Reflections on 2009

This is not just another year coming to a close; it’s also the first decade of the millennium.
Tulsa has come full circle as the decade draws to a close. Early on, in 2002 and 2003, the city suffered through an economic downturn in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Economic development began growing then thrived from the end of Bill LaFortune’s term through Kathy Taylor’s.
As 2009 wraps up, though, and after Dewey Bartlett Jr. took office, Tulsa learned it must continue to slice budgets as sales tax receipts dwindle.
In reviewing 2009, we see progress and success, even as many suffer economic turmoil.
A year ago, the recession had not yet hit Tulsa, as aerospace companies enjoyed a hefty backlog of work. One company, Helicomb International, had a $14 million backlog in its fixed-wing division and another $4 million backlog in its helicopter division.
The Williams Cos. marked its 100th anniversary and rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. SemGroup emerged from 16 months of bankruptcy with a new corporate structure, leader and mission to rebuild its image.

Building Boomlet
There was plenty of construction downtown, including the convention center renovation project and, on the other end of downtown, Oneok Field.
Tulsa Business Journal teamed with the Mayor’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award to provide coverage of the competition. Readers were introduced to the business people and judges involved with the awards and experienced second-hand the trials and triumps of being an entrepreneur.

In Touch With Nature
At the end year, too, we wish we could be like Roger and Angela Box, who vacation in a two-bedroom home embedded 185 feet above the Caney River, deep in the woods south of Bartlesville. We envy the enterprising couple that operates their home completely off the energy grid.
The retired grandparents realized it’d be cheaper that way. Today, whenever they want to get away, they can, literally, surrounded by nature on a mountain with nothing but trees and forest animals as neighbors.
Maybe we can learn something from them. Regardless of the climate, industry’s fast pace keeps us all on our toes. But, in our execution of associated projects we establish for ourselves and companies, we rarely set aside silent moments to reflect on what we’ve achieved, how far we’ve come and what that means to our futures.
It is cliché: A lot has transpired over the last 12 months. Maybe a moment of silence, to look ahead at what might be in store for next year, could be helpful and healthful.
We hope no ringing cell phone breaks that thoughtful stillness.

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