2020 Annual Report

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A publication of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber | okcchamber.com

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Throughout the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s 131-year history, when difficult challenges arise, the Chamber has stepped forward to tackle issues while looking for new opportunities to build for the future. When COVID-19 hit the OKC area in March, the impacts to our business community were immediate, and for many devastating. The Chamber began immediately doing everything possible to provide information, identify potential support and look for any possible opportunity to help businesses losing revenue due to this monumental shift. At the same time, we never took our eye off the ball, keeping a strong focus on the future of Oklahoma City. Preparing for the new convention center and post-pandemic L E T T E R F R O M T H E C H A I R

push for tourism growth, supporting local business expansion and recruiting new companies to the region, advocating for business at our state capitol, and helping to bring businesses together for virtual networking and information. This report highlights our efforts this year, but is certainly not an exhaustive list of the work we have accomplished together. Our membership can be proud of what we have done together and confident that we can continue to imagine a bright future. When you look at the major setbacks in the history of Oklahoma City—economic trouble, natural disasters or a terrorist act—we have always ended up as a stronger and more tight-knit community afterward. I remain optimistic. People here are very creative and innovative, and Oklahomans have always been able to face adversity and grow stronger as a result. I look forward to what is next. Sincerely,

P E R C Y K I R K , C H AM B E R C H A I R S E N I O R V I C E P R E S I D E N T A N D R E G I ON MA N AG E R FO R CO X COMMU N I C AT I ON S C E N T R A L R E G I ON

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 2020 - Response and a Road to Recovery. ..................................................... 2 Economic Development...................................................................................... 4 Advocacy............................................................................................................. 6 Education............................................................................................................. 7 Community Initiatives.......................................................................................... 8 Criminal Justice Reform..................................................................................... 10 Talent and Entrepreneurship Development...................................................... 12 Visitor Economy................................................................................................. 14 Membership Engagement................................................................................ 16 Marketing Oklahoma City. .............................................................................. 18 2020 Executive Committee .............................................................................20 2020 Board of Directors . ................................................................................ 21 Leadership Investors .........................................................................................22 Web Resources..................................................................................................29

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IMPACT OF COV I D Just as the pandemic impacted every business, the Chamber’s operations were also dramatically changed. Here are the primary changes made in Chamber operations in 2020: ◊ Chamber staff worked remotely in March, April and May, with a majority of staff returning in June. Plans were also made for remote work following the December holidays to ensure staff safety ◊ The Chamber’s offices were closed to outside visitors ◊ Business development activities for both economic development and visitor recruitment were moved online, from trade show and conference attendance, to online meetings and even online happy hours with clients ◊ All event activity and networking was shifted online, making maximum effort to keep members engaged and informed ◊ Print publications were shifted online to reach remote workers

The arrival of the pandemic in Oklahoma City brought with it a radical shift in many of the Chamber’s activities, as the need to lift new programs to support our local businesses became paramount. Information was the first lifeline dropped, as an online resource page was populated with information about the virus, CDC recommendations, shutdown regulations and more. That work continued with tele-town hall meetings and online forums to present information and answer questions to settle immediate needs. The next step was to support efforts to get emergency cash to businesses to maintain their viability and keep employees. Assistance and information about federal programs was immediately followed by assistance in standing up local programs that would supplement or fill gaps they left behind. Throughout this process, many of the Chamber staff team spent their days speaking one-on-one

with Chamber members, assessing their needs and helping connect them with resources, recording more than 10,000 individual instances of outreach. And in the summer, the death of George Floyd and other national events spotlighted the institutional racism in our communities. The Chamber created a partnership with the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City to help the business community engage in the important conversations about race and bias and to directly address these issues. As it became clear that a return to normal was not likely until sometime in 2021, the Chamber looked for more creative ways to reach members, and to engage potential visitors and businesses. Strong content on virtual platforms, unique direct mail programs, expanded digital marketing activities, and intentional and focused one-on-one outreach are just a few of the tools implemented in 2020, to be sure that we could pave the way to success on the road ahead.

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◊ Oklahoma City re-entered the world of aircraft production with Skydweller Aero, Inc. announcing Oklahoma City as its headquarters. The developer of ultra-persistent drones for commercial and military applications plans to increase operations to 120 aerospace engineering and field technician jobs by 2024. ◊ Job and expansion announcements included: Costco Member Service Center; Aerokool Aviation; North Star Scientific Corporation; Malarkey Roofing Products; BancFirst; Caliber Completion Services, LLC; FueldUp; Tailwind; Dolese Bros. Co.; Amazon; and more.

for one year, the Criminal Justice Advisory Council reported a one-year average of 1,624. That low level for jail population had not been seen in two decades and down from a recent high of nearly 2,600 in 2015. ◊ The Oklahoma City Public Schools Compact began implementing a robust mental and emotional health plan for the district called EmbraceOKC. The program provides training to teachers, and support staff to help identify behavioral health issues so they can intervene and connect students and their families with support services.

