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2017 Issue 7

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

Developing Oklahoma’s South Central Region Q&A with Roger Pulley, Regional Development Specialist for South Central Okla. p. 3

THE STATE OF LOCATIONS Site Ready Certification

Make business expansion and relocation to your community as inviting as possible with Oklahoma’s Site Ready program. To become certified as Site Ready, site owners and/

or community leaders must complete an application identifying key data about the site to aid site selectors in their searches. An objective third party then assists the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in evaluating the application to ensure sites meet program requirements. Once certified, the Oklahoma Department TX of Commerce offers detailed, site-specific TX information, including proximity to major transportation routes, area labor force statistics, utilities, cost of living details, and business incentives for site selectors’ considerations and is listed (for no additional charge) on

Site owners or communities may apply in the following categories: •

Mega Park

Aerospace Park

Heavy Industrial Park

Light Industrial Park

Warehouse / Distribution Park

Business Services Park

Research and Development Park

Rural Business / Commerce Park

See a list of all current Oklahoma Site Ready Certified Sites

For more, information contact: Kathy Gain Programs Planner, Community Development, ODOC 405-815-5267

Developing Oklahoma’s South Central Region Q&A with Roger Pulley, Regional Development Specialist for South Central Okla. Because of our ideal location, I believe distribution companies and other industries that rely on quick transportation times to their market would be a good fit. ODOC fosters relationships with site selectors and company representatives that are considering a new or expansion project that would fit our region.

Roger Pulley, ODOC Regional Development Specialist

Roger Pulley has worked at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC) for just over four years, as the South Central Regional Development Specialist. Pulley’s region covers 10 counties in SC Oklahoma including Davis, Okla. where he lives and offices.

Michelin Tire – Ardmore Republic Paperboard – Lawton Bemis – Pauls Valley Dollar General Distribution – Ardmore Halliburton – Duncan

What are your major priorities in the south central area? I represent this region by being a liaison between the local communities and businesses and state programs and incentives. I make myself available to assist in finding the resources they need to grow their economies.

What are some of the newest companies in your area? Duncan Recycling and Refining – Duncan BAE Systems – Elgin Serco - Lawton Fitzgerald Glider Kits – Davis

What are some of the biggest assets to your area? The biggest assets to the south central region have to be the I-35 and I-44 interstate systems. Efficient transportation corridors are vital to move goods and services. New companies that are considering new locations and companies that are considering relocating value being close to an interstate highway as a high priority.

What businesses would be a good fit for the region and how does ODOC work to attract those types of businesses? Because of our ideal location, I believe distribution companies and other industries that rely on quick transportation times to their market would be a good fit. ODOC fosters relationships with site selectors and company representatives that are considering a new or expansion project that would fit our region.

What are the main industries in your area? The south central region of Oklahoma is home to a very diverse group of industries. Oil and gas companies and companies that supply components for the oil and gas production industries have been the mainstay in the past, but now this region consists of companies that manufacture products such as vehicle tires, paper and plastic products, metal grating and manhole covers, machinery for the food and baking industries, plus several distribution and warehousing facilities. What are some of the largest companies in your area? Goodyear Tire and Rubber – Lawton

How does the south central area work to provide workforce solutions for companies? As soon as I am aware of a company’s workforce needs, I bring in resources from the workforce boards, the regional technology training centers and other human resource experts to provide the company the workforce solutions they need to make employment decisions. What partnerships are vital to the area? The whole of a successful economic development effort is anchored in developing partnerships with other agencies


that provide needed resources and solutions to communities and companies in the south central region and the state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Southwest Alliance and the new South I-35 Thrive Alliance are regional development organizations that pool their collective resources to promote the region. The programs provided by partners such as USDA Rural Development, DEQ, Department of Agriculture, OCAST and the Small Business Development Centers, just to name a few, are essential in helping to grow the region’s quality of place for all who live and work here. How have community and development grants helped the region? In numerous instances community and development grant monies have been the catalyst that tilted the playing field in a positive manner for communities to land new businesses. We have to be extremely competitive in recruiting new businesses to our regions and these grants are a very important tool for this cause. What services do you provide that communities should be more aware of? With the ever changing climate of local government administration, I feel it is very important to continue a dialog with city and county administrations of how the Oklahoma

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in south central Oklahoma near Lawton, is a wildlife habitat unique to the area ecologically diverse, with prairie, ravines, and mountains. Department of Commerce can assist them with their plans to grow their communities. Also helping communities develop a new or refine their existing strategic plan is a service that I find to be valuable. Now that we are engaged in fostering tourism as an economic development resource, I encourage the south central communities to use their own natural assets as another mechanism to attract new businesses and grow their economies.

