The third annual E3 Summit was conducted Tuesday in the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Ballroom.
The economic summit lasted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., covering subjects such as education, employment and transportation in the area.
The summit is a tool to promote exchanges businesses and leaders in the Texoma area, according to Kathy Hendrick, director of SOSU’s Center of Regional Competitiveness.
“It’s trying to keep the communication lines open between North Texas and southeast Oklahoma,” said Hendrick. “Right now, it’s just getting the information out and building relationships.”
One topic of interest was education.
An eighth-grade Bryan County Career Discovery Day is planned for October to focus on preparing children for the workforce. Businesses represented at the summit were called upon to help in this venture by volunteering time to speak with children at this event.
By giving children ideas of what they might want for their careers and preparing them early, the hope is that the region can produce more qualified workers, and a greater awareness of available jobs and qualifications needed to obtain them.
A 2010 SE graduate also spoke about how college helped her. Now working for Fossil Inc., Chanel Turner said her experience at the university made her into the person she is today, as a professional and as a woman.
She spoke about how the staff worked closely with students and cared for each one.
“They really invest in their students’ lives,” said Turner.
The new “Promise Zone” designation for the Choctaw Nation also was discussed at the summit. John Redman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Sarah Jane Smallwood of Choctaw Nation Public Policy were there to explain the benefits of the designation.
They said the designation helped the community surrounding the Choctaw Nation by aiding in grant applications.
Smallwood explained that area business and organizations can see grant benefits by partnering with or being endorsed by the Choctaw Nation.
Transportation was also a popular subject. The TEX-21 project was discussed by panel including Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson, Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker and Tim Welch, who is a North Richland Hills City Council member and TEX-21 chairman.
The project is a collaboration between Oklahoma and Texas entities to improve interstate and highway systems in the area.
David Dean, chief executive officer of Dean International Inc. of Dallas, served as moderator for this panel and spoke about transportation in the area.
- Jessica Breger can be reached at (580) 924-4388 ext. 116 or on Twitter @jbreger_news