PCDA Board of Trustees had their November meeting this week to various amounts of fanfare, fact sharing and truth telling. Topics included the Oklahoma Academy on Housing, Industry Certification Assistance Program application, an update on construction projects (Yay Duke) and the usual annual updates and renewals on liability insurance and internship progarm partnering with the Ponca City Public Schools.
Staff had 44 contacts with new industry and 84 with regional partners in October. Of note was also the 115 "Hi, how are you?" exchanges with existing industry. Throw in 33 handshakes with small business and 136 touches with tenants or businesses interested in officing at City Central, and staff had a busy October. A total of five projects are in the works with three new leads since the last Board of Trustee meeting. Additional information on the upcoming water detention survey in the AIP and elevator renovations at City Central in 2024 rounded out staff reports.
There was a big thank you to PCDA partners Pioneer Technology Center Business & Industry Services APEX Coordinator Dawn Brakey for making the latest Trade Show Brigade to ICBS a great success, and thank yous to our partners at PCPS and The Chamber. This economic development stuff has a lot of arms and Ponca City's success is part and parcel of our partnerships (see that alliteration?) in the community.
Small Business Incubator
Ponca City is fortunate to have an excellent Business/Industry incubator at Pioneer Technology Center. Located in the Business & Industry Services building on the SE corner of PTech, the incubator program celebrated 31 years in the community in 2023. .
Stats on the incubator include 7,209 square feet of leasable space which includes nine different suites ranging from the service industry, light manufacturing, food production and wholesale. Incubator clients get assistance with business plan preparation, operation guidance, pre-employment testing and screening, government contracting, customer service training and marketing plan preparation, as well as implementation. The Pioneer Tech incubator is certified by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and those companies completing the incubator program will be exempt from paying state income tax for up to 10 years.
This is an amazing program to assist start-up and new businesses to level up to owning their own building, expanding products or getting to that "next benchmark" for their business. For more information on the Business Incubator at Pioneer Tech, give Janet Schwabe a call at580-718-4309 oremail.(photo courtesy of Ponca City Monthly)
Oops, We Did It Again
Ponca City once again ranked in the top five of lowest costs of living (this is the good top five) in the United States. Not every community participates in collecting these data points every quarter. Some communities are too small and others don't have the manpower.
However, Ponca City has been participating in the Cost of Living Index (COLI) pricing collection for 17 years. This is a great way to benchmark Ponca City with other Oklahoma communities as well as communities across the United States. Ponca City's current COLI is 80.4 percent of 100%. For comparison, Houston cost of living is 95.3% and San Diego's cost of living is 141.7% (for anyone keeping score, that is 41.7% higher than the median of 100%). Housing is less expensive here in Ponca, but as you have noticed, grocery pricing continues to inch upwards. This was the third quarter collection data from July, 2023.
The Art of Marketing
And in this case, City Central Link business Qualls Court Services has some great art illustrating their business services. Ponca City artist Red Dirt Rosie created this beautiful Native American headdress to frame the descriptive words Melissa Qualls believes showcase her business themes. And, as good marketing should do, it makes you stop and look. New to The Link in 2023, Qualls Court Services fills a niche in the court services arena here in Ponca City and Kay County.
In other highly visible art news, Oklahoma Artist Rick Sinnett created a beautiful butterfly/sunrise mural on the West wall of City Central. Stunningly bright and cheery, even on rainy days, this public art piece is in addition to other murals located at City Central. Staff fully expect to see some senior pictures in front of this mural in Spring 2024. How is it almost 2024?
Internships in the AIP
Jerald Counselor interns with Cookshack in their accounting department. He is seen here posing with PoHi Internship Coordinator Jordan Jackson-Gross. She interrupted him while he was observing accounting procedures and Ms. Jackson-Gross was at Cookshack touring the facilities that day.
Guided tours for educators are encouraged by PCDA Staff. As more internships are developed and Pioneer Technology Center continues to grow their apprenticeship programs, educator/business alignment is crucial while maximizing educational opportunities for Ponca City students. Please coordinate with Jordan if you are an educator and would like to tour our local industry and manufacturing companies. This is not your father's manufacturing.
Friday, Nov 11 // Veteran's Day // Banks & Gov't Offices Closed