2018 Upstate Rising Conference

Presenters Bios

Dr. Rick BatemanDr. Rick Bateman, Jr. was named the sixth chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) on April 8, 2015.

Dr. Bateman previously served as the Interim Director of Northwest Louisiana Technical College and Interim Chancellor at Bossier Parish Community College.

Prior to becoming Interim Director at Northwest LTC, Dr. Bateman was the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Success at SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  He has 20+ years of progressively responsible and varied higher education experience in Belize, Texas, and Louisiana.

Dr. Bateman has a proven record of success as a dynamic, visionary, servant leader committed to expanding access, promoting student success, utilizing data-informed decision making, promoting partnerships, and building a collaborative, cooperative, team-centered environment.  He holds a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in Religious Education from Loyola University New Orleans, and a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Dr. Bateman is passionate about the open door mission of the two-year college and believes that the community college is an essential tool of a healthy democracy and a vibrant economy.  His leadership style is driven by core values that include courtesy, integrity, perseverance, respect, trust, and personal growth.  He and his wife, Araceli, have three children, Brandon, Kimberly, and Cailin.

Dr. Gayle FlowersDr. Gayle Flowers, Co-Chair of the Upstate Rising Conference Team and Vice Chancellor for Economic & Workforce Development at Bossier Parish Community College, leads the college’s mission to provide Louisiana individuals and businesses the most advanced, customized and relevant education and training.  Her division has applied for and invested over $26 million of state grant funds to train 22,925 employees in northwest Louisiana since the inception of these grants in 1999.  In fact, approximately, 8,000 individuals are trained at BPCC each year through corporate training and continuing education courses.

Dr. Flowers previously served as the Director of Career, Adult & Alternative Education for Caddo Parish Public Schools in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she led the career-technical education program for the school district and established a ten-district regional partnership of secondary, post-secondary, employer, and community leaders focused on workforce and economic development.  Prior to that she was privileged to serve for fourteen years as Principal of the nationally-recognized Caddo Career & Technology Center, the apex of Caddo’s career-technical education program.  Under her supervision, industry-based certifications and dual enrollment, strong work-based learning student experiences were established; and, numerous innovative initiatives were established to benefit students and the community.  Through her leadership, student enrollment grew by over 30 percent and business partnerships expanded by over 150 percent.

Dr. Flowers earned her degrees from Louisiana State University in Shreveport.  She received LSUS’ 2017 Doctoral Student Academic Award, 2009 Circle of Excellence Award, is a graduate of Leadership Louisiana and Leadership Shreveport-Bossier, and is a member of The Rotary Club of Shreveport, Junior Achievement Board of Directors, LSUS Alumni Board of Directors, Goodwill Industries Board of Directors, on the Board of the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, and involved in numerous professional organizations.  Ms. Flowers has also served on a variety of Governor’s Task Forces and was recognized as a Leader of the New Century by the Shreveport Times.  She serves on Southern Regional Education Board’s CTE Commission and the Tech Centers That Work Advisory Board.

Dr. Flowers is married to Bill Mayfield, a Shreveport, Louisiana, businessman, and is the mother of Thomas and Kate.

Mayor Lo WalkerMayor Lo Walker is a native of Shreveport, LA. He graduated from Fair Park High School in 1951 and enrolled at LA TECH University a year later. He graduated from TECH in 1956, Cum Laude, Outstanding Business School Graduate, Distinguished Military Graduate, WHO’S WHO, and commissioned an officer in the USAF. Went on active military duty two months later as a pilot trainee and earned his pilot wings a year later. He served 30 years retiring at the rank of Colonel in 1986. He has the rare distinction of being a Command Pilot and Master Parachutist at the same time. In addition to the United States, he has performed parachute jumps in Germany, Spain, Libya, and France. His decorations include two Legions of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, thirteen Air Medals, the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal He became a Bossier City resident in 1968 and, after mandatory military moves, returned to Bossier City permanently in 1980. He retired from the USAF August 1986 and went to work for the City of Bossier City one week later.


