Michael Van Haverbeke
2017 Chairman



Dear PABI members,

Let me begin by saying I am honored to serve as your Chairman for 2017.  I am truly excited by this opportunity.  Through the years, PABI has evolved to be an influential organization in our parish, region, and state. I am looking forward to continuing and strengthening the course laid out by all of my predecessors and members of our fine organization.

In order to start moving forward this year, I feel compelled to reflect on where we have been. As we all are aware the last couple of years have not been very kind to our businesses or parish.  Our parish has lost some distinguished leaders that were making a difference, some through their unfortunate and untimely passing, while others decided it was time to move on.  We have seen long standing businesses shutter their doors and leave our community.  Our local economy and parish finances are still hindered by the low price of oil and dependence on the oil and gas industry.  We have seen our parish face difficult budget decisions while our businesses are doing the same thing.

As a father of two young girls it is hard for me not to be surrounded by his work, so let me borrow a quote from Walt Disney to sum up this reflection.

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” 

Now, it’s hard to say we needed a kick in the teeth, especially this hard, but I believe it has done us some good.  As businesses we have had to reassess and look for new opportunities.  Our parish leaders have had to reevaluate and look into the operation of our government all the while looking for ways to diversify the parish revenues.  We all have faced some difficult decisions in order to survive and unfortunately, there is still work to be done and challenges to overcome.  To keep moving ourselves forward, we must continue to work together to foster and develop new opportunities.  Business, community, and parish leaders will need to put the greater good of the parish first.  We must compromise with and trust each other to advance new and exciting ideas.  We must look forward and tackle the issues rather than being caught up in the actions of the past.  We need to nurture and protect our existing industries while we boldly open the door to new business ventures.  I intend to keep our organization on the forefront of these efforts and offer our assistance to all parish leaders.

The good news is there is a ray of hope on the horizon as a result of efforts already undertaken. The recent announcement from the Plaquemines Port and Venture Global of an $8.5 billion LNG facility right here in our parish is an exhilarating step towards economic diversification and growth.  We cannot let the magnitude of this announcement escape us.  The benefits of this investment will be felt for years in our parish.  There is still a tremendous amount of work in store to accommodate this venture but rest assured our organization is ready to assist where we can.  Our hopes are this is the first of many new ventures wanting to call Plaquemines Parish home. We believe that the development of business and industry along the shores of the Mississippi River will help lead this parish to a bright and fruitful future.

In summary, I would like to leave you with another Walt Disney quote that has always resonated with me. 

Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

I truly believe in moving forward together, business and community, in the pursuit of our common goals.  We should remember and learn from our past but never linger too long; or else, we become trapped in the memories and risk missing those new opportunities.  We must rebound from any setback and constantly move forward along the path of success.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your 2017 Chairman.

Sincerely,
Michael L. Van Haverbeke
2017 PABI Chairman
President, Southland Rental Tools, Inc.

 

Robert Hopkins, Whitney Bank – 2016
Denise Buford, New Orleans Iron Works, Inc. - 2015
Jody Guilbeau, Guilbeau, Inc. - 2014
Chad Breland, Land & Marine Security, LLC - 2013
Reid McLellan, Edward Jones Investments - 2012
Mike Ford, Riverbend Nursing and Rehab - 2011
Bart Breland, Barriere Construction Co. - 2010
Mike Bush, Mississippi River Bank - 2009
David Pavlovich, Nairn Concrete, Inc. - 2008
Dale Benoit, Print-ALL, Inc. - 2007
Danica Ansardi, Ansardi Financial Services, LLC - 2006
Bill Bubrig, Bubrig Insurance Agency, Ltd. - 2005

   

Our association membership of business and professionals has continued to grow and now exceeds 215. Our members include multinational corporations as well as many small business owners. PABI is a non-profit, non-governmental affiliated organization financed entirely by the investment of membership dues and is led by an all-volunteer board elected from the general membership. read more