Eastern Oklahoma County Partnership seeks new executive director
Hosted by Youth Scoreboards, LLC and keynote speaker Barry Switzer, members and guests of the Eastern Oklahoma County Partnership filled the Skirvin Hotel conference room for the organization’s annual gala, June 20.
Before listening to the legendary University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach speak, the EOCP celebrated accomplishments made during the past fiscal year and mapped out goals of the public-private partnership moving into 2019-20.
The most significant announcement of the evening was the resignation of executive director Tim Hight.
“I will be moving into a new business dealing in financial services consulting,” said Hight. “I have mixed emotions tonight, but for our family this is an opportunity we can’t miss.”
Hight says Friday will be his last day in the EOCP office, located at 17311 NE 23rd St., but he’ll officially remain employed by the partnership until July 15.
Hight was the first and only director of the 9-year-old organization.
Hight used his time on stage to thank supporters, and encourage continued investment in the partnership dedicated to the region of east Oklahoma County.
“When we came on the scene in 2011, there were four things that really stood out to us – limited access to transportation, limited infrastructure, a lack of tenant ready buildings and an overall limited awareness of the EOC region,” explained Hight.
“There are a number of things that the organization has helped spearhead. We’ve had about $30 million in municipal water and sewer extended since 2011. Infrastructure is not something that’s exciting to think about until you need it. Also, in that time frame we’ve had about $600 million in highway improvements that are under construction now. Additionally, a bill we helped get passed in 2014 allows us for the first time ever to offer small businesses the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program that has incentives that previously weren’t available in our communities.”
The EOCP started as a regional partnership across five cities – Choctaw, Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park. The organization has since expanded to include Oklahoma City and a variety of other investors as a true public-private partnership.
“With Tim’s announcement, the first thing that I want to address, first and foremost, is to assure everyone in our public-private partnership that we are a strong and viable organization. We are bigger than any one person or any entity that belongs to this partnership,” said EOCP Chairman and Mayor of Jones Ray Poland. “We will survive, we will move forward and we will do great things for eastern Oklahoma County.”
Poland will serve another year as the chair for the EOCP Board of Directors.
“I was on the hiring committee when Tim came here. It blew me away that we could get this quality of guy when we first started,” said Poland. “I hate to see him go, and wish him nothing but the best.”
Poland reflected on the partnership’s origins dating back to 2010.
“Dr. Terry Underwood, with the Eastern Oklahoma Technology Center, called me and said he wanted to get together with all the mayors in eastern Oklahoma County. If you knew anything about eastern Oklahoma County, it’s that we didn’t really like each other after Friday night. When we sat down we realized that wasn’t true,” said Poland. “Turns out we had the same problems, ideas and we wanted the same things for our communities. So we were able to get this going and hired Tim in 2011. He took a chance and moved his family here, and built us to where we are eight years later.”
Members say the partnership has come a long way since the idea was first conceived nearly a decade ago. The Thursday night gala had over 200 in attendance.
“We’re at the Skirvin Hotel and there’s someone at every table,” said Poland. “Last year our goal was a water study, and we hope to have the results of that very soon. This year my goal is just to keep this ship afloat during the transition period. We’re still committed to what we’re trying to do. We have to hire a new executive director. We’re looking for someone knowledgeable, experienced and as enthusiastic about eastern Oklahoma County as we are.”
For more information about the EOCP visit eocpartnership.com or call 390-GROW.