2016 Annual Report

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During my tenure as Chamber chair, I constantly observed the leadership role this organization assumes in charting the socio-economic course of our community and, many times, our state. Each of our members is playing an elemental role in that process, carrying out a tradition in place since the birth of this entrepreneurial city. In this 2016 Annual Report, you will read about the perspective of several of our past Chamber chairs on the essential leadership demonstrated time and again by this organization. The mission we are committed to is not an easy one even in the best of conditions, and less so during economic downturns. However, the foundation we have laid in the past has created immense opportunity ahead of us. I am especially grateful for the thousands of members who chose to invest in the Chamber. I remain confident in our collective ability to enhance the quality of life of all citizens of Oklahoma City.


David Rainbolt, 2015-2016 Chamber Chair CEO, BancFirst Corporation

Table of Contents

ABOUT THE CHAMBER .......................................................2 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: HOGAN........................... 4 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT...............................................5 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: MARTIN........................... 7 ADVOCACY...............................................................................8 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: HUPFELD...................... 10 MEMBERSHIP............................................................................11 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: BENNETT.......................13 CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.............................................14 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: LOPEZ............................ 15 VISITORS.................................................................................. 16

LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: HALL................................17 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT......................................... 18 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: NICHOLS..................... 20 SELLING OKLAHOMA CITY............................................... 21 LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES: EDWARDS................... 23 2016 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE........................................ 24 2016 BOARD OF DIRECTORS.......................................... 25 FOKC V INVESTORS............................................................ 26 2016 BOARD OF ADVISORS..............................................27 2016 LEAD INVESTORS..................................................... 32

123 Park Ave. | Oklahoma City, OK 73102 | 405.297.8900 | www.okcchamber.com


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LEADING OKLAHOMA CITY SINCE 1889 The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has been the visionary organization of the region since the founding of Oklahoma City in 1889. The Board of Trade – the predecessor of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber – was formed to bring new industry to Oklahoma City and promote its growth. Since that time, the Chamber has been the voice of business and the driving force behind the growth of the region. At the city’s birth, the Chamber led the way in providing utilities to the community and extending the transportation options that made Oklahoma City the crossroads of the nation. The Chamber tirelessly worked to bring new industries to Oklahoma City, to speak on behalf of Oklahoma City businesses at the state Capitol and to improve this community’s quality of life. Today, the pioneering spirit of the early-day leaders can still be seen in the Chamber’s leadership. Chamber leaders continue to dream and by working together, will make their dreams become realities in the future.




The Chamber seeks to increase Greater Oklahoma City’s ability to rapidly seize new and expanding economic opportunities by: • Creating a business climate and positive image that are strong foundations for economic development • Attracting new businesses, supporting the growth of existing businesses and fostering entrepreneurship • Enhancing the region’s attractiveness for visitors and events • Ensuring the region’s talent base for the future through improvements in education and attraction/ retention of talent • Providing value-added opportunities and benefits to our membership • Supporting community efforts that enhance opportunities and amenities for residents • More than 3,800 new Chamber-assisted primary jobs were created in Greater Oklahoma City with an average salary of $38,898 and capital investments of more than $225 million. • The Chamber’s Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Task Force completed a comprehensive study of Oklahoma County’s criminal justice system and released its recommendations to reduce incarceration, increase efficiencies and improve safety. • The Chamber continued its work with The Brookings Institution and the Project for Public Spaces to develop Oklahoma City’s innovation district as part of the Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking. The study will help increase innovation and growth in districts across Oklahoma City. • The Chamber created the Maintain OKC Schools coalition to pass a $180 million bond package that benefited Oklahoma City Public School District infrastructure. In addition, the Chamber took a position on four state questions, all of which were affirmed by Oklahoma voters at the polls. Major Highlights of 2016


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The following pages will feature the perspectives of some of the Chamber chairs who served from 1981 until 2012. Many of these individuals held leadership roles in the Chamber for several years, and all offer an important glimpse into the impact of the Chamber on Oklahoma City.


Dan Hogan Owner of Dan Hogan Properties Chamber Chair, 1981-1982

As owner of the Journal Record Publishing Company from 1978 until 1995, Dan Hogan felt that being involved in the Chamber was another important way for his company to support Oklahoma City. “Oklahoma City business leaders felt like it was the Chamber that made most things happen in Oklahoma City,” Hogan said. “If the Chamber calls on people to go to an effort to make something happen, they don’t quarrel about that.” Dan Hogan’s time as Chamber chair, which spanned the height of the oil boom and the subsequent bust, could be summed up in one line of literature: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” “I remember my comments in the first meeting after becoming chair, and I said, ‘I can’t imagine a luckier time to become chairman of the Chamber with our economy booming the way it is,’” Hogan remembers. “Then I had the experience of being at the helm at some of the most prosperous times and still being at the helm when everything went to heck.” An unprecedented era of oil and gas success led to new growth in the community, but the positive outlook was not sustained by the economy. A steep drop in oil prices led to the failure of Penn Square Bank, followed by others, and Oklahoma City was left with a severe economic recession. “We went from a booming economy to a very tough one – not just in oil and gas,” Hogan said. “We wound up with a tremendous amount of office vacancies and quite a few banks failed.”

