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

Published 1:32 pm Sunday, May 14, 2023

Two join bank’s board of directors

Banking veteran James McGough and entrepreneur Samuel R. Williams have been named to the Merchants & Farmers Bank’s board of directors.

McGough, a Lake Charles resident, spent nearly 45 years with Calcasieu and Rapides parish area banks — including service as a market president with two banks and various positions in wholesale and retail banking relationships. He additionally served in an advisory board of directors’ position with a Calcasieu area bank.

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His public service work has included board of directors’ positions and volunteerism with United Way of Southwest Louisiana, Calcasieu Council on Aging, Crimestoppers, Inc., Imperial Calcasieu Museum, Calcasieu Medical Society Foundation, Lake Charles Symphony, Calcasieu Community Clinic, Boys & Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts Calcasieu Area Council, American Heart Association, and Episcopal Day School.

His civic involvement has included Chamber of Southwest Louisiana, Leadership Southwest Chamber of Commerce, Crimestoppers, Inc., Sasol Community Advisory Panel, Vision 2000 Calcasieu Task Force of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, and Young Men’s Business Club.

McGough holds a BS in commercial banking from Louisiana State University.

Williams, a Benton resident, is owner of Bram Management, a Bossier City real estate company devoted to purchasing, renovating, and holding income producing residential properties. Additionally, Williams is a licensed real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Ally Real Estate in Bossier City and is manager of General Maintenance & Construction,  a self-storage, advertising, rental, and farming company based in Leesville.

Williams’ prior experience included sales and technical support positions with AT&T Mobility and U.S. Support Company along with Cubic Defense Applications at Fort Polk as a role play employee, and with Merchants & Farmers Bank as a teller in Leesville.

He holds an MBA from Baylor University and a BS in business management and administration from Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

Bourriaque named to Caucus leadership

BATON ROUGE – State Rep. Ryan Bourriaque, a representative for portions of Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, has been appointed to the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Legislative Rural Caucus for 2023.

With 72 members, it is the largest of the legislative caucuses and includes Senate and House members from across the state.

Bourriaque was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2019. He serves the House committees of Natural Resources and Environment as Vice Chair; Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development; Ways and Means; Commerce as Interim Member; House Executive Committee; Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay; House Select Committee on Disaster Recovery; and HouseSelect Leadership Committee.

Verrette elected to bank board

Shively Verrette, executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief operations officer for Lakeside Bank, was elected to the 2023-2024 Board of Directors for the Louisiana Bankers Association.

Originally from Lake Charles, Verrette earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from McNeese State University. She has been with Lakeside since 2011 and has over 21 years of experience in the financial and banking industry. She provides leadership regarding the bank’s financial planning, budgeting and accounting systems.

Another LBA director who will continue to serve for the upcoming year is Samuel V. Wilkinson of First Federal Bank of Louisiana in Lake Charles, who represents the Southwest Region.

Firm Veron Bice welcomes Sonnier

Veron Bice is pleased to welcome attorney Shayna Sonnier.

Sonnier, a Louisiana native, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

Since 2005, her focus has been general litigation, family law, estate planning, and successions. She is licensed to practice law in both Louisiana and Texas.

Sonnier is a recognized leader of the state bar. As a result of her many contributions, she was elected to be president of the Louisiana State Bar Association and will be sworn in at the annual meeting in Destin, Fla., this coming June.

Celestine named to state board

BATON ROUGE — Anthony W. Celestine of Lake Charles has been  appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to the Board of Directors of the Special School District.

The board is responsible for the governance of the district — which includes the selection of the superintendent, adopting rules, regulations, and policies, and prescribing textbooks and materials for students.

The Special School District offers educational services to students with low-incidence disabilities from across the state. The district is comprised of two residential schools, the Louisiana School for the Deaf and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired located in Baton Rouge, as well as special school programs located in correctional, mental and behavioral health facilities across Louisiana.

Celestine is the director of Calcasieu Juvenile Justice Servicers. He will represent students receiving special education services at facilities operated by the Office of Juvenile Justice.

Laughlin reappointed to state board

BATON ROUGE — Stephen R. Laughlin of Lake Charles has been reappointed to the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The primary function of the council is to review and adopt the state uniform construction code, provide training and education of code officials, and accept all requests for amendments of the code, except the Louisiana State Plumbing Code. Laughlin is a property adjuster with State Farm in Lake Charles.

APG announces board members

The Alliance for Positive Growth has announced the appointment of its new 2023 officers and board of directors.

They are president, Ryan Hess with CSE Federal Credit Union; vice president, Jeff Kudla with Kudla Architecture; secretary, Krystle Blue with Home Builders Association of SWLA; treasurer and ex-officio, Trey Hays with First Federal Bank of Louisiana; officers Bart Yakupzack with Jack Lawton Companies; Joseph Banks with Liberty Plaza Properties; Tommy Eastman with Flavin Realty; and board members Louie Barbe, IV with Charvais Company; and Hardtner Hlumpp with Investors Group.

Returning board members include Michael Hankins with Hankins Development; Ralph Lewing with Lewing Construction; Kevin Melton with Chennault International Airport; Dr. John Noble with Noble Development; Dean Roberts with Stream Wetland Services; Marshall Simien with Simien Law Firm; and Tanis Sewell with Flavin Realty.