FISHING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT…The connection between fishing and economic development here is really metaphorical. PCDA has seen a number of leads recently that want big, big things. Is it real or are some companies simply throwing a line into the water to see what’s there and/or what a community is willing to do to attract them? Companies often will contact economic development organizations like PCDA and say that they want, for example, 500 acres for a plant that will create 2,500 jobs and will pay big time bucks. Obviously, your friendly neighborhood PCDA is going to jump all over that if we have anything close to what they want. It is the “what they want” that is sometimes telling.
Cont. from newsletter……We’re not talking about incentives, here…that conversation will happen down the road if it goes that far. What they generally start with are the basics. They may start by asking if there are large numbers of unemployed AND a big parcel of land AND a rail spur to that parcel of land AND a power grid that can supply a tremendous amount of electricity AND more water than a community has access to AND, AND AND.
The moral of our story is two fold. The first is that companies look for specific things first. They don’t look for a community first and then see if that community has specific things. Do you have, they may ask, 2,500 people looking for work that have the specific skill sets the company is seeking? Does your community have 500 acres that you own to just give to my company? Do you have access to an ongoing supply of water that would double what Ponca City currently uses? Are you willing to have your environment degraded so that we can create 50 new jobs?
You get the idea. The second moral is that even if you have those things AND are willing to give up (or tolerate) those things, the economic environment may cause the company to reconsider and not do the project at all. At the end of the day, most leads are really companies thinking about what they might want to do, not commitments (yet) to do it.
Nena Tacos is the Ponca City Pitch-Off Champion
Ponca City, OK - Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA) hosted the Sixth Annual Business Plan Pitch-off Friday, March 11th. Going pitch to pitch were Nena Tacos and Central Café with their business plan submissions the previous week. Nena Tacos and Central Café pitched to three judges for a chance at cash and local incentives in support of their business growth.
“We are excited to host this type of small business competition which supports start-ups and existing small businesses looking to grow a new product or service,” stated Kat Long, Small Business and Information Coordinator for PCDA. “The Pitch-off has been an effective way to pull start-ups out of the planning stages into the “doing” stage. We could not do this type of program without the direction of the PCDA Board of Trustees and support of our partner Pioneer Technology Center Business Services; especially Ben Evans, Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator.”
Nena Tacos received high score and praise from the judges for a good food truck concept and the family work ethic which will assist them going forward. The Nena in “Nena Tacos” is Mom Nena, and along with her son Abran Farias and his wife Kaitlin, are equal owners and will operate the truck in various locations in and around Ponca City. “This has always been Nena’s dream: to cook authentic Mexican food from her family to yours in an accessible way” said Abran during the Pitch-off. “We thank Jeff MacKinnon at Equity Bank for working with us over the last two years; Ben Evans at Pioneer Technology Center who showed us the value of writing a Business Plan and this Pitch-off, which I believed was scarier than anything we have accomplished so far.” Nena Tacos has agreements to set-up at Equity Bank locations, the University Center, Vortex Alley Brewing and other locations. They intend to be at festivals such as The Ponca City Art Festival, Charlie Adams Day, Herb Festival and many more. Like them on Facebook to see their schedule, menu and pricing.
During this year of kindness campaign by our Ponca City Chamber, the Farias familia added one more act to their acceptance speech. They announced to the judges and Kal Cloonan, pitching for Central Café, that Nena Tacos will split the cash incentive of $2000 with Central Café and give them the free office space for a year. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house. Thank you local judges Jodi Cline, Edward Jones; Shane Blaes, RCB Bank and Kerri Bowman, Community National Bank for sharing your time and talent with this PCDA program.
The next Business Plan Pitch-off is scheduled for Friday, June 10th with business plans to be submitted by close of business Wednesday, June 1st. Businesses must be based in Ponca City whether store front, online, manufacturing or back office. For more information and to participate in the next Pitch-off, contact Kat Long at 580.761.3028 or email email@example.com for more information. Congratulations to Nena Tacos LLC and Central Cafe.
For more information on PCDA, community development programs and business incentives,
Pictured Lt to Rt: David Myers, PCDA Executive Director; Kal Cloonan, Central Cafe; Kaitlin, Natalie, Abron and Nena Farias, Nena Tacos LLC; Kat Long, PCDA and Ben Evans, Pioneer Technology Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator.
The Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA) and five local industrial companies travelled to Arlington, Texas recently to visit with hundreds of companies seeking industrial products many of which are made in Ponca City. Called the “Trade Show Brigade,” the trip was the tenth such mission sponsored by PCDA since the program began eight years ago.
PCDA and the companies participated in the two day “Design2Part” trade show, an event held each year for manufacturing companies in the region. The show brings together hundreds of companies primarily from the North Texas region to attend educational seminars and to meet with potential supply chain partners. PCDA sponsors a trade booth for each company to set up and meet with potential customers during the show.
