BRAC Names Executive Vice President, SVP of Economic Competitiveness

DiResto and Smith promoted into new leadership roles

Baton Rouge, La. (September 15, 2017) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) this week announced changes to its executive leadership team. Michael DiResto, former senior vice president of economic competitiveness, was promoted to the role of executive vice president, and Liz Smith, former director of economic competitiveness, was promoted to the role of senior vice president of economic competitiveness.

“Michael and Liz have both been extraordinary stewards of BRAC’s mission, and we look forward to their impact in these elevated roles,” said Adam Knapp, BRAC’s president and CEO.

In the executive vice president role, DiResto will oversee the execution of BRAC’s five-year strategic plan, Think Bigger, and the organization’s day to day operations.

Prior to joining BRAC in 2013, DiResto worked for five years at the Louisiana state government’s Division of Administration, where he served as assistant commissioner for policy and communications. At the Division of Administration, DiResto helped lead the department’s policy, research, legislative relations, and implementation of strategic initiatives, with a focus on fiscal issues and government operations. Prior to that, he served as a senior advisor to then Governor-elect Bobby Jindal’s transition team in the areas of ethics reform, fiscal reform, and government accountability. He also previously worked as senior advisor and strategist for the Louisiana Republican Party. From 1998 through 2007, DiResto served as press secretary for the Baton Rouge Area congressional district represented by then-Congressman Richard Baker. Born in New York, he has lived in Baton Rouge since 1996. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Dallas, and is a graduate of BRAC’s Leadership class of 2005.

Smith assumes the role of senior vice president of economic competitiveness following nearly five years of service leading BRAC’s public education and workforce development efforts. In her new capacity, Smith will oversee the organization’s public policy research and reform activities aimed at improving the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the Baton Rouge Area.

Prior to joining BRAC in 2013, Smith spent five years at SCI Research, where she served as research director, providing litigation and jury research to regional law firms. Smith is originally from New Orleans, having boomeranged back to Louisiana in 2005 after 20 years in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. from the University of California, Riverside, as well as J.D. and B.C.L. degrees from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert School of Law. Smith is an active member of the Baton Rouge community, serving on the Board of Directors of BASIS Baton Rouge, the Advisory Board of Democrats for Education Reform Louisiana, the Goodwill Industries’ Out-of-School Youth Advisory Council, and as a member of the Louisiana New Skills for Youth Career Readiness Workgroup.

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 1,500 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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