Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City America's Most Affordable City.
At the height of the Great Recession, Forbes.com said Oklahoma City was the most recession-proof city in the country. Two and a half years later, the magazine has given the city another top ranking.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City as America's Most Affordable City.
The magazine also noted Oklahoma City's friendly residents and an unemployment rate well below the national average, 6.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent.
"We searched for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive," magazine editors said. "In these cities, costs have stayed down, but residents have held onto steady incomes and decent jobs, making them a true bargain."
Forbes looked at all metropolitan statistical areas with populations of at least 100,000. They were ranked on the cost of a basket of goods and services, including groceries, health care and transportation, as of the second quarter of 2010.
The magazine also measured the monthly cost of housing as a percentage of household income.
The average sale price of an Oklahoma City-area home in September was $158,755, up 6.7 percent from September 2009, and the median price was $135,000, up 4.8 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The next four spots on the Forbes list went to Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Nashville, Tenn. The top 10 also includes three Texas cities: San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
"State capitals and university towns have vibrancy because of their job base, the stability of jobs and cultural diversification," said James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The ranking was the latest in a string of kudos for Oklahoma City. In October, Oklahoma City was named a Top 25 Performing City by the Milken Institute, No. 7 Best City for Income Growth by Portfolio.com, a Top 5 Fastest Growing City by Forbes and a Top 10 State for Doing Business by Area Development Magazine.
"In times like these, value is key to everything we do as a chamber," said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "From attracting new business, retaining and fostering growth with our current companies to attracting conventions and visitors, the number one factor on everyone's mind is value. Affordability isn't always about being the cheapest, it is also about the quality you get for your dollar."
The Boeing Co. recently announced plans to move 550 high-paying engineering jobs here. The company cited low costs of living and doing business and economic development incentives in the decision to move the jobs from Long Beach, Calif.
When ProCure Proton Therapy Center opens in July, Ed Bertels said it will help put Oklahoma health care in the national limelight.
"This facility shows the nation we are serious about cancer care," said Bertels, president of the Oklahoma City ProCure Proton Therapy Center. "We're excited to have another weapon in the toolbox against fighting cancer."
Just like standard X-ray radiation, proton therapy destroys cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and growing.
But the power of protons is that higher doses of radiation can be used to control and manage cancer while significantly reducing damage to healthy tissue and vital organs.
Indiana-based ProCure Treatment Centers was founded in 2005.
ProCure has a training and development center for medical professionals in proton therapy, as well as two proton therapy centers under construction and another two in development.
The new center in Oklahoma will be the sixth center in the country focusing on proton therapies.
It sits at 55,000 square feet and is on the Integris Cancer Institute campus.
Bertels said the center's affiliation with Integris can help offer patients a full range of comprehensive care.
Clinical care will be provided by the state's radiation oncology practice with the Radiation Medicine Association.
In addition to the RMA physicians, ProCure has hired 100 full-time medical providers.
There are 1.4 million new cancer cases each year, and of those, about 60 percent of the patients will seek radiation therapy at some point during care.
The center will be able to help 1,500 patients annually. Bertels anticipates many will come from out of state.
Treatment typically lasts six to eight weeks, so many out-of-state patients will have to stay in Oklahoma City.
Measuring the impact of a new cancer center is a lot more than just economics, said Jill Harrison, manager of public relations and image development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
"Centers such as this one will make a quality-of-life impact on the patients and families who receive treatment here," she said. "While it has a direct job impact, it also improves the overall health care services for Oklahoma."
Sameer Keole, physician with the Radiation Medicine Association, helped develop a proton center at the University of Florida.
Keole said he came to Oklahoma because he was excited for the opportunity to help open a new center.
Proton therapy has been used since the 1950s, and Keole said the field continues to evolve.
"What's happening now is imaging techniques to localize the cancer have advanced," he said. "Proton therapy is just ready now to really take off."