The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the January 2023 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.
After the approval of the November 2022 meeting’s minutes, Treasurer Andrew Ranson gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for November and December 2022 and for 2022 overall.
During the Membership Committee report, Past Chair Scott Thompson presented Miles Farthing to be considered for membership which was approved by the group. Welcome to the OKGIT, Miles!
After welcoming Miles, Douglas Price requested funds to start preparing for the 2023 International Recognition Day at the State Capitol. Following his request, Foreign Trade and Direct Investment Committee Chair Jim Collard shared that business and trade have increased since the pandemic, but that everyone should be cautious not to slide into protectionism.
At the completion of the committee reports, Marcus Verner from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Marcus announced the USDOC would be hosting a road show on World Bank activities in Tulsa from March 14-15. The show will provide the opportunity for 15-20 companies to participate. Marcus closed his report by inviting the team to the 40th annual World Trade Conference in collaboration with the World Trade Summit on April 5th and requested nominees for the Excellence in Exporting Award. For more information regarding these events or to nominate a business, contact Marcus Verner.
After the USDOC report, Sarah Short from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce talked about a plan they are working on for 2023 activities, including a potential trade mission. Sarah also announced a delegation from Mexico is expected to visit Oklahoma in the next couple of months. Sarah concluded her report by talking about the busyness of the Governor’s inauguration and the different Consuls who attended.
Following the Oklahoma Department of Commerce report, Jamie Cummings from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture announced Secretary Arthur was recently named as the Vice President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
At the conclusion of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture report, Cathleen Skinner from the Department of Education shared they are in a current waiting period as they await a new vision from new State Superintendent and Secretary of Education Ryan Walters. Meanwhile Cathleen is working on bringing in a group of high school teacher fellows coming from France. Anyone interested in helping host the delegation can contact Cathleen Skinner.
During the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) report, Jarrett Jobe shared the Oklahoma State Regents are in the final stages of a strategic planning process. Randy Kluver also shared with the group that a recent report from the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors estimates that economic impact of international students in Oklahoma is $166 million.
During the Consular Corps report, Honorary Consul of Switzerland, Rico Buchli praised Christy Busch at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for hosting the Consular Corps for the Governor’s inauguration. Consuls from Indonesia, South Korea, India, and Canada all came up from Houston to attend. Rico also shared that Indonesia is very interested in what Oklahoma is doing in science and that there is a new Honorary Consul from Norway replacing John Stewart. Rico concluded his report by talking about Oklahoma now having two professional Consuls representing Guatemala and Mexico.
At the conclusion of all the reports, John Curzon updated the group about the recent task force meeting where branding and OKGIT being hub/ bridge between international organizations in Oklahoma were discussed. A survey has been created for the membership requesting information on how the OKGIT can best serve the group and how the group can support one another.
Following John’s report, Chair Catherine Webster reminded the group to contact Christy Busch when bringing in any international government or business officials interested in coming to Oklahoma. Protocol or international inquiries may be directed to Christy Busch at (405) 815-5111. Scheduling requests should be submitted in writing and sent via email to Christy.Busch@okcommerce.govmailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
After reminding the group of this protocol, plans for the upcoming Oklahoma Trade Summit that will take place on April 5 were shared with the group. The current schedule will include a breakfast, with activities planned afterwards to local businesses and museums. The afternoon will include the World Trade Conference for those who are interested in attending followed by a reception and individual dinners with sponsors hosts. There are also talks about a possible second day trip for those interested in visiting the port in Tulsa. The invited countries will include Italy, Australia, Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Germany, Taiwan, Israel, Indonesia, Spain, Mexico, different regional offices in Canada, Uruguay, Peru, Norway, and Turkey.
Chair Cathy Webster ended the new business reports by introducing Jason Baffrey as the new OKGIT Vice Chair. Following Cathy’s announcement, Treasurer Andrew Ranson thanked Cathy for leading the group for an extended period after several leadership changes took place during the past couple of years.
During the program portion of the meeting, members shared about their various international travels during 2022.
Chairperson Cathy Webster adjourned the meeting by inviting the membership to the gavel ceremony on March 1 at 1:00 at the Oklahoma State Capitol and the next meeting on March 21 at 9:00 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. To RSVP for the gavel ceremony, click here. We hope to see you there.