Greater Tulsa Reporter
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Tulsa Regional Chamber 2017 Board Chair Phil Albert speaks during the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Annual Meeting on Jan. 19. Albert is co-owner of Claremore-based Pelco Structural, LLC, and is the first Tulsa Chamber chair with a business that operates outside of the City of Tulsa.
Courtesy Tulsa Regional Chamber
Editor’s Note: Phil Albert is one of Greater Tulsa Reporter’s “10 People to Watch in 2017,” as announced in its January 2017 issue. GTR was the first news group in greater Tulsa to introduce “10 People to Watch,” which launched in January 2009.
Throughout the year, GTR will publish a series of articles featuring each of its “10 People to Watch,” with next month’s issue to feature Laura Chalus, executive director of the Tulsa Garden Center.
Phil Albert, co-owner of Pelco Structural, LLC, located in Claremore, became the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s 2017 Board Chair on Jan. 19 – a chairmanship that is very illustrative, Albert notes, of the chamber’s status on regionalism.
“Being the first chairman at the Tulsa Regional Chamber to have a business outside of Tulsa shows that the chamber has become a voice for the Tulsa region,” he says.
Albert, an Oklahoma City native who moved to Tulsa in 1980, has been with the Tulsa Chamber for 10 years. During that time, he has held various volunteer roles such as working with the chamber’s annual resource campaign, Tulsa’s Future, Tulsa BizPac, and the OneVoice education task force.
He credits the chamber’s annual OneVoice Agenda as the catalyst in establishing the chamber as Northeast Oklahoma’s regional leader.
Each year, to create its OneVoice Agenda, the chamber forms task forces of leaders in business and the community to determine the leading regional issues and concerns for the coming year.
“It’s a deliberate and well-vetted process,” Albert says. “I think (the effort put into this process) is the reason that when we visit cities to discuss our OneVoice objectives, people listen.”
Those city visits include Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. The chamber’s OneVoice Day at the Oklahoma City Capitol will take place Feb. 21-22, where attendees will meet with legislators and Governor Mary Fallin.
Regarding Albert’s areas of focus for the year, he says: “Education continues to be a focus and finding solutions for municipal funding issues.
“There’s not going to be any easy answers to Oklahoma’s budget crisis.
Collaboration with organizations like the Tulsa Chamber will be pivotal in identifying long-run solutions.”
In February 2016, the Tulsa Chamber and OU-Tulsa hosted the Blue Zones Project representatives to speak at OU-Tulsa. The project is a community-based well-being program aimed at increasing human longevity, health and happiness.
The chamber plans to collaborate with OU-Tulsa this year to bring the Blue Zones Project to Tulsa, with the goal of significantly impacting the life expectancy disparities between north and south Tulsa, says Albert, with the help of public/private partnerships.
Another of the chamber’s anticipated yearly trips is its Intercity Visit. In 2016, chamber leadership and members visited Cincinnati, Ohio.
Particularly regarding the role of regionalism in an area, “that intercity trip was an eye opener for us,” Albert says. “Cincinnati is essentially the same size as Tulsa, but it seems 10 times as big because of the strength of its regional community.”
However, Tulsa is definitely on the right track, he says.
“Twelve years ago we really saw the separation between urban and suburban, but in the last few years we have seen a blurring of those lines: what’s good for Claremore is good for Broken Arrow, is good for Tulsa.”
Albert moved to Tulsa after graduating with an accounting degree from Oklahoma Baptist University.
He began work at an accounting firm, where his first day on the job as an auditor took him to a manufacturing company, the same one that would later employ him, JEM Engineering.
“I love to see what a business does well and can do better – that’s what accounting allowed me to do,” he says.
By moving into the manufacturing industry, Albert was able to be more involved in the intricacies of a company and in providing a product, he continues.
Albert spent 24 years at JEM Engineering, his last 10 years as president.
He started Pelco Structural, LLC, in August 2004 with partner, Phil Parduhn. Pelco Structural manufactures, designs, and provides logistics solutions for steel infrastructure products used in a variety of applications. These applications include electrical transmission and distribution, traffic and lighting, sports lighting, cellular transmission, signing, and substation structures.
In February 2015, Pelco Structural celebrated its 10th year in operation with all major steel certifications including American Institute of Steel Construction, American Welding Society, and the Canadian Weld Bureau.
Pelco is also involved with providing steel pole structures for the 700-mile Plains and Eastern Clean Line project that will transmit more than 3,500 megawatts of wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle to Arkansas, Tennessee and other states in the mid-South and Southeast.
Albert serves on the Board of Directors for New Dominion, LLC, and the Advisory Boards for UMB Bank and BancFirst. He was nominated by Governor Mary Fallin to the Board of Regents of The University of Oklahoma in January 2016. He was formally appointed by Governor Fallin in 2014, where he served on the Chair of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission.
During Albert’s inaugural speech as 2017 chair, Albert noted the hope and excitement that currently surrounds Tulsa, with his theme being “From here to there.”
“There is a magic with what we as a region are doing,” he said. That “magic,” he continued, includes the city’s new Mayor G.T. Bynum, his administration, and their outlook of collaboration; the economic development projects that will soon begin through Vision Tulsa funding; the region’s renewed focus on Route 66 and its potential for development; and Governor Fallin and the state’s overall continued focus on growing business.
“The opportunity here to start and grow a business is abundant because of our state and local leadership,” he says.
Albert also recognizes the role a community plays in a business’ success.
“Businesses thrive in communities that are dynamic,” he says, thus, his reason for his various volunteer roles, including with the Tulsa Regional Chamber.
“I believe it’s the responsibility of every business to give back, and the Tulsa Chamber is the best vehicle to do that.”