Mary Jo Hanover Award recognizes exceptional dedication and outstanding contribution to the field of economic development.
On Nov. 8, Mike Sibley, Cleco manager of economic development southern region, accepted Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association’s (LIDEA) Mary Jo Hanover Outstanding Achievement Award.
“This prestigious award honors someone who has demonstrated exceptional dedication and made an outstanding contribution to the field of economic development,” said Eric Schouest, Cleco vice-president of marketing. “Mike is only the second person to ever receive the award.”
Founded in 1964, LIDEA is an organization committed to the development of individuals involved in economic development efforts in Louisiana through education, public policy advocacy and collaboration. The presentation of the award is at the discretion of the board and it is only awarded in years when an appropriate nomination has been submitted and approved by the LIDEA Board of Directors.
“I can’t think of a more deserving person to receive this recognition,” said Bruce Wainer, Cleco board member. “The assistance Mike has provided to me over the years has been invaluable.”
In 2001, Sibley joined Cleco’s economic development team, where he uses his vast experience to make significant economic contributions to better the community and Cleco. Sibley volunteered in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and worked closely with St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation’s community initiatives. During his time at Cleco, Sibley has been instrumental in the retention and expansion of Procter and Gamble, as well as bringing Plastipak, a plastic packaging manufacturer and distributor, to central Louisiana.
Before coming to Cleco, Sibley worked on the Red River Waterway Navigation Project, which changed the nonnavigable Red River into a channel for transporting commodities and resources. He also served as executive director of the Port of Natchitoches and obtained funding for the Louisiana Highway 486 realignment project, among numerous other projects. A summary of Sibley’s other economic accomplishments include $294 million in capital expenditures, resulting in 1,580 direct jobs.
“As a utility company, our growth is closely tied to the growth of the communities we serve. For that reason, it is a very common for utility companies to have economic development departments,” said Jeff Baudier, chief marketing and development officer. “As a smaller sized, utility, we depend very heavily on the members of this department to put us in a favorable light when competing against larger companies with more resources and bigger staffs. Mike’s tenacity and understanding of business development allows Cleco to compete in these situations.”
“I am honored that my peers would present me the Mary Jo Hanover Outstanding Achievement Award,” said Sibley. “However, I could not have done this on my own. I share this award with my outstanding economic development partners and the mentors I’ve had throughout my career.”