Legislative Kick Off Luncheon
We hosted the Legislative Kick-Off Luncheon on Friday, March 10 at the Lawton Country Club.
As the state legislative session begins, this was an opportunity for guests to meet with state legislators and engage with them.
We look forward to hearing about the events of the Legislative Session at the Legislative Wrap-Up Luncheon June 10.
Thank you to our sponsors!
Business After Hours March 2017
We would like to thank Billingsley Ford of Lawton for hosting Business After Hours for March!
At the event we celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of the renovated dealership.
If you missed this event, mark your calendars now for April 4 at Planet Fitness for Business B4 Breakfast and for our next Business After Hours at Lawton Marketing Group on April 20!
Breakfast B4 Business - March 2017
Tuesday, March 7, Sleep Inn and Suites hosted Business B4 Breakfast.
Attendees got to mingle and get a great breakfast before they headed off to work!
We would like to thank Sleep Inn and Suites for hosting this event! If you missed this event, mark your calendars now for April 4 at Planet Fitness for Business B4 Breakfast and for our next Business After Hours at Lawton Marketing Group on April 20!
Young Professionals of Lawton Fort Sill (YPLFS) will serve as a developmental hub to connect young career bound leaders to the social, civic, and business resources within the community. Alike, it will serve as the voice of the arising career bound generation while continuing to promote the positive image of Lawton, the successes of Lawton, and the reasons to live and pursue careers in Lawton.
The Young Professionals Board is making progress and inching closer to the GRAND LAUNCH to the entire community April 27, 28, 29 at the Apache Casino Hotel Event Center – If you’re a Young Professional in Lawton, you don’t want to miss out on the launch weekend
Corporate Sponsorship information and ticket information will be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Lawton-Fort Sill Economic Development Corporation hires community leader
The Lawton-Fort Sill Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors announced that Brad Cooksey would assume the role as Executive Vice-President with the intent to assume the role of President no later than the end of the calendar year.
Prior to joining the LED, he worked in commercial real estate for Insight Commercial Real Estate Brokerage. During his tenure with Insight, Cooksey procured new tenants for a portfolio of commercial properties that would bolster the growth of the Lawton-Fort Sill Community. He also has a background in commercial insurance working for J.T. Neal Insurance Agency, Inc. and Wilcox & McGrath.
“Brad is a long-time Lawton resident who has spent his 19 year career in roles focused on strengthening his community,” said Phil Kennedy, Chairman of the Board. “We are pleased to have him lead the Lawton-Fort Sill Economic Development Corporation.”
Cooksey began his professional career as a teacher and high school coach at Eisenhower High School. He has served the Lawton-Fort Sill area in his community involvement, as well. He has served as the President of the Lawton Public School Foundation, member of the Spirit of Survival Marathon Committee, Chamber of Commerce Board Member, AMBUCS, Board Member of Cameron University Foundation, and Leadership Lawton Fort Sill.
“I am proud to be from Lawton Fort Sill,” said Cooksey. “Lawton is my home, and I want to make it a choice location for new businesses to bring their operations here.”
Cooksey is the son of the late Mildred and Johnny Cooksey. He graduated from Eisenhower High School, then went on to graduate from Cameron University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Science with a Minor in Mathematics. Cooksey attended Cameron University on a full scholarship for the Men’s Basketball team.
Cooksey and his wife, Karen, reside in Lawton where they are raising their boys, Carson and Colin. Cooksey continues to remain committed to the Lawton-Fort Sill Community and working to ensure it continues to thrive and prosper.
Business After Hours
Director of Corrections
Director of Corrections, Joe Allbaugh, addressed overpopulation, understaffing, aging facilities and budgeting issues related to prison facilities.
Education Action Group
Show Me the $$ - James Taylor with Workforce Oklahoma guides students in the preparation of resumes.
Bridges Out of Poverty
Leadership Lawton Fort Sill Class XXVI has chosen to support the Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World program that is presented by The Salvation Army. This program takes individuals in poverty through a journey that builds their resources for a more prosperous life for themselves, their families, and their communities. Getting Ahead in a Just Getting’ By World is a hand-up based program and not a handout, however, they provide those attending with weekly stipends, meals, childcare, class material and knowledge to empower and invest. All this takes place through a 20 week, 45-hour workshop experience. As we all know, poverty is an ongoing issue, Leadership Lawton Fort Sill Class XXVII has made it a priority to be part of the solution to ending poverty.
