Cameron University’s Bill W. Burgess Jr. Business Research Center (BBRC) will examine possible partnerships between the City of Lawton and Native American nations during a business forum on Thursday, March 9. The session, which is open to the public, will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Mary Lou and W. Carey Johnson Auditorium in Ross Hall.
The forum will look at various creative ways of building partnerships that can promote economic development. Mark Woommavovah, chairman of the Comanche Nation, will serve as keynote speaker. Following his remarks, he will join panelists Lawrence Spottedbird, chairman of the Kiowa Tribe; Michael Cleghorn, city manager, Lawton; Lawton Mayor Stan Booker; and Brad Cooksey, president, Lawton Economic Development Corporation, to discuss topics pertinent to the issue.
“Southwest Oklahoma has a multitude of industries and service sectors that can benefit from civic partnerships with tribal nations,” says Dr. Syed Ahmed, director, BBRC. “Partnerships can take place in manufacturing and agricultural industries, and service sectors including education, health, sports, and community services offer the potential for establishing a community health center, a community recreation center and more.”
Ahmed believes that potential partnerships with tribal nations will drive economic development.
“Mike Fina, executive director of the Oklahoma Municipal League, has stated that relationships between tribal nations and municipalities make sense,” he says. “When combined into a single entity, the tribal nations are Oklahoma’s number one employer. The Lawton/Fort Sill community – a prime market for partnership – would benefit significantly, as Oklahoma’s sovereign tribal nations are top drivers for economic development in rural areas.”