Tulsa Regional Chamber inducts Jake Henry Jr. as 2013 chairman
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 7:02 AM
A vision without a plan is a hallucination, the new leader of the Tulsa Regional Chamber's board of directors said Wednesday.
So, over the next year, the chamber will initiate a series of discussions with neighboring communities to craft a cogent regional vision and a plan for northeastern Oklahoma, said Jake Henry Jr.
"Cities and regions are powerful networks," he said. "And it is these networks, when working together, that achieve real and permanent good."
On Wednesday, Henry, president and CEO of Saint Francis Health System, formally succeeded Becky J. Frank, chairman and CEO of Schnake Turnbo Frank | PR, as the 2013 chair of the chamber's board of directors.
More than 1,200 area business, community and civic leaders attended the chamber's annual meeting at the Tulsa Convention Center. The luncheon included a video presentation featuring a review of 2012 accomplishments, an awards presentation and Henry's inaugural address unveiling the chamber's primary initiatives for the coming year.
As in years past, regional economic collaboration will help shape the chamber's strategies and efforts in 2013, Henry said. He listed four key priorities: the articulation and refinement of a regional vision; regional economic collaboration; development and execution of a regional advocacy plan; and growth in chamber membership.
Had voters approved it in November, Vision2 would have done much to encourage regional economic collaboration. The challenge this year will be to reassess and, where appropriate, re-package favorable elements of the Vision2 initiative, Henry said.
In her comments, Frank noted that the conversation toward a new vision has started.
"In the coming months, we will continue looking toward solutions to address the critical need to upgrade the facilities at the Tulsa Industrial Complex, making our community attractive to new and existing business and to skilled workers," she said, adding, "We'll continue to assess how we best secure a job creation fund to help us attract and retain companies who are investing in the Tulsa region by creating jobs."
Topping the list of the chamber's legislative priorities for 2013 are education and health care.
"Employers desire an educated workforce," Henry said. ... "Skilled workers will always be in demand. In the new economy, talent is king. Creativity is the new capital. And competition is worldwide."
The chamber also has named Medicaid expansion as a top legislative priority for the year. While he was disappointed in the state's refusal to go along with a federal initiative to expand Medicaid, Henry said he is pleased the state plans to commission an independent study to evaluate alternative coverage packages for those who lack affordable health insurance.
"Had Oklahoma expanded its Medicaid program, it would have protected rural and safety-net hospitals from being pushed to the brink by their growing costs in caring for the uninsured," he said.
It also would have injected as much as $10 billion into the economy, saved and created thousands of Oklahoma jobs, and provided health-care coverage to some 200,000 currently uninsured and low-income Oklahomans, Henry said.
"Saying 'no' to this plan will not save these federal dollars from being spent, nor will these federal dollars be directed to deficit reduction," Henry said. "Instead, Oklahoma's tax dollars will simply be passed to other states, generating jobs and providing health care for citizens in Colorado, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and most recently Arizona, or any other Medicaid expansion state."
Henry ended his presentation with this analogy: "Business is a lot like a world-class restaurant. When you peek behind the kitchen doors, the food never looks as good as when it comes to your table on fine china, perfectly garnished. Business is messy and sometimes chaotic. Such, I suspect, will be true this year as we work to address the many issues before us.
"With your guidance, involvement and leadership, I predict we shall successfully navigate that chaos and do good things for northeastern Oklahoma in 2013. Together, we are stronger."
Several volunteers for 2012 were honored by the Tulsa Regional Chamber.
Hospitality Club Volunteer of the Year: Carl Novara, Farmers Insurance and Novara Insurance Agency
Resource Campaign Top Producer: Shirley Bailey, The Bama Cos.
Resource Campaign Chairman: Mike Thornbrugh of QuikTrip Corp., who led almost 190 volunteers in an effort that raised $3.5 million for the chamber's 2012 Annual Resource Campaign.
Awards of Excellence: Co-chairmen of the Vision2 campaign; Don Walker, Commissioner John Smaligo and Mayor Dewey Bartlett.
Chairman's Award: Steve Bradshaw, senior executive vice president of Bank of Oklahoma, and chairman of the VisitTulsa Advisory Council and Executive Committee. Under his leadership, VisitTulsa launched a capital campaign that raised more than $3.6 million to bring visitors to the region.
Original Print Headline: Regional focus
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466
Tulsa Regional Chamber 2013 Chairman Jake Henry Jr. appears on a monitor as he speaks during the organization's annual meeting and inauguration Wednesday. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World
Jake Henry Jr.: The CEO of Saint Francis said, "Cities and regions are powerful networks."
The Tulsa Regional Chamber's 2012 chairwoman, Becky Frank, applauds volunteers Wednesday during the organization's annual meeting and inauguration. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World