Oklahoma Moves up in Chief Executive Magazine’s Best States for Business Despite a recent economic downturn, Oklahoma continues to position itself well for business, according to a recent survey compiled by Chief Executive magazine. Its annual Best & Worst States for Business Ranking, which is compiled from surveys of chief executive officers, shows Oklahoma at No. 17, up one from 2016 and up from No. 21 in 2008.

California, New York and Illinois find themselves among the worst states for business according to CEOs. Issues like high taxes, governmental red tape and increasing regulations are making it hard for businesses to operate in these places. Oklahoma has the opportunity to showcase our strengths and set ourselves apart.”

The state received above-average scores when it comes to taxation and regulation (6.82 out of 10); workforce quality (6.63 out of 10) and living environment (6.69 out of 10). Oklahoma’s position as a right-to-work state was also mentioned in the findings.

In addition to the rankings, Chief Executive highlighted other specific areas of interest, including Top 10 States for HighTech. Oklahoma is ranked No. 10 in that category.

“We are constantly working to promote Oklahoma as a desirable place for business, and to further strengthen our business climate,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “States like

View the full rankings at

State Board of Education Prioritizes Early Learners The fight for struggling readers, new educators amid continued funding losses The Oklahoma State Board of Education prioritized a budget focus on early learning and strengthening young readers. Other priority areas included support for a well-rounded education that includes arts education as well as expanded support and training for educators and new teachers. At the board’s regular monthly meeting, officials from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) presented the Fiscal Year 2018 budget as appropriated by the legislature for Pre-K through 12th grade public education. “Restoring funding in early childhood initiatives and those that support struggling readers with the Reading

Restoring funding in early childhood initiatives and those that support struggling readers with the Reading Sufficiency Act will help bolster early literacy efforts for Oklahoma’s neediest young learners as schools work to implement more challenging academic standards. Directing funding to these targeted initiatives will benefit Oklahoma’s at-risk schoolchildren and prepare them to excel in all subjects and grades.

maintains funding from the Legislature’s initial appropriation for FY17. But reductions in funding in prior fiscal years included a $38 million cut to the Support of Public School Activities budget in FY17, which resulted in the loss of 38 education programs.

~ Joy Hofmeister State Superintendent of Public Instruction

“Enduring these losses for the second fiscal year in a row means many essential programs in support of children and educators will again be without funding for the start of the new school year beginning July 1,” Hofmeister said.

Sufficiency Act will help bolster early literacy efforts for Oklahoma’s neediest young learners as schools work to implement more challenging academic standards,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Directing funding to these targeted initiatives will benefit Oklahoma’s at-risk schoolchildren and prepare them to excel in all subjects and grades.” Schools will assess the reading skills of children in kindergarten through third grade at the beginning of the school year

and receive reading allocation funds based on the number of those whose skills do not meet grade level targets. Other programs that received funding increases over last year include the Oklahoma Arts Institute, Ag in the Classroom, Teach for America and highneed areas like alternative education, professional learning for educators and initiatives to combat the state’s ongoing teacher shortage.

View the complete budget at

The public education funding formula received a flat budget for FY18 that

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From the Ground Up Oklahoma State University helps innovators get their ideas off the ground with New Product Development Center

by Heide Brandes originally published in The State of Success 2017 vol.2 issue 4

Randy Breitenkamp of Enid has a solution to a farming and ranching problem that was common to most landowners, but he didn’t have the resources at first to develop and manufacture that solution. Attaching barbed wire to T-Posts can be a hard task. Arms get tired, skin gets scratched up and the whole process is timeconsuming. So Breitenkamp created a clip and tool that would attach barbed wire to a T-Post four times faster with no twisting or reaching through the fence. “We turned to the New Product Development Center with the basic idea,” Breitenkamp said. “The NPDC built the prototype and did all the testing. We did several product designs before we found one we could use.” Based on his idea and the help of the NPDC, Breitenkamp now manufactures the clips and other ranching tools through Fence Solutions Inc. in Enid. “We created a company around the clip, and we are in our sixth year of business now,” he said. “The NPDC was a huge help for us. They helped us with the design and patent, and I can’t say anything bad.” The NPDC is an outreach and extension unit of the Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology which provides education, guidance, technical engineering assistance, resources and referrals to inventors and small businesses. With more than 65 combined years of experience on the team in engineering design and support — plus more than 20 years in manufacturing and nearly 20 years in extension and outreach

