Things to be thankful for in 2018
The end of the year is a natural time to take stock of what's happened over the past twelve months and to look ahead to the new year. Business leaders usually go through the same exercise, to reflect honestly on what went well for themselves and the organization—and also what didn’t. Executives (and individuals!) may like to leave the past in the rearview mirror, but the exercise of looking back is often what most helps us look forward. OKC has much to be thankful for, so here, then, are some of the things for which I am most grateful.
I’m thankful that the Better Streets, Safer City initiative was passed. Investing more than 1.2 billion dollars in our city in the form of more police officers and firefighters while continuing to fix our roads and sidewalks is always going to be at the top of my list.
I’m thankful that we continue to attract great employers to OKC! Companies like Kratos, SkyWest, Heartland, Rural Sourcing, the Container Store and REI have learned what many of us have known all along. With an economy that outperforms the nation and a low cost of living, this is a great place to do business.
I’m thankful that others are continuing to notice what a great place OKC is to live, learn, work and play. We added nearly 16,000 jobs last year. We were named one of the top five cities with the youngest entrepreneurs, one of the top 20 cities where millennials make the most money, the number one city with the fastest construction growth rates and the number one best large city in which to start a business.
I’m thankful for all of the MAPS projects and what they mean to the city, and I’m proud that the residents of OKC stepped up when it mattered to approve the funding mechanisms. If you have ridden the new streetcar, you’ve experienced (along with many of your fellow Oklahoma City friends and neighbors who have packed the streetcars and “Love the Loops”) the culmination of one of those exciting projects. I can hardly wait to see the finished products of some other MAPS projects, Scissortail Park and the new convention center!
I’m thankful that we have community leadership who recognize that our criminal justice system is broken and needs to be fixed. Recognizing that our city and county’s renaissance can be enjoyed by everyone, including those in need of a second chance and those battling to overcome an addiction, business and government leaders are working hard to create better solutions for the justice system.
More than anything, I’m thankful to work alongside professionals who are dedicated to the support of our members and the business community through economic and community development, government relations, education and workforce development initiatives and tourism growth. Like many of my college classmates, I left Oklahoma right after graduation. 30-plus years later, I’m back (as are quite a few of my classmates). While I never lost my Oklahoma roots or the love for my home state, there is nothing quite as satisfying as being paid to tell the OKC story of success as we work day-in and day-out to make OKC’s future even brighter.
I can’t wait to see next year brings!