Tulsa Metro Chamber names new senior vice president of VisitTulsa
The Tulsa Metro Chamber’s President and CEO Mike Neal announced the selection of Ray Hoyt to lead VisitTulsa, the convention and visitors program at the Tulsa Metro Chamber, at a press conference last Friday with representatives from the city, county, business community and hospitality industry.
Ray Hoyt accepts position to lead convention and visitors bureau
Hoyt joined the Chamber seven months ago as executive director of the Tulsa Sports Commission. Before that he served as the director of national games and athlete relations in the National Senior Games Association, headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., where he oversaw the direction of all NSGA national events and programs. Prior to that he was the executive director and president of the Senior Games in Louisville, Ky., where he was successful in partnering with businesses and agencies to gain financial and community support for the 2007 Senior Games and helping the event reach national prominence.
As the senior vice president of VisitTulsa, Hoyt will oversee marketing and promotion of Tulsa with the goal of attracting national meetings, conventions and events as well as provide leadership and guidance to the Tulsa Sports Commission, a division of VisitTulsa. Hoyt will report to the Chamber leadership, and VisitTulsa and Tulsa Sports Commission Advisory Councils.
“The people already here; the vision of the leadership; and the engagement of the community were all major factors that influenced my decision to accept this position and relocate to Tulsa,” said Hoyt. “Tulsa has recently built several new facilities to support a strong passion and commitment to a successful convention and visitor’s program in the region. When my wife and I visited, we were impressed with the beauty and cleanliness of the city, the thoughtfulness of the people and their sense of community pride.”
In fiscal year 2009-2010, the city of Tulsa, through the collection of the hotel/motel tax, invested approximately $1.8 million in tourism marketing services through a contract with VisitTulsa. For this investment, the city of Tulsa will receive more than $162 million in future economic impact.
Sharing their excitement of Hoyt’s selection at the press conference included the Honorable Dewey Bartlett, mayor of Tulsa; Tulsa County Commission Karen Keith; Michael Frimel, executive vice president, Coury Collection of Fine Hotels, and chair, Tulsa Hotel and Lodging Association; Mary Smith, executive director, Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance, and chair, Economic Development Commission; and Dr. Gerard Clancy, president, University of Oklahoma – Tulsa, and chair, Tulsa Metro Chamber.
"Ray played a large role to help us prepare for the NCAA tournament and he is a very capable and motivated person who will do very well in this new appointment," said Mayor Bartlett. "After the success we had with the NCAA tournament, I look forward to working with Ray and VisitTulsa staff as we create more economic opportunities for Tulsa."
The tourism and entertainment industry is an emerging economic sector. The industry provides a $1.2 billion economic impact each year and serves as a key revenue generator for the community by helping support more than 24,000 jobs on an annual basis in the region.
“Ray provides excellent leadership, and his ability to seize challenges and create opportunities is second to none,” said Mike Neal, Chamber president and CEO. “As the Chamber and VisitTulsa advisory boards have observed his professionalism, work ethic and relationship-building over the past several months we have no doubt that he’s exactly where he should be – in Tulsa leading our convention and visitors program.”
Hoyt also unveiled the intent to hire a strategic planning consultant to help identify key measurements and markets in the visitor industry. This consultant would work with hospitality partners such as the City of Tulsa, the Tulsa Hotel and Lodging Association, Tulsa County, SMG, regional universities, Arts and Humanities Council, and more to develop a long-term vision for the VisitTulsa program.
Local leaders discuss next steps for river development
Representatives from around the region came together last Friday for an active, insightful discussion on river development progress and future needs. Much of the meeting focused on the recent studies done by the Army Corps of Engineers and its partners to identify what the region needs to turn the Arkansas River into a buzzing hub of entertainment, parks and businesses.
Chamber, Corps of Engineers, Sen. Inhofe reps, many more excited for future of river development
Attendees included representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, the city of Tulsa, Tulsa County, the city of Jenks, Senator Inhofe’s office, INCOG, area business leaders, foundations and chamber members and staff.
Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal organized the meeting to discuss funding options in light of recent budget cuts on federal and state levels. With the feasibility of having the $50 million funding for this project authorized at the federal level in question, motivated attendees came together in an effort to stay on the same page and ensure this project doesn’t sputter. All options were discussed as all attendees expressed their readiness to remain focused on this project’s success and take the next step forward.
Neal summed the meeting up saying, “We’re all excited. We all want this. We all wanted it three years ago. We’re ready to get this going.”
Attendees plan to continue developing funding strategies and will meet again in the coming months to monitor studies and work toward making river development plans a reality.
Chamber opposes additional budget cuts for education
An additional two percent cut in funding for education discussed by legislators today was met with concern and opposition by the Tulsa Metro Chamber and many of their regional partners, who united to develop the OneVoice agenda earlier this year in an effort to bolster the fight against issues important to the future of our region.
The OneVoice agenda opposes any legislation that would be harmful to education funding, including further reductions in the cap on annual property tax valuations or additional cuts to the education budget, and supports the allocation of funds to enhance the quality of education facilities and retain top quality Oklahoma students, staff and faculty within the state.
“Deeper cuts to education and any reductions in the annual property tax cap are in no way conducive to the type of future we all envision for Oklahoma,” said Mike Neal, Chamber president & CEO. “Without the necessary funding for our education system, we can’t hope for the type of well-educated workforce, well-developed leaders and competitive facilities Tulsa needs.”
Legislators discussed raising the cuts from 5 to 7 percent today, further inhibiting the already-strapped budget for the state’s education system. Continued support for initiatives that lower the cap on annual property tax valuations also received attention from the Chamber today as regional leaders grow more concerned with the effects these bills will have on the region’s future if passed.
Gov. Mary Fallin proposed the initial five percent cuts in her budget earlier this year in an effort to balance the state’s budget. The Tulsa Metro Chamber agreed that cuts would be necessary for Oklahoma’s financial future and although the organization feels education funding is a priority, it supported Fallin’s proposed 5 percent. Any further decreases in the education budget as a result of any bills would have a detrimental effect on the state’s ability to develop the quality education system that Tulsa needs for job growth, business attraction and economic development opportunities.
Local hotel industry reports NCAA impact
The Tulsa Hotel and Lodging Association have released preliminary numbers showing hotel occupancy rates were up by 30 percent to average market occupancy of 75 percent during the NCAA Tournament. The tournament was hosted during spring break, a notoriously slow week for local hotel business.
Recent report shows effect of the NCAA Tournament on occupancy numbers
“Typically during spring break, Tulsa area hotels experience lower than average occupancy rates due to little corporate travel and few vacationing families,” said Michael Frimel, executive vice president of the Coury Collection of Fine Hotels, and president of the Tulsa Hotel and Lodging Association. “The NCAA Tournament not only helped us make up for the lost business, but greatly exceeded the average occupancy for that week without displacing any corporate business.”
Some hotels experienced up to an 80 percent increase in occupancy over this time last year and in addition to the increased occupancy, the report shows the average daily rate for the Tulsa market also increased by 10 percent for the week of March 13 – 19, 2011.
“A 10 percent increase in rates multiplied by an average 30 percent increase in occupancy results in a significant increase not only in revenues for hotels, but local tax reveneus in Tulsa,” said Frimel.
The increased hotel business was directly related to the NCAA Tournament in Tulsa March 18 and 20. Actual sales tax revenue data from the tournament will be available in May.
“Beyond the increased hotel occupancy and additional sales tax revenue generated from the thousands of visitors we had in town, this event also provided national media exposure for Tulsa and brought many first-time visitors to our city,” said Ray Hoyt, senior vice president of VisitTulsa. “Through our information booths and street fleet crew we heard many positive remarks from visitors about Tulsa and their surprise to find we had so much for guests to do. That type of exposure will go a long way in helping our image in the future and attracting more of the individual visitor business.”
Chamber hosts Monthly Capitol Luncheon
More than 30 regional partners and 20 legislators attended Wednesday's luncheon at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, building on the strong momentum the Tulsa region has established with its unified OneVoice agenda during this year's legislative session. Leadership in attendance included Speaker of the House Kris Steele, Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Hickman and Majority Floor Leader Dan Sullivan.
