Brent Kisling outlined Enid Regional Development Alliance’s accomplishments in the past year during the organization’s annual member’s meeting and quarterly luncheon Wednesday.
“(We’re) just so thankful for the support that we get from the community and all of you,” Kisling said during his report at Oakwood Country Club.
He said that this year, ERDA exceeded 60 members.
ERDA members also approved several new members for the board of directors for 2017-18. They include new chairwoman Martie Oyler, Scott Northcutt, Sandra Robinett, Dave Lamerton and Dalen McVay. Oyler previously had been a voting member of the board.
“This last year for us has been a time of really trying to be proactive and making sure the ‘suitcase is full.’ Whenever we have growth happen here in this community, we need to make sure we’re prepared, and we’ve tried this last year to really focus on being proactive in the area of economic development,” Kisling said.
He highlighted ERDA’s work with 20 to 25 businesses for summer internships; new entrance signs to the city; and the vote for the Kaw Lake water project in late 2016. Kisling also talked about a program ERDA recently started called Northwest HIRES, which stands for Helping Individuals Realize Employment Success.
Northwest HIRES was defined “as an engagement between education and industry in order to get students and teachers into your places of business more often.”
The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Mike Fina, new executive director for Oklahoma Municipal League. He began his speech by talking about Enid Mayor Bill Shewey recently being selected to be president of the league’s board of directors for the upcoming year.
“I want to thank all of you folks from Enid for loaning us your mayor and giving him the opportunity to come be a part of OML,” Fina said. “He is a tremendous leader statewide for municipalities.”
Fina described Oklahoma Municipal League as “the foremost organization for municipal issues. We are the authoritative source for information, training and resources for municipalities across the state,” he said. “We answer thousands of inquiries every year from mayors, city councilmen … and the public. We craft legislation that enhances municipal functions and we kill legislation that diminishes it.”
He said OML’s single most important function is to create a collective municipal voice that makes Oklahoma stronger.
Later in the speech, Fina said he believes in the government, despite its imperfections, saying “our imperfect democracy couldn’t be more perfect.”
However, Fina said the Capitol is in disarray right now.
“We don’t have the luxury of time to wait for them to figure it out,” Fina said. “We need you guys (government officials) to get on board or get out of our way.”
He stressed the importance of the business community to the state’s economy, and that they have a voice in making change.
“We need your help and we need your voice because you’re so important,” Fina said.
Toward the end of his speech, he talked about Enid and it’s resiliency.
“Your story started a long time ago, and you’ve done some great things and this community is a success,” Fina said. “Where do you want to go from here? Good isn’t always good enough. How do we get better? We’re going to be there with you, we’re going to be much more visible and much more active.”
The next regular ERDA meeting will be 10 a.m. Sept. 14.