The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) is pleased to announce JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna's inclusion on a list of North America's Top 50 Economic Developers. Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants, recognized Jerry alongside his economic development peers in a press release Monday. The professionals selected for this year's list were nominated by their colleagues in both the economic development industry and the site consultant community for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve.
Since 2000, Jerry has played a significant role in industry recruitment and business retention efforts throughout Jefferson Parish. He brokered the $1 billion investment of global industry leader Dyno Nobel America, attracting the company's state-of-the-art ammonia production facility to Waggaman. Additionally, he played a key role in the attraction of Sleep Number's Relationship Center to Jefferson Parish. The $1 billion publicly traded national brand chose Elmwood after a competitive, multi-state selection process. Most recently, Jerry supported efforts to retain US Foods in Jefferson Parish and helped to attract Fuji Vegetable Oil's new $70 million processing facility. Jerry's work with Ochsner Health System supports efforts to develop an underutilized stretch of Jefferson Highway into an international healthcare destination through nearly $400 million in capital improvements and the creation of an additional 3,200 jobs. He is currently directing efforts to repurpose the former Avondale Shipyard into a hub for port and manufacturing activity.
Under Jerry's leadership, the JEDCO team spearheaded the development of a Façade Improvement Program to encourage local businesses to revitalize their property and building exteriors through a forgivable loan program. In 2018, the staff began a year-long master planning process for the Churchill Technology and Business Park, a unique Jefferson Parish asset on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. The organization also oversees the implementation of the Jefferson EDGE 2020, Jefferson Parish's long-term economic development strategic plan. The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) reaccredited JEDCO in 2015, a prestigious honor shared by approximately 60 economic development organizations in North America.
Throughout his 18-year career at JEDCO, Jerry has achieved many honors and recognitions. In 2011, the IEDC recognized Jerry as the New Economic Development Professional of the Year. In 2004, New Orleans CityBusiness named him one of the "Top 40 Under 40" and in 2012, he was named to the first-ever "40 Under Forty" in International Economic Development by Development Counsellors International. In 2013, Jerry was among 41 honorees listed in New Orleans Magazine as "People to Watch," which recognizes individuals who are doing new and notable things in the community. In 2016, the Bureau of Governmental Research recognized him for Excellence in Government. Earlier this year, Jerry received the 2018 Business Progress Award from the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.
"On behalf of the JEDCO Board of Commissioners, we are proud of Jerry's inclusion on this prestigious list of economic development professionals," said JEDCO 2018 Chairman of the Board Jimmy Baum. "Jerry is a dedicated leader with an innovative vision for the future of Jefferson Parish and a passion for enhancing the local business climate through a mix of impactful initiatives and revolutionary efforts. Under his leadership, the dynamic JEDCO team has emerged as a trailblazer in the economic development industry, setting a standard of excellence for economic development organizations across North America. Jerry is a true asset to JEDCO and Jefferson Parish. This most recent achievement is well-deserved."
"This annual list recognizing North America's Top 50 Economic Developers is designed to acknowledge the hard work of the top leaders in this field and elevate the conversation around economic development and job creation," said Ron Kitchens, managing partner of Consultant Connect. "Each of the leaders represented on this year's list are beyond deserving of this recognition for their efforts in building our communities."
Jerry will receive his award at Consultant Connect's ECONOMIX event in Nashville in December.