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Monday, Jan. 19, 2015


Bossier Chamber to honor community devoted to business

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce will honor a business and a business leader, as well as review last year’s successes and look ahead to this year at its annual gala.

One of five nominees will be selected as Business Person of the Year and one of five businesses will be given the title of Business of the Year at the annual gala.

The 67th gala will be 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City. 

The nominees for Business Person of the Year are:

Rick Gates has been co-owner of Diehl & Gates Forestry, LLC a consulting forestry firm from 2005. In order to diversify, Gates founded Cypress Bayou Home Builders, LLC in August 2013.  The company coordinates and supervises subcontractors in the construction of custom homes, spec homes, barns and storage and steel buildings.  The company has recently doubled their staff and has expanded their services to include home renovations and remodeling.  

Jimmy Hall has exhibited strong leadership in the economic development success of Bossier City and the metropolitan area. As chair of the Caddo-Bossier Port Commission, Hall lead the Commission’s successful efforts to attract Benteler Steel’s $655 million tube mill, and also served as the city of Bossier’s representative on the National Research Cyber Park Board and as City Attorney, Hall was instrumental in obtaining CSC’s Integrated Technology Center as anchor tenant with 800 jobs in the research park. Hall’s other projects as Bossier City’s attorney includes the creation of the public and private partnership that bought Margaritaville Hotel Resort to the Louisiana Boardwalk. As city attorney, Hall helps in the creation of a downtown Bossier master plan, giving new direction to this important city core.

Rick Roberts is the sole owner, founder and president of Valveworks, USA. Valveworks USA is an international company founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Bossier City where they employ 200 individuals between assembly plant and warehousing operations.  Roberts has grown this global company to be a $150 million economic asset to the local community.  

David Specht is the president of Specht Newspapers, Inc., and the publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. With more than 21 years in the media and marketing business, he hopes to develop leaders and businesses that stand the test of time, thrive when others struggle, and give back as much as they take in.

Shane Waites is vice president and owner of Red River Pump Specialists and manager of Phoenix Water Transfer, LLC. At Red River Pump Specialists, Waites oversees the daily operations and management of three branches and 37 employees. Waites plans and designs pump projects for various industrial, construction dewatering and municipal pumping projects, specializing in project profitability and strategic planning. Over the past year, Red River Pump Specialties has been able to expanded out of state into North Little Rock, Ark., as well as expanded to serve clients within the oil and gas industry.  

The nominees for Business of the Year are:

Autobody Express in Bossier City – open since March, Autobody Express is not a new company but a franchise of a collision repair service facility which began in Texas 1950.  Although new to the area, since the company’s launch a short nine months ago, they have exceeded franchise expectations and sales projections by 20 percent. Since their opening in early spring 2014, they have grown from six employees to 17 and completed repairs on over 1,000 vehicles. Local Owner/Operator Staten Fontaine brings over 18 years of customer service, management and insurance knowledge to Northwest Louisiana. Autobody express offers customers a variety of services beyond collision repair and partners with all major insurance providers.

BHP Billiton – headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, BHP Billiton operates in 130 locations, in 21 countries and is among the world’s largest producer of iron ore, oil and gas, coal and copper.  BHP is also one of the largest operators in the Haynesville Shale drilling and producing natural gas. BHP’s operations in Northwest Louisiana is fulfilling more than a dozen community-wide social investments. In June 2014, BHP announced $10.7 million donation to the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana for the construction of a fitness and science education center. 

Silver Star Saloon and Smokehouse/ Silver Star Steak House– both of these Northwest Louisiana restaurant favorites have a reputation for great food and great service from the wait staff. Owner, David Alvis, has been in the restaurant business for 17 years and has built up a successful enterprise, expanding to four facilities and growing to nearly 150 staff members.

Silver Star Saloon and Smokehouse has undergone an expansion recently with the addition of The Stage, an outdoor entertainment venue which hosts live music concerts, weddings and receptions, corporate events and special events. This new addition has helped to bring in several big name performers and attracts plenty of visitors from out of town areas. In 2014 Silver Star Saloon and Smokehouse also launched an out of state location expanding the restaurant’s reach into Texarkana, Texas. 

Red River Pump Specialists – founded in 2001 by Clint Bartlett with a $3,700 tax return and a dream to own his own business. Bartlett started Red River Pump Specialists as a combination of sales and rentals of portable pumping systems and has grown to serve major clients and manages large scale projects. The company’s equipment is qualified for use across several different industries. The company also oversees the management of sister company, Phoenix Water Transfer, which employs 20 people from both Shreveport and Bossier City. Overall, both companies employ over 50 people in the region.  

Valveworks USA – founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Bossier City. The company reaches to several locations such as Canada, China, India and South America. It manufactures the largest selection of gate valves and wellhead components and offers the most comprehensive line of any independent manufacturer in the world. Valveworks employs over 200 individuals between its assembly operations and warehouse division.


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