OKLAHOMA: Making Strides in Aerospace Development

18 Apr, 2018

Oklahoma is located in the heart of the U.S. with easy access to suppliers and customers. The state’s integrated infrastructure system is a large reason for the success the state’s economy has seen in recent years. Oklahoma also has a highly educated and technical workforce and offers a cost-effective business environment

Oklahoma’s five major industry sectors include aerospace and defense; agriculture and biosciences; energy; information

and financial services; and transportation and distribution. Manufacturing, research and development, distribution, logistics and others benefit from Oklahoma’s policies, existing supply chain, low energy costs and workforce investments.

Oklahoma’s agriculture and bioscience workforce is larger than the national average with institutions like the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

A California-based aerospace company, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., will be locating their next expansion in Oklahoma City. The company develops transformative, affordable technology for the U.S. Department of Defense and commercial customers. The expansion will bring the first tier-one aerospace manufacturing operation to the region. The advanced manufacturing and assembly line will result in a complete aircraft being constructed in the state. This is expected to bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in capital investment to the state.

Other economic priorities for the state include preserving  Oklahoma’s state highway funding for the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan and the Five-Year County Improvements for Roads and Bridges Program; protecting valuable economic development incentives to keep Oklahoma competitive; supporting a stable and reliable tax structure for energy development; and encouraging a pro-investment environment to strengthen Oklahoma’s developing technology industry.

Ponca City

By Loyd McIntosh

Named after the Ponca Tribe of Native Americans, Ponca City, Oklahoma, is a bustling and vibrant manufacturing town strategically situated in northcentral Oklahoma that actually predates statehood.

For decades, Ponca City was an oil town supporting Marland Oil, which was at one time one of world’s largest oil production companies. These days, Ponca City’s economy is still heavily based in oil and gas, but it is more diversified, including a Philips 66 refinery and Mertz Manufacturing, an energy manufacturing company that has contracts with Haliburton.

“We went from being a company town to being a town with a lot of companies in it,” says Katherine Long, Small Business and Information Coordinator for the Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA).

Ponca City proudly hangs its hat on manufacturing with plants from many companies among varying sectors based in the area. For example, Dorada Foods, a food-processing contracted to McDonald’s, and HVAC manufacturer CME Custom Mechanical Equipment, are located in Ponca City.

“Manufacturing is what we do here, and we work very closely with our companies to make sure that they have what they need, both infrastructure and program wise, so that we can assist them to do the very best,” Long says.

The PCDA also provides support to manufacturing companies through an initiative called the Industry Certification Assistance Program (ICAP), which provides some funding to companies looking to attain industry-specific certifications, such as ASME certification, helping Ponca-based companies compete on a global scale.

“We understand how manufacturing works, so we don’t consider it dirty or something like that,” Long says. “We want those paying jobs because we have the training and we have the assistance where we can make them successful.” Goponca.com

Ironhorse Industrial Park – Citizen Potawatomi Nation

By Loyd McIntosh

Situated practically in the center of the United States, the Ironhorse Industrial Park is a 400-acre general-use industrial park located on Native American trust land owned by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation just 35 miles east of Oklahoma City. Originally a cornfield with a portion of the Union Pacific Railroad running through the middle of it, the Ironhorse Industrial Park is a site-ready property within a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).

FTZs are designated areas considered outside the United States, essentially allowing imported merchandise to be brought into the industrial park for almost any kind of manufacturing or manipulation, duty-free, which is a huge economic advantage for businesses located in an FTZ. It also lessens the burden of regulations and other red tape when launching a new start up or expanding operations in park like Ironhorse. “What that does is it forwards the Native American developers the advantage of a not having to factor in the time delays associated with normal developments in a municipality,” says James Collard, Ph.D., the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Director of Economic Development.

While still looking for its first tenant, a study conducted by Harvard economist Dr. Joe Kalth showed the Ironhorse Industrial Park will serve as an anchor, reopening Union Pacific lines into Chicago and Houston, creating a new level of economic development in the area. “What that means is it park will serve as the starting point to revitalize the economy of the entire Southeastern corner of the state,” Collard says. Ironhorsecpn.com

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