Mr. Johnny Fife
Airport Commission Chairman
Airport Commission Chairman Johnny Fife was born and raised in Baton Rouge, and is a graduate of Baton Rouge High School and LSU with a bachelor’s 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 are important to the continued economic development of our city. The airport property encompasses a great resource for 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. Valery "Val" Lowery
Airport Commission Vice-Chair
Commission Vice-Chair Valery “Val” Lowery, a resident of Baton Rouge, is President and CEO of Lowery Enterprises of The South, Inc., DBA Lowery and Associates Realty. Mr. Lowery is also a Louisiana Real Estate Broker and Real Estate Tax Consultant. He previously owned Tri-Parish Funding Group, where he was a licensed Mortgage Broker for ten years. He received Governor Appointments to serve as a member of the Louisiana Real Estate Commission and the Louisiana Tax Commission.
Mr. Lowery studied at Southern University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Commissioner Lowery has served as an expert witness in City, State and Federal Courts involving real estate property valuation disputes. As an appraiser, he specializes in land acquisitions for right-of-ways and neighborhood stabilization programs that include: East Baton Rouge Parish Sewer Upgrade projects; City of Baton Rouge Green Light Plan; Baton Rouge NWWTP Buffer Area and Vegetative Plantings project; and East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority. Commissioner Lowery also has a working knowledge of the Federal Aviation Administration Guidelines for the preparation of appraisals for relocation purposes under the employment of W. D. Schock Company, Inc.
Commissioner Lowery’s vision for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport includes:
- Continued upgrades and expansion of the Airport
- Continued infrastructure improvements
- Continued growth in passenger services
- Adoption of technologies to improve airport safety and efficiencies
Mr. Matthew Butler
Airport Commissioner Matthew Butler is a resident of Baton Rouge, LA. Mr. Butler is President and Chief Operating Officer of Waggoner Engineering. He has held several senior level executive positions throughout his career, including Vice President with Jacobs Engineering and Senior Vice President for the Shaw Group/CB&I. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from McNeese State University in Environmental Science and a Master of Science degree from Southern University A&M College in Environmental Chemistry.
Mr. Butler is a proven leader and supporter of many social, civic, and charitable organizations throughout the community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Young Leaders Academy, Lambda Kappa Kappa Foundation and has held memberships in several other local and national non-profit agencies over the past 25 years.
He firmly believes the Baton Rouge Airport District must be the driving force for advancing and maintaining an exceptional quality of life for the people throughout the Parish. The Airport should continue as the anchor for economic development within our region and the State. Mr. Butler is honored to serve on the commission and engage with the community. He continues to work close with his fellow commission members to make the Baton Rouge Airport one of the greatest transportation and logistics hubs across the Southeast.
Mr. Cleve Dunn, Jr.
Past Commission Chairman 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 Bachelor's 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.
Commission Chairman Dunn is the President of the Capitol High Alumni Association, a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians and serves on the boards for the Angel’s Empowerment Organization and the Butterfly Society. Cleve and his wife Stacy have two daughters.
Mr. Trae 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 Jill’s Children Boutique in Zachary. They have a two-year-old son, Quaid.
State Representative Barbara West Carpenter, PhD
Dr. Barbara West Carpenter serves as Dean of International Affairs and University Outreach at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Holding the rank of tenured professor, she also directs all activities associated with the Center for Service Learning at the university. Through these appointments, she is the administrator of the unit designated to integrate international education and cultural diversity into all aspects of the university. Her responsibilities include study abroad programs, faculty development, international student integration and project management and development. She also has lead the participation of many of the university’s major international programs which include joint faculty research and development, study abroad initiatives and mutual faculty and student exchanges in the following countries: Jamaica, Belize, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, China, Turkey and Brazil.
Dr. Carpenter holds the BS and MS degrees from Southern University and A&M College in Education and Supervision and Administration. She earned the Ph.D. in Education and International Development from Kansas State University. Further study was completed at Colorado College and Ohio State University. Some of her community and professional affiliations include the March of Dimes where she served as Chair of the State Board of Directors, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Fraternity, Rotary International, and Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Society. She chaired the Board of Commissioners for the Baton Rouge Housing Authority and is a Past International President of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
In November 2015, Dr. Carpenter was elected to the Louisiana State House of Representatives, representing District 63. She is a member of the Evening Star Baptist and is married to Dr. Dana Carpenter, an administrator at Southern University. They are the parents of two children.
