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

Published 4:20 am Saturday, May 27, 2023

Cascio joins Imperial Health

Imperial Health has announced the addition of orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Dr. Brett Cascio to their medical staff.

Originally from New Orleans, Cascio brings more than 16 years of experience to Imperial Health. He has practiced in Southwest Louisiana for 14 years. He is board certified in Orthopaedic Surgery by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery with a Sports Medicine Specialty Certification. His practice focuses on knee, shoulder, hip, and cartilage injuries; he is trained in the latest minimally invasive arthroscopy surgery techniques.

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Cascio earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University before earning his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his fellowship in sports medicine at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo., where he participated in the care of the U.S. Ski, Colorado Rockies baseball, and Denver Bronco’s football teams. Cascio attained the rank of Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves and served a tour in Afghanistan from 2007-2008 with a Forward Surgical Team prior to returning to teach residents at the LSU Department of Orthopaedics.

He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Arthroscopy Association of North American, the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

BECi director now certified

DERIDDER — At the December Beauregard Electric Cooperative board meeting, District Seven Director Doug Sonnier was recognized for achieving national electric cooperative board certification. Sonnier received the Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate for his commitment to education from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director, or CCD, program requires attendance and demonstrated understanding of the basic competencies contained in five core courses: director duties and liabilities; understanding the electric business; board roles and relationships; strategic planning; and financial decision making.

Sonnier, a resident of Oberlin has served on the Beauregard Electric Cooperative Board in District Seven since 2000. He is a farmer and attends Oaklin Springs Baptist Church. He is a past president of the Allen Parish Police Jury, and former board member of Allen Parish Fair Board and Allen Action Agency Board.

BECi is the distribution cooperative that serves the electric needs of more than 44,000 residential, commercial and industrial members in a 7-parish area of southwest and central Louisiana.

Westlake resident joins ICES agency

Catherine Johnson, a lifelong resident of Westlake and parishioner of St. John Bosco Catholic Church, has joined International Cultural Exchange Services.

She is a 2014 graduate of McNeese State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history. She brings 10 years of foreign exchange experience to ICES.

Johnson will be working with international high school students and the local families that host them to help increase a mutual understanding of cultures and improve relationships between countries.

Snider joins WCCH center

SULPHUR — Van A. Snider, MD, recently joined West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s medical staff as an internal medicine physician for its Community Health Center in Sulphur. Snider will provide primary care services to include preventive care, annual wellness exams and routine check-ups.

Snider graduated from the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed his residency in internal medicine at Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, Louisiana State Medical Society, American Association of Medical Review Officers, Louisiana State Bureau of EMS and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

He is a board certified physician and a fellow of the American College of Specialists in Geriatrics.

Welsh named chief marketing officer

West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is pleased to announce that Matthew Welsh has been named chief marketing & community impact officer.

In his new role, Welsh will direct the planning, development and management of organization-wide programming for all marketing, foundation, diversity, equity and inclusion and business development efforts, ensuring the delivery of high-performance results to support business objectives.

He will also oversee all strategic direction for marketing and community impact initiatives while championing the hospital’s focus on developing and implementing collaborative solutions to achieve organizational DEI goals.

Welsh brings over 18 years of marketing and community relations experience to his new role. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from McNeese State University and a Master of Arts in strategic communication & digital strategy from the University of Oklahoma.

Welsh serves on the Better Business Bureau board of directors.

Sowela staff applauded

Several faculty and staff members of Sowela Technical Community College have recently been honored.

Welding Program Coordinator Jonathan Darbonne recently received the American Welding Society Educator Award for the AWS Lake Charles Section. The award is in recognition of Darbonne’s quality instructional performance devoted to the promotion and expansion of welding skills and knowledge.

Sowela Chancellor Neil Aspinwall was honored with the Chair’s Cup award at Visit Lake Charles’ Legacy Awards banquet. The event recognized the powerful contributions of tourism industry professionals in Southwest Louisiana.

Aspinwall was instrumental in establishing the first-of-its-kind, $10.8 million Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center. The center opened earlier this year to provide world-class training for Louisiana’s booming hospitality industry.

IT Supervisor Josh Young was awarded the Customer Star Service Award at a recent faculty and staff reception.

Those nominating Young said, “He drives initiatives for bettering the technology and cybersecurity at Sowela. He is always willing to help no matter what he is doing and frequently works after hours to make sure the work is done, and technology runs smoothly.”

Conner accepted into academy

Ally Conner, a teacher at Vinton Elementary School, has been accepted into the Recharge Academy in New Jersey this summer.   

Michelle McInnis, senior vice president of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance, said the alliance is helping pay for the cost of the Conner’s tuition as part of the Alliance’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) initiative.

McInnis said Conner will bring back valuable information to her students and fellow teachers at Vinton Elementary on renewable energy sources.

Locals compete in cook-off

BATON ROUGE — Lake Charles chefs  Stephen Coblentz of Charthouse, Dustin Frederick of Restaurant Calla and Greg Gizzaffi of Landry’s Seafood House will be among the 12 chefs  competing in the 2023 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off.

This year’s competition will be held in Lake Charles for the first time, moving to the Golden Nugget on Tuesday, June 27.

To be eligible to compete, a chef must be the executive chef of a free-standing Louisiana restaurant belonging to the Louisiana Restaurant Association, a proud partner of both the Louisiana and Great American Seafood Cook-Offs.

“Every year it gets tougher to choose just 12 chefs from all the outstanding applications we receive. That shows the incredible level of culinary talent we have in Louisiana,” said Louisiana Lt. Gov. Bill Nungesser. “Our food connects us to our heritage, and Louisiana seafood is a huge part of that connection. The majority of the chefs competing through the years learned to cook in their parent’s kitchens. It’s no different with this year’s chefs.”

In addition to earning the title of King or Queen of Louisiana Seafood, the winner will represent the state at a variety of events including the Great American Seafood Cook-Off, hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and held in New Orleans on Saturday, Aug. 5.

The reigning Queen of Louisiana Seafood Chef Amanda Cusey of Lake Charles.