Path Home Shows 2012 Show Archive June 2012 Show 1223 Oklahoma HORIZON TV - Show 1223

Oklahoma HORIZON TV - Show 1223

This week on Oklahoma HORIZON... we travel to McAlester to see how businesses there not only affect the local economy, but Oklahoma's economy as well.

For more information visit these links:

City of McAlester, Oklahoma
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
Choctaw Defense
Whispering Meadows
Webcoat
Atlantic-Meeco, Inc.
Pete's Place

Show Dates

Show 1223

Air date: June 3, 2012

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON:  THIS WEEK ON OKLAHOMA HORIZON.  WELL WE ARE IN MCALESTER, OKLAHOMA, THE COUNTY SEAT OF PITTSBURG COUNTY AND THE LARGEST TOWN IN THE CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA.  TODAY, WE ARE GOING TO EXAMINE WHAT MAKES THIS TOWN GO.  ANDY BARTH TAKES US TO THE MCALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT WHERE ESSENTIALLY ALL OF THE BOMBS USED BY THE U S MILITARY ARE MADE.

THE GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION NEAR THE CENTER OF THE UNITED STATES WAS IMPORTANT NOT ONLY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE IN TERMS OF ROAD AND RAIL SHIPMENT, BUT ALSO BEING ABLE TO DISTRIBUTE TO EACH OF THE EAST AND WEST COASTS.

ROB:  WE WILL ATTEND AN EVENT AND FIND OUT WHY RESIDENTS HERE SAY THEY ARE NOW WORK-READY.

I REALLY THINK IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE; IT TRULY DOES.  AND I THINK THAT HAVING OUR STUDENTS TAKE IT, WHILE THEY’RE HERE, IT EXPOSES THEM TO THAT AND THE IMPORTANCE TO OUR COMMUNITY TO DEVELOP THE SKILLS THAT THEY NEED TO BECOME EMPLOYABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

ROB:  COURTENAY DEHOFF DROPS IN ON A FAVORITE HAUNT FOR LOCALS AND ANYONE ELSE WITH A TASTE FOR THE VINE.

WE ARE A DESTINATION.  WE ARE DEFINITELY A DESTINATION.  WE HAVE WINE DOWN FRIDAYS ON FRIDAY NIGHTS.  WE HAVE LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT.  ACTUALLY OUR MAYOR IS ONE OF OUR HOUSE GROUPS THAT COMES IN.

ROB:  ALISA HINES WILL TELL US HOW OKLAHOMA’S CHOCTAW NATION BECAME OUR COUNTRY’S LEADING NATIVE AMERICAN DEFENSE CONTRACTOR.

IT’S GOING TO BE ABOUT 30 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF HARDWARE OUT OF THIS LOCATION; NEXT YEAR WE’RE PROJECTING OVER 50 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.

ROB:  KELA KELLN WILL VISIT A LOCAL MANUFACTURER THAT LAKE ENTHUSIASTS SHOULD CERTAINLY APPRECIATE.

WE DESIGN, MANUFACTURE AND INSTALL MARINAS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

ROB:  AND WE’LL STEP INSIDE A FACTORY THAT MAKES A LEISURELY AFTERNOON ON A PARK BENCH, ALL THE MORE COMFORTABLE.  STAY WITH US FOR OKLAHOMA HORIZON.

MALE ANNOUNCER:  OKLAHOMA HORIZON IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF CAREER AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER:  OKLAHOMA’S INVESTMENT IN CAREERTECH PROVIDES MORE THAN NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION AND TRAINING, IT PRODUCES SOLID FINANCIAL RETURNS FOR THE STATE’S ECONOMIC FUTURE; OKLAHOMA CAREERTECH, ELEVATING OUR ECONOMY.

MALE ANNOUNCER:  AND, THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND FORESTRY, HELPING GOOD PEOPLE GROW GOOD THINGS.  AND NOW, HERE’S YOUR HOST, ROB MCCLENDON.

ROB MCCLENDON:  HELLO EVERYONE, AS YOU CAN SEE, WE ARE OUT OF THE STUDIO, AND I’M STANDING IN FRONT OF BEAUTIFUL MCALESTER, OKLAHOMA.  LOCATED 90 MILES SOUTH OF TULSA AND ABOUT 120 MILES SOUTHEAST OF OKLAHOMA CITY, THIS HOMETOWN-FRIENDLY CITY OF MCALESTER IS A MAJOR TRADE CENTER FOR SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA AND IS ONE OF THE STATE’S OLDEST COMMUNITIES.  NOW, UNIQUE ATTRACTIONS INCLUDE THE BEAUTIFUL, AND VERY HISTORIC MCALESTER SCOTTISH RITE MASONIC TEMPLE, AND THE OKLAHOMA STATE PENITENTIARY BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WHICH HAS A MUSEUM THAT CHRONICLES FAMOUS INMATES, EARLY CHAIN GANGS, AND EVEN SOME PRISON ESCAPES.  BUT TODAY, WE ARE GOING TO FOCUS ON THE BUSINESS OF MACALESTER.  AND WHEN IT COMES TO JOBS, NO PLACE HAS A BIGGER IMPACT THAN THE LOCAL ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT.  OUR ANDY BARTH TAKES US THERE.

