Business Briefs for March 23

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LWCC 2013 dividend totals $69.1 million

The board of directors of Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp. has declared a 2013 dividend of $69.1 million to be paid to qualifying policyholders in April.

More than 16,000 policyholders will receive a portion of this dividend. Individual dividend awards are based on a calculation that takes into account policyholders’ premiums and longevity with LWCC during the past five years.

The 2013 dividend is the result of several contributing factors.

LWCC policyholders’ employees experienced fewer than expected work-related accidents during the year. The number of catastrophic injuries was also lower than typically experienced in a calendar year.

Additionally, the company’s investment portfolio continued to outperform industry peers.

Oregon software firm purchases ArchitTrek

An Oregon software firm has acquired the Baton Rouge firm of ArchitTrek, which provides a web-based tool that enables architects, engineers, clients and contractors to collaborate before and during the completion of construction projects.

Axium, with headquarters in Portland, acquired the Baton Rouge company to mesh ArchitTrek with its Ajera management and accounting software.

G.D. “Jerry” Hebert II, listed as president of both ArchitTrek and the Baton Rouge firm of Grace & Hebert Architects, said in a written statement, “We are convinced that Axium is the absolute right company to grow the (ArchitTrek) business.”

All three of ArchitTrek’s employees will remain at the Baton Rouge firm, said Lisa Hannah, Axium’s vice president for marketing.

Hannah added: “We plan on working closely with Grace & Hebert Architects to leverage their experience and expertise as we grow the product and team.”

Both ArchitTrek and Grace & Hebert Architects have offices in Baton Rouge at 501 Government St. The architectural firm also has an office in New Orleans.

Matco expanding BR, New Orleans routes

Matco Tools, which sells tools for the automotive and other industries, is looking at opening six routes in Baton Rouge and metro New Orleans.

The Ohio manufacturer sells its tools out of special trucks, targeting businesses such as auto dealerships and mechanic’s shops. Matco has about 1,500 distributors in the U.S. and Canada.

Julie Jozwik, a franchise marketing manager for Matco, said the company did a survey of new and established businesses and found Baton Rouge could support three new routes, along with routes in the Westbank, Central Business District and the eastern part of New Orleans.

“This is a nice growth opportunity for us,” she said. “There are some great things happening in the economy.”

Eatel starts cloud-based phone system

Gonzales telecommunications company Eatel is offering a cloud-based phone system called Hosted Voice to local businesses in Ascension Parish and select areas of Livingston and Baton Rouge.

Hosted Voice provides businesses an alternative to making a capital investment in a PBX or key system.

Hosted Voice is a network-based phone system that uses a private IP network. The traffic is managed and prioritized so that voice traffic takes priority.

Businesses are not required to manage any equipment and the system is continuously updated. It is also scalable, allowing businesses to add lines as they grow without having to replace existing equipment.

The monthly bundled price for the service includes phones, equipment, installation and training. Administration is through a web portal and features include voice mail, call forwarding, caller ID and auto-attendant.

Panelists to discuss STEM programs

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs that attract women will be discussed at a Partners In Education Business Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Highland Room at Juban’s Restaurant, 3739 Perkins Road.

The program is being offered by Louisiana Women In Technology. The cost is $20.

Panelists are Dima Ghawi, IBM talent development manager; Ken Bradford, assistant superintendent, content, Louisiana Department of Education; and Laura Leigh Cefalu, science teacher at Glasgow Middle School.

Lockheed official to discuss space

Wanda A. Sigur, vice president and deputy of civil space, space systems for Lockheed Martin Corp., will discuss deep-space exploration in the 21st century as part of LSU’s College of Engineering Dean Distinguished Lecture Series.

The event is open to the public and will be at 2 p.m. Friday in the Frank Walk Room at the College of Engineering on the LSU campus.

Sigur has executive responsibility for national space programs relating to human space flight and space science missions including planetary, solar, astrophysical and Earth remote sensing for civil government agencies.

Major programs include the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, GOES-R weather satellites, Juno, GRAIL, MAVEN, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, OSIRIS-REx planetary missions and the company’s nuclear space power programs.

Sigur also serves on the board of directors for the National Defense Industrial Association.

For more information, contact the College of Engineering at (225) 578-4630.

BioNitrogen acquires fertilizer plant site

A Florida startup, which proposes building five fertilizer plants in Pointe Coupee Parish, has acquired a 50-acre site in Taylor County, Fla., for $1 as well as a $5 million loan from the Taylor County Development Authority.

The property will be the site of one of BioNitrogen Corp.’s agriculture waste-to-fertilizer plants. The loan will be used for plant engineering and site development work.

BioNitrogen will repay the loan with the proceeds of a tax-free bond issue.

Under the agreement with the Development Authority, BioNitrogen agreed to build a plant with an investment of more than $200 million and create a minimum of 45 full-time jobs in Taylor County.

