Tulsa Metro Chamber to inaugurate new chairman and announce initiatives for 2010Don Walker to succeed David Page as chairman
The Tulsa Metro Chamber will elect, tomorrow, Don Walker, president and CEO, Arvest Bank, as its 2010 chairman of the Board of Directors.
Walker succeeds Chairman David Page, market president of JPMorgan Chase & Co. More than 1,200 area business leaders, local officials and citizens will be in attendance when the Chamber formally inaugurates Walker at its annual meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 2010, from noon to 1:30 p.m. The Annual Meeting is presented by Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and hosted by the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center.
Also planned for the annual meeting is a video presentation featuring a review of 2009 accomplishments, an awards presentation and Walker’s inauguration address unveiling the Chamber’s primary initiatives for 2010. Including: expand regionalism and shared resources; next phase of regional economic development; fund regional tourism marketing; and seek candidates to support for state office which are pro-business.
Walker began his 30-year career with Arvest as a loan officer upon graduation from the University of Arkansas. In 1984, he was appointed president and CEO of First National, Siloam Springs, Ark., and served until 1991 when he was appointed president and CEO of Bank of Bentonville, Ark. He remained president in Bentonville until his move to Tulsa in 1998.
In addition to serving as the chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber board, Walker is currently serving among several organizations, including: the board of directors for both River Parks and the Morningside Foundation of Tulsa; director emeritus of John Brown University’s Board of Directors; the Indian Nations Council-Boy Scouts of America, Board of Directors and Executive Committee; and treasurer of the Executive Committee for the Oklahoma Business Roundtable. Walker was co-chair of the Tulsa Committee for the Oklahoma Centennial, and more recently, chaired the Tulsa Area United Way’s 2009 campaign and also currently serves as the United Way’s 2010 chairman of the board.
Walker has served on the Chamber’s executive committee for a record eight years—chairing the Chamber’s Arkansas River Master Study Plan, marketing and membership division, and the annual Resource Campaign.
Annually, more than 3,100 businesses support the activities of the Tulsa Metro Chamber through membership investment. Chamber members include businesses and organizations from more than 70 communities throughout the 10-county metropolitan area and the state of Oklahoma and represent 175,000 area employees.
Transportation leaders survey progress on IDL project
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is hosting U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, committee member, to view federal transportation stimulus projects taking place in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Beginning the day-long tour atop one of the 44 bridges being re-decked as part of the Inner Dispersal Loop project in Tulsa, Oberstar and Fallin were joined by Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley, ODOT Commissioner Pete Regan and other representatives from the city and Chamber.
Oberstar addressed the crowd speaking to the state’s effectiveness in utilizing federal stimulus dollars.
“Oklahoma has been especially effective at investing its allocation of highway funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, consistently ranking among the top states in our monthly analysis of Recovery Act projects,” Oberstar said. “These investments have resulted in nearly 7,000 family-wage construction jobs on the state’s highways and bridges so far. I applaud the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for this record success.”
In March 2009, Oklahoma awarded $205 million in stimulus-funded construction contracts, making it the first state to put to work a significant portion of its transportation-related stimulus funds. The state has consistently led other states in the percentage of funds put to work. More than $225 million has been pumped into Oklahoma’s economy from these projects.
More than $415 million in contracts have been awarded, which represents about 90 percent of the state’s $465 million share. Of that, $75 million is being used to reconstruct the north and west legs of the IDL, and replace more than 40 bridge decks.
At the press conference, Bartlett stressed the importance of the project not only for the local economy, but also to improve tax revenue.
“This is a great example of stimulus money being spent in a proper way,” said Bartlett. “The hundreds and hundreds of jobs created by the project is incredible, and the improved and increased access to downtown will increases sales tax revenue, which is critical to the city of Tulsa.”
According to the Chamber’s economist Bob Ball, rehabilitation of the IDL will add 382 direct jobs and another 210 jobs indirectly for a total of nearly 600 additional 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.