ANDY BARTH:  COUNTLESS HOURS ON THE PRODUCTION LINE; AND IT ALL COMES DOWN TO AN EXPLOSION.  THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE MCALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT WORK TIRELESSLY TO PRODUCE THE BEST, AND MOST DANGEROUS BOMBS, IN THE BUSINESS.

BRIAN LOTT:  THE MCALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT IS A MANUFACTURING FACILITY DEDICATED TO PROVIDING AMMUNITION AND MISSILE COMPONENTS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.

ANDY:  BRIAN LOTT IS THE DIRECTOR OF AMMUNITION OPERATIONS.

BRIAN:  THE MCALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT IS THE LARGEST EMPLOYER IN SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA.  WE HAVE AN ANNUAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF OVER 154 MILLION DOLLARS.

ANDY:  AND WITH OVER 1,500 EMPLOYEES BUILDING OVER 20 DIFFERENT TYPES OF EXPLOSIVE DEVICES, LOTT SAYS LOCATION IS KEY.

BRIAN:  THE GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION NEAR THE CENTER OF THE UNITED STATES WAS IMPORTANT NOT ONLY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, IN TERMS OF ROAD AND RAIL SHIPMENT, BUT ALSO BEING ABLE TO DISTRIBUTE TO, TO EACH OF THE EAST AND WEST COASTS.

ANDY:  ASIDE FROM BUILDING EVERY SIZE AND SHAPE OF BOMB, THE MCALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT HAS ITS OWN UNIQUE WAY OF RECYCLING.

BRIAN:  WE ALSO HAVE AN ACTIVE AMMUNITION DEMILITARIZATION PROGRAM WHERE WE REMOVE OBSOLETE AND UNSERVICEABLE AMMUNITION AND AMMUNITION ITEMS FROM THE DEFENSE INVENTORY. WE DO THAT PRIMARILY THROUGH RESOURCE RECOVERY, RECYCLING, AND REUTILIZATION PROGRAMS.

ANDY:  NOW THESE RECYCLING PROGRAMS AREN’T YOUR TYPICAL PAPER OR PLASTIC, AND SHOULD NEVER BE TRIED AT HOME.

BRIAN:  ONE OF OUR UNIQUE RECYCLING PROGRAMS IS THAT FOR TNT.  WITH OUR TNT RECYCLING PROGRAM, WE’RE ABLE TO RECOVER TNT FROM OBSOLETE AND UNSERVICEABLE AMMUNITION ITEMS AND RECERTIFY THAT FOR RE-USE IN NEW AMMUNITION PRODUCTION ITEMS.

ANDY:  AND QUALITY PRODUCTS COME FROM A QUALITY CREW; THAT LOTT SAYS HE HAS IN MCALESTER.

BRIAN:  THE STRENGTH OF THE MCALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT IS THE QUALITY OF OUR WORKFORCE.  WE HAVE A DEDICATED WORKFORCE FOCUSED ON MEETING THE NEEDS OF OUR WAR FIGHTERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

ANDY:  AND QUALITY IS KEY WHEN SERVING OUR COUNTRY’S FINEST.

BRIAN:  PRODUCING A QUALITY PRODUCT IS CRITICAL FOR US AT MCALESTER.  ALL OF OUR PROCESSES MEET RIGOROUS QUALITY STANDARDS.

ANDY:  AND STANDARDS ARE EXTRA IMPORTANT FOR ARMY MOM AND PLANT EMPLOYEE, DENE BLACK.  WITH HER CHILDREN’S BLUE STARS AROUND HER NECK, BLACK SAYS EVERYONE HERE TAKES THEIR JOB SERIOUSLY.

DENE BLACK:  THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE DEPENDING ON TO SAVE THEIR LIVES OVER THERE. IF THEY GET INTO A FIRE FIGHT THEN THEY NEED WHAT WE PRODUCE TO TAKE CARE OF THE ENEMY, AND IT NEEDS TO BE WORKABLE AND DEPENDABLE.

ANDY:  BLACK HAS BEEN WITH THE PLANT FOR OVER 30 YEARS AND SAYS SHE STRONGLY BELIEVES IN WHAT THEY ARE DOING FOR OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM.

DENE:  REALLY KNOWING THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU’RE WORKING AT A PLACE WHERE IT IS PRODUCING SOMETHING THAT IS TAKING CARE OF OUR MILITARY.