◊ The Chamber’s partnership with the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and City of Oklahoma City provided the framework of a first- of-its-kind aid program that resulted in the allocation of $32.5 million to qualifying Oklahoma City small business owners. Launched on March 31, the Small Business Continuity Program (SBCP), helped small business owners better maintain jobs/payroll, add technology, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and renovate physical space for social distancing. ◊ The downward trend of jail population in Oklahoma County continues. At the end of October 2020, after tracking the average daily population

◊ The Chamber led an effort to improve legislation passed last year creating a new software and cybersecurity program to provide a tax credit up to $2,200 annually for qualifying employees who have received a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited institution, or $1,800 annually for qualifying employees who have been awarded a certificate from a technology center. This program is designed to address an extensive shortage of qualified software and cyber engineers at high growth companies across the region, and is vital to our future growth.

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story building altered the skyline view for anyone traveling into downtown from Interstate 235 and added density to a stretch of Automobile Alley that comprised surface parking. The company then announced another 400 new positions that will be located in the Mideke building in Bricktown. Heartland joins a growing list of technology companies with operations in Oklahoma City, including software development company Rural Sourcing and Paycom. HELPING AEROSPACE SOAR The Chamber has been actively developing the aerospace and aviation industry in Oklahoma City since 1919. This century of strategic economic development created a dynamic industry that is continuing to attract aerospace companies. Skydweller Aero, Inc. made it official in July that it would establish its corporate headquarters and engineering operations in Oklahoma City. Skydweller’s plans will increase its operations to 120 aerospace engineering and field technician jobs in Oklahoma by 2024. Skydweller owns solar design technology that uses un-manned aircraft capable of circumnavigating the globe using only solar power. It will convert the design and technology to an autonomous drone, capable of “dwelling” over a location for months at a time with no refueling or maintenance work. The technology has applications that will enhance commercial and government telecommunication, geospatial, meteorological and emergency operation efforts. One of Oklahoma City’s biggest aerospace employers, Boeing, started construction on a new high-bay addition at its facility. The expected work inside will create more engineering positions to support its B-52 modernization and sustainment efforts. Five years ago the Greater OKC Chamber led a coalition of local and state government leaders in the acquisition of 158 acres of land on the west side of the Tinker Air Force Base to house maintenance of its next-generation aerial refueling aircraft, the KC-46A Pegasus. The vision became a reality in 2020 as Tinker maintenance crews welcomed their first KC-46 mid-air refueling tanker in September.

Eventually, Tinker will host 90 of the aircraft each year on a rotating maintenance schedule. Construction is ongoing to accommodate the mission. When complete, there will be14 hangars to house the aircraft with an estimated 1,300 workers assigned to the job. Construction costs are projected to be $600 million over the next 10 to 12 years. Kratos Defense and Security Solutions arrival in OKC dates back to 2018. Now in two years the company now doubling in size at its Will Rogers Business Park plant. The company will use the expansion for manufacturing and integration of the XQ-58 Valkyrie tactical aircraft and two other classified projects. In 2018, Kratos began manufacturing its “target” drones, which advanced UAVs programmed to mimic hostile aircraft and missiles. The company added Valkyrie production last year after announcing all of its tactical drones would be built in Oklahoma. Kratos CEO Steve Fendley said the plant production will continue increasing for the foreseeable future with additional quantities and vehicle types. North Star Scientific (NSS) Corporation, a Hawaii- based company, announced plans to expand to Oklahoma City. The company will ramp up to 40 jobs once its manufacturing site is fully operational. “NSS chose the state of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City as the site of our expansion because of the favorable business environment and the availability of personnel and other resources that benefit aerospace companies, especially those focused on radar and electronics,” said Dr. James Stamm, CEO of North Star Scientific Corporation. “We are excited about the opportunities we see for our business in this environment and look forward to being a part of the community in Oklahoma City.” NSS designs, develops, and qualifies state of the art electronic systems for Department of Defense applications and delivers reliable high-performance products and services. They specialize in radar frequency systems designs and rapid research & development/custom solutions.

E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber helps existing businesses grow, recruits new companies and develops an active entrepreneurial environment, resulting in quality job creation and a diverse economy.

