AICP Candidate Pilot Program Gives Head Start to New Planners


The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is implementing its new AICP Candidate Pilot Program this year. It is welcome news for many new planners. In the past, planners have only been eligible to take the AICP Certification Exam after completing the required work experience which, depending on your education, can range from 2-8 years. Many test takers from past years have noted that had they been able to take their exam right out of college, they may have performed better, with their coursework still fresh in their minds. This observation led to the creation of the AICP Candidate Pilot Program which, as of December 1st, allows graduates of accredited urban planning programs to take the AICP Certification Exam before having completed their work experience requirements. After passing the exam, individuals can use the title “AICP Candidate” until they have completed their work experience. This allows young professional planners to stay involved in the national and international planning scene of the American Planning Association (APA) and AICP and recognizes their dedication to professional planning work while candidates are just entering the planning field. Many young planners, including TMG’s Nathan Lipson, are taking advantage of this opportunity and will be eligible to take the exam in May of 2018 along with those taking the standard exam for immediate certification. Included among these planners will be TMG’s Hal Baillie. Best of luck to these individuals, and more information on the new Candidate Pilot Program can be found here:

Expanding Service Options Continue at Louis Armstrong International Airport

new terminal

Louis Armstrong International Airport welcomed four new Frontier Airlines flights on October 5th and 6th with service to Austin, Providence, Islip (NY), and San Antonio. For the inaugural New Orleans-Providence flight on October 5th, Frontier celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the airport’s Aviation Director Kevin Dolliole.  Incoming Providence passengers enjoyed refreshments, MSY beads and a traditional water cannon salute. Frontier’s other inaugural flights went off without a hitch despite Tropical Storm (and later Hurricane) Nate approaching the Louisiana coast. Frontier’s expansion of service to/from LANOIA represents a continuation of a number of carriers expanding service options throughout 2017. Frontier is not the only “low-cost airline” to expand this fall. Months after announcing direct service expansion to Baltimore-Washington, Spirit Airlines launched nonstop flights to Boston, Tampa, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Newark (NJ) in time for Thanksgiving, as well as seasonal service to Columbus (OH) starting next March. Southwest Airlines expanded service to Raleigh-Durham and Columbus (OH), which began in April.

LANOIA has also made strides toward international destination expansion with new offerings which were introduced earlier in 2017. The first of British Airways’ Flight 244 with nonstop service from New Orleans to London-Heathrow was celebrated this past spring. Just after the inaugural flight landed in London on March 27, British Airways announced plans to increase the number of flights from four to five weekly. This expansion is an excellent indicator for the airport and for local tourism of increased activity as international travelers (particularly from Europe) can make their way to New Orleans more efficiently. Airport officials estimate that this direct service to a “world business capital” such as London will generate around $41 million in annual tourism for the city. Even more cities have popped up on the list this year: In May, Condor began to provide nonstop service to Frankfurt, Germany. Weekly non-stop service to Freeport, The Bahamas began May 27, 2017 on Vacation Express. One focus of the new terminal will be to allow for larger aircraft often used for longer international hauls to use a number of gates for loading. Perhaps this will facilitate even further international service expansion, such as restoring past service to Central and South America.


TMG Consulting Facilitates DBE Workshop in Baton Rouge

651f58fe-9f07-40d6-8315-9a1c9a60a220The 12th Annual Business Opportunities Workshop was held at the L’auberge Casino & Hotel in Baton Rouge on October 31st, 2017. This annual event series was first started by TMG as a tool to allow small and disadvantaged businesses to interact and create business relationships with Airport staff, prime firms, agencies providing small business assistance, and other small firms. This free workshop is sponsored by the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and is geared toward those interested in pursuing future work with the Airport and other businesses in the surrounding area.


The workshop brought together over 100 attendees from a variety of backgrounds including small business owners, government officials, and resource groups. Along with sitting in on informational presentations, attendees were given the opportunity to network with other businesses while enjoying a complimentary breakfast and lunch catered by the casino. This event is one of many outreach efforts encouraging small and disadvantaged business development in Baton Rouge. The Airport was selected by the Airports Council International (North America) as the Small Hub Inclusion Champion for 2017, recognizing their dedication to promote diversity in the airport industry both through business development and community engagement.

