John named Top Professional
YPI honors 40 professionals, breaks record with attendance
With record breaking attendance for the second year in a row, 40 young professionals under the age of 40 were honored by the Young Professionals Initiative at the 40 Under 40 Gala Dec. 5 at the Shreveport Convention Center.
This award, presented by The Forum, recognizes the personal and professional achievements of outstanding members of the Shreveport-Bossier City community. Among the Top 40 nominees, Pete John was awarded the title of Young Professional of the Year by a special committee.
More than 575 attended the gala, which was one of the largest attendance totals for 40 Under 40, Emerie Gentry, chairwoman of the YPI, said.
“This marks the most attended 40 Under 40 Awards Gala in our history! I think the jump in a huge attendance has a lot to do with the 40 honorees. These 40 honorees go above and beyond for so many businesses and organizations in the community, and those groups wanted to come to support them,” Gentry said. “In addition, moving venues to the Shreveport Convention Center helped us offer more room and amenities to our guests. Changing from a rushed Friday night event to a Saturday night event, where we played the football games during the cocktail hour and after party, I believe also helped boost attendance. Last but certainly not least, the hard work and dedication of the YPI Executive Committee and 40 Under 40 Committee played a huge role in making this year’s event a tremendous success.”
Gentry said she was thrilled for Pete John to be named the Young Professional of the Year.
“Pete John is one of the most community-driven young professionals we have ever honored, and Shreveport-Bossier is lucky to have him,” she said. “He knows what it takes to make his team successful, and although his job is demanding, has no problem rolling up his sleeves and working with them to get the job done. Pete is humble, caring, funny and an all-around great person.”
John, managing partner for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in Shreveport, accepted the YP of the Year Award at the gala.
“No one else is more grateful than me for this award,” John said. “I love this community.”
Having started his career at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in 2005 as a shift manager, John moved up quickly with the company.
In 2006, he became manager and moved into a district manager’s role in 2007. By 2009, John was managing partner of the restaurant where the chain was awarded Top Operator of the Year, Top Restaurant of the Year. He was also named Restaurateur of the Year by the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Northwest Chapter.
John is one of three managing partners with multiple units for the restaurant.
Aside from his career, John works hard in his community and has recently re-created a brand titled, “Shreveportant.” It was a term created when he was doing a radio show called, “The Weekender.” It started as a Twitter handle but recently, he said he wanted to do something more with it.
“I am Shreveportant” shirts are for sale at Kings Hardware.
“A big part of the brand, ‘I am Shreveportant,’ is getting young people to stay in Shreveport – to live, work, play here and to also raise their family here,” John said. “It’s a positive hyper culture, hyper local brand that is about what is important, what is important to Shreveport – or Shreveportant.”
In the future, John said he hopes to expand the brand and further celebrate Shreveport.
“The truth is that I didn’t grow up here,” John said. “Shreveport is unique. If you go to Nashville or Austin or any new and up-and-coming city, you are just a number. I think in Shreveport you can make an impact because there is enough funding and support, and it’s small.
“I plan on living here and raising my kids here and I want the community to be as good as it can be,” John said. “I love Shreveport because it’s where I live. We have to look at the positive and build from that, and it starts with the young professionals.”
John said his job has given him the platform to get involved in the community.
“I have a great passion for making Shreveport great,” John said. “One thing Todd [Graves, founder, chief executive officer and chairman of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers,] taught me was that if I believe that something comes from a good place, it will always be successful.”
John supports many nonprofit organizations, schools and churches. John serves on the Downtown Shreveport Unlimited board of directors where he acts as the secretary on the executive board. John has previously served on the board of directors for the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, Louisiana Restaurant Association and the Independence Bowl Foundation.
He is also a graduate of the Louisiana Association of Non-Profits.