New Head Of Tulsa Chamber Wants To Keep City Moving Forward

Wednesday, January 14th 2015, 11:06 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa Chamber has a new leader and a fresh perspective for Tulsa.

Williams President and CEO, Alan Armstrong, will chair the Chamber and he has a lot of ideas on how to keep the area economy moving in the right direction.

Armstrong had an audience of close to 1,500 Wednesday afternoon at the COX business center.

He stressed the importance of things like building a talented young workforce, but also tweaking some things to make those professionals want to move here in the first place.

He said we have to attract the best professionals in the country.

"Companies like ours have to have that in order to survive and be competitive in the environment. We can't really settle for second best for anything other than excellence in our community," Armstrong said.

He said that, along with keeping downtown Tulsa vibrant, are critical.

Armstrong also said Tulsans know the great things that are going on, but for others it might not be so obvious.

When recruits get off the plane at the airport for a job interview, he said we need to make sure they like what they see - that's their first impression - but Armstrong said it's still not as good as it could be.

"I'm a very conservative person by nature politically, but I do believe that we have to make sure we have an adequate tax base to make sure we make this place as good as it can be," he said.

In 2014, the Chamber helped Tulsa companies create 6,200 new jobs, recruiting from larger cities.

"Our economic development teams will be in Dallas tomorrow and Friday helping market and sell Oklahoma," said Mike Neal with the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

Another challenge is keeping our schools up to par.

"Making it so our education system is something we can stand out proudly in statistical reports. Those are things we need to work on," Armstrong said.

As for the plunging oil prices, the Chamber said it's cautiously optimistic that they will rebound; also pointing to the fact that many jobs in Tulsa are on the corporate level.

"If ultimately you see some layoffs or cutbacks in that arena, I don't think we would be as directly impacted as other parts of the country or the state," Neal said.

Other positives Armstrong outlined were the fact that Tulsa has one of the largest Young Professionals organizations in the country, and our newly formed Film and Music Office is a feather in our cap as well.