New Orleans 500 Close-Up: Michael Merideth
CEO of VPG Enterprise is a real estate rising star
Taking a Big Swing
After working for Chevron, this engineer and former baseball player partnered with Andre Lewis to establish a New Orleans-based real estate development, construction and property management company. VPG Enterprise specializes in government and municipal contracting, multi-family real estate development, residential and commercial construction, and property management. Merideth is a graduate of Tuskegee University.
What’s something exciting on the horizon for your company?
We are super excited to get started on the River District Development. The massive amount of housing, entertainment and retail is going to create a whole new neighborhood in NOLA, and we are stoked to be able to play a part in this.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
There is no middle ground on integrity. You’re either at 0% or 100%. Make sure you are on the right side of this equation.
What’s your go-to restaurant?
Lil’ Dizzy’s. Everything down to the homemade ranch salad dressing is delicious.
What’s your hidden talent?
I play drums and piano. I love producing movie scores during my down time.
As the region recovers from the pandemic and several storms, what makes you worried about the local economy and what makes you optimistic?
In any market uncertainty can cause concern. Both the weather and what happens with the pandemic are truly unpredictable at the moment. In these moments, investments tend to stall and strains on the supply chain can cause real issues for cities like New Orleans, which are heavily dependent on outside investment. However, New Orleans is a city that never gives it. It’s like Rocky in the old boxing movies. Every blow that is thrown at it, it gets back up and keeps swinging. This is what makes me optimistic about our city. We have a culture that can never be erased and is loved worldwide. No pandemic or storm can ever wash that away and people will always gravitate to the unique. It’s up to us to stabilize the region with the right investment, shore up our infrastructure, and preserve the gem that is NOLA.
What’s your favorite nonprofit cause?
I love what Uncommon Construction is doing here in New Orleans. The construction industry is ripe for young talent and exposing [the industry] to youth in neighborhoods where this is limited is powerful.
What was your first job?
Working the breakfast shift at McDonald’s
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would your dream career be?
Coaching a college baseball team
What’s your favorite festival?
What’s your favorite Jazz Fest food?
What’s your favorite type of poboy?
What’s your favorite snoball flavor?
What’s your favorite marching krewe?
What’s your favorite movie, TV show or book?
Who would play you in a movie?
Chadwick Boseman (RIP)