BRIAN:  IT’S IMPORTANT THAT OUR WAR FIGHTERS RECEIVE QUALITY PRODUCTS.  THEY NEED TO KNOW THAT WHAT WE PRODUCE IS GOING TO BE THE RIGHT ITEM, WE’RE GONNA TO PRODUCE IT ON TIME, AND IT’S GOING TO PERFORM AS EXPECTED.

MALE ANNOUNCER:  YOU’RE WATCHING OKLAHOMA HORIZON, FEATURING SOME OF THE GOOD THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING IN THE GREAT STATE OF OKLAHOMA.

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL INDUSTRY HERE IN MCALESTER IS CERTAINLY NOT ALONE IN NEEDING THE RIGHT EMPLOYEES FOR THE RIGHT JOB; WHICH IS WHY THEY DECIDED TO DO A LITTLE CELEBRATING WHEN MCALESTER EARNED THE OFFICIAL DESIGNATION OF A WORK READY CITY.

ROB:  IN SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA, PAN PACIFIC PRODUCTS IS STACKING UP TO BE A LEADER IN THE FOREST PRODUCTS INDUSTRY, A COMPANY ON THE CUTTING EDGE THAT FOR YEARS STRUGGLED WITH A HIGH EMPLOYEE TURNOVER RATE.  CHERYL FORTNER IS THE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGER FOR PAN PACIFIC AND SAYS THAT FINDING GOOD EMPLOYEES WASN’T ALWAYS EASY.

CHERYL FORTNER:  WE, IN THE PAST, HAVE HAD EMPLOYEES WHO HAD A HARD TIME ACCOMPLISHING THE WORK THAT WE NEEDED DONE ON THE CHOP SAW DUE TO BEING MAYBE DEFICIENT IN SOME MATH SKILLS, READING SKILLS, LOCATING INFORMATION SKILLS.

ROB:  ISSUES THAT ARE NO LONGER WORRISOME, THANKS TO SOMETHING CALLED WORK KEYS, A WORK-READY TEST AND CERTIFICATION PROCESS THAT HELPS BOTH EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS.

FORTNER:  IN 2011, WE WENT FROM AN 89% TURNOVER TO 11% TURNOVER LAST YEAR.  WORK KEYS HAS MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN OUR FACILITY.

ROB:  WHICH IS WHY REPRESENTATIVES FROM BOTH INDUSTRY AND EDUCATION ALONG WITH STATE LEADERS CAME TO THE KIAMICHI TECH CENTER IN MCALESTER TO MARK THIS AREA’S ENTRY INTO THE LARGEST WORK KEYS REGION IN THE STATE.  LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TODD LAMB SAYS WITH 97% OF OKLAHOMANS EMPLOYED BY SMALL BUSINESS, SKILLS TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR GROWING ECONOMY.

LT GOV TODD LAMB:  WHEN I TALK TO SMALL BUSINESSES, IN STATE AND OUT OF STATE, I TALK ABOUT A NUMBER OF ISSUES.  ONE OF THESE THAT THEY TALK ABOUT IS WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.  YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE WORKFORCE IS WELL EDUCATED AND WELL TRAINED.  AND THIS CERTIFICATION, THIS RE-CERTIFICATION, IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA IS IMPORTANT, NOT JUST 13 COUNTIES LIKE IT ONCE WAS, 15 COUNTIES, THE FIRST COUNTY THAT’S AGAIN A 15-COUNTY CERTIFICATION, THE FIRST TIME IT’S BEEN DONE IN OKLAHOMA.

ROB:  THAT’S BECAUSE BY COMPLETING A WORK KEYS ASSESSMENT, JOB SEEKERS HAVE THE ABILITY TO SHOW POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS EXACTLY WHAT THEY CAN DO.  AND STATE LEADERS HAVE ANOTHER TOOL TO ATTRACT NEW INDUSTRY.

LAMB:  WHEN I TRAVEL OUT OF STATE, OR THE GOVERNOR TRAVELS OUT OF STATE PEOPLE KNOW THAT WE’RE FAIRLY SUBJECTIVE ABOUT OUR HOME STATE, SO OF COURSE WE’RE GOING TO BRAG ON THEM.  BUT WHEN WE CAN POINT TO A CERTIFICATION, I MEAN THIS CERTIFICATION DOESN’T HAPPEN BY DRIVING BY A SERVICE AND YOU GET A CERTIFICATE THROWN AT YOU AS YOU DRIVE THROUGH THE DRIVE-THROUGH.  YOU HAVE TO QUALIFY; THERE’S SO MUCH YOU HAVE TO DO, SO MANY PASSING GRADES, SO MANY PASSING STUDENTS; SO MUCH PARTNERSHIPS; THIS IS AN OBJECTIVE STANDARD, A VERY HIGH THRESHOLD OF AN OBJECTIVE STANDARD THAT HAS TO BE MET.

