OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Governor’s International Team elected Scott Thompson of Mercer Valve as chairman.

Other officers include Bob Lieser of Tulsa Global Alliance, secretary, Shalon Simmons of Global ICT as vice-chairwoman, Douglas Price of Tulsa Community College will serve as immediate past chair. Executive Director Jared Scism remains in his role.

“My background is in accounting, manufacturing and information technology, but the beauty of a group like the OKGIT is there are so many of us from different sectors and professions that want to grow Oklahoma’s international ties,” said Thompson. “I am happy to help lead that mission through the course of the next year.”

Thompson is the Director of Accounting and Information Technology at Mercer Valve, Co., Inc., a manufacturer of American-made, high-quality safety relief valves. A longtime employee at the Oklahoma City-based company, he spent 19 years as accounting director and deployed financial strategies that empowered the firm to grow beyond the OKC metro area. He played a key role in restructuring the Mercer Valve Co.’s financial operations and supporting the opening of 13 branches, including three located in Australia and Canada.

Prior to his appointment as chair, he served as the program chairman at the OKGIT bi-monthly meetings. A member of the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants, he is an active volunteer in his community with Epikos Speech and Debate club to encourage high school students to participate and compete in local, regional and international-level National Christian Forensics and Communications Association designated tournaments. Scott’s business and personal interests have taken him to Australia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The mission of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team is to be an advocate for sustainable economic development through export trade and foreign direct investment and to encourage and facilitate the globalization of Oklahoma. It was established in 2001 as an advisory and coordinating entity.

Banner photo: Outgoing chair of the Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team Richard Cornelison, current OEDC chair Kinnee Tilly, Governor Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma Governor’s International Team Chair Scott Thompson and outgoing OKGIT chair Douglas Price at the February 2020 Gavel Ceremony in the state capitol.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt made the announcement and OKC added it’s eighth Sister City with the addition of Piura, Peru.

Thanks to the advocacy and hard work of Honorary Consul of Peru in Oklahoma Enrique Villar-Gambetta and the Sister Cities International Oklahoma team, Oklahoma City residents will have another new relationship to celebrate.

“The Sister Cities program is very active in OKC & I find the program and especially its events are a great way to connect with our immigrant community as well as the leaders & residents in our Sister Cities around the world,” said Mayor David Holt in a press release upon signing the agreement with the Alcalde (Mayor) Juan Jose Diaz Dios in late January 2020.

The city of approximately 484,000 lies on the river that shares its namesake, and was the first Spanish city founded in Peru by Conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

The Sister City agreement signed by both leaders says the relationship is intended to expand mutually beneficial cooperation between citizens of both cities while promoting good will, economic relations and foster charitable, scientific and commercial activities.

Honorary Consul Villar-Gambetta is an Oklahoma City-based attorney originally from Peru. He has practiced law for 31 years in Peru and through partner law offices handles diverse proceedings in other countries like Chile, Colombia and Panama. In December 2011 by Supreme Resolution No.450-2011, dated December 15, 2011, signed by the President of the Republic of Peru, Mr. Ollanta Humala Tasso and his Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Rafael Roncagliolo Orbegoso appointed Enrique Villar-Gambetta Honorary Consul of Peru in the City of Oklahoma City, United States of America, with circumscription in the State of Oklahoma.

He has been a member of the OKGIT since 2013.

Header Photo – Honorary Consul Villar-Gambetta with his son Alonso alongside Sister Cities International Oklahoma City representatives Jane Abraham, Mary Blankenship Pointer and Dr. Mucky Right at OKC City Hall for the proclamation signing. 

In conjunction with the 2020 Oklahoma World Trade Conference to be held on April 2, 2020 at the Tulsa Tech Owasso Conference Center in Owasso, you are invited to nominate your company for the annual Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting.  Nominations will be reviewed and the winners selected by the Awards Committee of the Oklahoma District Export Council.

The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting recognizes one or more Oklahoma firms annually for noteworthy success in maintaining or increasing export sales.  Firms selected to receive the award represent role models for excellence in international business.  In addition, this award provides an opportunity to build public support for international business activity by Oklahoma firms.

 

Click here for the Oklahoma Export Champion Awards Full Description –  Created by the OkDEC to recognize Oklahoma small and medium-sized enterprises that have successfully entered in the international marketplace emphasizing the important role that exporting plays in the U.S. economy, while highlighting the contributions made by exporters to their local communities and the world.

Click here for the Oklahoma Export Achievement Award Full Description – The Export Achievement Award was created to recognize small and medium-sized enterprises that have successfully entered the international marketplace for the first time or that have successfully entered a new market. Nominations are encouraged and can be accepted throughout the year from local businesses, elected officials and community leaders. Nominations should be submitted to the local U.S. Export Assistance Center.

