The Marshall County Economic Development Authority welcomed OG&E’s Christy Elkins, as a guest speaker for their meeting on August 9 at the Marshall County OSU Extension Office. Elkins, a Madill native, is the Economic Development Manager at OG&E. Elkins’ presentation focused on how OG&E wants to partner with Marshall County in future growth; specifically attracting new businesses to the area.
Elkins said the most successful communities work together as a team to support economic development efforts. Part of her presentation included the announcement of OG&E’s new Community Assessment Tool and program.
“You have to let people in your community know what it is that each entity has to offer,” she said. “We’ll come to do the assessment to see what we already have and put it together in one plan where everybody’s working toward the same goal.”
The idea is to help Oklahoma communities achieve their goals, which could be population growth or attracting new industry, Elkins said.
Elkins stressed the need for teamwork for success in economic development.
“The most successful communities I’ve ever seen worked as a team and weren’t worried about who got credit,” she said. “Rather, it was about what’s best for everyone.”
On the topic of attracting new businesses, Elkins said, employees go where they want to live.
“Quality of life back when I started doing economic development, we didn’t talk about it,” she said. “Now it is the key driver because we have a lot of people in this world called millennials. They are looking for something completely different. They are looking for experiences. We have to ask what we can do to keep our millennials here.”
Elkins touched on the demographics of Marshall County. As a whole, 49.6 percent of the county is male with the remaining 50.4 percent being female. The workforce in Marshall County is slightly more female with 50.9 percent of workers being female. She said Marshall County is also older than the rest of Oklahoma as it has both more residents and workers aged 55 and up.
Elkins also discussed the county’s population growth estimate, which can be affected by Oklahoma’s policy makers.
“Our growth just doesn’t look very good right now,” she said. “As we change our policies in Oklahoma and as we change our workforce development we are opening the door for more businesses to come in and hopefully open the door for more population growth.”