Page 1

2018 Issue 5

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

$4.5 Billion Wind Catcher Project Awaits Approval p. 5


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 are the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers ( TX TX and the 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

Providing Opportunities and Developing Partnerships Q&A with Eran Harrill, Oklahoma City Black Chamber, CEO In the last year, we have broadened our focus to include stronger strategic partnerships, greater legislative advocacy, youth leadership programs, and deliberate engagement in real economic development.

Eran Harrill CEO OKC Black Chamber Eran Harrill, became CEO of OKC Black Chamber in February 2015. Before that his professional background had been in the marketing, business development sector which assists him in his current role. Though the chamber is his full-time job, he also serves in the Oklahoma Army National Guard, 1/179th Battalion Retention NCOIC, where he works to raise retention numbers in the Oklahoma Guard, and provide a better overall soldier experience. In 2016, he produced the theatrical film ‘Citizen Soldier’ which sheds light on the experience of a combat deployment to Afghanistan. He comes from a family of small business owners. New Pioneer talked to him about his goals and aspirations for the OKC Black Chamber. How long has your group operated under the official name, OKC Black Chamber of Commerce, and what name did it evolve from? A: The original name was the Capital Chamber of Commerce, which was incorporated in 1989. In 2011, the chamber was rebranded to the current name of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Oklahoma City, although we’re more commonly referred to as the OKC Black Chamber of Commerce. The rebranding came out of a need to better define who we were as an organization and to ensure the black business community knew they had a voice and where that voice was. Prior to the rebrand, the chamber had named itself after an entity that has historically kept the black community at a disadvantage. My predecessor had the vision and foresight to see a chamber that is truly a lighthouse for black businesses and anyone who wants to do business with the black community. We have been blessed to expand on the great work she started. In the last year, we have broadened our focus to include stronger strategic partnerships, greater legislative

advocacy, youth leadership programs, and deliberate engagement in real economic development. What are some of the OKC Black Chamber of Commerce’s current goals? A: We are working on several major initiatives to improve the quality of life and provide opportunities to not only minorities, but all citizens in the Oklahoma City Metro. We are excited to be partnering with the University of Central Oklahoma and different law enforcement agencies as we work to create a police force that is more representative of the communities they serve. We are also working with the Governor’s workforce development team, and proud to be part of the team working with on the National Skills Coalition Academy advancing policies to expand work-based learning to low-income communities. With 2018 being a major election year, the chamber will be providing multiple electoral forums and one of the only judicial forums in the state prior to the primaries and general election. It is extremely important that our communities not just exercise their right to vote, but also have access to the candidates to get to know those who seek to be the future leaders of our state. We continue to work with developers, city council, and various other economic development entities, to bring transformative change to northeast Oklahoma City and end the stench of selective development that has long plagued our city. How does being a member of a minority chamber benefit a small business owner? A:One can expect to see things which are representative of any chamber. From free monthly networking events to signature events, small business programing,

3 3

Providing Opportunities and Developing Partnerships continued from page 3 sponsorship and marketing opportunities, leadership and volunteer opportunities. This year we are launching our bimonthly publication, the Black Chamber Journal, which will give information about what is happening around the city, with our partners, and provide another great avenue for those business seeking more exposure and other marketing opportunities. It is important to note that last year, we changed our culture within the Black Chamber to focus on partners and not members. It was a complete terminology change. We want the businesses and organizations we work with to understand that we are not in the business of collecting memberships, but instead seek to build true progressive partnerships. As a business you can expect to be supported in the endeavors that are important to you. Whether that is to expand your consumer base, seek funding for a new project, or just find new ways to be involved in the community, we will work with you to support those goals. Ultimately, in doing so, we help to build up the neighborhoods, schools, and other businesses around us. We do not believe in the concept of self-serving business, because everything we do should work to benefit not only our own organizations, but also the communities we live in. This is what true partnership is about.