Completion of Gilcrease Expressway topic of public meeting
One of the Tulsa Metro Chamber's OneVoice Legislative Agenda’s top priorities, funding for completion of the Gilcrease Expressway, was the topic of discussion at a public meeting held last Wednesday at Tulsa County Chandler Park.
“The Gilcrease Expressway is an important and required priority for regional economic development in Tulsa, surrounding cities and Tulsa County,” said Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “We're going to get it done.”
Completion of the Gilcrease Expressway is the only remaining uncompleted portion of the original expressway master plan for the Tulsa region prepared by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and completed in 1961. In 1968 the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission adopted the Tulsa City-County Major Street and Highway Plan as a part of the Comprehensive Plan, which included the Gilcrease Expressway route and it has been included in ODOT’s Long Range Transportation Plan for decades with anticipation of phased construction as development occurs.
Contracts are in the execution phase to continue the road westward to 41st West Avenue near the Post Oak Lodge and Tulsa Botanical Gardens.
There are many important reasons to complete the Gilcrease Expressway. It completes the expressway system for the Tulsa region as originally planned. It would support recent development of west and northwest Tulsa and Sand Springs areas and provides needed access for potential growth for the city of Tulsa to the northwest. It would provide improved connection from manufacturing centers in Sand Springs, Sapulpa and west Tulsa to the Port of Catoosa. It improves access for agricultural product shipping to the Port of Catoosa and other ports along the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System as well as relieving capacity/congestion problems on existing Arkansas River bridges at I-244 and I-44. It improves public safety for Sand Springs area residents due to current reliance on SH 97 bridge as the only river crossing in a 14-mile stretch from Keystone Dam to US-75.
The project is eligible for federal highway funding, and environmental work has been done. Also, significant parts of the right-of-way have been acquired. However, the major expenses lie in bridging the river and connecting with the expressway. The estimated cost of the bridge connecting West 21st Street and Charles Page Boulevard is $80 million.
For more, click on the Sapulpa Daily Herald’s story below:
Toll bridge for Gilcrease Expressway discussed
Nomination deadline nearing for 2010 Small Business Awards
The Chamber will honor Tulsa’s rising entrepreneurs at the 2010 Crystal Star Small Business Awards in April, and the nomination process has begun. Business members are invited to nominate an esteemed colleague to receive recognition for his or her business efforts.
The Crystal Star is awarded annually to small business practitioners who, in the judgment of their peers, exemplify professional skill and leadership and are champions in their fields. Nominations are accepted in 10 categories, including:
• Small Business Person
• Entrepreneurial Success
• Small Business Exporter
• Young Entrepreneur
• Family Owned Business
• Financial Services Champion
• Home-Based Business Champion
• Minority Small Business Champion
• Veteran Small Business Champion
• Women in Business Champion
Nominees must be Tulsa Metro Chamber members and in business a minimum of three years. All nominations will be considered and reviewed by the Small Business Awards Committee. Along with Tulsa-area recognition, winners are nominated for state-level awards with a chance to proceed to regional or national level.
Nominations close Jan. 22. Winners will be recognized at the Chamber’s annual awards luncheon Wednesday, April 28, at Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills.
Chamber’s Mike Neal to serve on governor’s economic development team
Mike Neal, Tulsa Metro Chamber president and CEO, was elected secretary of the Oklahoma Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team, an elite team of economic development professionals from across the state. The GEDT works closely with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to help new and existing businesses create jobs, attract investment to Oklahoma and build relationships with corporate executives and site selection consultants around the nation and throughout the world.
“Business attraction and job creation in our region are the Chamber’s top priorities and are the focus of this group of economic development leaders,” Neal said. “I am excited to serve on the team and look forward to the projects coming down the pike.”
Chamber welcomes new businessesEach month the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Hospitality Club welcomes new businesses and new Chamber members to the community by assisting with ribbon cuttings and groundbreaking announcements.
Antonio Perez, Owner
1601 N. Peoria
Tulsa, OK 74106