Despite the negative economic situation, the Chamber made progress on several important efforts throughout the 1980s. The Chamber intervened to ensure that the National Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Museum remained in Oklahoma City after some of its board wanted to relocate the museum to California. The Chamber worked with Governor George Nigh to improve the metro area’s highway system, and also successfully campaigned for a county-option liquor by the drink law that passed in Oklahoma County and 21 other counties in the state. Hogan also remembers being presented with plans to fill the North Canadian River with water – much like it is today. “It wasn’t the right time to bring that up, but fortunately, it stayed on the table and Ray Ackerman was a guy who was a bird-dog on it,” Hogan said. “The Chamber was certainly one of the organizations that caused the river project to eventually get done.” Hogan felt that despite the economic challenges, the Chamber was able to make key investments in the economy that allowed Oklahoma City to later rebound. “Fortunately, the Chamber has a fabulous reputation in the business community. The Chamber did all it could do,” Hogan said. “I think anybody that has been involved in the business community knows that the Chamber is a very serious operation that can make things happen.”




The Chamber continues to lead efforts to grow existing industries, recruit new companies and develop an active entrepreneurial environment.

for legacy aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III and the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). GE Global Research’s first industry-specific research center celebrated its grand opening in Oklahoma City in October. The center, which is located in Oklahoma City’s growing innovation district, will employ about 120 people in high-tech positions when fully staffed and is expected to have a direct and indirect economic impact of $13 million on the state and local economies. In addition to these companies, the Chamber worked on 146 successful economic development projects with both new-to-market and existing companies, which resulted in 3,835 announced jobs and more than $225.2 million in capital investment in the Greater Oklahoma City region.

Continuing Growth The Chamber continued to work with companies to expand their presence in Oklahoma City. In 2016, Tinker Air Force Base broke ground on its KC-46A Sustainment Complex, ushering in the next generation of the Air Force’s aerial refueling aircraft. The Complex is located on a portion of 158 acres of land formerly owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. The Chamber spearheaded several months of negotiations for Tinker to acquire the land, which was finalized in early 2015. The Boeing Company, which has significantly increased its investment in Oklahoma City in the past decade, opened a new engineering, research and development lab facility in July. The facility will design, test and apply modernization technologies


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Several companies announced growth of more than 100 positions during some portion of 2016, including AAR Aircraft Services; Central Liquor Company; Dell, Inc.; Dolese Bros. Co.; Health Smart; Kings Command Foods; Love’s Travel Shops & Country Stores; M-D Building Products; National Litigation Law Group, PLLC; Seventy Seven Energy; Southwest Airlines Co.; ORC Center; Terex CMI Inc.; Wholelife Companies and Xerox Services. representatives from the Brookings Institution and Project for Public Spaces to study Oklahoma City’s emerging innovation district and to engage the community in the process. Brookings and PPS focused their audit on the innovation district, an 843-acre area that includes the Oklahoma Health Center and Automobile Alley. Their look at the area also included ideas about how to draw surrounding neighborhoods, such as those along Lottie Avenue, into the process, heightening economic development potential throughout the entire area. Oklahoma City’s district offers the potential for innovative growth in technology, health and wellness; innovation and research; the university and surrounding neighborhoods. Boosting the Economy The Chamber’s Business Retention and Expansion Report indicated that existing Chamber-assisted companies added or announced 2,849 jobs during FY16, with capital investments totaling more than $303 million. The Chamber’s BRE Report summarized hundreds of conversations with 378 companies visited in FY16. Of the businesses interviewed, 75 percent of businesses still rate the local business climate Building Momentum The Chamber continued to work with

as satisfactory despite a softening of the business conditions in Oklahoma City. The report found that 96 percent of businesses are satisfied with the cost of living in the region, and 89 percent are satisfied with the cost of doing business. Highlighting OKC’s Appeal The Chamber recently redesigned www.GreaterOklahomaCity.com, the region’s primary economic development website, to better share the story of Oklahoma City’s renaissance. The new look incorporates fresh imagery to display what Greater Oklahoma City has to offer. The website is now responsive, meaning that it can be viewed on a desktop PC, smartphone or tablet. With information focused on conducting business in the 10-county region, the site is now enhanced with photos and videos in an easy-to-read layout. Not only does the website represent Oklahoma City to companies interested in relocation, it also provides tools that will help existing businesses grow in Oklahoma City’s market. Soaring to New Heights Oklahoma County is home to nearly two-thirds of the region’s aerospace employers, more than 97 percent of the jobs and 93 percent of the total output produced by the sector, according to the Greater Oklahoma City Region Aerospace Industry Survey and Economic Impact Assessment. The report showed that more than 36,600 workers earning $2.7 billion in labor income are employed by companies in the aerospace industry in the Greater Oklahoma City region. An estimated 236 public and private sector establishments in the Greater Oklahoma City region are directly engaged in aerospace activity, producing an estimated $4.9 billion in goods and services.