2005- Present                   Mayor, Bossier City, Louisiana

1989-June 30, 2005          Chief Administrative Officer, City of Bossier City of Bossier

Executive Assistant to the Mayor

1986-1989                             Executive Director, Bossier Civic Center

Part time college instructor, undergraduate and graduate level

1956-1986                            Officer, United States Air Force

1952-1956                            Student, LA TECH University

1951-1952                            Assistant Manager, local retail convenience store


Bachelor of Business Administration, LA TECH UNIVERSITY, 1952-1956
Master of Business Administration, AUBURN UNIVERSITY, 1970
Squadron Officers School, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama, 1962
Armed Forces Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama, 1970
Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Correspondence Course, 1973
Graduate, International Association of Auditorium Management, School of Public Facilities

Executive Director, Bossier Civic Center, 1986-1989
Chief Administrative Officer, City of Bossier City, Sixteen years (1989-2005)
Mayor, Bossier City Louisiana, 2005 – present (starts 14th year July 1, 2018
President, Louisiana Conference of Mayors, 2011-2012 and 2016-2018
Past President, I-69 Mid-Continent Highway Coalition (four states)
Vice President for Louisiana, I-69 Mid-Continent Highway Coalition
Cyber Innovation Center Steering Committee, Member
Board Member, Louisiana Military Advisory Council
Past Board Member, Red Cross
Past Board Member, Salvation Army
Past President, Caddo-Bossier Port Commission
Past President, the Retired Officers Association, Ark-La-Tex Chapter, BAFB, 1995-1998,
Member, Eighth Air Force Consultation Committee
Member, Barksdale Forward
Past President, Barksdale AFB Riding Club
Past Chairman, Better Business Bureau of Shreveport-Bossier
Past Flight Captain, Order of Daedalians, Chenault Chapter
Past Vice Chairman, United Way Campaign, Shreveport and Bossier City, LA, 1990 and 1991
Board Member, Barksdale Forward (a select committee which supports Barksdale AFB)
Board Member, Bossier Chamber of Commerce (Ex-Officio)
Board Member, Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation (Ex-Officio)
Chairman and Board Member, Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments
Board Member, State Fair of Louisiana
Chairman, Coordinating Development Corporation
Interim President & CEO, Coordinating and Development Corporation
Past Board Member, Shreveport-Bossier Tourist & Convention Bureau
Past Board Member, Military Affairs Council
Past Board Member, Bossier LIONS Club
Past Board Member, Ark-La-Tex Quality Council
Past Board Member, Bossier Council on Aging
Member, Bossier City Charter Review Committee (Ex-Officio)
Past Member, Shreveport-Bossier, Regional Executives Coordinating Committee
Member, Disabled American Veterans
Member, Air Force Association
Member, American Legion Post 421
Member (Life) Air Commando Association
Member, Air Force Memorial Foundation
Member, Ark-La-Tex Corridor Council (Three State Coalition for Amtrak Rail Service)
Member, Shreveport Area Veterans Memorial, Steering Committee
Member, Caddo-Bossier Veterans Memorial, Steering Committee
Member, Bossier Office of Emergency Preparedness, Executive Committee
Past Member, Red River Patrol Task Force Board
Past Member, Clean Air Citizens Advisory Committee, Shreveport and Bossier City, LA
Past Member, Barksdale AFB, Restoration Advisory Committee
Past Member, International City Management Association
Past Member, International Association of Auditorium Managers
Past Member, Caddo-Bossier Literacy Council
Past Executive Director, Bossier Civic Center
Lead Negotiator, Casino Magic Contract and Site Location Resolution
Past Chairperson, Bossier City Space Authorization and Utilization Committee
Past Chairperson, Bossier City, E-911 Implementation Committee
Past Chairperson, Solid Waste Reduction Committee
Past Chairperson, Bossier Police Training Center Committee
Past Chairperson, Relocation of Caddo-Bossier Office of Emergency Preparedness
Past Chairperson, Bossier 2000, Education Program, Goal 5
Past Chairperson, Bossier City Architect/Engineer Selection Committee
Past Chairperson, Parkway and Riverfront Development Oversight Committee
Past Chairperson, City of Bossier City, Homeland Security Committee,
State of Louisiana, Point of Contact, Co-Chairman, Northwest Louisiana War Veterans Home
Numerous other committees and working groups

Daughter Linda and grandsons Wes and Will. Fiancé Constance Westergaard Cash. Member First Baptist Church of Bossier.

Phone: (318) 741-8501 FAX: (318) 741-8972 Email:

Biography of Military Service, Colonel Lorenz J. Walker, USAF, 1956-1986
Mayor Walker received his commission on from Louisiana TECH University in 1956. He went on active duty in August of that year and earned his pilot wings at Vance AFB, Oklahoma a year later. He then completed Supply Officer School at Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming and became the Unit Supply Officer at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan where he flew the C-124 aircraft. Following this assignment he was transferred to Clark AB, Philippines, flying C-47 aircraft and managing a Forward Supply Point and Unit Supply for the installation.