The strong legislative turnout allowed for a candid, insightful briefing on the many issues currently being discussed at the Capitol with the most focus being given to job growth, economic development and health care.
Speaker of the House Kris Steele hit on these issues calling Tulsa's regional representatives "dynamic, fantastic" individuals eager to work hard for their constituents in an effort to move Oklahoma forward. Initiatives like a "deal closing" fund and SHOPP, a Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program, were cited as opportunities to move Oklahoma forward in job growth and economic development.
For more dialogue on these issues and other agenda items, reserve your seat now for the Chamber's Tulsa Regional Day a the Capitol on April 6. Click here to make a reservation.
Fallin, Tulsa-area leaders discuss job creation
Gov. Mary Fallin met with Tulsa Metro Chamber executives and area business leaders last week for the first meeting of the Tulsa Regional Advisory Board on Job Creation. Fallin formed the advisory board, which meets quarterly, to keep her informed about the Tulsa business community’s views regarding actions needed to expand economic development and increase job creation.
During the meeting, the governor discussed efficiency and consolidation in state government in order to reduce spending; the “cloud of uncertainty” surrounding federal legislation and policy, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; and pending legislation at the state level that will directly affect businesses, including tort reform.
Three regional leaders appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to Turnpike Authority
Gov. Mary Fallin announced her nominees for the six members of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority last week. Of the six appointees, three are from the Tulsa region. Albert C. “Kell” Kelly of Bristow, president and CEO of Spirit Bank, will represent District 3; Kevin Hern of Tulsa, owner of KTAK corporation, will represent District 4; and Kenneth G. Adams of Bartlesville, chairman of the Adams Investment Company, will represent District 2.
Other appointees are Carl Gibson of Norman, current COO of Inoveon Corp; E. Gene Love of Lawton, CEO of Millennium Solutions Group; and David A. Burrage of Durant, attorney.
“Maintaining and repairing our turnpikes and transportation infrastructure is important to our citizens and important to Oklahoma’s economy,” said Fallin. “I’m very pleased that we have been able to find so many qualified, dedicated community leaders to serve on the turnpike authority and to ensure the OTA is competently and efficiently run.”
Senate confirmation of these appointees is required. The first meeting of the OTA will take place at 10:45 a.m. this Monday, March 28 at the Neal A. McCaleb Building, 3500 Martin Luther King Ave. in Oklahoma City.
What we’re working on: Executive:
• Speaking at Tulsa Kiwanis Club meeting.
• Hosting Regional Chamber Coalition meeting.
• Hosting a meeting regarding 2011 Patriot Cup with local business leaders.
• Presenting at Tulsa City Council Urban and Economic Development Committee meeting.
• Attending OCCJ board meeting.
• Attending monthly meeting with INCOG.
• Speaking at Asian American Hotel Owners Association regional meeting.
• Hosting hotel general managers breakfast.
• Meeting with Mary Melon, publisher of The Journal Record.
• Hosting Tulsa’s Future II CEO calls.
• Hosting small group board of directors breakfast.
• Meeting regarding John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park fundraising.
• Quarterly meeting with Dr. JoAnn Haysbert, president of Langston University.
• Attending monthly board of directors planning breakfast with volunteer leadership.
• Meeting with Central States Shrine Association.
• Creating presentation for Central States Shrine Association.
• Attending Oklahoma Society of Association Executives’ luncheon in Oklahoma City.
• Making sales calls in Oklahoma City.
• Processing housing reservations for the SKILLS USA 2011 Leadership Conference.
• Hosting Arabian Horse Association U. S. Commissioners with Expo Square.
• Working on 2011/2012 marketing plan.
• Meeting with Route 66 organizers.
• Attending IMMI meeting.
• Conducting meeting with partners attending the DFW Sales Blitz in April.
• Processing leads from the Religious Conference Management Conference.
• Finalizing marketing plans for the religious, corporate and hobby markets.