Edmund O. Martin Chairman of the Board of Ackerman McQueen, Inc. Chamber Chair, 1989

When Edmund O. Martin assumed the role as Chamber chair in 1989, he faced a depressed economy in the wake of the oil bust. “We were almost forced to focus on economic development because it was tough times,” Martin said. “We had just come off of an oil boom and bust and I think probably didn’t plan very well for what happened.” During Martin’s time as chair, Oklahoma City was one of two cities being considered for an American Airlines maintenance facility. When American Airlines ultimately decided to locate the facility in Ft. Worth, Martin said it caused Oklahoma City to reevaluate what it was offering businesses who wanted to relocate their business somewhere. “It was a wake up call for us, but looking back, it was probably the best thing that happened to us,” Martin said. Despite the depressed economy, leaders were still planting seeds that would lead to a new era for Oklahoma City. It was the moment in Oklahoma City’s history that its leaders dreamed of ways to invest in the community and improve its quality of life. “The Chamber was talking about what we could do for Oklahoma City. We sat at a Chamber retreat and we began to talk about what later became MAPS,” Martin said. “And MAPS was a game changer. It was a great example of how businesses could work

with government to get something done, and it has obviously been very successful.”

The Chamber also played a role in bringing the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival to Oklahoma City and Norman. Held during off-Olympic years, the event gave U.S. athletes a chance to compete. And for Oklahoma City, it was an event that put our community on the map. “I think the Olympic Sports Festival had a lot to do with leading to the next phase of how important sports was to Oklahoma City, and how it’s become now with the Thunder and the Women’s College World Series,” Martin said. “The Olympic Festival was a seed to show the world how Oklahoma City would support sports.” The Chamber continued to work on creating an environment that would allow businesses to flourish, including advocating for right-to-work legislation (something that would not be implemented until Oklahomans approved State Question 695 in 2001). “The focus on economic development is something that we really committed to, worked hard at, and it began to pay dividends,” Martin said. “The thing that made it work – the thing that made it work in the late 80s and early 90s and the thing that makes it work today – is people working together. It will not work unless we are all on the same team.”


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The Chamber is committed to promoting legislation and public policy that will improve Oklahoma City’s business climate and positively impact its economy.

The Chamber supported State Questions 780 and 781, the ballot initiatives first proposed by Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. The changes proposed are in line with the Chamber’s local criminal justice reform efforts and will lead to a more effective approach to criminal justice and public safety. Oklahoma voters approved both of these measures, and they will go into effect in 2018. The Chamber also supported State Question 792, which will allow wine and strong beer to be sold cold in grocery and convenience stores beginning in 2018. It also permits liquor stores to sell limited amounts of products other than alcoholic beverages. SQ 792 also results in the enactment of several statutory changes – including allowing wineries to ship directly to customers in Oklahoma, and allowing craft breweries to sell their product in more locations. Oklahoma voters approved this measure, and it will go into effect in 2018.

Positively Impacting State Law The Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to take a position on four state questions that appeared on the November 2016 ballot, and Oklahoma voters supported the Chamber’s position at the polls. The Chamber opposed State Question 779, which proposed a permanent increase to the state sales tax rate by 1 percent to generate $615 million a year for a one-time teacher pay raise, higher education, grants, early childhood programs and CareerTech institutions. While the Chamber believes in increasing teacher pay to a competitive level, the negative consequences of the bill, such as Oklahoma City having the highest permanent sales tax in the nation, made the economic impact of this plan undesirable. The proposed tax increase was defeated, and as a result, the Chamber is helping lead the charge at the State Capitol for teacher pay raises and education reform in 2017.



