Dr. Jim Collard, John Curzon, Jennifer Springer and Ray Brown, Pipeline Equipment, Inc.

Dr. Jim Collard, John Curzon, Jennifer Springer and Ray Brown, Pipeline Equipment, Inc.

Among the estimated 94,000 attendees to this year’s Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas were several representatives from the Lone Star State’s northern neighbor, including members of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team.

Dr. Jim Collard of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Economic Development Department, John Curzon of CCK Strategies and Jennifer Springer of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce were on hand as group representatives for an evening reception co-sponsored by the ODOC and OKGIT.

“Simply put, it was a great opportunity to showcase Oklahoma for companies from across the country and across the world,” said CPN’s Dr. Collard.

The annual offshore technology conference is an international affair with energy professionals from across the globe converging on Houston to meet and showcase new technologies, practices and ideas. While the conference is focused on energy industry issues, the diversity of industries represented by the 94,000 attendees offers opporunities to discuss issues as wide ranging as international trade, technological updates and financing for future projects.

If you’d like to learn more about the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference or future events like it, visit their website here. If you’d like to learn more about the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team’s participation in the 2015 event, please contact Dr. Jim Collard, John Curzon or Jennifer Springer for more information.


Though the energy sector has slowed in recent months, business for many Sooner State firms continues to move along at a brisk pace. A diversified group of Oklahoma businesses was recently recognized at the 32nd annual Oklahoma World Trade Conference for their excellence in exporting. We had the opportunity to speak with Addie Ventris, Marketing Director for Tactical Electronics, a 2015 Oklahoma District Export Council Export Champion award winner based out of Broken Arrow, Okla.

What does Tactical Electronics do?

“Tactical Electronics provides advanced technology and training solutions for military and law enforcement agencies. Our extensive product line includes covert wireless camera systems and EOD equipment used by special operations teams around the world. Our training division provides Counter IED training courses and IED Training Aids for EOD technicians and tactical operators. All of our services are designed to prepare technicians for what they might encounter behind a closed door, in a suspect package, or unsecured area.

“Tactical Electronics designs, engineers and manufacturers all of our products in house at our headquarters in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.”

How many employees do you have in Oklahoma? How many employees do you have worldwide?RIP KIT_0914

“We have 44 in Oklahoma and 22 worldwide in Virginia Beach, Va., Chattanooga, Tenn. and in United Kingdom.”

Can you give me an idea of how much Tactical Electronics relies on exporting its products outside the U.S.?

“Since 2011, Tactical Electronics has seen a significant increase in our international sales. We continue to see a demand for our products and services worldwide and will continue to fulfill those requests through export.”

What are some of the challenges Tactical Electronics faces in exporting from Oklahoma? Are there some benefits from exporting from Oklahoma as well?

“While working to expand our international markets, Tactical Electronics has dealt with common growing pains to ensure our manufacturing lead times protect us from payment risks. To mitigate any financial risks we have instated a few internal policies and procedures with regard to payment, the examples are as follows.

“When working with new international customers, for whom Tactical Electronics has not established an ongoing relationship, deposits are required before work begins. For those customers unwilling or able to fund the deposit up front, Export Letters of Credit are required. Additionally, in instances where large unit volume is ordered, Tactical Electronics has started offering multiple ship dates to alleviate some of the financial stress. Finally, for those customers unwilling or able to pay in U.S. currency, Tactical Electronics has started hedging the exchange rate with a premium to compensate for rate volatility.

“Tactical Electronics will continue to develop improved processes to advance and expand our export strategy and international markets.”

Looking back to when Tactical Electronics first began producing items for export, is there any advice that the company would provide to fellow firms in Oklahoma who are considering forging international ties and exporting?

“Ensure that internal and external policies and procedures (as described above) for all export activities are in place at your organization before your first export activity.”

Closing out a successful 2014, Shawnee-based Mills Machine Company was honored by Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello for its innovative commercial success and investment in Oklahoman jobs. Commissioner Costello presented company owner and president Chuck Mills with the Entrepreneurial Excellence in Oklahoma Award.

“I am constantly in awe of Oklahoma and the many successful and profitable private companies that I have been exposed to,” said Costello. “Each of these amazing business owners has a unique story about why they started their company and how it has evolved over the years. I want to honor these entrepreneurs for their commitment to Oklahoma and for their success in creating opportunities for other Oklahomans.”

The award was presented at the company’s Shawnee manufacturing facility on Dec. 18, 2014.

“Our company has been under the leadership of the Mills family for 106 years here in Shawnee,” commented Mills upon receiving the award. “But none of our success would have been possible without our loyal and hardworking employees.”

District 17 Senator Ron Sharp and District 26 Representative Justin Wood, who represent the Shawnee-area at the state capitol, were also in attendance. Both presented commendations to Mills.

Founded by the Mills family in 1908, Mills Machine Company is a leading manufacturer of earth drilling tools. It has become a multimillion dollar company providing a full line of specialty earth boring tools and accessories for water, mining, construction, utility and environmental applications. Under current owner and president Chuck Mills, the company has expanded to new domestic and international markets over the past 35 years.

Mills focus on investment in Oklahoman jobs is reflected in his service as the acting Chairman of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development. Mills’ has previously served as the chair of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team, an organization he continues as an active member.

The Entrepreneurial Excellence in Oklahoma Award recognizes Oklahoma-based entrepreneurs who have created profitable employment for their fellow Oklahomans and to foster a positive business atmosphere. Legislators, local Chambers of Commerce, civic organizations and the public nominate deserving businesses regardless of size or age, though the decision of award winners is left to the labor commissioner.

(Pictured above: (Left to right) Commissioner Larry Costello, Rep. Justin Wood, Chuck Mills, Sen. Ron Sharp, Shawnee Mayor Wes Mainord.)