work — the NPDC offers a wide variety of expertise and resources to help businesses expand and improve products and more. The organization accomplishes this through the Inventor’s Assistance Service, Center for Technology Commercialization and NPDC-Tulsa programs. “The New Product Development Center is an outreach unit through Oklahoma State University that focuses on economic development,” said Robert Taylor, director of NPDC. “The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, also called OCAST, provides the funding for us to assist clients in Oklahoma. We are also funded by a number of small companies that reach out to us to help them with innovation.” The NPDC began in 2002 when a group of faculty members from the mechanical engineering department and Department of Agriculture decided to do something to help spur innovation. They received funding from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to create a group that would help develop new products in the state. “It ran several years with part-time staff, but after a while, we realized we needed full-time employees,” said Taylor. “The faculty was doing a great job, but they have their other job to do. We now have six full-time engineers, two full-time business analysts and two full-time programming and office support employees.” The NPDC also has 20 student interns at any given time. “Anytime a business brings us an engineering or business project that project is assigned to the students, who are

Broken Arrow Manufacturing Company Set to Expand

Photo courtesy NPDC

mentored by professional engineers,” Taylor said. The NPDC partners with organizations like i2e, the Small Business Development Center and OCAST, which send referrals to the NPDC. “If a small business says they need help to solve a problem, we put a proposal together on ways we can help solve that problem and also give them an idea of the cost estimate,” Taylor said. “Once they agree, off we go! We want them to be involved in the process. Another aspect, which is free for businesses, is to take their project and make it the Capstone Design project for our students.” A typical problem a small business may face is transitioning to automation, Taylor said. Many small businesses struggle to keep manufacturing positions filled, and the NPDC often works to help them institute automation to reduce employee turnover. “If a company has a new product they want to deliver, we help them with the engineering and design and how to get it out there,” Taylor said. “Over the past three years, we’ve done projects for 57 Oklahoma companies in rural communities that are considered ‘economically distressed.’ More than half of the counties in Oklahoma are considered economically distressed, so we bring in a couple of million dollars to support small businesses in rural communities.” The NPDC also works with approximately 60 inventors a year through OCAST. Inventors can use the NPDC to research ideas, develop initial designs and apply for patents. “They come in with their ideas, and we do a Google and patent search to make sure it hasn’t already been done,” Taylor said. “Once we get past those two hurdles, we help with the drawings, the patents, the prototypes and resources. Oftentimes, we then refer them to the SBDC, which helps them develop their idea into a business.”

Alfa Laval is creating a “competence center” in Broken Arrow, Okla. for the manufacturing of its spiral and air-cooled heat exchanger ranges. A parcel of land has been selected that will adjoin the existing facility to a new facility being built to house the operations for the Alfa Laval Spiral Heat Exchanger range. “Alfa Laval’s decision to concentrate some of its manufacturing in Oklahoma showcases that our state has much to offer international companies,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “We have positioned ourselves well in the global marketplace, and I am pleased that they have chosen to invest in our state.” The “competence center” will provide a greater critical mass of welded heat exchanger design and manufacturing expertise, better serving Alfa Laval’s customers. The new facility will have expansion potential to accommodate future growth. “We are pleased that Alfa Laval selected Broken Arrow as the site of its planned manufacturing facility,” said Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond. “Broken Arrow’s skilled workforce, probusiness mindset and job acquisition efforts positioned us for this outstanding investment in our community.” The existing Broken Arrow facility will be improved to make it a more updated manufacturing space. The project, which will begin this year, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Further details about this project and its positive impact on the community will be announced at a groundbreaking event planned for later this summer. Alfa Laval is a leading global provider of specialized products and engineering solutions, based on its key technologies of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling. The company’s equipment, systems and services are dedicated to assisting its customers in optimizing the performance of its processes. Alfa Laval’s solutions help its customers to heat, cool, separate and transport products in multiple industries worldwide.


Upcoming Events and Important Dates COMPLETING RFPS WITH CENSUS AND OTHER DATABASES Thursday, August 17, 2017, 10:00 AM - Noon Kiamichi Technology Center - Idabel Campus Idabel, 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 hands-on 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.

SMALL BUSINESS TRAINING Wednesday, July 11 - August 8, 2017 6:00pm - 8:00pm Tuesdays and Thursdays Metro Tech Economic Development Center 1700 Springlake Drive, OKC Costs: $30 total

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

Whether you are starting your own business or already own a business, the Community Action Agency and Metro Technology Centers have an 8-session program that can help you steer through all the complicated parts of running a business that could mean the difference between success and failure for you and your investment! Each session will be presented by a different professional expert, and the cost is only $30 total for all 8 sessions. You can enroll now by calling 405-232-0199. @OKcommerce

Issue 7 2017  

Developing Oklahoma’s South Central Region, Site Ready Certification, Oklahoma Moves up in Chief Executive Magazine’s Best States for Busine...

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