"We took an unfortunate situation and we planned for our future," said George Swift, the president and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) Partnership for Economic Development, and one of Roach's key partners in the economic renaissance under way in the region.
"I hate to say it takes a crisis to motivate people, but unfortunately it does," Swift
Reflecting on all of these steps forward in his
Lake Charles office, Swift
explained, "Rita brought us together as a region like never before."
In sharing his obvious civic pride for the work that the region had done and continue to do, Swift recounted a phone call he received during the summer of 2010 from a New York Times reporter.
Calling to inquire about the news of the only newly chartered bank in the United States in 2010, Lakeside Bank
, the reporter challenged Swift
on the economic growth that had been occurring in the region.
With a regional unemployment rate of 7.2 percent - far below the national average - and continued job creation going on at local employers like Aeroframe Services, Northrop Grumman, Shaw, and others, the reporter expressed surprise, if not disbelief, at the good fortunes that had taken root in the area.
"Maybe it's a stereotype of backwater Louisiana - but we're growing and building opportunities here like never before," Swift
estimated that if the moratorium proceeds to the end of 2010, nearly 20,000 jobs could be lost.
noted that by the end of summer in 2010, at least three oil rigs had closed and the sponsoring oil companies had moved their operations elsewhere, thereby taking jobs and other economic growth opportunities with them.
"We're all suffering for that decision [the moratorium]," Swift
In describing his
frustration with the Obama
administration's decision on this issue, Swift
offered, "When you have a plane crash, you don't shut down the whole industry.