Business Briefs for Nov. 25, 2012

DQ Grill & Chill opens on Sherwood

Dairy Queen Grill & Chill has opened at 3444 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. in Baton Rouge and broke DQ Brands’s records for first-week opening sales nationwide.

Vicari Enterprises LLC, which operates the restaurant, said plans are under way for its second location in the city, with Kurz & Hebert Commercial Real Estate Inc. handling site selection. Restaurant operator Michael Vicari also owns the DQ Grill and Chill restaurant in Marrero.

The 2,500-square-foot DQ Grill & Chill, featuring grilled menu items and chilled soft-serve treats, has 88 seats inside and 12 outside. It employs 45.

Hours are 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The phone number is (225)-636-2140.

The American Dairy Queen Corp. in Minneapolis, Minn., has licensed more than 6,000 Dairy Queen stores in the United States, Canada and 19 other countries. ADQ is part of the Berkshire Hathaway group of companies.

Albemarle opens new BR facilities

Specialty chemical company Albemarle Corp. has opened a new laboratory facility and expanded applications capabilities at its Process Development Center in Baton Rouge.

The 5,400-square-foot laboratory complex supports research and development efforts for Albemarle’s rapidly growing polyolefin catalyst portfolio.

The laboratory complex was designed to accommodate future growth with minimal interruptions to ongoing R&D activities

Albemarle also implemented a new Parallel Polymerization Reactor system at the PDC that will help accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of polyolefin catalysts, officials said.

The PDC offers a combination of laboratory synthesis and analysis, product development, pilot plant and commercial scale-up and full-scale manufacturing.

Lofton Energy training accredited

Lofton Energy Services has been accredited by the International Association of Drilling Contractors to deliver oil field safety orientation training through the IADC Rig Pass program.

The program is endorsed by SafeLandUSA and SafeGulf.

Accreditation allows Lofton Energy to deliver oil and gas orientation training in-house to ensure that employees assigned to drilling rigs have the necessary training to ensure the safety of the employees, clients and environment, said Bret Lofton, co-president.

Founded in 1979 by Tommy Lofton, the Baton Rouge company offers consulting, staffing, security, energy and medical staffing services. It has 10 offices throughout Louisiana and Texas.

Kolache Kitchen opens in December

The Kolache Kitchen is going into the former Blimpie sandwich shop located at Nicholson Drive and East Boyd Drive across from Tigerland.

Kolache is a hot, fresh-baked pastry, traditionally filled with a variety of meat, cheese and fruit combinations.

The business is being started by recent LSU graduate and Houston native Will Edwards.

The bakery is expected to open in early December. In addition, Edwards will have a food truck, The Rolling Pin, that will primarily serve downtown and the LSU area products sold at The Kolache Kitchen.

LSU researcher gets atoms study grant

Daniel Sheehy, LSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy, has received a five-year National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award to support theoretical research and education in new states of matter in cold-atom systems.

NSF CAREER awards are presented to promising junior faculty. Sheehy will receive more than $400,000 to examine, theoretically, how atoms organize themselves at very low temperature when they are trapped in beams of laser light.

Sheehy and his research group will explore whether a superconducting state, which is a quantum mechanical state that can transport electricity without dissipation, can be observed in trapped gases of cold atoms.

“Solving such problems in quantum mechanics can lead to insights into real-world problems, such as the fact that a large amount of energy is lost en route from the power plant to our homes,” said Sheehy. “The NSF CAREER Award will help me to grow my research group and support research activities that could ultimately lead to the development of a superconductor cable that can transmit energy more efficiently.”

Nominations sought for award program

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking nominations for the Gulf Guardian Awards Program.

As a member of the The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program and Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Louisiana residents can nominate citizens, companies and organizations that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf of Mexico and associated coastal water habitats healthy, beautiful and productive, DEQ said.

The deadline for nominations is March 8.

For 2013, first, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: business and industry; bi-national partnership efforts; civic/nonprofit; youth environmental education; partnerships; individual and environmental; and justice/cultural diversity.

Entry forms are available online at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo. Completed nomination forms can be emailed to gulf.guardian@epa.gov. For assistance with the application process or for more information, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at (228) 688-3726.

Farmer of Year nominees sought

Nominations for the 2013 Louisiana Farmer of the Year award are being accepted through Jan. 4.

Three finalists will be recognized at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge on Feb. 28, with the winner receiving a cash award and other prizes.

Applications can be obtained at any LSU AgCenter parish extension office or online at http://www.LSUAgCenter.com/farmeroftheyear. For more information, contact Don Molino at Louisiana Network at (225) 291-2727, ext. 210, or don@louisianaradionetwork.com.

La. farmers produce record soybean crop

Louisiana farmers produced a record soybean crop this year, yielding 44 bushels on 1.11 million acres, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. The previous high was 43 bushels in 2007.

Generally favorable weather, well-adapted varieties and growers’ willingness to invest in the crop — spending money on irrigation for example -— helped boost soybean production, Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, said in a news release.

Growers could justify the higher costs because of higher soybean prices, Levy said.

During much of the growing season, prices topped $15 a bushel and reached $17 in September. They have recently slipped to the $14 range.

The USDA statistics show Louisiana’s soybean yield equaled the Iowa soybean harvest and was higher than other Midwestern states such as Illinois (43 bushels) and Missouri (31 bushels), where a severe drought took its toll. Only Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York had better average yields than Louisiana.

Levy said the 2013 growing season is likely to result in more soybean acreage.

TransGenRx gets state R&D tax credit

TransGenRx Inc., a Baton Rouge-based biopharmaceutical manufacturing company, has received a Louisiana Research and Development Tax Credit award.

The credit, administered by the Louisiana economic development department, is available through the 2019 tax year. It allows for small businesses to receive refunds equal to 40 percent of qualified research expenses.

“The R&D tax credit has allowed us to take the steps we need for our business to grow here in Baton Rouge,” said Richard Cooper, president and chief scientific officer of TranGenRx Inc.

He said the goal is to hire more highly skilled employees.

TransGenRx Inc. was started with technology licensed from the LSU AgCenter. Cooper also is a professor in the AgCenter’s School of Animal Sciences.

Air Products plans Geismar expansion

GEISMAR — Air Products said it has signed an agreement to expand its existing syngas separation unit in Geismar to increase the supply of carbon monoxide.

The increased capacity of CO is mainly for the supply of BASF’s previously announced formic acid plant to be built at BASF’s Geismar Verbund site.

The facility expansion will also provide Air Products increased hydrogen production for sale to refinery and petrochemical customers along its Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline network system, the company said. It also will support filling of bulk CO tube trailers from its existing Geismar transfill facility.

The expansion is expected to begin operations in the second quarter of 2014.

Zatarain’s Kitchen opens at Armstrong

Zatarain’s Kitchen, a restaurant embodiment of a brand serving New Orleans-Style food for more than 120 years, has opened in Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Zatarain’s Kitchen will seat 35 and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared by Executive Chef Nick Catlett. It is in Concourse B, which serves US Airways, Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.

Zatarain’s Kitchen will “showcase the sights, smells and tastes of New Orleans,” said Rich Bell, general manager of Delaware North, a hospitality management company that owns and operates Zatarain’s.

Zehnder gets tourism contract

Zehnder Communications, an advertising and public relations firm, has been named the agency of record for the South Walton Tourist Development Council, which promotes tourism for 16 beach communities in Walton County, Fla.

The Tourist Development Council’s “Visit South Walton” brand covers 26 miles of coastline.

Zehnder will handle media buying and planning, social media, creative, interactive and digital communications services.

Zehnder has offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Nashville, Tenn.