OUT TO LUNCH finds Baton Rouge Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalist skills and food background: conducting business over lunch. Baton Rouge has long had a storied history of politics being conducted over meals, now the Capital Region has an equivalent culinary home for business: Mansur’s. Each week Stephanie holds court over lunch at Mansur’s and invites members of the Baton Rouge business community to join her. You can also hear the show on WRKF 89.3FM.
Though Louisiana isn’t known for its tech community, Silicon Bayou has produced some pretty impressive tech companies over the years. One of the most impressive is a nationwide industry leader, Watch Systems.
Mike Cormaci is president and co-founder of the nearly 20-year-old IT company that is well known to law enforcement agencies around the country because of its flagship product, Offender Watch, a sexual offender management and community notification software used by more than 3,500 agencies – 60% of the offender pool – within the US. Before Offender Watch there was no comprehensive registry for sex offenders. Every jurisidiction and state had its own system for monitoring and managing sex offenders and they didn’t talk to each other. Offender Watch has changed all that.
Ben Cherbonnier is a pioneer in the local IT community. Ben got his start as information systems director at a local CPA firm, Postlethwaite and Netterville, in 1969. In 1984 Ben went out on his own and founded CMA Technology Solutions, which, shrewdly, capitalized on the growing number of businesses that were just beginning to go digital. CMA sold, installed and serviced IBM equipment to business clients. Today, as the Inernet and cloud computing have changed the face of IBM and, indeed, the computer business in general, CMA has grown and diversified to provide a variety of hardware and software solutions for its customers across three states.