Graves: Newest member of NextGen CouncilMay 7th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Top Story
Chief Administrative Officer for the St. Bernard Parish Government, Jerry Graves Jr., was recently tapped to join GNO Inc.’s NextGen Council, a panel comprised of business and governmental leaders under the age of 35. Photo by Jessica Gonzalez
St. Bernard Parish’s Chief Administrative Officer, Jerry Graves Jr., was recently appointed to serve on the Greater New Orleans Inc. NextGen Council— a group of regional leaders and professionals under the age of 35.
The council, Graves says, plays a supportive role to the GNO Inc. Board while taking on their own projects and initiatives. Last year, the NextGen council tackled a project which focused on bolstering Hornets ticket sales to ensure the team would stay in New Orleans.
Graves’ extensive work and leadership experience made him a strong candidate for selection. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and has worked in the private sector as planner, and for the St. Bernard Parish Government as Director of Community Development. Graves co-founded the National Hazard Mitigation Association, served for three years on the NHMA’s Legislative Committee, and is a board member of St. Bernard Sports Hall of Fame. He was tapped to serve on the NextGen council a month ago, and is very excited to bring St. Bernard into the regional conversation.
“GNO Inc. is about regional development, and I really want to get St. Bernard tied into that,” Graves stated. “They are also big on promoting quality of life as a component to attract businesses to the area, and between our safety, schools, the amount of available property and our close location to the CBD, St. Bernard has a lot to offer.”
One of GNO Inc.’s main goals is to attract new business and investment into the region, while retaining and expanding existing companies. Graves says that this is particularly important for St. Bernard, since the parish is still redeveloping and vying for the attention of companies looking to set up shop in the Greater New Orleans area.
He also says that GNO Inc. is working with Dutch government officials, to exchange ideas on sustainable protection of low-lying river areas. Like the Greater New Orleans area, flood control is an important issue for the Netherlands, as nearly two-thirds of the country is vulnerable to flooding. Being that it is one of the most densely populated countries on earth, officials have been working to find the best long-term solutions to flooding for centuries.
“One of things I’m interested in working on is water management strategies,” said Graves. “I’ve always looked at St. Bernard’s geography and location as both an asset and a threat— our location makes it great for the shipping industry and for recreation, but it’s also a liability. I think one of the main things GNO Inc.’s involvement can help with is coming up with safer ways to live near the water and finding ways to use our water resources more efficiently.”
Another interest of GNO Inc. and the NextGen Council is establishing the region as a national biomedical hub. Graves wants St. Bernard to be a part of that, especially with the new hospital nearing completion. In order to include St. Bernard into that equation, he thinks it would be incredibly beneficial for the new hospital to find a speciality and capitalize on that.
“GNO Inc. is interested in establishing the region as a national biomedical center; with the new hospital coming we should be striving not to just move clientele from one facility to the other, but to find a niche for a certain practice like the cancer centers in Houston and Indiana,” Graves explained.
“We’ve got to take advantage of where we are and capitalize on the great things we have.”