BOOSTING ECONOMY WITH BACK OFFICE/ SHARED SERVICE OPERATIONS Greater Oklahoma City has proven that its world- class business climate, reliable workforce and diverse real estate options give companies located here an edge against their competition. Whether it is an expansion to introduce or enhance lines of business, or being identified as the pilot site for innovative technology, our region has a proven track record supporting the success of shared services operations. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s economic development team recruits new businesses to the region, helping them to: find available real estate, meet with local leaders to help them get an understanding of the market, complete their incentive applications and to gather any data they might need. Oklahoma City’s established relationship with Costco paid off in May when the multi-national company announced that it will locate a large part of its back-office operations in Oklahoma City. Costco considered several locations before selecting Oklahoma City for this investment. The Oklahoma City center, located in the former Hertz corporate offices, will support Costco’s travel and e-commerce business units. Costco is expected to generate a capital investment of $25 million and employ more than 1,500 people. Heartland continued their growth as they opened their new headquarters in downtown. The seven-

SMALL BUSINESS CONTINUITY PROGRAM The Chamber partnered with the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and the City of Oklahoma City to create an aid program that quickly put funding into the hands of Oklahoma City small businesses at the outset of the pandemic. The Small Business Continuity Program (SBCP), launched on March 31, helped small businesses with with cash reimbursements for keeping employee payroll, grants, funds for retrofitting businesses, and technical assistance for pandemic-related business challenges. After the success of the initial program, additional rounds of funding helped more area businesses, including programs targeting minority-owned businesses and event venues. The programs provided more than $32.5 million to more than 1000 applicants.

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A D V O C A C Y

E D U C A T I O N

As the voice of business at the State Capitol, the Chamber focused on advocating in support of legislation to make central Oklahoma the best business climate in America. This commitment was never more evident this year, when in the midst of a historic session that was interrupted for more than a month by COVID-19, the Chamber successfully achieved passage of two major priority measures: expanding the state’s new Software and Cyber Security Engineering Tax Credit and, facilitating the transfer of operational and financial control of the Oklahoma County Jail to the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority. These critical measures were two of a record low 176 bills that reached the govenor’s desk during this session. ENSURING EFFECTIVENESS OF KEY INCENTIVE PROGRAM TO BOOST TINKER AND 21ST CENTURY JOBS During the 2019 session, the Chamber led an effort to pass legislation creating a new software and cybersecurity program to provide a tax credit up to $2,200 annually for qualifying employees who have received a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited institution, or $1,800 annually for qualifying employees who have been awarded a certificate from a technology center. This program is designed to address an extensive shortage of qualified software and cyber engineers at Tinker AFB and in many industries across the state.

HELPING SCHOOLS FACE 2020 CHALLENGES The business community worked with state and local education leaders to face the unique 2020 challenges that have affected every segment of our economy and lives. On the local level, the Chamber continued to work with Oklahoma City Public Schools leadership including Board Chair Paula Lewis and Supt. Sean McDaniel to move the district forward. The Chamber encouraged and supported the district’s transformational Pathway to Greatness initiative launched in 2019 that reduced the number of district buildings and increased utilization from 66% to 88%. The changes also provided direct benefits to students including full-time art, music and PE teachers in every elementary school as well as dedicated STEM spaces. OKC PUBLIC SCHOOLS COMPACT - EMBRACE OKC AND READOKC Another effort related to Pathways to Greatness that was made even more important by the COVID-19 pandemic was EmbraceOKC. The OKC Schools Compact, comprised of Oklahoma City Public Schools, City of Oklahoma City, United Way of Central Oklahoma, The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Greater OKC Chamber, has been working for three years to help implement a robust plan to improve the mental and emotional health of OKCPS students.

In 2020, EmbraceOKC helped OKCPS provide full-time counselors to every elementary school and provided evidence-based training for teachers/ staff. In direct response to the challenges of virtual learning, there is a new helpline for students and parents, allowing them to talk to a counselor or social worker at any time. The OKC Schools Compact also continued the ReadOKC program that promotes reading and increased literacy. There was a special focus this year to encourage more reading in the summer and during the quarantine. Over the summer alone there were more than 1.3 million minutes read, and all students who achieved the goal of reading 20 minutes a day were recognized as an outstanding leader with a sign in their yard.

Following the 2019 session, it was discovered that additional legislative changes were necessary to broaden the program to make it work as intended. Therefore, the Chamber advocated throughout the 2020 session for SB 1204 to be enacted during the condensed session. Ultimately, SB 1204 was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt, allowing qualifying employees to use this incentive program beginning in Fiscal Year 2021. ALLOWING OKLAHOMA COUNTY JAIL TRUST TO FOLLOW STATUS QUO ON LEGAL JUDGMENTS During the last week of the abbreviated session, the Chamber advocated supporting important legislation to ensure the newly formed Oklahoma County Jail Trust Authority (Jail Trust) could operate effectively in terms of administering liability judgments against the trust. The Chamber requested legislation on behalf of the newly formed Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority (Jail Trust), which assumed financial and operational control of the County Jail on July 1. HB 2668 allows county commissioners to treat liability judgments against the Jail Trust in the same manner as judgments against Oklahoma County are treated by placing such judgments on the county tax rolls. This legislation aided the transfer of operational and financial control of the County Jail to the Jail Trust on July 1, 2020 alleviating the need for the Jail Trust to purchase prohibitively expensive liability insurance.