 

Oklahoma-based manufacturers, agri-businesses, service companies or suppliers engaged in exporting products or services are eligible to apply.  Applicants should demonstrate one or more of the following:  breakthroughs in existing competitive markets, introduction of a new product into export trade, opening a trade area previously closed or successfully overcoming threats to their existing export activity.  Unique and successful solutions to problems of export trade, such as financing, transportation, marketing or successful promotional programs should also be demonstrated.

 

Are your competitors being recognized for their work while you’re missing out? Click here to see the previous years winners and consider nominating your firm today!

 

For a nomination application (3 pages) for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting, e-mail ashley.wilson@trade.gov or call 405/608-5302.  The application must be completed and returned by February 28, 2020.

All applicants will also be considered for the *U. S. Department of Commerce Export Achievement Certificate and Oklahoma District Export Council Export Champion Award.  Information explaining the Export Achievement Certificate and Export Champion Award is attached.

* Eligibility for the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Achievement Certificate will be on a one-time basis

For more information, contact Marcus Verner at marcus.verner@trade.gov.

The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the September 2019 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.

After the approval of the July 2019 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Randy Kellogg read off the financial report for the OKGIT. Following the approval of the budget, Kellogg announced his intention to resign from his executive team position and return to normal membership in the OKGIT.

Chair Douglas Price requested nominations for two positions upon this announcement; treasurer and vice-chair for 2020. All nominations should be sent to Price or Executive Director Jared Scism.

The Membership Committee announced their support for the approval of a new member, Dr. Mucki Wright. Following a unanimous vote by the meeting, her membership as an OKGIT member was approved. In other membership news, Meloyde Blancett was approved as an ex-officio member due to her role as an elected state legislator and as the head of Creative Oklahoma. The OKGIT will also welcome the new U.S. Department of State’s Diplomat in Residence when her approval comes through from Washington D.C.

The Culture and Education Committee updated the group on progress for International Student Recognition Day, which is set to take place March 4, 2020. Dr. Cathleen Skinner introduced the OKGIT’s first-ever Student Ambassador, Olivia Nguyen, from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Program Committee Chair Scott Thompson noted that at the group’s November 2019 meeting, People to People International World Headquarters CEO Merrill Eisenhower will speak. Global Aerospace Company Cobham PLC confirmed receipt of the group’s request for a speaker at a 2020 meeting. Cobham opened a new facility at Tinker Air Force Base in March 2019. OKGIT members are encouraged to forward all ideas for meeting program speakers to theokgit@gmail.com.

The work from the OKGIT history committee is ongoing, with Jon Neff planning a meeting of some long-time or former members of the group to generate additional information. The project’s completion date is estimated at year’s end.

In updates from state partners, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture noted that a visiting Taiwanese Wheat Trade Delegation was in the state. There is also ongoing work in attending the Food Expert Fall Meetings in October and the Azerbaijani Agriculture Forum in November. There will be a Made in Oklahoma restaurant at the Tulsa State Fair this year to showcase the local food service companies.

Luis Domenech, Oklahoma’s Mexico Trade Representative, will be in Oklahoma October 7-11 to meet with Oklahoma companies interested in exporting into Mexico or other trade services. Whether new to market or already doing business in Mexico, this will be an international business opportunity to help drive new or identify additional sales opportunities.

The United States Foreign Trade Zone and Export-Import Bank of the United States will host a free seminar to help local Oklahoma businesses and other relevant players increase their competitiveness in the international market. The seminar will include presentations by Kelly Kemp, Regional Director for EXIM Bank, and Camille Evans, Sr. Analyst for the U.S. Foreign Trade Zones Board. The seminar will take place on Thursday, October 24 at OSU OKC campus in the John Kilpatrick Building – Agriculture Resource Center room 196 beginning at 8:00 a.m.

In the report for the Oklahoma Department of Education, Dr. Cathleen Skinner noted that Eisenhower International School will receive an education award from the French government for high-quality French instruction. There are also 31 visiting teachers from Spain preparing to teach in Tulsa dual language programs, though a final renewal of the agreement must be signed with the new Spanish government.

U.S. Department of Trade’s Marcus Verner noted that the Oklahoma World Trade Conference will take place on April 2, 2020 in Tulsa. Chair Douglas Price discussed an annual awards event to recognize supporters of the OKGIT’s mission. The issuing the awards could be done at the Oklahoma World Trade Conference, with U.S. Department of Commerce supporting this idea. The executive team will discuss the awards at their next call.

