Chamber supports establishment of health insurance exchange
Gov. Mary Fallin, Speaker of the House Kris Steele and Senate Pro Temp Brian Bingman gathered with other state leaders last week to announce plans to establish a Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network in Oklahoma. The Chamber strongly supports this action to prevent any mandated federal health care exchange from being established in the state.
A state health care exchange is a market-driven solution to the difficulty many consumers experience when shopping for affordable health insurance plans that meet their needs. A federal health care exchange would not fit Oklahomans’ wants or needs and would perpetuate the confusing, misleading process.
The Health insurance Private Enterprise Network that our state leaders have proactively chosen to establish will give consumers a transparent, clear idea of what they are buying and will allow the insurance market to remain competitive, in turn motivating providers to maintain the best, most affordable plans for their customers.
Oklahoma’s health was rated 46th in the nation in 2010 and over 18 percent of Oklahomans don’t have insurance. This 18 percent is anticipated to rise in 2011 and 2012 and without some kind of change in Oklahoma, the uninsured population will continue to grow and health across Oklahoma will deteriorate.
State leadership recognized what needed to be done and cooperated to ensure a system by and for Oklahomans was established to prevent a federally mandated, confusing and ill-fitting system from being force-placed. The Chamber applauds this effort and encourages our members to support this initiative.
Tulsa, Broken Arrow chambers collaborate to create regional economic growth
The Tulsa Metro Chamber and Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce signed a commitment to regional economic growth at a special ceremony held last week in Broken Arrow. The compact includes cooperation on both economic development and legislative initiatives and was created to leverage the region’s industry concentrations, labor pools, infrastructure and pro-business government in order to compete globally for a talented workforce, capital investment and new jobs.
“The Broken Arrow Chamber is excited to partner with the Tulsa Metro Chamber on this historic compact,” said Wes Smithwick, president and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber. “As the largest suburb of Tulsa, Broken Arrow should – and will – be a leader in the growth and development of our metropolitan area.”
Today’s global marketplace is creating an environment where regions must be proactive or else fall behind.
“It’s a regional game now,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “It is absolutely essential the Tulsa region works more aggressively than other communities, and we must do so to strengthen our economy and, ultimately, our quality of life.”
The compact signed by both chambers’ presidents and 2011 chairpersons outlines how the organizations will work together, including cooperatively marketing the region; creating an inclusive community for businesses and individuals; attracting and retaining business; raising the educational attainment level of the region’s citizens; and advocating for the OneVoice regional legislative agenda.
“Both chambers recognize that while we may compete for some projects, the attraction, the expansion and the retention of a business to any location in the region is a win for all of us,” said LaTonya Cundiff, chairperson of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and branch executive, VP for SpiritBank.
The Tulsa and Broken Arrow chambers hope this is the first of many collaborative compacts in a mission to strengthen the region.
“We have to work harder and be smarter in our approach to economic growth and prosperity,” said Dr. Gerard Clancy, chair of the Tulsa Metro Chamber and president of The University of Oklahoma – Tulsa. “But we simply cannot tap the enormous potential of the Tulsa region without pooling our assets and resources. It takes all of us working together to better the Northeast Oklahoma region.”
TYPros Street CReD event revamps Pearl District with food, fun and fresh perspective
The Pearl District received a complete makeover this weekend with a tree-lined median canal and a full block of store fronts. The scene, with downtown as a backdrop, reflected the potential the area has to be a district with character and charm, bustling with foot traffic and fun.
The windy weather didn’t discourage anyone Friday night, as a steady stream of people traveled up and down Sixth Street, in and out of coffee shops, bars, flower shops and more. Saturday’s weather made up for the previous night’s dreariness and crowds of people came to see what Street CReD: Polishing the Pearl was all about: urbanization, revitalization and development in Tulsa. Tulsa’s Young Professionals started the annual event to visually articulate what a forgotten neighborhood could be if given the attention and support it needs.
Community partners like the Arts and Humanities Council and the Tulsa’s Children’s Museum set up booths for the kids while places like Lot No. 6 and The Eclipse, whose businesses exist in their Street CReD spaces full-time, offered beverages for the adults. If a mimosa wasn’t what you were looking for, Topeca, Vitter’s Catering, Cosmos and Mod Crepes had temporary locations set up as well, offering pastries, coffee, wraps, gelato and more. Vendors like the Farmer’s Market, the Dog House and Back Alley Blues and Barbecue offered more substantial fare, giving wanderers plenty to choose from as they checked out shops, booths or exhibits- including one of the Pearl District Association’s existing plans and renderings.
