The Duncan Banner

July 17, 2010

Duncan plays host to GEDMT conference


The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — This past week, Duncan hosted the Governors Economic Development Marketing Team’s (GEDMT) annual retreat and educational meetings. There were 50 Economic Development professionals from communities across Oklahoma and the business/industrial recruiters from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in attendance for the two day meeting. This allowed Duncan to show off our community and the wonderful assets we have available.

If you’re asking yourself how Duncan was selected as the host community for this event, there is a simple answer.  The chairman of GEDMT is from Duncan, and it only made logical since to host and organize the event in our community.  Other economic development organizations assisted in sponsoring the speakers and meals.  During the event; our out of town guests were able to see The Territory, Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, Simmons Center and Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Medicine Park. 

The program for members of GEDMT focused on foreign direct investment (FDI).  Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation has established a very good relationship with a German consulting team from Atlanta.  In their presentation, they focused on how companies in Germany are organized and structured.  Most are family owned businesses and do not sell shares to outsiders.  As long as the company is profitable, they want to build wealth and pass the business to the next generation.  The companies are very methodical in their strategy.  The consultants spoke very highly of Duncan and told the GEDMT how close Duncan was on attracting a project they represented this past year.  Unfortunately, we lost the project to Mississippi.

Marketing a community is hard work.  It is a continuous process and can be very costly.  Scott Klososky, a successful internet entrepreneur, enlightened everyone with the many available free online tools that entities can use to promote their organization and gain additional information on competitors. Social media is more than Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and as the world become, more and more digital, these and other online media will become more and more valuable. 

DAEDF and The State of Oklahoma have been spending a lot of time in the pursuit of Green Energy, such as wind and solar.  Lars Velser spoke about the Wind Industry in Germany and the many ways to attract Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) to our region. With Germany being the biggest FDI investor in the USA, and the many German companies looking for locations to expand to in the States, his information was very valuable. 

Not only must Oklahoma and America focus on FDI from Germany, but China has also become increasingly diversified in building their economy in recent years.  Dr. Guoqiang Shen, who came from China over 10 years ago, now works for OU Outreach.  He alerted the audience about China’s continued investment into infrastructure, manufacturing plants, community redevelopment and economic growth.  As the people of China continue to gain wealth, they increase their appetite for more consumer goods and are purchasing higher quality products.  Both Germany and China have companies looking to grow businesses in North America.

Knowing about your competition and where projects are landing is beneficial to shaping your strategy.  David Zaharchuk of the Business Strategy Division of IBM’s Global Business Services provided data on where the USA and Oklahoma specifically rank in location selected by foreign direct investors.  As of 2008, Oklahoma ranked 23 out of 50 in job creation and FDI.  FDI has mainly been flowing to Western Europe and Asia.

Overall, the GEDMT Retreat was a success, and the attendees were very impressed with Duncan.  Many, even lifelong Oklahomans, had never visited our community and were surprised to find that it was larger and more vibrant than they expected.  Many plan to visit the area again and bring their families.

Make sure you play your part in keeping the community clean and vibrant so others may see what a wonderful place Duncan is and observe our quality of life.  If you have questions, I can be contacted at the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation office at 580-255-9675, or just send me an e-mail at lyle@ok-duncan.com.