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Monday, April 9, 2018

Renaissance Man

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Edward J. Crawford III named Business leader of 2018

For a behind-the-scenes guy who doesn’t like a lot of fuss, Edward J. Crawford III has made a huge impact on lives in north Louisiana, so it came as little surprise to some of his colleagues when he was named Business Leader of 2018 by the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s hard to imagine anybody who’s given more to education – higher education and K through 12 education,” said Dr. Johnette Magner, external affairs, Louisiana Tech University.

Magner said she has worked with Crawford in the area of higher education for many years.

“His representation on the supervisory board in our area is key to schools in our region being able to achieve the things they can do,” she said. “In the last four years, Ed has run Citzens for a Better Caddo. It’s a political action committee he started to help strengthen and improve Caddo Parish schools. During that time, we’ve seen Caddo schools improve through graduation rates, test scores and a variety of things.”

The importance of education extends to Centenary College and the Board of Trustees, where Crawford has served with G. Archer Frierson II.

“Ed is the only person I know I could describe as a Renaissance man. That’s a wonderful asset to our community,” Frierson said. “As a trustee, he has given more of himself for the benefit of Centenary College than any other trustee.

Frierson says Crawford “puts his money where his mouth is” and gives of his time.

Family friend George Nelson of Querbes and Nelson describes Crawford as “an amazing guy.”

“I don’t know of anybody else who stays awake at night worrying about what he can do for somebody in the community with the least amount of people knowing anything about it,” Nelson said. “He is willing to take a leadership role, but it is not essential. He is quietly behind the scenes trying to encourage people, encourage good people to go into politics, to go into business – whatever he can do to make this a better place is exactly what he wants to do.”

In addition to education, Crawford has another passion.

“He is a patron of the arts and undoubtedly the most well-read friend I have,” Frierson said. “Ed Crawford is a man of tremendous energy, integrity and wisdom. He invests himself fully in those things he is interested in and that he holds dear and that he thinks are important to the community.”

A 1972 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of the South and with a master’s degree from the University of Texas in 1976, Crawford joined Atco Investment Company in 1977 and became its managing partner in 1995.

“Atco invests not only in businesses they think will be profitable, but also in the backs of their minds is, is this something that’s going to be good for Shreveport and Bossier,” Frierson said. “That’s a fundamental concept they hold dear and act upon quite consistently.”

Born and reared in Shreveport, Crawford’s service to the Shreveport- Bossier community is extensive. He currently serves on University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors, LSU Health Sciences Foundation Board and as a trustee of Centenary College.

Crawford has significant past board service with Community Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, Lighthouse Program for Volunteers of America, YMCA, BRF, First United Methodist Church, Shreveport Opera, Shreveport Symphony, trustee for Southfield School and as a professor at Centenary College.

He is a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church. He married his wife, Laura, in 1975, and they reside in Shreveport, where they reared their four sons, Edward, Robert, Andrew and John Henry, and dote on their four grandchildren.

Business Leader of the Year is chosen by the Senior Council comprised of the current chairman of the board and seven past chairmen of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.

– Bonnie Culverhouse

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