SBEDF Board Appoints Keller As 2017-2018 Chair

CHALMETTE, LA –  The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF) is welcoming its new board members and executive officers, recently appointed at the January Board Meeting.

         The 2017 Executive Committee includes Chair Deborah D. Keller, Vice Chair Sean Warner, Treasurer Drew Heaphy, Secretary Zeljko Franks, Bill Haines, Walter J. Leger, Jr., Frederick J. Sigur, Jr., and Joseph S. DiFatta.

         Chairwoman Keller recently submitted a letter to the 2017 Board of Directors and community partners expressing her enthusiasm for being selected to lead the organization in setting new goals and working to progress the business community of St. Bernard Parish.

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         “I like to describe a SBEDF meeting of its Board of Directors as convening the ‘Think Tank’ of St. Bernard Parish,” Keller said. “We serve without compensation, seek to foster business relationships, use our combine expertise to make advisory recommendations and informed decisions, and oversee the operations of the SBEDF staff.”

         Keller brings her expertise as a professional civil engineer for over 40 years to help guide the organization, SBEDF reps said. She developed extensive knowledge as Chief Engineer at the Port of New Orleans and now operates her own engineering firm, Deborah D. Keller and Partners in Chalmette.

         Keller is the first woman to be appointed as Chair of SBEDF and is currently a member of the Nunez Community College Foundation Board and the UNO College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.

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         Keller believes that the new board will be instrumental in addressing the needs of the community. “We bring our diverse knowledge and experience to focus on a single mission: to retain and create jobs, build prosperity, and improve the quality of life for St. Bernard citizens,” she said. “We acknowledge our challenges, but are determined to focus on opportunities to meet this mission.”

         “We look forward to having Keller serve as Chair of the Board,” Andrew Jacques, SBEDF Executive Director, said. “Her experience with infrastructure, public works projects, and non-profit organizations will be key in a productive and successful two years. She is passionate about our organization and its role in growing the local economy. Mrs. Keller is also committed to fulfilling our mission as a life-long resident of St. Bernard Parish.”

         The 2017 SBEDF Board of Directors includes:

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Deborah D. Keller, Chair

Sean Warner, Vice Chair

Drew Heaphy, Treasurer

Zeljko Franks, Secretary

Bill Haines

Walter J. Leger, Jr.

Frederick J. Sigur, Jr.

Joseph S. DiFatta



Dr. Thomas Warner

Parish President Guy McInnis

Council Chairman Richard Lewis

Superintendent Doris Voitier

Honorable Robert Buckley

Robert Showalter

Monette Harper-Springer

Pamela Ferbos

Elizabeth Ellison-Frost

Al Claude

Cullen Tonry

Mindy Nunez Airhart

Jeff Pohlmann

Cindi Meyer

Kevin Reichert

Dr. Robert Scafidel

Gayle Buckley

George Barisich

Travis Moore


         The SBEDF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to retain and create jobs, build prosperity and improve the quality of life in St. Bernard Parish. The Board of Directors consist of 28 voting members and 8 non-voting honorary members and public officials, all of which serve as volunteers to the organization. SBEDF's work is made possible through the general support of its investors, St. Bernard Parish Government, St. Bernard Port, Harbor and Terminal District, the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation, Cox Communications, Chalmette Refining, and Valero at the Impact Champion Level, the Law Offices of Sidney Torres, III and Associated Terminals at the Pillars Level, and Palmisano Group and Meyer Engineers at the Community Leaders Level.

         For more information


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