The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 13, 2011

Out on their own: With a little help from the community

Alliance networking with locals in order to promote the area

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Enid Regional Development Alliance is doing well now on its own, but it couldn’t do it without help.

The alliance started as its own entity in 1997, but after the first director left in 2000 it combined with Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.

Two years ago, Enid Regional Development Alliance once again began functioning on its own, this time under the leadership of new executive director Brent Kisling.

In his third year as executive director, Kisling said the development alliance has been successful in three areas: “Working with entrepreneurs, working with present businesses and soliciting new businesses.”

Shortly after Kisling was hired a few years ago, Lisa Powell was hired as office manager.

Powell, an Oklahoma State University graduate, said it has been great to see all the changes in her hometown since the development alliance started its work.

“I can see the changes in Enid because my memory is 20 years old,” she said.

Since Powell’s arrival, the alliance has added a third person to the team — Noah Smith, who acts as assistant officer manager.

Those three employees make up the alliance office.

“We’re a pretty small staff for comparative counties this size,” Kisling said, “but we’re part of a much larger economic development team.”

The alliance  branches out its effort for economic development through other agencies and businesses in the community, he said. Partnerships with Autry Technology Center, Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, Enid Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Main Street Enid work to promote Enid and Garfield County.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The alliance is part of Oklahoma City Regional Partnership, as well as Northwest Oklahoma Alliance, two organizations that help Enid Regional Development Alliance branch out its efforts even further.

Kisling said he is proud of three things in particular since becoming executive director.

The first is expansion of Aircraft Structures International, aowned by Mickey Stowers.

Stowers’ business has taken advantage of tax incentives and is poised to add many jobs in the coming year.

The second is construction of a new industrial park road by Enid Woodring Regional Airport.

Finally, Kisling said, he is proud of the rapport the alliance has with site locators.

Another statistic Kisling highlights is Garfield County has been the 27th fastest job-growing rural county in the nation in the last three years.

That, he said, is something to be proud of.

Individuals or businesses interested in Enid can view an array of statistical data about the city and county at the alliance’s website, growenid.com.

They also can view opportunities for retail development, local demographics and an interactive map of available properties.

The alliance also hosts quarterly meetings at Oakwood Country Club where they invite different businesses and organizations in the community to speak.

Kisling can be reached at 548-7181 or kisling@growenid.com.