His next assignment was to James Connally AFB, Waco Texas. During this assignment he flew the T-29, T-33 and C-47 aircraft while serving as the Wing’s Supply, Management and Procedures Officer. While there he was selected as part of the initial cadre of the then classified JUNGLE JIM program which was the reactivation of the Air Commandos in 1961. His assignments included seven years in Air Commando Units. His first assignment was to Hurlburt Field, Florida where he was immediately appointed as a C-47 Instructor Pilot and Flight Examiner. His crew was selected for the unit’s first operational mission which was to train an airborne unit in Bamako Mali, Africa. He then returned to Hurlburt Field and sent to his first Vietnam tour. He was stationed at Bien Hoa Air base and flew the C-47 aircraft. After returning to Hurlburt Field he completed Squadron Officers School in 1962.  While with the JUNGLE JIM Squadron he completed the Army’s Parachutist School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and subsequently served as a Combat Control Team Augmentee making parachute jumps in the United States, Germany, France, Spain, and Libya. He made a total of 66 jumps and earned a Master Parachutist rating.

He has the rare distinction of being both a Command Pilot and Master Parachutist as the same time.

He was then stationed at Sembach, Germany with the 7th Air Commando Squadron, a Unconventional Warfare squadron where he flew the C-47 and U-10 aircraft. He was also one of the squadron’s BERLIN CORRIDOR qualified pilots.

Departing USAFE in 1967, he returned to Vietnam for his second tour in Southeast Asia. Stationed at Nha Trang, Vietnam, he flew the C-47 and U-10 aircraft dropping flares, performing psychological warfare and re-supply missions. In 1968 he was assigned to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana to fly the KC-135 aircraft. The next year he attended the USAF Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and then returned to Barksdale AFB to command the 2nd Field Maintenance Squadron. In 1972 he was assigned to Headquarters SAC at Offutt AFB, Nebraska as Chief of the Logistics Control Branch and then as Chief, Logistics Planning Division.

He then returned to Southeast Asia in 1974 for his third tour during the Vietnam War Era. He was assigned to Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand as Commander of the 388th Organizational Maintenance Squadron, and later as Wing Assistant Deputy Commander for Maintenance. He was then assigned to Zaragoza Air Base, Spain as Wing Deputy Commander for Maintenance in 1975. While there he was promoted to Colonel and transferred to Torrejon Air Base, Madrid, Spain in 1977 as Wing Deputy Commander for Maintenance.  In 1979 he was reassigned to Headquarters 12th Air Force at Bergstrom AFB, Texas where he served as the Director of Logistics Plans.

In 1980 he was reassigned to Barksdale AFB, initially as Assistant Deputy Commander for Maintenance, then as Chief of Supply. In 1982 he was selected as Wing Deputy Commander for Resource Management, a position he held for his last four years on active duty, retiring in August 1986 with 30 years of military service. His military conflict participation was the Vietnam War and the Cold War as a member of the Strategic Air Command.

He is a COMMAND PILOT with 5,450 flying hours of which 675 was combat/combat support hours. He has flown more than 325 combat missions. His decorations include two LEGIONS OF MERIT, two DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSSES, and thirteen AIR MEDALS, the BRONZE STAR, the MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL and several service ribbons.

Glenn BentonGlenn Benton, represents District 2 on the Bossier Parish Police Jury.  He and his wife, Patricia, have two sons, Colonel Larry Benton, USA, and wife, Heather, residing in Alexandria, Louisiana, and Randall Benton, and wife, Kathy, living in Haughton, Louisiana, and two grandsons and two granddaughters.