ROB:  AND MEETING THAT STANDARD CAN MEAN THE DIFFERENCE IN GETTING THE JOB.  AT KIAMICHI TECHNOLOGY CENTER, BOTH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS HAVE ALL TAKEN THE TESTS.  EMILY STONE TEACHES ADVANCED MATHEMATICS.

EMILY STONE:  I TOOK THE TEST BECAUSE IT’S JUST, IT HELPS INSTRUCTORS LEARN WHAT OUR STUDENTS ARE GOING THROUGH BECAUSE WE TEST ALL OF OUR STUDENTS.  AND SO, IT GIVES US A TOOL TO TELL EXACTLY WHAT LEVEL WE ARE ON MATH, WHAT LEVEL WE ARE ON READING, WHAT LEVEL WE ARE ON LOCATING INFORMATION, AND THEN IT ACTUALLY BREAKS IT DOWN AND SHOWS AN EMPLOYER WHAT OUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES ARE.

ROB:  IN FACT, THE ENTIRE KIAMICHI TECHNOLOGY CENTER DISTRICT NOW REQUIRES ITS EMPLOYEES AND FUTURE EMPLOYEES TO BE WORK KEYS CERTIFIED.  APRIL MURRAY IS THE MCALESTER CAMPUS DIRECTOR.

APRIL MURRAY:  I REALLY THINK IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE; IT TRULY DOES.  AND I THINK THAT HAVING OUR STUDENTS TAKE IT WHILE THEY’RE HERE, IT EXPOSES THEM TO THAT AND THE IMPORTANCE TO OUR COMMUNITY TO DEVELOP THE SKILLS THAT THEY NEED TO BECOME EMPLOYABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

ROB:  THAT GIVES LOCAL INDUSTRY PROOF POSITIVE THAT THOSE APPLYING FOR THE JOB CAN DO THE JOB.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER:  STILL TO COME ON OKLAHOMA HORIZON, WE KICK BACK AT THE WHISPERING MEADOWS WINERY.  BUT FIRST, CHOCTAW DEFENSE.

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL UP NEXT ON OUR TRIP TO MCALESTER, OUR ALISA HINES TAKES US TO THE LEADING NATIVE AMERICAN DEFENSE MANUFACTURER IN THE NATION, CHOCTAW DEFENSE THAT JUST EARNED A TWENTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLAR FEDERAL CONTRACT.

ALISA HINES:  EACH PIECE IS CUT WITH PRECISION.

STEPHEN BENEFIELD:  ALL OF OUR MACHINING OPERATIONS HAPPEN IN MCALESTER.

ALISA:  STEPHEN BENEFIELD IS THE MANAGING OFFICER FOR CHOCTAW DEFENSE, A MANUFACTURING COMPANY HELPING SUPPORT OUR NATION’S MILITARY.

STEPHEN:  THIS YEAR WE’LL BE PRODUCING ABOUT 30 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF HARDWARE OUT OF THIS LOCATION; NEXT YEAR WE’RE PROJECTING OVER 50 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.  AND BEING A DEFENSE CONTRACTOR, ALL DEFENSE CONTRACTORS LIVE CONTRACT TO CONTRACT.

ALISA:  BUILDING VEHICLES FOR THOSE WHO ARE FIRST ON THE SCENE.

STEPHEN:  WE SUPPORT THE MARINES’ MEDIUM TACTICAL VEHICLE.  WE BUILD A FAMILY OF TRAILERS THAT GO WITH THESE.  IT’S THE LARGEST CONTRACTOR WE’VE HAD TO DATE.

ALISA:  AND STEPHEN SAYS TO DO SO, YOU HAVE TO BE EFFICIENT.

STEPHEN:  ONE THING THAT WE HAVE REALLY HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS WITH IS OKLAHOMA’S MANUFACTURING ALLIANCE ON THEIR LEAN INITIATIVES THAT THEY’VE DONE, AND THAT IS THROUGH CAREERTECH.  AND UH, I THINK IT’S ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE PROGRAMS THAT I’VE SEEN A STATE-FUNDED PROGRAM OR FEDERALLY-FUNDED PROGRAM DO THAT ACTUALLY, THAT HAS REALLY DONE MORE FOR US THAN ANY PROGRAM WE’VE EVER WORKED WITH.

ALISA:  KEVIN PRIDDLE IS THE FORMER MAYOR OF MCALESTER AND SAYS CHOCTAW DEFENSE IS GOOD FOR THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

KEVIN PRIDDLE:  IT’S VERY BENEFICIAL TO US BECAUSE OF THE EMPLOYMENT THAT THEY PROVIDE TO OUR AREA AND THE TRAINING AND AN INCREASED USEAGE OF OUR PERSONNEL IN THE AREA AS WELL.

ALISA:  AND THAT’S IMPORTANT TO STEPHEN.