State Representative Valarie Hodges
Valarie Hope Hodges was elected State Representative for District 64 in 2012 and is currently going into her 3rd term unopposed. She has been a fierce advocate for pro-life issues and conservative values proven by passage of bills to enhance homeland security, prevent human trafficking and toughen abortion laws. One of the highlights of her tenure was carrying The Heartbeat Bill on the House Floor, which passed overwhelmingly. Another was this year when the Pro-Israel/ Anti BDS Bill was passed and signed into law.
Representative Hodges chairs two oversight committees as well as serves on Appropriations, Joint Budget, Administration of Criminal Justice and Judiciary. She has passed legislation creating a Statewide Flood Plain Management Commission and Chairs the Comite Diversion Canal Task Force which has brought statewide recognition for need of more effective flood control plans.
Representative Hodges and her husband, Leland, served as missionaries for 20 years and founded Straightway Ministries, an international ministry in Nicaragua and Mexico. They started dozens of churches in towns where there was not one church or even running water.. They still support the pastors and oversee the churches there.
Valarie's favorite quote is "All it takes for evil to triumph is for a few good men to do nothing".
Mr. Paul Arrigo
Paul Arrigo is a native of New Orleans, LA, and has over 40 years of experience in hospitality marketing. Mr. Arrigo is the former President & CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Baton Rouge), a position he held from 2002 to 2022. He served as the Bureau's Vice President of Sales & Marketing from 1997 to 2002. Prior to joining the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mr. Arrigo was Director of Sales Operations - Eastern Region - for the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. He opened and operated the Washington, D. C. office of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau for nine years.
Commissioner Arrigo is a member of 12 industry associations, and serves on the board of directors of the following:
- Louisiana Restaurant Association
- Baton Rouge Center for World Affairs
- Louisiana Travel Promotion Association Finance Committee
- Oak Ridge Homeowners Association
- Southeast Tourism Society
- City Club of Baton Rouge
- Louisiana Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau
Ms. Kizzy Payton
Kizzy Payton is currently the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Baton Rouge Community College. She has previously held positions that include Press Secretary, Louisiana Department of Revenue; Executive Director of Communications, BREC; Director of Public Information, Louisiana Community and Technical College System; and Communications Coordinator, Southern University. Ms. Payton holds a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Print Journalism from Southern University and A&M College.
Kizzy Payton has an extensive record of volunteer work including serving as a board member of the EBRP Library Board of Control; Girl Scouts Louisiana East; March of Dimes – Capital Area Division; and the Junior League of Baton Rouge.
Mr. Bill Profita
A veteran broadcaster in the Baton Rouge area, Bill Profita is currently the co-host of The Morning Exiles podcast. He has also been a popular talk show host on TALK 107.3 FM and WJBO AM. Mr. Profita was a Principal at AdComm, Inc., and has managed media and communications issues for various institutional and public access clients, including the Baton Rouge Metro Airport for over 20 years.
Profita has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Broadcast Management from LSU. He is married to Karen Profita.
State Senator Cleo Fields
Cleo C. Fields is an attorney and the owner of the Fields Law Firm, LLC. He currently serves as a state senator for Louisiana’s 14th State Senate District, a position he held twice before. Mr. Fields also represented Louisiana's 4th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 1997, and ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Louisiana in 1995.
Senator Fields is from Baton Rouge, and obtained his law degree from Southern University School of Law. Fields is a member of Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church. He has been married to his wife, Debra for 27 years. They have two sons, Brandon and Christopher.
Councilwoman Chauna Banks
Chauna Banks was elected to the Metropolitan Council representing Council District 2 by an overwhelming victory on December 8, 2012. District 2 includes most of Baker, Alsen, Scotlandville, Beechwood, Brownsfield, and north of Hooper Road to the Comite River.
