By MIKE NEAL
President and CEO, Tulsa Metro Chamber
PEN TO PAPER: From bottom left are President of Owasso Chamber Gary Akin, President and CEO of Bixby Metro Chamber Lisa Navrkal, President of Broken Arrow Chamber Wes Smithwick, President and CEO of Tulsa Metro Chamber Mike Neal, President of Sand Springs Chamber Mary Eubanks, President of Sapulpa Chamber Suzanne Shirey and President of Jenks Chamber Josh Driskell. From top right are City of Owasso Mayor Doug Bonebrake, Incoming Chair of Bixby Metro Chamber Board Russ Smith, Chair of Broken Arrow Chamber Board LaTonya Cundiff, Chair of Tulsa Metro Chamber Board Dr. Gerry Clancy, Chair of Sand Springs Board Alan Copeland and Chair of Jenks Chamber Board Mark Tedford.
Courtesy Tulsa Metro Chamber
We all recognize that today’s global marketplace is creating an environment where regions must be proactive or else fall behind. It’s a regional game now. We are simply no longer competing with a city, but with mega-regions, which are large networks in condense metropolitan areas where most of the population growth is expected and jobs created. We must leverage our regional assets and work together to grow.
Recognizing that economic growth is achieved for the greater Tulsa region through effective competition in the global economy and effective collaboration in the regional economy. The Tulsa Metro Chamber, Broken Arrow Area Chamber of Commerce, Bixby Metro Chamber of Commerce, Jenks Chamber of Commerce, Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce, Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce and Owasso Chamber of Commerce signed a commitment to regional economic growth at a special ceremony held in August. 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 compact signed by chamber presidents and 2011 leaders outlines how our 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; placing a primary focus on supporting existing companies and encouraging entrepreneurial enterprises to start and grow in the region and advocating for the OneVoice regional legislative agenda.
We have gained ground in competition with regions in other states, but opportunities remain undiscovered to attract new residents, recruit capital investment, create new jobs and improve the quality of life. Looking forward, we all acknowledge the need for collaborative approaches to economic development. The signed compact assures that our region will grow and prosper, helping to secure Northeast Oklahoma as a top choice for industry creation and expansion. And what is good for Northeast Oklahoma is good for the entire state.
The Tulsa metro area is fortunate to have garnered many accolades recently in regard to its economic strength and other attractive attributes. These accomplishments, however, did not come without plenty of hard work. Many people have worked tirelessly to improve our region on every level. One of those important areas is the creation of jobs. There is recent news that indicates some positive gains in that regard.
Tulsa area employers are expected to hire during the fourth quarter at a rate that’s the third-best in the U.S., according to a new survey. This is outstanding news for our area and illustrates our strengthening economy.
This fall, 23 percent of area companies surveyed plan to hire employees. For the third quarter this year, the Tulsa area was ninth best in the nation in regard to the number of employers who planned to hire additional employees. In the second quarter, the area was second best.
Other positive employment news recently was announced by The Tulsa Metro Chamber’s economic development program, Tulsa’s Future.
In July, Tulsa’s Future announced nearly 1,300 new jobs in the Tulsa area. Year-to-date, Tulsa’s Future has assisted in the creation of 3,423 new jobs, of which nearly 1,100 have an average salary greater than $50,000.
This assessment, and the many preceding positive announcements regarding our region’s economic position, certainly reinforces the fact that the greater Tulsa metro area is in an enviable position nationwide and is only getting stronger each day. This is thanks to all who have worked to make it so. Working together, we will continue to grow and ensure the vitality of the region’s economy and quality of life.