Resource Campaign volunteers raise $2.5 million
Tulsa Metro Chamber Resource Campaign volunteers raised $2.5 million in the annual campaign which kicked off in March with a goal of $2.3 million.
"We are overwhelmed by the response and support from this regional business community," said Chamber CEO and President Mike Neal. "This is obviously an enormous vote of confidence in the chamber's strategic direction established by our board of directors and the extraordinary work being conducted by the professional staff and civic volunteers."
Campaign Chairman John Bowen, vice president of Cox Communications, and Co-Chair Wade Edmundson, CEO of Summit Bank, along with Chairman of the Board David Page, market president for JP Morgan Chase, and Executive Vice President Matt Pivarnik, unveiled the campaign grand total $2,540,290 to volunteers and sponsoring company representatives at the Silo Event Center last week.
Now in its 15th year, the Chamber's Resource Campaign has continued growth each year and is looked at as a model for chambers across the nation.
To read the Tulsa World article, click here.
Task forces now forming for 2010 OneVoice legislative agenda
The Tulsa Metro Chamber celebrated a very successful 2009 legislative session as a result of the collaborative efforts from members and partners in the Tulsa region who helped create the OneVoice priorities advocated on their behalf.
With the wrap up of the 2009 session, the Chamber is turning its focus on 2010 and asking members to once again take part in determining what legislation is vital to the economic growth of the Tulsa region. Task forces are being assembled in nine areas: labor and human resources, regional tourism, small business, business attraction and expansion, health care, education, development, energy, federal issues and transportation.
Each legislative task force will meet multiple times to develop a list of top priorities to include on the 2010 OneVoice legislative agenda. All items included on the agenda must be for the benefit of the entire Tulsa region and agreed upon by the task force.
The task force chair will present the top three priorities at the Regional Legislative Summit on August 20 to regional business leaders who will determine which federal and state priorities to include on the OneVoice legislative agenda. The positions which fail to appear on the OneVoice agenda will be considered for adoption as Tulsa Metro Chamber priorities.
Task forces will begin meeting next week. For a complete description of task forces, scheduled meeting times and to sign up, click here.
Chamber celebrates IDL rehabilitation project with area business and government officials
With Tulsa’s Inner Dispersal Loop as a backdrop, Oklahoma transportation officials and local business leaders joined representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce led Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition today to celebrate the start of a critical rebuilding project. Expedited by funding from the economic stimulus package signed by President Obama in February, the $75 million IDL project is injecting a vital boost to the local economy and resolving a significant transportation challenge.
Citing the immediate and enduring impacts of the project, the parties also used the opportunity to call on Congress and the Obama Administration to address ongoing transportation planning and investment around the nation.
“Transportation funding in the stimulus package was a great first step, but the job isn’t finished yet,” said Janet Kavinoky, director of transportation infrastructure in the Congressional and Public Affairs Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the ATM Coalition. “Now is the time for Congress to address long-term transportation planning and investment needs for our roads, bridges and public transit. The bottom line: More revenue is needed to ensure other critical mobility projects that support economic activity and population growth, like the IDL, are built around this great nation.”
With the nation’s existing surface transportation legislation expiring in September, the ATM is leading the effort to urge Congress to take this opportunity to address long-term transportation planning and investment needs for roads, bridges and public transit. Americans traveling daily by car, bus or train see firsthand that the nation’s roads, bridges and public transit systems are failing to keep pace with the needs of a growing population.
“Investments in transportation and infrastructure will be returned to this region through new businesses, individuals and organizations we are able to retain and attract,” said David Page, Tulsa Metro Chamber chairman and market president of JP Morgan Chase & Co.
According to the Tulsa Chamber’s economist Bob Ball, rehabilitation of the IDL will create a total of nearly 600 direct and indirect jobs as a result of one year of construction. Furthermore, the project will help boost the local economy with an expected economic impact of nearly $137 million over the course of construction.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation currently has close to $12 billion in backlogged highway construction projects. Transportation infrastructure replacement in Oklahoma is expected to cost $35 billion, almost seven times the annual state budget.
"The IDL is a vital transportation link for downtown Tulsa, and for thousands of people travelling through Tulsa each day," Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley said. “We ask for everyone's patience during this project. There will certainly be some inconveniences, but this work will be well worth it for many, many decades to come."
The four-mile IDL, which encircles downtown Tulsa, is a vital link to Tulsa’s central business district, averaging more than 62,000 vehicles each day. The $75 million, 580-day project will completely reconstruct and re-deck more than 40 bridges on the west and north legs of the IDL. Traffic sign improvements and safety upgrades will also be made.
To read about the project in the news, see the following articles:
Stimulus paves the way: IDL repairs shift into the fast lane
Impact of IDL construction touted as significant
Five tips for greening your business
Green Country businesses that decide to go green are doing more than reducing impact on the environment. Green businesses attract young professionals, a target market that prefers to work for eco-friendly companies. In addition, green businesses can lower operating costs, improve bottom lines, and enhance brand image through social responsibility.
TYPros offers an inside look at what matters to young professionals.
There are many benefits to implementing sustainable practices, but what does “going green” really mean? A green company operates in such a way that conserves natural resources, reduces energy consumption, eliminates waste and minimizes emissions. Below are ideas for companies to consider when creating a green strategy.
1. Make it a team effort. A successful sustainable business program begins with the company’s leadership and spreads through the organization. Both management and employees should be educated about green practices and committed to making it work. Look to young talent in the company who can help lead the endeavor.
2. Look at going green as an opportunity, not a chore. More organizations are integrating sustainable policies into their overall strategic plans to take full advantage of having an eco-friendly program.
3. Take baby steps. Gradual progress is advisable when implementing sustainable programs. Make changes that will not decrease profits or productivity for more than a short time, and those that could eventually be profitable.
4. Go green, save money. While there may be up-front costs, companies often save money in the long term. Improved efficiency equals less waste, which means less money spent on utility bills, copy paper, Styrofoam coffee cups, etc.
5. Recycling is a simple first step. Recycling is a great way to involve the entire staff and is one of the most widely practiced environmental activities.
New COBRA rule hits small businesses
One lesser-known provision in the federal stimulus bill has a lot of small business owners complaining: the COBRA extension.
Under the terms of the stimulus bill, recently laid-off workers get a discount on their continuing employer-sponsored health care coverage, known as COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). Instead of paying the entire premium, which can easily exceed $1,000 per month, workers pay only 35 percent. The sticking point for their former employers is that they have to pay the remaining 65 percent for up to nine months. The law applies to companies with 20 or more employees.
Companies aren’t expected to bear the cost forever, however. Businesses can withhold the amount of the payments from their next federal tax bill. Even so, the temporary payment is a tough pill to swallow for small companies experiencing cash crunches.
Source: The Wall Street Journal’s Independent Street blog, April 23, 2009