Hall of Distinction Class of 1998-1999

Jacob Giardina, president and CEO of Cameco Industries, Inc., is a native of St. Rose, Louisiana, and graduated from St. Charles Barremeo High School in 1955. He attended LSU and received a B.S. degree in agricultural engineering in 1962.

After graduation, Giardina joined the Thomson Machinery Company of Thibodaux, Louisiana, as a project engineer and remained there until January 1965. From 1962 through 1965, the majority of the time was spent in Africa and Central America doing R & D and start-up work of machinery on various sugar plantations.

In 1965, he and a group of people were involved in the formation of Cane Machinery & Engineering Company, which later grew into Cameco Industries, Inc. of today. Cameco’s activities were focused on machines for the harvesting and handling of sugarcane. Giardina held various positions, ranging from project engineer, assistant general manager, sales manager, general manager and finally president & CEO.

From 1965 until 1980, the majority of Cameco’s business was outside the U.S. and Giardina traveled extensively throughout the worldwide sugar industry during this period. Later as managerial duties increased and as domestic sales increased, the overseas traveling decreased somewhat. During this 37 year work span, there are very few countries in the world that Giardina has not visited for business purposes.

In the mid-1980’s the company diversified its activities into pulp wood harvesting and pineapple harvesting and Giardina was involved personally in both of these ventures.

The company that Giardina manages today is far from what it was in the beginning in 1965. The company has grown from a few people to approximately 900 employees and from one million dollars in sales to two hundred million dollars in 1998.

In 1998, Cameco Industries, Inc., of which Giardina and his children were a large shareholder, sold the company to John Deere. Giardina remains in charge of the company today.

Giardina has been actively involved in the Thibodaux community and has served on the E.D. White School Board, Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church Parish, and is presently chairman of the board of trustees of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center. He is also president of South Louisiana Economic Council, an organization whose objective is to enhance business in the parishes of Lafourche, Terrebonne, Assumption and St. Mary. He has also served as chairman, Corporate Sponsorship Committee, Lafourche Division of American Heart Association, and chairman, Crusader’s Club, American Cancer Society. He is president & CEO of Honiron Corporation, a manufacturing company in Jeanerette, Louisiana, and also president of Rebecca Plantation, a 1,000 acre sugar farm near Houma, Louisiana.

Giardina has received various awards which include the Francis M. Durel Award given by the Thibodaux VFW as a service award for outstanding service to the community; Servare Unitatem, given by the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux for outstanding service to the church and diocese; Beta Gamma Sigma Award, given by the Board of Governors for services rendered to Nicholls State University; and the 1999 Business Hall of Fame Laureate Award, given by the junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans.

In 1968, Giardina married Maxine Gros of Thibodaux, Louisiana, and they have four children, Jacob, Jr.; Helen, Benjamin, and Anthony. Jacob, Jr. is a mechanical engineering graduate of LSU; Helen has a degree in psychology from LSU; and Benjamin and Anthony are presently attending the university. Giardina presently resides in Thibodaux, Louisiana.