Vision & Voice – Engage 2020

Sponsored by Atmos Energy

As part of a larger initiative to connect Jefferson Parish residents with valuable information and critical updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jefferson Chamber and sponsor Atmos Energy presented a 12-part video series called Vision & Voice – Engage 2020. Each installment of the series, broadcast live and archived for later viewings on the Chamber’s Facebook, featured a conversation with one or more community leaders who provided insight on the latest happenings, changes for each phase of reopening, and data on the community-wide effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Jennifer Van Vrancken, Councilwoman District 5

On the Support of the Business Community

I think our business community has been tremendous. They have met every challenge, saying, ‘Yes, we can come up with a plan. We will put the resources, time and effort into doing this safely.’ It’s been such a great thing seeing the collaboration, and that our community has stepped up. What’s been so pervasive is the can-do attitude. Business people are being creative; they’re thinking outside of the box with health and safety, all with the spirit of getting back to business.”

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Dr. James Gray, Jefferson Parish Public Schools Superintendent of Education 

On Reopening Schools

Our primary focus is providing our kids with the education they deserve. When we started developing our plans to reopen, we just made sure that did not get lost in translation. A lot of times, when you have people that have to take on a task this big, they get caught up in the minutia and then forget about what your primary objective is. And so at every step, we want to make sure that we keep [quality education] as our main priority.”

Michael Hecht, Greater New Orleans Inc. President & CEO 

On Reviving the Economy

I hope that when we get through this, we can look back and say that we did the right things in this moment to create a better future…Looking forward, there are going to be big opportunities for the region in manufacturing coming back, in technology being reshored from places like India, in logistics…telemedicine…infectious disease. If we make the right investments today in training, marketing and infrastructure, we could come out of this with an economy that’s more diverse, more resilient, with stronger and better jobs than ever before. Lower cost, higher culture markets like Greater New Orleans are really well positioned.”

Jerry Bologna, President & CEO of JEDCO

On Planning for a Better Future

We’ve embarked on a much more innovative strategy in terms of planning for the parish and strategic initiative…Right now we’re working on a new 20-year Economic Development Strategic Plan, which we will update in five-year increments. It comes at a good time because we will be able to not only put in recovery items from COVID, but also talk about equity and inclusion and some of the things that weren’t contemplated 20 years ago [during the creation of the previous master plan]. The time is right to do that.”

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