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Mayor's Development Roundtable 9

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Each spring, Mayor Mick Cornett hosts the Mayor’s Development Roundtable. This event highlights the public and private sector’s commitment to developing a great community by bringing together experts, local panel members, and attendees to discuss topics relevant to Oklahoma City’s growth and development.


Watch Videos from the 2010 Mayor’s Development Roundtable

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5


8 a.m.   Welcome and Opening Remarks
8:10   Opening Kick-off
Mark Beffort, Managing Director, Grubb & Ellis | Levy Beffort
What are the challenges and opportunities presented by the anticipated office vacancy situation downtown?
8:20   Session 1: A Streetcar We Desire
Keith Jones, Vice President & Regional Transit Manager, URS Corporation

We will discuss the objectives and requirements of locating our MAPS3-funded downtown streetcar and how it could impact future development and our transportation system.
9:10   Roundtable 1
Rick Cain, Director of Public Transportation and Parking, City of Oklahoma City
James Ellison, Marketing and Development, Othello Partners, Inc.
Tom McDaniel, President, Oklahoma City University

Mayor Cornett will facilitate discussion between Session 1 speaker, local panel members and attendees.
9:55   Break
10:10   Session 2: Building for the Future
Laura Keyes, Senior Principal Program Specialist, Atlanta Regional Commission
What are the development needs of Oklahoma City's changing demographics? Are we building the right retail, services and housing to attract and retain our young and aging citizens?
11:00   Roundtable 2
Judy Hatfield, President and CEO, Equity Realty
Jay Johnston, Vice President, Johnston Builders
Kenyon Morgan, President, Kenyon Morgan Architects
Mayor Cornett will facilitate discussion between Session 2 speaker, local panel members and attendees.
11:45   Break
Noon   Lunch
12:30   Mayor’s Keynote
Update on MAPS 3 and Project 180
12:45   Award for Outstanding Development
Bricktown Property Owners Association
1 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Special Thanks


Speaker Bios:

Mayor Mick Cornett

Mick Cornett became Oklahoma City's 35th mayor on March 2, 2004. Cornett was re-elected on March 7, 2006 with over 87 percent of the vote, the highest percentage in Oklahoma City history. When first elected at age 45, Cornett was the City's youngest mayor since 1959.

Cornett has quickly developed into a statewide and national spokesperson on municipal issues. He is frequently asked to speak to Congress and the White House on behalf of cities across the nation.

In 2007, he was elected as a Trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the highest governing body in that organization. He had previously served on the Advisory Board and as Chair of the Urban Economic Policy Committee. Cornett is also the national President of the organization representing Republican Mayors and Local Officials (RMLO). In June, 2007, Mayor Cornett made the exciting announcement that Oklahoma City had secured the 2010 Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Standing for efficient government and responsible leadership, Mayor Cornett has worked to promote an inclusive and optimistic vision of Oklahoma City, one driven by bold ideas. Cornett's humble nature, intense work ethic and optimistic attitude have become emblematic of a city that, as Cornett says, "works hard and dreams big."

As mayor of America's 29th-largest city, Cornett has focused on two fundamental priorities - education and jobs. At the top of his list has been the implementation of MAPS for Kids, which continues to keep its promise to renovate or rebuild every single building in the Oklahoma City Public Schools system, while also providing capital funding to the 23 other school districts that serve Oklahoma City. In 2007, the U.S. Conference of Mayors awarded Cornett the "City Livability Outstanding Achievement Award" for those efforts. Later that year, Mayor Cornett led the charge to pass another initiative addressing school infrastructure in the inner city.    

Since Cornett's arrival in the Mayor's Office, the City has continued an economic renaissance, strengthened by significant and rapid growth, and marked by thrilling accomplishments that seem to arrive almost every day.

Over 72,000 new jobs have been created in Greater Oklahoma City since Mayor Cornett took office, led by the arrival of Dell Computers on the Oklahoma River in 2004. The arrival of the NBA in 2005, the permanent attainment of major league status in 2008, and the announcement of the new Devon Tower that same year have all underscored Oklahoma City's emergence as a world-class city.

