Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Published 12:27 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Fuqua elected staff president

SULPHUR — Kelly Fuqua, MD, family medicine physician, was recently elected president of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s medical staff.

As president, Fuqua will work with the medical staff and team members to ensure the quality and efficiency of clinical services and performance within the hospital.

Email newsletter signup

In her term, Fuqua will serve as chairman of the Medical Executive Committee and organized general medical staff, and will attend WCCH Board of Commissioners meetings.

Fuqua practices alongside her husband, Jason Fuqua, MD, family medicine physician, at Calcasieu Family Physicians, located at 901 First Ave. in Sulphur.

She is a graduate of LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, and completed her family medicine residency at East Jefferson General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Metairie.

Fuqua is board certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a member of the Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association and the Louisiana State Medical Society.

Sommers named to state board

BATON ROUGE —  William A. “Bill” Sommers Sr. of Lake Charles has been appointed to the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Implementation Oversight Council.

The council studies the state’s criminal justice system to recommend strategic changes to improve Louisiana’s public safety by reducing the prison population. It offers a report to the Legislature of cost-effective, evidence-based sentencing and corrections reforms that promote offender accountability and protects public safety.

Sommers is deputy secretary for the Office of Juvenile Justice. He will serve at-large.

Rush appointed to rehab council

BATON ROUGE — Marvin R. Rush of DeRidder has been reappointed to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council.

The Louisiana Rehabilitation Council listens to the concerns of those with disability issues, reviews, analyzes and evaluates the state rehabilitation program, collaborates with other state agencies, organizations and consumer groups.

Rush is a former educator. He will serve as a former recipient of vocational rehabilitation services.

Brossett to serve on state board

BATON ROUGE — David K. Brossett of Lake Charles has been appointed to the State Board of Architectural Examiners.

The board is responsible for granting licenses and regulating the practice of architecture in the state of Louisiana.

Brossett is the principal architect for Brossett Architects LLC. He will represent District 4.

Higginbotham joins JD Bank

JENNINGS — JD Bank is pleased to announce the addition of Andre Higginbotham to its commercial lending team. Higginbotham will serve as VP Commercial Lender in the Lafayette market.

A native of Lake Charles, Higginbotham began his banking career in 2003 as a retail banking officer while attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Over his 19-year career, he has held the role of small business banker, business banker and commercial lender. He works with large and small business owners to help them better understand cash flow, lending opportunities, and new and existing bank services that will help streamline their businesses, allowing them to increase growth and profitability.

Active in the community, Higginbotham is a member and past Board Member of the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette and has previously served on the Board of Directors for Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, Lafayette Education Foundation and the Youngsville Economic Development Committee.

Hospital awarded certification

Christus Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital has earned The Joint Commissions Gold Seal of Approval and the American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark by achieving Advanced Primary Stroke Center Certification.

Certified PSCs collect monthly data that is submitted quarterly to The Joint Commission. The Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission, is given to organizations that successfully undergo an on-site survey by a Joint Commission survey team at least every three years.

The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care. The American Stroke Association Heart-Check indicates an organization’s commitment to the unique and specialized needs of stroke patients.

Christus Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review recently by The Joint Commission. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with the Primary Stroke Center program processes and procedures currently in place including program management, supporting self-management, delivering and facilitating clinical care and improving patient outcomes. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

Sugathan ioins Imperial Health

Imperial Health has announced the addition of Prasanna Sugathan, MD, FACC, cardiologist, to the group’s medical staff.

Following undergraduate studies at University of Southern Mississippi as well as University of South Alabama, Sugathan earned her Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Tennessee. She completed a residency in internal medicine as well as a fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at the University of Tennessee-Memphis, followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago.

Sugathan brings more than 30 years of experience in her field to Imperial Health. Her background includes serving as medical director of the Heart Failure Management Program at St. Luke’s Health Network in Bethlehem, Penn.; director of echocardiography, director of the Progressive Care Unit and co-director of the Heart Failure Management Program at Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey; and assistant professor of internal medicine and cardiology at Rush Medical College in Chicago.

For the past 10 years, she has worked in general cardiology, noninvasive cardiology and cardiac imaging with groups and hospitals in Pennsylvania, Iowa and Tennessee.

Sugathan has been board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, critical care medicine, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology, and is currently maintaining board certification in cardiology.

Sugathan is a member of the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.

An active researcher, Sugathan has a special interest in heart disease in women; diabetes and heart disease; primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease/cardiomyopathy; acute and chronic heart failure management; and whole food lifestyle in prevention of disease.

Her medical practice is located on the third floor of Imperial Health’s main campus at 501 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive.

Bank announces promotions

Lakeside Bank has announced the following promotions within their management team:

Renee Lassiter has been promoted to senior vice president. She holds an associate of applied science in accounting technology degree from Sowela and has 18 years of experience in the banking industry. Lassiter has worked in both bank operations and accounting since joining Lakeside Bank in 2012, most recently as vice president-controller.

Michael Hardy has been promoted to senior vice president. He earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and business from McNeese State University, and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Louisiana State University. He is an inactive CPA and completed the Local Area Network and web commerce certificate programs at DePaul University. Hardy joined Lakeside in 2016 and has 35 years of experience in the banking, finance, accounting, information systems and property management fields.

Cheryl Bertrand has been promoted to vice president. She has more than 35 years of experience in the banking industry. Bertrand attended the Louisiana Banking School of Supervisory Training and completed various training classes with the American Institute of Banking. She is also a graduate of the SWLA Chamber Leadership Program. Bertrand joined Lakeside in 2017.

Lisa Pinder has been promoted to vice president-compliance. She has served as Lakeside’s compliance and OFAC officer since June of 2020. Pinder has over 40 years of experience in the banking field, with a strong background in consumer, commercial and agricultural lending, as well as credit underwriting and compliance.

Director of           finance retires

After more than four decades of service to the city of Lake Charles, longtime Director of Finance Karen Harrell has retired.

Serving eight mayoral administrations, Harrell was appointed to the position of director of finance in 2007. During her many years of service, she steered the city’s financial ship through economic downturns, economic booms and a number of natural disasters, including hurricanes, ice storms and historic rain events.

“A finance director can sometimes be an unsung hero,” said Mayor Nic Hunter. “The position can be thankless. I am very confident in saying that the city of Lake Charles is better today because of the service and dedication of Karen Harrell and we owe her a debt of gratitude.”

City Administrator John Cardone added, “Ms. Harrell’s dedication to the city of Lake Charles is going to be greatly missed. Throughout her decades of service, Karen has been committed to ensuring that the city of Lake Charles operated with sound and ethical financial practices. Her dedication to being an excellent steward of the public dollar has helped ensure that city services continue at the level our citizens deserve, even through unforeseen circumstances, such as a global pandemic and multiple natural disasters. It has been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated and professional person. We were very fortunate to have Ms. Harrell as part of our team and wish her the very best on retirement.”

Lake Charles City Council President Rodney Geyen said, “Ms. Harrell has served the city of Lake Charles honorably. The City Council is responsible for adopting the annual operating and capital budget for the city of Lake Charles in addition to approving a number of expenditures at each of our regular public meetings. Ms. Harrell’s expertise, transparency and professionalism are things that have provided us with the confidence to place votes that will best serve our constituents. Her work comes with high commendation from the City Council. We will miss her greatly, but we wish her much health and happiness in her retirement.”

The Lake Charles City Council on Dec. 15, 2021, unanimously adopted a resolution to appoint Emily McDaniel to the post of director of finance following Harrell’s retirement.