Regional Collaboration Brings Far-Reaching Results

Growing the Tulsa Region By Mike Neal
President and CEO, Tulsa Regional Chamber

SUPPORTIVE GROWTH: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin speaks during the December 2013 news conference where it was announced that a Macy’s Fulfillment Center will be built in Owasso.

EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers

Regionalism is not a buzzword. It’s a realization.

It’s the knowledge that northeastern Oklahoma’s cities and towns are stronger together, both economically and culturally. It’s the understanding that businesses and individuals choose to be in northeastern Oklahoma because of the amenities in Broken Arrow, Claremore or Tahlequah as much as those in Tulsa. It’s the awareness that residents and businesses benefit from amenities in neighboring cities as much as their own.

Regionalism is what happens when these truths inspire us to join together to improve economic and quality-of-life opportunities for all communities in our area. It’s the foundation of who we are as the Tulsa Regional Chamber, and I believe it is the only way the Tulsa region will remain competitive in the decades to come.

From an economic perspective, much of the outstanding progress northeast Oklahoma has made recently can be attributed to the region’s unified approach to challenges and opportunities. News that Macy’s will bring a fulfillment center with 1,500 jobs to the Owasso area is a key example, as the chamber and area partners: the state, Tulsa County, Cherokee Nation, City of Owasso, elected officials and economic development partners from across the region, joined together to land one of the largest local job announcements in recent memory. We knew the amenities Macy’s needed were not confined to Owasso; we had to showcase the resources and amenities of our entire region to compete against the proposals of other regions seeking the facility.

Such a regional approach is essential in economic development today, as cities are not competing one-on-one for investment and job creation, but instead are competing on a global scale. And thanks to developments like Macy’s, the Tulsa region is quickly becoming synonymous with effective economic development that yields results, both in terms of capital investment and in providing a strong base for employment and continued growth.

Our region has been recognized recently as a top location for young people to find employment and as a national leader in various categories of economic growth. In addition, northeastern Oklahoma has earned recognition for factors related to its livability, business friendliness and other attributes. These accolades take into account the positive attributes of all our communities, not just those in Tulsa.

As Tulsa and its many regional partners look to the road ahead, we see limitless opportunities to solidify our reputation as a national and international leader. If we continue our regional approach, there is nothing to stop us from continuing to grow our economy and improve our communities. The realization is clear: We are all in this together.

That’s regionalism.

Updated 07-14-2014

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