The Oklahoma Consular Summit discussions were ongoing, with the group approving a $2,000 expenditure to hold a reservation for an evening reception at the fall event. However, word came just after the meeting that the summit might clash with another event in Texas in which all the consul generals would be at. The planning committee plans on having a call to reevaluate the path forward.

The group’s January meeting will take place at 2 p.m. on the third Thursday of that month at Frontier Bank with a reception to follow. The location of the reception will be determined by the next meeting. Light hour’derves and the first round of drinks will be covered by the OKGIT.

Past-chair John Curzon motioned the $5,000 support the OKGIT and corporate sponsors provided for Gastech Reception in Houston on September 17. OKGIT funds provided by the Oklahoma Business Roundtable totaled $3,000, with an additional $2,000 reimbursed by corporate sponsorships. The group approved the expenditures.

To conclude the meeting with, Oklahoma State University’s Anthony Cambas discussed the certified global business professional student pathway program.

The next meeting will take place on November 19th at 9:00 AM at the Department of Commerce.

 

 

 

 

Governor Kevin Stitt issued a gubernatorial citation to the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team for its role in organizing the 2019 International Student Recognition Day at the state capitol.

The OKGIT partnered with Representative Mark McBride to bring more than 40 students from around the globe who attend Oklahoma higher education institutions to see the state government at work. In addition to remarks by Governor Stitt and Representative McBride, students had the opportunity to hear from Secretary of Native American Affairs Lisa Billy about the distinct role that the state’s 39 tribal nations play.

International Student Recognition Day is one of many cultural, educational and diplomatic events that the OKGIT organizes each  year to grow the state’s international ties. The group consists of professionals in the private, public and non-profit sector interested in developing a more international Oklahoma. For more information email info@okgit.com.

Trade representatives from nine countries met with Oklahoma government and business leaders ahead of the 2019 World Trade Conference at the Oklahoma International Trade Representative Reception on April 2. The event, hosted and organized by the Oklahoma Governor International Team using funding from the Oklahoma Business Roundtable and CCK Strategies, brought more than 100 people to the Petroleum Club Oklahoma City to network and discuss opportunities to connect Oklahoma with international commerce and trade opportunities.

The nations attending included:

  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Belgium
  • South Korea
  • Guatemala
  • Taiwan
  • The United Kingdom
  • France

The OKGIT, OKBR and event sponsor CCK Strategies of Tulsa worked alongside the Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team and staff from the U.S. Department of Commerce and Oklahoma Department of Commerce to make the event a success. It was a busy week for Oklahoma’s international ties, with the following day’s 2019 Oklahoma World Trade Conference taking place at MetroTech OKC concurrent with the International Student Recognition Day at the Oklahoma Capitol.

The deadline is closing soon, but if you’re an Oklahoma-based company in search of a stable market with solid partnership opportunities, look north to our largest trade partner.

StitchCrew is working with the government of Canada to identify 10 U.S. companies interested in exploring investment, trade or R&D opportunities with Canadian firms.

No sectors are ruled out, but there is a particular focus on firms interested in energy, aerospace or Native American Tribal-owned firms.

The deadline for applying is Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2019. Application link is here.

Reach out to Erika Lucas at StitchCrew for more information.

 

Oklahoma City played host to the 36th annual 20th & 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium on March 14-16, 2019, with organizing efforts from staff and students at three Oklahoma universities assisting in its production.

The University of Central Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma and University of Tulsa helped prepare and organize the event, which brought academics, Francophone artists and diplomats and other experts from around the globe to the state’s capital. An organizing committee of Dr. Pamela Genova (OU), Dr. Karl Pollin-Dubois (TU), Dr. Priya Wadhera (Adelphi University) and Oklahoma Governor’s International Team member Dr. Catherine Webster led the preparations.

This year’s event focused on “catastrophes, cataclysms, adaptation and survival.”

“The new century has brought with it what seems like an endless series of disasters, both manmade and natural, throughout the Francophone World. Acts of terror in Paris, including the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan attacks, have shaken and moved us. Moreover, cataclysmic forces of nature and global weather catastrophes that include recent flooding in France, earthquakes in Haiti, and Hurricane Irma’s direct hit on Saint Martin, have affected millions of people …

“What is the nature of catastrophe? What can be considered cataclysmic — both literally and metaphorically? How do catastrophes, cataclysms, adaptation and survival translate in literature? What is a literature of survival?”

The OKGIT was one of the event’s sponsors, donating funds for proceedings in accordance with its mission of bringing together business people, members of government at the local, state and federal levels, educators from kindergarten all the way through to post graduate studies, and international, cultural and other non profit organizations.