Tulsa Sports Commission:
• NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship follow-up.
• Collecting and reviewing hotel pick-up reports revolving around NCAA Tournament.
• USA Volleyball marketing planning for Men’s World League event in June.
• USA Volleyball ticket pricing meetings and brainstorm.
• Pre-season plans with community partners at ONEOK Field and support of Tulsa Drillers.
Marketing and Communications:
• Creating ads for regional publications to promote Tulsa.
• Planning content for Chamber Report.
• Distributing media reports.
• Creating and distributing VisitTulsa monthly e-newsletter.
• Planning press conferences for upcoming announcements.
• Working on downtown development website and marketing collaterals.
• Finishing Tulsa’s Future annual meeting pieces.
• Wrapping up Tulsa’s Future II calls.
• Attending the Local Incentives Task Force meeting.
• Meeting with the Regional Chamber Coalition.
• Reporting to City of Tulsa Urban and Economic Development Committee.
• Hosting site visit with site selection consultants on a “Rediscover Tulsa” event.
• Working on an industrial RFP.
• Meeting with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance.
• Hosting webinar on “Seeing the Future of Entrepreneurship.”
• Meeting with a local manufacturer regarding potential expansion.
• Attending IEDC webinar on “Unlocking Your Entrepreneurship Toolkit.”
• Attending the Tulsa Global Alliance’s seminar on doing business in India.
• Presenting at a local networking group on the Chamber’s numerous small business programs.
• Participated in ICSC/IDA webinar regarding attracting large retail.
• Meeting with local officials regarding Arkansas River development.
• Presentation on downtown development to the Will Rogers Rotary Club.
• Meeting to discuss downtown incentives.
• Attending Stadium Trust meeting.
Education and Workforce
• Selecting award recipients for Partners In Education Reception.
• Planning for Partners In Education Reception and Oklahoma Scholars dinner.
• Coordinating education forum.
• Coordinating health care forum.
• Attending Tulsa Public Schools press conference on Project Schoolhouse.
• Attending Leadership Tulsa health care day.
• Attending Tulsa Area Human Resource Association diversity roundtable.
• Presenting Oklahoma Scholars program to Tulsa Public Schools eighth grade students.
• Recruiting volunteers for Oklahoma Scholars program.
• Attending and planning brown bag lunch for Career Access College Readiness Coaches.
• Producing Partners In Education video with Webster High School digital media students.
• Meeting to discuss ROI Summit & Diversity Expo.
• Attending WorkKeys meeting.
• Meeting to discuss local area employer aerospace recruiting needs.
• Attending Tulsa Business Journal Blue/Green Awards.
• Attending the Chamber’s diversity roundtable and diversity & inclusion task force meetings.
• Finalizing Talent Dividend Prize application and reviewing the executive summary report.
Tulsa’s Young Professionals
• Packing up The Forge for the big move.
• Working on Street CReD details.
• Monitoring State and Federal legislation.
• Attending State Chamber Legislative Affairs meeting.
• Attending Regional Chamber Coalition meeting.
• Attending Resource Campaign Training session.
• Attending City-County Collaboration Task Force meeting.
• Attending INCOG Transportation Technical Committee and Transportation Policy Committee.
• Planning April 6 Regional Day at the Capitol event.
• Planning March-May legislative events.
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.
Welcome New Members:
• B & B Liquor South
• Bella Vita Spa & Salon
• Blackhawk Industrial
• Child Neurology of Tulsa
• Clean Air-Cool Planet
• Consumer Pulse Marketing
• Henshaw Compressor & Engine Service, LLC
• Mark Jamison
• Phoenix Healthcare, LLC
• Pike Electric, LLC
• SCM Group
• Sustainable Thought Clothing Design
• The Garden Trug
• Tulsa Centrifugal Casting Machines, LLC
• Tulsa Charity Connections
• Wisdom Roofing, Inc.
Granite Transformations of Tulsa
Clay Morse, Co-Owner
5151 S. Mingo Road
Tulsa, OK 74146
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa
David Oliver, President
5937 S. Lewis