Business Briefs for March 24

Bascom Hunter
gets Navy contract

Bascom Hunter, a wireless communication equipment company in Baton Rouge, said it has been awarded an initial $716,000 contract to develop an interference cancelation system for the U.S. Navy.

Bascom Hunter’s system is designed to remove radio frequency interference in Satellite Communication equipment. Interference can come from sporadic unregulated radio frequency transmissions, such as pirate radio and TV stations or other devices, as well as other sources.

The company was founded in 2010 by Andrew McCandless and Paul Prucnal. Prucnal, director of Princeton University’s Lightwave Communication Laboratory and professor of electrical engineering, led a team that developed the technology known as “Optical Active Cancellation.” Bascom Hunter has an exclusive license of the technology from Princeton. Prucnal is the company’s chief technology officer.

Logan’s restaurant opening in Gonzales

Logan’s Roadhouse restaurant plans to open Monday at 2619 South Sportsman Lane in Gonzales.

The 6,500-square-foot restaurant seats 237 guests and will employ about 130 people.

Nashville-based Logan’s is known for its grilled steaks, yeast rolls and bottomless buckets of in-shell peanuts. Its menu has 30 entrees, including grilled chicken, steakhouse burgers, baby back ribs, seafood and specialty salads.

Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Logan’s runs more than 232 company-operated and 26 franchised restaurants in 23 states. Its website is http://www.logans roadhouse.com.

Old River opens truck dealership

Old River Truck Sales of Richland, Miss., has opened a dealership at 2421 Monterrey Drive in Baton Rouge.

Old River Companies operates heavy duty-class eight and medium-duty truck dealerships, specializing in the Volvo brand.

The Baton Rouge dealership employs 16 people and should have 40 when fully staffed, with a payroll of more than $1 million. General manager is Jerry Wall.

Old River said it invested $1.6 million into the land, buildings, renovations, inventory and tooling for the dealership.

The company began in 1982 as Old River Supply Inc., selling wire rope and logging supplies from a family barn. Old River Companies now operates truck dealerships in Canton, Foxworth, Crosby and Laurel, Miss.

The company said it has been in the top 10 dealers for Volvo Trucks North America for 10 consecutive years, ranking No. 1 in 2006.

Workshops to cover OSHA standards

A free workshop on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s workplace safety standards for the
building industry will be held
6 p.m. Monday in the Bluebonnet Library Branch at 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd. in Baton Rouge.

The two-hour program, titled “OSHA Compliance for the Construction Industry,” will feature Corey S. Gaines, OSHA consultation supervisor from the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The event is being sponsored by Business with Baton Rouge, Mayor-President Kip Holden’s small business opportunity program. Representatives from the city-parish Office of Community Development and from the East Baton Rouge School System will be available to discuss current opportunities.

To register, go to http://
www.brgov.com/dept/mayor/sbeapplication.htm.

The program is the second of five training education programs designed to help local established entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

Other programs in the Next Level Training Education Series, which is co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE, a nonprofit organization that mentors small businesses, are “Branding Your Business” on April 29; “I’m an Entrepreneur — Now What?” on May 20; and “Human Resources Strategies” on June 24.

There will be a free Small Business Summit on June 6 at the Baton Rouge River Center to help local businesses explore contracting opportunities with the city-parish.

Job search event planned for women

A free 10-week job search and networking group, starting Tuesday for women in professional careers who are currently unemployed or underemployed, is being sponsored by the Career Center of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library in cooperation with the local chapter of Dress for Success.

Starting this week, the group meets 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Tuesday for 10 consecutive weeks at the Bluebonnet Library at 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd.

The group setting will allow women to share experiences, network, encourage and be accountable to each other, as well as learn the latest job search techniques.

Registration is required at (225) 381-8434 or anowak@ebrpl.com

Business contracting event scheduled

The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center will hold its annual “Connecting Businesses with Contracts” Procurement Conference at 7:30 a.m.
April 4 in the Smith-Brown Student Union at 500 Jesse N. Stone Ave. on the Southern University campus in Baton Rouge.