Protecting Economic Development Incentives

replacement gun legislation in 2016 — SB 1057 by Sen. Jack Fry (R-Midwest City) and Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-Oklahoma City). SB 1057 received strong majorities in the House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Fallin in April. Under this legislation, guns cannot be brought into: • Horse shows and the State Fair • Big XII and NCAA sporting events, including the Women’s College World Series • Concerts (Chesapeake Energy Arena; Zoo Amphitheater; OKC Fest) • State high school basketball & wrestling tournaments at the Fairgrounds • U.S. Olympic qualifying and many other events Building Relationships continued to pursue the election and re-election of pro-business candidates who will move the state forward. In preparation for the 2016 election year, the Chamber PAC raised a record $115,500. With those funds, the Chamber PAC contributed $95,000 to 86 candidates. Eighty- one of those 86 candidates won their election, giving the Chamber PAC a winning percentage of 94 percent. By engaging with candidates during their campaigns, the Chamber has already formed successful relationships that will allow us to further the goals of the Oklahoma City business community. The Greater OKC Chamber Political Action Committee, which was formed in 2010,

The Chamber relies on several of the state’s economic development incentive programs to attract businesses that will bring economic growth to Oklahoma. In 2016, there were six identified as critical to the Chamber’s efforts, including the Quality Jobs Act, Aerospace Engineering Tax Credit, Historical Building Rehabilitation Tax Credit, the five-year ad valorem abatement and sales tax exemption on manufacturing facilities, the Freeport (Inventory) Exemption and the Investment/ New Jobs Tax Credit. Despite the pressure placed on scaling-back or repealing individual economic development programs as legislators looked for savings to address the budget shortfall, all six of these key programs were successfully protected. Securing Events One of the top priorities for the Chamber in last year’s legislative session was to pass legislation to allow event hosts to prevent guns from being allowed into high-economic impact events. This effort was critically important to address the possibility that Gov. Fallin’s 2015 veto of SB 41 — legislation that would have allowed guns to be brought into most all events — would be overridden during the 2016 session. The Chamber worked closely with the NRA and OK2A gun advocacy groups to introduce


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Stanley F. Hupfeld Senior Consultant of INTEGRIS Health Chamber Chair, 1994

When Stanley Hupfeld moved to Oklahoma City as president and CEO of INTEGRIS Health, the Chamber already had a reputation for its strong leadership in Oklahoma City. “There’s almost nothing in this city’s history, particularly in the last 15 years, that doesn’t somehow have the Chamber’s imprimatur on it,” Hupfeld said. “There’s also nothing of real substance that has been done that somehow the Chamber is not directly involved or tangentially involved.” That history of civic involvement stretches back to the founding of Oklahoma City in 1889, but Hupfeld called on the example of the Chamber’s longstanding partnership with Tinker Air Force Base on the impact that the Chamber’s leadership has on Oklahoma City. “This is an example of the impact that the Chamber has,” Hupfeld said. “The Chamber is not just a bunch of self-aggrandizing business people. It is leadership of a business community that really wants to make a difference.” Hupfeld believes that the Chamber’s leadership is aided by the local political leadership that is elected on a nonpartisan basis. “Once you bring parties into it, everyone is jealous of everyone else, and everyone wants the credit. We have taken all of that away,” Hupfeld said. “Being nonpartisan has allowed the business community and the elected leadership to work together spectacularly, and that is what has led to our success.

the Chamber, and that has indelibly changed the face of this community.”

Hupfeld said that the MAPS program helped address one of the largest challenges that he saw during his time as chair: Oklahoma City’s image perception issue. “We started the MAPS program to build amenities, which ultimately allowed us to have the wherewithal to attract the Thunder and everything that is downtown,” Hupfeld said. “To emerge to where we are today, we had to overcome a huge stereotype, and I think the political leadership and the business leadership at the Chamber have done a spectacular job in changing the atmosphere and the attitude of this city.” The MAPS program was successful in part because of the honest and professional leadership of the City of Oklahoma City. “The fact that we got a second, and a third, and a fourth chance is evidence that we did it right,” Hupfeld said. Hupfeld considers MAPS for Kids, the third voter-approved penny sales tax that benefited the infrastructure of Oklahoma City’s public schools, as one of the projects with the biggest lasting impact on Oklahoma City. “I think you could go across this whole country, and you would be hard pressed to find any instances where one taxing authority raised money to give to another taxing authority,” Hupfeld said. “I don’t think people appreciate how rare that is.”

“The clear demonstration of that is the MAPS program. None of that would have happened without




The Chamber is the state’s largest coalition of businesses that knows they can accomplish more together than they can alone.

Supporting the Mission of the Chamber The Chamber concluded its 23rd Total Resource Development Campaign with TRDC volunteers surpassing the goal of $2.8 million by raising $2,828,588 to support the work of the Chamber. It was one of the most efficient campaigns yet, with TRDC co-chairs Brian Alford, of Enable Midstream Partners, and Teresa Rose Crook, of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, leading more than 130 active volunteers in the effort to support the Chamber’s work in the community. During the campaign, volunteers connected Chamber members with membership, sponsorship and advertising opportunities that are available through the Chamber. Because of the work of the volunteers, 119 local businesses became Chamber

members. Of the 18 volunteer teams, 16 of them made more than 90 percent of their team goal.

