James M. Lapeyre, Jr. (Jay), is President and CEO of Laitram, LLC, a diversified global manufacturer of industrial equipment. He is also Board Chairman of ION Geophysical, a NYSE company that provides seismic technology services and solutions to the global energy industry, and past Chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina, the Business Council has been a driving force in reform efforts such as consolidating the Regional Levee Boards and the Orleans Parish Assessors, establishing an independent Inspector General, and supporting efforts to improve flood safety, charter schools, and criminal justice.
Kaizen: You grew up in New Orleans?
Lapeyre: Yes. I spent four years in Europe when I was a kid and four years away at college. Otherwise, I’ve lived in New Orleans.
Kaizen: You’ve lived in interesting times, as they say—hurricanes, oil spills, Louisiana politics, and other challenges.
Lapeyre: Those are just the local disasters [laughs]. We also had 9/11 and the economic crisis. But a lot of good things too: the Internet and the fall of the Berlin Wall, so the world is dramatically better today.