STEPHEN:  WE WANT TO HELP OUR TRIBAL MEMBERS BY CREATING JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES, BUT IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE TRIBAL MEMBERS, IT’S ABOUT OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY.  NO BETTER WAY TO, YOU KNOW, TO IMPROVE A FAMILY THAN, TO GIVE THE PARENTS A GOOD PAYING JOB, AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT.

ALISA:  SO FROM OUR NATION’S DEFENSES TO LOCAL RESIDENTS, CHOCTAW DEFENSE IS BUILDING A SUPPORT SYSTEM THAT MANY WILL RELY UPON FOR YEARS TO COME.

MALE ANNOUNCER:  OKLAHOMA HORIZON IS NOW PORTABLE, JUST SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY PODCAST.  VISIT ITUNES DOT COM WHERE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD OUR SHOW FOR YOUR LISTENING OR VIEWING CONVENIENCE.

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL WHETHER YOU VISIT FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE, MCALESTER’S COMBINATION OF BIG-CITY AMENITIES AND SMALL-TOWN CHARM IS EVIDENT ALL AROUND TOWN.  AND ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO EXPERIENCE THE WARM HOSPITALITY OF MCALESTER’S PEOPLE AND ENJOY A LOCAL FINE WINE IS LOCATED RIGHT IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN.  HERE IS OUR COURTENAY DEHOFF.

COURTENAY DEHOFF:  NESTLED DEEP IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN MCALESTER, THE WHISPERING MEADOWS VINEYARD & WINERY IS FLOWING FULL OF HISTORY.

KAREN STOBAUGH:  IT BASICALLY HOUSED THE NEWTON JEWELRY STORE FOR MANY, MANY YEARS; IT WAS BUILT IN 1901.  THE LAND WAS BOUGHT FROM THE CHOCTAW AND CHICKASAW INDIANS AND THEN J J MCALESTER, WHO IS WHAT MCALESTER IS NAMED AFTER, ACTUALLY BUILT THE BUILDING.  AND, THE EVENT CENTER WAS ORIGINALLY THE NATIONAL BANK WHICH IS NOW KNOWN AS THE BANK NA.  WE’VE TOTALLY RENOVATED AND RESTORED BOTH OF THE BUILDINGS BACK TO THE ORIGINAL VENUE AND WE LOVE ‘EM.  PEOPLE REALLY LIKE THE WHOLE ATMOSPHERE, THE HISTORIC ASPECT OF IT, AND OF COURSE WE’RE IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN MCALESTER.

FEMALE VOICE:  WE DID HAVE TO, HOWEVER, DO A LITTLE BIT MORE RESTORATION.

COURTENAY:  OWNER KAREN STOBAUGH SAYS THE HISTORIC WINERY HAS QUICKLY BECOME A TOURIST DESTINATION AND A LOCAL HOT SPOT.

FEMALE VOICE:  IT’S JUST A BLEND OF WHITE GRAPES.

KAREN:  WELL, WE’RE OFF-SITE FROM THE VINEYARD, AND WE DECIDED TO BE IN A MORE HIGH TRAFFIC AREA, BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY WE’RE INTERESTED IN TOURISM.  AND, WITH THIS VENUE WE’RE ABLE TO COMBINE OUR EXPERIENCE IN WINEMAKING WITH A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE IN WINE TASTING, FOOD, AND THE WHOLE VENUE OF SHOPPING FOR GOURMET FOOD ITEMS, FOR GIFT ITEMS, AND THAT SORT OF THING FITS VERY WELL IN OUR DOWNTOWN HISTORIC LOCATION.

WHEN YOU’RE LOCATED IN THE COUNTRY, WHICH IS WHERE OUR VINEYARD IS, YOU HAVE TO BE GOING TO THAT DESTINATION, YOU HAVE TO BE DRIVING AND GOING THERE.  WHAT’S REALLY GREAT ABOUT OUR LOCATION IS PEOPLE JUST KIND OF HAPPEN ONTO US.  WE ARE A DESTINATION; WE ARE DEFINITELY A DESTINATION.  WE HAVE WINE DOWN FRIDAYS ON FRIDAY NIGHTS WITH LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT; ACTUALLY, OUR MAYOR IS ONE OF OUR HOUSE GROUPS THAT COMES IN.

COURTENAY:  LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT DRAWS CUSTOMERS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY; TURN OF THE CENTURY DÉCOR SUCH AS THE CEILINGS AND ORIGINAL FLOORING ARE ALL PART OF AN EXQUISITE RESTORATION THAT GIVES THE WINERY A DISTINCTIVE OKLAHOMA FEEL.

KAREN:  WE’VE CLIMATE CONTROLLED THIS ONE, WE POWER-WASHED IT DOWN AND LEFT IT AS ORIGINAL AS POSSIBLE, THOSE ARE ALL, AND YOUR WELCOME TO WALK IN THERE.

COURTENAY:  IN ADDITION TO TWELVE VARIETIES OF OKLAHOMA WINE, WHISPERING MEADOWS OFFERS AN ASSORTMENT OF MADE IN OKLAHOMA FOOD PRODUCTS.