The free conference fosters partnerships between small disadvantaged, woman-owned and veteran-owned businesses and Hubzone, federal,
state and local government agencies and major prime contractors.

Participants will learn about developing effective marketing strategies and capability statements; pricing; contracting with federal, state and local government agencies; methods of financing; licensing laws; and consumer protection issues. Participants will also be able to network with other small business owners and contracting agents.

Representatives from the Small Business Administration will discuss SBA programs and services, loan guarantees, certification process, government contracting opportunities and surety bonds.

The Louisiana State Contractors License Board, Louisiana Economic Development and Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office will also be available to answer questions from
individuals and business owners.

The registration deadline is Friday. Fax the registration to (337) 482-1215, ATTN: Peggy Sammons at the Louisiana PTAC.

Onsite registration will also be available.

Potential exhibitors should submit an exhibitor registration form by April 2 to jo.lawrence3@sba.gov or fax to (504) 589-2339.

For more information, call (504) 589-6688 or (504) 589-6690.

Agencies battling contractor fraud

The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors and Attorney General’s Office are focusing their efforts on reducing contractor fraud, especially in cases of elder abuse.

The LSLBC’s mission is to protect the public by regulating commercial, industrial, governmental and residential contractors who bid on or perform work in Louisiana.

The agency said that in cases of elder abuse, contractors take advantage of the elderly because they are easy targets. A so-called contractor will accept payment from an unaware victim and then leave the project unfinished. Sometimes, the abuser can be a relative or a child of the victim.

“Our compliance investigators are working hard to catch contractors who take advantage of the elderly,” said Michael McDuff, LSLBC executive director.

Before hiring a contractor, the agency advises checking its website, www.lslbc.
louisiana.gov, or calling (225) 765-2301 or toll-free (800) 256-1392 to make sure the contractor is licensed.

Some red flags when hiring a contractor include asking for payment upfront in cash only, not providing a local address or telephone number and soliciting door-to-door, the agency said.

When hiring a contractor, get at least three bids in writing, ask for recommendations from people you know and always check references. It is also
important to check the contractor’s complaint record with the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Business Bureau.

Forage, feed field day scheduled April 5

A variety of LSU AgCenter and Mississippi State University scientists and specialists will present ways to improve livestock nutrition programs at a forage and feed field day at the AgCenter Southeast Research Station in Franklinton on April 5.

The event will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and continue with outdoor presentations discussing protein supplements for beef calves and agricultural byproducts for Holstein steers on oat pasture.

Other topics to be discussed include replacing corn with soy hulls in lactating Holstein cow diets, novel forages for improved nutritive value and soil renovation, and herbicides for early season weed control in Bermuda grass.

The outdoor program will be followed by an indoor program that will feature discussions on the livestock and milk price outlook, a United States Department of Agriculture farm bill update and a grain and ag byproduct price outlook.

A barbecue lunch will be followed by equipment demonstrations and informal viewing of the experimental dairy lagoons, rye grass variety plots, milking barn, forage testing lab and forage herbicide tests.

For additional field day information, contact Mike McCormick at (985) 839-2322.

Casino group holding minority vendor fair

The Louisiana Casino Association is sponsoring a free statewide minority vendor fair 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 10 at the L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge’s Event Center.

Qualified prospective vendors will be to demonstrate their products and services and meet with casino purchasing personnel from more than a dozen Louisiana casino properties. Gambling regulators will also present information on permitting and other requirements.

Participants must meet the current state definition of a Louisiana Business Enterprise and a Minority Business Enterprise.

Registration information can be obtained by emailing information@casinosofla.com. Limited exhibit booth space is available.

Violence center adopts new name

The Capital Area Family Violence Intervention Center is operating under the new name Iris Domestic Violence Center.

“The agency has gone through a significant reorganization in the past year, and as we move forward under new leadership, the board of directors thought it appropriate to start this new and exciting time with a new name and a new logo,” board president Danna Leblanc said in a news release.