What are some of your marketing tips for businesses that want to identify as minority-owned or as a minority friendly business? A: The biggest advice that I can give is to be present and be involved. This goes beyond just attending a networking event to mark off your calendar. You need to make a deliberate effort to be engaged. We have all heard the saying that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Believe it or not, even in business, people still want to know that you care about what matters to them. Particularly if you are going to do business within a particular community, it makes sense to get to know and actually be involved in that community. Must a person be a minority or own a minority business to be a member of the BCC-MOKC? A: Absolutely not! In fact, many of our partners are non-minority owned. One of the focuses of the Black Chamber is to be a champion for diversity, and if that is the case, we strongly believe that it should begin with us. I encourage anyone to come to an event and you would certainly see well-blended participation. We are the unshakable voice for minority business because for far too long, there was no voice, but our vision is to ensure that the entire Oklahoma City metro moves forward, together.

Internship Program Facilitates Workforce Development 2016 Legislation Provides Opportunities in Duncan In 2016, Oklahoma House Bill 2535 passed legislation to allow high school students to receive an elective credit for an internship. In 2017, following a series of business and education community meetings and through the efforts of Duncan Public School (DPS), the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF), and area employers, the Duncan Public Schools Internship program (Pathways to Future Careers) was launched. In this first year, 26 organizations/businesses have hosted 43 Duncan High School students.

how the DPS Internship Program facilitates workforce development in the Duncan community.

Through the program, students learn employability skills and receive career training in the occupation they select. For instance, DAEDF intern Savannah Reynolds has learned about economic development, how to manage financial information using QuickBooks and, in particular,

“It is always thrilling to see hard work and planning result in positive outcomes,” stated Jeannie Bowden, Economic Development Specialist for the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation, “Duncan is investing in itself by investing in our future workforce.”

$4.5-Billion Wind Catcher Project Awaits Approval Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers (OIEC) and Walmart have reached a settlement agreement on PSO’s proposed Wind Catcher Energy Connection project (Wind Catcher). Together, PSO, OIEC and Walmart are requesting the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (Commission) approve the project under the terms of the settlement agreement – terms which collectively result in additional customer protections and significant savings guarantees. PSO and Walmart first reached an agreement for approval of the project in March. The agreement filed today replaces that agreement and includes OIEC, a membership organization that comprises some of PSO’s largest users of electricity, as well as Walmart. The new terms further ensure that customers will benefit from Wind Catcher by imposing additional limits on project construction costs, improving performance guarantees, and most notably, guaranteeing that customers will save money over at least the first 10 years, providing certainty for customers even if natural gas prices stay at historically low levels and there are changes to federal tax law that affect the economics of the project. In effect, the Company is guaranteeing to make customers whole in the unlikely event that the project does not yield customer savings. Wind Catcher is expected to save PSO customers around $2 billion net of its costs over the 25 years the project is in service. “We’re pleased to join Walmart and OIEC, two organizations representing some of our key business customers across the state, in asking the Commission to approve Wind Catcher,” said Stuart Solomon, PSO President and Chief Operating Officer. “With them on board, we’re hopeful the Commission will approve Wind Catcher so that all PSO customers can save money from this major investment in Oklahoma clean energy.” “Wind Catcher will significantly lower costs for our customers and boost communities and schools in our state,” Solomon added. “This settlement agreement further demonstrates that Wind Catcher is good for customers.”

The new wind energy will complement PSO’s existing power resources, which include natural gas, wind, power purchases, and coal. When it comes online in late 2020, Wind Catcher will be the lowest cost energy on PSO’s system. Customers will see savings primarily through a reduction in the fuel portion of their bills. With Wind Catcher, PSO customers will receive 40% of their energy from Oklahoma wind resources. The $4.5-billion Wind Catcher project includes acquisition of a 2,000-megawatt wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma Panhandle near Guymon and a dedicated generation tie line to the Tulsa area, where the energy will be delivered to customers. The project is a partnership between PSO and sister company, SWEPCO. PSO’s share of the project investment is $1.36 billion. Wind Catcher is projected to add thousands of jobs to the Oklahoma economy and provide $60 million in state and local taxes during construction. The project will provide an estimated $300 million in property taxes and 80-90 permanent jobs while in service. PSO, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), is an electric utility company serving just over 550,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. Based in Tulsa, PSO has approximately 3,800 megawatts of generating capacity, and is a significant provider of wind energy in the state. News releases and other information about PSO can be found at


