Tulsa mayor confident that Europe trade mission will yield results
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
10/23/12 at 3:55 AM
Local officials are confident that a recent trade mission to Europe will lead to future jobs and capital investment in the area.
More than 20 government, economic development and business leaders, including Gov. Mary Fallin and Mayor Dewey Bartlett, traveled to six countries to meet with representatives of companies that have a presence in northeastern Oklahoma.
"The main focus is the ultimate increase of jobs in Tulsa, and I'm convinced that is going to happen," Bartlett said.
Area representatives went specifically to thank companies for their business in the Tulsa region and to determine what assistance they need to continue to grow jobs. Officials also met with area-based companies that do business in Europe.
The chamber, through its Tulsa's Future regional economic development plan, partnered with Gov. Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to present the 2012 Governor's Trade Mission to Europe. The trip took place Oct. 14-19.
The group met with approximately 80 individuals representing 41 companies in six countries.
"They were so appreciative of us coming over to see them. To me, it's a great advantage doing this because most of the time local governments either don't have the wherewithal to have such a trip or they just expect the company to see them," Bartlett said. "When we go out of our way to see people and ask them what we can do to help ... it shows a desire on our part. It shows we're serious about their investment in Tulsa and thanking them for it."
A couple of companies from that trip probably will have some "good news" to announce in the next couple of weeks or months, said Bartlett, pointing to the possibility of expansion and jobs.
During the trip, area representatives had appointments to meet with several companies, including Dresser-Rand, Lafarge, Schneider Electric, Vallourec, Umicore, TD Williamson, Sulzer Chemtech, Hilti, Lufthansa Technik, Linde AG and Siemens.
Jim Fram, senior vice president of economic development for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, likewise foresees more jobs coming to the Tulsa area as a result of the trip.
"There are several projects that are ongoing right now. This is not a short race. This is a marathon, and it's a relationship business. We just need to continue to develop those relationships. Several projects are under way. There are several more that could happen in a few months or in years," Fram said.
Companies shared their growth patterns for the next three, five and 10 years, and nearly everyone was very positive about their direction, Fram said.
Through the trip, representatives also were able to identify vendors and suppliers that do business with companies that have a presence in northeastern Oklahoma and talk to them about the advantages of having a location in Tulsa or this region, Fram said.
"The time we spent with these companies was invaluable and each affirmed our visits increased their awareness of the Tulsa region and all we have to offer. We made a number of new contacts, strengthened existing relationships and discussed a number of very promising expansion opportunities. I have no doubt we will see substantial results from our efforts," said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, in a written statement.
During the trip, the group heard of companies' interest in cybersecurity and the need for specialized employees, especially engineers, which are both areas that the University of Tulsa addresses, Bartlett said.
"We were able to ... develop new relations we never would have if we had not gone there with companies that were not aware of some of the things we were doing in Tulsa," Bartlett added.
Highlights of governor's trade mission to Europe
- 18 appointments
- Approximately 80 individuals representing 41 companies
- Nine cities
- Six countries (United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany)
Original Print Headline: Making a case for the state
- Dresser-Rand - France
- Lafarge - France
- Schneider Electric - France
- Vallourec - France
- Umicore - Belgium
- TD Williamson - Belgium
- Sulzer Chemtech - Switzerland
- Hilti - Liechtenstein
- Lufthansa Technik - Germany
- Linde AG - Germany
- Siemens - Germany
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (center) takes a tour of Hilti's headquarters in Liechtenstein during a recent economic development trip to six European countries. At right is Marco Meyrat, a member of Hilti's executive board. The man on the left is an unidentified production employee. Courtesy
Tulsa Metro Chamber CEO Mike Neal (left) and Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett (right) talk with Egbert Appel, head of trust for the Hilti Foundation, during a trip to Europe. Courtesy