President, Coaxum Enterprises, Inc.
Henry L. Coaxum, Jr. flips hamburgers for a living. Literally, as president of Coaxum Enterprises, Inc., he is the owner/operator of seven McDonald’s restaurants in the New Orleans area. His first job with the McDonald’s Corporation was as a manager trainee at the McDonald’s restaurant located on the I-10 Service Road and Read Boulevard in Eastern New Orleans in 1984. His career came full circle in 2002 when he became the owner/operator of that very same restaurant. This restaurant also has the distinction of being the first McDonald’s to receive the Nation Restaurant News’ Successful Settings Award in 2003.Although three of Coaxum’s original restaurants he opened in 2002 were damaged and closed due to Hurricane Katrina, he bought and reopened the St. Charles Avenue restaurant in February 2006 – just in time for the 150th Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. This was the first McDonald’s restaurant to reopen on the east bank of New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, Coaxum set a restaurateur record by acquiring and reopening four closed full-service restaurants in five months. In December 2006, Coaxum reopened his originally-owned Read Boulevard location, which was rebuilt to its award-winning appearance and décor.Coaxum helps to keep the “Golden Arches” shining through his fundraising efforts with: the 100 Black Men of Greater New Orleans; the Grambling University Athletic Foundation; the African American Heritage Program of the Preservation Resource Center; the New Orleans African American Museum; the United Way of Greater New Orleans; the Louisiana ArtWorks; the Amistad Research Center’s Achievement Committee; and the United Negro College Fund. Coaxum served as Chair of the UNCF’s Annual “Fund Run” for 2007 and 2008.He has served as a member of the boards of directors of United Bank & Trust Company, the Grambling University Athletic Foundation, the New Orleans East Business Association, the New Orleans African American Museum; the United Way of Greater New Orleans and the Louisiana ArtWorks. For two consecutive years, Coaxum and his wife Karen served as Co-Chairs of the “Ladies in Red” an annual fundraiser of the African American Heritage Program of the Preservation Resource Center.
In August 2010, Coaxum was elected as President of the Great Southern Region’s Black McDonald’s Operators Association. Also in August, Coaxum was appointed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as Chairman of the NOLA Business Alliance Board, launching the city’s first-ever public-private partnership for economic development. Also that month, he was appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the city’s Hospital Service District Board that will oversee the development and operation of a full service hospital in Eastern New Orleans.
In recognition of their exemplary leadership in community volunteerism and philanthropy, Coaxum and his wife were named the recipients of the United Way of the Greater New Orleans Area’s 2011 Alexis de Tocqueville Award — the highest honor bestowed by United Way.
Coaxum’s work with the area’s youth also is being furthered as a McDonald’s franchisee. He offers two education incentive programs for his student employees. For high school students, employees are rewarded with pay raises for good grades. And for college students, his “scholarships” help pay for books and tuition if the student employees’ grades are maintained while being employed. “Our youth need to learn that you can get rewarded if you work hard at both school and a job. Who knows, that job could end up being your career,” he says.
Rodrick Miller is a results-oriented leader with over 10 years of experience in economic development, strategic planning, trade and foreign investment, and project finance. He is respected for his success in leading and structuring large development projects and corporate relocations. His skills as a negotiator, policy expert, and corporate strategist have been honed in over 10 countries.
Miller is the founding president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the official economic development organization responsible for ensuring the long-term economic vitality and driving job growth for the City of New Orleans. As the chief economist and thought leader on economic recovery, Miller has focused the organization’s efforts on lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, increasing transparency, and developing strategies for urban economic growth. Results in their first 30 months in office include state legislation allowing for benefit corporations, a policy framework to guide the use of tax incentives in economic development, and the attraction of more than $600 Million in new investment and 4,500 new jobs through proactive attraction and expansion of corporate projects in the New Orleans market. In June of 2013, NOLABA launched ProsperityNOLA, the first ever economic development plan for the city of New Orleans. Miller led his team in crafting the 5 year plan with a keen eye on ensuring the plan would benefit all citizens of New Orleans by addressing inequities that hinder progress. Miller’s efforts and reputation for great vision and strategic direction generated incredible support from private and government sectors and throughout the community. Going forward, with Miller at the helm, ProsperityNOLA is fast becoming a model economic development plan for other cities and regions.
Previously, Miller served as the Executive Vice President of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber where he managed day-to-day operations, developed strategic initiatives, and helped deliver on the firm’s $20M capital campaign. Under his leadership, the Baton Rouge market was ranked the Number 1 Mid-Market for Deals in 2010 by Site Selection Magazine.
Before moving to Louisiana, Miller was Vice President of International Economic Development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) where he managed international development activities which included foreign direct investment attraction and increasing the region’s international competitiveness. He crafted the Arizona Global Network, a statewide collaboration of economic development organizations responsible for marketing the state globally. He also headed the Strategy Practice where he developed the organization’s action plan which resulted in delivery of nearly 10,000 jobs in just 2 years. Before GPEC, Rod held several positions in the public and private sectors.
Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science degree in international business from St. Augustine’s College. He also gained a Graduate Diploma in Finance from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) in Mexico while completing a Fulbright Fellowship. Miller is an intellectually curious professional whose interests lie at the intersection of economic development, international commerce, innovation, and community action. A scholar practitioner, he is a sought after lecturer and contributes to various publications. He enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with his son. Miller is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.