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START project good for customers, employees and economy

Sep 27, 2017

PINEVILLE, La. – Today, Cleco celebrated the beginning of its two-year Strategic Alignment and Real-time Transformation (START) project by which the company will upgrade its software system capabilities and implement best-practice business processes.

“This is the largest customer experience transformation and technology project in Cleco’s history,” said Bill Fontenot, chief operating officer and interim chief executive officer of Cleco Power.  “Cleco’s $130 million investment in the START project will extend across the entire company touching every employee, as well as reach outside the company walls to positively impact customers and stimulate the economy.”

START benefits customers

“The START project will improve customer service, increase reliability and, in the long-term, bring savings through efficiencies created by the project,” said Shirley Turner, vice president of customer experience.  “START is one of many customer-related initiatives that will help make Cleco an industry leader in customer experience.”

START benefits employees

“The START project will change the ways our employees do their day-to-day work, creating efficiencies, improving project management and allowing data to be shared across all departments with access to real-time data,” said Anthony Bunting, chief administrative officer. “START will take Cleco to a higher level of operational excellence.”

START benefits the economy

With its headquarters in Pineville and 1,200 employees supplying power to 288,000 Louisiana customers, Cleco has long been a key economic engine in central Louisiana and across the state.

In total, the START project will lead to the creation of 221 new jobs in Louisiana, generate approximately $1.5 million in state and local tax revenues and create $42.2 million in new sales across various statewide business sectors including professional, health care, retail, real estate, finance, insurance and food services.

“Cleco’s START project will have a tremendous impact on the local economy,” said Mayor Jacques Roy, City of Alexandria.  “The project will create 146 jobs and inject over $20 million of new spending in the Alexandria area.  Additionally, Cleco’s START project will boost sales tax collections of Alexandria area parishes, cities and school boards by over $655,000.  That is a real shot in the arm for our region.”

“Cleco is a vital partner in supporting LED’s business recruitment and expansion efforts, and this innovative project solidifies them as a cutting-edge, reliable partner that their customers can trust,” said Mandi Mitchell, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) assistant secretary.  “Cleco’s START initiative brings together their strong team and consultants from companies like IBM, which has already demonstrated a strong commitment to Louisiana, and creates smart efficiencies that will benefit Cleco’s entire coverage area.”

“The START project is good for Cleco customers, employees and the economy,” said Bunting.  “Just as important, START is good for the company.  Implementing the START project will bring Cleco closer to being the leading utility in Louisiana.”