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.
Oklahoma City was ranked second by Brookings' MetroMonitor for Economic Performance during the recession. Brookings looked at employment, wages, output, and housing conditions among the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Chad Richison expects to stay plenty busy in 2009. While layoffs and bankruptcies abound, Richison said he will increase his work force by nearly 20 percent before the first leaves turn orange in autumn.
His Oklahoma City-based payroll company, Paycom, has expanded into 12 markets and Richison has his eye on taking the 10-year-old company public -- eventually.
Paycom offers Web-based payroll and human resource services. The company has offices in Dallas, Denver and Chicago, and has added Tampa, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Houston; Charlotte, N.C.; and Phoenix. Richison said the company had some business in those areas and opened offices with its existing local managers.
There are about 130 Paycom employees in Oklahoma City and 250 nationwide. Richison said by the end of the summer he plans to have 150 Oklahoma City employees and 300 company-wide.
"We've been growing at a pretty steady pace for three or four years," he said.
Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said many companies are weathering the storm and even prospering in Oklahoma City where new jobs are still being added.
"We find a number of companies here that are adding 10, 100 or a couple of hundred," he said.
Williams said some companies with a national presence, like Paycom, are also doing well.
"It's a reflection of some of the positive economic activity here but sometimes it's a reflection of their national business," he said.
In 2009 Williams said large companies in Oklahoma City may add a few jobs, but he expects to see growth at smaller companies like Richison's.
Richison said Paycom adds 300 to 400 new accounts each month, primarily from small to medium-sized companies with anywhere from 30 to about 4,000 employees.
But much of the new business is not from companies new to outsourcing their payroll. Richison said his staff has mostly lured business from away competitors, including industry giant Automatic Data Processing Inc.
In 2007 Richison sold a majority share of the privately held company to private equity investment firm Carson, Anderson & Stowe. That left Paycom debt-free. Richison wants to take the company public, but he is in no hurry.
"We're obviously going to go public in a time that makes sense for us to do so," he said. "We're not going to go public just to say we're a public company."