BRAC Celebrates Business Leaders with Annual Awards

Baton Rouge, La. (April 8, 2020) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced recipients of its annual awards, traditionally conferred at the organization’s Annual Meeting, which has been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite not being able to gather in person to celebrate these achievements, it is important that we spotlight and honor these individuals and organizations for their positive impact on our community,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “Celebrating leadership and business success is perhaps more important now than it has ever been, and we are grateful to these honorees for their contributions to BRAC and to the regional business community.”

Award recipients include:

  • Jensen Holliday Award– Cheri M. Ausberry, customer service manager for Entergy Customer Service

Cheri M. Ausberry has been a constant champion of BRAC’s work, most recently by serving a three-year term as chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and as co-chair of BRAC’s Canvas Benchmarking workshop in Cincinnati.

The D. Jensen Holliday Award is presented to a member of the BRAC Board of Directors for his or her extraordinary leadership and exemplary service to BRAC. Individuals honored with the award demonstrate selfless service to the economic growth of the Baton Rouge Area. 

  • Business Growth Award – Elifin Realty and Great River Industries

Recipient, Small Business Category: Elifin Realty, a commercial real estate brokerage, grew by 200% over the qualifying time period.

Recipient, Large Business Category: Great River Industries, a manufacturing, construction and maintenance service company, grew by 159% over the qualifying time period.

The Business Growth Award is presented to a small and large company based on job growth within the Capital Region. The qualifying time period for this year’s applicants was 2017-2019.

  • Project of the Year Award– Pennington Biomedical Research Center Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program

In October of 2019, Pennington Biomedical Research Center announced a new bariatric and metabolic program. The new program is anticipated to have significant economic impact on Baton Rouge, attracting global researchers and patients looking to leverage the center’s innovations in bariatric surgery, and strengthening the region’s life sciences sector.

BRAC’s Project of the Year Award is presented to an economic development project win that positions the Capital Region at the next level through job creation, capital expenditures, expansion of an industry sector, and long-term impact on the regional economy and brand.  

  • BRAC Ambassador of the Year Award– Brooks Lawley, commercial real estate agent with The Hammett Group at NAI Latter & Blum

Brooks Lawley has been an exemplary BRAC Ambassador and advocate for economic development in the Capital Region. Her engagement and networking with investor businesses has helped extend and deepen BRAC’s impact.

BRAC presents the Ambassador of the Year Award to a BRAC Ambassador for his or her outstanding achievements within the Ambassador Program and for his or her exemplary service to and overwhelming support for BRAC’s work. 

  • 2019 Board Chairman Award– Randy Cangelosi, partner with Kean Miller LLP

In his year as BRAC Board Chair, Randy Cangelosi was a passionate advocate for improving the region’s quality of life and encouraging the business community to lead on issues ranging from infrastructure improvement to blight abatement.

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,400 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at


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