ACG Louisiana Celebrates 8th Annual ACG Louisiana Awards Winners

NEW ORLEANS –ACG Louisiana (the Louisiana Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth) celebrated their award winners during their 8th Annual ACG Louisiana Awards ceremony, presented by Whitney Bank, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, at the Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans.

         The awards recognized growth companies, business professionals and noteworthy transactions from the State of Louisiana.

         The award winners included:

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Outstanding Corporate Growth – Reily Foods Company


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         David Darragh joined Reily Foods Company as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2006. Focus is on accelerating the growth of the company’s iconic brands, which include Luzianne Tea, Blue Plate Mayonnaise, New England, French Market and CDM Coffees, La Martinique Salad Dressings, Wick Fowler and Carroll Shelby Chili Kits and Swans Down Cake Flour. Acquisitions are also an important part of the growth plan, the most recent of which, New England Tea & Coffee Company, was acquired in December 2013.

         In addition to branded efforts, Reily Foods Company is also a significant contract packer for some of the largest retail and industrial customers in the country.

         Prior to joining Reily Foods Company Darragh joined New Orleans-based Zatarain’s, Inc., a portfolio company of Citicorp Venture Capital, in 1998. The company was then taken national with Darragh leading the strategy, marketing and product development efforts. Zatarain’s was sold to McCormick & Company in 2003 after which Darragh was promoted to General Manager and then to President of Zatarain’s.

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Emerging Growth Company – Republic Business Credit, LLC


         Stewart Chester has spent his whole career working with, for or financing small businesses and enjoys the dynamism of this entrepreneurial sector.

         Following his initial career as an Accountant with BDO Seidman, Chester became an owner of a high growth small business, which used factoring to fuel its growth. Following the businesses sale Chester led local government agencies providing financial and consulting support to businesses in areas rebuilding from mining and industrial closures.

         Chester joined Bibby Financial Services, a global factor and discounter, in 2001 and moved with them to the U.S. in 2004. For the next six years, Chester served as COO and CEO helping to build their U.S. and Canadian businesses organically and through acquisitions.

         In 2011, Chester, along with his business partner, founded Republic Business Credit in New Orleans, which provides factoring and receivable purchase lines of credit to small and mid sized businesses throughout the United States. Chester is a past board member of the IFA and CFA and is currently co-chair of the CFA’s Factoring Education Committee.



Deal Of The Year – Albemarle Corporation Acquisition of Rockwood Holdings, Inc.


         Luther C. Kissam, IV (Luke) is president & chief executive officer of Albemarle Corporation, a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly engineered specialty chemicals for a wide range of industries. Kissam was elected CEO, effective September 2011, and he was elected to the company’s board of directors, effective November 2, 2011. Prior to this role, he served as president, where he managed all aspects of the company’s global business and operational activities.

         Kissam joined Albemarle in September 2003 as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary and served as senior vice president, manufacturing and law, and corporate secretary from January 2008 until his promotion to president in March 2010. Prior to joining Albemarle, Kissam served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of Merisant Company, having previously served as associate general counsel of Monsanto Company.

         Kissam graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in English from The Citadel in 1986 and magna cum laude from the University Of South Carolina School Of Law in 1989.



Dealmaker Of The Year – Daniel O. Conwill IV


         Daniel O. Conwill, IV currently serves as a Founder, Co-Chairman of the Board and Co-CEO, and manages the Investment Banking department of, Seaport Global Securities LLC (“Seaport Global”), the successor to Global Hunter Securities, LLC (“GHS”) which Conwill also founded. Seaport Global has twenty offices located throughout the United States and in London, England, employees over 300 market professionals, and is a full service investment bank focusing on natural resources-related sectors including Energy, Industrials & Shipping. Seaport Global is co-headquartered in New York City and New Orleans, Louisiana and is supported by an institutional sales and trading team with worldwide reach.

         Prior to forming GHS, Conwill was Executive Vice President and Co-Director of Corporate Finance at Jefferies & Company, Inc., where he founded its oil and gas investment banking group in 1993 and managed that group until his departure in 2005. Prior to joining Jefferies in 1993, Conwill was a Managing Director in Corporate Finance at Howard, Weil, Labouisse, Friedrichs, Inc. Conwill began his professional career in the tax department with Arthur Andersen & Co.



Emerging Young Leader – Benjamin Cappiello


         Benjamin Cappiello is the Chief Scientific Officer of Bioceptive, Inc., headquartered in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center in downtown New Orleans. Cappiello is the inventor of Bioceptive’s core technologies and the scientific founder of the company. He devised the initial concept while a biomedical engineering student at Tulane University and brought together the management team and founded the company following his graduation.

         The company has recently received FDA clearance on its platform technology, a method to engage the cervix for use in a variety of women’s health therapeutic and diagnostic procedures. In addition, the company recently received ISO 13485 certification, opening the door to a global launch of its products. Bioceptive has raised approximately $3 million in venture capital, angel, foundation, and grant dollars and are poised for growth in the coming years.



Lifetime Achievement Award – Robert Merrick


         As Chairman and CEO of Latter & Blum, Inc., Robert W. Merrick oversees the oldest and largest commercial and residential real estate operation in the Gulf South. With over 1,400 agents and staff and 30 offices located throughout Louisiana and Mississippi, Latter & Blum has helped generations of residents with all of their real estate needs since 1916.

         As an active real estate investor, Merrick has been one of the leading developers of industrial real estate in the area. A partnership formed by Merrick in 1990 resulted in the purchase of 241 acres in Elmwood Business Park, and a subsequent resurgence of business activity in that area.

         Merrick Partnerships control approximately 10,000 acres of investment properties in the metro area, as well as apartments, shopping centers and general commercial income providing assets.

         Not only has Merrick held active roles in business affairs, he has also held positions on the boards of numerous charitable and civic organizations.

         The American Red Cross honored Merrick as the 2005 Humanitarian of the Year. In 2012, the American Red Cross named him one of 25 found members of the American Red Cross Chairman’s Council in recognition of his support of the organization. In 2014 Bob became the first individual in Louisiana to join the United Way Million Dollar Roundtable, a national membership reserved for million dollar donors as well as being presented an Honorable Doctorate degree from the University of New Orleans.


         The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is the global community for middle market M&A dealmakers and business leaders focused on driving growth. ACG members have access to data, content and networking to access capital, make deals and drive corporate growth. Founded in 1954, ACG has grown to more than 13,000 members organized in 56 chapters throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

         The ACG Louisiana Board of Directors include President, Robert B. Brickman, Postlethwaite & Netterville; President Elect, David Rieveschl, Baker Donelson; Vice President of Membership, Matt Miller, Baldwin Haspel, Burke & Mayer; Co-Vice President of Programs, Vanessa Brown Claiborne, Chaffe & Associates: Co-Vice President of Programs, Dorothy Clyne, JP Morgan; Vice President of Sponsorships, Ken Najder, Jones Walker; Secretary, Jaye Calhoun, McGlinchey Stafford; Treasurer, Claude Silverman, Ericksen, Krentel & LaPorte; Taste of New Orleans Chair, Lester F. Alexander, III, Jefferson Capital; Taste of New Orleans Co-Chair, Frank deVay, Chaffe & Associates; Aaron Dirks, Dirks Capital, LLC; Philip Gordillo, Whitney Bank; Leon Rittenberg, III, Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer; Scott Whittaker, Stone Pigman Walter Wittmann; Hank Wolf, McGriff, Seibels & Williams; Eli Feinstein, Baker Martin Capital; E. Grey Lewis, EY; Abhay Patel, New Orleans Business Alliance.





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