1401f5e9-f0f7-4f9f-9943-8d5cc36e3162The opening remarks were given by Ralph Hennessy, Interim Director of Aviation for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, and followed by DBE consultants Dylan Wade and Nathan Lipson of TMG Consulting who presented an overview of the Baton Rouge DBE program and discussed the best practices for submitting bids and proposals. Joe Levraea, Program Manager for BTR of AMG Consulting, gave an overview of upcoming projects and contract opportunities available at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.


be94f18c-bdae-4af1-ab95-6c2ab0a441aaMike Taffaro kicked off the afternoon events describing procurement opportunities with the Airport as well as the City of Baton Rouge. Remy Graves, DBE/SBE Program Manager for the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development, discussed what it takes to become DBE certified and the resources that the LADOTD can provide for business owners looking to get certified. Jo Ann Lawrence, Deputy District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration closed out the workshop with her presentation, “Support for Small Business in Louisiana,” in which she identified numerous bond assistance, insurance, and general business advice programs which the SBA provides in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and throughout the state of Louisiana.

a8ae9d5a-2b49-4f3f-ae6e-b205406f0e32TMG Consulting started the DBE program with the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in 2001 and has successfully assisted in planning and hosting the workshop since its first year in 2005. The event has continued to grow over the years with increased numbers of attendees and local participation.


City of New Orleans Changes Parking Fees and Hours

Finding a parking spot in a dense downtown area is a challenge. In a rainstorm, in a hurry, already late… Often it seems to come down to luck. But maybe the chance of finding a spot can be improved.

Urban planners have studied how parking impacts neighborhoods and communities. And cities have worked to implement solutions. The City of New Orleans recently announced it will be increasing rates for surface parking and expanding times when parkers need to pay for parking in high demand areas.

parking studyWhile a primary goal is to increase city revenue, research in parking behavior indicates that another benefit of increasing parking fees is to increase the parking turnover. Essentially, as parking on the street becomes more expensive, drivers limit their time in any space, and increase parking availability for a finite number of on-street spaces. Additionally, long term parkers adjust their behavior and park further away making closer parking spaces available more frequently for the short-term parker.

Recently, in 2012, TMG prepared a study of best practices for the Urban Land Institute and hosted a forum featuring Professor Donald Schoup of UCLA on how dynamic pricing for on-street parking can increase turnover and improve space availability. In Shoup’s model, parking spaces in high demand have a higher price than parking spaces in low demand and prices adjust throughout the day to reflect the demand. The goal of the Shoup model is to increase turnover in high demand areas/time to ensure that there are always 1-2 parking spaces open at any given time. While higher prices for parking may sound like a bummer for drivers and businesses, Shoup argues it can improve the experience for everyone and help reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

TMG Promotes Opportunities for Small Businesses in Baton Rouge

Last week, TMG Consulting assisted the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in hosting its 10th Annual Small Business Opportunities Workshop at L’Auberge Casino. More than 150 participants attended to learn about upcoming projects at the Airport, meet with other City Agencies, and resource agencies available to assist small businesses.

logoBtr02Airport staff from every department was available to discuss future opportunities for a variety of business types, from printers and promotional materials, to IT support and supply, and

Participants learned the ins and outs of the Airport’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program for minority and woman owned businesses as well as the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program for all small businesses. Through these two programs, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport works to expand access to small businesses by unbundling large contracts into smaller scopes so that small businesses can bid as the general contractor, or setting disadvantaged business participation goals on projects to encourage prime firms to utilize the services of local, DBE firms.

DBEThe event is a great networking tool for DBE’s to meet with Airport staff, understand the needs of the airport and brainstorm how their business can serve these needs, but it also puts DBE firms face-to-face with the Prime firms that are interested in bidding on the larger contracts bid by the Airport. The Airport’s DBE Consultant, Bonnie Garrigan of TMG Consulting, encourages DBE’s to make relationships with prime firms before the bids are out. “You have to make it easy for prime firms. Introduce yourself, let them know what you can offer them, and when the opportunity exists, they will remember you because they already know you.” Ms. Garrigan offered several strategies to DBE firms to be ready to partner with prime contractors on Airport work, “Attend pre-bid conferences. Understand the project and if possible, prepare a mini quote before the pre-bid to provide to all the prime firms in attendance. Show them you are ready.”

