Friday, May 23, 2008

Ponca a Winner--Not a Surprise

David Letterman has his Top Ten list every night. I don’t, but if I had a Top Ten list of best ED groups that I’ve seen around the USA, Ponca City, OK would be on that list. I’m not the only one who thinks highly of them. Business Retention and Expansion International just named them the best business retention and expansion program of communities under 50,000 in North America.

Sophisticated CA transplant David Myers and good-old-Midwestern boy Tim Burg together do a great job of connecting with their local community and promoting Ponca City as THE place to locate. Ponca City was a one-horse town that has had to transform itself in the past several years.

E. W. Marland was a PA attorney who made and lost a fortune in the first oil rushes in PA at the turn of the 20th Century. Broke, he moved west, settling in Ponca City, making a second oil fortune which he merged into Conoco Oil, moving its headquarters to Ponca City. Even though Marland, who also served as a Congressman and Governor of OK, died in 1941 he is still revered in Ponca City for the impact that having Conoco headquartered there.

Conoco, now part of Conoco Phillips and headquartered in Houston, has been downsizing their operations in Ponca City for years, but unlike a lot of towns that might have just thrown up their hands and said, “that is the way it goes,” Ponca City decided to take a proactive approach to diversifying its economy.

David, Tim and the Ponca City Development group have proactively helped to create 1,800 new jobs in their town in the last two years. They put out a great weekly newsletter that keeps their stakeholders informed. Tell David or Tim to send it to you. You will be impressed.

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