Board of Directors
Jude Melville, Chairman
Chairman and CEO, Business First Bank
Born and raised in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, Jude Melville graduated cum laude from Harvard College, which he attended on a military scholarship, and received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, which he attended as a Rotarian International Ambassadorial Scholar. He spent a number of years as an officer in the United States Air Force, achieving the rank of Captain, serving at various times in Turkey, Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and at the Pentagon.
Jude co-founded Business First Bank, a Louisiana-based bank that caters to businesses, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profit organizations, in 2006. The bank operates in six markets and maintains approximately $640MM in assets. He is currently Chief Executive Officer of the bank. He is also a founding director of Roemer, Robinson, Melville, and Co., a boutique private investment firm.
Director of Advocacy, KIPP New Orleans
Jonathan Bertsch serves as the Director of Advocacy at KIPP New Orleans Schools. A founding KIPP New Orleans staff member, Jonathan has managed development, operations, communications, growth and advocacy as the organization has grown over the past eight years from one school to nine schools serving nearly 4000 students in grades K-12.
He began his career in education as a Teach For America corps member at McDonogh 42 Elementary School in New Orleans and also served as a Mayoral Fellow with the City of New Orleans. Jonathan grew up in Baton Rouge, graduated from the University of Virginia, and earned a Master’s in Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Byron C. Clayton
President and CEO, Research Park Corporation
Dr. Byron C. Clayton serves as the President and CEO of Research Park Corporation (RPC). RPC is a public nonprofit organization that is committed to simplifying how Louisiana entrepreneurs, innovators and growth-oriented companies access the resources and opportunities they need to prosper. RPC also owns and operates the Louisiana Technology Park located in Baton Rouge.
Byron comes to Baton Rouge from Northeast Ohio where he was responsible for leading regional innovation clusters in printed electronics, advanced energy and water technologies. Prior to his work in economic development, Byron spent more than 25 years managing the development and commercialization of over 40 high-tech products and systems. In fact, manufacturing software utilizing his patents are still in use by numerous production plants across North America.
Executive Vice President, IberiaBank
Cleland Powell is the Executive Vice President and Senior Commercial Manager at IBERIABANK. In the last four decades, Cleland has served on more than 50 boards, both for public and private organizations. Currently, he serves as the treasurer of the Health Education Authority of Louisiana (HEAL) and is a member of the Louisiana Endowment for The Humanities Board, the Industrial Development Board of the City of New Orleans, the Board of Commissioners of the City Park Improvement Association for the City of New Orleans, and the Dillard University Board, among others. He is a past chairman of the Board of Governors of Tulane Health Sciences Center and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
Cleland is a graduate of Newman High School and received a bachelor’s degree in English and economics from Tulane University. He holds an MBA from The Gouzetta School of Business from Emory University. He is also a graduate of The Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin.
Owner, M*A*C*S* LLC
Delano Wilson is an entrepreneur who loves his community and lives by the motto “each one, reach one.” A McDonald’s franchise owner and operator at the age of 27, Delano oversees all finance, development, marketing, production, human resources, and administrative affairs for his restaurant as well as offers career opportunities to more than 110 people in the Shreveport area.
Delano serves on multiple boards or has memberships in the following groups: the ARC of Caddo Parish Foundation, the Rotary Club of Shreveport, Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center, Red Cross of America, and Caddo Youth Planning Commission. He was recently recognized by McDonald’s USA for 20 years of dedicated service, going back to his first job with the company at 14 years of age.