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2017 Issue 3

D e ve l o p , I n n ov a t e , P r o s p e r

Crossroads of Commerce: Oklahoma History Center Exhibit

A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma p. 4


The Oklahoma Department of Commerce serves as an initial point of contact for aspiring and existing small business owners. Minority entrepreneurs are invited to contact the agency with any questions they have.

Referral Sources:

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

After initial contact, the existing or aspiring business owner is often referred to other sources for more, in-depth counseling, training and planning assistance. Key among such sources is the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers ( and the TX TX volunteer chapters of the Service Corps of Retired Executives ( Other sources include the small business counselors and coordinators of the various technology centers across the state as well as special small and minority business programs that exist.

For a new business, what are the steps to register or file a trade name or a formal entity structure?

Minority Business Certification Programs: There is more than one program or source for being certified as a Minority-Owned Business (sometimes referred to as a “disadvantaged business�). Deciding which programs to select should relate to current customer markets, as well as future desired markets. It may be advantageous to be certified with several or all of the programs described. For more information visit:

For my type of business, is there a state regulatory or professional license, permit or other action needed to operate it? How do I get a small business or SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) loan? Are some of these loans specifically earmarked for minority businesses? Is it easy to find an investor for a small business idea? Who can I contact for counseling and assistance regarding developing a written and detailed business plan or loan application? How does a business become certified as a minority-owned or disadvantaged enterprise to assist its efforts with government or private sector contracting and procurement? For answers to these and other questions visit the Business Services and Start-Up section of our website:

For more, information contact: Ken Talley, MBA Small and Minority Business Coordinator 405-815-5218

How Minority Business Organizations Help Businesses Grow Q&A with Sri Jonnada Owner of Jonnada Financial Group and President of the India-US Chamber of Oklahoma City As a financial Advisor and strong community advocate, Sri Jonnada focuses on helping business owners and families in the areas of insurance and retirement planning, estate funding and business continuation and worksite benefits. Having entered the financial services industry in 2009, Jonnada’s vast background experience as real estate broker, restaurateur, business owner and volunteer has shaped his ability to help people through business. He currently serves as president of India-Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma City as well as a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other organizations. Jonnada also actively participates in and attends other business groups as well, including ODOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Legacy Leaders Serving Seniors, and Oklahoma Employer’s Council, to name a few. How has being a member of India-US Chamber of Oklahoma City and the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber helped your business and professional growth? Being an active member helps me connect with local business owners in the area, putting me in a position to earn their trust in order to help them with very crucial planning. I’ve also learned a great deal about the challenges that different businesses and industries face, so I can help entrepreneurs plan ahead to overcome these obstacles. As President of the India-US Chamber of Oklahoma City, what are your current goals? To help connect business owners and provide an environment of networking. Our goal has always been to connect not only Indian-owned business, but all business. We also aim to make members more aware of what’s happening in our community, as well as provide learning opportunities at regular monthly meetings. How does being a member of a minority chamber of commerce benefit a small-business owner? Small business owners face many of the same challenges as minority business owners. Understanding that we all have similar goals and different abilities, helps us learn from one another and grow. Being an active member allows the business owner to connect with potential new partners, vendors and clients. I’ve personally witnessed many business owners connect and immediately start doing business together. Does a business have to be minority-owned or certified to join a minority chamber? Absolutely not! In fact, many minority chamber members are not minority-owned. But these businesses either employ, serve or contract with minorities. Even if the business does not need or depend on minority group support, it’s imperative that all businesses actively work to be inclusive for a healthier community. What are your best marketing tips for businesses that want to identify as minority-owned or as a minority-friendly business? Local branding, being actively involved in the

minority chambers and business groups, employing and actively engaging minority groups. Where possible, offering services in minority languages is a great way to immediately attract immigrant and minority individuals. Many times, it’s just a lack of education. Business owners and managers must actively promote that all employees be aware and respectful of different cultures that are all around us. Do you have any tips for success for minority-owned businesses specifically? Minority-owned businesses sometimes lack the resources and the attention that other business owners might have access to. The recipe for success is the same, regardless of the owner. Minorityowned businesses must be more diligent to plan. Businesses should have a written business and growth plan, a succession plan, and properly drafted operating agreements. Business owners should work with their team of advisors, including an attorney, accountant, financial advisor, and business coach. Some people are naturalborn leaders, but to have long term success in business and as a leader, one must have proper guidance and accountability. Are you a certified minority business? If so through which organization? Yes, our firm is certified as a DBE through ODOT. Working with ODOT’s DBE , our goal is to help other business owners be successful by helping them plan properly. How does getting a minority business certification help a small business? Certification alone will not help a business. These minority business organization exist to provide coaching, networking and resources to the business owners. To be successful, the business owner should attend meetings and learning opportunities, connect with other business owners, constantly market their services, and take ownership in their own growth. The resources are all available; it’s the responsibility of the business owner to be engaged and help themselves. There are a lot of good people that work extremely hard to make these programs and organization available, please take advantage of them!