Laurence Beliel, PCDA’s Director of Business Retention and Expansion Laurence said the Design2Part show offers a “target rich” opportunity for Ponca City companies to get in front of potential customers. “This show is made for companies that do contract manufacturing. Very few manufacturing companies make all of the parts that they need so they come to a trade show like this looking for someone who can make a product they need. It’s really a great business to business chance to introduce our companies to new potential customers.”
This is the tenth trade show that PCDA has sponsored for local industry. PCDA pays for the booth space, the companies themselves pay for their travel and their time. Beliel said that the Design2Part show in particular has been extremely successful for Ponca City companies. “It’s not at all unusual for our local companies to get orders during the trade show and several sign confidentiality agreements to talk about potential manufacturing opportunities that they can’t even tell me about.
Joining the “brigade” this year were Centerline, K&C Manufacturing, Moonlight Machine, Precision Metal Fab and Source Fabrication. “These companies are bright and really good at coming up with a solution to a need a company has. Even though they sometimes compete with each other, they left that at the door and worked really well together,” Beliel said. “They were great ambassadors for Ponca City.”
As the success of the program has grown, so too has participation. “There were five companies that went this year, that’s a new high for us,” said PCDA Executive Director David Myers. “A couple of years ago we had been looking at other trade shows for other local industry sectors but COVID set things back. We expect that to resume as things get back to normal.”
The PCDA program, according to Myers, is unique in the economic development world. “I’m not aware of any other area that is doing this right now.” He added that the program provides another way to grow an economy beyond a single focus on trying to recruit new companies. “When you don’t have a workforce or available industrial buildings you need to look at new ways to grow and diversify. This is harder for the public to see than a big announcement for a new company, but it is every bit as effective at growing jobs and wages in a way that can be managed in a labor constrained market like ours,” he said.
The program was recognized as an outstanding innovation in economic development in 2020 by the International Economic Development Council. Myers says he expects to see other areas try and copy the PCDA approach. “The only surprise for me is that other areas haven’t tried it so far,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity out there but other areas don’t have our secret weapons. They don’t have the kind of agile, talented, supportive companies that you find in Ponca City. They also don’t have Laurence Beliel.”
Bunk'r owner Brad Fredricks is going "New School" at Pioneer Technology Center to program a robotic welder. Brad is an inventor and product developer who can build anything, but when time and speed become costs and profit, finding and using new technology may mean the difference between profit and loss. Pioneer Technology Machine Tool students helped him out and completed a difficult to weld part in 20% of the time usually needed. And the weld quality was much higher and stronger. Brad is sold. Find out more about Pioneer Technology Center training programs here and if you are an inventor like Brad, give PCDA a call to shift from inventor to product developer.
ECONOMIC TOPICS THIS WEEK......ranged from buildings, to land, to abstracts about land, to land use, to spec buildings, to buildings being built....well you get the idea. Land and buildings were definitely the high score on the discussion list. And rightly so as the economy not only opens up, but to use a colleagues expression, the economy is popping the clutch and hitting the gas. So why so much chatter about land and buildings? Businesses are looking to expand and increase capacity to keep pace with the uptick on demand for products and services. New businesses are opening or looking to open (keep reading for Business Pitch-off update) and most, if not all, want a brick and mortar storefront (building) and the rest want land to build on. Hence, the land part of these conversations.
HOW ABOUT THAT WEATHER?....was the most asked question this week, otherwise known as pre-Memorial Day Weekend. Staff was interacting with local companies on workforce and supply chain issues as well as getting ready to launch some new businesses with the Business Plan Pitch-off on June 11th. The 28th Annual Herb Festival is next weekend, with a greatly expanded lead in, so don't miss the movies, costume contests and live theatre (flyer is below). Why does PCDA talk about stuff like activities for families, the lakes, the arts and the weather? Quality of life people. Quality of life. The days of workforce moving for a job are gone. Post-pandemic, people are looking for specific things: lifestyle, open space, affordable and appropriate housing and then, maybe, the job to pay for all of these things.
Remote working has been growing by leaps and bounds during the pandemic and will continue to fund many lifestyles in 2021 and beyond. Ponca City has to be a destination for some, a home for others and for those of us who already live here, our community. Get out and participate in all the things Ponca City; Remember all those who have died in service to our country and keep reading for workforce and industry updates.
Oklahoma is incentivizing those currently on unemployment benefits to go back to work. In Kay County alone we have over 2,200 unique job postings right now. There are jobs, there have been substantial local wage increases, and now there is an extra incentive. Find out more here: https://oklahoma.gov/.../return-to-work-incentive-program...
Ponca Works and OESC are hosting a "Back to Work Job Fair" on May 27th, 2021 to capture this audience. Call our office to sign up - 580-765-7070.