LTG. Honoré inspires business leaders; CF Industries sets the example

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan presented LTG. Russel L. Honoré with the Key to the City.

The Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce brought the holiday season in high fashion with its 2014 annual banquet Thursday night at the Columns on the River. The Chamber named CF Industries as the Business of the Year, donated to the breast cancer foundation and welcomed LTG. Russel L. Honoré to the podium as the guest speaker.

Chamber Board of Directors member Frank Marcello presented CF with its award, and in presenting said obviously the plant is no stranger to the community.

“We pass in front of their establishment day in and day out,” Marcello said. “They employ many of our friends and family. We want to extend our deepest appreciation not only for what you’ve done for Donaldsonville but for all you’ve done in Ascension.”

On behalf of CF, Plant Manager Lou Frey accepted the award and spoke a few words about the award and the plant that consume nine percent of the natural gas in the State of Louisiana.

“We take a lot of pride being in Donaldsonville,” Frey said.

Frey said CF aims to hire local people. CF has 500 employees and 500 contractors that work day in and day out. Of the 500 hundred employees, Frey said, over half are from Ascension, and 20 percent are from Assumption.

“Of those that are from Ascension Parish 35 percent have a zip code of 70346,” Frey said. “So we want to hire local people. I have a vested interest in that since I’m from Donaldsonville.”

CF Industries’ impact on Donaldsonville and the parish can’t be denied, but the highlight of the night came when LTG. Honoré had the mic

LTG. Honoré, author of “Leadership in the new norm”, first stood to recognize, rightfully so, World War II Veteran and hero Bob Prejean of the Donaldsonville Chief.

Then he went into his speech, which inform and enlightened current leaders and business owners, and future ones as well as the Donaldsonville Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council was in attendance.

LTG. Honoré said there are many challenges that are facing us globally, and pointed out the world recently reached a population of seven billion people.

“Many people in the surrounding parishes notice there’s a big thing happening,” LTG. Honoré said, “Ladies and gentlemen, what’s happening here is a reflection of that population going to 7 billion people.”

LTG. Honoré said when the population goes from 7 to 10 billion people it’s going to put more demand on businesses to produce “stuff.” He said of the seven billion people in the world today, three billion of them are living on less than four dollars a day, two billion don’t have energy in their homes, and another two billion can’t turn the knob and have clean water in their homes.

“We’re the third largest population in the world, the two largest populations – China and India – each have about 1.3 billion people. We have about 312 million people that we know about,” LTG. Honoré said. “What will keep us safe and secure is good solid business practices that continue to produce the things that the rest of the world needs.”

LTG. Honoré said leaders have to teach children three points on leadership.

“Number one, we have to teach our workforce to do the routine things well,” LTG. Honoré said. Number two, we have to teach the future generation of leaders that they must not to be afraid to take on the impossible.”

“We would not be sitting here today if it were not for 238 years General Washington and his men didn’t take on the impossible. We have been bred to take on the impossible as a nation.”

“Last but not least, we have to be not afraid to act even if we’re being criticized,” LTG. Honoré said. “Too often leadership is so concerned and they forget that leadership is not about popularity, it’s about performance.”

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan presented LTG. Honoré with a Key to the City, and congratulated Frey and CF Industries on their award.

Allison Hudson, Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce Vice President, also presented a $1,000 check to the Mary Bird Perkins Center on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mary Bird Perkins has five centers covering 18 parishes, and all of the money raised in a community goes back into the community it was raised in for help with early detection, free screenings, educational and other patient services.