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.
Researchers across Oklahoma and the United States are focusing on creating new nanotechnology applications in today's market. Nanotechnologies are products that focus on control, synthesis and characterization of particles less than 100 nanometers.
Some applications of nanotechnologies in our great state include the manufacture of carbon nanotubes, use of nanoscale titanium dioxide in the cosmetics industry and use of hydrophobic (water hating) nanoparticles in prosthetics. These applications have the ability to revolutionize sectors of science and technology.
As a researcher, Oklahoma Nanotechnology Initiative advisory board member, EDGE policy board member and entrepreneur, I am excited to see the direction nanotechnology is taking in Oklahoma. We have the vision, scientists and support of our Legislature to launch Oklahoma as an emerging player in this industry.
National Nano Week, which begins Monday, marks a historic event in Oklahoma's science and technology industries. Oklahoma will host the National Nanotechnology Initiative NanoRegional workshop, "Regional, State and Local Initiatives in Nanotechnology" bringing nationally recognized leaders of nanotechnology to Oklahoma. These leaders will have the opportunity to tour Oklahoma nanotechnology companies and view the premier of "Molecules to the Max," an IMAX RPI movie about nano at the Science Museum Oklahoma. This is exciting because Oklahoma is the first to show this film in America on an IMAX screen.
In three years, Oklahoma has grown from six to 41 nano-companies, resulting in a 683 percent increase of nano-companies in our state. It is phenomenal to see this area of growth in Oklahoma not only to companies emerging from universities, but also within the private sector. This relates to high-paying jobs ultimately resulting in taxpayers stimulating the economy.
Oklahoma is the first state in the nation to implement an incentive program helping companies use nanotechnology to create product applications. This incentive program, the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Sharing Incentive Act of 2006, is made possible by the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Applications Project funded through the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
Oklahoma is fast becoming recognized as a leader in several technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and wind, oil and gas technologies. Our state is seeing the benefit of investment in technology, demonstrated by being voted as the most recession proof state by Fortune magazine in 2008 and our current low unemployment rate.
As a native Oklahoman investing in technology in our state, I see the success of Oklahoma and state legislators supporting the vision of researchers and entrepreneurs in technology. I am enthusiastic about seeing our state emerge as an influential and key player in this industry creating opportunities in Oklahoma and our nation.
Kupiec is CEO of Analytical Research Laboratories and DNA Solutions.