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Airport Commission

Mr. Jared Smith
Airport Commission Chairman

As director of business development for East Baton Rouge Parish, Jared works closely with the Mayor/Presidentís Office and the Metropolitan Council to recruit and retain companies to East Baton Rouge Parish. Jared has played a critical role in bringing new business to the area, including IBMís eight-hundred-job technology center and Katoen Natieís new, two-million-square-foot storage and production facility. Jared also serves as the director of the Baton Rouge Area Digital Industries Consortium (BRADIC), a one-of-a-kind organization comprised of influential community leaders committed to recruiting and growing Baton Rougeís digital media companies. A native of Rayville, LA, Jared graduated from LSU with a degree in English and earned his MBA from Southeastern Louisiana University. Jaredís experience includes working with C-level executives on business and strategic development, banking, and management. He previously worked for Louisiana Economic Development where he worked on corporate expansions statewide. He also served as vice president for a community bank, and is a former title insurance agent. In 2013, Jared was appointed to the East Baton Rouge Industrial Development Board and serves on Together Baton Rougeís Food Desert Committee.  He is married to Jennifer Causey of Central and has three children, Ava, Lauren and Hudson.

"As an Airport Commissioner, I feel that it is my role and opportunity to bring a unique point of view to assist in guiding the outreach and operations of the Baton Rouge Airport.  I hope to bring a perspective of aggressive business development to the Airport Commission.  Our airport plays a major role in economic development for the Baton Rouge region and I believe increasing revenue streams through new opportunities will spur the types of improvements our citizens want to see.  I support the efforts of the airport leadership, staff, and Commissioners and look forward to partnering with the entire team.Ē

Mr. Trae Welch
Airport Commissioner
Council District 1Trae Welch

Airport Commissioner Trae Welch is native of Baker, Louisiana. Chairman Welch graduated from Baker High School and received his Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Mr. Welch received his Jurist Doctorate Degree from Southern University. Mr. Welch currently serves as Zachary City Prosecutor and practices law in Zachary. In addition to serving on as the BTR Airport Commission Chairman, Democrat Trae Welch was elected to the Metropolitan Council representing District 1 in 2008. He is a former Baker Councilman and former member of the Baker Planning/Zoning Board. He and his wife, Lynn, own and operate the Jack and Jillís Children Boutique in Zachary. They have a two- year-old son, Quaid.

Mr. Jim Ellis
Airport Commissioner

Commissioner Jim Ellis is a partner in the law firm Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, L.L.P. in Baton Rouge, LA. He has a B.S. Degree from LSU, and a Law Degree from Tulane School of Law. Mr. Ellis was General Counsel for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (2005-2007) and served as Chairman of the Board of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber in 2008. He was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in Energy Law for the last ten years. In addition to serving the Chairman of the Airport Commission, Mr. Ellis is active in many civic and economic development organizations.

Mr. Johnny Fife
Airport Commissioner
Commissioner John Fife was born and raised in Baton Rouge, and is a graduate of Baton Rouge High School and LSU with a bachelorís degree in Construction Management. He is married with three children and four grandchildren.

He has been in the industrial and commercial construction business for over 30 years, and is the owner of The Arkel Constructors group of companies which consists of Arkel Constructors, a Baton Rouge based construction company; ACI Facilities Management, a commercial building maintenance company; and Derashnie Enterprises, an intermodal trucking operation.

Mr. Fife is involved in several different civic and charity organizations, primarily in the support of medical and cancer research.

In regards to serving as a Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Commissioner, Fife stated, "I feel that the success and growth of the Baton Rouge Metro Airport is important to the continued economic development of our city. The airport property encompasses a great resource of real estate with significant development potential that can bring substantial building and employment opportunity to our area. I hope my experience in the construction and development industry can aid in the continued growth of this facility."

Mr. Cleve Dunn, Jr.
Airport Commissioner

Commissioner Cleve Dunn Jr. is a life-long resident of Baton Rouge. Raised in North Baton Rouge, he graduated from Capitol Senior High School and attended Southern University and A&M College. He received his Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University.  

Mr. Dunn is the CEO/President of Dunn Enterprises which manages a diverse project portfolio including real estate investments, logistics, entertainment, and the arts. Mr. Dunn is a sought-after business and political consultant, providing expertise and analysis to nonprofit organizations, businesses, entrepreneurs, and political candidates.


Dunn has helped to create and expand businesses across Louisiana, while elected officials both local and statewide have relied on his pulse of the community to lead their campaigns to success.

