Eddie Rispone – … a person of character

Considering, he’s a business leader in our community with a dedication to excellence, a commitment to integrity and a head for industry. With his brother, he founded Industrial Specialty Contractors in the late 1980s and helped it grow into one of the largest specialty contracting firms in the country. ISC is a 15-time national award winner and has won numerous local awards of excellence.

Considering, he has poured resources back into the Baton Rouge community to promote workforce development over the past 40 years. “Training is key to our community and to our companies. The better prepared our workforce is, the better our local companies perform.”

Considering, in 2005 he helped spearhead the Louisiana Craft Workforce Development Board. This group met every other week for a year to develop a comprehensive recommendation document, published in October 2006. It brought public and private entities together, for the first time, to address the shortage of craft workers in Louisiana.

Considering, he also recognized the paramount need of educating children in grades K-12. He funded a documentary film titled The Experiment that followed five children, ages 9-12, through the 2009-2010 school year in New Orleans. The film includes interviews with national leaders in education as well as state and city officials. It won Best Louisiana Feature at the New Orleans Film Festival 2011.

Considering, the movie changed him. “When I watched the rough cuts, I was heartbroken. The children in the film are beautiful. They are capable. They are real.” He has poured his heart and soul into education reform, with a focus on scholarships and school vouchers. “I believe in giving children a choice.” He’s encouraged by the recent legislative session, but is preparing for the tough task of implementation.

Considering, he stepped down as chairman of the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council to chair the Louisiana Federation of Children.

Considering, he has supported LSU’s College of Engineering personally as well as through his company, as has his brother. In addition, he chaired LSU’s Construction Industry Advisory Council. “I know what LSU has done for me in my life and my career. I’m committed to supporting our flagship university.”

Considering, he lost his wife Phyllis to cancer seven years ago. He married Linda Lemoine, who had lost her husband to cancer as well. Together, they have seven children and 15 grandchildren with another expected this fall.

Considering, in the midst of pursuing his career and his passionate philanthropy, he finds time to relax at his camp in Grand Isle. “It’s a place where we can get away and do things as a family—cook, play and fish.”

Considering, his dedication to education reform is for the long haul. “I can’t ever give up on the children, because I feel it’s my moral and spiritual obligation to save them. You don’t quit your spiritual life. Your spiritual life takes you all the way to the grave.”

Editor Ashley Sexton Gordon nominates a person of character from the Baton Rouge community each month. [email protected]