By: Value News | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: December 2021
By Jim Morgan. Sr. VP Communications, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Tulsa’s Future, the Tulsa Regional Chamber-led regional economic development partnership, supported the creation of 4,125 jobs and $421 million of capital investment in northeast Oklahoma during 2021.
Tulsa’s Future is a collaborative economic development partnership that works with the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, more than 200 private investors, and numerous regional and tribal partners to further economic prosperity in the Tulsa region. Since its inception 16 years ago, Tulsa’s Future has supported the creation of more than 72,000 jobs and more than $4.2 billion in capital investment.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 Tulsa County awarded the Chamber CARES Act funds to help tell the Tulsa recovery story to a national audience through a dedicated marketing campaign. In 2021 the Chamber pivoted to Tulsa’s Future: Road to Recovery, a one-year strategic work plan that addressed urgent needs for recovery and attracted new employers and transformative projects to the region, all while paving the way for a new multi-year economic development plan to launch in 2022.
“Our team saw the largest uptick in project requests, site visits and general economic development activity to date,” says Arthur Jackson, senior vice president of economic development at the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “We’re encouraged by this positive momentum and feel our region is on the right path toward post-pandemic prosperity. We're excited to further support existing industry and pave the way for new industry growth. And we anticipate announcing additional projects in the first few months of 2022.”
During the last several years, northeast Oklahoma has positioned itself to support the growing automotive technology industry. In June, electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo announced it will build a $400 million, 400-acre micro-megafactory at MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor and create 2,000 new jobs in northeast Oklahoma. In November, the company increased its investment in the region by announcing it will locate a technology hub and software development center in Tulsa, bringing an additional 375 jobs.
Other notable 2021 projects include RadNet’s customer operations center and 500 jobs; more than 300 new jobs at TAT Technologies and Limco; a $16 million expansion at Whirlpool’s factory distribution center; and more than 170 jobs at L3 Harris.
Looking ahead, it was recently announced that a regional coalition led by INCOG is one of 60 finalists for a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant. As a finalist, the regional coalition will receive around $500,000 to further develop the project proposals and will compete during phase II for up to $100 million. The proposed Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility Corridor aims to make the region a hub for research and development as well as production in the advanced mobility industry.
“Our entire region is undergoing an economic renaissance,” says Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “We were extremely fortunate in 2021 to recruit Arthur Jackson to lead the Chamber’s economic development efforts. Arthur and our entire economic development staff have quickly exceeded expectations, largely because they approach everything collaboratively. So much of the success we have seen despite the pandemic has been because of tremendous collaboration with our state, county, city and tribal partners. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, and Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Scott Mueller have all been especially committed partners. The work we’ve done in conjunction with INCOG, the Tulsa Ports, Tulsa International Airport, the philanthropic community, other area chambers of commerce, David Stewart and his team at MidAmerica Industrial Park, and all of our Tulsa’s Future economic development group partners continues to make us a globally-competitive region.”
Earlier this year, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) recertified the Tulsa Regional Chamber as an accredited economic development organization (AEDO). IEDC also recognized the Chamber and the Cherokee Nation for excellence in economic development during IEDC’s Annual Conference in Nashville. The Chamber received bronze rank in the category of Economic Development Organization of the Year. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. received the Leadership Award for Public Service, which recognizes an elected official who has served as a committed advocate for economic development for at least 10 years in the public sector. Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal was awarded IEDC’s Fellow Member status, which is conferred upon IEDC members who have achieved success in the field of economic development.
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