TRDC volunteer Laure Majors, with Frankfurt- Short-Bruza Associates, was awarded the Top Producer Award for the 2016 campaign. Barbara Anne DeBolt of DeBolt & Associates received the 2016 Ray Ackerman Award, an honor that is given annually to the volunteer who recruits the most new members during the campaign. First- time volunteer Jon Bartel of Bank of Oklahoma received the Rookie of the Year Award. Engaging Our Members In an effort to better engage its volunteers, the Chamber reimagined its Ambassador Program in 2016. Ambassadors will have the choice to serve on either the Member Relationship Team or the


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Networking Team according to their own interests and strengths.

The Member Relationship Team will focus on strengthening the Chamber’s relationship with new and existing members. The Networking Team will focus on strengthening our members’ relationships with each other. Both teams will be responsible for volunteering for Chamber events and will receive regular updates on Chamber initiatives. This update to the Ambassador Program will offer new opportunities for Chamber members to lead the initiatives.

2016 By the Numbers:













Clayton I. Bennett President of Dorchester Capital Chamber Chair, 1996

Clayton I. Bennett, Chamber chair in 1996, stayed in Oklahoma City to start his career while many people were choosing to leave. As a lifelong Oklahoman, Bennett had a deep connection to the area that gave him an incentive to invest in the community. “There were reasons to leave. For many years there was not the opportunity that there is today,” Bennett said. “But because of my roots here and because of how my wife and I love this place and love the people, which of course is the key, we had to make it better.” Bennett and everyone interested in investing in Oklahoma City at the time faced a common obstacle: the difficult economic environment of the 1980s. “Many of our friends left, because there was no work,” Bennett said. “There were no jobs for these young people getting started, and it wasn’t any fun. Once Oklahoma City emerged on the other side of its economic depression, the movement to improve Oklahoma City gained traction. With Oklahoma City’s centennial celebration, the 100th anniversary of the Land Run and the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival all taking place in 1989, Oklahoma City residents finally had something to rally around. “We began to think, ‘We can do things. We can do these things. We can raise the money. There’s interested people. Companies are willing to invest, and companies are willing to invest in young people,’” Bennett said. “It became clear that we were heading in a different direction.”

itself up by its bootstraps. After a Chamber-run campaign, Oklahoma City residents approved the original MAPS proposal in 1993, and Bennett views that moment as a true turning point in the morale of Oklahoma City residents. “When we came together for MAPS in 1993, it gave us something to hold onto – it gave us hope,” Bennett said. “Just the notion that we had something to look forward to, to work on, and that we believed would mean so much for the future, really turned our attitudes around. Then when it passed, it was a new day.” The generation of people who stayed and their commitment to Oklahoma City has reaped benefits and transformed Oklahoma City into a place full of energy and life. “All around the city, in all quadrants and all areas, it’s booming. It’s exciting,” Bennett said. “When I’m in a bad traffic jam or I can’t get a reservation, I’ll for a minute wince and wonder what happened to the old days. How wonderful that is that you can’t get a table in a restaurant.” And now, instead of being a city that lost a generation of residents, Oklahoma City is making a name for itself as a place where anything is possible. “You can do anything you want to do here,” Bennett said. “I think that pioneering spirit of Oklahoma is as alive today as it’s ever been. If you want to do something, go do it. You can do it, and you’ll be helped along the way by good people. I can’t think of a better place in the country to set up shop and get going.”

Born out of a Chamber board retreat, the MAPS proposal was a chance for Oklahoma City to pull


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The Chamber is leading the charge for a smarter, safer criminal justice system in Oklahoma County.

Engaging in Criminal Justice Reform Under the leadership of Clay Bennett, vice chair of strategic planning for the Chamber and chairman of The Professional Basketball Club, LLC, the Chamber is deeply engaged in criminal justice reform at both a state and local level. The Chamber’s criminal justice reform task force is a broad coalition of community partners that all have ties to the Oklahoma County criminal justice system. The task force contracted with the Vera Institute of Justice to analyze ways to help reduce incarceration, increase efficiency and better serve Oklahoma County. After months of intensive study and data analysis of information from law enforcement, the jail, the courts and service providers, Vera released its findings in December and identified six major areas of reform.

Despite some constraints imposed by state law and a lack of resources, the majority of these strategies can be implemented at the local level. Several of the recommendations have already been implemented at the jail, in the courts and in police procedure. The Chamber also joined Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, an organization led by former Speaker of the House Kris Steele that focuses on statewide criminal justice reform initiatives. The group successfully collected signatures for two ballot initiatives, which were approved by Oklahoma voters in November 2016, that reclassify low-level offenses like drug possession as misdemeanors instead of felonies. The cost savings generated by those changes will be invested in rehabilitation programs for drug addiction and mental health conditions.




