Friday, April 15, 2016
TULSA — Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin; Tulsa Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr.; Jeff Dunn, chair of the Tulsa Regional Chamber and president and CEO of Mill Creek Lumber and Supply Company; Stuart Solomon, immediate past chair of the Tulsa’s Future program and president and CEO of Public Service Company of Oklahoma; and Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, traveled to New York City earlier today to meet with Frank MacInnis, chairman of the Williams Cos. board of directors. The trip was made in an effort to make the plea for Williams to reconsider the sale of Williams Companies to Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity (ETE).
“We wanted to let Williams Cos. Board Chairman Frank MacInnis know that the state of Oklahoma is willing to help fight to keep the company’s jobs in the great city of Tulsa,” said Governor Fallin.
“Oklahoma certainly supports and appreciates the energy sector and what it does for our economy. We have a great workforce, a low cost of doing business, fair regulatory environment and a great quality of life in Tulsa. The Williams Cos. employees have been good to Tulsa and Tulsa has been good to the Williams Cos.”
Mayor Bartlett expressed similar sentiments, stating “the meeting was comprehensive and uplifting. I feel as though Williams Board Chairman Frank MacInnis is in fact very sensitive to what Williams means to the Tulsa community, and it was good that he heard it personally from our team. We’re very hopeful.”
The group maintains recent filings by ETE could bring devastating consequences to the entire state of Oklahoma, particularly Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as the company plans to remove a substantial presence of jobs from Oklahoma after the merger is finalized.
The group reported a positive meeting was had with Chairman MacInnis, as they were impressed with his receptiveness, openness and knowledge of the issues at hand. MacInnis acknowledged the mutually beneficial relationship between Williams employees and Tulsa.
The group spent considerable time during the 2 and a half hour meeting highlighting the importance of Williams to the northeast Oklahoma community and the entire state. Stressing the employees of Williams are some of the most civic-minded and involved, the group gave MacInnis examples of how the company and its employees have shaped the landscape of the region through championing developments like downtown and the Gathering Place. The group also detailed how the Williams employees support dozens of Tulsa-area non-profit and philanthropic organizations and have active involvement in issues and campaigns impacting the growth and vitality of the region.
“Clearly we were there to discuss the importance of Williams to our community,” said Jeff Dunn.
“Williams has a long, 100-year history headquartered in Tulsa, and is one of the region’s most successful corporate citizens. The loss of these wonderfully talented, and extremely valuable employees would be devastating to our regional economy and the many families employed by Williams,” he added.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber, concerned over the recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings by ETE, began organizing the New York City trip two weeks ago. Mike Neal emphasized that keeping a strong Williams presence in northeast Oklahoma remains one of the Chamber’s top priorities.
“As a regional Chamber representing thousands of companies and employees in northeast Oklahoma, it was our duty to get in front of Mr. MacInnis as quickly as possible to show him how invaluable the company is to our region,” Neal said.