Brown Eagle recently made the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report’s 2023 Book of Lists as the third-largest woman-owned business in the Capital Region! Under the direction of owner and CEO Lela Mae Wilkes, Brown Eagle has cemented itself as the leading 3PL in the Baton Rouge Capital Area and pioneer in Site Logistics, Warehousing and Packaging services.
Lela Mae joined the Brown Eagle team in 1977 as the company’s controller. Just five years later, she was promoted to vice president and then to president in 1987. Over the next 25 years, the company grew to more than 500 employees working on concurrent projects across the Gulf South in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Kentucky. She officially acquired the company in 2014. As Brown Eagle continues to grow, its commitment to providing top-tier logistics services to Baton Rouge and its surrounding communities will only deepen.
Brown Eagle is a 100% woman-owned, Louisiana business with more than 50 years of experience as a one-stop solution for industrial facilities’ logistics needs. Brown Eagle services multinational Fortune 500 chemical manufacturers and is recognized across the Gulf South for its consistency, experience and industry expertise.
Lela Mae Wilkes fosters entrepreneurship as a member of the Dixie Business Development Center board of directors
For Brown Eagle CEO Lela Mae Wilkes, her years on the DBDC board of directors has meant a chance to serve the greater Baton Rouge business community. The DBDC, a business incubator supported by DEMCO, helps small businesses compete and grow by providing shared services, office space and warehousing.
“We’re available for our expertise,” said Wilkes. “If you want to know about warehousing, I would be there. I’d be someone you would call on, come see the warehouse and what we have done. There are people on there from banks who are available if you’ve got questions about financing. We’re there to serve the entrepreneur.”
Wilkes’ roots growing up on the family dairy farm in Pride, Louisiana taught her to appreciate the value of hard work and the sense of accomplishment that it brings. From feeding baby calves to planting a field, Wilkes and her family consistently did whatever needed to be done, working as a team to accomplish goals. Those experiences form the foundation of the wisdom she now shares with today’s up-and-coming business owners and entrepreneurs.
But that wasn’t the only lesson Lela Mae took from her parents’ farm: She was grateful for her parents teaching her that “there weren’t men jobs and women jobs.” Everyone was expected to do their part and take care of farm responsibilities. In college at Northwestern State University, Wilkes felt thankful to professors who gave her every opportunity to succeed as a woman in business. These experiences helped pave her path as a pioneer in the petrochemical service industry years later.
“I’m blessed to be where I am in large part because of a family that taught me the value of working hard, as well as schools where opportunity was not dependent on gender or social status,” said Wilkes. “Being able to share that wisdom with others is a real blessing.”
Brown Eagle Owner and CEO Lela Mae Wilkes received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Northwestern State University during their spring commencement ceremonies on May 11, 2022. Wilkes received the honor from NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones during the ceremony for graduates of the School of Business and Technology.
Wilkes graduated with a business degree from Northwestern State University in 1968. In the years following, she established herself as a pioneer in the petrochemical service industry. Wilkes was a founding member of the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance and served on its first board. She eventually became full owner and CEO at Brown Eagle, where she led the company to the forefront of providing innovative 3PL and 4PL logistics solutions for chemical manufacturers in Louisiana and across America. Wilkes never stopped giving back to NSU during her career, serving on both the NSU Foundation Board of Directors and the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board.
“I am deeply touched by this honor from Northwestern State University,” said Wilkes. “This university has meant so much to me, and receiving this award brings everything full circle in a special way. I would not be where I am today had it not been for Northwestern instilling in me that I could be and do whatever I wanted to be and do, and making me feel that I was part of the Northwestern community.”
Brown Eagle is a 100% woman-owned, Louisiana business that is recognized as the third largest woman-owned business in the Capital Region by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. The company has more than 50 years of experience as a one-stop solution for industrial facilities’ post-manufacturing needs, providing contract labor to manage and operate clients’ packaging, bulk material handling, third-party logistics, warehousing and shipping functions. Brown Eagle services multinational Fortune 500 chemical manufacturers and is recognized across the Gulf South for its consistency, experience and industry expertise.