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  • Toni Antrum

The Hackett Group, LLC Serves as a Lead Partner in Historic $160M NSF Grant Awarded to Louisiana Statewide Initiative, FUEL

NEW ORLEANS – The Hackett Robertson Tobe Group (The Hackett Group, LLC) proudly announces its pivotal role as one of the only African-American-led investment consulting and advisory firms among the 150 esteemed partners selected to spearhead the groundbreaking program, "Future Use of Energy in Louisiana" (FUEL). This statewide effort, led by Louisiana State University (LSU) in collaboration with public and private partners, has secured the largest and most competitive grant ever from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), totaling up to $160 million to be activated over the next decade. 

"We are honored to have been selected as a lead partner and participated as a working group member in this transformative endeavor over the past year," said President and Senior Consultant Toni Hackett Antrum, at The Hackett Group. "As one of the only African-American led investment firms in this distinguished group, we are deeply committed to FUEL’s mission of fostering innovation, equity, and inclusivity in Louisiana's energy landscape, as well as being an integral piece of the fabric advising the businesses and entities that arise from this investment.” 

The NSF Engines Grant aims to support research and commercialization endeavors in responsible energy transition, focusing on job growth while decarbonizing Louisiana's industrial corridor. With Louisiana's rich legacy in energy expertise and solutions, the state stands poised to lead the charge in pioneering sustainable practices, focusing on equity and inclusion. 

“This investment in Louisiana ensures that the energy transformation includes small businesses and local entrepreneurs as well as underutilized entrepreneurs - specifically women and people of color. It will allow us to be able to profit from and keep jobs and people here in Louisiana, stemming the tide of the talent outflow that we often see in these industries,” said Chief Operating Officer and Senior Consultant Bernard Robertson III, at The Hackett Group.  “Our focus will be to ensure that historically underutilized businesses participate and profit from this transformative initiative.”

FUEL's diverse consortium comprises private energy companies, universities, community and technical colleges, and state agencies committed to driving technology and workforce development in alignment with Louisiana's energy industry goals. The grant will target key areas including carbon capture, hydrogen, low-carbon fuel production, sustainable manufacturing, and policy development.

Partners in the FUEL initiative include the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Greater New Orleans, Inc., ExxonMobil, Shell, and Baker Hughes. The project will synergize efforts with initiatives such as GNO, Inc. 's H2theFuture green hydrogen grant and the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation.

Through strategic coordination and collaborative efforts, FUEL aims to leverage Louisiana's geographical advantage and robust infrastructure to drive meaningful advancements in energy transition. With additional funding of $67.5 million from Louisiana Economic Development, higher education partners will be empowered to translate research into actionable solutions, thereby catalyzing economic growth and sustainability.

For more information about the historic FUEL grant, please visit their website here.


About The Hackett Group

The Hackett Group, LLC (“THG”) is a boutique pension and investment consulting practice based in New Orleans and was founded by Toni Hackett Antrum in 2011. The firm is an independent institutional investment consulting firm and a registered Investment Adviser (RIA) with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hackett Group provides customized investment counsel and consulting services primarily to public funds, retirement plan sponsors, fiduciaries, private and political subdivisions. The firm is the successor firm to Washington Hackett, Smith & Company (WHS) - the groundbreaking organization founded 35 years ago as the nation’s first minority-owned pension consulting firm. In addition to pension and investment consulting, the firm provides wealth management, private equity investing, public policy consulting including governmental fiscal and operational reviews, and is registered with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) as a municipal advisor. The firm is Woman and Minority owned and is a DBE, certified by the City of New Orleans. Most recently, The Hackett Group launched “The Reconstruction Fund I”, a private equity fund focused on building wealth in Black communities across the South. Thus far it has been a recipient of $10 million in funding from the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). 

The Hackett Group, retains a staff of seven, and if needed augments staff with subject matter expertise as needed (actuarial, legal, etc.). When retained the firm assembles a highly customized superior team, thereby offering an incomparable level of service. This model allows the firm to address complex, multi-layered subjects, requiring a multi-disciplinary approach and subject matter expertise, which includes investment management (private and public), pension fund management, capital market practices, fiduciary and board practices, actuarial science, employee benefits plan issues, impact investing, community development, and traditional public finance. 

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