Twenty years ago, C.B. “Doc” Pennington had a vision for a research institute that would become “the biggest and best nutrition research center in the country.” During those 20 years, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center has achieved international prominence in biomedical research focused on obesity, diabetes and cancer.
As the Baton Rouge Area Chamber recently pointed out in a report, knowledge-based industries and institutions are key to our economic future and bioscience has become a high-priority economic development goal throughout the United States.
PBRC has been a great investment for our state. As the chamber’s report pointed out, during the past 20 years, PBRC has transformed $131 million of total state investments into a return of more than $427 million in external funding, a return of more than $3 for every $1 invested by the state. During the period 2003 through 2007, total revenues grew from $31.96 million to $51.04 million, which corresponds to a 12.7% average annual rate of growth.
It has often been said that PBRC is a crown jewel for Louisiana and a world-class institution that can compete globally—if we support it.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature provided a critical $50 million to Pennington in 2008 from the state surplus. This appropriation led to a groundbreaking, scheduled for Jan. 14, where PBRC officials will start a new, $18.2 million, four-story, 90,000-square-foot clinical research building. Jindal also protected Pennington’s operating costs from the current round of budget cuts. He sees the future.
On Jan. 20, Barack Obama will become the 44th president of the United States and history will be made. America has come far and we can be proud. This is still the land of opportunity and the greatest nation on earth. God has blessed us. And I hope President Obama is successful, because that will be good for America—and the world.
Back at home, I attended the inauguration of Mayor Kip Holden, who is beginning his second term. He has done well, and I pray for his continued success and for his relationship with our new Metro Council. We have such great potential in the Capital City!
Down the street at the Capitol, Jindal begins his second year. His first was quite eventful and filled with accomplishments—one being a new image for our state. The laughter and jokes have subsided. Our governor is a popular national figure. Now that’s change!
The governor, Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell, Commissioner of Administration Angčle Davis and the rest of Jindal’s cabinet worked untold hours in 2008 through multiple legislative sessions, hurricanes and now budget cuts—and they’ve done a remarkable job for the people of Louisiana. You don’t expect that kind of effort from government bureaucrats—and they’re not. This is a special group of people whose talent is only exceeded by their commitment to Louisiana.
Lens of opportunity
In my last column, I spoke about “facing 2009 head-on” and your attitude for the new year. It can be critical and affect your team around you, as well as your bottom line for the year ahead.
I want to provide you more “food for thought” from a recent article by radio host Mel Robbins that appeared in Success magazine. See if you can’t relate to her comments and gain insight and ideas from her recommendations.
Robbins, who works in the media, doesn’t hold a very high opinion of its impact. She writes, “Even if the economy doesn’t get as bad as I fear it will, the media will constantly remind you that doomsday is right around the corner. The more freaked out they can get you, the more you will tune in for updates. Panic sells, and it’s hard to not be sucked into the vortex. If you buy into the hype, you’re screwed.”
Robbins now assumes you are in the middle of it all and poses the questions, “So now what? How do you learn to think rationally when the world is acting irrationally, and there is panic and chaos all around you? It seems that we all have no choice but to adopt a Recession Mindset—the mindset we all go to when times are tough. And that’s the problem. By adopting this mindset, you are opening the door to poor decision-making and loss of control.”
Robbins warns against “bunkering down” in your thinking and says, “to survive and flourish in this economy, you must act. There are opportunities in all tough situations” if we change our mindset and “let reason reign instead of emotion.”
As Robbins points out, the economy will certainly affect us all, but there are things we can control—including how we view the situation, interpret and respond. She suggests we can “look at a recession differently—through the lens of opportunity.”
She points out, “The richest people in the world make a habit of acting calmly, and swooping in at times of chaos and taking advantage of bargains in real estate, talent and competition.”
Robbins challenges us each to stand apart and “no longer fall victim to groupthink. What applies to everyone else—does not apply to you. You play by your rules. You do things your way—always have, always will. You now act instead of react.”
As she concludes, “History is a wonderful thing. It tells us that recessions always pass. This one will, too. Are you going to hibernate through it—or get stronger while everyone else around you sleepwalks? The choice is yours.”
New online in 2009
In our effort to continue to provide the latest breaking news and information you want—when you want it—we have launched several new digital e-newsletters and another is coming.
The Capital City now has two dailies: Daily Report AM and Daily Report PM. With the Jan. 13 launch of Daily Report PM, our very popular 10-year-old Daily Report is now published at 10 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. Everyone who currently receives Daily Report will receive both. If you don’t currently have this free news service, click here to sign up.
Our 10/12 magazine, providing business news from Louisiana’s creative corridor [Lake Charles to Slidell and New Orleans], will now publish quarterly. In addition, we have news on the corridor posted daily at 1012corridor.comand a free weekly e-newsletter sent every Wednesday at 8 a.m. You can sign up here.
And coming in February, 225 magazine will launch 225Dine, a free weekly e-newsletter with the latest on new restaurants, chefs, local favorites and more. A must for foodies. You can sign up by returning the postage-paid reply card found on page 41 in this issue, or sign up here.
Out of the box
We like to think of our company as entrepreneurial, innovative and often “out of the box.” This issue we applied that thinking to advertising just as an experiment. Most ads in publications are “boxy” [squares or rectangles]. So, we thought … “What if?” For this first issue of 2009, our editor reluctantly allowed us to go outside the box and try a few new ad shapes on for size. We applaud the companies who were willing to take a risk with us, and invite you to check out their “cutting-edge” ads. Let us know what you think. The list includes: Body Mechanics, page 26; Postlethwaite & Netterville, page 29; Latter & Blum, page 31; Business Report, page 38; 225Dine, page 41; and Jones Walker, page 50.