Comments were very positive from the participants, many of whom have attended the event year after year and learn something new each time. Business Opportunities at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport are advertised on the City Purchasing webpage and in the Advocate.

TMG Now Offering Services from Three Certified Planners!

Bonnie Garrigan, Manager of Economic Analysis, and Tiffany Peperone Pitre, General Counsel, recently achieved the American Institute of Certified Planner (AICP) designation.

AICP is the American Planning Association’s (APA) professional institute, providing recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners. In order to qualify for AICP designation, Bonnie and Tiffany verified their academic and professional achievements and passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination including essential skills in ethics; plan making and implementation; functional and spatial areas of practice; public participation and social justice; and history, theory and law of the planning profession.

With their newly acquired certifications, TMG Consulting now has three AICP-certified professionals on staff and is poised to offer a full range of services for all our clients with a variety of specialties.

bonnie“With my background in economics and my extensive experience with inclusionary social justice programs and public participation, I am excited to employ my AICP certification to serve clients and project stakeholders with actionable strategic plans and effective facilitation of stakeholder and public meetings.”

Bonnie Garrigan, AICP

tiffany“I have focused my career on land use law and development regulations. As a certified planner, I will be able to incorporate my interest in functional design and provide my clients with a holistic approach to the development process.”

Tiffany Pitre, AICP


suzanne“I perform market assessments and feasibility analyses for major developments across the nation, and my AICP certification has given me the credentials that set me apart from other developer consultants, demonstrating my commitment to the high standards and ethical bar set by the APA.”   

Suzanne Leckert, AICP

Incubating Success

Building Capacity for Minority Social Entrepreneurs in Central City, New Orleans

[The post below has been submitted by Matthew Loftis, former TMG intern, and represents the Executive Summary of the capstone project of seven University of New Orleans Planning and Urban Studies students. All of us at TMG congratulate Matt on his upcoming graduation and wish him all the best in his future endeavors!]

Since Hurricane Katrina, entrepreneurial activity in New Orleans has grown faster than the national average (Plyer, Ortiz, Horwitz, & Hobor, 2013). Nationally, however, there is an overall lack of minority startups that are backed by venture capital (Schmid, 2015). These disparities are evident in New Orleans as well (Walker, 2014). The Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) and Camelback Ventures (Camelback) seek to address this issue through the creation of an empowerment incubator for minority entrepreneurs near the LaSalle St. corridor in Central City, New Orleans.

Incubating Success UNO-PLUS CDF Capstone S15To this end, FFL and Camelback commissioned the UNO-­PLUS Community Development Finance Capstone team to examine the financial feasibility of developing a minority-centered, co-working and incubation space for social entrepreneurs. Over a four-­month period, the team: researched the incubator, accelerator, and co-­working landscape in New Orleans to assess the need for additional incubator space; identified available sites in Central City best suited for the development of an empowerment incubator; proposed designs for each of those sites; examined the financial feasibility of an empowerment incubator on each of those sites; and explored potential partnership structures for a real estate joint venture between FFL and Camelback.

The findings indicate:

  • Demand exists for an empowerment incubator in Central City. Local incubators do not cater specifically to social ventures led by entrepreneurs of color. An empowerment incubator could serve as a hub of entrepreneurial activity, advance minority-­driven social ventures, and act as a welcoming community space for Central City residents.
  • Several sites exist within Central City that can accommodate the project and community needs. The team identified four sites and developed a unique site design for each. The designs allow for easy accessibility, provide ample space for programming needs, and are in compliance with the draft comprehensive zoning ordinance (CZO) of New Orleans. As such, the designs take into account permitted land uses, height restrictions, and parking requirements specific to each location.
  • According to preliminary analyses, the project is financially feasible on all four proposed sites. A review of the project costs, sources of funds, and operating pro forma indicates project operations generate enough revenue to repay capital investment costs and provide financial sustainability for FFL and Camelback.
  • A Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) is the most viable joint venture partnership structure to meet the goals of both FFL and Camelback. LLCs allow the most flexibility in ownership and management arrangements and offer the highest degree of protection to the partners from debt and legal liabilities incurred by the project. This type of partnership structure can also incorporate a master lessor arrangement if FFL and Camelback choose to share management of the incubator or appoint a third-­party manager.

