250 episodes

OUT TO LUNCH finds Baton Rouge Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalist skills and food background: conducting business over lunch. Baton Rouge has long had a storied history of politics being conducted over meals, now the Capital Region has an equivalent culinary home for business: Mansur's. Each week Stephanie holds court over lunch at Mansur's and invites members of the Baton Rouge business community to join her. You can also hear the show on WRKF 89.3FM.

It's Baton Rouge: Out to Lunch ItsBatonRouge.la

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

OUT TO LUNCH finds Baton Rouge Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalist skills and food background: conducting business over lunch. Baton Rouge has long had a storied history of politics being conducted over meals, now the Capital Region has an equivalent culinary home for business: Mansur's. Each week Stephanie holds court over lunch at Mansur's and invites members of the Baton Rouge business community to join her. You can also hear the show on WRKF 89.3FM.

    Left Side Right Side

    Left Side Right Side

    We all have two sides to our brain: the right brain which is said to control our creative artistic abilities and the left side which is the analytical part that can do math and science.

    We often tend to describe people as left brain or right brain people, depending on whether they’re particularly gifted with one set of abilities or the other. Is this valid? Or does a successful computer guy need to have artistic skills as well? Does a successful artist need a left brain as well?

    Tim Rauls might be considered a left brain person. Tim is the owner of Tim’s Computers, a PC retail and repair shop on Sherwood Forest in Baton rouge that has been fixing the computers of a loyal clientele for more than 25 years. In the decades since, Tim has seen the PC retail and repair business change considerably - from an era where the local IT guy was indispensable to one where he has been replaced by some techy in a call center 4000 miles away.

    But through it all Tim’s Computers has survived the disruption - because there is still a segment of the market that doesn’t do online tech support.

    When you walk into Tim’s you see a steady stream of mostly older customers who literally don’t know where to go when their trusty PC crashes.

    Rob Carpenter is a local visual artist who specializes in drawings using a variety of media that produce intricate patterns using shapes and particularly lines.

    Rob was a professor of art at Nicholls State University for more than a decade, and though retired from teaching, continues to spend his days drawing and painting in his backyard studio.  Rob's work appears regularly at the Baton Rouge Gallery and is featured in a new satellite studio of the Baton Rouge Gallery at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport. His work has also appeared in venues throughout Baton Rouge and has hung in galleries around the country.

    Out to Lunch was recorded at La Divina Italian Cafe in the Acadian Village Shopping Center. You can see photos from this show by Erik Otts at our website.

    And check out more lunchtime conversation about the Baton Rouge art scene

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Horticulture Agriculture And Just Plain Culture

    Horticulture Agriculture And Just Plain Culture

    If you live in the big cities of Louisiana, like Baton Rouge or New Orleans, you might not realize just how rural much of Louisiana actually is. And how important agriculture is to the state’s economy: it's the state’s 5th largest sector behind oil, natural gas, commercial fishing and chemicals.

    A lot of research around agriculture - and it’s sister discipline, horticulture – goes on right here in Baton Rouge, where we also have some micro organic farms in the middle of the city!

    Heather Kirk Ballard is Assistant Professor of Consumer Horticulture in the School of Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences at Louisiana State University's AgCenter. The Ag Center has stations in all 64 parishes around Louisiana and works directly with the agriculture and horticulture industries to bring the latest in cutting edge research from LSU out into the field.

    In addition to her research and extension program, Heather is the host of the AgCenter’s Get It Growing program, which is a user-friendly guide to growing for the average person, and a member of the Louisiana Super Plants Program. Her extensive research focuses on consumer’s home garden needs, the effect of plants on the environment, our health, the economy and the community. 

    But Heather isn’t just a researcher. She spent several years working in the commercial sector, most recently at General Electric and EcoLab, monitoring and maintaining water quality. And before that she was a high school teacher. 

    Allison Guidroz is co-owner of Fullness Organic Farm, a small organic farm right here in Baton Rouge off Nicholson Drive near Gardere.