Performances from Eric Hillman and Ben Neikirk complemented art shows and street shopping from places like Indie Emporium, Dwelling Spaces and Mrs. Dehaven’s Flower shop. Foot traffic on the street stopped occasionally to take in one of the performances from the Gypsy Fire Belly Dance of Tulsa, The Legacy Project break dancing, a poetry slam or the Footloose-inspired flashmob.
A special presentation Saturday morning from Jason Roberts, an urban revitalization activist from the Dallas/Fort Worth area who lead a similar project in a neighborhood called Oak Cliff, and other supporters like Jamie Jamison of the Pearl District Association, Doug Duke with Fast Forward, and Theron Warlick with PLANiTULSA informed attendees on what a revitalization like this would mean for the economy of the entire city, not just the Pearl District, in turn helping our metro to grow and develop into a thriving hotspot.
“This city really depends on stability throughout,” said Warlick. “We have to figure out a way to see all neighborhoods prosper and grow.”
Tulsa’s Young Professionals will continue hosting Street CReD annually in different neighborhoods across Tulsa to motivate awareness and growth in these areas and throughout the greater metro. For more information please visit www.typros.org or call 918.560.0286.
Resource Campaign off to a rockin’ start
This year’s rock ‘n’ roll-themed Resource Campaign celebrated the close of its first week with a Rewards Session luncheon at the Fair Meadows Sports Bar and Grill at Expo Square last Thursday.
The rock star volunteers had plenty to celebrate, with a long list of check and prize recipients being announced during lunch. The Campaign is already halfway to its $2.6 million goal, with most of the 10-week campaign still remaining. Participants are already buzzing in anticipation for the karaoke performance from Dr. Gerry Clancy at the Victory Celebration on June 16 after the goal is met.
Volunteers are offered plenty of networking opportunities while working on the Campaign and toward monetary prizes and an exclusive trip. The Campaign supports approximately 23 percent of the Chamber’s annual budget through the sale of sponsorships and memberships. This money goes toward the creation of business-building events, forums and initiatives to support the regional business community.
For more information on the Resource Campaign, sponsorship or membership opportunities or how to volunteer for next year’s campaign contact Karen Humphrey, campaign director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 560-0250.
Tulsa, chamber president recognized as leaders in the South
Southern Business & Development magazine has named Tulsa a “Top Ten” pro-business community in the inland South and described the city as friendly to relocating, expanding and growing businesses.
“The Tulsa region continues to make list after list recognizing the strength of our economy, our growth opportunities and our quality of life,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “Recognitions such as this help us tell the Tulsa region’s story and why businesses find success here.”
Additionally, Neal was recognized by Southern Business & Development as one of the “10 people who made a difference in the South” for his contributions to successful economic development in the region the past year.
The Southern Business & Development recognitions join the 22 other “Top 10” lists Tulsa made in 2010 and 2011.
Renewable energy event finds success in Tulsa
Tulsa hosted more than 100 economic development professionals and numerous site location consultants from across the country last week for the Renewable Energy Forum presented by Area Development Magazine.
The Tulsa Metro Chamber’s economic development and VisitTulsa teams were instrumental in recruiting the conference to Tulsa, which was expected to have a $36,000 economic impact and provided excellent exposure of Tulsa to sought-after developers, site consultants and economic development professionals.
“The forum was a tremendous opportunity for the Tulsa region, because it allowed us to host some of the country’s most influential site consultants and economic development professionals,” said Jim Fram, senior vice president of economic development. “Additionally, the event drew special attention to the energy sector and the significant impact Tulsa is making in such a vital industry.”
The program provided attendees with information on the latest direction of global and national investment opportunities; current legislative actions and their impact on an organization’s marketing opportunities; emerging technologies; incentives; and trends in the solar and wind industries.
“Tulsa was our first choice to host this important forum because of the city’s history in energy and the region’s current growth and new development projects,” said Dennis Shea, president and publisher of Area Development magazine and the organizer of the Renewable Energy Forum.
