Interview with Mark Parker, President and CEO of Royal Coatings, Inc. : Improving Social and Environmental Impacts


We want to know more about Royal Coatings! Please tell us a little bit about your company, and what’s on your plate right now both as a business and as a member of the sustainability conscious New Orleans community.

Royal Coatings is a manufacturer of industrial paints and coatings located just outside of New Orleans. We are a global company that sells to industries such as marine, infrastructure, transportation and OEM. We are currently seeing a considerable amount and interest in the west coast markets for sustainable alternatives to existing products. I just came back from a massive LEED building project in Santa Monica which was constructed with our paints and coatings. While our company was founded on manufacturing healthier alternatives, we know it’s a continuous improvement process and there is much more we can do. Working with Life City has brought to our attention local resources that we previously did not know existed. We have multiple local projects and opportunities ongoing as a result of this relationship.

What are some of your proudest moments as President + CEO of Royal Coatings?

I always try to reflect on the recipe for our success in various markets and projects and I always come back to a common theme…the employees. We were recently awarded a substantial contract after 3 years of perseverance that involved a considerable amount of dedication from our entire team. I’m proud of this team.

How does Royal Coatings go about improving your social and environmental impacts?

From a sales perspective we target markets where our technology will improve productivity, lessen the burden of regulatory compliance and make the work environment safer for employees. This approach by default always has a positive impact on the environment. From a consumer perspective we are constantly engaged in sourcing healthier raw materials and generating less waste.

What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a company?

Through the help of Life City we have ongoing projects with local universities, recycling companies and health & Safety consultants to just name a few.

If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your company or other New Orleans businesses to go green, what would that thing be?

The culture. People have the misconception that healthier products are always more expensive. In some cases, yes but we are very competitive to our less healthy counterparts in more than one industry. Buyers need to look beyond the basic material cost and consider ancillary costs such as regulatory, insurance, preventative maintenance and hazardous waste disposal.

What advice would you give to other businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit their city and state?

Dedicate some serious resources to the tasks because the benefits will outweigh the cost. We started out slow and cautious until we drew a direct line from sustainability to sales. Our growth curve right now is the steepest it has been in the last 15 years.

Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Card members and Green Businesses such as upcoming events or promotions they should look out for?

Continue to help each other out and support one another’s businesses. I have spent a considerable amount of time on the west coast promoting our company and I can tell you this is a movement that will continue to spread.

Tip of the Month: Own New Orleans!

This month’s tip is brought to you by Finance Authority of New Orleans and Green Coast Enterprises!

Did you know that the Finance Authority of New Orleans has a down payment assistance grant + loan program? Invest in New Orleans today, through home ownership and show your love for our vibrant city!
  • Since 1979, FANO has invested more than $650 million into the New Orleans economy. Their efforts have been largely focused on homeownership for low-to-moderate income families. These investments have resulted in more than 8,000 mortgage financings and the creation of affordable rental units for families in need.
  • Their goal for the future is to continue investing in homeownership because it is the foundation of a functional community. In addition to homeownership, they are increasing investments in multifamily and economic development projects that create stability in our neighborhoods.
  • FANO strives to improve the quality of life in the city of New Orleans by directly investing in the creation of affordable housing and economic development projects that produce quality jobs and wealth for residents.
  • We give every New Orleanian the opportunity to access capital needed for a decent standard of living by way of homeownership and community investment.

Check out Finance Authority of New Orleans to learn more about the work they do to invest in New Orleans. Have a great week!

New Orleans Businesses are Ready to Make Change

August is the perfect time to talk about energy-saving tools and programs, as our electricity bills are the highest of the year, and businesses and individuals pray that their air conditioners will hold out. Possibly even more important than our ability to stay cool however, is the impact our energy practices have on the environment and climate we live in. Businesses in New Orleans not only know the repercussions for energy use, but are leading the charge in changing the way we think about and use energy. Last Friday, many of these businesses joined LifeCity and Energy Smart for a workshop about saving money and energy. Here is what we learned!

