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.
For a nomination application (3 pages) for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the November 2019 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.
After the approval of the September 2019 meeting’s minutes, Oklahoma Department of Commerce Executive Director Brent Kisling introduced himself to the group and gave a brief summary of the department’s mission going forward, including its future work with the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team.
Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s new director of business retention and expansion, Ray Little, also introduced himself and explained his office’s efforts to synchronize those of the OKGIT’s.
Following the financial report from Treasurer Randy Kellogg, he notified the group that it would be his last meeting at that position and would be handing over his duties to Mary Blankenship Pointer. He requested his membership be moved to emeritus status, which was granted by a group vote, and he joins Mark Stansberry, Desa Dawson and John Neff as the four members in that category.
Officers for the 2020-21 OKGIT term will be:
- Past Chair – Douglas Price
- Chair – John VanPool
- Vice Chair – Scott Thompson
- Treasurer – Mary Blankenship Pointer
- Secretary – Bob Lieser
Amidst discussion of the treasurer report, membership committee members encouraged the group to inform companies and individuals who cannot participate full time in OKGIT activities that there are sponsorship opportunities available to partner on our mission. There are set parameters and sponsorship levels, and they can be found at the group’s website at okgit.com/sponsorships.
In membership news, Nancy Hyde was affirmed by vote as a new member while Mikael Clayton has resigned his position with the group.
The marketing focus for the group will remain largely to highlight our members’ activities but also place a renewed focus on our non-commercial/commerce members as well. We have begun scheduling social media posts on the group Facebook page facebook.com/okgit highlighting our state agencies and partners. Given the breadth of our members activities and interests, it is incumbent that they continue to flag up relevant content from their companies/offices/departments that would be good to showcase our group to external audiences. Please flag up material to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have it.
The Cultural and Education Committee report concerned the status of next year’s International Student Recognition Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol, set to take place on March 4, 2020. OKGIT Student Ambassador Olivia Nguyen from the University of Central Oklahoma also gave an update on her status and will continue to support the group in her capacity.
In other education news, Randy Kluver noted that he and three graduate students from Oklahoma State University are currently conducting research on impact of international exchanges on the State of Oklahoma. They will try to include them in an upcoming OKGIT meeting, perhaps March.
Two groups of French students from the Academie d’Amiens accompanied by teachers and the assistant director of international exchanges visited their partner schools in early November for two weeks. A group of seven teachers will be coming to the Tulsa area in February for a two-week program. The state department of education is also exploring a program to introduce seal of biliteracy into Oklahoma education that students could put on transcripts and diplomas when applying for higher education opportunities.
The Program Committee – responsible for securing speakers for the group’s bi-monthly meeting – will present a survey at the January meeting to guide planning for the coming year. Further questions or input would be greatly appreciated, those interested can reach out to Program Chair M. Scott Thompson directly.
- What international experience of this year influenced yourself, your business, or your organization?
- How have international relations change for our state in the past five years?
- What do you predict will happen in the next 5-10 years?
- How can we advance the overall mission of the OKGIT?
- What can we do more next year to make a substantial difference?
The Oklahoma Consular Corps reported on their latest activities, including the UNAEO dinner honoring U.K. Honorary Consul and OKGIT member Roger Randle, a visit by the consul general of Japan and the Asian Society Reception. Honorary Consul for Peru Enrique Villar Gambetta informed the group that a sister city agreement will soon be signed between cities in his home nation and Edmond, Oklahoma.
There are 11 honorary or full consuls in Oklahoma, more information on them can be found at okgit.com/oklahoma-consular-corps.
The Oklahoma Department of Commerce is working with Secretary Sean Kouplen and Secretary of State Michael Rogers in planning for next year. They are specifically focusing on proactive recruitment of international companies to Oklahoma. Commerce is also focusing on attracting car manufacturers to the state.
In other news, the STEP Program grant has been approved, with several companies looking to participate in international trade shows through STEP grant funding.
Commerce also reported that the state would be sending a delegation to the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston in May 2020.
The Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office has been very busy in recent months, helping conduct the visits of various consuls general and other high ranking political and diplomatic officers. Recent visitors included the consuls general from Canada, Japan, Italy and the U.K. as well as the vice-president of Taiwan.
In mid-November the secretary of state, department of commerce and OKGIT executive committee met to discuss protocols concerning incoming diplomatic and political delegations from other countries. Both departments requested that any information about international delegations visiting the state be forwarded to our two OKGIT ex-officio members in those offices to ensure proper diplomatic protocols are followed. Group members are encouraged to reach out to Jennifer Springer at Commerce or Chris Morriss at the Secretary of State’s office for more information.
The U.S. Department of Trade most recently participated in another successful Oklahoma Manufacturing Summit. In partnership with the U.S. District Export Council planning for Oklahoma World Trade Conference on April 2, 2020 in Tulsa is underway. Last year the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team participated in the event and sponsored a reception the night before and will likely be asked to again. USDOT will brief out with more details at the OKGIT’s January meeting.
Following the committee reports, the group began finalizing preparations for the 2020 Oklahoma Consular Summit. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum’s office sent a letter offering to be the host site for the event alongside the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, and the OKGIT agreed to move the event there for the days of April 2-3. The Consular Summit will tail end the Oklahoma World Trade Conference on April 1, allowing plenty of time for visiting delegates and officials to meet with Oklahoma counterparts. A confirmation of the dates will be sent once there is certainty Governor Stitt will be able to attend.
Following input from the Department of Commerce and Secretary of State, initial invitees for the event include Japan, Guatemala, the U.K., Germany, France, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Italy, India, Peru, Sweden, Netherlands and Spain.
Planning and preparations are being led by past-chair James C. Collard, and questions or input are greatly appreciated. Please reach out to Dr. Collard or email@example.com to support planning this event.
OKGIT members are encouraged to attend the Sister Cities Consular Corps Reception on December 11 from 6– 8:30 p.m. at Harn Homestead in OKC. The OKGIT has contributed sponsorship funds to this event, but please RSVP with Jared Scism if you plan on attending.
In light of the aforementioned Consular Corps/Sister Cities Reception, the OKGIT will not host a December reception but instead will host a New Year’s event following our next meeting on January 21. The reception will take place at Café do Brazil (440 NW 11th St #100). Invites have already gone out to our members but please RSVP to ensure food and complimentary drink numbers stay within the allotted budget.
Upcoming meetings are as follows:
- January 21st from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM at Frontier Bank
- March 10th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Dept. of Commerce
- May 19th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Dept. of Commerce
For our program, CEO of People to People International Merrill Eisenhower discussed his organization’s history and mission. People to People International is a non-profit organization funded by donations and other fee for service programs that was initially founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Learn more about their mission and work at ptpi.org.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the May 2019 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.
The decision of the hiring committee to hire Jared Scism as the executive director was affirmed by the group.
Treasurer Randy Kellogg discussed the financial report and push for members to pay dues. The final few group members who have not paid for 2019 have been contacted and their memberships will lapse before the July meeting. In an effort to raise additional funds, corporate memberships will be available for OKGIT partners to purchase. The executive director will send out the membership listing to the group who can distribute it through their network.
In membership news, the group discussed adding Mark Stansberry and Marc Nuttle as emeritus memberships due to their longtime service to the group and institutional knowledge. Due to time constraints, the decision will be tabled to the next meeting in July.
Another emeritus member, John Neff, sent along with his written history of the OKGIT to the group for review and revisions. Group members are encouraged to review the document (sent by Jared Scism ahead of the meeting) and send their edits/suggestions in track changes back to John.
The group added three new members, Young Chappell, Muhammet Ali Sezer and Shalon Simmons.
The Education and Cultural Committee made the proposal for the OKGIT Ambassador Program for students at area universities. The group agreed it was a worthwhile endeavor and the committee will present a final plan for implementation at the July meeting.
Doug Price also shared Governor Kevin Stitt’s citation to the OKGIT for it’s organization of International Student Recognition Day at the capitol. The citation is online at okgit.wpengine.com/news.