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MASK UP OKC To help limit the spread of

COVID-19, the Chamber helped to launch a new campaign, “MASK UP OKC - it’s for you, it’s for me, it’s for OKC” urging residents to wear face masks. The campaign affirmed the Chamber’s commitment to keeping residents healthy so the city could remain open and avoid further economic difficulties.

group; creating leadership and mentoring programs; developing an annual research publication that tracks and reports on diversity and economic equality in Oklahoma City; and launching an ongoing initiative to increase minority supplier networks and employment. The first program of the partnership is a series focused on dialogue and engagement for managers and business owners interested in having challenging conversations about race and bias in the workplace and ensuring their company is offering fair opportunities for all. The seven-part series, which began in October 2020, will run into April 2021. The partnership will expand into the four other priorities in 2021.

The citywide campaign was a result of the efforts of the Chamber, the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. The message was to encourage residents to follow public health guidelines for wearing masks, which includes wearing them at indoor public places. The campaign included commercials, billboards, digital media and social media platforms. OKC celebrities, business owners, local officials, neighborhood leaders and other residents were shown wearing masks and delivering a message encouraging their neighbors, family and friends to follow health protocols for face

C O M M U N I T Y I N I T I A T I V E S

STAND TALL, SHOP SMALL In June, the Chamber rallied citizens to support small businesses who have struggled mightily with their profit margins because of the coronavirus pandemic. Boosting the economy by spending money is necessary and shopping local and small keeps even more dollars in the city. Economic reports indicate that for every dollar spent at a local store, 67 cents stays in the community. This response led to the formation of the Chamber’s campaign called “Stand Tall, Shop Small for OKC,” which ran in June as well as during the holidays.

Oklahoma City is no stranger to one-of-a-kind shops, many of which are located within the unique cultures of Oklahoma City’s districts. The Chamber urged each district to promote the campaign in a way that works for them and their customers. The districts tailored their plans for the initiative on their social media accounts, while the Chamber promoted the Stand Tall and Shop Small campaign on its own Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts. The result was a renewed community focus on supporting Oklahoma City’s retail establishments during an economically challenging period. DEVELOPMENT OF PPE & MEDICAL SUPPLY DIRECTORY As the pandemic unfolded, access to personal protective equipment and supplies became a significant hurdle for many businesses. Matching these needs with Oklahoma-based manufacturers and companies with a new website was the goal of a partnership of the Greater OKC Chamber, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. Numerous businesses converted existing manufacturing operations to meet the need for PPE, producing everything from masks, gloves and gowns, to soap, sanitizer and disinfecting cleaners so that companies could implement best practices for operating a safe working environment. Businesses can still search the PPE directory at okccommerce.gov/ppe.

coverings and social distancing. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Creating a stronger dialogue and engagement of the Oklahoma City business community around issues of social justice and anti-racism was the aim of a new partnership formed this year between the Chamber

and the Urban League of Oklahoma City. The partnership has five priorities: starting a business community conversation about anti-racism; establishing a diversity council and business community working

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for FY21 has been above both those FY19 and FY20 yearly averages ranging from a low of 1,732 to a high of 1,840 per month. However, for both the first and second quarters of FY21, the jail population awaiting transfer to DOC has been well above average ranging as high as 453 in July, just as the Trust Authority was taking control of the Detention Center, to a low of 172 in September. Comparatively, the jail population in 2006 was over 1,000 persons greater on December 31 with a total population of 2,781. Although the interruption in the DOC transfer schedule has increased the jail population, the underlying jail population numbers continue to be in line with FY19 and FY20 averages. If not for the delays in DOC transfers, the FY21 monthly averages would be at or below the FY19 and FY20 averages, which is an encouraging sign that despite COVID-19, progress to safely reduce the jail population continues. The work of the CJAC partner agencies is taking our community into positive territory that hasn’t been seen in the county in two decades. The partner agencies and CJAC stakeholders believe even more can be done to safely reduce the jail population and

increase the fairness and effectiveness of the county justice system. UPGRADED DATA SYSTEMS TO PROVIDE RELIABLE DATA One of the top issues cited by the Vera Institute in their original analysis of Oklahoma County’s system was the lack of reliable data for decision-making. Significant strides toward fixing that problem were implemented in 2020. The Public Defender’s office and the District Attorney implemented new systems in FY20 and the Sheriff’s office, in connection with the Jail Trust Authority, are implementing a new system that will launch in early 2021. In early 2021, the court and diversion programs are implementing a phone app that will help clients of the court manage their case, receiving text reminders about court dates, testing deadlines or other dates that are vital to keeping their case on track. The final data project in progress is the creation of a dashboard and tracking mechanism. The CJAC is working with Open Justice Oklahoma, which created a similar dashboard for Tulsa County.