Next Steps:

This project represents a new opportunity and experience for FFL and Camelback. As such, the UNO-­PLUS capstone team suggests FFL and Camelback:

  • Hire a third-­party to conduct a full market analysis to understand the specific demand for an empowerment incubator for minority owned enterprises located in Central City and develop a marketing strategy to reach potential clients.
  • Engage the community to ensure the incubator creates a welcoming and inviting atmosphere and serves community Involving the community in the planning stage can serve to educate residents about the project and allow residents to shape programming and design aspects. It will also help mitigate potential negative impacts of the development on the community.
  • Develop strategic partnerships with existing stakeholders in Central City and throughout New Orleans to provide and support community programming within the incubator.

Read the full report here.

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Smoking Ban at Harrah’s New Orleans

City Ordinance Allows for Study of Policy Impact to Gaming Market

On April 22, 2015, a city-wide smoking ban went into effect in New Orleans. Despite protest from its ownership, the ban applies to Louisiana’s only land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino. Harrah’s, joined by other New Orleans’ businesses, is suing to have the ordinance removed on the basis that they expect to lose significant revenues. This loss, they allege, will consequently hurt local tax revenue collections and potentially cost local jobs as well.

HarrahsGaming facilities are usually reluctant to go smoke-free. When approached by anti-smoking advocates, these facilities indicate they would lose substantial revenues if they shunned smokers. Typically these facilities offer smoking and non-smoking areas to accommodate both types of visitors.

In the Gulf South, only Florida has a state-wide ban on indoor smoking which includes its gaming establishments. However, Florida’s smoking ban does not apply to Native American gaming facilities because these facilities are on sovereign land. Alabama only has Native American casinos, therefore smoking is permitted in all gaming facilities throughout the state. There is no casino-smoking ban in Mississippi; however, one of its many casinos, the Palace Casino, voluntarily went smoke-free.

In Louisiana, there is no statewide smoking ban at gaming facilities. Harrah’s New Orleans competes in a local market which encompasses the New Orleans metro-area, with one racino and two riverboat casinos. However, the recently enacted smoking-ban only affects facilities within Orleans Parish (i.e., Harrah’s and the Churchill Downs’ Fair Grounds Racecourse and Slots). The two riverboat casinos technically operate outside of Orleans Parish, and are thus allowed to operate without prohibiting smoking.


Project Planning/Getting the License – First and Fast, or Later and Last

Competition for gaming licenses is fierce.  The gaming industry has witnessed licensing battles in Pennsylvania, and those gearing up in Massachusetts and Florida.  With licenses in limited supply, applicants must show why their project is the best.   They have to engage the public and turn public officials into vocal advocates.  Government officials increasingly focus not just on the potential gaming revenues of a project, but on the total impacts of a development on surrounding communities and the state as a whole.

productsNew06AUrban planners and local planning departments exist to review and mitigate these impacts.   Paying early attention to the local planning process can help to head off potential opposition, prevent costly mistakes, and give license applicants a leg up on the competition.  One significant aspect of effective front-end planning is thoughtful and complete review of the zoning and land use issues involved in the project.


Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Prevails in Challenge to Public Bid

Court Formally Recognizes TMG’s Knowledge and Experience in Victory for Client

Since 2001, TMG Consulting has administered and monitored the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BRMA). One of our responsibilities is to review the bid documents submitted on federal projects to ensure compliance to the DBE Program. In short, did the bidder meet the DBE project goal and/or make Good Faith Efforts (GFEs) to utilize DBE participation?

This month, TMG participated in a hearing on behalf of the BRMA.

BTRRecently, BRMA solicited sealed bid responses for Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Improvements, a drainage and infrastructure project to eliminate potential attractions to wildlife near the airfield. The apparent low bid was contested by another bidder for a number of reasons, including a DBE-related matter. The bidder filed a temporary restraining order and writ of mandamus on the project in Baton Rouge Civil District Court.

Specifically at question was whether the apparent low bidder made adequate Good Faith Efforts to include DBE participation on the bid.

The Judge ruled in favor of the Airport:

(1)   Rejecting the plaintiff’s claims to award the contract to the plaintiff (writ of mandamus); and

(2)   Deeming that the burden of proof required for a permanent restraining order trial was not met, thereby removing the temporary restraining order.