|VER’s Nancy Van Eaton Broussard (seated), Bill Bacque
and Gail Romero
Van Eaton & Romero, already the largest real estate brokerage firm in Acadiana, announced Jan. 18 that it had purchased the residential division of Stirling Properties’ Lafayette office. Van Eaton secured the local franchise from New Orleans-based Latter & Blum Realtors, which got a much bigger piece of the action, buying Stirling Properties’ residential divisions in both greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Terms were not disclosed on the deals.
Merging two of the area’s best-known real estate brands, Van Eaton & Romero Inc. and Stirling Properties, creates a more dominant force in the residential market. The acquisition increases the size of Van Eaton & Romero by roughly 20 percent of the residential market share in Acadiana, bringing it to about 36.5 percent, Van Eaton officials say. Prior to the merger, Van Eaton controlled 30.6 percent of the Acadiana residential market and Stirling commanded almost 6 percent. In 2010 the two firms combined represented $410.5 million in residential real estate transactions (listing and selling), according to Multiple Listing Service figures.
Van Eaton employs approximately 200 people, including staff and real estate agents, and Stirling’s local office had about 60 residential agents.
Stirling Properties, which is headquartered in Covington, has a commercial division in Lafayette at 1819 W. Pinhook Road. The company retained all of its commercial business, which has long been its specialty. Stirling Properties told The Times-Picayune the company plans to focus on its commercial brokerage, management division, new development and acquisitions. Its portfolio includes local and regional shopping centers, office buildings and business parks. Late last year, Stirling put together a group of investors to buy the Pan American Life Insurance tower in New Orleans from San Diego-based Equastone LLC for $60.9 million, and, according to the T-P, more acquisitions are in the works.
In addition to its Covington operations, Stirling has Louisiana offices in New Orleans, Metairie, Hammond, Mandeville, Baton Rouge, Prairieville, Bossier City/Shreveport and New Iberia.
Latter & Blum Inc. and its affiliates (the firm has a property management operation on Lafayette) are the largest full-service real estate brokerage in the Gulf South. Established in 1916 in New Orleans, the firm has offices in Baton Rouge, Alexandria and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast that handle all phases of residential and commercial sales and leasing. — Leslie Turk
Russo opens NY office, welcomes Johnston
Lafayette branding/communications agency The Russo Group is expanding its own brand to New York via a newly announced strategic alliance with The Greystone Project, a New York marketing and communications firm. Greystone is serving as the public relations arm of The Russo Group. In addition, Jeff Johnston, founder and CEO of Greystone and a Louisiana native, is joining Russo in its Lafayette headquarters and will serve as executive vice president/senior brand strategist.
In a press release announcing the partnership, Johnston says the relationship between the companies is a good fit. “From the moment I met [Russo co-owner] Jaci Russo it was clear that our aggressive pro-client philosophies were in sync and our combined backgrounds could do much for our clients and our own mutual growth. And, coming home to my native Louisiana has been a long time goal.”
Johnston’s clients have included Sylvania, Siemens, Royal Olympic Cruise Lines, Mirage Resorts, The Culinary Institute of America, Disney, CeeLite, Symmons, British Telecom, the World Forum on Democracy and the New York Jets.
“We are thrilled to be working with Jeff and the team at Greystone,” Russo says. “Their public relations capabilities and media contacts fit well with our branding experience, and having a New York office gives us a deeper national presence as well as close proximity to the world’s media on behalf of our clients.” — Walter Pierce
Greene’s Energy provides testing and certification of blowout preventers and equipment.
Greene’s Energy Group is a prime example of how local companies are helping prevent future offshore disasters like BP’s. A leading provider of integrated oilfield services that has its operations headquarters in the Hub City, Greene’s now offers third-party testing of blowout preventers and related equipment. The company is doing its part to ensure the industry is compliant with the new regulations issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
Greene’s has been a leader in BOP testing for more than 50 years; recently, its work was commended by the BOEMRE for thoroughness with submitted reports being promptly approved.
Using the latest in digital testing technology to ensure accurate results, Greene’s can provide testing services for all types of BOPs and associated equipment. All data and testing results are recorded independently by a technician and a certified professional engineer and compared to ensure accuracy. Once results are verified, Greene’s prepares a comprehensive report for the client to submit to the BOEMRE for approval. These reports include all state-of-the-art data required by the BOEMRE for certification, as well as basic images, charts and calculations.
“New regulations have made it even more important to work with a service company that provides accurate and dependable results,” says Shawn Ellis, Greene’s Gulf of Mexico director. “Experience, knowledge, quality products and equipment and a commitment to safety contribute to successful BOP testing. That’s how Greene’s helps provide safer work environments while reducing downtime.”
In addition, Greene’s can provide services to certify the entire pressure containing system, as required by BOEMRE regulations.
Greene’s Energy Group serves customers globally in drilling, production, pipeline, rig/platform construction and process industries by offering tools and services to improve productivity and ensure safety, both onshore and offshore. Greene’s employs 600 people worldwide with its group headquarters in Houston and operations headquarters in Lafayette.
Lafayette banker Jerry Reaux is joining MidSouth Bancorp as chief operating officer, and company veteran Troy Cloutier is being promoted to the newly created position of chief banking officer and senior executive vice president. The appointments are effective Feb. 15. Reaux also will succeed Dr. J.B. Hargroder following this May’s shareholders’ meeting.
Reaux will oversee finance and accounting, information technology, credit and human resources. He most recently served as vice chairman and CEO of Tri-Parish Bank, and was previously president/CEO of LBA Savings Bank and executive vice president of Bank of Lafayette. The Lafayette native is widely known in the Hub City banking community for taking LBA’s parent company public in 1996 and later completing a merger with IberiaBank. Reaux is also chairman of the board of The Independent Weekly LLC, the company that publishes The Independent Weekly and ABiz.
Troy Cloutier, son of MidSouth President/CEO Rusty Cloutier, is an 18-year veteran of MidSouth. He most recently served as regional president for bank’s south and east regions, chaired the Regional Loan Committee and has managed due diligence for the mergers and acquisitions team.
“After a year-long search by a national firm to seek out management that would strengthen our organization and position us to achieve our expansion/growth objectives, we
identified the best leadership team from within our own organization and the Acadiana community,” Rusty Cloutier says. “We are delighted that Jerry is joining the MidSouth team. Given his extensive industry experience, Jerry will be a valued addition to MidSouth’s efforts to expand through acquisitions and improve operating efficiencies. Furthermore, having Troy in his position of chief banking officer will allow for a more coordinated focus on organic loan and deposit growth. Bringing this talent together fortifies not only MidSouth Bank’s position in the marketplace but also Lafayette’s place as the banking hub in the state.” — Walter Pierce
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