Release date: June 25, 2018

Bossier Parish Community College’s Economic & Workforce Development Division is proud to host the second annual Upstate Rising: The North Louisiana Public-Private Partnership, Real Estate Development, and Land Use Planning Law Conference.

This year’s conference is scheduled for 8:30am – 4:45 pm on Thursday, August 23, in the gymnasium (Building I) on the BPCC campus, 6220 E Texas St., Bossier City, LA, and focuses on the topic: “Exploring Roads, Rivers, & Rails”.

The daylong economic development conference allows participants to learn “best practices” and strategies to improve their business opportunities and the economic well-being of Northwest Louisiana. It also provides access to networking opportunities with local, regional, and statewide industry professionals.

Featured speakers for this year’s conference include Mike Mullis, President/CEO, and Denise Mott, Managing Director, for J.M. Mullis, Inc., a site selection firm. Mullis and Mott will give participants the trends in site selection and will summarize global, national, and regional corporate location and expansion trends. Having visited north Louisiana several times throughout the last few decades, they will also share their perspective on where the area was then, where it is now, and where it can go in the future to increase its competitive advantage.

Also on the agenda as keynote speaker is Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., Secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development. Dr. Wilson will discuss how public policy and Louisiana transportation infrastructure construction, expansion, and improvement support public-private partnerships, real estate development, and land use planning.

The conference’s other speakers include:

  • Kent Rogers, Executive Director of Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments
  • Bill Sanderson, Mayor, Village of Choudrant, and Building Official, City of Ruston
  • Scott Martinez, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership
  • Neil Erwin, Attorney, and Caroline E. Mladenka, MPA, Neil Erwin Law, LLC
  • Curtis A. Wright, Sr., Real Estate Professional

A “best practice” panel discussion from the perspective of local experts will also be on the agenda. The panel includes William “Bill” R. Altimus, Administrator, Bossier Parish Police Jury; Eric England, Executive Port Director, The Port of Caddo-Bossier; Brian Crawford, Chief Administrative Officer, Office of the Mayor, City of Shreveport; and William “Bill” Cooksey, Deputy Director of Airports, Shreveport Airport Authority. Liz Swaine, Executive Director of the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority, will facilitate the panel.

For this second year, BPCC is pleased to bring all these dynamic speakers and leaders to the table and plans to continue providing exceptional placemaking opportunities such as this conference for those in “upstate” Louisiana.

“BPCC is happy to provide a means for positive community collaboration to stimulate a growth mindset” said Dr. Gayle Flowers, Vice Chancellor for Economic & Workforce Development at Bossier Parish Community College. “Results of collaborations like Upstate Rising uniquely positions North Louisiana as a dynamic region for business success, family stability and satisfaction, and an enviable quality of life.”

Realtors, architects, civil engineers, attorneys, real estate developers, public officials, municipal planners, financial institution representatives, and private citizens are welcome to attend. Attendees can receive continuing education credits through participating organizations (go to: open new browser window or tab or contact BPCC’s Workforce Development & Continuing Education Office, 318-678-6015 for a list of organizations and conference details).

Upstate Rising’s 2018 sponsors include:

Platinum: AEP SWEPCO
City of Bossier City
Diamond: Bossier Parish Police Jury
Gold: Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation
Neil Erwin Law, LLC
Silver: Bossier Metropolitan Planning Commission
North Louisiana Economic Partnership
Bronze: American Institute of Architects-Shreveport Chapter
American Society of Civil Engineers-Shreveport Branch
Bossier Press Tribune
Coordinating & Development Corporation
Bossier Chamber of Commerce
Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce
Louisiana Engineering Society-Shreveport Chapter
Louisiana Municipal Association
Louisiana Police Jury Association

Upstate Rising conference fee is $249. To register for the conference or for additional information, go to: open new browser window or tab or contact Bossier Parish Community College’s Division of Economic & Workforce Development, or call 318-678-6015.

Hotel accommodations are provided through Margaritaville Resort Casino at a special group code. If members of a group are individually paying for rooms, reservations for the event will be made by calling 318-698-3920, or by emailing When making reservations, please state, Upstate Rising Conference.

PHOTOS from 2017’s Upstate Rising Conference:

Photo 1:Bob Brotherton, president, Bossier Parish Police Jury; Dr. Rick Bateman, chancellor, Bossier Parish Community College; The Honorable Lo Walker, mayor of Bossier City

Photo 2:Tony Davis, executive director, Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation

Photo 3:Craig Spohn, executive director/president, Cyber Innovation Center

Photo 4:Conference attendees