Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive May 2011 Show 1119 Interview with Dave Lopez - Oklahoma

Interview with Dave Lopez - Oklahoma

We visit with Oklahoma's Secretary of Commerce to see why he believes Oklahoma is the place to be.
Interview with Dave Lopez - Oklahoma

Rob McClendon and Dave Lopez

For more information visit this link:

Oklahoma Department of Commerce

Show Dates

Show 1119: Interview with Dave Lopez - Oklahoma

Air date: May 8, 2011

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON:  AND JOINING ME NOW HERE IN STUDIO IS DAVE LOPEZ, OKLAHOMA’S SECRETARY OF COMMERCE.  WELL MR SECRETARY, ARE WE IN A VERY OPPORTUNE TIME IN TERMS OF OUR ECONOMY WITH WHAT’S HAPPENING NATIONALLY AND WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE LOCALLY IN OKLAHOMA?

DAVE LOPEZ:  VERY MUCH SO.  IT’S ONE THAT’S BECOME MORE EVIDENT TO ME OVER THE LAST SIXTY DAYS OR SO IN THE SENSE THAT WE HAVE A REAL ADVANTAGE AT THIS MOMENT.  WE DIDN’T EXPERIENCE, AS THOSE WHO POINTED OUT, THE BOOMS AND BUSTS, PARTICULARLY, IN HOUSING THAT OCCURRED ELSEWHERE.  AND PARTICULARLY I’D SAY, BOTH COASTS, I THINK LOOK WITH SOME INTEREST NOW TO OKLAHOMA.  AND PART OF THAT TOO IS THAT REVENUES ARE CAPPED, AND WE SEE THAT FOR EXAMPLE IN THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY WHERE AS I UNDERSTAND IS IT WE CAN’T CONTINUE TO FUND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AT A GROWING RATE; IT’S GOT TO BECOME MORE EFFICIENT.  BUT PRIVATE SIDE, BUSINESSES ARE DOING THE SAME THING; THEY’RE LOOKING AT SAYING, OKAY WITH THIS ECONOMY, REVENUES MIGHT NOT BE AS STRONG AS THEY WERE BEFORE THE RECESSION, SO HOW DO WE MAINTAIN OUR PROFITABILITY?  AND THE ONLY REAL ANSWER IS TO LOOK AT THE EXPENSE LINE.  WHEN IT COMES TO EXPENSE SIDE, OKLAHOMA SHINES.  WE’RE A PLACE THAT WE LIKE TO THINK OF AS HIGH VALUE, NOT JUST LOW COST.  BUT CERTAINLY I THINK WE COMPARE VERY FAVORABLY NOT JUST WITH THE COST OF LIVING, BUT THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS.

ROB:  I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ATTRACTING INDUSTRY AND THE BUSINESS INCENTIVES THAT ARE PUT IN PLACE TRYING TO DO JUST THAT.  TELL US EXACTLY WHAT THE QUALITY JOBS PROGRAM IS AND WHY YOU BELIEVE IT MAY BE KEY TO OKLAHOMA’S SUCCESS.

LOPEZ:  WELL IT’S ONE THAT I’M JUST AMAZED AT THE RESONANCE IT GETS, NOT WITH PEOPLE LIKE US THAT TEND TO BE PROMOTERS OF THE STATE, BUT REALLY FROM THE CLIENTS WHETHER THEY’D BE NEW COMPANIES COMING TO OKLAHOMA AND JUDGING THE DIFFERENT INCENTIVES THEY MAY HAVE FROM OTHER LOCATIONS, OTHER STATES.  BUT ALSO COMPANIES HERE THAT CHOOSE TO GROW AND MAYBE GROW A BIT FASTER BECAUSE WE HAVE QUALITY JOBS.  AND IT’S A REALLY SOMEWHAT SIMPLE WAY TO RELATE TO INCENTIVES; SOME STATES RECENTLY, IT’S BEEN IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL AND OTHER PLACES, HAVE PROVIDED GRANTS SAYING IF YOU’LL COME HERE, HERE’S AND YOU NAME THE AMOUNT.  WHAT THIS ONE DOES DIFFERENT THAN THAT, INSTEAD OF BETTING ON THE PROSPECTIVE, IS IT’S ONLY PERFORMANCE BASED.  SO IF YOU COME AND YOU SAY OKAY I THINK I’M GOING TO ADD ABOUT A HUNDRED NEW JOBS OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS, WHAT WE’LL BE ABLE TO DO IS WORK WITH THAT COMPANY AND SAY, OKAY BASED ON THAT, HERE’S THE SORT OF INCENTIVE YOU’D GET FROM QUALITY JOBS.  WHAT IT WOULD DO IS PROVIDE THEM A FIVE PERCENT FACTOR TOWARDS THEIR PAYROLL FOR A TOTAL OF TEN YEARS.  SO IT’S NOT SHORT TERM, IT’S LONG TERM WHILE THE BUSINESS HOPEFULLY GROWS AND STAYS IN OKLAHOMA OR COMES TO OKLAHOMA.  BUT THOSE DOLLARS ARE ONLY PROVIDED FROM THE TAX COMMISSION AFTER THOSE JOBS ARE CREATED.  AND SO IT’S A PARTNERSHIP THAT ONE HAS TO SHOW THAT IT’S ACTUALLY PROVIDING THOSE REWARDS TO OKLAHOMA.  AND WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT IT IS WHEN WE DO THE ANALYSIS BEFOREHAND IS BECAUSE WE’RE GETTING THOSE JOBS OR RETAINING THOSE JOBS IN THE STATE, IT’S ACTUALLY NET POSITIVE TO THE STATE.