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JAIL TRUST CREATED TO IMPROVE OPERATIONS

Five of the 16 MAPS 4 projects will positively impact people involved in the county’s justice system or help prevent their participation, including: $40 million for mental health and addiction, $17 million for the Diversion Hub, $38 million for a new family justice center, $50 million to reduce homelessness, and $110 million to fund youth centers to aid prevention efforts and assist youth in healthy lifestyle choices, redirecting them away from incarceration. The Diversion Hub became the first of these projects to open in June 2020 and is successfully serving the community. The Diversion Hub works with low- level offenders to pivot their path away from jail and hopefully prison and redirect their life to more positive outcomes. This successful intervention will not only benefit the justice-involved individual but also will increase public safety in the community and keep more individuals available for employment. This innovative idea for the Diversion Hub will transform OKC’s approach to criminal justice, relieve pressure on the Oklahoma County jail and help low-level offenders establish a more productive life. OKLAHOMA COUNTY JAIL POPULATION CONTINUES TO DECLINE For Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), the total jail population average was 1,624, down from 1,663 for most of FY19. The trend for monthly average jail population

For more than a decade, multiple task forces and committees recommended the creation of a Trust Authority to oversee operations of the Oklahoma County Detention Center. In 2020, with the recommendation of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC), the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the Trust 3-0 to create the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority (OCCJA)—also known as the Jail Trust Authority. The OCCJA took full operational and financial control of the facility on July 1, 2020. The new authority developed a mission statement and goals and is using this framework as guidance to recruit and develop staff. The Mission of the OCCJA: To provide protection through efficient and effective services and intervention leading to no victimization, and more personal growth and development. DIVERSION HUB OPENS AS MAPS 4 INCLUDES OVER $110 MILLION IN JUSTICE- RELATED PROJECTS The City of Oklahoma City’s fourth MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects) program includes several projects that will continue to expand the community’s focus on justice-related issues.

OKLAHOMA COUNTY JAIL TOTAL POPULATION

3000

2781

2500

1833

1805

1732

1741

1737

1624

2000

1500

1000

500

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SEPT. 2020 AVG.

OCT. 2020 AVG.

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DEC. 2020 AVG.

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launch, bringing more opportunity to grow the area’s technology workforce. ENTREPRENEUR SURVEY John Steinbeck said “...to find where you are going, you must know where you are.” That was the goal of the inaugural Oklahoma City Startup Census completed this year. This first count provided initial benchmarks in OKC’s overall performance and illustrated factors that influence the area’s ability to meet its desired goal as a top entrepreneurial destination. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber partnered with the University of Oklahoma’s Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth (I-CCEW) to prepare the assessment that will guide city leaders in fostering a growing entrepreneurial economy into the future. The Startup Census included responses from 126 regional startups. The survey is planned annually so city leadership can track improvement and spot gaps in resources. The census provides a better understanding of what type of businesses have been launched, who is founding them and how they are funded. Studying the emerging trends from this survey will spark new initiatives, give direction to future programming, and catalyze involvement in building an ecosystem where Oklahoma City’s entrepreneurs can grow and thrive. The survey revealed two major gaps for the community to focus on helping continue Oklahoma City’s momentum as an entrepreneurial hub: access to capital and the need for an inclusive environment for founders from more diverse backgrounds. CROWDLENDING PROGRAM PROVIDES VITAL STARTUP DOLLARS Providing access to capital for underserved small businesses is the goal of a new program being created in a partnership between the City of Oklahoma City, Progress OKC and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. Oklahoma City’s participation was facilitated through the National League of Cities’ City Innovation Ecosystems program. Oklahoma City has joined a cohort of 30 other cities to address 10 issues of innovation, with each city choosing to execute one program that would make a difference to their ecosystem.

The Oklahoma City Startup Census showed that access to first capital is difficult. A micro-lending program can get a great idea over this significant hurdle. Kiva U.S. was chosen as the platform best suited for OKC’s needs. Kiva U.S. is an international nonprofit that has been facilitating crowdlending for 15 years internationally, and for five years in the U.S. The organization has users who have lent more than $2 million to other small businesses. Kiva U.S. provides the program and platform. Local management of the program – called the Kiva Hub – will be executed by Progress OKC, a local community development corporation. They will facilitate crowdlending, provide professional management of the OKC effort and market the program locally. All loans on Kiva are matched, and the City of Oklahoma City committed $100,000 to start Oklahoma City’s matching fund, along with funds for administrating the program. The Inasmuch Foundation also made a two-year $100,000 commitment to the project and the Oklahoma City Black Justice Fund of the Arnall Foundation committed another $15,000.

