Claremore Daily Progress

June 5, 2013

Thompson resigning economic development post

Staff Reports
Claremore Progress

CLAREMORE —

Mickey Thompson has submitted his resignation as executive director of the Claremore and Rogers County Development Authorities and the Claremore Rogers County Partnership.  
He has requested an effective date of July 1 but has offered his services on an as-needed basis to complete unfinished projects or for special assignments until a successor is in place. His not-for-profit organization management career focused on community, business and economic development.   
In addition to his work in Rogers County, his expertise has been employed by several Oklahoma chambers of commerce, economic development organizations (Tulsa Metro Chamber, Broken Arrow Chamber and Economic Development Corporation and Claremore Rogers County Partnership), State of Oklahoma Department of Commerce and United States Chamber of Commerce.  
The Rogers County Industrial Development Authority convinced Thompson to interrupt his planned retirement after his resignation three years ago as president and CEO from the Broken Arrow Chamber and Economic Development Corporation.   He was instrumental in combining the management and marketing functions of RCIDA and CIEDA into a more efficient and effective Claremore Rogers County Partnership; a move that he is quick to say is likely to make the most effective long-term impact on the area’s economy. 
Thompson is a graduate of Oklahoma State University’s School of Journalism & Broadcast; he completed the Institutes for Organization Management and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.  He was designated a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).  
His life work in business recruitment, business incentives and financial assistance, small business services, existing business retention and expansion, workforce development, economic and demographic research and marketing has helped attract numerous new enterprises, expansions of existing businesses and new venture formations.  His specialty is consulting on matters of business finance, facility locations and industrial real estate with expertise in governmental incentives, inducements and accommodations for business development.
“No one, least of all those of us who are practitioners in the field or community leaders,” Thompson said, “should ever be satisfied with economic conditions or economic development accomplishments; but, it’s ok to take a proper amount of pride when we have good results.”  Thompson hopes that everyone appreciates the efforts “of involved political and professional public officials, business and community leaders and those of us who work professionally to grow the economy.”  
During his watch, Thompson counts as most significant the major employment expansion at Baker Hughes, the new $40 million Baker Hughes R & D Center, the new electrical substation financing and construction to serve all of the BH facilities and expansion of electrical service capacity to serve additional industrial growth.  He has great expectations for the recently constructed and newly dedicated John Carle Blvd industrial access road that permits additional industrial expansion, the first of which will be a new AXH Air Coolers facility.  
It took over five years to arrange the financing, design and construction of the BNSF Multimodal Industrial Rail Spur.  Thompson believes that it will become a major industrial attraction and spin off lots of employment growth.  “We hope soon to have completed the lengthy and difficult re-employment at the unproductive Burgess Norton and Pratt Whitney properties and expect to enjoy the benefits of a couple of hundred new jobs there,” Thompson anticipated.
He expects that Trinity Rail, having taken over the closed DMI facility in Catoosa, will add a few hundred jobs over the next several years; Melton Trucking is building a new corporate headquarters at their Catoosa facility.  Over in Oologah, finally and at long last, a supermarket is about to be constructed.  The Summerlin Industrial Park is open for business in Inola and the first of three new industrial facilities is under construction, Thompson explained. 
“Three more important things,” Thompson continued, “is the Port of Catoosa that has had several recent expansion events and continues to have a major impact upon our economy; the Claremore airport continues to attract capital investment and is a major community asset; and, the small business incubators have attracted several promising new enterprises.”
“Relatively speaking”, Thompson exclaimed, “compared to earlier experiences here or to other communities, all of that is a pretty good body of work for a three or four year stint and these are just major events; there were significant small business ventures created, located, or expanded.”  
Thompson said that he is very proud of what our boards, our staff and the leadership of our communities have accomplished.  “I’m glad to have been a part of it but I’m even more pleased with the number of entities and individuals who showed up and put shoulders to our economic development wheels.”    
“Despite all of the difficulties, disappointments, challenges, accomplishments, aggravations, frustrations and all of the rest of it, on balance, I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” Thompson stated.  Even when the scenarios were all wrong; they were still interesting, challenging and memorable.  “The same can be said of the people that I’ve come to know,” he added.
Thompson related his surprise with the economic development potential of Rogers County and said that he is impressed with the spirit of community.  “I’m very pleased to have made acquaintances and friendships with some really terrific and outstanding people that I otherwise would have never known.”  “I will miss being on hand,” Thompson said, “as the leaders of Rogers County continue to strengthen the economies and quality of living in their communities.” 
Thompson said blending RCIDA and CIEDA made it possible for both organizations to survive during difficult economic times and reductions in revenues of 75% over the last several years.  “We’ve had some successes and more will come,” “Economic development is woefully underfunded but this is an extraordinary location for economic growth and the opportunity is immense,” said Thompson.  “The job has become much more than I bargained for and I’m compelled to at least try semi-retirement, again.”