- Knocking Down Poverty One Pin at a Time:
Join the Leadership Lawton Fort Sill Class XXVII at our first fundraiser! Bowling for the cause, Five Person Best Ball Tournament!
March 18, 2017
2PM – 6PM
$30 – Per Person (5 people to a team)
1st Place Prize - $250
Register to win: 32” TV, Goodyear Oil Change, Goodyear Tire Rotation and a 35% off Tires Coupon
Other activities: 50/50 Drawing and Information Booth for LLFS Class XXVII with bracelet sales.
- Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser
Join the Leadership Lawton Fort Sill Class XXVII for breakfast before a busy Saturday!
April 22, 2017
8AM – 10AM
Co-Op Coordinating Council
On February 22, the Co-Op Coordinating Council met to begin planning the events for the coming year. With many events on their calendar, they look forward to a busy year of community service and new partnerships!
The Lawton Fort Sill Co-Op works to promote unity between Lawton businesses and Fort Sill Soldiers. Co-Op builds lasting relationship through partnership. Business leaders look forward to developing relationships with Fort Sill Soldiers, Marines and their families in the coming year. If you aren’t a Co-Op member yet, it is never too late to join. For more information contact Jamie Southerland today.
Supporting the Arts
On February 24, Arts for All held their Fund Drive Kick-Off Luncheon and Lawton Arts & Humanities Council Awards. It was a great opportunity for our community to support the art community here in Lawton Fort Sill.
The luncheon's guest speaker was Ervin Randle, owner of Classic Lawton Chevrolet. A gifted athlete and leader, he spoke about his life from Mumford, Texas to Lawton, Oklahoma shared why he believes it is important to give back to one's community.
Congratulations to all of the award winners at the event!
Business After Hours - Apache Casino Hotel
We would like to thank the Apache Casino Hotel for hosting the largest Business After Hours to date. 224 people attended Thursday Night's event.
Attendees were able to get a look at Lawton Fort Sill's newest event space, while mingling with friends new and old. The Apache Casino Hotel Orchestra provided a great ambiance while guests mingled.
If you missed out on this fantastic event, make plans to attend Breakfast B4 Business at Sleep Inn on March 7 as well as the next Business After Hours at Billingsley Ford on March 9.
Chamber Board members and committee chairs met to outline the 2017-2018 Business Plan.
Attendees evaluated progress on the current business plan, reviewed the long range plan, added new ideas and decided the best course of action to reach their goals. This plan advances to the Finance Committee to determine the necessary financial resources to achieve results.
2017 Member Verification Forms
Make sure your business is accurately represented! It is up to you to tell us about changes.
ATTENTION: Rather than sent by standard mail, this year Verification Forms were e-mailed on February 28, 2017. This will not change the action for you, the Chamber still expects them to be returned either by email, by FAX, or standard mail.
They are due April 28, 2017, which allows 2 months to complete and return. Whether you're an Individual Member, a Student Member, or a Business Member of our Chamber, please monitor your e-mail to receive the 2017 Verification Form. If you have changes to be made, or if no changes, we ask that ALL members return the form to assist the Chamber with keeping accurate records. We plan to print our annual Member Directory in July, so it is very important to make appropriate revisions/corrections on your account in the allotted time.
1) Check your email February 28, 2017. If you do not see the email subject “Chamber Verification Form” in your INBOX, we ask you check your JUNK or SPAM folders. Once you identify the email, review your Chamber profile on your form to ensure accuracy and correctness.
2) Mark through and make any necessary changes on the form. If no changes, state "no changes."
3) SIGN & Return to the Chamber either by standard mail, e-mail, FAX, or in person.
"Research shows that 68 cents out of every dollar spent in local businesses stay here in our community. The sales tax on these purchases made locally fuel economic development, fund road improvements, parks, schools as well as provide jails and detention centers, just to name a few."