KAREN:  I SEEK OUT AS MANY OKLAHOMA-BASED COMPANIES AS I CAN FIND THAT PRODUCE A QUALITY PRODUCT.  AND AS YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A WONDERFUL STATE HERE, AND WE PRODUCE A LOT OF WONDERFUL PRODUCTS IN OKLAHOMA.

COURTENAY:  AN OKLAHOMA PRIDE REFLECTED THROUGHOUT THE WINERY ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE LABELS ON THE WINE.

KAREN:  THE LABELS ARE ALL DONE BY A LOCAL AWARD WINNING WATERCOLOR ARTIST, PAULA ANDERSON, AND SHE COMES IN FOR SPECIAL EVENTS AND AUTOGRAPHS THE LABELS.  SHE DOES AN ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR PAINTING AND THEN WE TAKE THAT PAINTING, PUT IT IN A JPEG FILE, AND OF COURSE, MY LABEL COMPANY PUTS IT ON OUR LABELS.  SO, YOU HAVE AN ORIGINAL PIECE OF HER ARTWORK.

COURTENAY:  WITH UNIQUE QUALITIES, GORGEOUS RENOVATIONS, AND A WINE AND DINING EXPERIENCE LIKE NONE OTHER, KAREN BELIEVES WHISPERING MEADOWS WINE WILL KEEP FLOWING, AS THE CUSTOMERS CONTINUE TO POUR IN.

MALE ANNOUNCER:  IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN OKLAHOMA CULTURE, YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH US THROUGHOUT THE WEEK ON THE RED DIRT CHRONICLES BLOG.  LOOK FOR OUR ON THE HORIZON POSTINGS ON TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS AND TELL US WHAT YOU THINK.

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL WEBCOAT MANUFACTURING IS AT THE TOP OF THE INDUSTRIAL LADDER SO TO SPEAK, BY MAKING IT A BIT MORE PLEASANT WHERE WE REST OUR BOTTOMS.

ROB:  WELL BUSINESS IS SPARKING AT WEBCOAT MANUFACTURING, MAKING A PRODUCT KNOWN NATIONWIDE.

RODNEY WEBB:  WELL WEBCOAT MANUFACTURING IS A MANUFACTURER OF OUTDOOR FURNITURE, PICNIC TABLES AND PARK BENCHES, SIDE AMENITIES. WE MANUFACTURE EVERYTHING OUT OF STEEL WITH AN OUTDOOR PROTECTIVE COATING ON IT.

ROB:  RODNEY WEB IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF WEBCOAT MANUFACTURING AND SAYS THEIR MATERIALS ALL ORIGINATE RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

WEBB:  WE MANUFACTURE EVERY PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT GOES THROUGH THIS FACILITY. WE BRING IN ALL THE RAW MATERIALS, ALL THE RAW MATERIALS.  ALL THE STEEL THAT WE BUY, WE BUY RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

ROB:  NOT ONLY DO THEY PURCHASE LOCAL MATERIALS, WEBB SAYS THE COMPANY ALSO ENLISTS HELP FROM THE LOCAL KIAMICHI TECH CENTER.

WEBB:  THE VO-TECH IS A VERY BIG ASSET FOR WEBCOAT. WE DO A LOT OF THINGS WITH THE VO-TECH. WE PARTNER WITH THEM. THEY DO A LOT OF OUR OSHA REQUIRED SAFETY PROGRAMS. THEY DO A LOT OF BID SEARCH FOR US THROUGH THE CORP OF ENGINEERS.  WE DO A LOT OF HIRING FOR THE WELDERS RIGHT OUT OF THEIR WELDING PROGRAM. SO THE VO-TECH HERE IN THE MCALESTER AREA IS A VERY BIG ASSET FOR WEBCOAT.

ROB:  AN ASSET THAT PROVES INVALUABLE IN SUCH A DETAILED PROCESS.

WEBB:  WE BRING ALL OF THE MATERIAL IN. WE EITHER CUT IT, PUNCH IT, NOTCH IT. WE HAVE CNC PLAZMA CUTTERS WHERE WE’RE DOING DIFFERENT CUTOUT PATTERNS FOR CUSTOM LOGOS. ALL OF OUR FRAMEWORK THAT GOES UNDERNEATH THE PICNIC TABLES, WE DO OUR OWN BENDING OF THE MATERIAL. THEN THE PRODUCT GOES THROUGH A FINAL CLEANUP STAGE AND A QUALITY ASSURANCE BEFORE IT GOES TO THREE DIFFERENT COATING AREAS. AND THEN ONCE IT GOES FROM THERE IT TRAVELS OVER TO OUR SHIPPING DEPARTMENT. ONCE IT GETS TO OUR SHIPPING DEPARTMENT THAT’S WHERE THE PRODUCT IS THEN PACKAGED UP IN THE BOXES, PUT ON THE PALLETS AND THEN GOES UP TO GET READY TO LOAD OUT, THEN SHIPS ALL ACROSS THE UNITED STATES.

