Entrepreneurial spirit was celebrated on Wednesday (March 25) when Andre Champagne, CEO of Hollywood Trucks, based at Pinewood Atlanta Studios, was honored with the inaugural NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Excellence in Innovation Award, presented by Liberty Bank.
Champagne was selected for both his vision -- he founded the company in 2007, when the city's movie business was just taking off -- and his continuing interest in innovation. Champagne has recently developed Ecoluxe, a line of environmentally-friendly talent trailers built with recycled, low-toxin materials and solar panels.
After a brief speech by James O'Byrne, Vice-President of Innovation lauding the future of New Orleans, NOLA Media Group President Ricky Mathews acknowledged Gary Solomon, this year's The Times-Picayune Loving Cup recipient. Mathews also lead the toast of Champagne, "He is a great first award recipient. He really set the standard for our future honorees."
"We at NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune think Andre is the ideal embodiment of the spirit of Excellence in Innovation Award, sponsored by Liberty Bank. We are very proud to present the 2015 Excellence in Innovation Award to Andre Champagne, its first recipient," said NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss upon introducing Champagne to the crowd. Mathews and Liberty Bank President and CEO Alden McDonald bestowed the award, a glass Ionic column created by artist Mitchell Gaudet, to Champagne.