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Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023

Thomas Pressly Top YPI of 2023


Sponsors from 318 Forum and Lee Michael’s Fine Jewelry, Jay Covington and Paul Reed, respectively, present the award for the Young Professional of the Year to Thomas Pressly at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino. (Photo by Jeremy Hernandez)

Young lear sees many opportunities for northwest Louisiana

At 37 years old, Thomas Pressly is still young.

But he doesn’t always feel young.

“Four years in the legislature will make you age pretty quick,” Pressly said, laughing.

But recently, the former Louisiana state representative, who just won election to the Louisiana State Senate, was recognized for his youth – and professionalism.

Pressly was named Young Professional of the Year by the Young Professionals Initiative (YPI) of Northwest Louisiana. The Shreveport native was among 40 people nominated and recognized at the 17th annual 40 Under Forty Awards and Gala.

“To be included with the 40 top people in our region is a significant honor,” Pressly said. “When you look at what’s going on in northwest Louisiana, we have so much potential and so much opportunity for growth. To be joined by so many people who are leaders in our community, whether it be in higher education or health care, or the private sector in general, it’s great to see the future of our community is bright.”

The YPI is a program of the Greater Shreveport Chamber.

“Applicants are judged based on completing a packet that includes their answers to a series of questions, their level of professional achievement, demonstrated leadership and community involvement,” said Tim Magner, Chamber president. “The selection committee reviews and scores the hundreds of applications. The 40 with the highest scores become the year’s class.”

Pressly, who graduated from TCU and has a law degree from Loyola University New Orleans, believes the under-40 age group wants to be difference-makers in the place they live.

“So many of us chose to return home or move to northwest Louisiana because we see the positives,” Pressly said. “We see the tremendous aspects of our region, from the health corridor to Barksdale Air Force Base to being a natural logistics hub for the oil and gas industry – and new energy as well. There are tremendous resources here. When you put the minds of young people together, we see the opportunities that are here, which we can build on and hopefully build them for that next generation that’s coming up now in our schools. I have two young children that I want to make sure have the opportunity to, if they choose, come back to northwest Louisiana and hopefully make it a better and prosperous place.”

Standing amongst the 39 other nominees, Pressly learned of their accomplishments. It was a nice break from the doom and gloom often associated with our area by people living in our area.

“So often, our community has a challenge with our self-esteem,” Pressly said. “We often look at the negatives that are going on and forget about the many positives our community has. A night like (the night of the gala), when you hear of the extraordinary things people under 40 are doing in our region, it’s a reminder of the positive aspects of Shreveport-Bossier.”

It’s not like Pressly being named Young Professional of the Year marks the end of his career. He still has work to do. Instead of being specific about his political aspirations, Pressly chose to look at the overall picture.

“I hope to continue the opportunity to continue to advocate for northwest Louisiana,” Pressly said. “When I retire, hopefully I will remember the great times I had advocating for northwest Louisiana and doing a good job of representing this region and the needs of our community. My hope is that I can continue to mentor others, to learn from others, and continue to make this area an even better place to work and live.”


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