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.
ATLANTA - The exhibition hall at the BIO 2009 trade show had been opened for only a few minutes Tuesday morning when a visitor to the Oklahoma booth inquired about switchgrass as a biofuel alternative.
Steve Rhines, vice president and general counsel with the Noble Foundation patiently answered the questions from the visitor from Taiwan.
Rhines soon sat down for an interview with a North Carolina-based technology publication called TriangleTechNews. Other impromptu meetings followed.
The subject? Switchgrass as a biofuel alternative.
It was that kind of day for the Noble Foundation executive, who was in constant demand to discuss the research that the Ardmore-based organization is conducting into the use of cellulosic ethanol as an alternative to food-based ethanol sources such as corn or sorghum.
"The Noble Foundation through its own reputation and through its association with the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center has developed a national reputation for the work it's doing primarily in switchgrass development," Rhines said. "Everybody understands that this industry has to be grown from the ground up and depends largely on agriculture producers. The work that we are doing to produce a better switchgrass and how it should be grown has clearly become important to this bio industry group."
Why the attention?
The Noble Foundation has focused on switchgrass because it is an excellent feed source for livestock that has potential to help ag producers. The crop grows naturally throughout many areas of Oklahoma and the United States.
"Whether biofuels comes to Oklahoma or North Texas, the Noble Foundation will develop a better switchgrass," Rhines said. "Switchgrass will be measured by its productivity; one of those checkmarks could be from livestock production. That's our focus."
The foundation has worked with ag producers in its service area near Ardmore to plant small plots of switchgrass, and also has planted close to 1,000 acres in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
David Menzies, reporter for TriangleTechNews in Research Triangle, N.C., asked Rhines about partnerships that the state has created to advance biofuels. Rhines credited the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center for facilitating productive partnerships for the foundation.