LSU Alumna Donna Bailey and LSU/LSU Health Shreveport Alumnus Dr. Brian Elkins: Innovators at RoyOMartin
April 18, 2023
Driving Agricultural Innovation by Growing People First
Innovation isn’t always about the latest technology. Sometimes it’s about transforming an organization by making its people happier, healthier and more successful. At RoyOMartin, Louisiana’s largest landowner and maker of wood products, LSU alumna Donna Bailey and LSU/LSU Health Shreveport alumnus Dr. Brian Elkins have helped build an educational system as well as a healthcare system—within the company—to support RoyOMartin employees and their families.
“My goal was always to make our company as profitable as it can be,” said Bailey, who serves as vice president of human resources after earning her master’s degree in leadership and human resource development at LSU. “Our leaders, when I joined RoyOMartin, were experts at manufacturing and forestry. Meanwhile, I was an educator. I was an expert on people. As such, I knew people were the biggest secret of all in making our company more successful, and LSU showed me how to get it done.”
When the company’s healthcare costs kept climbing while employees had difficulty accessing healthcare—sometimes missing a day of work just to sit in a waiting room—RoyOMartin decided to innovate. It created Legacy Health & Wellness, a comprehensive primary care clinic for employees and their families. It’s located in Alexandria, between the original RoyOMartin plywood facility in Chopin and the oriented strand board plant in Oakdale. Dr. Brian Elkins, who received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at LSU Baton Rouge and then went on to complete medical school at LSU Health Shreveport, signed on as its medical director.
“I’ve come to fully embrace this model,” Dr. Elkins said. “I’m honestly surprised not more large companies are doing it. Of course, it couldn’t be done in all states. In some places, corporate practice of medicine isn’t allowed. But here in Louisiana, it saves RoyOMartin a lot of money while we’re able to treat our patients like they’re family.”
“My responsibility as a leader is to help those around me, and when every leader at every level is a teacher, we are world-class.”
Donna Bailey, vice president of human resources at RoyOMartin and LSU School of Leadership & Human Resource Development alumna