Founder/president, Performance Contractors
Growing up in Gulfport, Miss., Art Favre had little doubt about where he would go to college. "LSU always seemed the logical choice," the founder and president of Performance Contractors Inc. says. "Deciding what to major in proved a bit more difficult."Whether it was by fortune, fate, or luck, Favre chose industrial construction. Not a bad choice. Last year, the company he founded in 1979 posted $574 million dollars in revenue, placing it in the top five of Business Report's Top 100 Private Companies.
Says Favre: "Saying the degree from LSU served me well is an understatement."
With more than $60 billion in industrial contracts in the pipeline in Louisiana, Favre worries that the state's intellectual capital might not be able to keep up with the demand for engineers. So he has joined other companies and individuals in supporting Breaking New Ground, a $100 million public-private partnership to support Favre's alma mater, the LSU College of Engineering.
Favre recently donated $2 million to the campaign, and that's on top of the $1.2 million he previously donated to establish an endowed chair in LSU's Department of Construction Management and Industrial Engineering.
"The quality of life for our children and grandchildren depends on our success in bringing top-quality students into engineering and construction," Favre says. And he practices what he preaches. More than 120 of his key staff positions are held by LSU graduates.
"We should all take the time to give something back to the next generation," Favre says. "Each of us must get involved in the educational process."
LED Secretary Stephen Moret—himself an LSU engineering grad—estimates Louisiana will need to increase its output of engineering graduates by 200 to 250 a year to meet the anticipated need. That's where Favre thinks he can help. "By investing in LSU's College of Engineering physical plant, it allows the output capacity to grow," Favre reasons. "More seats equal more graduates equal more employees. Strategically, I am hedging an investment play in Louisiana's future labor market."
David Dodson. "Breaking new ground." Greater Baton Rouge Business Report 7 January 2014: 9. Print.