First, we heard from Siobhan Foley with the New Orleans Office of Resilience and Sustainability. She provided an overview of the new Climate Action Strategy, which features many inspiring and important goals for New Orleans, spanning over the next 20-50 years. In the strategy, goals such as decreasing our carbon footprint, increasing solar energy, reducing waste, and supporting development of the circular economy will be used to inspire business leaders and citizens to contribute to the positive change needed to meet these goals. Not only does the strategy include helping our environment, but it also sets the stage for job creation and connecting culture to climate change. To read the whole strategy, click here.

Next, Jackie Dadakis, the Managing Partner of Green Coast Enterprise (GCE) Services, spoke to us about Green Coast’s efficient and accessible technology that allows businesses, schools, and organizations to track their utility bills and other data relevant to energy use and savings. Through a simple data tracking dashboard, it is easier to make decisions that will greatly reduce costs and unneeded energy usage. By focusing on the inefficient and expensive quadrant of energy use, Green Coast has been able to help businesses and organizations reduce costs so that they can feel good about helping the environment, while saving money to spend on hiring more employees, establishing sustainable practices, or investing in other areas of business development.

Finally, Robyn Munici, a Project Lead at Energy Smart, a program developed by the New Orleans City Council and administered by Entergy New Orleans, spoke about energy savings opportunities. Robyn described how Energy Smart helps Entergy New Orleans’ electric customers save energy and money through energy assessments and valuable cash rebates on a variety of energy efficiency improvements. Leveraging cash back incentives and trade ally partners, Energy Smart works with businesses and industrial facilities to meet their energy needs, while reducing their carbon footprint and establishing sustainable and cost-effective business practices.

Although the primary focus of our workshop was business customers, Energy Smart also runs a residential program.

If you are interested in saving money and energy at home, visit the Energy Smart website to get started!

Thank you to all the businesses and speakers who participated, and we look forward to making New Orleans a more resilient and clean energy-driven community!

Tip of the Month: Clean Energy + LED Lighting!



July 2017 Business Tip of the Month


Tip of the Month Presented by Joule Energy: 

This month, local net zero company, Joule Energy, shares with us a great tip to help anyone — at home or at work — save money through making the switch to LED lighting.

1. Upgrading to LED lighting can save businesses and organizations 50-80% in lighting expenses!

2. LED light quality is closer to natural sunlight, which creates a more pleasant working environment with more productive employees, at the office, and happier students, at school.

Continue reading

Tip of the Month: Support, Buy, and Eat LOCAL!


Visit Hollygrove Market + Farm today, in the Hollygrove Neighborhood! Open 7 days a week.

June 2017 Business Tip of the Month


Tip of the Month Presented by Hollygrove Market + Farm: 

This month, Hollygrove Market + Farm shares with us 6 amazing reasons to Support, Buy, and Eat Local!

1. Connect to the growers of the food you consume

2. Support local rural and urban farmers

3. Strengthen the local economy

4. Reduce food costs

5. Reduce travel distance (carbon footprint) for growers

6. Learn to eat seasonally and enjoy the freshest, healthiest, tastiest food around! Continue reading

LifeCity Recognized as Louisiana SBA’s Green and Sustainable Business Champion

BATON ROUGE, La. — On Wednesday night, Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the 2017 Louisiana Small Business Award winners at an event honoring small business leaders who exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of Louisiana. The winners were honored in a private reception at the Governor’s Mansion. Continue reading

Tip of the Month: Resist Colorblind Leadership


Matthew Kincaid is the Founder of Overcoming Racism.

May 2017 Business Tip of the Month

Recent studies from Forbes, Harvard Business School and McKinsey, have the business world buzzing about diversity. The findings of these studies cite, that diverse organizations are more innovative and grow faster, earn more, and are better at problem solving.

The question is, once you have managed to hire a diverse staff, how do you get the most from your diversity?

Getting a bunch of different people in a room together is not in itself magical, creating an environment that cultivates and affirms all of those people’s differences is where the magic starts. Continue reading