Crossroads of Commerce: Oklahoma History Center Exhibit

Crossroads of Commerce:

Crossroads of Commerce: A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma Curated by Dr. Bob Blackburn, Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society “Crossroads of Commerce: A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma” is now a permanent part of the History Center’s collection. The exhibit gives a vibrant walkthrough of the state’s commerce and development pioneers, from 1716 to present day. There will be ongoing updates and new portions to the exhibit as it grows. “In (the exhibit), we use individual stories of men and women who have connected the dots of economic development by taking risks, overcoming challenges, and seizing opportunities as the stage of history turned over the past 300 years,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn, curator of the exhibit and the executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “The result is a better understanding of how agriculture, energy, manufacturing, retail, transportation, broadcasting, entertainment, and tribal enterprise work together to drive the wheels of economic progress.” The Oklahoma History Center’s Crossroads of Commerce exhibit is a dynamic walk through Oklahoma’s economic development divided into five time periods. Each area displays the changing stage of history, the individual stories of entrepreneurs, and companies that have left their mark on the state. Conquering Distance, 1719 to 1906 Native Americans and pioneers found ways of creating wealth in a frontier that was landlocked. Explore the challenges faced by The Wichitas Kitikiti’sh, Osage and other tribes. Oklahoma’s

frontier was a distant and remote land with diverse groups of people moving in and out. Many came to stake their claim on unclaimed lands and brought their dreams of successful business ownership with them. The entrepreneurs who “conquered distance” were able to find a way to thrive in these pre-statehood days. Adding Value, 1907 to 1929 Statehood, railroads and cars brought with it new opportunity to America’s frontier. Newspaper publishers, telephones and federal postal services brought better communication to the region. Economic activity was driven by those who “added value” to the state’s crops, livestock, oil and other resources. This helped to cement the state in several industries that continue today. Cultivating Creativity, 1930 to 1959 Despite the Great Depression, or perhaps because of it and new technologies, the state’s cities continued to see more and more growth. People moved from farms to cities and new and inventive businesses popped up. New retail giants filled Oklahoma main streets as they “cultivated creativity” by innovating in the new markets. Some of these companies that founded sustainable new business models included B.C. Clark Jewelers, Frankoma Pottery, Oklahoma Tire & Supply and TG&Y. It was also a popular time for radio and the silver screen. Actors like Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Will Rogers and Gene Autry all made names for themselves in this era. Chasing Consumers, 1960 to 1982 Cultural change and dynamic innovation made the consumer king in these years. Baby boomers became adults and with that came a larger market for consumer goods, cars, food and recreation which were accessible to a majority of Oklahomans.

In ‘Crossroads of Commerce: A History of Free Enterprise in Oklahoma’ we use individual stories of men and women who have connected the dots of economic development by taking risks, overcoming challenges, and seizing opportunities as the stage of history turned over the past 300 years

Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society Businesspeople who succeeded in “chasing consumers” were able to thrive and grow their businesses. Car culture and Route 66 brought Americans to Oklahoma from all over the U.S. Dining out became a regular event at places such as Beverly’s Chicken in the Rough, Sonic Drive-Ins and Pete’s Place. More access to healthcare spurred innovation in the industry. Dr. Nazih Zuhdi’s important discoveries popularized open heart surgery and made it a more common practice. Broadcast television soared to new heights and with it a team of sponsors and advertisers. It was a golden era for musicians like Leon Russell, J.J. Cale, Wanda Jackson and others. Embracing Diversity, 1983 to Present Oklahoma has become a leader in oil technology innovations, aerospace and agriculture and has learned the importance of offering a high quality of life to its citizens. Learn more about how the MAPS program has transformed Oklahoma City and how tribal enterprises and Thunder basketball play important roles in our future. Oklahoma’s economic recovery after the oil bust of the 1980s was based on diversifying industries, as well promoting opportunities for women, immigrants and American Indians — opening doors for everyone by truly embracing diversity and recognizing the value in giving back to Oklahoma communities through public and private partnerships. This exhibit can be found at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr, Oklahoma City. The museum is opened Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit

Oklahoma CareerTech Trains World-class Workforce The value of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System lies in its ability to provide individuals with the education, training and skills necessary to be successful in their career and to provide companies with the quality workforce necessary to compete globally Marcie Mack Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education state director

The Oklahoma CareerTech System is composed of local technology centers, services and training for business and industry, programs in comprehensive schools, skills centers programs in Oklahoma correctional facilities, and adult basic education programs. In fiscal year 2016 (FY16), CareerTech’s enrollments totaled more than 500,000, and CareerTech System graduates added more than $3.5 billion to Oklahoma’s economy.

