Dennis R. Aucoin Sr.
Dennis Aucoin Sr. is a familiar and trusted face in Louisiana forestry. His expertise with logging techniques and resource management has made him a true industry leader and one of its most decorated. Aucoin is a four-time winner of the Outstanding Logger of the Year Award and a two-time recipient of the Timber Harvesting Excellence Award from American Interstate Insurance Co. He also is in the Louisiana Loggers Hall of Fame and one of three certified loggers in the SmartWood Program for the Rainforest Alliance.
In addition to the forest industry, Aucoin is a community leader, as well. Through the years, he has served in numerous roles at the local, state and federal levels. One of his most notable contributions is serving on the committee that founded the Bass Classic Fishing Tournament, which has raised more than $1 million for Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge.
Ellis S. Martin (posthumous)
Ellis S. Martin is remembered as one of the most influential members of the Louisiana forest industries. “Mr. Ellis,” as he was affectionately known, began his career at the tender age of 19, when he was hired as facility manager of Martin Timber Co. Among his many contributions is his role in transferring all timber production during World War II for the manufacture of Higgins boats, which transported U.S. troops ashore during the D-Day invasion in France.
In 1974, Martin became president of Roy O. Martin Lumber Co. He oversaw the construction of five new timber plants and a plywood manufacturing facility that is now the largest in North America. Martin is equally remembered for his community leadership. When he noticed a lack of suitable housing for his employees in Ringgold, La., he bought property there and developed subdivisions.
Martin passed away in 2013, but his spirit lives on through the projects and lives he touched during his career.
Lake Arthur, La.
Rice, Soybean and Wheat Farming
Clarence Berken has emerged as a leader among rice growers and in the state’s overall farming community. In addition to being named Rice Farmer of the Year in 2013, he serves as president of the Louisiana Rice Council, where he developed the “Grown in the USA” logo that is now used across the nation.
Berken also has served two terms as president of the Louisiana Rice Growers Association, and he served as a member of Louisiana Rice Research Board and the Louisiana Soybean Association’s board of directors for several years. In addition, he has been honored as the DuPont ASA Young Leader from Louisiana.