Friday, January 18, 2019
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Thoughts on the Future of Business in the Poteau Area

I got dysentery. A lot. This was back in 1983. I was following the Oregon Trail for no other reason than it was there, and back when I had no clue what dysentery was.

I’m glad I didn’t know. I wish I still didn’t know; I’ll never look at Oregon Trail the same.

Those were great days to be alive; Apple II’s with their lovely green and black screens, possessor, and those lovely 5 1/3″ floppy disks.

Poteau.Life Thoughts on the Future of Business in the Poteau Area Discussion

About a year later, my parents purchased our first home computer. It used Dos 2.0, and it was amazing! I killed it with QBasic.. and then Windows 3.1 came out. OMG! After several hours of installing the program and countless “Insert Disk 82 into Drive A:” notifications, it blew my mind! Do you know how many hours I spent messing around with Paint?

Poteau.Life Thoughts on the Future of Business in the Poteau Area Discussion

Back then, I could have never seen how computers would completely change our society. It hasn’t just impacted business, but the way we live, work, play – there’s not a single facet of our society that isn’t impacted by computers.

So why have I been thinking about this?

Looking at our economic status, both statewide and local, I see a society in flux. We’re moving from a print media and brick and mortar world into one that is technology driven.

is no longer employing thousands of people all standing at an assembly line; it’s employing 50 people to run the computers that drive the robotics that perform those repetitive tasks.

Retail is no longer what it was; if you want something, you go to one of the big-box retail giants or, as will become more dominant, you’ll simply order it online.

So what does that mean for Poteau and for Oklahoma?

I believe that we have to shift our way of thinking.

Personally, I don’t want to bring more industry in, unless I know that it is a sustainable industry that’s going to employ several hundred people.

I believe that our future is with technology, service, recreation, and in the medical industries.

Technology is going to drive our economics, infiltrating everything from how we produce food to how we move around town. We have a great college and tech center here. Both are pushing the envelope on what can be done. Have you seen what KTC East is doing? It’s amazing!! They’re training people how to cope in a technologically driven world but locally, there’s just not enough jobs to sustain graduates locally. I would love to see the old Bremner factory revamped to be used as a data center. I would love to see our internet serves upgraded regionally.

Years ago, I was assistant IT director to one of the nations largest production and supply houses in Chicago. They supplied the majority of products for all of the Ace Hardware stores, as well as many other large retailers. When I first started there, everything was still done with pen and paper. When I left, we had migrated everything over to virtual servers based out of California – completely across the country! They were able to do this because we upgraded all of the throughout the building and worked out a deal with our ISP. The place in California simply stored the information. If we had better internet regionally, things like this could be done; we could attract bigger businesses in. As more jobs move online, this also provides more income the area.

Poteau.Life Thoughts on the Future of Business in the Poteau Area Discussion

Following technology, I think that services will be the next biggest sector. This includes everything from construction to business support services. Right behind that is medical. Again, KTC and CASC both have excellent medical training programs, and I’ve seen a boom in health services in the area.

One area that I strongly believe we have a lot of potential with is in outdoor recreation. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, but there’s little done to really promote that. As more jobs move online and behind a computer screen, we’re going to need more opportunities for people to get out and relieve stress.

A lot of what we’ve been working on revolves around that. If we can clean up the area where we live, if we can provide more recreation opportunities and promote them, then I’ll see a lot more people coming to the area.

It’s been a lot to think about..and there’s simply a million things that need to be done but I believe that if we all work together for the common good then we can achieve these things. It takes time, but we have to be forward thinking what we do otherwise we’ll be left behind.

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