David C. Coons, Chairman
David C. Coons is a commercial litigator in the New Orleans office of Adams and Reese LLP. He handles contract negotiations and business disputes in a variety of industries. He also advises clients on economic development projects.
David helps the board of directors fulfill its fiduciary duties by ensuring adherence to governance best practices. Elsewhere in the community, he provides pro bono legal aid at the St. Joseph Rebuild Center and coordinates two service projects for HUGS (Hope, Understanding, Giving, and Support), the firm’s philanthropy. David received his J.D. from the LSU Law Center after graduating from Wake Forest University.
Founded in 1986 as a division of the judiciary, CASA Jefferson transitioned to its own 501(c)(3) organization in 2013. I am humbled to serve CASA Jefferson as it diversifies its funding model and guarantees continued advocacy for abused and neglected children.”
Megan Fontenot O’Cain, Vice Chairman
Megan is an attorney who works closely with the review and regulation of those seeking a license to practice law in the State of Louisiana. Megan has worked in the legal industry for several years and understands how important an advocate can be to a person in the justice system.
I am honored to serve on the Board for CASA Jefferson because I believe the importance of the work this organization does for our community is immeasurable. Every child should be taken care of and have a voice to speak up when they are not being taken care of – the CASA Jefferson volunteers allow these already neglected and sometimes abused children to have a voice, when they need it most.”
Angela Lacour, Treasurer
Angela M. Lacour is a certified public accountant and is senior managing director of Financial Services for Service Corporation International where she manages the New Orleans headquarters. Service Corporation International acquired Stewart Enterprises in December 2013. Prior to the acquisition, she was the senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer of Stewart Enterprises where she served on their Senior Executive Committee. She held various financial and accounting positions since joining Stewart in 1997, including controller, assistant corporate controller and director of external reporting. Prior to that, she was with KPMG Peat Marwick, an international accounting and consulting firm. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Louisiana Certified Public Accountants. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of New Orleans.
I am very proud to be a part of CASA Jefferson and all of the great work they do focused on the needs of the children of our parish. One thing I have learned while working with the Board is that the children always come first. It is so rewarding to be part of an organization where everyone is motivated for the common goal of protecting these children and giving them a voice they would not otherwise have without our program.”
Heather Evans, Secretary
Heather Evans has served on the Board of CASA Jefferson since 2014. Before her board service, she was an advocate for five years. In addition to her service to CASA, she holds a Board position with Bridge House/ Grace House and has co-chaired one of their major fundraisers for the last five years. Heather has a degree in Finance from the University of New Orleans and completed the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. She has been in banking for 15 years and is currently a Commercial Lender at First NBC Bank. Heather is the mother of a 20-year-old son who is currently serving in the U.S. Military and a 17-year-old daughter that will be a senior at Benjamin Franklin High School.
Ronnie Slone, Board Member
Ronnie Slone is the Founder and President of The Slone Group, a consulting firm that specializes in organizational development and training for growing companies and organizations. Ronnie has over 30 years of experience in operations management, human resources, training and professional staffing. He served in the United States Marine Corps and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans. Ronnie was certified in Technical Services by the American Staffing Association and is an Associate of Emergenetics International (a framework used to increase both personnel and team effectiveness).
In addition to leading his growing consulting firm, Ronnie is a faculty member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative (He facilitates Module #4 “You Are The Leader” and Module #5 “It’s The People”) and has served as the interim Executive Director of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.
Ronnie’s commitment to the community can be seen and felt through his work on several boards including: the Kenner Discovery Health Science Academy Charter School, Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO, Inc.), a Commissioner at City Park New Orleans, the Good Shepherd School, the Jefferson Chamber Foundation (JCF) and the Jefferson Community Foundation. Ronnie is the current chairman of CASA Jefferson, Inc. and also served as Chairman of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce in 2010.
Ronnie’s style of consulting and leading is known to achieve optimal performance and sustainable outcomes. His ability to challenge the way people think and behave has made him a sought-after keynoter and facilitator.
As a highly recognized community leader, Ronnie was awarded the Chamber Member of the Year Award in 2012 and selected as a Young Leadership Council (YLC) Role Model for 2012.
With all of his professional accomplishments, Ronnie wholeheartedly believes in giving his time, his talents and his treasure to the development of this region’s youth. In addition to countless service hours with local schools, non-profits and churches; in 2010 he spearheaded the charter of the Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy – a school designed to offer an individualized, technology-based curriculum that includes internship opportunities and community college experience for at risk youth. He likewise manages the Jefferson Chamber Youth Leadership program and employs some high school and college students at The Slone Group allowing him to mentor students and encourage firm employees to do the same as a condition of employment. In addition to building great managers and leaders in organizations, Ronnie’s greater mission is to develop a ready workforce by preparing youth for life after graduation.