T A L E N T A N D E N T R E P R E N E U R S H I P D E V E L O P M E N T

The Greater Oklahoma City region’s growth is dependent on two critical factors: a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and a continued infusion of human capital. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber is focused on both of these fronts with a program that doesn’t just contemplate one avenue for talent development but recognizes the need for stronger home-grown talent, as well as finding new ways to support and grow new companies. CONNECTING RESOURCES AND ENTREPRENEURS The Chamber and Francis Tuttle Technology Center partnered in 2020 to bring Startup Space’s Launch OKC Metro app to the city’s growing entrepreneurial community. The Launch OKC Metro platform is helping connect entrepreneurs with those resources that will give them a better chance at sustained success. Launch Metro OKC went live in August and was built to service every aspect of the entrepreneur ecosystem. Users can find everything from educational content, connections with mentors, community discussions, events calendars and a lot more. One of the most appealing aspects of Launch Metro OKC is that it is absolutely free to users. Users can access it through a mobile app or on a desktop via Startup Space.

CULTIVATING CODERS The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber launched a pilot program over the summer to help area students have an opportunity to learn the important skill of computer coding. The free eight-week virtual training camp for students from ages15-18 was presented by Cultivating Coders for students at Millwood Public Schools and Metro Tech Academy’s Springlake campus. Cultivating Coders is a New Mexico-based organization that works with low-income and underserved populations. For the camp, students were given a laptop to participate in the program where they learned web application development fundamentals and technical training. Rural Sourcing, an Atlanta-based company with a developmental center in Oklahoma City, partnered with the Chamber in bringing Cultivating Coders to the OKC market and plans to serve as a hiring partner for graduates of the program. Camp graduates could be at the start of a career path that’s filled with opportunities for the students. Software developer positions are expected to increase 21% by 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Following the pilot in the summer, a second class for young adults was planned for a January 2021

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function space and a 4,000-square-foot balcony that overlooks Scissortail Park. The adjacent $214 million Omni Hotel opened in January 2021.The hotel will offer seven unique dining outlets, an expansive pool deck with event space, retail, indoor and outdoor meeting space, and a full- service spa with eight treatment rooms. The Omni Hotel will offer seven unique culinary outlets, with several restaurants lining Robinson Avenue with outdoor patio seating and street entrances. Dining experiences will include a Bob’s Steak & Chop House, lobby bar, sports bar, all- day dining, coffee shop, walk-up burger bar and a poolside bar and grill. HORSE SHOW CAPITAL Oklahoma City is home to more equine events than any city in the world with dozens of top national and world championship horse shows which attract riders from across the nation—and world—each year. In 2020, the always-tight calendar became even more crowded as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions forced many events across the United States to look for a new home. Oklahoma City was ready with the resources and availability to give those shows facing cancellation a second life.

Those shows included venue changes of the following: ◊ Canadian National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show fromManitoba, Canada ◊ Adequan Select World Championship was moved from Ft. Worth, Texas ◊ AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals were moved from Guthrie ◊ Adequan Level 2 Championship was moved from Ft. Worth, Texas ◊ Nutrena Level 1 Championship was moved from Las Vegas, Nevada and Wilmington, Ohio Even without general public spectators, hotel tax collections exceeded expectations of what had been forecasted because of the pandemic. Not only do Oklahoma City horse shows provide entertainment, they make a substantial contribution to the city’s economy. Total estimated economic impact of all Oklahoma City horse shows exceeds $126.5 million each year. Equine organizations around the world are noticing the state-of-the-art, 21st century complex at State Fair Park. The complex features nine barns, VIP RV parking, exercise areas and a conference and meetings facility.

V I S I T O R E C O N O M Y MODERN FRONTIER CAMPAIGN UNVEILED The Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau launched an all-new branding campaign to evolve the current perception of Oklahoma City. The Modern resilient, authentic, kind and daring. The Modern Frontier campaign embodies who we are as a city and speaks to more than Oklahoma City’s story as a tourism destination.

Frontier campaign positions Oklahoma City well for the post-pandemic world and continues to be a citywide campaign that is a contemporary nod to OKC’s western heritage and also looks ahead as the city defines its own future.

The citywide branding elements were introduced through advertising and promotional efforts by local industry partners, in addition to the OKC CVB’s national print and digital advertising, website content, video elements and social media channels. NEW CONVENTION CENTER AND OMNI HEADQUARTER HOTEL 2020 saw the completion of the biggest construction project in the City of Oklahoma City’s history, the $300 million convention center that anchors about $800 million in public investments revitalizing the southern fringe of downtown. The emerging district includes Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA’s Thunder, and Omni’s new luxury hotel on the Oklahoma City Boulevard. Financed by MAPS 3 and opening debt-free, the convention center will enjoy a competitive advantage as the meeting and convention business shakes off this year’s pandemic-induced slump. The four-level building includes a 200,000-square- foot exhibit hall on the first floor; and 45,000 square feet of meeting space throughout with operable walls in many of the rooms, allowing for up to 27 individual meeting spaces. On the fourth floor, the building has a 30,000-square-foot ballroom that is divisible into two sections, complemented by 10,000 square feet of pre-

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE FUTURE

While the pandemic slowed visitor activity in 2020, the preparations to make Oklahoma City an even more dynamic visitor destination continued with fervor. Oklahoma Contemporary, which held its grand opening just shutdowns and lock downs were implemented, is ready with its second exhibition and is adding studio classes. The City of Oklahoma City put the final touches on renovations to the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex and OGE Energy Field, home of the NCAA Women’s College World Series.