ROB:  AND IT’S ALSO A PROGRAM THAT’S GOTTEN A LITTLE BIT OF A BOOST FOR THESE REALLY HIGH PAYING, HIGH SKILLED JOBS.

LOPEZ:  VERY MUCH SO, AND THAT’S WHAT’S BEEN GREAT IN THE SENSE OF NOT JUST HAVING QUALITY JOBS, BUT NOW THERE’S A 21ST CENTURY VERSION WHICH JUST UPS THE ANTE FOR THOSE EVEN HIGHER PAYING JOBS THAT MAY BE TRIPLE WHAT THE WAGE LEVEL MIGHT BE FOR THE COUNTY THAT THEY RESIDE IN.  AND THAT’S THE OTHER PART, IT’S CALLED QUALITY BECAUSE THE JOBS THAT ARE ATTRACTED AND ARE COMPENSATED FOR ARE BASED ON SALARY LEVELS THAT ARE HIGHER THAN WHAT THE AVERAGE IS FOR THE COUNTY THAT THEY’RE IN, SO THAT WAY WE’RE BRINGING IN INCREASED PROSPERITY TO THAT COMMUNITY, AND SO THE STATE’S A WILLING PARTNER.   AND SO IT’S WORKED OUT VERY WELL.  I’D SAY IT’S OUR GOLD STANDARD AMONG THE TOOL KIT THAT WE WORK WITH.

ROB:  I WANT YOU TO LEAVE US WITH WHAT’S RIGHT ABOUT OKLAHOMA; I WANT TO HEAR YOUR ELEVATOR SPEECH.

LOPEZ:  THE ELEVATOR SPEECH, I HOPE WE’VE GOT A LOT OF FLOORS ON THIS ELEVATOR TO COVER IT, BECAUSE THERE’S SO MUCH GOOD.  RIGHT NOW I WOULD SAY THAT IF I HAD TO PUT IT IN ONE WORD, IT’S ALIGNMENT.  IT’S ALIGNMENT ON WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT OF THE, OUR, ECONOMY RELATIVE TO OTHERS.  IT’S ALIGNMENT OF HAVING A VERY FOCUSED, VERY ENERGIZED GOVERNOR LEADING US IN THIS EFFORT AND THAT GIVES US THE UNIQUE ADVANTAGE OVER ALMOST EVERY OTHER STATE.  AND THEN THE OTHER ALIGNMENT THAT I THINK WE HAVE IS THAT OKLAHOMA IS VERY ENTREPRENEURIAL, AND IN THIS ENVIRONMENT, INDUSTRY CHANGES SO FAST THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE THAT KIND OF RISK TAKING NOTION AND FRONTIER SPIRIT THAT IS JUST IN MULTIPLES IN OKLAHOMA.  SO THOSE THINGS I THINK HAVE US WELL SITUATED, AND THEN THE LAST COMPONENT, BUT MAYBE AS CRITICAL AS ANY OTHER IS ALIGNMENT IN UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THAT UNLESS WE HAVE THAT TALENTED WORKFORCE TODAY, BUT ALSO FIVE YEARS FROM NOW AND TEN YEARS FROM NOW AND THAT WE CAN TAKE CARE OF WHAT BUSINESSES NEEDS ARE FROM A WORKFORCE STANDPOINT, THAT’S GOING TO BE CRITICAL.  AND I LIKE THE ALIGNMENT WE HAVE IN OKLAHOMA AT THE MOMENT THINKING OF WHAT CAREERTECH DOES DAILY, THINKING OF WHAT WE CAN DO MORE IN THE PRE-K THROUGH TWELVE AND THEN IN HIGHER ED, ALL KEY COMPONENTS.  THERE’S SOMETIMES THE NOTION THAT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HAVING A TALENTED AND SKILLED WORKFORCE THAT, THAT MEANS OH GOSH I GUESS YOU MEAN YOU HAVE A BACHELOR’S DEGREE OR YOU HAVE A MASTER’S, IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.  BUT BUSINESSES MORE AND MORE ARE SAYING I NEED A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING, AND SO I NEED AN ARRAY OF DIFFERENT TALENTS AND SKILL SETS, BUT YES, I DO NEED THEM TO HAVE SOME CERTIFICATION AND SHOW THAT THEY HAVE DEMONSTRATED VALUE.  AND THAT’S THE SORT OF THING THAT CAREERTECH DOES EVERY DAY, SO THAT IS ANOTHER ASPECT I THINK THAT SPELLS SPECIAL ALIGNMENT AND SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR OKLAHOMA.

ROB:  ALRIGHT, SECRETARY LOPEZ, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

LOPEZ:  OH, THANK YOU!  IT’S BEEN A JOY.