Thomas Exnicios, Board Member
Thomas is a CPA and Senior Manager at Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLO.
Fred Parker, Board Member
Fred Parker, a Milwaukee, WI native graduated from Marquette University. Currently the General Manager of New South Parking, Fred serves on the boards of several organizations. He chose CASA Jefferson for a simple reason: with this organization he is given the opportunity to polish our most valuable treasure – our children. Fred is married with 3 children.
Corey Thomas, Board Member
Corey Thomas has been a Board Member of Jefferson CASA since April 2013. In addition to this, she serves on the board of STAIR (Start the Adventure in Reading) and is a Sustaining member of the Junior League of New Orleans. Originally from Kansas City, she moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University and began working for State Farm Insurance shortly after graduating from the A.B. Freeman School of Business. She spent over 23 years at State Farm, working primarily in Human Resources, focusing on Talent Identification, Talent Management and Employee Retention. Following a company restructure, she moved to Valero Energy in November 2016 and is currently a Lead Human Resources Specialist. She holds both the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society for Human Resource Management SHRM-CP) designations and is an active member of the New Orleans Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. Outside of her career and volunteer commitments, Corey enjoys running, spinning, group fitness and spending time with friends and family; especially her goddaughters Stella and Audrey.
Dana Jones, Board Member
Dana M. Jones is a native New Orleanian who was nominated to the CASA Jefferson Board in March 2016. Her professional background is in the nonprofit and educational arena. Dana previously worked as Director, Youth Leadership & Development for the Children’s Defense Fund- Louisiana Office, where she oversaw all youth programs including a year round free summer and afterschool literacy enrichment program for children aged 5-13. Currently she works as a Student Academic Performance and Support Coordinator for Xavier University College of Pharmacy. Dana is also an active member of the Junior League of New Orleans.
She takes pride in being able to help others while serving as an advocate for those who may not have a voice. It is through her studies and experience that Dana was further exposed to the activism, advocacy work and the education arena. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Our Lady of Holy Cross College and a Masters of Arts in Adult Education and Training from University of Phoenix. Dana is a dedicated and loving mother of 2 sons. During her time off she enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Rick Conway, Board Member
Rick Conway is the CEO/Founder of Blue Water Business Advisors, a leading advisory firm focusing on helping businesses with operational issues and opportunities, executive mentorship, talent acquisition. Rick previously served as President for Frantzen Voelker Investments, LLC and Chief Operating Officer for Gifted Healthcare. Rick is active in the Metropolitan New Orleans community serving on board of directors for NORLI (New Orleans Leadership Institute), Mount Carmel Academy High School, Louisiana Children’s Museum, Light House for The Blind, University of New Orleans Athletic Foundation and New Orleans College Prep Charter School.
"I have a personal objective of trying to help kids, especially those that have experienced hardship at an early age, to succeed in life,” says Rick. “Serving as a CASA Board Member will help me accomplish my objective. "
Derek Bardell, Board Member
Derek D. Bardell is a veteran educator in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area who currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration and Teaching & Learning at Delgado Community College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management/Urban Studies and Public Policy from Dillard University and a Master of Liberal Arts in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and a Master of Arts in Civic and Cultural Management both from Tulane University. Professor Bardell is certified by the Louisiana Department of Education as an Educational Administrator and Supervisor of Instruction and by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance as a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). His research interests lie in the areas of higher education management and organizational development and his experience in education spans over two decades at the K-16 levels where he has served as an instructor, administrator, consultant and policy maker. Derek also serves as Chairman of the Delgado Community College Care and Development of Young Children Board of Advisors and is the former Chairman of the French and Montessori Education (FAME) Board of Directors which governs Audubon Charter School.
Ross Burkenstock, Board Member
Ross Burkenstock serves as Vice President of Administration of Upstream and has 29 years of industry experience. Ross joined Upstream in May 2016 and is responsible for all accounting and finance functions. He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of Triton Diving Services, Inc., a diving company servicing the shallow Gulf of Mexico. Before that, he served from 2004-2014 as the Vice President of Corporate Accounting for Superior Energy Services Inc. where he was responsible for all accounting functions inclusive of budgeting, forecasting, SEC reporting, mergers/acquisitions with a focus on the Company’s E&P divisions, SPN Resources, and Bullwinkle.
“As a father of two and the husband of a career high school teacher, I’m naturally interested in the well-being and nurturing of children. They need the adults in the community to look out for them, and clearly, CASA does this. I look forward to contributing to the success of CASA’s mission.”