The plant is expected to produce 200,000 tons of urea fertilizer per year using wood waste and other local waste biomass.

In Louisiana, BioNitrogen plans to use scrap trees and waste from saw mills and sugarcane bagasse to make fertilizer.

Sheep, goat-raising program planned

A field day for people who raise sheep and goats is scheduled April 26 at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine on Skip Bertman Drive.

Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.The program begins at 8:30. Topics include farm biosecurity, improving pastures, controlling parasites and managing the integration of cattle with small ruminants on a farm.

The cost is $5 per person or $10 per family with a maximum of five people.

Lunch will be provided.

The field day also will offer certification in FAMACHA, a diagnostic tool to help farmers identify parasite infection in small ruminants, and training for parasite control. The training will require an additional $10 fee.

The small-ruminant field day is sponsored by the LSU AgCenter, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

For more information, contact Kenneth McMillin at (225) 578-3438 or kmcmillin@agcenter.lsu.edu.

SBA taking applications for technology program

The U.S. Small Business Administration is accepting applications through April 11 for grants from its Federal and State Technology partnership program.

Grants are awarded to state and local economic development agencies, business development centers, colleges and universities to support programs for innovative, technology-driven small businesses.

The FAST program stimulates economic development among small, high-technology businesses through federally funded innovation and research and development programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer.

FAST provides up to $100,000 per award to pay for outreach and technical assistance.

Only one proposal per state may be submitted. Proposals must be submitted to www.grants.gov.

For more information about the SBIR and STTR programs, visit SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/about-sba-services/7050.

Lead certification program planned

A Lead Certified Renovator Training program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the LSU AgCenter LaHouse Resource Center, 2858 Gourrier Ave., across from Alex Box Baseball Stadium on the LSU campus.

Other dates for the training at LaHouse are May 29, July 22, Sept. 16 and Nov. 18.

The course will help contractors complete the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The rule, which requires contractors who disturb paint in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities to be lead-certified, decreases the risk of lead contamination caused by common home renovation and repair activities.

After completing the course, participants will be eligible to take the RRP certification test administered through EnviroEd, a national EPA-accredited RRP training provider.

The class also qualifies for eight continuing education units for Louisiana Residential Contractors.

Registration, course fees and more information about the class and the RRP rule are available at www.lsuagcenter.com/LaHouse on the Seminars and Events page.

Lecture to focus on improving diets

Lindsay Allen, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center, will discuss improving the quality of diets across the globe as part of an annual endowed lecture series at LSU.

The lecture will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Energy, Coast and Environment building.

Allen’s lecture will cover approaches for improving the quality of the diets of people in wealthier countries such as the United States and in poorer regions of the world.

She also will explore similarities and differences in efforts that are being made in these different situations.

Allen also serves as an adjunct research professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on the occurrences, causes and consequences of micronutrient deficiencies, primarily in developing countries.

She has documented the widespread prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiencies and has looked at the effects of different ways to alleviate it.

Organization holding spring conference

The National Association of Health and Education Facilities Finance Authorities is holding its 2014 Spring Conference on Monday through Wednesday at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, 2 Poydras.

The event includes a Monday luncheon with Sally Ann Roberts, of WWL-TV in New Orleans; a discussion on responses to health care and higher education in Louisiana, on Tuesday; and a breakfast with Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, on Wednesday.

Topics during the conference include an IRS and financial markets update, best practices, advanced refunding, credit enhancement techniques, MSRB rules and disclosure requirements and investing bond proceeds.

Conference information is available at www.naheffa.com.

Two Men and a Truck opens on Magazine

Two Men and a Truck has opened a franchise at 3646 Magazine St., New Orleans.

It provides moving services for residential and business customers. The store also sells moving supplies, including various sizes and types of boxes, mattress bags, packing paper, bubble wrap and tape.

Nikole Young is manager.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call (504) 304-6695 or go online to www.twomenneworleans.com.

The nearly three-decade national franchise company has more than 200 locations and more than 1,500 trucks on the road.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu to address organization

Mayor Mitch Landrieu will be the keynote speaker at the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon at noon April 17 in the Empire Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

Sponsorship packages and individual tickets, as well as patron tickets that include access to a patron’s pre-party, are available at www.norbchamber.org.

For more information, contact Kelder Summers at (504) 948-0991 or ksummers@norbchamber.org.

Session on evaluating school CEOs scheduled

A session for charter governing boards on the ins and outs of evaluating their school’s CEO will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday at 1555 Poydras, 7th Floor, New Orleans.

The Top Shelf, a program of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, will join with Marci Cornell-Feist of The High Bar for the session.

To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ceo-evaluation-with-the-high-bar-tickets-10531232199 or call Makiyah Moody at (504) 274.3649. For more information, go to www.lacharerschools.org.