ROB:  HELPING PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS ONE SIT-DOWN AT A TIME.

WEBB:  OH YOU’LL SEE OUR PRODUCT EVERYWHERE. WE’VE GOT PRODUCT WE SELL TO DIFFERENT MUNICIPALITIES.  WE SELL TO CITIES.  WE SELL TO GOVERNMENT ENTITIES.  WE SELL TO SCHOOLS.  WE SELL TO HOMEOWNER GROUPS, CHURCHES.  ANYWHERE THERE IS OUTDOOR SEATING YOU’RE GOING TO SEE OUR PRODUCT.

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL HERE IN THE HEART OF OKLAHOMA, YOU MAY NOT EXPECT TO FIND A MARINA MANUFACTURER, BUT ALMOST ANYWHERE THE WATER MEETS THE SHORE, A MCALESTER-BASED COMPANY NAMED ATLANTIC MEECO HOPES TO MAKE A SALE, OF THE FINANCIAL KIND.  WITH MORE, HERE’S KELA KELLN.

KELA KELLN:  GO TO MOST ANY MARINA, AND YOU MIGHT JUST FIND A PIECE OF OKLAHOMA.

PAUL DURLACHER:  ATLANTIC-MEECO IS IN THE MARINA BUSINESS. WE DESIGN, MANUFACTURE, AND INSTALL MARINAS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

KELA:  PAUL DURLACHER IS THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF ATLANTIC-MEECO AND SAYS THAT THESE GIANT FLOATING STRUCTURES ARE WHERE PEOPLE PARK THEIR BOATS.

DURLACHER:  IT’S JUST LIKE A GARAGE FOR A BOAT, IF YOU WILL.

KELA:  AND WHILE LOCATED IN MCALESTER, OKLAHOMA, ATLANTIC-MEECO’S PRODUCTS ARE BUILT AND SHIPPED NATIONWIDE.

DURLACHER:  THE DOCKS ARE CONSTRUCTED IN SECTIONS, WHICH ARE THEN TRANSPORTED AND BOLTED TOGETHER ON LOCATION, AND THEN FLOATED AND ANCHORED IN PLACE.

KELA:  AND DURLACHER SAYS THE COMPANY’S CENTRAL LOCATION IS KEY TO THEIR SUCCESS AS WELL AS THE QUALITY OF WORKFORCE AVAILABLE IN MCALESTER.

DURLACHER:  WELL THE TECH CENTER PROVIDES, THEY PROVIDE US WITH SKILLED WELDERS FROM THE COMMUNITY WHICH IS SOMETHING WE NEED TO KEEP OUR MANUFACTURING OPERATION GOING HERE LOCALLY. THEY ALSO PROVIDED US WITH MANY DIFFERENT, EVERYTHING FROM CPR TRAINING TO SUPERVISORY TRAINING, ACROSS THE YEARS.  SO, WE HAVE A PRETTY CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TECH CENTER.

KELA:  AND WITH AMERICANS LOVE OF THE WATER, DURLACHER SAYS ALANTIC-MEECO IS SURE TO CONTINUE TO STAY AFLOAT.

ROB MCCLENDON:  AND FINALLY TODAY, WHILE NOT OFFICIALLY IN MCALESTER, THE NEARBY TOWN OF KREBS IS KNOWN AS OKLAHOMA'S LITTLE ITALY; AND IS FAMOUS FOR ITS GREAT CUISINE, WHICH IS WHY WE JUST COULDN’T PASS UP A TASTE.

ALISA HINES:  FOR MANY IT’S A STOP ALONG THE WAY.

KATIE WALTERS:  PEOPLE WILL BE TRAVELING THROUGH AND THEY’LL SAY, OH, WELL WE WERE GOING DOWN TO SO AND SO, BUT WE REALLY HAD TO MAKE SURE THAT PETE’S PLACE WAS ON OUR ROUTE, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE WE REALLY, IT’S BEEN SOMETHING OUR FAMILY AND OUR PARENTS AND OUR GRANDPARENTS HAVE DONE FOR YEARS AND YEARS.

ALISA:  PETE’S PLACE.  KATIE WALTERS IS PETE’S GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER AND SAYS IT’S AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT WITH A UNIQUE STYLE.

KATIE:  HERE AT PETE’S PLACE WE DO THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY.  WHEN YOU COME IN AND YOU WANT A STEAK FOR DINNER, THERE’S NO SIDE ITEMS, YOU GET EVERYTHING, IT’S JUST KIND OF SERVED FAMILY STYLE.  YOU’LL GET SALAD AND BREAD IN JUST BIG BOWLS FOR EVERYONE TO SHARE.  AND YOU GET BIG PLATTERS OF SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS AND RAVIOLI.  IT’S JUST ENDLESS; IT’S JUST A LOT OF FOOD.  AND PEOPLE COME HERE BECAUSE THEY CAN JUST KEEP GETTING MORE AND MORE, AND THEY EAT UNTIL THEY’RE JUST COMPLETELY SICK.