Downtown’s One Place development announces future tenant
Northwestern Mutual Financial Network announced last week it will move its offices from south Tulsa to downtown’s One Place mixed-use development to be constructed near the BOK Center. The company employs 55 individuals in Tulsa, which is the site of its main office for all of northwestern Arkansas and Oklahoma.
“We believe there is a tremendous amount of energy and excitement around the development of downtown,” said Lance Franczyk, managing partner for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. “Projects such as the BOK Center and the ballpark are evidence that downtown is the place to be and we think our organization is in a unique position to be a catalyst for continued growth.”
One Place will encompass the square block between Secord and Third Streets, and Denver and Cheyenne Avenues. The development will house offices, a hotel, public courtyard, residential spaces, and room for retailers and restaurants. Northwestern Mutual joins Cimarex Energy as the first announced tenants of the development.
“We’re so pleased that Northwestern Mutual appreciates the ‘good business’ of strategically locating in downtown Tulsa to benefit from its growing vitality, diversity, housing options and exciting entertainment venues,” said Delise Tomlinson, executive director of downtown development for the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “As almost every week brings an announcement of something new in downtown Tulsa, we are proving that the urban environment is attractive and desirable to our citizens, visitors and the investment community.”
Click here to read an article about Northwestern Mutual and the One Place development in the Tulsa World.
Construction of I-244 multi-modal bridge breaks ground
Despite the blustery weather, officials from across the region gathered to honor the new construction of a multi-modal bridge spanning the Arkansas River at westbound I-244 at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday hosted by the Chamber and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The existing bridge, deteriorating and obsolete, will be replaced with a double-decker structure that incorporates multiple types of transportation – the first of its kind in Oklahoma.
Transportation modernization has been at the top of regional and state priorities for years, but has lacked the funding needed to move forward. With the award of a nearly $50 million federal TIGER (Transporation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant last February, this project will finally become a much-needed reality, bringing northeast Oklahoma an easy flow of visitors, business and commerce.
“We’re really looking forward to the construction of this new multi-modal bridge and what it will mean for the future of Oklahoma,” said Mike Neal, Chamber president and CEO. “Not only will this replace our deteriorating bridge, but it will allow the Tulsa region and northeast Oklahoma to accommodate larger-scale businesses, grow existing businesses, attract visitors and so much more.”
Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, the Federal Highway Administration’s Assistant Division Administrator Ivan Marrero, ODOT Chief Engineer Gary Evans and Rep. Jadine Nollan joined Neal as speakers for the event and continued to express their excitement and support of the bridge and the development of transportation across our metro.
Nollan commended the Tulsa Metro Chamber for their leadership and hard work in developing the OneVoice agenda, complementing their unified approach in addressing top priorities and stressing the importance of such a cooperative effort.
Transportation development has been a priority throughout the northeastern Oklahoma region for many years and the OneVoice agenda identifies transportation legislation as a top priority again this year.
The bridge’s construction will start as scheduled this month and feature highway lanes with future high-speed rail and commuter rail facilities as well as a dedicated pedestrian and bicycle deck.
“This bridge takes our transportation system to a new level and sets the course for more innovative transportation solutions,” said Bartlett. “This visionary bridge prepares Tulsa for future growth.”
To see a rendering of the bridge, a detour map or to find out more about the project please go to www.okladot.state.ok.us.
Date correction - Sustainable Enterprise Conference
The Sustainable Enterprise Conference, presented by the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University and offered in cooperation with the Tulsa Metro Chamber and sponsors, is scheduled for this Wednesday, April 20 in Tulsa.
The conference will bring together experts on national and regional levels who will address the sustainable enterprise and its impact. The full-day event focuses on how Oklahoma businesses can prosper by following the principles of the triple bottom line: people-planet-profits.
Keynote speakers include T. Boone Pickens, energy executive, entrepreneur and author of The Pickens Plan; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environment business leader and attorney.
The conference is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., this Wednesday at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel & Convention Center, 6808 S. 107th E. Ave. The day will end with a networking reception from 4:30-5:15 p.m. Registration fee is $265 per person. For more information or to register, click here or contact Wravenna Bloomberg at 866.678.3933 or 405.744.5208, or e-mail email@example.com.
What we’re working onExecutive
• Making Tulsa’s Future II CEO calls.
