BATON ROUGE, La. — Leotta-Evers Consulting (LEO, LLC) has hired economic development executive Tommy J. Kurtz, who guided business expansion and retention efforts for Louisiana Economic Development to unprecedented success the past five years, attracting more than $23 billion in business development projects to Louisiana. Kurtz joins the company as a partner on July 1 and will expand the geospatial technology firm’s scope of services.
Kurtz will lead LEO’s newly formed Economic Consulting Services unit and assist clients with a full suite of services in site selection, economic development, community development and strategic planning — incorporating GIS technology to help companies and communities make intelligent investment decisions.
LEO applies innovative geospatial technology to deliver high-value services for professionals in the commercial real estate, planning, site selection and economic development fields. Principals Victor Leotta and John Evers, who founded the firm in 2008, provide data-driven services to corporations, state and local governments, and private nonprofits in 10 states.
Using GIS – or Geographic Information Systems – software, LEO equips clients with layers of location-based data in interactive, online mapping tools. The company arms clients with analytical information to optimize business decisions about land use and facility operations. Applications range from management of commercial real estate portfolios to land parcel mapping for government planning agencies to critical site selection decisions by major corporations.
“I think we’ve done a good job of capitalizing on our experience working with state, regional and local economic development organizations to attract and site significant job-creating projects,” Leotta said. “While we have an expert command of GIS technologies for site selection, what we really lacked is the education, knowledge and experience to take economic development consulting to the next level. That’s when I began giving considerable thought to strengthening our team with an expert who could bridge that gap: Tommy Kurtz was a logical first choice.”
“Tommy’s work ethic precedes him,” Evers said. “He not only brings education and experience. He has the kind of energy and passion it takes to make a small business highly successful. Victor and I are excited to have Tommy Kurtz on board as a business partner.”
$23 Billion, Thousands Of Jobs
Kurtz brings nearly two decades of formal economic development experience to Leotta-Evers, including his lead role in attracting Sasol Limited’s $16 billion to $21 billion integrated gas-to-liquids and ethane cracker complex to Westlake, La. That project represents the largest manufacturing investment in Louisiana history and one of the largest foreign direct investments in U.S. history. At Louisiana Economic Development, Kurtz launched the highly successful Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, which has conducted retention visits with more than 3,000 local company and headquarters officials. As BERG’s executive director, he guided dozens of successful consolidation, expansion and retention projects to attract more than 5,000 new direct jobs, retain more than 10,000 jobs and bring new capital investment in excess of $23 billion to Louisiana.
Noteworthy projects recruited by Kurtz include the consolidation of all Folgers Coffee roasting operations to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the consolidation of Gardner Denver Inc.’s Sheboygan, Wis., manufacturing operations to its existing Monroe, La., location, and the headquarters relocation and consolidation of Globalstar from Silicon Valley to St. Tammany Parish, near New Orleans, with Globalstar’s acquisition of Covington, La.-based Axonn.
“I’m honored to be joining Victor Leotta and John Evers as a partner in a company that was born in Louisiana and has developed state-of-the-art GIS tools that have been recognized nationally and have benefited the economic development field in our state,” Kurtz said. “Bringing more than nineteen years of economic development experience at local, state and utility organizations, I look forward to assisting companies with site selection needs and to positioning communities domestically and globally for greater economic opportunities through an array of professional services LEO can provide.”
Prior to joining the LED state agency in late 2008, Kurtz successfully launched the Ascension Economic Development Corp. as its initial president and CEO. Earlier, he served as senior vice president overseeing economic development in a 10-parish region for Greater New Orleans Inc. He also worked as an industrial recruiter and community development manager for Entergy Corp., and he led business retention and expansion efforts as program manager for the Mayor’s Office in New Orleans.
Kurtz earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston College and a master of public administration degree from LSU. He also holds the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) credential from the International Economic Development Council and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute (EDI) at the University of Oklahoma. With other economic development professionals, Kurtz co-founded the LSU-LIDEA Economic Development Certification Program in the LSU Continuing Education Program, where he serves as a part-time instructor. Kurtz’s background will provide immediate value for LEO customers, Leotta said.
“Economic development projects provide meaningful work, create quality jobs and grow tax bases with sustainable business investments,” Leotta said. “Tommy’s leadership and skills will provide extraordinary value for all of our economic development clients.”
Doing business as LEO, LLC, Leotta-Evers Consulting delivers geospatial technology solutions for planning, site selection, economic development and local government mapping needs. LEO specializes in the design and application of GIS-based, land-use suitability models to identify optimal locations for business investments and to support strategic planning for communities and economic development organizations. The firm’s online solutions include GIS-based applications for management and distribution of information for site selection consultants, planners, governments, economic developers and real estate professionals. Based in Baton Rouge, La., LEO helps clients maximize their economic competitiveness and make optimal site selection decisions by providing high-value, location-based information and the tools to easily access and understand results. For more details, visit www.leo-llc.com.
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Please contact Victor Leotta at (225) 753-0325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.