Rick L. Allen serves as Chairman of the Board of Fort Polk Progress. A resident of Leesville, Louisiana, he is currently serving his second term as the city’s mayor. In addition, he is a member of the Governor’s Military Advisory Committee, in his third term as the District D Vice-President of the Louisiana Municipal Association and on the board of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
Allen is a residential and commercial general contractor and the owner of businesses in both construction and trucking industries. He is a partner in numerous land developments, including property management for commercial and residential rentals. He owns Leesville Motorsports, a motorcycle and ATV shop, and is also a franchisee for Dairy Queen.
He and his wife Traci are parents to three children: Kaitlin, Jailea and Maison and are also the proud grandparents to Sophia Grace. They are active members of their church.
Ed Williams serves as the Vice-Chairman of Fort Polk Progress.
He has been the Chairman for the Military Affairs Committee at the Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce since January 2011 and is on the board of several organizations in the community.
A soldier for life, he served 27 years in the US Army and continues to give back to the Army as a coach, trainer and mentor for the Leader Training Program at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Avon H. Knowlton serves as the Secretary of Fort Polk Progress. She is a native and life-long resident of Beauregard Parish and is fully invested in the economic and community development of SWLA. Her professional work is focused on ushering prosperity and opportunity into the region. She currently serves as the Program Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWLA where she advocates and defends the potential of at risk youth in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jeff Davis and Vernon parishes.
Knowlton, along with others, was instrumental in the formation of Fort Polk Progress. She consults and mentors community leaders, Chambers of Commerce and non-profits across Louisiana and the United States, working as a facilitator for boards, policy procedures, economic and community development, leadership programs, strategic planning, workforce development and project management. She is dedicated to working for a better quality of life for our military and their families, advocating in Washington and raising awareness for Fort Polk Progress.
She received her Certified Chamber Executive Certification (CCE) from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2012, making her one of only two certified Chamber of Commerce executives in Louisiana. She recently received her Economic Development certification from Southeastern Louisiana University.
She has been married to Edward Knowlton for 31 years and is the mother of Garrett and Dylan and grandmother of Bowen, Boone, Josie, Krue and Tad.
Clarence Beebe has been Mayor of Hornbeck since 2000. Before that he served as an alderman from 1987 to 1991 and from 1997 to 2000. He’s been a member of the Louisiana Municipal Association since 1987, serving as an executive board member from 2011-2015 and the District “D” Vice President from 2012-2015.
He’s been a member of Fort Polk Progress since 2010 and has served on the Louisiana Military Advisory Council since 2012.
Beebe has also served on the Louisiana Municipal Gas Association Board of Directors since 2000.
Leroy D. Cooley has been in the banking industry for 40 years and is currently serving as Executive Vice President for Merchants & Farmers Bank. He is a graduate of Northwestern State University and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.
Cooley formerly served as Mayor of Anacoco, Louisiana for 12 years and has been a member of the Economic Development Committee for the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce, the University Parkway Development District Planning Commission and the Regional Growth Management Team.
Keith Lewing is a lifelong resident of Anacoco, Louisiana. From 2000 to 2012 he served as a councilman for the Village of Anacoco, serving from 2001 to 2012 as mayor pro tempore. In 2012 he was elected Mayor of Anacoco.
He is the owner of Howard Lewing Construction, Inc., a residential and commercial construction contractor and also a volunteer Firefighter on the Anacoco Fire Department.
Both the Village of Anacoco and Mayor Lewing are huge supporters of Fort Polk. One of the greatest honors he has enjoyed since becoming mayor is escorting troops who are deploying overseas or returning home.
Sandra McQuain is the Executive Director of the England Economic and Industrial Development District (EEIDD), which includes Alexandria International Airport. She joined EEIDD in December 2018.
She has over 25 years of experience working with businesses, government agencies and elected officials on a myriad of public relations, media relations, and operational strategies. Her government related experience includes serving on the staff of a Tennessee Governor, serving as State Director to a United States Senator, and establishing the Office of Press for a United States Attorney (WD-TN).
Sandra and her husband, John, are the proud parents of Stephanie, a senior at Pineville High School, and Matthew, a freshman at Pineville High School. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce (Chair-Elect, Secretary) and on the Board of the United Way of Central Louisiana (former Chair). She serves on the Louisiana ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) Research Advisory Council, which reviews and promotes research data related to the working poor in the state. She is also a member of the Alexandria Rotary Club.
James B. “Jim” Tuck has been President of the Vernon Parish Police Jury since 2007. He served as Vice-President of the jury from 2004 to 2006, having first been elected to the jury in 1992.
He has also served as Vice-Chairman of the Regional Growth Management Team and on the boards of the Leesville Lions Club and Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and is a member of the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee and the Vernon Parish Arena District.
Tuck is the owner of JB Tuck Heavy Equipment & Construction Company and JB Tuck Equipment & Auction Company.