Jerry Bologna, 37, is the Executive Director of the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO). DCI is pleased to honor him as a winner of our 40 Under 40 awards, the first-ever competition to identify the economic development profession’s rising stars.
Jerry has been with JEDCO for more than 12 years and was previously JEDCO’s Deputy Director where he oversaw all economic development functions of the organization. Jerry has been instrumental in industry recruitment, having partnered with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, Greater New Orleans, Inc. and other agencies in the attraction of new businesses to Jefferson Parish. Jerry recently worked closely with Peoples Health in the retaining of 600 jobs, which resulted in the subsequent creation of another 125 jobs. Jerry was influential in landing the NOLA Motorsports Park, a $65 million state-of-the-art facility that includes the longest kart and road courses in North America.
Additionally, Jerry’s contributions to the region’s recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina have been recognized by both business and political leadership, including members of the U.S. Senate. He was invited by the Business Civic Leadership Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Economic Development Council to assist in the development of a business and economic recovery plan for Galveston, Texas following Hurricane Ike. More recently, he has been invited to help craft business recovery plans for communities hit by the BP oil spill and Hurricane Sandy.
What have you learned so far in your career? Economic development is not about making big announcements; it’s about delivering results and developing longstanding relationships that lead to an improved economic landscape.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Understanding that most of your job creation and all of your job loss is coming from existing companies – there remains a lack of resources available to help companies already in your community. Business retention and expansion is still paramount.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Despite recently experiencing multiple hurricanes and the worst oil spill in history, I see myself successfully directing the economic development efforts of Jefferson Parish to become the most populous parish in Louisiana while maintaining a thriving, diverse economy.
In addition to his work at JEDCO, Jerry serves on the boards of the Jefferson Chamber, Greater New Orleans, Inc. and Café Hope. In 2011, Jerry was recognized by the International Economic Development Council as the New Economic Development Professional of the Year. He also achieved the Certified Economic Developer designation in 2011. In 2004, he was named by New Orleans Citybusiness as one of the “Top 40 Under Forty.”
Jerry has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in management from the University of New Orleans. He was also a 2004 graduate of Leadership Jefferson. Jerry regularly lectures to entrepreneurship classes at the University of New Orleans and speaks to various business and civic groups throughout Southeast Louisiana.
Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission
The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) is an independent, yet complementary arm of Jefferson Parish government with the main objective of attracting, growing and creating new business in the area. Since its inception in 1987, JEDCO has aided thousands of companies through business incubator and loan programs, tax incentives and rebate programs, workforce development and information services. While dedicated to assisting existing Jefferson Parish businesses, JEDCO’s efforts also target the recruitment of new businesses for the area. For more information, visit www.jedco.org.
Hear from Jerry
Head over to Podcastalyst to hear from Jerry about the influx of entrepreneurs in Jefferson Parish.
Learn more about the other 39 winners of the 40 Under 40 awards competition.