Wesley named chamber chief operating officer

Erin Monroe Wesley, who has been in charge of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s political advocacy since 2009, has been named as the organization’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Wesley will continue to direct BRAC’s lobbying efforts, including leading its political action committee, FuturePAC, while managing day-to-day activities of the chamber. She had been acting COO since November, when Giles Whiting resigned to take a job in the private sector. BRAC decided to fold in COO duties into Wesley’s responsibilities, and she will work in a dual capacity for the time being.

“I’m certainly excited about the vote of confidence from the board and Adam (Knapp, BRAC president and CEO),” she said.

Wesley, 34, is a native of Shreveport. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business from LSU and graduated from Southern University Law Center in 2002. Before becoming BRAC’s senior vice president of governmental affairs, she spent about eight years working as an associate executive counsel for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and as executive counsel for former Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu.

“Erin has been a great asset to BRAC and gained the trust of our staff and board. She has a high level of professionalism, strong leadership skills and a passion for economic development,” Knapp said in a news release. “Erin’s promotion to executive vice president will strengthen our organization.”

Wesley said her top priority will be job creation. BRAC has set an annual goal of creating 1,000 jobs a year. In 2012, the organization played a role in recruiting 13 economic development projects that will add 1,128 direct jobs in the Capital Region.

“We have some exciting things in the pipeline,” she said. “My goal is making sure that 2013 is better than 2012, a year when we had great accolades.”

BRAC is closely monitoring the tax overhaul plan being developed by the Jindal administration, which has proposed eliminating state income and corporate taxes and raising state sales taxes. By mid-March, the organization should release a broad policy statement, saying what it would like to see in a tax plan, Wesley said.