It’s Acadiana: Out To Lunch

Hosted ByChristiaan Mader

OUT TO LUNCH finds journalist Christiaan Mader conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Christiaan invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join him. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.

Lemons to Lemonade – Out to Lunch – It’s Acadiana

You’ve probably heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s meant to be motivational – encouraging us to take something bad that’s happened to us, and turn it into something good.

Aaron Beam

Aaron Beam is the poster boy for making lemons out of lemonade. Aaron was one of the founders of a company called Health South. Health South was a healthcare provider that, at its height, was a Fortune 500 company. It was the largest company in Alabama, with 40,000 employees in all 50 states. Aaron was the CFO – the Chief Financial Officer. In 1996, in order to make the company’s finances look more attractive, Aaron messed around with some numbers. Suggesting that the company’s revenues were different from what they actually were. When this tinkering came to light, it became one of the largest corporate frauds in the history of the United States. Which is till is today.

Aaron, and others at the company, went to Federal prison. As part of his sentence, Aaron had to forfeit his substantial wealth and property. Aaron has taken those lemons and turned them into lemonade. Today, Aaron Beam is a public speaker, an educator and author, who specializes in Business Ethics.

Roy Devillier 

Roy Devillier has not committed fraud. He has not spent any time in Federal prison. And he has not run a Fortune 500 company. Roy does, however, take lemons and make lemonade. It’s called Roy’s Lemonade. It started out back in the 1990’s when Roy was frustrated at not being able to get a glass of lemonade he liked at a festival. So he came up with his own recipe, and started selling lemonade himself at festivals.

Today, Roy’s Lemonade is on sale in 19 states. And when we say Roy hasn’t run a Fortune 500 company, we might need to add “yet.”

 Aaron Beam, Roy Devillier, Aileen Bennett

Photos at Cafe Vermilionville by Lucius A Fontenot.