Work is progressing quickly at the First Americans Museum, with completion of construction and the installation of exhibits underway. The museum will open in September of 2021. Riversport OKC continued to add new thrills with the opening of Surf OKC in August. Plans are also underway to add Ski OKC, a new indoor ski slope inside the Whitewater Center in the spring of 2021. These new additions make this the only place in the world where you can ski, surf and whitewater raft all in the same location.

Prior to its launch, the OKC CVB engaged in a 10-month-long branding project that included more than 75 one-on-one interviews, extensive research, news media and competitor city analysis, as well as input from civic, business, tourism and a wide variety of industry partners. With research showing only one in three people are familiar with OKC, the branding exercise was conducted to cultivate a distinguishable identity for Oklahoma City. The Modern Frontier messaging was developed from the key values that were identified during the research process: collaborative, diverse, honest,

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tele-town hall meetings over the phone, allowing members to gather information and ask questions of the participants regarding plans to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers for the series included Senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe along with congressional representatives Tom Cole and Kendra Horn. All gave briefings on legislation aimed to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Other speakers included Dr. Patrick McGough, executive director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department; Paul Ross and Josh Solberg of McAfee Taft; Roger Beverage of the Oklahoma Bankers Association; Dottie Ovall, Small Business Administration; Cameron Brewer, vice president of commercial capital at BancFirst and David Holt, Oklahoma City mayor. These speakers on the front line of the COVID-19 response allowed Chamber members to have almost instant access to the latest updates that could help their businesses navigate an unprecedented time.

MEMBERSHIP BY THE NUMBERS

◊ 150-250 individual daily outreaches to members ◊ 10,000 COVID-19 calls

provided through the Zoom breakout room function showed organizations looking to connect with Chamber members that there continues to be value in joining the Chamber even when meetings and events are taking place online. In terms of content, the Chamber’s events in 2020 were also at their most prolific. Chamber members who attended events were exposed to more than 165 speakers at 70+ events throughout the year. CELEBRATING COMMUNITY MILESTONES In the era of online-only events, Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings also went virtual. Ambassadors and other Chamber members showed up to support other businesses at ribbon cuttings almost every Friday beginning in August at 11 a.m. via Zoom. These celebrations averaged around 20 attendees each week, with over 200 in attendance for the grand opening of the Heartland corporate headquarters. Taking a tried-and-true chamber of commerce activity like cutting a ribbon with a pair of giant scissors and making it meaningful in an online setting is just one example of the creative solutions that the Chamber found to make sure that members are celebrated and valued in the midst of a global pandemic. ◊ 90% membership retention rate ◊ 92% membership retention rate for Leadership Investors ◊ 165 speakers featured ◊ 70+ events hosted

M E M B E R E N G A G E M E N T The Chamber’s membership opportunities allow businesses to network, have a voice in issues important to them and engage in work to make Greater Oklahoma City a stronger community.

to educational Enlighten sessions and more. The Chamber also acted with sensitivity to members’ financial situations and extended flexible payment options when needed. Membership managers and the member engagement team also launched a new weekly email newsletter highlighting the Chamber’s most current work and valuable resources to help members stay updated on important news within the community. This also provided an outreach opportunity to former members and prospective members to make sure that they also had information on resources that were available to them. Although unable to meet with members in person for the majority of the year, these efforts to foster connection allowed the business community to continue to be engaged in the work and exposed to the resources of the Chamber. This helped secure high membership retention percentages for the year. Despite the economic uncertainty, 90% of all Chamber members and 92% of Chamber lead investors renewed their financial commitment to the Chamber in 2020. FINDING NEW WAYS FOR CONNECTION While the pandemic prevented the Chamber from hosting its normal slate of events in person, the organization quickly pivoted to provide information in socially distant formats. First, the Chamber began by hosting a series of specially designed

DEEPENING RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEMBERS Many Chamber members entered 2020 well on their way to achieving their goals or embarking on new ideas for the new decade. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, existing plans quickly altered as organizations switched to a crisis response mode and grappled with the uncertainty about the future. The Chamber membership team stepped forward to serve and represent the business community in its hour of greatest need. The membership team acted as an all-day, everyday partner to Chamber members, with an average of 150-250 outreaches to members each day. By having open communication, the membership team was able to identify needs and connect people with resources while maintaining a sense of community. In total, the membership division recorded around 10,000 instances of individual outreach surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. This outreach encouraged people to access the Chamber’s COVID-19 resources web page, distributed breaking updates on reopening guidelines and access to PPE, shared invitations