1966                       Graduate of Haughton High School
1969 – 2001           District Chief – Shreveport Fire Dept.
1973                       Charter student first Emergency Medical Class
1984                       Charter student of EMT intermediate class for Advanced Care
2004 – 2007           Member – Board of Commissioners – East 80 Fire District 1
1995 – 2007           President – Glenn Benton Builder, Inc., a residential building company
2006 – 2007           Instructor at Bossier Parish Community College
2007 – Present       Appointed to the Bossier Parish Police Jury- District 2
2008                      Vice President of the Bossier Parish Police Jury
2009                      President of the Bossier Parish Police Jury
2012                      Elected to Region 4 Executive Board of the Louisiana Police Jury Association
2017                      Vice President of the Bossier Parish Police Jury
Currently                President, Bossier Parish Police Jury
1st Vice President, Louisiana Police Jury Association
Serving on Standing Committees of the Bossier Parish Police Jury
An active member of the First Baptist Church, Haughton, and serving on                                                                 the Ushering and Building Committees

1999                       Exchange Club of Shreveport’s Outstanding Firefighter of the year
2000                       Fire Officer of the Year – Recognized by Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran
2000                       Selected Fire District of the Year under my leadership

J. Michael MullisJ. Michael Mullis is the President and CEO of J. M. Mullis, Inc., a firm established during the late 1970’s to provide professional project location specialist services on an international basis for various private client groups.

Today, the firm typically does more than $2.0 billion annually in major new project establishments on a global basis; and representative ongoing Client Groups include these internationally recognized Companies:

Aerospace/Aviation – Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Spirit AeroSystems, Goodrich/UT, GKN, Sabre, Lufthansa, SAFRAN Group, Textron Beechcraft.

Transportation – FedEx, Delta Airlines, Toyota, Valeo, Pirelli, Johnson Controls Automotive, Alstom, Harley-Davidson.

Manufacturing –Masco, Briggs & Stratton, Alcan, Whirlpool/Maytag, Pirelli, Kohler, Thyssen-Krupp, Olin/Winchester Ammo, Carlisle, Rockwell Automation, Haier, Asia Pulp & Paper, Luvata/Nordic Capital, Caterpillar, Continental Tire The Americas, Tiffany & Co., Dal-Tile/Mohawk, Gränges, Continental Automotive.

Distribution – Wal-Mart, Brookstone, RadioShack, Tractor Supply,

Academy Sports + Outdoors/KKR, Nike, Ingram, Amway, American Eagle Outfitters, AutoZone, Big Lots, Dollar Tree.

Food Industry – Tyson Foods, Hormel, PepsiCo, Smucker’s, Mars, Nestlé, Performance Food Group, Dean Foods, Prairie Farms, United Natural Foods (UNFI), Clif Bar.

Renewable Energy – Alcan, BP, Repower, USEC.

Data Centers/Services – TD Ameritrade, Dell/Perot Systems, Sabre, WellPoint, United Healthcare.

In addition to the firm’s location analysis work throughout the United States, it also has affiliate representations in Mexico, Europe, and Asia, where the firm participates in major new business developments annually.

Mike Mullis began his economic development career during the late 1960’s with the Tennessee Governor’s Staff Division for Industrial Development.

During the mid-1970’s, Mike became an Associate and Officer of a major design/consulting firm based in Tennessee. Mike directed the Company’s Division, which provided location analysis work on a worldwide basis for its industrial clients.

Mike attended the University of Tennessee, Lambuth University, and Union University; and he holds Bachelor of Science Degrees in Physics and Mathematics.

J. Michael Mullis has accomplished these professional achievements:

President, Tennessee Industrial Development Council.

Board Member, Southern Economic Development Council.

Committee Chairperson, American Economic Development Council (now IEDC).

Graduate, Economic Development Institute.

Instructor, ED Basic Courses (in several States).

Instructor, Economic Development Institute at Indianapolis and Norman (11 years).

(Voted several times – Most Outstanding Instructor).

Certified Economic Developer.

Fellow Member, International Economic Development Council.

Board Member, Tennessee Industrial and Agricultural Commission.

2003 Recipient of the IEDC Chairman’s Award For Lifetime Achievement In Economic Development.

2014 Recipient of the Southern Economic Development Council’s Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Economic Development.

Site Selectors Guild – Charter Member.

Mike is an active member of several state, regional, national, and international economic development organizations; as well as CoreNet and IAMC.

Denise MottDenise Mott serves as Vice President for J.M. Mullis, Inc., focusing on comprehensive location analysis for key larger projects. Denise’s professional experience includes economic and community development, labor analysis, negotiation and structure of State and local incentive packages, strategic planning for public and private organizations, and managing global communication campaigns supporting business attraction initiatives and stakeholder engagement objectives.

Prior to joining J.M. Mullis, Inc., Denise was the Business Development Director of a Florida-based economic development organization where she worked with domestic and international companies across all industry types, leading key projects that resulted in successful business locations and expansions.

