OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
When we hear about people who are successful in business, we tend to hear different versions of a familiar story. Somebody with a singular vision relentlessly pursues an idea, till, against all odds and after all kinds of hardship, they create Wal-Mart or Apple. What you hear less often, are stories about people who have no single-minded obsession, but are nonetheless successful and happy, doing something today that just a few short years ago they would never have imagined. That’s the category that both of Aileen's lunch guests fall into on this episode of Out to Lunch Acadiana.
Kevin Blanchard started out as a journalist. He was a news reporter in Lafayette, for The Advocate. By 2008 he was married and had kids. For a guy with a family to raise, the future of the newspaper business didn’t look too bright. So, Kevin went back to school. In 2011, he graduated from LSU with a law degree. As an attorney, Kevin was serving as Public Works Director and Chief Development Officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government when he came in contact with the owners of Southern Lifestyle Development. They’re the company behind River Ranch, and 17 other communities they’re developing throughout Louisiana.
Kevin went to work at Southern Lifestyle Development as their in-house counsel. He soon became the company’s Chief Operating Officer. And that’s what he’s doing today, managing 40 employees.
Korey Champagne grew up in Thibodaux, went to LSU and majored in dietetics and nutritional science with a plan of getting into healthcare. On the way to making that plan happen, Korey was working as a paramedic. That’s when he met his wife, who is from Broussard, and they had a child.
At this time, Korey was making some extra money by going to The Farmers Market with homemade pies that he was making. He couldn’t help but notice two things: one, he loved making pies. And two, his pies sold out really quickly. For a while, Korey was a paramedic piemaker. Till it got to the point where he had to make a decision about where to concentrate his efforts. The sensible plan would have been to concentrate on a career in healthcare.
And that’s how Korey came to be the founder and owner of a growing business called Acadian Slice. Acadian Slice is not a healthcare company, it makes pies.
Today's business plan lesson? What business plan? Apparently you can follow your heart or your gut, without a plan, and end up being happy and successful.