A native of Baton Rouge, Chauna graduated from Southern University Lab High School and received her Bachelor of Science degree at Southern University in Computer Science, further graduating from Southern University Graduate School with a Master’s degree in Education, Leadership and Counseling. She is employed with East Baton Rouge School System.
While rooted in a consistent tradition of empowering the underserved, Chauna has crafted a vision for Metro District 2 that focuses on equitable funding for blight elimination, infrastructure, and new housing construction. Creating economic opportunities for her constituent base whose demographics are continually expanding is a priority. She has likewise enhanced her district by increasing commercial development, experiencing a reduction in crime, and continuously advocating for healthcare access opportunities.
In 2014, Councilwoman Banks created the Jewel J. Newman Community Center (JJNCC) Advisory Board, whose dedicated support of community center staff has led to enhanced services and established the center as "A Place for All". Under her leadership, JJNCC has received increased City-Parish funding for building and grounds upgrades. The center has also been awarded several grants; The KaBOOM! in the amount $15,000 towards a "Community Playground Build” Project, an annual ExxonMobil Grant $2500, and just recently, the Capital Area United Way grant in the amount of $30,000 to operate the JJNCC TeenWorkPrepBR. Chauna has lead efforts to increase revenues and a JJNCC Capital Campaign, proceeds are dedicated to increasing the quality of life for her constituents with such events as a Masquerade Ball, Back-to-School Rally, Senior Appreciation Luncheon, and much more.
Her dedication and hands-on approach with residents, business leaders, public and private institutions, community groups, and other elected officials has been fundamental in changing the "status quo.”
The #NBRNow Blue Ribbon Commission, appointed by Councilwoman Banks in 2016, consist of nine members, whose ultimate mission is to enrich north Baton Rouge's communities and economy through the public, private partnerships, and grass root efforts. Two major initiatives being pursued: bringing Champion Medical Center emergency services to Howell Place and keeping the BREC Zoo in its current location with the necessary sustainable resources to promote it as a recreation, education, and conservation destination.
Councilwoman Banks has made a life-long commitment to move her community forward, and will always work to foster an end to joblessness, neighborhood blight, and poor public education through using the tools of public policy, legislation and public involvement. Her overall vision is to improve her constituents’ quality of life – regardless of race, class, gender, or socio-economic status. She continues to believe that there is a solution to every problem, and that when we work together, everybody wins.
Chauna's Legislative Aides are Venese M. C. Morgan and Tamara Williams.
State Senator Regina Ashford Barrow
In 2005, Regina Ashford Barrow was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives as the Louisiana State Representative for District 29, and then re-elected to serve her 3rd consecutive term as the State Representative for District 29 in 2011.
In 2015, she was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. While a State Representative she was active on a number of committees including the House Ways and Means Committee, Health and Welfare Committee, the Municipal, Parochial, Cultural Affairs Committee and the Joint Capital Outlay Committee. She currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Select Committee on Women and Children, Vice Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, a member of the Finance Committee, Judiciary C, Labor and Industrial Relations, and the Select Committee on Veterans Affairs. As a State Legislator, Senator Barrow has stayed actively involved in giving her community the leadership they deserve. As a Representative, Senator Barrow passed several pertinent pieces of legislation including ACT 264, which provides National Guard members who re-enlist in the National Guard the opportunity to receive free college tuition up to a doctorate degree. She also ushered through ACT 98, which creates a new economic development district for the North Baton Rouge area.
Senator Barrow is also deeply committed to strong ethics within our state government. During the 2007 Legislative Session, she led an effort to successfully pass legislation that requires elected officials to participate in mandatory ethics training. Senator Barrow is also proud to have played an integral part in passing legislation to protect and prevent the birth of premature babies to reduce infant mortality in the State of Louisiana. In her last term as State Representative, Senator Barrow authored HCR 129 which created a task force to study health services delivery and financing in the Baton Rouge Region.