Previous leadership positions also include assisting in defining the vision, strategies and tactics relative to business recruitment initiatives for a privately funded economic development organization; as well as identifying and managing recruitment projects, and establishing relationships with high-level business and community leaders.

Some major clients with whom Denise has recently worked include Wal-Mart; AutoZone; Dollar Tree, Inc.; Tractor Supply Company, Inc.; Orgill, Inc.; Spirit AeroSystems; and Blue Origin LLC (a Jeff Bezos
Company), in addition to several other major Client Groups.

Denise holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management; and she has two daughters, ages 12 and 15.

Tony DavisTony Davis, Executive Director of the Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation, or “NCA,”is a native of Natchitoches, Louisiana, and graduate of Northwestern State University where he received his B.S. in Business Administration.

Tony previously served as President/CEO of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he has been a Board member and served as President of the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Executives (LACCE), a member of the Center for Chamber of Commerce Excellence (CCCE) Board, and a member of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) Board.

He is currently a member of the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Norwela Council of Boy Scouts of America. Additionally, he is a graduate of Leadership Louisiana, Class of 2013, and an elected member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) representing the 10 parishes of District 4 in northwest Louisiana.

He is married to the former Amy Marquart of Crowley and they have two children.


Dr. Shawn WilsonDr. Shawn Wilson, Louisiana DOTD’s Secretary, has served as Chief of Staff for the Department of Transportation and Development for the past 10 years, a role he filled for three previous Secretaries and under the executive administration of two Governors.  Prior to joining DOTD, Wilson also served as former Executive Director of the Louisiana Serve Commission and Deputy Legislative Director in the Blanco Administration.

A proud product of the New Orleans public schools, Wilson earned a B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Louisiana, where he served as Student Government President and Member of the University of Louisiana System Board.  He holds a Master of Public Administration degree and recently earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy/and Urban Affairs at Southern University.

Shawn’s community service covers a variety of personal and professional interests, including Scoutmaster for Troop 271 Boy Scouts of America in Lafayette, Evangeline Area Council of Boy Scouts Board, and American Associations of State Highway and Transportation Officials.  His former Board memberships include Past President of the University of Louisiana Alumni Association, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, United Way of Acadiana, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Shawn and his wife, Rocki, met and reside in Lafayette; together they have two children, college senior Shawn Denise (21) and Star Scout Joshua Bakari (13).  The Wilsons are members of Progressive Baptist Church.

Bill SandersonBill Sanderson, Mayor of the Village of Choudrant since 1991, enjoys being a part of his community and received early training to follow in the footsteps of his father.  When Bill was born in 1958, his father, Ikey Sanderson, had been mayor since 1949.  So, Bill grew up being very familiar with the day-to-day management of the Village.

In 1978, Bill married the girl next door, literally, and God blessed them with two great children who are now married with children of their own.  As a result, Bill and his wife, Debbie, have three granddaughters ages 7, 4, and 16 months.  Bill considers that the best part of it all is that both of his children have chosen to live in Choudrant with their families.

Bill also serve as Building Official for the City of Ruston, which includes zoning, code enforcement, and other duties.

His hobbies include outdoor activities such as duck and deer hunting as well as owning Choudrant Creek Pygmies, a small goat farm dedicated to breeding and showing quality pygmy goats.

Neil ErwinNeil Erwin, Attorney, serves as Co-Chair of the Upstate Rising Conference Planning Team.  For over 35 years, Neil’s law practice has focused on practical, creative solutions in the field of local government law. This has included, when necessary, litigation of rights and obligations.

During his career, he has had the privilege to represent both governmental bodies and businesses (including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, and Rite-Aid), gaining a unique perspective and understanding of the problems and opportunities of different sides.

This perspective and experience allows the creation of customized, practical approaches to assist in achieving clients’ unique goals and projects aimed at community growth.

He is a past President of the Louisiana City Attorneys Association, was editor of the Louisiana Municipal Law Journal, and is honored to represent a number of local governments and landowners in North Louisiana.


Caroline MladenkaCaroline E. Mladenka, MPA, is Policy Analyst and Manager of Governmental Relations with Neil Erwin Law, LLC.  She directs the firm’s Baton Rouge office while maintaining a schedule in the law firm’s main office in Shreveport/Bossier.  She is also Manager and Principal of Local Government Strategists, LLC and is a registered lobbyist.