Adult students at the technology centers can learn new skills and earn certificates and credentials to get jobs, change careers or advance in their current careers.

Oklahoma has 29 technology center districts with 58 campuses that offer career training to high school and adult students, along with training and assistance for the state’s businesses and industries.

In 395 of Oklahoma’s comprehensive school districts in FY16, 36 percent of sixth- through 12th-grade students — and almost half of ninth- through 12th-grade students — enrolled in CareerTech courses: agricultural education; business and information technology education; family and consumer sciences education; health careers education; marketing education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and trade and industrial education.

“The value of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System lies in its ability to provide individuals with the education, training and skills necessary to be successful in their career and to provide companies with the quality workforce necessary to compete globally,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education state director. High school students can attend their technology centers in their districts for free, learning skills that will help them land good jobs after school and position them to continue their education after graduation. Certifications earned through CareerTech courses give students entrance into higher-paying fields of work and can also help them obtain higher education without incurring excessive debt.

In FY16, CareerTech students earned 14,762 certificates and industry-recognized credentials, showing that they have the skills they need to work.

More than 88,000 students also learned leadership skills as members of co-curricular CareerTech student organizations: FFA; Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America; SkillsUSA; Technology Student Association; Business Professionals of America; HOSA; and DECA. CareerTech helps provide qualified employees for Oklahoma’s businesses and industries by preparing state residents for successful careers, but it also helps business and industry directly.



88,000 students learned leadership skills ADDED

CareerTech’s graduates are to have added more than $3.5 billion to Oklahoma’s economy


In fiscal year 2016, CareerTech’s enrollments totaled more than 500,000

members of co-curricular CareerTech student organizations.

36% 6th-to-12th grade students enrolled in CareerTech courses: agricultural education; business and information technology education; marketing education; health careers education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and trade and industrial education.

14,762 certificates and industryrecognized credentials Earned from Oklahoma’s 29 technology center districts with 58 campuses that offer advanced career training to high school and adult students.

7,000+ businesses served by CareerTech’s Business and Industry Services Division, helping companies grow and expand in FY16 CareerTech’s Business and Industry Services Division helped more than 7,000 companies increase their profitability in FY16 with increased sales, higher productivity, reduced costs and expanded operations and helped companies move to and start in Oklahoma and provided training for 688 new jobs. Also, the Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network helped state companies secure more than $131 million in contracts. Oklahoma CareerTech operates 15 skills centers in correctional facilities, teaching inmates and juvenile offenders work and life skills that help keep them in the workforce and out of the corrections system after their release. The system also helps those who dropped out of high school earn diplomas and gain skills to enter the workforce through the CareerTech dropout recovery program. In 2015, CareerTech took responsibility for the state’s adult basic education programs. CareerTech oversees 30 Adult Basic Education providers with 67 sites that offer high school equivalency programs and tests along with English literacy and civics courses.

“Oklahoma CareerTech is a core factor in Oklahoma’s economic development by providing education and training to individuals for a career and business and industry with qualified employees to meet their workforce demands,” Mack said. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 395 comprehensive school districts, 15 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 30 Adult Basic Education service providers. The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

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Quality of Life Improvements Across the State From Oklahoma City’s Streetcar to Tulsa’s New Pedestrian Archway