David R. Lopez Owner of DL Dynamics Chamber Chair, 1998

After a decade of public investment in the quality of life of Oklahoma City, David Lopez assumed leadership of the Chamber just as it was deepening its focus on economic development and company recruitment. “I was of the view that what we are about as an organization is economic development,” Lopez said. “We needed someone at the head of the organization who had that as their central focus. That’s what put Roy Williams in play – he was an economic development professional.” That focus on the primary mission of the Chamber started paying off quickly. The Chamber worked to recruit Dell to Oklahoma City and found itself as one of the final two expansion locations. Lopez remembers that their biggest recruitment hurdle was convincing Dell that Oklahoma City had enough college graduates to support their workforce needs. “When Dell landed in Oklahoma City, it was quite a coup,” Lopez said. “As it turned out, they had more than enough people apply.”

Shortly after that, the Chamber launched an initiative to help Oklahoma college graduates start their career in Oklahoma City and contribute to the city’s overall growth. Since 2005, the Greater Grads program has connected Oklahoma City companies with new employees. “We knew that to compete, we have to have more college graduates,” Lopez said. “And that is every bit important today as it was then.” Lopez also recalls the Chamber working to pass a very important increase to the city’s hotel/motel tax to benefit the horse show facilities at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. “The Oklahoma State Fair is a tremendous economic development engine, especially because of all the horse shows they host,” Lopez said. “Oklahoma City has a lot of competitors for those events, so we had to stay updated on facilities. That was a very important tax to pass.” “Now we are state of the art and as good as any other location in the country for horse shows – maybe even better.”


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Through the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Chamber promotes Oklahoma City as a first-class visitor destination.

Boosting the economy The Oklahoma City CVB continued to support Oklahoma City’s hospitality industry, and on June 30 it closed a busy and successful year for the industry. During Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16), the CVB booked a record 384,098 definite future room nights, or 106.99 percent of their target of 358,000 room nights. The CVB provided registration and servicing to 275 groups who held events or meetings in Oklahoma City and hosted 51 site visits with groups considering or committed to having future meetings or events in Oklahoma City. The CVB’s efforts contributed to a total of $14.6 million in hotel tax revenue during FY16. Major events hosted in 2016 included the International Finals Rodeo, the Central National Finals-World Bids of the American Spirit Championships, the Women’s Big 12 Basketball Championship, the Big 12 Baseball Championship, the World Cup of Softball, The Head of the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, the NCAA Women’s DI Regional Basketball Tournament, the NCAA DIII Women’s Softball Championship, the Bart Conner & Nadia Comaneci Sports Experience, the Redman

Committing to Excellence The Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) demonstrated its commitment to the convention and visitor industry by receiving accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) in 2016. DMAP is an internationally recognized accreditation program developed by the Washington, DC based Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). In earning the DMAP accreditation, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) communicate to their community, buyers and potential visitors that their DMO has attained a significant measure of excellence. DMAP is an independent, international accreditation body and a leader in defining quality and performance issues in destination marketing. DMAP accreditation standards cover a wide variety of topics including governance, finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, membership, brand management, destination development, research/market intelligence, innovation and stakeholder relationships.



Triathlon, U.S. Rowing’s Central Youth Rowing Championship and the Women’s College World Series. The Oklahoma City CVB also helped secure the return of LegalShield’s International Convention and its 12,000 attendees for a multiyear contract that began in 2016. Another continued driver to the Oklahoma City convention and visitor market is the number of equine events it hosts each year. In 2016, Oklahoma City saw events from the National Reining Horse Association, the League of Agriculture & Equine Centers, the Kansas Quarter Horse Association, the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association, the American Quarter Horse Association and Youth Association, Better Barrel

Races, NonPro Cutting Association, Arabian Horse Youth Association, American Morgan Horse Association, the International Finals Rodeo and the

U.S. Team Roping Championship. Setting the Standard

The Oklahoma City CVB was awarded the Tourism Organization of the Year at the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association’s annual RedBud Awards Gala in May. The RedBud Awards represent the highest honor given in the Oklahoma tourism industry. The Oklahoma City CVB also received a RedBud Award for Best Website, www.visitokc.com, and an Award of Merit for Outstanding Media Coverage in a newspaper or magazine.