Caroline holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business, following a BA in Communication Studies from LSU.  Her education and experience (including experience with government at the federal, state, and local levels, plus dealing with the BP Oil Spill) provide a unique understanding of and ability to navigate the many variables, including citizen input, that affect the course of decision making in the field of local government law.  Her drafting and implementation expertise includes both zoning ordinances and subdivision development restrictive covenants.

She is a recipient of the “Top 40 under 40” award for young professionals by the Shreveport-Bossier Chambers of Commerce. Caroline is past Chair-Elect of the Young Professional Initiative (YPI) of Shreveport-Bossier and current Chair of Forum 35’s Forum Friday Program in Baton Rouge.  Caroline resides in Baton Rouge with her husband, Paul A. Mladenka (owner of Cou-Yon’s Barbeque and Catering Company, Port Allen), and their two year old daughter, Mae-Frances.

Kent RogersJ. Kent Rogers is the Executive Director of Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG). He has been with NLCOG since December of 1991 and named Executive Director in April 1993.  NLCOG serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Shreveport Bossier urbanized area overseeing federal and state transportation investments for the area.  As director, Kent has expanded the role of the organization to include not only transportation planning, but also environmental planning and administration of a Region Geographic Information System.

Kent earned Master’s Degrees in Geography and Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette now ULL where he also studied Architecture.  Prior to working at NLCOG Kent worked for the Lafayette Areawide Planning Commission and the LeBlanc Group, Architects and Engineers.

Kent has served as the President of the Louisiana Planning Council and as a board member to the Louisiana Transportation Authority, appointed by then governor Foster.  Kent also serves as a member of the LaDOTD Intermodal Advisory Council, and the Regional Planning Officials Advisory Council.

Kent was instrumental in working with our Congressional Delegation in securing $250 Million for I-49 North.  He also provided key technical support to the Northwest Louisiana delegation in developing legislation for the state I-49 Unclaimed Properties Act, which provides much needed state funding for I-49.

Locally Kent has severed on several boards including the Editorial Board for SB Magazine, the Strategic Action Council, and the Grater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce where he served as chair of the Transportation Committee and Leadership Shreveport.

Kent grew up in Shreveport and is a graduate of Captain Shreve High School.  He has been married to his loving wife Crissy for 33 years.  He is the proud father of three wonderful children and attend Saint Elizabeth Anne Seaton Catholic Church.

Curtis A. Wright Sr.Curtis A. Wright, Sr., is a 23-year real estate professional and a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) and the National Hispanic Association of Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).  He specializes in residential, commercial and specialty properties. He is the Broker/Owner of Curtropolis Realty Services and Curtis Wright Seminars. He was 2007 and 2011 President Northwest Louisiana Association of REALTORS® (NWLAR) representing over 1,100 members; 2007 NWLAR REALTOR® of the Year.  He was 2016 President Louisiana REALTORS® representing over 13,500 members statewide and was the first African American elected to that position.  He was 2008 President Shreveport Bossier REALTIST Association, a chapter of NAREB. He is 2017 Louisiana State President NAREB.

Curtis Wright Seminars: He is a Louisiana Real Estate Commission licensed instructor certified to teach real estate continuing education training, post and pre-licensing training, fair housing, new agent and broker orientation training and first-time homebuyer training. He is approved to teach the following national certification courses: NAR At Home with Diversity training; NAR Employer Assisted Housing Program, NAR Code of Ethics, and NAR Expanding Housing Opportunities training.  He is an exciting, passionate, and motivating trainer, coach, and speaker.

Education: Associate in Science Degree, Information Management from the Community College of the Air Force, 1993.  Graduated Louisiana REALTORS® Leadership Training 2004.  Certified by National Association of REALTORS® and licensed by Louisiana Real Estate Commission. Louisiana Notary 2003.

Radio Show Host: Producer/host of “Talk Real Estate with Curtis” radio show on 1300AM, KSYB 2005-2014.  His show provides potential buyers, sellers and home owners with valuable real estate information and updates.  A key part to his show deals with quality-of-life. Curtis’ philosophy is “people don’t just buy the house, they buy the neighborhood, the community or the city; or they don’t buy that house because of the neighborhood, the community or the city.”  He stressed that companies looking for a place to locate consider more than just brick and mortar; it is also about their people.  His national and local interviews provide a platform for public officials, community, and economic development heads as well as members of the real estate industry.  His show always honors our military past and present.

