Thursday, January 29, 2015
St. John the Baptist Parish – Parish President Natalie Robottom began the year with appointments of three new members to her staff. Two of the three appointments were Presidential appointments and one was confirmed by the Parish Council.
Kerry Watkins was confirmed as Director of Parks & Recreation, contingent upon the Council restoring the director's salary to the budget. Watkins is a native of St. John Parish with a passion for sports and youth mentoring and a wealth of knowledge about sports programs. He is a business owner who manages daily operations including scheduling, budgeting, inventory, payroll and customer relations.
Watkins is a former professional football player for the Montreal Alouettes, with an eight year career in the Canadian Football League. He serves as a volunteer coach and a youth mentor, and he possesses the leadership skills to continue the strides made in the recreation department. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia.
Blake Fogleman was named as Special Assistant to the Parish President assigned as Director of Utilities to replace Virgil Rayneri. Due to the nature of the position and its impact on the health and welfare of our residents, the move was made to allow for a 4-week transition period with Rayneri who is retiring at the end of February. The appointment goes into effect Monday, February 2, 2015.
Fogleman is a Professional Engineer with experience in both public and private sectors. He has a wide variety of experience with potable water treatment and supply projects, sewer collection and treatment projects, and wetland impact and drainage studies. He is currently employed with an engineering firm in LaPlace and works closely with St. John on several ongoing projects. He also works closely with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality on project funding and approval and regulatory matters. Fogleman is proficient in site permitting, including permits for environmental impact/clearing, wetland permits, subdivision regulations through Parish, City, or Town zoning departments, railroad right-of-way permitting, highway utility permits, and joint permits with the Department of Natural Resources, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Levee Districts and the LA Department of Transportation and Development. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Louisiana State University.
Robottom also announced the appointment of Laverne Saulny as Special Assistant to the Parish President assigned to the Department of Economic Development. Saulny will serve as Acting Director in the absence of Torri Buckles who is on extended medical leave. Saulny is an accomplished and well-known communications innovator and former Regional Manager for Senator Mary Landrieu. Her qualifications include grantsmanship, public speaking, program development and implementation, and event planning and coordination.
Saulny is the founder of "Write for You," a consulting firm that provided management and development consulting to non-profit organizations and corporations. While operating "Write for You," Saulny authored two books, Tips on Successful Grant Writing and Steps on How to Run a Profitable Home-based Business. She holds a degree in Forensic Psychology from Louisiana State University Shreveport and was an Institute of Politics (IOP) Fellow of Loyola University. Robottom said, “My goal is to hire qualified professionals of diverse backgrounds to better serve the residents and business owners of St. John Parish. The appointment of these three individuals is consistent with that goal and my unwavering commitment to serving the residents of our community.”