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’s 39 federally recognized Indian Nations provide the state with a unique cultural, economic and governmental service facets that only a few other American states posses. This summer, the state’s largest university will host an organization that seeks to capitalize on these tribes’ impact by connecting them with First Nations in Canada, when the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization hosts its three day trade mission and conference in Norman, Oklahoma.

Given tribes unique standing in the United States as dependent sovereign nations, and Canada’s own specific designation for its First Nations communities, the IITIO seeks to expand the possibility of developing commerce and even international trade between these groups. Despite rumblings of significant changes to the NAFTA agreement by the White House, there remains significant potential for trade ties to develop between these bodies given that Canada is the U.S.’s second largest trade partner. Oklahoma’s single largest trade partner is also Canada.

To see the conference agenda and register, which is free, please visit here.

One of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team’s own received a distinguished award from Queen Elizabeth’s representative in Canada in late May. Canadian Governor General David Johnston presented OKGIT member and dual American-Canadian citizen Ian Ogilve with the Governor General’s Medallion during a visit to the Sooner State on May 28, 2016.

Ogilve was honored for his service in fostering closer ties between Oklahoma and Canada, in recent years helping spearhead the first visit of Canadian Consul General Sara Wilshaw to Oklahoma. Of interesting note, Governor General Johnston’s 2016 trip to Oklahoma was the first by an individual in that office. The governor general is, on the advice of the prime minister of Canada, appointed by the reigning British monarch to carry out the crown’s constitutional and ceremonial duties in the commonwealth realm. The office is non-partisan and also serves as the Canadian Armed Forces commander in chief.

On May 28, Governor General Johnston visited the Oklahoma capitol hosted by Chris Benge, Oklahoma Secretary of State and Native American Affairs in the Capitol Blue Room.

Left to right: Michael Carolina of OCAST, John Westerheide of GE Global Research Center of Oklahoma City, Scott Meacham of i2E, Sir David Johnston the Governor General of Canada, Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge, Consul General of Canada in Dallas Sara Wilshaw, Jim Nickel of Global Affairs Canada, Stephen McKeever Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology.

Left to right: Michael Carolina of OCAST, John Westerheide of GE Global Research Center of Oklahoma City, Scott Meacham of i2E, Sir David Johnston the Governor General of Canada, Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge, Consul General of Canada in Dallas Sara Wilshaw, Jim Nickel of Global Affairs Canada and Stephen McKeever Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology.

The same day, the governor general wrote an op-ed for The Oklahoman, which can be read here on fostering closer American-Canadian cultural and economic ties.

The ties between Oklahoma and Canada emblematic of the U.S.-Canadian relationship, with Canada’s role as the U.S.’s largest export market, more than 50,000 jobs in Oklahoma depend on the $6 billion trading relationship. As the governor general noted in his op-ed, a significant portion of that trade involves the oil and gas industry.

“Energy is an important component,” he wrote. “Canada contributes to North American energy security, with Canadian oil joining crude from Oklahoma, North Dakota, Texas and other states at North America’s oil supply hub at Cushing. Meanwhile, more than half of Oklahoma’s exports to Canada consist of equipment and machinery. We’re also partners in aerospace, agriculture and a growing number of science, innovation and education initiatives.”

(Top photo: Consul General Sara Wilshaw (left) and His Excellency the Right Honorable David Johnston (right) present Ian Ogilve (center) with the Governor General’s Medallion.)

Located forty miles east of Oklahoma City along Interstate 40, Pottawatomie County isn’t where one would typically think to look for an executive search firm. Yet in the heart of Shawnee, Oklahoma sits Wolf Gugler Executive Search, a human resource consultant for retailers and their suppliers in Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean.

Gugler sat down with to speak about his firm’s mission, its international scope and his life as a Canadian working in the Great Plains.

Wolf Gugler

Wolf Gugler

Where are you from?

“I’m originally from Toronto, Canada. My parents were immigrants from Austria in the 1950s after WWII. I graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto specializing in human resources management.

“I relocated to OK in 2000. I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful woman from McLoud, Oklahoma who I married in 2000.”

Do you only focus on Oklahoma-based recruitment now?

“I began in the executive search field in the late 1980s in Canada. I worked for two national firms before incorporating my own practice in 1997 when I realized that clients were calling me to partner with them, not the company I worked for. I’ve recruited on behalf of multinationals (Rust-Oleum, Home Depot, Jeld-Wen, Emerson Electric) and entrepreneurial firms or those owned by PE’s looking to make significant strides.

