It was a luncheon filled with terrific news about the Lafayette economy and assurances that there is more to come. Speaking at ABiz’s second annual State of the Economy event May 9 at the Cajundome Convention Center, LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux noted Lafayette Parish’s record-breaking retail sales in 2012 ($5.71 billion), its low unemployment rate (4.1 percent) and percent of employment in wealth creation (24.2). He also informed the audience that Lafayette reached its highest Economic Performance Index (126.02) in September 2012. That was only the beginning of a presentation of such positive economic news that Gothreaux sent business leaders from across the region filing out of the Convention Center with optimistic attitudes for the future of their companies.

1. Butch Ray, Cookie Tuminello, Paul Stutes and Ryan Dugas
2. Zachary Barker and Joseph Zanco
3. Bill Fontenot, Lynn Guidry and Peter Strawitz
4. Glenn McCall, Bruce Conque and Robert Miller
5. Dean Joby John, Dr. Paula Carson and Mark Mouton
6. Rusty Cloutier, George Swift and Christa Spaht
7. Tommy Michot and Ken Jones
8. Jason Patten, Harold Dupuy, Jay Jackson and Colby Domingue
9. Lena Bethell, Cheryl Bowie, Sharane Gott and Robin Henry Stokes
10. Dwight Duhon, Diana Duhon, Shaye Evans, Doug Waitz, David Daniel, Chris LaPeyre and Randy Hale
11. Zach Hager, Ben Rivera, Jody Soileau, Bill Rodier and Yvonne Noel
12. Meghin L Taylor
13. Gregg Gothreaux

One statistic Lafayette Utilities System’s Director Terry Huval has been reluctant to release since the launch of LUS Fiber in 2009 has been the number of its customers. That changed May 21.

Following the recent announcement that between 2011 and 2012 LUS Fiber had become “cash flow positive” by about $1.5 million, Huval, during a May 21 press conference, said he was ready to release that “commercially sensitive” information. “People always ask how many customers do we have, and I’ve always been very careful not to provide that information. Our position is it’s commercially sensitive,” Huval told a crowd of more than 50 — many wearing bright orange LUS T-shirts emblazoned with “Congrats Lafayette” on the front —  gathered in the atrium of City Hall for the press conference and celebration. According to Huval, that number is more than 14,000, which he said accounts for about one-third of the market in the city of Lafayette — a figure he bases off the 43,250 LUS water customers. City-Parish Council Chairman Brandon Shelvin commended LUS Fiber for its success, adding, “If LUS Fiber fails, we all fail as a city.”

1. Terry Huval
2. Terry Huval addresses crowd
3. City-Parish Councilmen Brandon Shelvin and Don Bertrand
4. John St. Julien, Gobb Williams, Abigail Ransonet, Andre Comeaux, Kevin Domingue, Layne Darby St. Julien and Don Bertrand

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