Fred Hall Chairman and CEO of Hall Capital Chamber Chair, 2005-2006

Fred Hall has led Hall Capital for more than three decades and has seen Oklahoma City’s transformation firsthand. When Fred Hall became chairman in 2005, it was at the moment Oklahoma City’s MAPS investments were starting to pay off. The success of those public investments allowed Oklahoma City to define what it wanted to be in its new era. “I’ll always remember when the NBA’s Hornets arrived, and it was then that we knew we wanted to be a big league city permanently,” Hall said. “The Chamber positioned itself immediately as an advocate and supporter of those efforts. That has changed the city forever.” During Hall’s time as chair, Chamber leadership emphasized the importance of branding of the city, wireless internet access, nonstop flights and support

for Oklahoma City’s bioscience and aerospace industries.

“I think all of those initiatives yielded results and established paths we still walk today,” Hall said. “The Chamber has played an absolutely critical role in the city’s recent renaissance, and all involved in this 20+ years of success will remember the Chamber’s invaluable contribution and legacy.” Hall said that Oklahoma City’s future must keep moving forward by fighting complacency and embracing new ideas, especially from the millennial generation. “My kids are now starting their careers here, and I know they want to make a contribution just as we did,” Hall said. “Our challenge and opportunity is to properly use the next generation’s energy to maintain our city’s positive momentum.”


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The Chamber builds Oklahoma City’s workforce so that the region’s businesses can be successful for decades to come.

Building Ties with College Graduates In 2016, the Chamber’s Greater Grads program celebrated 10 years of connecting Oklahoma City’s businesses with the more than 125,000 college and university students in the region to ensure the growth of Oklahoma City’s workforce. Since the program’s launch, Oklahoma City has gone from a place of brain drain to a city ranked as an ideal place for college graduates and young professionals to start their careers. Data from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education reports that 62 percent of Oklahoma college graduates are working in Oklahoma five years after graduation. Of those 16,000 statewide graduates, about 60 percent are working in the Greater Oklahoma City region. The Greater Grads program is ensuring that the best and brightest college students are staying in the region after graduation. The Chamber hosted more than 440 college students and 97 employers at its 2016 Greater Grads Career Fair, and the Chamber also continued to connect employers and interns through GreaterGrads.com, a website providing internship listings and career-readiness resources. InternOKC,

the Chamber’s summer internship program for businesses, continued to educate college students on the benefits of living and working in Oklahoma City. In 2016, the program had 349 participating interns from 74 companies.

Preparing a Pipeline of Experienced Workers

According to research conducted by the Chamber, the vast majority of workers needed 10 years from now are already in the workforce. The Chamber’s research concluded that data and analytics are a driving factor in every business; that learned skills are outdated in just a few years, making continuous learning essential; and that technology requires workers who can rapidly diagnose problems and quickly solve them. With that in mind, the Chamber’s next talent strategy will recruit, retool and upskill existing workers in order to keep Oklahoma City competitive. Based on this and feedback from industry leaders and Chamber members, the Chamber is launching a long-term, two-part talent development strategy as part of the Chamber’s targeted economic development program, Forward Oklahoma City. The



first part will focus on keeping existing workers competitive and includes short-term and rapid retooling efforts, upskilling and competency- based training, and work-based and apprentice- style education. Part two is comprised of talent pipeline and support initiatives, which includes a focused initiative to build a long-term pipeline of technician occupations, support of talent recruitment for specialized or high-demand jobs and being a voice and champion for industry- based talent issues. This ongoing effort is critical to the success of existing businesses in a region with consistently low unemployment rates. Bringing Jobs to Oklahomans Alongside Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Natalie Shirley and the Oklahoma Works offices, the Chamber executed two events designed to match recently displaced job seekers with hiring companies. At these two events, approximately 200 job seekers were able to make connections with 20 of Oklahoma’s top employers. Investing in Our Local Schools Residents of the Oklahoma City Public School District had the opportunity to approve a bond package that would invest in local school infrastructure without raising taxes. The Chamber founded the Maintain OKC Schools committee, chaired by Peter B. Delaney, to help ensure the passage of the three bond propositions that appeared on voters’ ballots on Nov. 8. These bond issues, which were approved by voters, will provide the district with needed funds to better maintain existing buildings and make important repairs on roofs and aging and often- used heating/air conditioning systems, in addition to electrical and plumbing systems; and provide funds for fine arts/athletics and playgrounds. The bond passage will also allow the district to make proper updates to its technological and communications infrastructure and to purchase necessary transportation-related equipment, including 100 new buses.