LeBlanc said the seven-parish agency has been known by its acronym CAFVIC and has also been referred to as the Battered Women’s Program and also known as Zonta House.

“We just wanted all aspects of the program to be known by one name,” she said.

The new name is based on the hardy flowers that grow in gardens, swamps, and fields across Louisiana, the news release said.

Judy Benitez is the agency’s new executive director. She was executive director of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, the state’s federally recognized coalition of sexual assault crisis centers.

BR agency on aging part of program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that Baton Rouge’s Capital Area Agency on Aging became one of 20 additional organizations selected to participate in the Community-based Care Transitions Program.

The CCTP was created by the Affordable Care Act to help community-based organizations and hospitals form partnerships to prevent readmissions after Medicare patients leave the hospital as they make the transition to their homes, a nursing home or other care setting.

The Capital Area Agency on Aging and other new participants will join 82 existing sites, where community-based organizations are already working with local hospitals and other health-care and social service providers.

Baton Rouge’s Capital Area Agency on Aging will target at-risk Medicare beneficiaries throughout five southeast Louisiana parishes. Participating facilities include St. Tammany Parish Hospital, Slidell Memorial Hospital, North Oaks Medical Center and Lakeview Regional Medical Hospital.

“Reducing costly avoidable hospital readmissions is priority at CMS,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS acting administrator. “When a patient leaves a hospital, coordinated care among doctors and other providers is a key tool to preventing complications that can arise.”

Violence prevention coalition formed

Professionals from behavioral health groups have formed a coalition to promote safety in Louisiana by strengthening early identification of people at risk of committing a violent act.

The group, named the Louisiana Coalition for Violence Prevention, includes members of the behavioral health community, a cross-section of leaders from psychology, counseling and social work.

“Recognizing that it is our responsibility, we want mental health professionals in Louisiana to ensure that we are trained in scientifically sound techniques for identifying and intervening with potentially dangerous individuals,” steering group member John Simoneaux, a psychologist from Alexandria, said in a news release.

The concept that mental health professionals can help reduce violence if they are better equipped to identify the risk factors and determine the correct next steps, stems from ideas voiced by several national experts who commented after the Sandy Hook tragedy that there was no effective mental health system in operation, he said.

“Our simple, straightforward idea,” Simoneaux explained, “is based on the hypothesis that we can reduce violence if we can increase early detection.”

The group is planning to offer training for mental health and related professionals in better detection skills and accurate knowledge about the antecedents of violent behavior, with the goal of addressing problems before they escalate into tragedy.

Other steering group members include Cindy Nardini, a professional counselor from Alexandria; Yael Banai, of Baton Rouge, a school psychologist and past president of the Louisiana School Psychological Association; Bryan Gros, of Baton Rouge, a psychologist and current president of the Louisiana Psychological Association; and Bobette Laurendine, a clinical social worker from Covington.

Export training course planned

A three-course program called the Louisiana Export Training Program is being offered during April and May to train businesses on how to connect with buyers worldwide. The sessions include an introduction, intermediate and advanced track.

Upcoming sessions include Export 101: April 4 in Lafayette and May 14 in New Orleans; Export 201: April 18 in Kinder and May 15 in New Orleans; and Export 301: April 19 in Kinder and May 16 in New Orleans.

The primary focus will be working with companies in the hurricanes Gustav- and Ike-declared parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Bernard, St. Landry, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Terrebonne or Vermilion.

The course is organized by Leake and Anderson LLP through a grant received by the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance from the Louisiana Office of Community Development/Disaster Recovery Unit. The U.S. Export Assistance Center and other export promotion partners are supporting the program.

Topics will include conducting market research to target the best markets; understanding foreign regulations and customs requirements; financing methods; leveraging free-trade agreements; connecting with buyers; export logistics; and getting paid.

For more information, to register or learn about a scholarship program for qualified companies, contact Marisol Canedo, project director, by email at mcanedo50@gmail.com or call (504) 722-7894. e_SClB