 He is and member of the National Association of Parliamentarians and serves on the boards for the Angelís Empowerment Organization and the Baton Rouge Student Learning Center. He also serves on the Butterfly Society board. Cleve and his wife Stacy have two daughters.

Mr. Alfred Buckley
Airport Commissioner

Commissioner Alfred Buckley, a life-long resident of East Baton Rouge Parish, is married with grown children. His career in city-parish government has included positions with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Courtís Office, the Attorney Generalís Office and the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Courtís Office, where he is employed as Assistant Chief Deputy under the administration of Doug Wellborn.

Mr. Todd Grigsby
Airport Commissioner
Commissioner Todd W. Grigsby is a native of Baton Rouge, and a 1989 graduate of Tara High School. He received a B.S. degree in Construction from LSU in 1994 and a Master of Business Administration from Tulane University in 2000.

Mr. Grigsby has worked for Cajun Industries, LLC his entire adult life, a company founded by his father in 1973. His father is the owner and serves as Chairman of the Board.

Currently, Grigsby serves as President & CEO of Cajun Constructors, Inc. He has held several other positions, including, but not limited to: laborer, mechanic helper, carpenter, Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, Estimator, Project Manager, Manager of Marketing and Vice President of the Dallas Division.

Cajun Industries, headquartered in Baton Rouge, has annual sales in excess of $300 million. Cajun is a multi-faceted company that provides a broad range of services to various industries, including Water Quality, Petroleum, Chemical, Power, Pulp and Paper, Manufacturing, Distributing and Food Processing. As a leader in full-service industrial construction and maintenance, Cajun's expanded capabilities feature mechanical construction including pipe erection, equipment setting, structural steel erection, as well as drill shafts and pile driving to complement a full menu of construction services.

Todd is married to Ainsley Rolfs Grigsby and they have three sons, Lane (11), Crawford (9) and Oliver (5). In his free time, Grigsby enjoys spending time with his family, spearfishing, hunting, and fishing.

"I am honored to serve as a commissioner of the BTR airport," stated Commissioner Grigsby. "As a commissioner, I see my role being to help provide direction and leadership to BTR along with my fellow commissioners.As a newly appointed commissioner, I intend on gathering knowledge on issues as they pertain to the airport. Once I have a better understanding as to the way the airport operates, I will try and help lead the airport toward measured goals and objectives."

Organizational Memberships:

St. James Episcopal Church

ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) Chairman 2013

CIAC (Construction Industry Advisory Council)

Delta Waterfowl

Coastal Conservation Association

Texas Deer Association

Wild Sheep Foundation

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

The Boo Grigsby Foundation

Mr. Andrew McCandless
Airport Commissioner

Mr. Andrew McCandless is the Founder and President of the business consulting firm Bascom-Hunter, based in Baton Rouge, LA. Mr. McCandless received his Bachelorís Degree from LSU in Mechanical Engineering. He is married to Stephanie McCandless and has two small children. Mr. McCandless is originally from Houma, LA.

Mrs. Valarie Hodges
Airport Commissioner

Valarie Hodges has a proven track record of leadership, professional experience and civic involvement. She is a passionate leader who serves on the 8-member Executive Committee of the State-wide Republican Party of Louisiana. She is the past president of the Livingston Parish Republican Women's Club, which she helped restart five years ago. Valarie has been a relentless volunteer in many Republican campaigns to elect conservative leaders to public office. Her civic involvement, professional experience and leadership set her apart.

Valarie attended Central High School and Jr. High where she met and married her childhood sweetheart, Leland Hodges. They were married 39 years ago at Amite Baptist Church in Watson, Together they have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Leland and Valarie own and operate two successful small businesses and are committed to improving the business climate in Louisiana. Improving roads is a huge concern and will be her #1 priority in the legislature.

Valarie has been very involved with CASA and with WOW (Women Outreaching Women), and spearheaded many community events. Valarie was a missionary for 18 years and lived in extremely harsh conditions. She knows what it's like to roll up her sleeves and work side by side with people on a tight budget and very limited resources. Valarie will work hard to bring out of control spending to sustainable levels.

Valarie has been endorsed by the Tea Party of Louisiana, Louisiana Conservative. com, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (East Pac), Louisiana Oil and Gas Industry PAC, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, and U. S. Senator David Vitter.

Mrs. Rose Doolittle
Airport Commissioner
Senator Yvonne Dorsey appointed Rose Doolittle as her designee. Doolittle previously served on the Airport Commission from 1995 until 1997.