ALISA:  WHICH YOU CAN DO IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN DINING ROOM.

KATIE:  PEOPLE LIKE TO COME HERE BECAUSE OF THE PRIVATE DINING, BECAUSE IT’S JUST KIND OF, YOU CAN BRING YOUR CHILDREN AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THEM.  WE HAVE DOORS ON ALL OF THE PRIVATE DINING ROOMS; SO IT’S JUST KIND OF A HOME EXPERIENCE.

ALISA:  NOW ACCORDING TO KATIE’S BROTHER, ZACH PRICHARD, YOU CAN EAT MANY MADE IN OKLAHOMA PRODUCTS AT PETE’S PLACE.

ZACH PRICHARD:  THE RESTAURANT HAS BEEN LOYAL TO MANY MADE IN OKLAHOMA PRODUCTS.  MANY OF OUR STEAKS AND OUR OTHER MEATS ARE CUT FROM MADE IN OKLAHOMA COMPANIES.  WE’VE BEEN VERY HAPPY WITH THE PRODUCTS AND THE QUALITY THAT MADE IN OKLAHOMA HAS PRODUCED.

ALISA:  INCLUDING THE PRODUCT MADE RIGHT NEXT DOOR, CHOC BEER.

KATIE:  ORIGINALLY WHEN WE STARTED BREWING CHOC BEER, WE JUST HAD ONE BEER, CHOC BEER.  IT’S JUST A CLOUDY, UNFILTERED WHEAT BEER THAT PETE ACTUALLY GOT THE RECIPE FROM THE CHOCTAW INDIANS.  A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK, OH, WE WANT TO TRY SOME OF THAT CHOCOLATE BEER, WE’VE HEARD ALL ABOUT IT.  AND WE’RE LIKE, NO IT’S ACTUALLY, IT’S A WHEAT BEER, FROM YOU KNOW, THE WAVING WHEAT IN OKLAHOMA.

ALISA:  A FAMILY HERITAGE WITH THEIR OWN PROCESS.

ZACH:  WE BEGIN WITH RAW GRAIN THAT COMES IN, MOST OF IT COMES IN FROM EUROPE AND THEN WE GET WHEAT THAT COMES IN FROM THE UNITED STATES.  TO THE GRAIN, TO THE WHEAT, AND TO THE BARLEY WE ADD WATER AT DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES TO GET DIFFERENT AMOUNTS OF EXTRACT, OF SUGAR EXTRACTS, OUT OF THE WATER.  AND AFTER THAT PROCESS, WE PUT IT INTO BIG TANKS, IN BIG STAINLESS STEEL TANKS CALLED FERMENTERS, AND WE ADD YEAST.  NOW THE YEAST FEEDS ON THE SUGARS AND THAT PRODUCES WHAT WE LOVE TO DRINK, THE BEER.  SO THAT’S A PRETTY TYPICAL BREWING PROCESS.

ALISA:  A PROCESS THAT PRODUCES APPROXIMATELY 5,000 BARRELS OF BEER EACH YEAR AND HELPS BRING CUSTOMERS INTO PETE’S PLACE YEAR, AFTER YEAR, AFTER YEAR.

ROB:  NEXT TIME ON OKLAHOMA HORIZON, WE HEAD OUT TO OKLAHOMA’S WHEAT COUNTRY TO SEE WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR CAN MAKE.

I THINK I HAVE A PICTURE ON MY PHONE FROM LAST YEAR, CUTTING THIS VERY SAME FIELD.  AND WE WERE DOING LIKE SEVEN MILES AN HOUR, EIGHT MILES AN HOUR BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING TO CUT, SO I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT WE HAD REALLY, IT WAS THAT BAD.  AND THIS YEAR, I’M GOING, OF COURSE MY SPEED’S NOT EXACTLY RIGHT, BUT ONE-NINE, YOU KNOW.

ROB:  OKLAHOMA’S BUMPER WHEAT CROP, ON OKLAHOMA’S SHOW FOR THE HEARTLAND, OKLAHOMA HORIZON.

ROB:  WELL THAT IS GOING TO WRAP UP OUR TIME HERE IN MCALESTER.  WE’LL BE BACK IN OUR STUDIOS NEXT WEEK.  HOPE TO SEE YOU THEN.

MALE ANNOUNCER:  HORIZON IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF CAREER AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION; AND THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND FORESTRY, HELPING GOOD PEOPLE GROW GOOD THINGS.  COPIES OF TODAY’S SHOW ARE AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE, OKHORIZON.COM; THANK YOU FOR WATCHING OKLAHOMA HORIZON.