The Oklahoma Governor’s International Team today announces that Jared Scism will serve as executive director effective May 1, 2019, on a part-time basis.

As executive director, Scism will manage several global events for the OKGIT that promote international economic development, cultural, diplomatic and education initiatives in close cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and other agencies. Each year, the OKGIT hosts a Consul Summit attended by 10 or more nations that are interested in doing business with Oklahoma companies and an International Student Recognition Day at the Capitol for 50-60 selected international students to experience democracy in action.

“Jared brings a breadth of international experiences to the executive director position,” said OKGIT Chairman Dr. Douglas Price. “As an active member of the OKGIT board coupled with his passion for international work and strong organizational skills, he was a natural fit for this position.”

Scism has been a member of the OKGIT since 2016. He has served as marketing chair, education and culture committee chair, and co-coordinator of the OKGIT’s International Student Recognition Day at the State Capitol. This year, more than 60 international students currently studying at Oklahoma colleges and universities attended the event where they engaged with Gov. Kevin Stitt, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Rep. Mark McBride, several Supreme Court justices and legislators.

Currently, Scism serves as the Assistant Director of the International House and Programs at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is the co-founder and president of the Japan-America Society of Oklahoma, a member of the Edmond Sister Cities Board and former president of the World Experiences Foundation. He has also volunteered for Let’s Start Talking, an English-teaching program in Tanzania, participated in a fellowship program as a United States delegate with Oklahoma’s sister state in Gansu Province, China, and studied as a foreign exchange student at Ibaraki Christian University and returned to Japan after graduation to be  a full-time English teacher.

“I have a deep, rooted passion to work with people from all over the world,” Scism said. “I want to make a difference in our state, and I’m excited to pursue my passion in this new position.”

In an effort to better connect our members, we wanted to send out a brief, unofficial report on May 16’s meeting. This does not supplant nor replace the minutes, which will be distributed closer to our July 18, 2017 meeting.

Due to a scheduling conflict we held our meeting at the new offices of Catholic Charities OKC, where their Executive Director Patrick Raglow welcomed the OKGIT to their Chickasaw Conference Center and gave a brief summary of his organization’s work in the community. Learn more about Catholic Charities OKC here, and contact them if you’re in need of a meeting place in central OKC, their venue is top notch and very affordable.

After a brief discussion on the professional backgrounds and qualifications, the group voted on new members. The OKGIT’s newest members are Jane Kuchko, Vice-Provost for Global Education at the University of Tulsa, and Peggy Millikin, a registered patent and trademark attorney with extensive experience in international and national intellectual property law.

Representative Travis Dunlap joined the meeting and discussed the April 2017 International Day at the Capitol, which was ultimately cancelled due to construction at the state capitol building. Further discussions will be held closer to next year’s event for better coordination and preparation between Rep. Dunlap’s office, the OK Secretary of State’s office and the OKGIT.

Oklahoma Consular Corps Representative Rico Buchli noted that Edmond is in the process of solidifying a sister city agreement with a Chinese municipality of Qingyang, which will hopefully be finalized later this year.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Trade, Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Oklahoma Department of Education gave updates on their offices’ respective work and events in the coming summer months. For a listing of these events, please see our OKGIT calendar by clicking here.

Recently appointed Oklahoma Secretary of State Dave Lopez joined the meeting as the invited guest speaker, giving a summation of his recent work and plans for the rest of his term that runs until 2018. After discussing the ongoing budget negotiations at the capitol as the legislative session closed, Secretary Lopez also mentioned research his office had conducted for apprenticeship programs available in Oklahoma. The list of these programs can be found here.

Chris Morriss, chief of protocol in the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office, mentioned that Guatemala will have an honorary consul in Oklahoma City in the coming year.

The group also agreed on an initial guest list for the September 6-7 Oklahoma Consular Summit for 2017. The initial guest list was decided due to existing trade and commercial relationships between Oklahoma and these nations.

  • Canada
  • U.K.
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Australia
  • Italy
  • France

The OKGIT will hold its next bi-monthy meeting: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 9 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

If you are or know of a member that is not receiving emails or is not on the membership section of the website, please email me at or

Building on last year’s successful hosting of an Oklahoma-centric reception through a partnership of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Consular Corps of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team, the Sooner State will again take center stage at a May 3 evening reception during the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

OKGIT member and special guest, Oklahoma Secretary of State, Chris Benge, will also be in attendance.

Chris Benge

Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge

Reception at Truluck’s

Galleria Area

5350 Westheimer

Houston, Texas 77056

6 p.m.8 p.m.


Oklahoma firms continue to show why they can compete with firms closer to the coasts through a spirit of innovation and determination to grow their businesses overseas. Several Oklahoma firms were recognized for their exporting achievements during last month’s Oklahoma World Trade Conference, while Tulsa-based Sawyer Manufacturing Co. recently received an honor from the U.S. Small Business Administration, as it was named the national Exporter of the Year.

Sawyer Manufacturing Co. specializes in designing and producing pipeline infrastructure construction equipment, and according to company spokesman Drew Martins, prides itself in taking on projects of all kind to meet the needs of customers around the globe.

“We actively try to partner with other manufacturers when there’s an unmet need,” Martins told the Journal Record’s Brian Brus. “One of the things I see in other big and small companies is that if a product isn’t in their catalog, they pretty much refuse to do it. We approach it differently, because with enough time and resources, we’ll do anything.”

According to a release from the SBA, the firm was founded by Red Sawyer and AB Jensen in 1948, and has since grown to a 40-person staff exporting to more than 50 countries. In 2013 it was named as one of Tulsa’s “Fast 40” of the metro area’s fastest growing companies.

Though primarily focused on the oil and gas sector, the firm’s emphasis on diversifying its customer base allows it to succeed in a state where energy-related work has fallen off.

