The Norman Transcript

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April 6, 2014

Regional partnerships build prosperity

NORMAN — Job creators shop for sites, regional marketing professionals told Norman’s Economic Development Advisory Board on Thursday. That makes selling the central Oklahoma region with its diversity of site options and amenities a business savvy way to promote Norman.

Advisory board members were briefed by the Greater Oklahoma City Partnership, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments and the Norman Economic Development Coalition on how those city partnerships work to create opportunities in Norman.

“What we want to be is a supermarket with lots of aisles,“ said Kurt Foreman, executive vice president, economic development with the Greater OKC Chamber. “A regional effort makes sense so a customer won’t miss an opportunity.”

Several communities and entities are part of that regional effort, he said. Norman is a member of the Greater OKC Partnership through the NEDC. Cleveland County pays the membership dues and municipalities throughout the county benefit.

“We do recruitment of new companies,” Foreman said. “We do marketing and placement of stories to spread the word and tell the story of a region.”

The Greater OKC Partnership provides a number of opportunities and resources.

“We focus on those things that help everyone,” Foreman said. “We’ve gone in and helped communities with capacity building.”

Right now, the partnership is working in Piedmont to leverage existing resources, an effort that involves assistance with strategic planning. The group has also worked with Noble.

In Norman, the university and weather center are good assets when recruiting business to Norman.

“The trend for economic development for the last 10 years has been regional,” said NEDC Executive Director Don Wood. “Twenty years ago, you wanted to decouple from Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City was not the garden spot it is today. If I’m selling Norman, I’m a fool not to be selling Oklahoma City at the same time.”

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