    Allison is a Baton Rouge native, who fell in love with growing food while in college at LSU. She worked in community gardens, took an organic gardening horticulture course and started a business putting in custom organic raised beds.

    After graduating, Allison and her husband, Grant, did a year of service through AmeriCorps with Slow Food Baton Rouge and continued work with community gardens, installed school gardens and hosted local food events. In 2015, they started Fullness Farms, with the goal of growing the best food possible for their friends and family.

    Allison has since gone to complete a master’s degree in horticulture and the small organic farm the couple started for themselves has turned into a - pardon the pun - growing business.

    Out to Lunch Baton Rouge is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs On The Boulevard. You can see photos from this show by Erik Otts at our website. And check out more fascinating conversation about Baton Rouge's unique culture of agriculture: farming oysters.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Spice and Splice

    Spice and Splice

    It’s cool enough to have one successful entrepreneur in a family. What happens when you have two? Stephanie’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch have a unique perspective on the topic of love and business.

    Greg Milneck is president and owner of Digital FX, which produces commercials and feature films, as well as post production work for the movie and TV industry. The company also rents equipment and leases out its 15,000-square-foot LEED certified studio for film and video shoots. Greg founded the company nearly 30 years ago, and in the decades since it has been involved in hundreds of projects including some of the big budget films that have been shot here in Louisiana, and it’s racked up dozens of awards. 

    Anne Milneck, is the owner of Red Stick Spice Company, which sells spice blends, loose teas, small portions of freshly ground exotic spices, oils and vinegar from its story on Jefferson Highway in Mid City. Anne is a writer and professionally trained chef, and Greg’s wife. Anne bought the Red Stick Spice Company from its original owners in 2012. Since then she has grown the company, expanded its product line, relocated to a new, bigger and more visible and is planning to open a barista-run tea bar serving cups of its inhouse tea brand.

    Photos at Mansurs on the Boulevard by Ken Stewart. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 28 min
    The Stars of Silicon Bayou

    The Stars of Silicon Bayou

    There aren’t enough bad things we could say about the COVID-19 pandemic. It's cut a path of death, destruction and suffering around the globe since early 2020. But, like any major disaster, it has also disrupted the old way of doing things and forced us to come up with new alternatives that will live on after the pandemic has passed - like telehealth consultations and working from home. This long-running crisis has also created opportunities - for entrepreneurs and innovators. Some of them in Baton Rouge.

    Calvin Fabre is President and CEO of Envoc, a software development and services firm he founded in 2003. Calvin is the creator of LA Wallet app, one of many but far and away Envoc’s most visible product.

    In 2018, before anyone had ever heard of Covid, Calvin created the digital drivers license, which slid into your digital LA Wallet, making Louisiana the first state in the nation to offer such a product. The Louisiana State Legislature even passed specific legislation to make a digital driver's license on LA Wallet legal everywhere - from being pulled over by the police to getting into a bar.

    Then the pandemic hit.

    What seemed like the most negative event of recent times became an extremely positive development for Envoc. The State of Louisiana expanded the digital driver's license on LA Wallet to include a digital proof of Covid vaccination. Today, prompted largely by the need to show proof of current vaccination to get into many bars, restaurants, or a Saints game, more than 1 million people in Louisiana have downloaded LA Wallet. It's the biggest digital ID platform in the US. And it's poised to spread beyond state lines.  

    Cody Louviere is founder of King Crow Studios, a local digital media company that specializes in virtual reality and, specifically, using VR tools to train some pretty important clients – like the US Air Force and the US. Space Force.

    Though the pandemic didn’t force Cody and his company to create any new products or services per se, it created opportunities for its existing clients to accelerate their training so that when their employees returned to the office they were able to train them faster and more efficiently, and achieve better outcomes.

    In addition to running his own tech company, Cody works with the Louisiana Technology Park to develop and retain the digital media workforce available in our area. 

    Cody and Calvin are undoubtedly two of the brightest stars in the local tech galaxy collectively referred to as Silicon Bayou.

    Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. You can see photos from this show by Erik Otts at our website. And check out Calvin Fabre's earlier to visit to Out to Lunch in a pre-Covid world. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Cyber Port

    Cyber Port

    As we were reminded during hurricane Ida, Louisiana is home to critical infrastructure that serves not only the region but the entire country. Ports and petrochemical plants line the Mississippi River from the Gulf past Baton Rouge. They are vital assets that keep life humming along, and in this digital age they are increasingly interconnected - and reliant on technology to function. Which means they – and we – are vulnerable to threats from cyber attacks.

    Very few people within a 500mile radius of downtown Baton Rouge know this more than Jeff Moulton. Jeff is President and CEO of Stephenson Technologies Corporation, a nonprofit applied research and development corporation that does cyber research and development, and also provides cybersecurity services for clients in the federal government, commercial and energy sectors.

    Jeff is also President and Chairman of the Board of a related entity, Stephenson Stellar Corporation, which helps provide next generation cybersecurity solutions for space systems.

    Jeff is doing a lot of cutting edge and highly classified work for some very impressive clients. He has in-depth experience within the intelligence communities assessing and defining corporate-level and globally deployable network security solutions. He also participates in numerous national and international cyber forums.

    For a bit of contextual background: Jeff is a native of Pennsylvania, who spent 24 years in the Air Force, before moving into his career in cybersecurity. 

    Jay Hardman is Executive Director of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The port is located in Port Allen on the west side of the Mississippi River and sits at the junction of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at its northernmost point.

    The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the 8th largest in the world in terms of annual tonnage, and handles a variety of bulk and breakbulk cargoes for domestic and international markets in, primarily, the agricultural, forestry and petrochemical sectors.

    Jay has been with the port since 1999 and was named Executive Director in 2006. In his years at the helm he has overseen $45 million in infrastructure improvements, has been involved in enhancing port security measures, and designing and developing new economic development projects. 

    Out to Lunch Baton Rouge is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. You can see photos this show by Erick Otts at our website. And check out this lunchtime conversation about Baton Rouge's little known link to space and the mission to Mars.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    From Baton Rouge to Mars

    From Baton Rouge to Mars

    How many kids have gazed up into the sky and pondered what it’s like to be an astronaut or space traveler? How many adults, for that matter? There’s something about outer space, which we get a glimpse of through the night sky, that excites the 10 year old watching Star Wars in all of us.

    But, deep space doesn't have any connection to Baton Rouge, does it? Yes, Luke, it does!

    Bob Fudickar is Executive Director of the LSU National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which, among other things, is building the rocket NASA is sending astronauts to Mars. The center is located at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, and is home to  partnership between NASA, the state of Louisiana, LSU, UNO and the UNO Research and Technology Foundation. It was originally formed in 1999, and is a state of the art research and production center focused on applying advanced manufacturing technologies to lightweight composite and metallic materials in support of the NASA space program and adjacent industries.

    Bob Fudickar has spent his career in business and technology in south Louisiana, including stints at Arthur Andersen, General Electrics and NASA.

    Serena Pandos is Executive Director of the Louisiana Art and Science Museum, which among other things, gets a lot of kids thinking about going to Mars, and elsewhere in space. That’s because the LASM is home to the Irene Pennington Planetarium, a 60-foot domed theater that is one of the most sophisticated multimedia presentation venues in the country.   

    And the LASM is about more than just the planetarium. It is has a permanent collection of American and European art, Louisiana modern and contemporary art, photography and exhibitions on ancient Egypt, the solar system and the universe.

    It's not unusual for people living in small Louisiana towns to think they're the center of the universe. Think for example of Crowley that bills itself as "The Rice Capital of the World" or Ville Platte's self-bestowed title as "The Smoked Meat Capital of the World."  Here in Baton Rouge, with our contribution to conquering space and going to Mars, we have a legitimate claim to our place as the actual center of the universe!

    Out to Lunch Baton Rouge is recorded over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. You can see photos from this show by Erik Otts at our website. And, believe it or not, there are other companies in Baton Rouge in the space industry.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min

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