AJF News

Letter from President & CEO

8/9/2012 by Ada Jobs
Tags: President, Michael Southard

Now that July has come and gone, staff can reflect back on what has been a series of sprints over the summer. The Ada Jobs Foundation staff have been extremely busy over the summer months with call trips, events, et. al. We have partnered with several state, regional and community organizations to strengthen our efforts and maximize efficiencies in order to recruit companies to our area.

In April, Ada and other communities in SE Oklahoma hosted the Annual Lieutenant Governor's Turkey Hunt at Lake Hugo State Park. Eleven site selection professionals and corporate real estate executives attended the event where we shared information on each of our communities and learned ways that we can be of greater benefit to the private sector when making site decisions. Staff also teamed with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and attended the National Rifle Association's annual conference and trade show. The law enforcement and public safety sector has been a core component of our economic development efforts for several years and a couple companies at the SHOT Show indicated that this show might be better suited to our goals. Ada also participated in the Industrial Asset Management Council's spring forum outside Austin, TX. IAMC is an organization consisting of corporate real estate professionals, site selectors and economic developers. At the forum, staff furthered relations with site selectors and spoke directly to corporations who may consider Oklahoma for future relocations and expansions. 

In May, Ada and other members of the Governor's Economic Development Marketing Team visited energy sector firms in the Houston market. The intent was to gauge growth in the energy sector and position Oklahoma and Ada to be prepared company expansions. This sector is often overlooked in our area and the state, but Ada has an opportunity to play off our strengths and build upon our history. Our desire is to attract companies that can benefit from our location and other community assets as the energy sector grows in our area. Staff hosted a community familiarization tour of Ada with Robert Hoover of Hoover Projects. We introduced Robert to the Ada area and talked about how he might benefit from doing business in the community. Hoover is a developer from the Dallas area.

June presented several difficulties around the Oklahoma Southeast Golf and Striper event. Ann was scheduled to take her certification exam at the International Economic Development Council meeting in St. Louis. She passed and is now a Certified Economic Development Professional. At the meeting, she attended sessions and learned best practices from across the country that she has shared locally. Due to an unexpected surgery, I was unable to participate in the Golf and Striper Event. Twenty-five guests attended the event and shared their thoughts on emerging trends and industry sectors. The event was ended my term as Chair of the organization.

In July, the Governor's Economic Development Marketing Team held their annual training in Miami where we spoke with a site consultant and heard from state and local officials about their programs. Ada teamed with the GEDMT for a call trip in Chicago where we visited foreign consulate general offices, corporate site selection firms, and with corporations with Oklahoma ties. During these visits, we briefed them on changes in our state incentive programs and told them a little about our community. Lt. Governor Todd Lamb spoke to our guests at a Thursday evening reception and reiterated that Oklahoma is open for business. From Chicago, we joined Alva, Blackwell, Enid and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission at the EAA Air Venture Fly-in and Trade Show in Oshkosh, WI. This is the largest general aviation trade show in the US. Recent changes in the lease options at the Ada Airport have really opened doors for development in and around the airport. Several companies stopped by the booth asking about our communities and what might be available to them. Senator Inhofe attended our reception on Saturday which was attended by many prospective companies. The trip also presented several opportunities to talk to the OAC about improving the airport. It appears that a new terminal building will be discussed at a future OAC meeting.

Strong clusters exist in the energy, public safety, and aviation sectors around Ada. Building stronger relationships within the industry and having a solid understanding of the sectors is important in order for these industries to grow in our community. 

Mike Southard, AICP, EDFP