employ 50 people.    The addition of the new dealership to Bossier’s retail market will spur further commercial development in the area and allow for an increased sales tax revenue for the city. Working on the front end of this project, the GBEDF helped identify sites that fit the company’s criteria.

Sabre Building Systems by CellXion 
Sabre Industries is presently located within the Ruben E. White Industrial Park and chose to expand its operations in Bossier City.  The company will retain 167 existing jobs while creating 50 new direct jobs, providing an average salary of $47,000 per year, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates the project will result in an additional 13 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 60 new jobs in Northwest Louisiana.  The company chose Bossier because they recognized the opportunity to capitalize on our highly trained manufacturing workforce.

Industrial Parks 
Typically, the location and proximity to I-220 help to spark interest in site development within our industrial parks.  Currently, Bossier’s industrial parks are benefitting from the upswing in the oil and gas industry, which is largely due to the state’s ability to produce and ship natural gas from the LNG facilities located near Lake Charles, Louisiana.   The GBEDF is presently working closely with several oil and gas industry related prospects that are considering developing land within our industrial parks.

Additionally, the foundation’s strong relationship with LED has helped us to market our industrial parks.  Having partners at the state level who recognize Bossier’s assets of a strong workforce and our community’s ability to partner have been beneficial in connecting companies that are expanding or locating in our community.

Coburn Supply Company
Coburn Supply Company approached the GBEDF about their interest in developing land located inside the Commerce Industrial Park.  The company had plans to construct a new showroom and warehouse facility from the ground up.  The GBEDF assisted in facilitating the negotiations to purchase the land used for the new development.  The $1.5 million dollar development inside the Commerce Industrial Park would help the company to expand its services to the regional market and create approximately 50 new jobs in addition to its existing employment base.

CSRA Customer Engagement Center
The GBEDF was approached by CSRA in September of 2015 about bringing a Customer Engagement Center to the area to serve as support for the company’s operations in addition to its newly announced Integrated Technology Center (ITC).

Although the proposed Customer Engagement Center had an existing company base here in the area, another community was being considered for the location making this a competitive process.  The GBEDF provided an efficient process of site selection and assistance with commercial development to help the company launch in its desired time frame.  The GBEDF also worked with local partners to address the company’s workforce needs.  The result of our dedication and flexibility expanded the Bossier job market by adding up to 300 new employees to the area all while reviving a vacant office building near the center of Downtown Bossier City. This facility opened in November of 2016.

As Bossier continues to grow and outpace expectations, the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation will continue to focus on positioning the community to be competitive in securing new jobs and investment.  The foundation is committed to delivering industry diversity and investing in initiatives which create jobs and sustain the local economy.  Our commitment to this mission can be valued at over $2M in community investments made over the last decade.  The GBEDF has strategically invested in projects impacting workforce development, manufacturing, quality of life, infrastructure upgrades and the further development of Bossier’s rural communities.  We are proud of our success, and look forward to participating in the further development of Bossier thanks to the stewardship of investment dollars entrusted to us by our members and the local business community.

Rocky Rockett is president of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation