BRAC names EATEL’s Burgess board chairman

Staff reports

 EATEL President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Burgess has been elected as the 2010 chairman of board of directors of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce.

Burgess becomes the first BRAC board chair from a company outside of East Baton Rouge Parish. He begins his term January 1.

In a release, BRAC said the board voted unanimously to elect Burgess, because of his effective leadership, and to highlight the organization’s nine-parish regional representation.

The selection of Burgess to head the board was called a defining moment for BRAC by its President and CEO Adam Knapp.

He said the election shows that BRAC’s board is committed to the belief that regionalism is at the core of BRAC’s economic development strategy.

“Robert, as well as EATEL, and Ascension Parish have repeatedly shown a true commitment to the entire area moving forward,” Knapp said.

Burgess has 37 years of telecommunications management experience in wireless and land-based companies including BellSouth, AT&T, CenturyTel, Sprint affiliate Gulf Coast Wireless, and EATEL.

He is on the board of trustees for Blueprint Louisiana and serves as vice chairman for St. Elizabeth Hospital and chairman of River Parishes Community College Foundation. Burgess is also a board member of Education’s Next Horizon and an advisory board member of the Council for a Better Louisiana. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and a Masters of Business Administration from NOVA Southeast University.

BRAC partners with its nine-parish allies to create a cohesive business development team that is marketing and selling the Capital Region.

A significant addition to the regional strategy was made with the founding of the Ascension Economic Development Corporation. Beginning in 2005, AEDC was created by Ascension Parish  business and parish government in order to better control their economic development future. Since then, AEDC has evolved into an active BRAC partner and a successful template for other parishes to follow.