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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Panelist Bio


Don Pierson
Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development

In January 2016, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Don Pierson, CEcD, to serve as Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. Pierson served as Assistant Secretary and Senior Director of Business Development for LED since January 2005.

With executive-level leadership, his duties include the implementation of domestic and international economic development programs, and job retention and creation efforts for the State of Louisiana.

He is Gov. John Bel Edwards’ primary representative to governmental officials, local communities, and site selector consultants on all economic issues. Pierson possesses more than 27 years of economic development experience, and is a certified economic development professional.


Experience

Before coming to LED, Pierson served for 17 years in the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, community as Executive Director of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation.

In 2000, Gov. Mike Foster appointed Pierson to the Louisiana Economic Development Council. A year later, Governor Foster again appointed him, this time to the Department of Economic Development Reorganization Task Force.

In 2005, Gov. Kathleen Blanco appointed Pierson to serve as Assistant Secretary for LED. Aware of Pierson’s economic development expertise and leadership, Governor Blanco’s successor, Gov. Bobby Jindal, appointed Pierson as Assistant Secretary for LED in 2008. Pierson then became Governor Jindal’s appointee for The Aerospace Alliance for Aviation in 2009, and in January 2016 became the Secretary for LED.
Pierson is a past-president of the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association, LIDEA. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Southern Economic Development Council, an organization with representatives from all Southern states. Pierson also is a past-president of the Louisiana Chamber of
Commerce Executives Association.


Education

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Pierson served as an Airborne- and Ranger-Qualified Infantry Officer in the 82nd Airborne Division for five years. He has also served as a deacon at Kings Highway Christian Church in Shreveport. He is married to Kay Spearman Pierson and has two adult children, Jerry and Rachel.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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