Oklahoma City - MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar Another piece of the MAPS 3 capital improvement project is now officially underway. At the groundbreaking last month, Mayor Mick Cornett said that it is all part of a larger vision that will eventually connect the city with better transit commuter rail. The Streetcar will support the downtown core by adding to, pediatrician friendliness, better parking and healthy walking. The grand opening is expected to take place in less than three years. Once completed, there will be two routes including 22 stops, with five street cars. The rail is currently being constructed in 350 foot segments. Initial services for the OKC Streetcar our set to launch next December. For more information visit: Ponca City – Downtown Fitness Trails Good things happen in communities that believe their Main Street district is their “heart of town.” In an effort to promote the health and well-being of Ponca City citizens, Ponca City Main Street approached the City of Ponca City with the idea for “Downtown Fitness Trails.” The trails could be structured so that different lengths could be traveled by navigating different color “lines” like a subway system. In partnership with the City, Main Street laid out the routes to coincide with historic points of interest in the downtown district. The City’s Traffic Department was placed in charge of creating signage along the routes. The trails support a healthy lifestyle, and also give people the opportunity to see the many shops, restaurants, businesses, amazing architecture and historic sites found downtown. Ponca City Main Street incurred no costs for this project. The City of Ponca City was a major partner in making the trails happen, and this proves that wonderful things happen with the City’s involvement. Enid – Keep Enid Beautiful Corners

Keep Enid Beautiful improvements in downtown Enid’s Arts and Entertainment District have left a significant, lasting impact -showcasing what can be accomplished when organizations work together. At the outset, the 20 corner planting beds located around the square, and throughout the downtown, were in a state of disrepair. Suzy Meibergen, Keep Enid Beautiful’s founder, took the initiative to improve these intersections, feeling that they were needed to support the recent public and private reinvestment in downtown properties. This leadership fits with Main Street Enid’s revitalization efforts as a sustainable improvement that solves the persistent challenge of maintenance creates collaboration between organizations, businesses and local government. Most of all this beautification creates a sense of pride in the community! Sapulpa – Big Build Facelift Heritage Park (aka Big Build) recently celebrated 10 years in Downtown Sapulpa. Originally built by volunteers, the park and playground is used by more than 15,000 people annually and is a major attraction for area children. Now a place that promotes health, play and physical activity, the park is located on what once was five abandoned homes. Just like the volunteer effort to construct the Big Build, the recent facelift was completed by a range of community volunteers. These volunteers managed the entire process from garnering required permits, loaning equipment and tools, and providing materials, and food to fuel the event. The Big Build Facelift is a wonderful example of community volunteers coming together to sustain a higher quality of life in their historic Main Street district.

Tulsa Route 66 – Route 66 Gateways and Pedestrian Archway

Tulsa County’s Board of County Commissioners chose to engage the community in the process of allocating the Vision 2025 sales tax funds. Recognizing the economic impact of Route 66, the decision was made that part of the funding would be spent to build gateways and a pedestrian archway commemorating the historic highway’s significance. Professional designers were consulted and the iconic-type structures of size and style that would reflect the Art Deco period of the community were selected. Now completed, the gateways serve to welcome travelers and visitors to Tulsa. These structures give reference to the importance of the period in which Art Deco architecture reigned supreme and the Mother Road ushered countless Americans through a golden age. Woodward - Streetscape Improvements Sometimes good things come to those who wait. Woodward applied for an Oklahoma Department of Transportation matching grant in 2003, and 10 years later began construction on a completely new streetscape. Woodward Main Street worked closely with the City of Woodward and a host of professional consultants during the planning process. The total project budget was $1.5 million dollars, with Woodward Main Street raising $50,000 dollars and the City providing the remaining $700,000 dollars of the 50% required match. The Americans with Disability Act guidelines were followed during the design of the sidewalks and all the overhead lines were buried. Areas for new landscaping were added and new custom streetlights and traffic signals were installed. All in all, not a single inch of downtown went unconsidered in the new design. Photos from top to bottom: Oklahoma City - MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar Groundbreaking in Bricktown. Enid – Keep Enid Beautiful Corners in downtown Arts and Entertainment District. Sapulpa – Downtown Heritage Park playground.


Business Partners Share Fiber Optics Training with Northeast Technology Center Students

Photo: NTC students Dusty Watkins of Pryor, Lane Ayers of Verdigris, and Forrest Smoke of Salina, gather around Faith Technologies installer Jason Zasada, as he explains some of the technical devices used in modern-day fiber optics installation and repair.

Preparing individuals for successful careers is the mission of Northeast Technology Center, but that mission would not be possible without the support of business partners like Faith Technologies, an electrical contracting company based in Tulsa. Representatives from Faith Technologies were on the NTC Pryor campus last week to speak with electrical students about job opportunities and provide them with a demonstration of the equipment and tasks they might encounter in the field. With students in Rodney Darnell’s electrical class gathered around him,

Jason Zasada, an installer with Faith Technologies, displayed various types of cables and materials used for different fiber optic jobs. Using the company’s fiber optic training station, Zasada also demonstrated some of the high-tech equipment used in the job sector. “If you get anything between the ends of the connections – whether it’s a dust particle or oil from your hands – it slows down the connection speed,” Zasada said as he demonstrated the electronic cleaning station used to check the fiber strands.

