No matter where you are in your career, Bossier City is hot with opportunities. From those fresh out of college, to those with years of experience in their job, there is something different about working in Bossier. As desirable as it is a place to live, the fact is that the area is growing increasingly attractive to those wanting longevity in their careers in Bossier. We talked to 3 individuals, one early in their career, one mid-level and one late in their career to see what they’ve gained from their experiences.
Early Career: Megan Welch, Bank Teller at Bank of Montgomery
Megan Welch just made six months in her career as a bank teller for the Bank of Montgomery (BOM) in Benton. Welch first moved to Bossier City from Natchitoches.
“After commuting to Shreveport for almost two years, I am very grateful to be living and working in the same area now,” she said. “It adds to that sense of community that I love.”
Being a younger applicant, Welch says she didn’t find it difficult to break into her new career in Bossier.
“Banks love to hire young energetic people for the teller line,” Welch said. “But the teller position is always going to be considered entry level since that is where you learn about all aspects of banking before you decide whether or not to invest yourself into further education for another aspect like lending or management.”
Welch says she enjoys BOM because she sees longevity in the banking industry.
“It is sometimes frustrating once you have prior banking experience as a teller to be hired at that base level again, but so many banks like to promote from within so once you are in the door and stay loyal, it is easy to advance and learn new things. I have found that there are people of all ages in banking and it is because usually once someone gets started in this career they never leave.”
Though Welch worked at a bank previously right out of college, she said working at a bank in Bossier Parish is unique.
“North Bossier is getting bigger and more developed but it still functions more like a tight knit community which is nice,” she said. “I know my customers and they know me, since I see the same people week after week. I think working in a larger city or more metropolitan area, I would feel more like an order taker or just a calculator behind a counter instead of someone customers can consider their ‘personal banker.’”
But what Welch enjoys the most is helping her customers.
“If a customer comes to me looking for a loan to build their credit score, I am able to refer them to one of our loan officers but I am also able to counsel them on other ways to be financially responsible and build their savings as well. If a customer is confused about how to balance their checkbook, I can offer them some of our free services like text alerts and online banking to be sure they understand how their checking account works and how to keep track of their money accurately. There is nothing more disheartening than not understanding where all of your money went, and there is nothing more empowering than having complete control over it. I try to empower all of my customers to have this control.”
Mid-Career: Kirk Fontenot, Asst. Professor of English, Bossier Parish Community College
Kirk Fontenot started his job at Bossier Parish Community College in 2013. Now as an assistant professor of English in the division of liberal arts, Fontenot found his passion teaching because he wanted to do his part to help the education system in the state.
“I really believe that education is the cure for what ails us as a state,” he said. “If we want new industry to come to Louisiana, a top-notch educated workforce and a first-class school system are what will make that happen. When industries look at Louisiana, all the tax incentives in the world will not compensate for poor schools. Doing the best I can at my job means doing my small part in helping turn things around for Louisiana.”
As one of the most attractive schools in higher education, educators in North Louisiana are drawn to BPCC to look for teaching positions.
“Opportunities in higher education in this area are extremely limited,” he said. “When positions open up at BPCC, applicants pounce on them, both because BPCC is attractive and because jobs are scarce. I lived in the area for nearly a decade before the right position came along. That entire time, I had other full time jobs but also taught as an adjunct because I was determined to make a career in higher education. BPCC was always my first choice, and I worked hard to attain my position, but I also feel like there was a degree of luck, just because so many people are anxious for the same chance.”
Working with BPCC students is one of the many things Fontenot enjoys about his job.
“I love sharing knowledge with students, but even more than that, I love giving students the tools to discover knowledge for themselves. I teach them to research, to verify what they hear and to write about what they’ve learned. People assume I’m teaching grammar and literature, but in my view, I’m teaching students to be self-sufficient and to find their own voice.”
Fontenot found BPCC to be a desirable employer because of how involved the school is in the community.
“There is definitely a sense of community partnership between Bossier City and BPCC, and I see that in some very real ways at my job,” he said. “For example, I was recently involved in an initiative to create a new freshman orientation course for first-time BPCC students. We not only surveyed faculty, staff and students to seek out ideas, but also reached out to members of the Bossier business community and the Bossier Parish schools. In fact, leaders from both business and education served on the committees that ultimately created the orientation program. I would have never guessed so many people in Bossier outside of the college would want to put in the work of creating something like a freshman orientation. The people of Bossier treat BPCC like a valuable resource and are willing to devote time and energy into developing that resource.”
Not only is Bossier City where Fontenot helps develop the minds of students, it is also where he lives.
“A couple of years into teaching full time at BPCC, I decided to make the jump over the Red River and buy a home in Bossier,” he said. “Working at BPCC really made Bossier feel like home, and it just made sense to live here.”
Late-Career: Linda Huffman, Administrator for Retirement Community in South Bossier
Linda Huffman worked in Bossier City for 17 years as the administrator for a retirement community in South Bossier. Since planting roots with her family in Bossier in the 80s, it wasn’t until she started working in the city when she said it began to feel like home.
“Bossier is like no other,” Huffman said. “I am so proud to say that I live in Bossier. The community is a great one to be a part of – you get a sense of pride when you live and work in this city.”
She has lived in Bossier the majority of her life and said she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My husband and I raised our girls here and now we are seeing our grandchildren grow up here and attend the same schools their parents did,” Huffman said. “Working in Bossier, you get to know so many people. Everyone works together for the better of the community. We have the best and brightest workers here and I have witnessed that while working in Bossier.”
As a person with years of experience in her career, she said there are still plenty of opportunities for jobs in Bossier.
“You just have to put yourself out there and meet people. Bossier is a friendly place and once people get to know you and see that you have a good work ethic, you will never be jobless.”
Huffman’s advice to those looking for careers in Bossier is simple.
“You always get what you give. Go above and beyond in your profession and treat people with respect. That will get you far in Bossier.”