• Attending Tulsa Sports Commission executive committee meeting.
• Co-hosting Oklahoma Academy Economic Development Town Hall 2011 planning committee meeting.
• Speaking at the Tulsa’s Future II press conference.
• Attending the Chamber’s Board of Directors meeting.
• Attending Tulsa’s Future II annual meeting.
• Attending the State Chamber’s Executive Committee Meeting in Oklahoma City.
• Attending OSU Spears School of Business breakfast and luncheon featuring Robert Kennedy Jr.
• Monthly meeting with County Commissioner Fred Perry.
• Hosting economic development breakfast meeting with Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Terry Simonson, Chris Benge and Mike Bunney.
• Monthly Meeting with Rich Brierre, INCOG.
• Hosting small group board luncheon.
• Currently working with a manufacturing company on an infrastructure issue.
• Meeting with a regional partner to discuss partnership on BRE program.
• Setting up company visits.
• Developing a program to engage volunteers as well as regional partners in the BRE program.
• Tulsa's Future II wrap-up calls.
• Presentation to City of Tulsa Economic Development Commission.
• Presenting economic development update to Tulsa County commissioners.
• Speaking at the ACEC Conference.
• Meeting with broker regarding downtown development.
• Meeting to discuss reuse of existing downtown building.
Marketing and Communications
• Assisting company with an expansion announcement.
• Completing Chamber Report content.
• Drafting downtown development website content.
• Attending communications team retreat.
• Hosting a press conference regarding the second phase of Tulsa’s Future.
• Working on TYPros new website launch.
• Assisting travel bloggers on upcoming trip to Tulsa.
• Updating VisitTulsa website.
• Brainstorming USA Volleyball marketing tactics.
• Preparing ads for Breeder’s Invitational program and TravelOK publication.
Education and Workforce
• Planning Partners In Education Recognition Reception.
• Writing Partner’s In Education e-newsletter.
• Planning Oklahoma Scholars Dinner.
• Attending Women Making a Difference.
• Coordinating EMSA health care forum.
• Attending/planning D&I small group lunch.
• Attending adopt a sophomore meeting at East Central.
• Finalizing Partners In Education Reception video.
• Attending Are You Smarter Than a KIPPster.
• Attending Resource Campaign luncheon.
• Diversity Business Council/Tulsa Mosaic meeting.
• Sustainable Enterprise Conference.
• Workforce Tulsa board meeting.
• Sustainability meeting with TYPros leaders.
• Center for Family Resilience candidate review.
• Monitoring State and Federal legislation.
• Attending Tulsa Metro Chamber Board regular meeting.
• Attending Tulsa’s Future II Annual Reception.
• Attending Tulsa County Industrial Authority regular meeting.
• Attending Election District Commission Public Hearing.
• Presenting at the City of Tulsa Urban and Economic Development regular committee meeting.
• Attending Resource Campaign Reward Session luncheon.
• Planning April-June legislative events.
• Attending the EDC monthly meeting.
• Attending the THLA meeting.
• Meeting with Expo Square and Arabian Horse Association’s U.S. Nationals group.
• Having lunch with new general manager and sales staff at Doubletree Downtown.
• Making final preparations to host sales blitz in the Dallas/Fort Worth area April 26-28, 2011.
• Preparing appointments for the Collaborate Marketplace May 3-5, 2011.
• Preparing to welcome SKILLS USA 2011 Leadership Conference May 1-3.
• Providing the SynGas Association Annual Meeting with registration assistance.
• Processing Housing requests for the Appaloosa Horse Club’s National Show.
• Coordinate site visit for the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.
• Post show actions for HSMAI Affordable Meetings Mid America.
• Organizing big wheel fundraiser.
• Interviewing potential tenants for The Forge.
• Planning Unplugged and 360 orientation.
Chamber welcomes new businesses
Each 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:
Clary Sage College
Community Action Project of Tulsa County, Inc.
Deep South Equipment Co.
Go West Restaurant and Saloon
K. Renee's Uniform Closet
Ludger's Catering & Private Dining
Oklahoma Technical College
Rupe Building Company
The Dog House
Josh Lynch, Owner
1101 S. Detroit Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74102
Hyatt Regency Tulsa
Jeff Keeley, General Manager
100 East 2nd Street
Tulsa, OK 74103