New and Expanding Companies Report Q1 2018 Oklahoma has proven to be an important home for Google since opening our data center operations here in 2011. We’ve been able to accelerate our growth here in part due to the incredible support from our Mayes County partners and the state of Oklahoma. We look forward to continuing our success in Oklahoma. Andrew Silvestri, head of external affairs for Google in Oklahoma In Q1 2018, there were 19 announcements made statewide, totaling more than $614 million in new investment. Of the 19 announcements made statewide, six of these companies were new to Oklahoma. The announcements total more than $1 billion in new investment and are expected to create approximately 1,650 jobs. Google’s $600 million investment in its Pryor Creek data center is the largest announced investment of the quarter. “Oklahoma has proven to be an important home for Google since opening our data center operations here in 2011,” said Andrew Silvestri, head of external affairs for Google in Oklahoma. “We’ve been able to accelerate our growth here in part due to the incredible support from our Mayes County partners and the state of Oklahoma. We look forward to continuing our success in Oklahoma.”

CACI Technologies’ plan to hire 550 in Oklahoma City is the largest expansion in employment of the quarter. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce publishes a quarterly report of publicly announced new and expanding businesses. Information in this report is collected from a variety of sources including internal Department of Commerce reports, statewide and nationwide newspapers, and company websites. Only companies making public announcements of expansions are included in this report. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce does not release individual company investment amounts. Retail-only companies, bank branch offices and hospitals are not included. Quarterly and annual online versions of this report and more are available at:

Snapshot of 2018 Q1 Publicly Announced New & Expanding Companies:



New/ Expansion


Employees to Add

Alltran Financial, LP





Bellofram – BellGASFM





CACI Technologies, Inc.













$600 million


Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems





Sofidel Group



$360 million





$20 million





In Q1 2018, there were 19 announcements made statewide, totaling more than $614 million in new investment.

1,650 +


More than 1,650 jobs are expected to eventually be created from the Q1 2018 announcements.

COUNTIES WITH NEW AND EXPANDING COMPANIES IN QUARTER 1 2018 Atoka Coal Creek Dewey Ellis Grady Hughes Mayes Oklahoma Okmulgee Payne Pottawatomie Rogers Tulsa Woodward

Download a full copy of the report:


Upcoming Events and Important Dates COMPLETING RFPS WITH CENSUS AND OTHER DATABASES Friday, May 11, 2017, 10:00 AM - Noon Rogers State University Pryor, OK Costs: Free to attend, registration required

Filling out Requests for Proposal (RFPs) can be a daunting task, but it is critical in attracting businesses to your location. Learn how to find the data you need with a free two-hour interactive workshop with direct application for business recruitment and economic development in your community. The workshop will include an overview of major data sources such as Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, followed by a handson session working with ODOC researchers to find the information that companies request about your own town, city, or county. Registration and additional details at: For questions, contact Jon Chiappe, Director, Research & Economic Analysis Services, at or 405-815-5210 GET READY FOR THE ECONOMIC CENSUS Economic Census in early May Deadline is June 12

NEW PIONEER A PRODUCT OF THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE EDITOR: Kimberly Hickerson, Project Manager CONTRIBUTORS: Stefanie Appleton, Bryan Boone PHOTO CREDITS: Commerce, OKC Black Chamber

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 US Census Bureau conducts the Decennial Census once every 10 years, but it also measures US businesses once every 5 years. The US Census Bureau will start mailing instructions for the Economic Census in early May and the initial deadline is June 12. The instructions will be mailed to 3.7 million businesses nationwide to complete the census online, and the businesses will report their yearend 2017 numbers for each location. By law, the US Census Bureau will keep all of the information it collects confidential so that no individual business can be identified. However, it reports aggregated data online so that business owners and company executives can identify opportunities, make business decisions and assist policymaking for supporting business growth. For more information visit: For questions, contact Jon Chiappe, Director, Research & Economic Analysis Services, at or 405-815-5210 MEMORIAL DAY Monday, May 28, 2018 State Offices Closed @OKcommerce

Issue 5 2018  

$4.5 Billion Wind Catcher Project Awaits Approval, Minority-Owned Business Information, Providing Opportunities and Developing Partnerships,...

Issue 5 2018  

$4.5 Billion Wind Catcher Project Awaits Approval, Minority-Owned Business Information, Providing Opportunities and Developing Partnerships,...