With all of our talk about the new spec building, “Duke,” PCDA gets a lot of questions about whether or not companies are interested. Simple answer is “yes.” The real answer, like life itself, is that it’s more complicated. First of all, a lot of companies that have an interest, look at the lack of available workforce in Ponca City and go elsewhere. That is a good thing, not a bad thing. If the goal of economic development is to create jobs for people in Ponca City, the 2.3% unemployment rate in the Ponca City Labor Market indicates that it’s working. The second thing is that Duke is being built to fit the needs of most companies. That is a statistically valid approach to a spec building to minimize risk to public money. Most, however, does not mean all. A building is more than just four walls and a roof and different companies have different needs.
Case in point: PCDA recently had a conversation with a company from out yonder that was looking for a new, available, industrial building. They saw the virtual tour of Duke that PCDA has online, noted the size, shape and the blend of office and shop space. The box of the building worked well for them. Their excitement was high because they needed to get into a building very soon, and the timing on Duke’s completion (Labor Day) was perfect. As the old commercials go, however, “but wait….there’s more!” Their needs went outside the box of the building. They also needed to have a perimeter fence around the entire building. This was a requirement of their customer since the work they did included some very valuable stuff. This was a non-negotiable requirement, not something they could waive with all the smooth talking in the world. If you have been out to cheer on Duke, and who hasn’t, you will note that it shares a common driveway with a neighboring business. There is no physical way to put a perimeter fence there. There just isn’t enough room (let alone the likelihood that buildings regs would not have allowed it) to put a fence down the middle of the common drive area. The parcels were designed that way back in the day for a variety of good reasons. The new company liked Duke so much, however, that they asked PCDA if the adjoining company would move so that they could take over that building too and then fence both structures! This would be physically possible.
Well here’s the thing: PCDA loves new companies, but PCDA loves and values our existing companies even more. So we hated to lose the new company but life, as alluded to above, is three dimensional, not the sanitized version we all see in the news. This story, however, underscores the interest in Duke, the fact that different companies need different things and PCDA’s operating values. Attracting new companies is about fit, and that means the building, the community and so much more. It’s not a one size fits all thing. You either have what they need (and we’re looking at you, workforce), or you don’t. So we move on.
Business On The Balcony Next Week
Next Tuesday, July 11 is Business on the Balcony, the local producers edition. Make time in the morning, 7 to 9 am to visit the Balcony at City Central for a little bit of breakfast and a whole lot of networking. And this one is special. Breakfast will be local eggs, breads, milk, meats and produce for you to sample. And for the networking, the growers of this wonderful fare will be on the balcony. .
This is the ultimate shop local: buy your food from local producers; local small businesses. Everyone is invited to attend, but especially business owners seeking new collaborations or contacts and those new to the community looking for local resources. See you at Business on the Balcony.
Student Internships Fill the Workforce Pipeline
This week several businesses attended a Lunch & Learn at Pioneer Technology Center to learn more about the internship program with the High School. The big goal is to grow Ponca City's next workforce and expose them to available career paths. Workforce is a big topic in the economic development world. Heck, it's a huge topic everywhere: Jobs are available and unemployment is very low in Ponca City, Kay County and many other places in the U.S. Exposing high school students to available job training and experiences early is an excellent way to fill the local workforce pipeline.
Over 60 PoHi students participated in the internship program co-sponsored by PCDA. The goal for next year is 100 students. Your business needs to be part of this. One hour a day, Monday through Friday during the school year, broken up by semester. If you need more information or want to ask some specific questions, please call Jordan Jackson-Gross at the High School, 580.718.4878 oremail here.
STAYcation Right Here in Ponca City
This year, Oklahoma is in an El Nino summer. Basically, you don't know if it will be hot or cold, raining or sunny from day to day. And the meteorologists are "best guessing". Welcome to summer in Oklahoma! Thank goodness you live in Ponca City where we are 90 minutes from everywhere and we have two lakes within a 10 minute drive for those really hot days. And the actual drives are pretty scenic as well. Did you know about the prairie dog community on the way to Kaw Lake? Or the swim beach at Lake Ponca? Have you been to Wentz Pool lately and walked the campgrounds or the hiking trails? Perhaps you need to check out the three disc golf courses which have hosted national frisbee golf competitions. And don't forget First Fridays & DXDT this Friday. (flyer is below)
The thing all of these activities have in common is they are outdoors, which is kind of our claim to fame being rural and in the center of all this nature stuff. So take some time with the family, with your significant other, with friends or maybe on your own, to explore this great place we call home.
Family Fun: Time for a Fox Hunt
Don't forget all the art to be found in and around Ponca City This weekend might be an excellent opportunity for a fox hunt right here in Ponca City. Between downtown murals and the large painted foxes located in front of multiple businesses, your kids and any visitors to Ponca will enjoy an early morning or late evening fox hunt.
Click on the fox and check out all the central business district, downtown foxes. Stay foxy people. For more information on the fox statues in Ponca City,take the online tour here.
Friday, July 7 // First Fridays & DXDT
6 pm See flyer below
July 10-14 // Ponca City Art Assoc Art Camp //
All week at City Central. Camp is full.
July 24-28 // Girl Power STEM Camp // City Central
This STEM Camp is for soon to be 8th grade girls
Manufacturing, science, tech & engineering
Friday, August 18 // Party At the Palace & Auction
Get your tickets from the Chamber office 580.765.4400
Fall 2023// Business Plan Boot Camp
Are you ready to plan your business? This Boot Camp will