Commerce Representatives and Dignitaries Present State Efforts at Select Oklahoma Conference on Economic Development

This week, industry leaders and partners gathered at the Select Oklahoma Conference on Economic Development to advance state efforts. Attendees heard from state dignitaries and business panelists sharing take-away knowledge and strategies. Oklahoma Lt. Gov. And Secretary of Workforce and Economic Development Matt Pinnell kicked off the conference, sharing a few words discussing the future of Oklahoma’s economic development and how his new role within commerce leading the workforce development division fits into the path forward. “When we’re able to all rally together like this, it allows us to combine efforts and build stronger partnerships for our state,” said Lt. Gov Matt Pinnell. “I’m excited to take on this new role and be involved on the commerce side to see how we can work together to amplify workforce needs and encourage talent retention.” Pinnell concluded by sharing how marketing will play a key component in growing our state’s workforce over the coming years. Commerce representatives also had an opportunity to lead thoughtful discussions in breakout sessions. Attendees learned more about the state’s efforts to support communities looking to bolster their economic development, help existing companies expand, and take advantage of state incentives. 

The day-and-a-half conference was filled with breakout sessions led by industry professionals and noteworthy business panels, followed by lively and informative Q&A sessions.  

Other key-note speakers included:  

Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development and Economic Development Officer, provides an overview of U.S. Department of Commerce Policies and Programs that are helping to spur equitable economic opportunity in Oklahoma and beyond. 

Mike Fantasia, film location professional, working on some of Hollywood’s biggest productions, from “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Amazing Spiderman,” to the forthcoming film “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Fantasia discussed how communities and film productions can successfully collaborate in bringing the economic benefits of the entertainment industry to Oklahoma’s statewide communities. 

Alysia Cook, PCED, IOM, Opportunity Strategies, presented an engaging exploration of innovative Economic and Workforce Development trends that will empower communities for a transformative future. Cook provides impactful strategies and steps to implement these ideas in communities to foster growth and prosperity. 

Chris Knight, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder of Wavteq, presented advice on how a community can attract foreign investment and the commerce assistance available for existing companies doing business outside the US. 

Chelsea Levo FearyOwasso Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, presented how economic development looks different in the suburbs. Feary outlined how collaboration can be leveraged and is critical to a strong business climate in suburban areas.  

Jeff SabinCenter for Economic Development Law, and Carol ErvinCity of Atoka, debunked tax increment financing (TIF), showing how it can be one of the few local economic development tools available to municipal or county governments. And how, if implemented correctly, a TIF can effectively launch development throughout a whole community. 

Brent Haken, Oklahoma CareerTech, outlined the current state of Oklahoma’s workforce needs and how CareerTech is building a better workforce for tomorrow through demand-focused education and delivering trained employees to the job market.

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