A Leading Community Refiner

Norco Manufacturing Complex’s Rochelle Touchard gives back to the St. Charles community that raised her in the most profound ways.
Rochelle Touchard and some of her colleagues at the United Way campaign at Norco Manufacturing Complex.

When a fellow student at Hahnville High School told Rochelle Touchard that women couldn’t hack it in the military she said, “well, let me give it a shot.” Time and again Rochelle “gave it a shot” and unendingly pressed herself forward, growing into the tireless philanthropist and football fanatic that she is today.

Touchard enlisted in the military in 1990, just months before the Gulf War, and trained in nuclear-biological-chemical warfare. By a stroke of luck, she wasn’t sent to the front line with the rest of her unit. Instead, she was sent to learn how to drive eighteen-wheelers for a short time before reporting on infantry units in battle. Rochelle sums up her training by stating that by the time she left she was “able to nuke you, run over you and sit back and write about it.

“You grow up pretty fast in the military,” Touchard continues, “My training gave me a direction and focus, grounding me as a person to believe what I still believe today; we’re not here by ourselves and we have to work together if we want to make substantive change.”

 


The Touchard family enjoying their favorite season: Football Season!

 


 Touchard training in the Mojave Desert in California after enlisting in the military in 1990.

After graduating from LSU’s Communications school and marrying her hometown sweetheart, Chris, Touchard packed her bags to go on and work in the St. Charles Parish Public School System as the Director of Public Information. Here, she helped to create the school system brand, “You and I… We are St. Charles Public Schools,” meaning that it’s not just the students and educators, but the community as a whole that makes up the schools. It’s a village of influence and support, and at the end of the day, “if a community works together to develop a highly productive education system, then a domino effect will lead to an overall better quality of life for everyone. Being surrounded by high functioning industry allows us to create a high-tax base to support our public schools and invest in each student’s future because they are our future.

“It’s really just ironic how everything worked out,” says Touchard. After 14 years with the school system, Touchard left to take a position as the External Relations Manager at (Shell/Motiva) the Norco Manufacturing Complex where she continues to provide support to the public school programs. “When I was with the school system I had the role of ensuring that all of our schools were connected to an industry, guaranteeing funds towards every student’s education. Now at Shell/Motiva, I get to work with my predecessors at the school board… The irony is that when I was on the school board, I was the one that asked for Shell/Motiva to consider sponsoring these schools, and now at the facility, I am in the position to fund the programs that I started back then. It kind of came full circle.”

St. Charles Parish is symbiotic. When Touchard took a position at Shell/Motiva, she knew it was a way to give back to the community that raised her. “I worked in the school system for 14 years and loved it, and then I had the ability to move to a global company that provides value to where I’ve grown up, where I live, to where I’m raising my children and my family raises their families. It’s just exponential. It’s been a very unique position for me and one that I don’t take for granted and am humbled by.”

Touchard and Shell/Motiva are heavily involved with the community building non-profit, United Way. “We all have our jobs because the community allows us to operate here,” says Touchard, “so it touches my heart that we can give back to the community and make it whole.” In 2012 she was the co-chair for St. Charles Parish United Way Campaign and she currently sits on the marketing committee and the board of directors.

Touchard has a pretty packed work schedule, but she makes it very clear that especially in the fall, “not a lot gets done on the weekends in the Touchard household.” In addition to the gamut of sports that her children, Grayson, Gabrielle and Gage play, the Touchards are football fanatics, with season tickets to both the Tigers and the Saints. With such a busy schedule, Touchard says she is, “thankful for football and the opportunity to eat and fuss and cheer and support our colors with family.

“What I hope, through my experiences, through my passion and energy, is to lead others and empower them to have the same passion and energy that I do to make a difference for the better.”

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Categories: Maritime