Senator Barrow is a graduate of the Flemmings Fellow Leadership Institute Fellow and the Council of State Government-Center for Advancement of Leadership. In addition, she will be pursuing her degree in Business Administration over the next four years. She is also the state director for Women in Government and Women in Legislature Lobby and the regional chair for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. She was also the executive director of RĪZ Up Louisiana. Senator Barrow in 2015 was presented with the Regional Legislator of the Year Award for Region 10 at the 39th Annual National Black Caucus of State Legislators in Los Angeles, California. She was also named the 2015 Regional Policy Legislative Honoree for being a champion for mental health and addiction treatment, by the Mental Health America Association.
Senator Barrow and her husband, James, have been married for 31 years and have two children, James Barrow, Jr. and Shanrika Barrow Fobb, a son-in law, Derrick Fobb, Sr. and two grandsons, Jeremiah and Derrick Jr.
Mr. Darren Myles
Airport Commissioner Designee for State Senator Regina Barrow
Mr. Darren Myles is a resident of Zachary, Louisiana and is employed at Turner Industries. He and his wife Tonja have been community volunteers for over 17 years during their 21 years of marriage.
In 2004, former U.S. President George W. Bush recognized Darren and Tonja for their community outreach activities in drug rehabilitation. In 2005 President Bush appointed Darren Myles to the National Drug Policy Board, on which he served for 6 years until the end of the Bush Administration.
As an Airport Commissioner, Darren stated that he would like to see the airport continue to develop as a major economic force in the Baton Rouge area and the second largest airport in the state. "I will use my leadership and developmental skills to work with our board, as we turn our vision into a reality,” said Myles. "I am excited to be working with the board members, and together we will build on what has already been put in place and make it even better for our customers and community.”
Mr. Lawrence Callender
Airport Commissioner Designee for State Representative Valarie Hodges
Lawrence E. Callender retired as a Senior Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Technologist after 30 years with the Dow Chemical Company. During his time with DOW, he also sustained a parallel Law Enforcement career. He currently serves in U.S. Homeland Security Investigations as the Task Force Commander for the TFO’s Middle District Louisiana.
As a Certified Louisiana Emergency Manager (LEM), he has served on the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Board, The Amite River Basin Commission as President and past Deputy Director, and the Livingston Parish Office of Homeland Security. His work in response to Hurricane Katrina was recognized on the U.S. White House Lesson's Learned Site http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/appendix-b.html . The Secretary of the Interior presented Mr. Callender with the John Wesley Powell Award for his invention and donation of a national Flood Tracking System. This is the USGS’s highest national award.
Lawrence currently consults in a number of areas throughout Louisiana. He also serves as a member of numerous organizations including The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) on the Homeland Security Committee; the One Mind Campaign protecting Officer Safety in encounters mentally ill individuals and assisting those suffering from mental illness; Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police; Commissioner on the Greater Baton Rouge Airport Board; Volunteer for Science with the United States Geological Survey (USGS); and Observer of the National Weather Service. In his role with the National Weather Service, he directed the recovery of the Village French Settlement after the 2016 August Flood that impacted 80% of the Village with 9’2” of flood water.
Mr. Jamie Robinson
Airport Commissioner Designee for State Senator Cleo Fields
Mr. Robinson is from Baton Rouge and attended Louisiana State University. He is employed by the Louisiana State Senate, and previously worked for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.
Commissioner Robinson also serves as an Executive Committee Member at the East Baton Rouge Democratic Party; and he is a Board Member with the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging.
Mr. Kermit Johnson IV
Airport Commissioner Designee for State Representative Barbara Carpenter
Mr. Kermit Johnson IV is a resident of Zachary, La; a graduate of Zachary High School and received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Southern University A&M College.
Mr. Johnson has been working for the Louisiana House of Representatives for over eight years, where he has held various positions including: House of Representatives Page, Head Legislative Aide for the Jefferson Parish Legislative Delegation Office, and now Legislative Assistant for State Representative Barbara W. Carpenter.
During his tenure at the Jefferson Parish Delegation Office, he researched a variety of viewpoints and obstacles regarding policy reforms surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline, general public policy, and real estate developments. His interest lies at the intersection of regional and urban planning and law. His goal is to promote and establish equitable investments in small-business development, and create strategies that support resilience in urban communities.