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.
A small-business owner from Oklahoma City who overcame personal and business challenges to lead her environmental remediation firm to success has been named the 2009 National Small Business Person of the Year.
Jeanne Sellmeyer and her firm, ASSET Group Inc., received the annual Small Business Administration honor from a pool of 53 state small-business winners, including representatives from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The announcement was made Tuesday evening during an awards dinner in Washington, part of National Small Business Week. Sellmeyer and Jennifer Fogg, ASSET's president and chief operating officer, were in Washington for the annual event.
Sellmeyer, 42, is Oklahoma's first small-business person of the year to snag the national honor since Rainbows and Halos founder Amelia McCoy, from Lamar, received the award in 1992.
"Jeanna Sellmeyer is a perfect example of the grit and determination it takes to become a highly successful entrepreneur in America today," SBA Administrator Karen Mills, who announced the winners, said in a statement. "Hers is a story of beating the odds and coming back on top, surviving daunting obstacles to lead her environmental remediation firm and its 100 employees to a leadership position in her industry.
"In doing so, Jeanna demonstrates the qualities that make small businesses such a powerful force in the American economy, and in their communities."
Sellmeyer, on her way home to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, said the win was quite unexpected.
"I was shocked, but it was great," she said. "When you looked at the competition, it was strong. There were a lot of great people who have done a lot of great things."
Climbing to the top
Sellmeyer's climb to business success came after surviving a brain tumor and struggling to get the business she founded in 1990 to continue after the 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina.
The Oklahoma native relocated ASSET Group to Oklahoma City in 2002, and since has refocused the company to provide emergency services, including construction and remediation to FEMA and other federal agencies.
ASSET Group is now one of the region's most successful federal construction and remediation contractors with just less than 100 employees, more than $45 million in revenues, and project locations ranging from California to Florida.
Sellmeyer credits her team for ASSET's strength, and said the award doesn't really change her motivation to grow or the company's bottom line.
"Tomorrow we put our boots back on and hit the ground running," she said.