Meet with the Director of Corrections
Visitors in Lawton
Did you notice an influx of people in our community this past weekend? Well, there are two big reasons why. One is The Wichita Mountain Quilt Guild held their bi-annual quilt show this past weekend. This event was held at the Great Plains Coliseum. This event promoted the art and history of quilting in our local community and state. The second reason is The Lawton Fort Sill Duplicate Bridge Club had their annual tournament at Apache Casino Hotel Event Center. Overall there were around 1,000 people who got to visit our great community!
Legislative Luncheon Opportunity
Success By 6 Receives State Grant
United Way of Southwest Oklahoma (UWSWOK)'s in-house education program, Success By 6, received notification that the program had been chosen as one of five grant recipients from Smart Start Oklahoma for the remainder of this fiscal year.
For over a decade, Success By 6 has been working with community partners in Southwest Oklahoma to ensure that all children have access to books through several programs. "This grant is unique in that so few applicants were selected for funding," stated President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Oklahoma, Lauren Ellis. "Being awarded this grant validates the good work that Success By 6 and our community partners have been doing for over a decade. We are excited to see our state continue to see the importance of early childhood education."
The over $30,000 in funding from Smart Start Oklahoma will allow Success By 6 to research the deeper issues affecting early childhood education and make a plan for workable solutions. Success By 6 will report on the findings of the research at an Oklahoma Partnership School Readiness board meeting in May of 2017.
To find out more about Success By 6 or United Way of Southwest Oklahoma please visit their facebook page or website at www.uwswok.org.
2017 SW OK LEGISLATIVE RECEPTION
The Chamber, along with 6 other Southwest Oklahoma Chambers, hosted the 22nd Annual Southwest Oklahoma Legislative Reception on Tuesday February 7, 2017 at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
Attendees had the opportunity to mingle with their current delegation and meet new area legislators. The Reception is an event where chamber members, legislators and state officials gather for an evening of hors d'oeuveres, socialization and discussion.
Every state senator and state representative was invited to attend. Many state agency leaders have been invited as well. The Chamber co-hosts this event with Chambers from: Altus, Chickasha, Duncan, Elgin, Frederick, and Walters.
Breakfast B4 Business
Tuesday, February 7, we had our first Business B4 Breakfast. We saw a wonderful launch to this new program!
Attendees got to mingle and taste some fantastic coffee at CherryBerry before they headed off to work!
We would like to thank CherryBerry for hosting this event! If you missed this event, mark your calendars now for February 16 at Apache Casino Hotel’s new event center for Business After Hours and for our next Business B4 Breakfast at Sleep Inn on March 7!
SMA Preston Luncheon
The Fires Chapter of AUSA, the Military Affairs Committee and the Co-Op Committee hosted a luncheon in honor of Sergeant Major of the Army (Retired) Kenneth O. Preston. Attendees learned about the future of the Army and celebrated our community’s cohesion and patriotism.
SMA Preston was the 13th Sergeant Major of the Army, and now serves as the Director of NCO & Soldier programs for AUSA National in Washington, D.C.
National Job Shadow Day
Three students from Gateway Success Center shadowed staff members at the Chamber on National Job Shadow Day.
"Today I got a look at the business community," said Olivia, one of the students, "and I think it is something I want to pursue after high school."
The Chamber’s Education Action Group encouraged members to use this day to better connect Lawton students with our business community.
"It was interesting to see how everyone works together," said another student, Breonna. "Everyone here is equal parts of a whole system."
While at the Chamber the Convention and Visitors Bureau took time to show them a little bit about the community they live in.
"I had no idea there was so much to do in Lawton," said Chyna, another one of the student shadows. "Today showed us what all there is to do in the community."
Fires Patriot Breakfast
On Friday, February 3rd, Fires Patriots (formerly known as Cannon Cockers) received an update from Consultants, Bob Milner and Mike Hogan.
Congratulations Ervin Randle!
One of our very own members received the Abner V. McCall Humanitarian Award from Baylor University. On behalf of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, we are very proud to say Congratulations to Ervin Randle! Keep up the great work Erv!
New Member-to-Member Benefit
We have a brand new Member-to-Member Benefit from Auteur Management Solutions!
