FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR…
If there were an “I Love Oklahoma” Fan Club, I would be the Club President.
I am sold on our state.
I’m sold on the people we have here and the potential we have for the future.
But there is one thing we need to do if we are going to continue to grow and meet our potential. There is one thing that is holding us back. One focus that we tend to forget from time to time.
As a state, we must stop fighting over who gets what PART of the pie and spend more time discussing how to GROW the pie.
There are two things we are trying to do in Enid in order to do our part in the area of “pie-growing.”
The first thing we are trying to do is grow our legacy businesses…those that brought us to the dance.
Recently I had the opportunity to tour the new expansion at the Koch Fertilizer Plant in Enid. This $1.3 billion expansion is the largest capital expenditure in Oklahoma history for industry growth, and it included the largest public/private partnership in state history at $148 million. This project has brought over 2000 construction workers to our town for the last three years and has added at least 75 full time jobs and hundreds of ancillary jobs in the community long term.
We also worked with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission to release their most recent Aviation and Aerospace Economic Impact Study. We have learned that this is a $40 billion industry in our state and it still has room to grow.
We also announced in the last few weeks that ADM Milling has decided to invest over $32 million in their flour mill in Enid. We have been working with them for a long time to encourage this investment, and we are so thankful to the team that helped make it happen.
Atwoods is adding onto their distribution center, CGB is adding rail capacity at their 30th Street terminal, Johnston Seed is adding to their capacity north of downtown, Aircraft Structures International is adding hangers at the airport, and the list goes on and on. We must continue to create a policy environment where legacy companies can feel comfortable investing in Oklahoma.
But the second thing we are also trying to do in Enid is diversify. Last week, I toured our first local solar farm. It will be owned by OG&E and will include about a $12 million local investment. This new farm will include state of the art energy storage facilities as well as the newest technology in panel construction made by Sunpower. When you couple this new industry with the maturing industry of Wind that is paying local ad valorem taxes to our schools and bringing support jobs to Enid, we are poised for an energy explosion over the next few years. We just recently surpassed the $1 billion mark in our county for wind energy investment. That is big business in our area and it has the capacity to just keep expanding.
Transportation Partners and Logistics has only been in our community for a year and they are already developing their third location in Enid and expanding their footprint in support of the wind industry.
NW Crane just announced a new location in Enid, Hanor Family of Companies recently opened their new headquarters facility that they moved here from Wisconsin, and Excel Development just broke ground on their new housing addition east of St Mary’s Health Center. Oh, and PSO just announced a $4.5 billion investment in our area to transport wind energy produced in the Panhandle to a substation over by Tulsa. This project alone coupled with the Clean Line Energy Project will be revolutionary for the economy of NW Oklahoma.
New companies are locating and investing in our community and if we continue to have a welcoming spirit…I have no doubt this trend will continue.
Grow what we’ve got and welcome the new…that’s our plan for “pie-growing” in Northwest Oklahoma. Everyone who agrees is welcome to join our “I Love Oklahoma” Fan Club. It is one of the most optimistic and rewarding clubs you could ever join.