With the theme “One Acadiana. Infinite Opportunities,” the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce advanced the cause of regionalism at its annual banquet March 12. A crowd of more than 800 packed the house, including several specially invited guests from neighboring parishes to reinforce the theme. In accepting the gavel for 2014, incoming chamber Chair Julie Simon-Dronet noted her own regional roots as a Vermilion Parish native whose careers in health care, at UL and now Cox each encompassed all of Acadiana.
As keynote speaker sponsor, Lafayette General Health CEO David Callecod introduced futurist Rebecca Ryan by acknowledging his flagship hospital’s shout-out on the final episode of HBO’s popular series True Detective. “I guess you could tell that it wasn’t actually filmed at our hospital,” he said, “but it was nice to be recognized as the go-to place for trauma treatment in the region.”
Outgoing chairman Rob Eddy paid homage to recently retired chamber CEO Rob Guidry for his many decades of service and officially welcomed his replacement Jason El Koubi to town. El Koubi’s parents and his wife Allison (who is expecting their second child in June) were on hand for the ovation. Fay Harris of Special Olympics Louisiana was recognized as the 2013 Ambassador of the Year.
1. Rebecca Ryan
2. David Callecod
3. Rob Eddy and Julie Simon Dronet
4. Barry Berthelot, Jay and Elaine Jackson, and Margaret and Keith Trahan
5. Patrick Broussard, Dee Stanley, Joey and Lynne Durel and Becky Perret
6. Chuck Ziegler and Frank Olivier
7. Nisha Patel and Luke Sonnier
8. Bud and LaRetta Barrow, and Miranda and Dr. Chuck Burnell