Want to be more productive at work? Boost motivation in the office? Reduce stress and sickness? A new janitorial service for your business could be the answer! Auteur Management Solutions is offering a member to member benefit for commercial janitorial services. Inclusive of Chamber members only, included in this offering is a free consultation and a 15% discount off regularly priced services (with a signed contract). Call 580-574-4092 or e-mail email@example.com to take advantage of this exclusive offer!
Doing Lawton Fort Sill Good!
We have many organizations in our community that go above and beyond to make Lawton Fort Sill better. One of those organizations is Hearts That Care Clinic located at 304 SW A Avenue.
The purpose of the Hearts That Care Clinic is to provide care to people without health insurance who do not have access to physicians and clinics in the area. The clinic is run on a volunteer basis. Providers donate their time to assist in running the clinic.
To learn more about Hearts That Care or to volunteer visit their website at www.heartsthatcarelawton.org
Attention New Members!
The Chamber hosts a New Member Welcome Reception approximately every 6 months to greet and socialize with our newest members. If you (or your representative business) have recently joined the Chamber within the past 6 months (approx September 2016 through now), stop by on March 29th at 3:30 for a great social hour, a chance to meet the Chamber Staff, Board, Volunteers, and Committee Chairman, but most importantly a chance to voice your business to others!
Business After Hours January 2017
Thursday, January 19, we had our first Business After Hours of 2017. It was a great way to start the new year!
Attendees were able to form new connections, and mingle with friends at the newly renovated Red Dirt Reloaded.
We would like to thank Red Dirt Reloaded for hosting this event! If you missed this month’s event, mark your calendars now for February 3 at Apache Casino Hotel’s new event center!
Oklahoma Receives REAL ID Extension through June 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin along with legislative leaders today announced that Oklahoma has received an extension through June 6, 2017, to meet the requirements in the REAL ID Act. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that failure for the state to act during the 2017 legislative session on legislation committing Oklahoma to all the REAL ID requirements could result in the denial of future extension requests.
Without the extension, federal agencies later this month would have been prohibited from accepting Oklahoma driver's licenses and identification cards, meaning those without identification that complies with the REAL ID Act won't be able to enter a federal building, military base or courthouse. REAL ID enforcement for boarding commercial aircraft is scheduled to begin Jan. 22, 2018.
The letter states that “for the duration of this extension, federal agencies may accept Oklahoma-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards for official purposes in accordance with the phased enforcement schedule and existing agency policies.”
“Although this is great news for Oklahomans, this is only a temporary fix,” said Fallin. “While there will be no restrictions on individuals using Oklahoma licenses to fly or access federal buildings through June, legislation must be approved this session to make this permanent. I will continue to work with legislators, the state Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma’s congressional delegation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure a permanent solution is passed into law before this extension expires in June.”
Identical letters sent to Fallin and Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz and House Speaker Charles McCall state that DHS “recognizes Oklahoma’s efforts in enhancing the security of its driver’s licenses and identification cards” and granted the extension “indicating the plans of your administration and state legislative leaders to move forward on a legislative solution and their expectation that a vote will occur in the 2017 legislative session. This extension is intended to provide Oklahoma with the opportunity to take any necessary steps needed to meet all the requirements of the REAL ID Act and implementing regulation.”
“I’m pleased Oklahoma has been granted an extension by the Department of Homeland Security,” Schulz said. “DHS recognized Oklahoma’s sincere efforts to resolve issues in complying with the federal REAL ID law. This is an important issue for the thousands of Oklahomans whose livelihoods depend upon access to federal buildings and military installations, and it is an issue of convenience in regards to airline travel. There’s still more work to do to solve this issue permanently, but addressing REAL ID compliance will remain a high priority when the Legislature convenes in a few weeks.”
McCall said: “I am very pleased that the federal government is giving us additional time to develop a legislative solution to this issue. This extension will allow our citizens to continue to interact with our federal entities without interruption. House Republicans are committed to a solution that will bring Oklahoma into compliance with the Real ID Act while also protecting the privacy and liberty of our citizens.”
Fallin, Schulz and McCall wrote a letter last month to DHS requesting the extension.
Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to make driver's licenses harder to forge. Oklahoma legislators in 2007 passed a bill forbidding the state from meeting provisions of the act.