The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the March 2022 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.
After the approval of the January 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 January and February 2022.
Following the treasurer report, Scott Thompson introduced Dewey Bartlett, the new Honorary Consul of Japan in Tulsa to the team. Scott also welcomed former members Alfonso Nieves and Lynda Speller back to the group.
During the Marketing Committee report, Marketing Chair Jason Baffrey informed the membership the marketing meeting that was scheduled to take place in January would be rescheduled soon. More details will be provided to the group when a date has been scheduled.
After the Marketing Committee report, Past Chair Douglas Price invited the membership to International Recognition Day at the State Capitol on April 6 from 8:30 – 2:00 p.m. Members interested in attending may contact Executive Director Jared Scism to RSVP.
Following the Cultural and Education Committee report, Vice Chair Enrique Villar presented a layout of the programs for the 2022 OKGIT bimonthly meetings. The programs will explore countries in South and Central America. Enrique also announced Oklahoma is working on a green energy facility in Ardmore which will be operational in by 2025. Green energy is an area in which many Central and South American countries are interested in partnering.
Jim Collard closed the committee reports by informing the group that trade and foreign direct investment are moving closer to the 2019 trade numbers. Furthermore, trade is starting to return.
At the completion of the committee reports, Ashley Wilson from the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During her report, Ashley announced the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston from May 2 – May 5. Ashley also informed the membership about the U.S Minority Trade Mission to Spain and Portugal in May. The deadline to apply is March 15. Ashley closed the report by inviting the membership to the World Trade Conference on October 20 at the Tulsa Tech Lemley Campus. For more information on all these events, visit the OKGIT website events page.
During the Oklahoma Department of Commerce report, Christy Busch and Sarah Short discussed two delegations from Israel and Japan that recently visited Oklahoma. The team was also informed about Jesse Garcia accepting another position within ODOC. A new trade representative search has begun. The report concluded with details regarding Oklahoma’s participation in the Farnborough International Air Show.
After the report from Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Jamie Cummings from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture told the team that Secretary Arthur was in the UK on a trade mission visiting farms and ranches and meeting with high level groups. Jamie also updated the group about several buyers’ missions taking place including one in Chicago at the National Restaurant Federation from May 20-25.
Following the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture report, Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education updated the membership about the Oklahoma Seal of Biliteracy working hard to prepare students with skills for working and learning internationally. Last year 69 students qualified in five languages: French German, Spanish, Chinese and Russian. The Department of Education is also continuing to create internships for students that would also help attract more international students to study in Oklahoma
At the conclusion of all the reports, Honorary Consul of Switzerland Rico Buchli informed the membership of the Consular Corps participation in a Sister City event celebrating Rio de Janeiro. The report was followed by a discussion regarding Consular Summit that is scheduled to take place on October 19 and 20. 12 Consulates will be invited.
During the program portion of the meeting, the Vice Chair Enrique Villar presented opportunities in Peru and Uruguay.
Chairperson Cathy Webster adjourned the meeting by inviting the membership to the next meeting on May 17 at 9:00 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. We hope to see you there.