"The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport should continue to be a good neighbor to those who live near the facility,Ē said Doolittle. The Airport shouldmaintain the aesthetic qualities established on Harding and Veterans Boulevard and other streets leading to the airport. Doolittleís other goals include negotiating for low-cost carriers, morenonstop flights to other cities, building a hotel on site and acquiring more long-term tenants. She feels customer service and safety are very important.

Doolittle is a licensed professional counselor and certified compulsive gambling counselor for senior citizens through the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Addiction Disorders. In addition she is a Crisis Line Counselor for the Battered Womenís Program where she has volunteered for more than 13 years. 

Mrs. Yvonne Dorsey
Airport Commissioner
Yvonne Dorsey won election to the Louisiana State Senate in November 2007 and began her term in January 2008. She represents Senate District 14, an area which includes not only LSU and the commercial and governmental heart of Baton Rouge but also the bulk of the city's economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Dorsey sits on four major standing Senate committees: Judiciary C, where she is Chairman and controls changes to the criminal and civil codes and all matters relating to law enforcement and the judiciary; Revenue & Fiscal Affairs, where she oversees taxes, tax credits and bond measures; Education, where she protects public education, including LSU, Southern, Louisiana Technical Colleges, School for the Deaf and School for the Visually Impaired, all of which lie within her senatorial district; and Health & Welfare, where she makes crucial decisions helping to provide care for children, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged. She also serves on the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children.

Prior tomoving to the Senate, she served in the Louisiana House of Representatives for over fourteen years representing House District 67. Ever since first attaining public office in April of 1993, Yvonne has used her public position to promote community services in the city's poorest neighborhoods. She has provided vital help with grants for after school tutoring services and for inspirational activities for children and the elderly. She sponsors community events at which she gives free school supplies to thousands of children every Fall. Every summer she personally leads groups of disadvantaged youth on two-week summer vacations to places like Disneyland or the Grand Canyon. So far, she has given over two thousand children their firstóand sometimes onlyóvacation trip.

In 2005 the combined membership of the House unanimously elected Yvonne to the position of Speaker Pro Tempore. In this capacity, she assisted in managing House business, steered the Governor's legislative agenda, and served as an ex-officio member of every House standing committee.

For a decade Yvonne stood as the sole voice for all of Baton Rouge in the House budgeting process from her position on the House Appropriations Committee. Yvonne was the driving force behind the capital outlay programs which have revitalized Baton Rouge's downtown and restored the historic old McKinley High School building. She also served as Vice Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee in the House where she had oversight of the state's public hospital system.

Yvonne began developing her expertise in management and public service while employed at the 19th Judicial District Clerk of Court. She rose from an entry level position to Executive Administrator in just a few years, managing a five million dollar budget and supervising 250 employees in eighteen departments. She was instrumental in creating that office's Family Violence Department which gives assistance to victims of spousal abuse.

In 1992 she became Executive Director of the Employment Council at the Louisiana Department of Labor where she was responsible for implementing Louisiana's Federal Jobs Training Program. She resigned that position to run for the Louisiana House.

Every year, Yvonne raises funds to send up to eighty children on an educational vacation. She believes it is important that they know how much larger the world is than what they have seen in their troubled neighborhoods and that it is big enough to accommodate anyone's dreams. In 2009, she took a bus full of children selected by pastors from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Alexandria, and Lafayette to Washington, D.C. where they witnessed the inauguration of our nation's first African-American President, Barrack Obama.

Currently, Yvonne is Industrial Coordinator at the Louisiana Technical Colleges. She is responsible for identifying the critical job skills needed by Louisiana's businesses and then creating and managing specific training programs designed to meet them.

Yvonne graduated from Capital High School in Baton Rouge and earned a bachelor of science degree in political science from LSU in May 2008. She is presently completing her masters in political science in the LSU graduate school.

She is the mother of two children: a son, Jamar, who is an architect, and a daughter, Darcé, an ordained minister with a masters in education who teaches and ministers to the hearing impaired. Yvonne attends Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Mr. James Dodds
Airport Commissioner

Mr. James Dodds is the owner of The Architectural Studio in Baton Rouge, which he founded in 1968. A graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, he is a registered Architect in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Mr. Doddsis a member of the Louisiana Association of Architects, American Institute of Architects, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.He is also past President of the Istrouma Area Council for the Boy Scouts and the past President of Area 1 for the Boy Scouts South Central Region, which includes Louisiana and Arkansas. Mr. Dodds was an Eagle Scout and the recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, Honor Medal with Cross Palms, and the Silver Antelope Award. Mr. Dodds and his wife, Donna, have six children, fifteen grandchildren, and one great granddaughter.