The SBDC State Office, housed at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, works closely with Louisiana Economic Development, the Small Business Administration, Senators and Representatives on the state and federal level and Louisiana host universities across the state to encourage economic growth and development in Louisiana.
Kessler, who is married to the former Jude Southerland of Natchitoches, attended the United States Naval Academy, was the youngest executive officer in the Navy, and was plant manager for Michelin Tire and CEO of Advanced Coastal Technologies.
He is also an accomplished artist who has won the Melrose Art Festival for his pen and ink sketches.
As the new SBDC state director, he will request and administer grants, represent Louisiana’s small business development on the federal level, manage strategy, standards, and policies for SBDC centers across the state, and encourage opportunities for innovation in the state’s economic development.
Kessler has been the Northwest Louisiana Small Business Development director since April of 2012 after a 30-plus-year career as a Navy special operations diver, a process engineer, a human resources manager, a plant manager and a CEO.
“My wife and I have lived in 32 different locations since 1977, but Natchitoches has been my hometown since I first visited here in 1974,” Kessler said.
“Every year I look forward to volunteering for the APHN Tour of Homes and working at the Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival. Louisiana has always been home to me.”
In his leisure time, Kessler and his wife, Jude, produce a weekly radio show, “The John Lennon Hour” on http://www.BeatlesArRama.com . Kessler also operates a publishing company, Penin Inc. and has run two successful exercise studios.
“I’ve seen first-hand the challenges that small business owners face and I’ve learned how important it is to work with experienced professionals to intentionally plan for success. I have an excellent staff at the state and local levels, and I am confident that we will offer that kind of guidance and support to entrepreneurs across Louisiana.”