Jenks Chamber President Anticipates Future
By EMILY RAMSEY
NEW MOVE: Jenks Chamber of Commerce President Josh Driskell stands in the doorway of his office at the chamber’s new headquarters in the Village on Main. Driskell first came to the chamber as director of communications and public affairs in 2010.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Jenks has a lot to look forward to this summer and beyond, says Jenks Chamber of Commerce President Josh Driskell, starting with the community’s July 4th celebrations.
“It’s a real Americana feel with a turn-of-the-century feeling to downtown,” he says, citing the Independence Day celebration as one of his most personally anticipated events.
Driskell became chamber president in 2010 after discovering Jenks a few years earlier.
“I fell in love with the community and wanted to live and work here,” he says. “Jenks has so much to offer, from the school system, to the aquarium, Village on Main and Riverwalk. The community wants to go the extra mile.”
However, Driskell didn’t grow up too far away from Jenks, in rural Pawnee County on Keystone Lake. He long nurtured an interest in politics, something he traces back possibly to his kindergarten days when he remembers manning the ballot box for a classroom election.
Yet, “no one in my family is into politics,” he says.
After high school, he planned to enter Oklahoma State University but put his plans on hold due to a family illness. He later began attending Tulsa Community College and earned an associate’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations before moving onto the University of Tulsa to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science.
He then entered the world of politics full time in 2006 when then-Oklahoma Speaker of the House Todd Hiett hired him to work on his campaign for the Lieutenant Governor. That led to a job working for Congressman Frank Lucas, “an invaluable and incredible experience,” he says. “I got to do a lot of neat things and meet some very interesting people that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to.”
Driskell’s time at the chamber began first with his position as director of communications and public affairs.
His involvement with the chamber came about for three reasons, he says: his love for the city, his prior work experience in government affairs and public and media relations, and the ability the job would offer him to work with small businesses.
“They’re (business owners) the backbone of the economy,” Driskell says. “It’s hard to work with them and not get passionate about their cause. You want to help them get the red tape cut so they can help more people.”
In addition to that, Driskell enjoys the diversity of his job: “no two days are alike,” he says. “One day, you can be on Main Street talking with storeowners about an event or their business. The next day, you might be working with legislators on a bill to address issues like online sales tax collection.”
At the beginning of June, the chamber moved into its new offices in the Village on Main, above the soon-to-close GreenAcres Market. The offices face the new First Oklahoma Bank building, which is expected to open later this summer.
Even with the closing of the grocery store, Driskell is confident the center will move forward and gain success. “We still think it will be a successful, thriving center, and the opening of the bank will be a game changer,” he says.
“It’s an exciting time to be here during Village on Main construction.”
Another reason for Driskell’s love of Jenks is the city’s ability to grow and change and yet remain the same.
“Our mayor Lonnie Sims said it best… that we’ve grown and done projects but still maintain our town charm,” says Driskell. “Business owners know who you are; we have had big growth over the last 15 years but we are still one of the friendliest places you’ll find.”