The below is a general summary of the events and discussion at the September 2021 OKGIT meeting. It does not represent the official minutes, which will be distributed at a later date.
The September meeting was called to order by Treasurer Andrew Ranson who announced the resignation of recently new Chairperson Jose Sagarnaga. Following his announcement, Andrew introduced Cathy Webster as the new chairperson until the close of 2022 to create stability within the organization and requested nominations for a new vice chair.
After Andrew’s announcement and the approval of the July 2021 meeting’s minutes, Andrew also gave an update regarding the finances of the organization. During the financial report, Andrew informed the OKGIT membership of finances for July and August 2021.
Amidst discussion of the treasurer report, John Osborne, Director of International Services from Oklahoma Christian University was presented and approved by the team for OKGIT membership by Past Chair Scott Thompson. Welcome to the team, John!
During the Marketing Committee report, Chairperson Cathy Webster reported that the Marketing Committee is still seeking a new chair. Jason Baffrey from the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology immediately agreed fill the position and will be supported by a student from Oklahoma State University. Anyone interested in helping with the Marketing Committee can contact Jason Baffrey.
Following the Marketing Committee discussion, the Cultural and Education Committee chair, Cathleen Skinner reported that the committee is working on an international week November 8-12. They are also hoping to include the consular corps in these plans. The idea would be to have a different area of the world be presented during each day of the week. Anyone interested in finding out more information may contact Cathleen Skinner.
During the Program Committee report, Jose Sagarnaga announced that the November meeting would include a panel of university leaders to share their thoughts on international education. The hope is that the panel will include educational institutions from private and public institutions in addition to two-year and four-year institutions. We hope you will join us.
After the Program Committee report, Treasurer and Chair of the Sponsor Relations Committee Andrew Ranson mentioned that The Oklahoma Business Roundtable has encouraged collaborations between OKGIT and other partners. Andrew also gave a report regarding the reception that was sponsored by the OKGIT in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in Houston for the local Consul Generals. During the dinner, Andrew was able to highlight some of OKGIT’s upcoming activities.
At the completion of the committee reports, Marcus Verner from the U.S. Department of Commerce kicked off the reports from the various government departments. During his report, Marcus reported that the USDOC held a Minority Enterprise Development week in September to help minority-owned businesses to learn about international opportunities. Marcus also announced that Dr. Collard recently spoke about the ways enterprises can do business with Native American tribes. Marcus closed his report by announcing that there are still about three billion dollars in funds from the economic development administration still available. To find out more information, contact Marcus.
Jesse Garcia from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC) reported that Luis Domenech visited Oklahoma and met with business interested in taking part at a trade show in Mexico during November. Jesse also revealed that the Department of Commerce was organizing an opening reception ceremony for an art exhibit at the State Capitol in cooperation with the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock. Christy Busch concluded the ODOC report by informing the membership that Bolivian and Canadian Consuls will be coming to Oklahoma soon.
Jamie Cummings from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture updated the group about the Department of Agriculture staffing an exhibit at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Dr. Cathleen Skinner from the Oklahoma Department of Education informed the membership about the new Oklahoma Seal of Biliteracy website being available. To visit the website, click here.
Honorary Consul of Switzerland, Rico Buchli closed out the department reports by informing the membership that the Consular Corp has been relatively inactive due to the Delta variant. However, they have participated in some smaller events including the bicentennial of the independence of Guatemala at the Sam Noble Museum. Rico also announced that the Ambassador of Guatemala was recently relocated to Los Angeles, and there’s now a new Vice-Consul from Guatemala in Oklahoma. Rico concluded his report by revealing the retirement of former Honorary Consul of Japan Lloyd Hardin and informing the membership about the new Honorary Consul of Japan: Dewey Bartlett, former mayor of Tulsa.
At the conclusion of all the reports, Treasurer Andrew Ranson promoted the upcoming virtual World Trade Conference and Consular Trade Summit that will take place on October 27 and 28 from 9 am -12 pm each day. The event will include trade representatives from over 13 different countries with breakout industry sessions that include automotive, bioscience, aerospace, agriculture, and energy. You won’t want to miss it. To purchase tickets for the event, click here. For more information about the event, click here.
During the program, Michael Davis from Select Oklahoma and Marcus Verner from the District Export Council spoke to the membership about why FDI Investors choose Oklahoma and how OKGIT can add value to recruit more companies to invest in Oklahoma.