Scott Thompson, program chair, is looking for additional program speakers in the coming year. November is set but July, September and January remain open. There are hopes that the July meeting will be available for Oklahoma Secretary of State Michael Rogers.
Rico Buchli spoke about past, present and upcoming Consular Corps activities including their recent participation in the Asian Society of Oklahoma’s Asian Festival. Enrique Villar Gambetta, the honorary consul for Peru, is working with Oklahoma City to form new Sister City relationship. He also reported that Edmond is in talks with making sister city with an unnamed Peruvian city.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture was at the United States Meat Export Federation meeting. She also sent word that with Japan’s recent opening of its market to U.S. beef could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to by up to $200 million annually.
The Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s reports that ODOC will be applying for State Trade Export Promotion grant and working department of agriculture. Currently applying as Application Process deadline is Friday, June 7
The state Department of Education reported that Oklahoma will continue it’s paraprofessional teacher program. They have also signed an MOU with Spain that meets the needs of immersion programs in Spanish and English in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. A similar program for teachers from Puerto Rico is also ongoing. Western Heights Public Schools is planning to develop a dual language program.
The Secretary of State’s Office reports that the governor will meet with Canadian Consul General in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Department of Commerce said the 2020 World Trade Conference will take place in Tulsa, and announced an upcoming May 23 webinar for those interested in working for the Department of Commerce as an overseas trade representative.
USDOC also reported on the June 5-6 events in Tulsa, called Access Asia, where Oklahoma firms can learn about major export markets in Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia. Reach out to ODOC’s OKC or Tulsa representatives for more information.
Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Jim Collard discussed the upcoming Inter-Tribal International Trade Association summit in OKC June 2-4.
Preliminary planning for fall Consular Summit also began. Tentative countries discussed were:
- Italy, India, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, France, UK, Germany, South Korea, Japan, China, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Australia
The OKGIT is waiting on dates from the governor to finalize – but looking at late September-late October as possible. The group would like to narrow countries down to ten invitees. Anyone who is interested in sponsoring a dinner, volunteering or suggestions of what countries to invite can contact Jared Scism and Jim Collard to be added to the planning committee. The planning committee will begin regular conference calls in the coming weeks.
Last but certainly not least, longtime member Desa Dawson was recognized at the meeting for her contributions to the OKGIT and presented with a globe for a gift. She will continue as an emeritus member going forward.
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 email@example.com.
The Oklahoma Governor’s International Team today announces that Jared Scism will serve as executive director effective May 1, 2019, on a part-time basis.
As executive director, Scism will manage several global events for the OKGIT that promote international economic development, cultural, diplomatic and education initiatives in close cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and other agencies. Each year, the OKGIT hosts a Consul Summit attended by 10 or more nations that are interested in doing business with Oklahoma companies and an International Student Recognition Day at the Capitol for 50-60 selected international students to experience democracy in action.
“Jared brings a breadth of international experiences to the executive director position,” said OKGIT Chairman Dr. Douglas Price. “As an active member of the OKGIT board coupled with his passion for international work and strong organizational skills, he was a natural fit for this position.”
Scism has been a member of the OKGIT since 2016. He has served as marketing chair, education and culture committee chair, and co-coordinator of the OKGIT’s International Student Recognition Day at the State Capitol. This year, more than 60 international students currently studying at Oklahoma colleges and universities attended the event where they engaged with Gov. Kevin Stitt, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Rep. Mark McBride, several Supreme Court justices and legislators.
Currently, Scism serves as the Assistant Director of the International House and Programs at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is the co-founder and president of the Japan-America Society of Oklahoma, a member of the Edmond Sister Cities Board and former president of the World Experiences Foundation. He has also volunteered for Let’s Start Talking, an English-teaching program in Tanzania, participated in a fellowship program as a United States delegate with Oklahoma’s sister state in Gansu Province, China, and studied as a foreign exchange student at Ibaraki Christian University and returned to Japan after graduation to be a full-time English teacher.
“I have a deep, rooted passion to work with people from all over the world,” Scism said. “I want to make a difference in our state, and I’m excited to pursue my passion in this new position.”