Business Briefs for June 16

Presley Group opens in Denham Springs

The Presley Group LLC has opened a new office at 170 Veterans Blvd. in Denham Springs.

The firm’s services include retirement planning, estate planning and life insurance.

Christy Smith, also a radio show host, founded the firm in 2006. The office staff includes retirement specialist and fellow radio show host Matt Kennedy; client service specialist Eva Wilkinson; Taylor Clark; and Cheryl Bananno.

BR airport holding business workshop

The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport will hold its 8th Annual Small Business Opportunities Workshop June 26 at the Baton Rouge River Center at 275 South River Road in Baton Rouge.

The free event is for companies interested in pursuing work at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.

Registration for the “Doing Business with the Airport” workshop is at 8:30 a.m. It starts at 9 a.m., followed by complementary lunch and networking from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Representatives will be available from the airport, Louisiana Department of Transportation, small business assistance programs and city of Baton Rouge to provide information about upcoming business opportunities at the airport; small business program eligibility; requirements for bids and proposals from disadvantaged business enterprises; and resources available to small businesses.

Registration is at

Exhibitor booths are free for government and nonprofit organizations and $100 for businesses and organizations.

Entrepreneurial symposium set

An entrepreneurial symposium will be held June 20-21 at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center in Houma.

The conference will focus on the basics of doing a business plan and establishing and growing a business.

The “Louisiana Entrepreneurship Fest” is being spearheaded by the Terrebonne Parish Economic Development Authority and the Louisiana economic development department.

Registration is available at

LUBA Workers’ Comp earns rating

LUBA Workers’ Comp’s financial strength has earned them an “A- Excellent” rating from rating agency firm A.M. Best Co. for an 11th consecutive year.

Baton Rouge-based LUBA covers more than 150,000 employees through 4,500 policyholders that generate about $75 million in written premiums. LUBA provides coverage in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Law school prep program scheduled

A two-day law school preparatory program to educate minority college students on the legal profession and opportunities for becoming a lawyer will be held July 11-12 in the Kean Miller Conference Center on the 7th Floor at 400 Convention St. in Baton Rouge.

The registration deadline for the Kean Miller Connection event is June 28. The program is for college juniors and seniors from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in area law schools and in law practice. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0; have completed at least 45 college credits; and must be a Louisiana resident.

Contact Kean Miller partner Linda Perez Clark at (225) 387-0999 or

BR leadership class taking applicants

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is accepting applications for the Baton Rouge Area Leadership Program class of 2014.

The program, founded in 1985, is designed to prepare a diverse group of professionals for leadership positions in the community by exposing them to key areas of concern, such as education; cultural and personal diversity; city and state government; health care and social concerns; economic development; the arts and media; the criminal justice system; and the environment.

The nine-month program starts with a weekend retreat in August. From September to April, the class members spend one day each month for lectures, discussions, field trips and practical exercises related to community issues. A final weekend retreat is held in May, followed by a graduation ceremony in June.

Nominees are accepted from public and private agencies, corporations, civic and other organizations, and individual nominators. A selection committee recommends up to 35 candidates, based on a cross-section of the community in terms of occupation, gender, race, age and affiliations.

Advertising agency launches division

The Fridge has been launched as a division of Innovative Advertising in New Orleans for a niche in the food and beverage industry.

The division is made up of food and beverage advertising experts on staff in brand development and marketing strategies to assist brands from production and packaging to labeling and licensing, Jay Connaughton, partner and creative director, said in a statement.

Some of the brands include Abita Brewing Co., Shane’s Rib Shack, PJ’s Coffee & Tea of New Orleans and Les Trois Petits Cochons.

Humanities group seeking nominees

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is seeking nominations for its board of directors.

As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the LEH is the major source of grants for public humanities programs in Louisiana.

The LEH board consists of 27 people, six of them appointed by the governor. The board includes individuals from the academic, philanthropic and business communities and from the general public. Board members are selected on the basis of their knowledge of or involvement with the quality of life and education in their communities and represent a broad cross‑section of the community, including foundations, businesses, colleges, universities, museums, libraries, politics, journalism, labor, minorities, professions and civic organizations.

Letters of nomination and résumés should be sent to the LEH by June 25. Individuals may not nominate themselves, but a letter from the nominee should be included confirming his or her interest in the LEH board. Nominations should be mailed to Chair, Nominations Committee, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Louisiana Humanities Center at Turners’ Hall, 938 Lafayette St., Suite 300, New Orleans, LA 70113; faxed to Michael Sartisky at (504) 529-2358; or emailed to

LSU program offers Hong Kong studies

The LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business has formed a partnership with Hong Kong Polytechnic University that will allow students to earn course credit in the business operations of an emerging market starting next spring.

“This will truly provide a cultural and career-building encounter unlike any our students have had before,” Dean Richard D. White Jr. said in a statement. “The program will be offered every year during the spring semester and is ideal for students in their junior year.”

White said Hong Kong Polytechnic is fully accredited, and students will be able to choose from a wide range of courses in accounting, finance, management, marketing, supply chain management, electives and foreign language. Classes will be taught in English.

Students also will be able to pursue internships with multinational corporations.

“This exchange program is an investment, one that students will reap the benefits of when they return to LSU and for years to come in their chosen professions,” White said.

To participate in the exchange program, students must have a 3.0 overall grade point average. They are still responsible for their LSU tuition and other fees. TOPS and other financial aid may be used to offset the cost of tuition, and the college is offering scholarships of up to $4,000 as well. Students will not pay any tuition or fees at Hong Kong Polytechnic. They will pay room and board. Monthly costs, including accommodations, food and miscellaneous expenses are estimated to be $526.

The deadline to apply for the semester in Hong Kong program is Aug. 26. For more information, visit

Program developing wheat strains

The LSU AgCenter’s wheat breeding program has begun using small fragments of DNA, known as molecular markers, to develop crop strains that resist disease and that won’t be killed by a popular herbicide.

Steve Harrison, the LSU AgCenter’s wheat breeder, said wheat variety LA841 appears to have a unique combination of genes that has been stable in maintaining resistance to stripe rust for about 12 years.

The wheat was tested in three locations — Winnsboro, Plains, Ga., and Fayetteville, Ark. — exposing the variety to different strains of stripe rust.

Researchers then chopped the wheat DNA into many small segments to find which pieces occur only in disease-resistant progeny. The molecular markers allow researchers to screen for disease-resistant genes without time-consuming field tests.

Meanwhile, molecular biologist Niranjan Baisakh is using molecular markers to map tolerance for Sencor, a widely used herbicide.

Growers like to use Sencor soon after planting, but the product kills some varieties of wheat along with the weeds.

Harrison’s goal in this project is to find a molecular marker that contains the gene for wheat that isn’t harmed by the herbicide.