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J. Larry Nichols Executive Chairman of Devon Energy Corporation Chamber Chair, 2007-2008

When J. Larry Nichols founded Devon Energy Corporation alongside his father in 1971, other business leaders in the oil and gas industry told him he needed to move to Houston in order to be successful. “Every year our continued success allowed us to grow and prosper here, so there never was a real convincing need, despite what other people said,” Nichols remembers. “As the city has grown and prospered any thought of moving elsewhere fades into distant memory because of Oklahoma City’s robust image. Each year is bigger and better than the last year.” Long before Devon Energy occupied the tallest building in Oklahoma, Nichols’ company employed only seven employees when he decided to first get involved in the Chamber. “At the time, I felt like joining the Chamber was the right thing to do,” Nichols said. “The Chamber has played a major role in a lot of the major issues that go on in this city and in the state. Our company joined the Chamber to know what was going on, to meet other people and to participate in our own meager way.” Like most business leaders in the 1980s and 1990s, Nichols felt the oil bust deeply and experienced the uptick in momentum when MAPS started changing the landscape of Oklahoma City. But he credits another defining moment with shaping Oklahoma City’s culture: The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in 1995.

said. “The city pulled together in a remarkable way of giving and caring that few other cities can do. Oklahoma City handled that tragedy in an effective way that reflected our core values. People just did the right thing.” As Oklahoma City was in the process of rebuilding, Devon was still growing. Nichols remembers buying companies in the late 1990s and struggling to convince people to relocate to the area. “They just didn’t want to come,” Nichols said. “Oklahoma City was still coming out of the doldrums, and the downtown did not look very nice. It was exceedingly difficult to get people to relocate.” Nichols’ time as Chamber chair was marked by the city-changing campaigns that the Chamber successfully ran during that time period, including bond issues benefiting Oklahoma City, OKCPS, Tinker Air Force Base and the Big League City campaign that ultimately allowed the Thunder to call Oklahoma City home. Now, after two decades of investment and diversification, Nichols has no trouble recruiting people from around the country because of the dramatic transformation of Oklahoma City and its reputation as a city on the rise. “I think that momentum has been created by a lot of factors: the Oklahoma City Chamber working with the mayor and the city council, and all the business people in Oklahoma City participating in the Chamber,” Nichols said. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to keep the momentum going. It is not a God-given right that Oklahoma City prosper. It’s something that we have the ability to make happen.”

“The Oklahoma City bombing was a huge tragedy for Oklahoma City and for our country,” Nichols




Through its marketing efforts, the Chamber works to support Oklahoma City’s key business sectors, promote the region as a great place to live and communicate the work of the Chamber.

Introducing People to Oklahoma City The Chamber continued to offer essential tools for welcoming new residents to Oklahoma City through its relocation program, A Better Life OKC. The program includes a website, ABetterLifeOKC.com, a weekly blog and email newsletter and a printed Welcome Guide. In 2016, the Chamber’s relocation website totaled more than 64,000 unique visits. In 2016, the Chamber also assisted Teach For America (TFA)-Oklahoma City to develop and implement a plan to recruit former and current TFA teachers to become teachers, school leaders, and administrators in OKCPS. Key activities included developing a recruitment video, creating marketing and promotional materials and supporting the “Oklahoma Celebration” event at the TFA conference. The Chamber also hosted a familiarization tour of Oklahoma City alongside the Oklahoma City CVB. Five journalists attended the event, which focused on urban Oklahoma City. Attendees stayed in Bricktown and participated in all that downtown Oklahoma City has to offer, including whitewater rafting at RIVERSPORT Rapids and attending an OKC Dodgers game. The trip resulted in nine national media stories highlighting Oklahoma City’s appeal. The Chamber also relaunched its media relations website, www.OKCNewsroom.com, which is designed to easily provide members of the media with photos and video b-roll that they can use in their stories, as well as ideas and content for feature story ideas. Strengthening Key Sectors The Chamber continued to recruit destination retailers to Oklahoma City by attending key industry events throughout the year. The Chamber and representatives from the City of Oklahoma City and other community development organizations attended the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)


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RECon, the global retail real estate convention, in Las Vegas, and the ICSC Deal Making Conference in New York City. At the conferences, Chamber and City representatives held meetings with development companies, retailers and brokers who are interested in the Oklahoma City market. The Chamber also partnered with OKBio, the state’s bioscience association, and other regional and community organizations to promote Oklahoma’s bioscience industry at the 2016 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Convention in San Francisco. The Oklahoma delegation marketed Oklahoma City as a prime location for bioscience companies and participated in meetings with potential business partners in the OKBio booth on the convention floor. An astounding 138 meetings were hosted in the OKBio booth. Communicating the Work of the Chamber In 2016, the Chamber continued to tell Oklahoma City’s story through its programs, events, publications and websites. The Chamber developed new websites for the Chamber’s criminal justice reform efforts, for updates on Oklahoma City’s innovation district and to support the work of the Maintain OKC Schools committee and the OKCPS bond election. The Chamber was honored with the Awards for Communication Excellence Best in Show designation at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ 2016 Annual Convention for its VeloCity digital magazine. In 2016, the Chamber was also awarded eight Addys and one PRSA Uppercase Award for its marketing collateral.



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