Iberville Chamber of Commerce holds annual banquet

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

There was another packed house at the Iberville Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet and recognition ceremony held at Nottoway Plantation Resort on Thursday, March 14.

The banquet kicked off with opening remarks by Steve Smith, Iberville Chamber Board Member of The AME Group.

Presenting Sponsoring for the event this year was Edward Jones, Chris Reeves. Steve Smith recognized the 2018 board of directors for their service. Recognized were: BOARD MEMBERS - Chris Daigle, Daigle’s Market; Katherine Daigle, Eastman Chemical; David Hall, Iberville Parish Sales Tax Department; Joycelyn Lamothe, Citizens Bank; J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr., Iberville Parish President; Jeff Powell, Iberville Parish School Board, Steve Smith, The AME Group; CHAIRMAN’S BOARD APPOINTEES - Alana Adams, Level Homes; Juli Maniscalco, Hargrove & Associates; Frances Tempanaro, Eatel; EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Arron Pierre, A. Wilbert’s Sons, LLC-Past Chairman; Bryan Casebonne, Shintech Louisiana-Chair-Elect; McKenzie Wille, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office-First Vice Chair & Treasurer; - Christina Cedotal, Dow Chemical-Chairman of the Board, Ms. Cedotal was presented a gavel plaque for outgoing chairman.

Steve Smith introduced the Chamber’s new Executive Director Pamela Boesch. Pam is a lifelong resident of Iberville Parish with deep roots here. Professionally, she served for ten years as Director of Marketing and Business Development at River West Medical Center until 2007.

Since then she has worked for Lifepoint Health, as a Regional Director of Business Development and Physician Recruitment, working with rural hospitals in Louisiana and across the country. She also helped the Parish President with the strategic plan for the Ochsner Iberville campus in 2010. She has been a member of the Axiall/Westlake, SNF Flopam community advisory panel, served on the original Imagine Iberville committee along with many different community activities.

Ms. Smith then recognized Hank Grace for with a lifetime achievement award for his 15 years of service with the Chamber.

Mr. Smith then presented The Spirit of Iberville award which is considered to be the Iberville Chamber's most important award and is given annually to an individual who has exhibited strong involvement with the Chamber, and just as important, has had a high degree of community involvement.

The individual receiving the "SPIRIT OF IBERVILLE" award must also exhibit the highest level of integrity in his or her actions, be involved in both Chamber and Community projects, and have a record of service to others, leadership in action, and dedication to making Iberville a better community.

The Chamber's past Spirit of Iberville Award recipients were announced they are: 2012-Mr. Ivan Cabrera; 2013–Mr. Mickey Rivet; 2014–Mr. John W. “Johnny Boy” Wilbert, Jr.; 2015–Mr. Ed Middleton; 2016–Award presented to the Gulotta family in memory of the late Mayor of Plaquemine, Mayor Tony Gulotta; 2017- Fry Hymel; 2018-Award was presented to the Badeaux family in memory of the late Mayor Lawrence “Football” Badeaux.

Mr. Smith then presented this year’s prestigious award to Mr. Cecil Ramagos, Jr. A resident of White Castle, La. He was inducted into the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame. Mr. Ramagos is a Louisiana Master Farmer, and he has served as the Iberville Parish Farm Bureau President since 2004.

Mr. Ramagos has served on the Louisiana Farm Bureau Board for District 11, and he is currently the Chairman of the Louisiana Sugar Advisory Committee for Louisiana Farm Bureau. Mr. Ramagos has organized and implemented sugarcane field tours for school classes, Louisiana Farm Bureau, and Landowner/Board Member Tours. From 1983- 1996, he served as the Iberville Parish Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee Chairman.

During that time, he was instrumental in organizing a Safety Committee, which hosted annual farm safety meetings for local farmers and annual skin cancer screenings for residents of Iberville Parish. Mr. Ramagos was instrumental in establishing the Iberville Parish Livestock Booster Club, a group of 4-H volunteers who mentor local 4-H and FFA Livestock Exhibitors and implement annual fundraisers to support the parish 4-H Livestock Program.

Mr. Ramagos has served as President and Fundraising Chairman of the organization since its inception in 1995. He also represented Iberville Parish on the Acadiana Livestock District Board of Directors for more than 10 years.

Mr. Ramagos and his father, Cecil Ramagos, Sr., were instrumental in building the Iberville Parish Livestock Show Barn on the old Acadian Festival fair grounds in Plaquemine, Louisiana. Mr. Ramagos is married to Sally and has 4 kids ~Katie, Matthew, Andy and Ben.  

Brandon Landry CEO of Walk-On’s Bar & Bistreaux, was the guest speaker for the event. Mr. Landry, a native of White Castle, Louisiana got his start on the hardwood floors of Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Pete Maravich Assembly Center where he was a walk-on for the LSU Tigers' basketball team. As Brandon traveled with the team he noticed the lack of good family-friendly sports bars across the nation.

That realization sparked a sketch on a napkin while flying home from a game. From this vision, Brandon utilized sheer grit to open the first Walk-On's in Baton Rouge, at the South Gates of LSU, in 2003. Forgetting to draw the kitchen on original plan might have been a road block for many.

Brandon and his team didn’t let that stop him from developing what is now a from scratch kitchen, food focused concept that employees an All-American team with a go-getter spirit of a walk-on athlete while providing superior service and mouthwatering menu items with a taste of Louisiana.

More than fifteen years later, Walk-On's has grown from that single location at LSU to a nationwide phenomenon bringing the Louisiana spirit of letting the good times roll with it. Currently sitting at 25 locations, Landry’s go-getting ambition has led the eatery's expansion throughout the southern United States with further nationwide expansion in the game plan.

Landry’s passion for creating gathering spaces that foster camaraderie and generate memorable, fun experiences has led him to an authentic and simple vision for the company--WIN! Just like any great sports team, he feels he owes his success to his teammates who he leads with passion and purpose.

His standards and expectations are aligned with everyone on the team to keep the company executing and are critical to successful growth in a very competitive industry.

"You have nothing if you don't have a great culture," said Landry. "I truly believe that that a business is only successful when it runs as a team and at Walk-On's, it is important that every member feels like a starter."

This passion for capitalizing on individual strengths for team growth stems from Landry's "walk-on mentality" in which he stresses that the backbone of the company is made by holding up the name on the front of the jersey over the name on the back.

As a result of this passion, commitment and fellowship, Walk-On's has received the designation of ESPN’s #1 Sports Bar in North America in 2012, followed by being named one of Nation's Restaurant News' MenuMasters for 2017 and most recently was named #20 on the Franchise Times Fast & Serious list for 2018.

Impressed and inspired by the family-friendly, sports-centered value and proven growth of Walk-On's, Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees joined the company as part owner in 2015.

Committed to community and philanthropy, Landry is a member of the National Restaurant Association, Young Presidents Organization and the LSU L Club. He also serves on the board of directors for the Louisiana State University Alumni Association and has served previously on the board of directors for the Baton Rouge Parks & Recreation Commission and the Make a Wish Foundation. He often speaks on entrepreneurship and leadership.

Following suit, Walk-On's, and the Walk-On's team, is dedicated to supporting community with commitment to local schools, teams and charitable causes in each area of operation. Furthering this effort, the organization launched its Game on Foundation with a mission to build/refurbish youth sports facilities in local communities.

Landry and his wife Mackenzie reside in Baton Rouge, La. with their two daughters, three dogs and two birds. In addition to spending time with his family and friends, Brandon enjoys fishing, golfing and other outdoor activities.

Contributed by the Iberville Chamber of Commerce