“When I relocated to Oklahoma most of my Canadian clients followed me, especially those doing business in the U.S. and the Caribbean.Fortunately with the advent of online video and research tools, where I’m based really doesn’t factor into how successful we are; it has more to do with investing the necessary time to meet with a client, understand their environment and human capital needs, draw up a competency profile for each position and then set out to identify the appropriate types of candidates to succeed in each role.

“I’ve always been a fan and student of technology, so invest the necessary resources to ensure we have the latest sourcing tools available to cast the widest candidate net possible. Oklahoma firms we’ve recruited for include Blastrac, Petra Industries, Mills Machine Company and others.”

Have you found it challenging operating a business that does business in Oklahoma and in Canada?

“When I first moved to Oklahoma, I was concerned that Canadian clients would think I’d ‘deserted’ them in my move to the U.S. This is far from the truth; I’m still back in the Toronto area at least on a quarterly basis where I maintain an office and attend trade shows and visit with clients and candidates on each trip. With the technology available to us, I can video-interview candidates and flight schedules are friendly enough that I can return to Canada on short notice when necessary. I obtained my NEXUS card to make frequent travel that much easier.

“I am still very current on Canadian market conditions and opportunities. On an average I’d put my business split now at 50/50 Canada/US with some Caribbean clients in addition.”

What are some challenges and benefits to doing business in Oklahoma when looking at your experience?

“At first, I didn’t know anyone in the business community other than Tinker Air Force Base folks my wife worked with. I looked for opportunities to engage myself in the local community; I volunteered and became the first Emergency Manager for McLoud which did expose me to others in local businesses and tribes, especially when assisting them with disaster preparedness plans.

“Because of my human resources background I joined the local Society For Human Resources Management chapter and currently serve as president. I also became involved with the Canadian Association of Oklahoma; a number of members are GIT members too. This gave me good insight into the challenges Oklahoma employers face with respect to exporting products to Canada in addition to human capital issues such as compensation, labor law and employee recruitment and retention.

“This has all morphed into where now it seems that no matter where I go, I meet someone who I already know. I also have to say that my first trip to Oklahoma convinced me that this would be a great place to live and work; the people I’ve met are genuine, engaging and as you know, stand together during tough times. I’ve seen it time and time again through our extreme weather and other disaster events when everyone is there for one another. What more can one ask for?”

What makes Wolf Gugler Executive Search stand out in your view?

“I still take great pleasure in working with repeat clients; to me it reaffirms that we’ve met their hiring expectations to the point of calling when another need arises. Typical retained searches are VP, Sales, Marketing Director, General Manager, Distribution Director, Human Resources Manager, National Accounts Manager. With Oklahoma clients, I meet face-to-face to ensure we have a good fit.

“I think we’re great at what we do, based on what clients tell me. I do have an excellent network of experts in their own human resource specialty areas, so if an employer is in need of advice regarding compensation and benefits, labor law, skills training I’m happy to recommend someone I know that may be able to assist them without the thought of ‘what’s in it for me?’

“That’s the ‘Okie way, isn’t it?”

To learn more about Wolf Gugler Executive Search, please visit for a full list of current searches the firm is engaged in, articles themed around various human resources aspects and more company background information.

Exciting news out of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development as Sara Wilshaw has been named the Consul General for the Dallas region. Wilshaw, who succeeds the outgoing Paula Caldwell, will represent Canada in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“The ties that bind 35 million Canadians to the 39 million people in this region are strong and growing,” wrote Wilshaw in an announcement on the consul general’s website. “And I’m eagerly anticipating being part of that.”

Wilshaw noted the strong Canadian-American partnerships in the energy sector as well as Canada’s ties to Oklahoma in her post.

“We defend North America together,” she wrote. “At Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, for example, 43 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Army form the Canadian Component.”

The new consul general promised business and government leaders in her jurisdiction that her office would also focus on sectors that are growing between the North American neighbors.

“Our team at the Consulate General engages local leaders on issues that affect North Americans, helps Canadians living and traveling in our region, and assists in building business relationships,” wrote Wilshaw.

Wilshaw worked for Customs and Revenue Canada and Statistics Canada prior to joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1996.

She has served as Canada’s first secretary in Tokyo and counsellor at the country’s Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Wuksgaw has also served as a trade commissioner in the North Asia Commercial Relations Division, senior policy officer in the Multilateral Trade Policy Division, assignment officer in the Assignments and Pool Management Division, executive director of the Strategic Policy Division, director of the Innovation Science and Technology Division and of the Trade Commissioner Service Support Division, and director general of the Office of the Chief Trade Commissioner. Most recently she was a commercial minister at the Canadian high commission in India.