Working Together for Economic Success
Last week, we celebrated National Economic Development Week, an initiative of the International Economic Development Council to increase awareness of local programs that create jobs and improve quality of life.
For many Oklahoma towns and cities, those efforts are driven by an economic development office. Norman has a unique partnership with investment among multiple entities. This foresight had made our economic development stronger through collaboration, expertise and shared vision.
The Norman Economic Development Coalition was formed in 1996 as a joint effort of the University of Oklahoma, the City of Norman, Moore Norman Technology Center and the Sooner Centurions, a committee of the Norman Chamber of Commerce. NEDC benefits from this collaborative structure where representatives of these groups, Norman ambassadors and champions alike, help NEDC strategize to attract companies to Norman for relocation, expansion and job creation.
NEDC meets with and works with companies to understand and create an attractive expansion or relocation package. The results of our work are economic development projects that invigorate our city through better job opportunities for our citizens, economic diversification, increased sales tax revenue for our city — all which translates to a better quality of life for our residents and their families.
One of our city’s newest successes is Johnson Controls’ recent announcement of its 400,000 square foot expansion and the addition of 300 jobs in Norman. The manufacturing facility will serve as the flagship location for the design, manufacturing and testing of HVAC rooftop units.
Another recent success is the Institutional Shareholder Services selection of Norman for its domestic expansion. ISS is a governance advisor for institutional investors with 1,800 employees worldwide. When the company wanted to expand domestically, NEDC made a compelling case that convinced ISS to select its Norman operation over other cities in the U.S. The company announced in 2018 that it plans to add as many as 115 new high-paying jobs to its OU Research Campus location.
These projects take collaboration and economic experience to deliver thoughtfully planned and high-value investments. For example, when Johnson Controls was considering investing in a Norman expansion, our city beat out other cities for the expansion. NEDC worked with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Oklahoma Development Finance Authority to help Norman be most attractive for the Phase 1 lab expansion and therefore be in the best position for the recent Phase 2 expansion.
Economic development week is truly a recognition for all of Norman because our program requires support and involvement from the whole community — from civic leaders and businesses, to nonprofit organizations and residents. Thank you for your continued efforts to help improve our city’s financial wellbeing, improve the success of our businesses in all industries and the quality of life for our residents. Recognizing National Economic Development Week means recognizing what we collectively have accomplished to transform and elevate Norman and how we can continue those efforts.
Maureen Hammond is the interim president of Norman Economic Development Coalition.