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Acadiana newsmakers: Wayne Rabalais wins Small Business Champion award



Wayne Rabalais with Rabalais Business Consulting in Lafayette won the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Champion award during the 2024 Small Business Awards ceremony May 2.

Other winners included Cherrie Guidry with Guidry’s Catfish in Breaux Bridge claiming the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana Small Manufacturer’s Award and Trudy R. Poret with Tarpan Construction in Cottonport winning Women in Business Champion award.

Hosted by Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the event recognizes small business owners and supporters who exemplify entrepreneurial resilience and diversity.

Rabalais, a National Federation of Independent Businesses member for 23 years, owns Rabalais Business Consulting, which specializes in business and accounting services for small businesses.

Kordel Andrews was named Support Employee of the Year by Acadian Cos.

Andrews, a fleet maintenance technician who joined Acadian in 2020, and works out of the New Orleans office. Technicians inspect and repair company vehicles, perform preventive maintenance on the ambulance fleet, perform mechanical related repairs and electrical repairs and drive vehicles as needed.

Acadian’s support departments assist its seven divisions, and the winner is chosen from all employees in its client services, accounting/payroll/payables, electronics, executive assistants, facility maintenance, fleet maintenance, information technology, materials management, runners, legal/risk management, HSE, wellness, and public relations and marketing.

Jim Juneau was named executive vice president of business strategy and finance at Opelousas General Health System.

Juneau has been OGHS’ chief financial officer for the past 14 years and has been with the group since 2007 when he was controller. In 2010, he was named chief financial officer.

He is a graduate of from Louisiana College and first worked in health care in 1978 at Rapides Regional Medical Center.

Gabe Armand, a safety specialist with Acadian Companies’ Safety Management Systems, was named its 2024 Employee of the Year.

Armand joined SMS in 2001 as part of the company’s Attract, Recruit, and Deploy program, which was designed to train new safety professionals. His offshore career with Shell began on the Mars platform, where he spent three years before transitioning to work on Auger.

He was also part of Shell’s operations in the Haynesville Shale, Texas and in Pennsylvania and won Shell’s prestigious Goal Zero Hero award.

A division of Acadian Companies, Safety Management Systems provides services to all areas of the energy and industrial construction markets.

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