Community: Habitat for Humanity (Shreveport-Bossier, Lake Charles, New Orleans); delivered food and fans to the needy during holidays; donates to assist school kids; and Special Olympics.  Donate time to non-profit homebuyer program agencies.  Always willing to not just “give back,” but to “reach back!”

Background: Hometown is Tampa, Florida.  He served 24 years United States Air Force around the world including tours in Vietnam Conflict; and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; retired in August 1993. Worked Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railroad from 2001-2009.  He began his real estate career in 1994.

Liz SwaineLiz Swaine is the Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority and the non-profit Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation in Shreveport, Louisiana.

She came to downtown from careers in private business, government and the media.  During her news tours of duty, she met and interviewed Russian president Vladimir Putin, and deployed with the Air Force into Gulf War hotspots. As executive assistant to the mayor, she saw how government operated from the inside out.

Liz is an instrument-rated private pilot who has jumped out of airplanes and is a former triathlete and bicycle racer who now rides motorcycles on and off-road.

She is married to Steve Culp, with whom she shares an affinity for old buildings.  They are currently rehabbing a 52,000-square foot downtown historic building that Steve swears will be his last.  Liz knows better.

When not working to make Shreveport’s downtown a more vibrant place, she is likely playing with their three rescue pups or plotting her next motorcycling adventure with Steve.

William AltimusWilliam “Bill” Altimus, Bossier Parish Administrator for the Bossier Parish Police Jury, moved to the area in 1970 when his father, a pilot in the Air Force, transferred and later retired here.  Mr. Altimus and his five brothers and sisters finished school locally.

Mr. Altimus has been married to Nelda for 42 years.  They have three children.  Matt, 38, is a local attorney; Josh, 35, is with the Arlington Texas Police Department; and Beth, 32, is an interior designer in New York, N.Y.

Bill attended Airline High School and is a graduate of Parkway High School.  He attended Bossier Parish Community College and is a graduate of Louisiana State University at Shreveport with a Bachelor of Science in General Studies degree.  Mr. Altimus also graduated from the School of Banking of the South from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.

He worked for Pioneer Bank for 16 years in Banking and Mortgage Banking.  After the Pioneer buyout, he became an Allstate Agent and worked for Bob Eason on Pines Road.

Bill is a Member of West Shreveport Lions Club for 36 years along with Russell Reeves, owner of Reeves Marine, who also was a charter member.  Mr. Reeves gave Bill an opportunity to manage Reeves Marine for five (5) years.

Bill served on the Bossier Parish Police Jury for District 9 from 1997-2011.  He was appointed by the police jury to serve as Parish Administrator in June of 2002 and continues to serve as Parish Administrator through current date.  Bill is a past President of the Norwela Council of Boy Scouts of America, and he currently serves as Vice President of Properties.

Bill is a former Board Member of the Louisiana Police Jury Association and is a Board Member of Barksdale Forward.  He also serves on the Military Affairs Council and is Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments.  Bill serves as Chair of the Transit-Rail Subcommittee of the National Association of County Officials (NACo).

Bill is a Member of Rural Action Caucus and Arts and Culture Committee of NACo.  He is also a Member of the Governing Board of the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum and Member of the Louisiana Advisory Committee of Intergovernmental Relations.

Eric EnglandEric England is the Executive Port Director of the Caddo Bossier Parishes Port Commission and has served in this role since 2005.  With his 20 plus years of port, economic development, maritime, transportation and operations experience, he serves as the Commission’s Chief Administrative Officer by leading all Port activity within the Port area, an area comprised of the entire Parishes of Caddo and Bossier.  Eric also oversees the development of the 2,300-acre Port Industrial Complex, which serves as the region’s multimodal commerce and economic development center.  Since joining the Port Commission in 1996, public and private investment of more than $1.5 billion and employment in excess of 1,500 has been generated by the Port.  Eric was the Port Commission’s Director of Marketing and Sales and Deputy Port Director before being named Executive Port Director.

Eric currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Waterways Conference and the YMCA of  Northwest Louisiana and recently served as President of the Gulf Ports Association of the Americas, an organization of United States and Mexico gulf ports.  He also served two consecutive terms as President of the Ports Association of Louisiana, an organization of the State’s 31 deep draft, shallow draft and coastal ports.  Throughout his career, Eric has served as a board member of the American Association of Port Authorities, Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals, Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments and Shreveport Regional Arts Council.  Eric served as the Chairman of both the Inland Waterway Committee of the National Academies Transportation Research Board and also the United States Coast Guard Area Maritime Security Task Force.  In 2008, he was appointed by the Governor to the Louisiana Maritime Advisory Task Force to provide guidance on Louisiana’s maritime industry and recommend legislation designed to enhance and protect the economic viability of the State’s maritime industry.