Vice-President Dave Hembree told the Tulsa World‘s Casey Smith that Sawyer’s readiness to take on unique projects that involve a smaller or customized line of products has the Tulsa firm branching out to customers in the restaurant, fitness, and water utility fields.

“The more diversified we can get, the better,” he said.

Representatives from Sawyer Manufacturing will visit Washington D.C. and the White House during the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week from May 4-8.

Sawyer’s success, as well as other Oklahoma exporting firms like it, show that despite Oklahoma’s landlocked location, good business practices and better products will continue to have an appeal to customers around the globe.

While the focus of presenters at the 32nd annual Oklahoma World Trade Conference was raising Oklahoma companies’ online profile and protecting their digital assets once there, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin was on hand to present awards to six companies for their more traditional exporting work.

The 2015 Oklahoma Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting went to Broken Arrow, Okla.-based Control Devices Inc. The firm is a leading manufacturer of pipeline pig tracking and communication equipment for domestic and global customers. Its 48 employees each have specialties in a diverse set of skills, from electronics, mechanical design, software and firmware programming, machining and more.

The Oklahoma District Export Council’s Export Champion Awards went to:

The U.S. Commercial Service’s Export Achievement Certificate went to:


Though focused on business, investment and education, members of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team come from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Assistant Attorney General Grant Moak is one of those individuals, who in addition to his work for the attorney general’s office, also serves as the French Republic’s Honorary Consul in Oklahoma.

Moak recently presented that country’s highest decoration, the Medal of Chevalier (Knight) of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor, to WWII veteran and Oklahoma City resident Major General Stanley Newman (ret.). Newman received the honor for his service as a P-51 pilot in 51 combat missions in the European theater.

Read more about Major General Newman’s service at

For a full list of honorary foreign consuls in Oklahoma, please visit our Oklahoma Governor’s International Team members’ section.


Photo: Retired Maj. Gen. Stanley Newman receives the Medal of Chevalier of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor from Grant Moak, Honorary French Consul for Oklahoma, as friends and family watch inside his daughter’s Oklahoma City home, Saturday, March 16, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Though outsourcing has been of increasing concern for more than a decade in the U.S., the phenomenon is not a new one. In the dark days of the Great Depression, the federal government explored any means necessary to put the country’s workforce back into the factories and offices of the United States. In order to combat the ill-fated 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariffs, Congress passed the Foreign-Trade Zone Act. By designating specific geographic areas in or adjacent to Customs Ports of Entry, the act sought to expedite and encourage foreign commerce in the United States.

Foreign-Trade Zones were designed to alleviate the duty and import burdens on American businesses, thereby promoting jobs and investment at home.
In today’s connected world, where modern technology has mooted major logistical challenges that once plagued firms dealing with foreign vendors, the importance of Foreign-Trade Zones are a key component of keeping American employees and businesses working.

First, Foreign-Trade Zones provide important financial incentives for businesses, specifically by offering duty deferral on goods that enter the country. This includes a duty and quota charge exemption on imported goods that are later re-exported. Firms can also apply to the Foreign-Trade Zone board for an inverted tariff for duty reductions if a lower tariff rate will apply to the finished product when it leaves the zone in comparison to the tariff applied on foreign components.

In terms of logistic costs, firms can also benefit by being granted a weekly, single customs entry charge rather than paying multiple entry fees. The FTZ can also save time for businesses importing components by eliminating duties on rejected and defective items.

In its ongoing mission to promote both jobs and investment in Oklahoma, the state currently boasts four Foreign-Trade Zones. The Port of Catoosa’s FTZ 53 is located in the northeast portion of the state surrounding the Tulsa metropolitan area. Run by the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority FTZ 53 also contains two subzones in the Claremore Industrial Park and Claremore Regional Airport. Also serving the state’s northeast is The Port of Muskogee FT 164, which is run by the Muskogee City-County Port Authority. Located at the confluence of the Arkansas, Grand and Verdigris Rivers, the Port of Muskogee is a prime location to ship bulk cargo anywhere in the world via the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas Navigation System.

Oklahoma City’s FTZ 106 is located next to Will Rogers World Airport, with an additional 71 million living within a 500-mile radius of its operations. The site is near three interstate highway routes in I-35, I-40 and I-44, meaning it can provide next-day service to the entire country. FTZ 106 also boasts two magnet sites in Enid Woodring Regional Airport and the Shawnee Regional Airport in addition to a usage-driven designated site at VF Jeanswear in Seminole, Okla. Through the utilization of the recently upgraded Alternative Site Framework, FTZ 106 has streamlined its alternative site designation process. Alternative sites can be identified, appraised and approved in around 30-45 days.

Serving the state’s southeast and the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth area is FTZ 227. This zone is comprised of the three separate sites of the International Business Park of Durant, Okla., the Ardmore Industrial Airpark, and the Westport Industrial Complex, also located in Ardmore. FTZ 227 is in close proximity to Highway 69/75, the direct route from Laredo, Texas to Kansas City. This motorway also passes through both the Port of Muskogee FT 164 and Port of Catoosa FTZ 53. It is less than 100 miles from interstate highways like I-25, I-40, I-20 and I-45, and is within an hour’s drive of Dallas, a national cargo distribution center.

Oklahoma’s geographic location in the heart of the continental United States allows it to benefit from its four Foreign-Trade Zones. Companies based here or partnering with firms based in the state also stand to benefit from the advantages that come with an FTZ designation. If you would like to learn more about doing business or investment in Oklahoma, please visit the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team at The Governor’s International Team (GIT) is a group of citizens representing private industry, government, education and non-profits from across the state of Oklahoma who are dedicated to help shape a stronger Oklahoma in the global economy.

Tulsa Port of Catoosa photo courtesy of