Enlighten, a monthly lunch-and-learn event hosted in person for the first three months of the year, went online and became free of charge in April. Rather than limiting the event to members only, Enlighten became an Oklahoma City-wide business resource that covered not only COVID-19 resources but also practical tips to benefit any business. The result was a valuable program that reached far more people online than it ever did in person. Other Chamber events followed suit in transitioning to a fully virtual presentation, from the Chamber’s signature events like Annual Meeting and State of the Schools to smaller networking opportunities like Member Orientation, Ambassadors Meetings and Board of Advisors Small Group Meetings. The Chamber’s strong program of virtual meetings and events and the meaty networking component

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Zippia. The team also organized a stay with a travel writer as she was venturing across the U.S. MONITORING THE IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC The Chamber launched a series of short surveys to further its understanding of the developing impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses and their resulting needs. The Chamber’s goal for these surveys was to understand the environment and pressures being faced by our member businesses in order to best develop resources and programming to help them. In total, six surveys were administered from March to November 2020. Hearing from businesses helped the Chamber better represent the interests of members to elected officials and allowed the Chamber to better connect the business community with resources, tools, and avenues for concrete solutions to COVID-related challenges. BOOSTING OKLAHOMA CITY BUSINESSES To promote members who were successfully adapting during the pandemic, the Chamber launched a weekly “Biz Boost” web series where guests engaged in a lively discussion of topics that included how businesses were pivoting operations in the COVID-19 environment, often in ways that benefited the community at large. Inspiration and tips to help listeners though difficult economic times were consistent themes of the webisodes. Many of OKC’s business leaders detailed how the COVID-19 situation forced a re-structure of their operations and how they adapted their work to help the community in the face of the pandemic.

M A R K E T I N G O K L A H O M A C I T Y

ELEVATING OKLAHOMA CITY’S WORKFORCE One of the Chamber’s newest events, Elevate, continued in 2020 in an online format. The professional development event was held online to increase the training available to the region’s workforce, many of whom were working from home during the pandemic. Elevate helped companies provide professional development options to their employees in a year where large-scale conferences were impossible to attend. The conference featured 24 breakout sessions with topics geared toward people in every phase of their career. Best-selling author Valorie Burton and Dr. Nathan Mellor, president of Strata Leadership, served as the two keynote speakers.

Through strategic marketing efforts, the Chamber worked to support Greater Oklahoma City’s key business sectors, promote the region as a great place to live and communicate the work of the Chamber to a broader audience. The Chamber reached thousands of people in the Oklahoma City business community through its websites, events, publications and targeted programs. PROMOTING OKC ON A NATIONAL STAGE In February, the Chamber embarked on a new and unique lifestyle public relations effort aimed at proliferating the message that OKC is a great place to live to a national audience. The effort aims to foster a more positive perception and more top- of-mind awareness of the Oklahoma City market, leading to the increased ability for businesses to recruit talent from other locations. As part of that project, representatives of an award- winning international hospitality, travel and luxury lifestyle public relations and social media agency, J Public Relations (JPR), visited Oklahoma City for an immersion trip. During their three-day visit, JPR and Chamber staff met with a number of Chamber members and community partners representing a variety of areas, including arts and culture, retail,

outdoor recreation, food and restaurants, brewing and distilling, development, housing, communications, entrepreneurship, local districts and more. The overall strategy involves JPR and Chamber staff working together to pitch and place stories through both traditional and new media about life in Oklahoma City, its residents, businesses, penchant for entrepreneurship and cooperation, and the kind of lifestyle OKC truly affords. As the pandemic changed travel plans, JPR and the Chamber adapted to how media were hosted by creating a series of virtual meetings with writers from national publications. Media attended panels on the following topics: adventure and wellness, breweries and spirits, culinary scene and arts and culture. The media were impressed by what they heard about Oklahoma City and some guests expressed interest in visiting. JPR and Chamber public relations staff have continued to keep Oklahoma City and its talented residents at top of mind as they hear from media seeking story ideas as well as pitching new placements and stories. The team has put Oklahoma City on popular websites such as Fodor’s Travel, Kiplinger, Apartment Therapy, Sherman’s Travel, and

Some of those featured included Michael Byrnes, president and general manager of the Oklahoma City Dodgers; Cathy Nestlen, communications and marketing director for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma; Cyndi Tipps, regional claims executive CSAA Insurance; Daniel Maloney, CEO of Tailwind; Jon Skelly, VP of marketing for True Sky Credit Union; Jana Steelman, vice president of communications at United Way of Central Oklahoma and Deborah McAuliffe Senner, President/CEO of OKC Allied Arts.

The Chamber’s Biz Boost series highlighted Chamber members who re- structured their operations to help meet community needs during the pandemic.

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