Eric participated in Leadership Louisiana and Leadership Shreveport-Bossier and is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.  In 2004, he received the Professional Port Manager designation from the American Association of Port Authorities.

A veteran, Eric enlisted in the Louisiana Army National Guard while a junior at Captain Shreve High School and served with the 1st Battalion 156th Armor Division during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Married to the former Amy Doughty, they have two children and live in Shreveport.  He received his bachelors and master’s degrees from Louisiana Tech University.

Brian CrawfordBrian A. Crawford is the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of Shreveport (LA).  Prior to this appointment by Mayor Ollie S. Tyler in 2015, he served as the Fire Chief in both Shreveport and in Plano, Texas.

In his current role as CAO, at the direction of the mayor Crawford is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the city and its various departments through its $488 million operating budget and 2,800 employees.  Brian is a Certified Public Manager®, Certified Emergency Manger®, and graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.

In 2017, he was appointed to serve on the Louisiana State Police Commission by Governor John Bel Edwards.  He possesses a master’s degree in industrial psychology from Louisiana Tech University, a bachelor degree in organizational management from Wiley College, and an associate of paramedic from Bossier Parish Community College.


Bill CookseyBill Cooksey is Deputy Director of Airports for the Shreveport Airport Authority, serving in this role since 2012 and prior as Manager of Marketing & Development.  In his current role, Bill works with Director of Airports Henry Thompson in the day-to-day management of both Shreveport Regional and Shreveport Downtown Airports.

Bill is a 1988 graduate of LSU-Shreveport and is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives. With nearly 20 years in Airport Management, he has worked in nearly every facet of airport management from Air Service Development and marketing to capital development and project management, accounting, maintenance and operations.
Bill and his wife Donna share their homes with daughters Taylor, a junior at Harding University; Farron, a freshman at Magnet High; and their three rescue dogs.  Bill’s hobbies are aviation, military history, and restoring American muscle cars.




Zazell DudleyZazell Dudley With 30 plus years in business, real estate, engineering, and supply chain management, Zazell Dudley leads the economic development initiatives for Caddo Parish, the most populous parish in North Louisiana. Dudley manages business attraction and recruitment of new companies and site development efforts for Caddo Parish. Zell also oversees the energy and chemicals sectors for NLEP.

Prior to joining NLEP, Zell was the Managing Director of Kennedy Wilson, a Beverly Hills, CA based firm, responsible for a $40 million Northwest Louisiana equity and real estate fund. She embodies Louisiana’s entrepreneurial spirit by owning and operating successful business ventures. Zell brings to NLEP experience and relationships forged with several Fortune 100 companies: Amoco (now BP), Dana Corp, LTV (now Lockheed), Mobil Oil, and Corning Incorporated.

Dudley earned a Master of Business Administration from Dallas Baptist University and a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Louisiana Tech University. She received numerous honors as an entrepreneur, including “Top Ten Small Business of the Year” in 2002 from the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, “Emerging Company of the Year” in 2000 from The Minority Business Council and “Female Company of the Year” in 1999 from the Shreveport Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce. Currently, Zell serves on the Caddo Industrial Development Board and is a member of the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC). She is currently pursuing her Certified Economic Developer status (CEcD).

Carlotta Askew-BrownCarlotta Askew-Brown serves as the Senior Planner for Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Commission and is also the Assistant Director for the Benton-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission. Her primary duties include enforcing the comprehensive plan, which includes land use, zoning, neighborhood planning, commercial and industrial development, etc. She also examines applications for compliance to ordinances, and applicable local, state, and federal regulations. As a part of Bossier City’s ground breaking endeavor, she helped write and masterplan the ordinance for the 3000 acre National Cyber Research Park located in Bossier City, Louisiana. She also works on a variety of other long range planning efforts and is on the Technical Committee for the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments. Carlotta is a graduate from Tennessee State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Urban Planning and Real Estate. She also carries a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Ball State University. With a long record of successfully guiding local and national clients with real estate acquisitions, as well as having a passion for community, service, and being a steward for homeownership, she is member of the Northwest Louisiana Association of Realtors where she practices Real Estate in Louisiana.