Accompanying Zasada on the visit was Jonah Vanderpool, a recent CareerTech graduate and current employee at Faith Technologies. Vanderpool conducted a fiber splicing demonstration for the students, many of whom are trying to choose a career path within the electrical field. “We encompass so many different aspects in this trade,” said Darnell. “If you don’t like one, there will be another one you do like, but the more you learn how to do the more valuable you are to the company.” Faith Technologies Workforce Manager Josh George was also present to answer students’ questions about interviewing, benefits, advancement options and rate of pay. “I wouldn’t talk anyone out of going to college if that’s what you want to do, but we don’t chase after four-year degreed individuals. Everyone starts in the field working as a helper,” George said. “The journeyman’s license is your four-year degree and your earning factor can be greater than what you’d make with a college degree. You can get an education and come out debt free.” In addition to recruiting students in training, Faith Technologies is also working to change the culture of the electrical trade itself. By providing consistent work for employees rather than laying them off after a job is completed, they have developed a workforce of 2,500 employees nationwide. More than 200 of those employees are based in Tulsa, and new hires can expect to work 40-60 hours per week depending on the job.

“We look for people with good attitudes, who show up on time and are dependable,” George said. “Do what’s asked of you and be willing to learn. If you do that, we can teach you everything else.” George also shared information about the hiring process with Faith Technologies, and told students they can expect wages beginning at $13-14 per hour. Completion of the apprenticeship program, which

The journeyman’s license is your four-year degree and your earning factor can be greater than what you’d make with a college degree. You can get an education and come out debt free. Josh George Faith Technologies Workforce Manager begins in September, can result in a $1 per hour raise with pay increases as the worker progresses. “We’re a 100% merit shop and we pay people accordingly,” said George. “Your level of success depends on how hard you want to work.” After thanking the guests, Darnell concluded the presentation with some words of advice for his students. “Be open minded and never quit learning,” said Darnell. “When I started in this field fiber wasn’t even in the dictionary, but today, it’s not optional. Everyone has it at their house, and that’s a beautiful thing for those of us trained in electrical. There are jobs - good paying jobs - that aren’t going away.”

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Upcoming Events and Important Dates COMMUNITY REPORTS & ANALYSIS AVAILABLE AT SPECIAL RATE Request your community report by 3/15/2017 to receive a special discounted rate. Increase your community’s sales tax revenue with ESRI Community Analyst Reports and analysis from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Research team. Attract the right mix of retail to your community with expert analysis and detailed demographic and consumer spending reports. Reports include: • Expenditure Reports • Market Potential Reports • Profile Reports • Business Locators and Maps Contact: Lesli Crofford, Research Analyst Call 405-815-5120 or 800-879-6552 or e-mail Reports are available at no cost to Oklahoma’s Main Street Communities when requested by Program Directors and approved by Oklahoma Main Street.

US CENSUS BUREAU PREVIEW OF THE 2020 CENSUS AND LUCA INFORMATION Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 9am-12pm Oklahoma City, Okla. 605 Centennial Blvd., Edmond, Okla.

NEW PIONEER A PRODUCT OF THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE EDITOR: Kimberly Hickerson, Project Manager CONTRIBUTORS: Stefanie Appleton, Bryan Boone PHOTO CREDITS: Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, James Cooper

FOR NEW PIONEER SUBMISSIONS AND STORY IDEAS CONTACT: Kimberly Hickerson Editor-in-Chief - New Pioneer Oklahoma Department of Commerce 900 N. Stiles Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73104 (405) 815-5240

The 2020 Census is years away, but work is already beginning for it. The federal government uses Census information to distribute more than $400 billion annually for infrastructure investments and government services, and it is in the best interest of all cities, counties, tribal areas and states to ensure that their citizens are counted. To ensure an accurate count for the 2020 Census, the US Census Bureau has started the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA). It is the only opportunity that state, tribal and local areas will have to review and comment on the Census Bureau’s residential address list before the 2020 Census. Registration and additional details at For questions, contact Jon Chiappe, Director, Research & Economic Analysis Services; or 405-815-5210. @OKcommerce

Issue 3 2017  

Crossroads of Commerce History Center Exhibit, How Minority Organizations Help Businesses Grow, Oklahoma CareerTech Trains World-class Workf...

Issue 3 2017  

Crossroads of Commerce History Center Exhibit, How Minority Organizations Help Businesses Grow, Oklahoma CareerTech Trains World-class Workf...