The industry committees of the World Trade Center are comprised of more than 350 executives and experts from the public and private sector. Committee members provide advice and expertise on specific areas and issues pertinent to Louisiana industries. Committee discussions are shaped by current challenges, threats, opportunities, and trends affecting Louisiana’s industry sectors.

The Industry Committee system was created to ensure that the organization’s advocacy efforts adequately reflect stakeholder interests. Committees meet on a monthly or quarterly basis and access is limited to eligible World Trade Center Members and Investors.



Chair: Jerry Hingle, President & CEO, International Trade Associates

Co-Chair: Dr. Mike Strain, Commissioner, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry

The Agriculture Committee provides purpose and voice to Louisiana’s food and agriculture sector. With respect to international trade, this committee aims to enhance, not duplicate, action on a state, national, global level that betters Louisiana’s ability to compete internationally.


Chair: Eric Smith, Tulane Energy Institute

The Energy Committee recommends policy positions and programs to strengthen development of Louisiana’s energy sector.

Government Affairs

Chair: Hon. Edward T. Hayes, Partner, Leake and Andersson, LLP

Co-Chair: Ben Billings, Principal, Sentinel Strategies

The Government Affairs Committee recommends positions and programs to strengthen Louisiana’s development of foreign trade, investment, and international services.

International Business

Chair: Michael Olivier, Chief Executive Officer, Louisiana Committee of 100

Vice-Chair: Larry Collins, Executive Director, Office of International Commerce, Louisiana Economic Development

The International Business Committee reviews and recommends policy positions and programs to strengthen the development of international trade, investment, and related services in Louisiana. The Committee actively takes steps to ensure that the business environment in Louisiana is attractive and profitable for potential international investors and organizations.


Chair: William “Billy” App, Jr., President & CEO, J.W. Allen & Co., Inc.

Vice-Chair: Kristi App, Vice President, Business Development

Vice-Chair: Robert “Rusty” Barkerding, Jr., President, Admiral Security Services, Inc.

The Transportation Committee recommends policy and projects that will increase usage of Louisiana’s transportation system and increase public understanding of the system’s impact on the state’s economic development.