In addition, Cornett successfully spearheaded initiatives to improve the State Fair facilities in 2004, our City streets in 2007, and the Ford Center in 2008. Cornett's efforts to use sports as an economic development tool won him the Abe Lemons/Paul Hansen Award from Oklahoma City University in 2006 and the Ray Soldan Media Award from the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association in 2008.

On December 31, 2007, Cornett put Oklahoma City on a diet (, a movement to change the culture of obesity in Oklahoma City. For those efforts, the Oklahoma State Medical Association awarded him the "Prevention in Practice" award, Blue Cross Blue Shield awarded him the "Rodney L. Huey, M.D. Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health award" and the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition awarded him the "Public Official" award.

For all of this success, Cornett is quick to credit the vision of his predecessors, the hard work of the City Council, the City Manager, the staff of the City, and the people of Oklahoma City. Because of them, Oklahoma City is proudly becoming a model of progress for the nation.

By nearly every measure, and on nearly every front, Oklahoma City is booming like never before, and no one is happier about that, or more anxious to share the credit, than Mayor Mick Cornett.

Cornett represents the fourth generation of his family to make their home in Oklahoma. Cornett was born and raised in Oklahoma City, the son of a postman and a school teacher.

He graduated from Putnam City High School, where he was honored as the most outstanding student in government. He went on to the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a degree in journalism, and graduated on the Dean's Honor Roll.

Cornett then embarked on his career in broadcast journalism. He spent 20 years in local television, first in sports and later in news. He served as a reporter, anchor and manager, and simultaneously worked as a newspaper columnist and sports play-by-play announcer.

As a news anchor, he covered City Hall from 1997 to 1999, where he gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of city government in our daily lives, and to our city's future growth.

In 1999, Cornett left local television and started his own video production business, which he still operates today. He also returned to the University of Oklahoma as a journalism professor.

In 2001, Cornett entered politics by challenging a two-term incumbent on the City Council, and won his seat by the largest margin over a sitting incumbent in City history. He served on the City Council until being overwhelmingly elected mayor in 2004.

Mick and his wife Lisa began dating when they were high school sophomores and have been together ever since. They have raised three sons-Michael, Casey and Tristan.

For more information on Mayor Cornett's current policies, read his 2010 State of the City Address here.

Photo of Mark BeffortMark Beffort
Managing Director
Grubb & Ellis | Levy Beffort

Mark Beffort began his commercial real estate career and in-depth involvement in Oklahoma City in 1985 after graduating from Washburn University. After several years as a successful commercial real estate broker, he began adding office investments to his personal portfolio and holds a vested interest in downtown Oklahoma City through his ownership interest in Leadership Square, Oklahoma Tower, Corporate Tower, City Place and the City Center East Garage. He continually supports the ongoing development and growth of Oklahoma City through a respected relationship with the press and industry peers and by serving on several boards including Downtown OKC Inc., OKC Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City and Calm Waters. He also commits his time and expertise through memberships with the Urban Land Institute, Rotary Club of Downtown OKC and the Economics Club of OKC.

Photo of Keith JonesKeith Jones
Vice President & Regional Transit Manager
URS Corporation

Keith Jones is vice president of URS Corporation. Based in the Fort Worth office, Mr. Jones oversees transit projects and business development in the company’s West Central region, which includes the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nebraska, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri and Kansas. Before joining URS, Jones served as director of statewide planning for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, director of transportation for Metroplan (the MPO for the Little Rock area), transportation engineer for the St. Louis MPO, and also as transit and highway engineer for Public Technology, Inc., in Washington DC, a subsidiary of the US Conference of Mayors and the ICMA. He has over 35 years of experience in transit and transportation planning, and consults on streetcar, light rail, commuter rail and bus operations projects across the nation. As the Executive Director and General Manager of the Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA) in Little Rock, Arkansas for 20 years, he was instrumental in implementing the first two phases of the River Rail Streetcar Project. Jones has a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and is a registered professional engineer.

Photo of Rick CainRick Cain
Director of Public Transportation and Parking
City of Oklahoma City

Rick Cain serves as Director of Public Transportation and Parking for the City of Oklahoma City and as Administrator of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority. He directs the regional public transit system and is responsible for the public parking garages in the downtown central business district of Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma River Cruises ferryboat operation on the Oklahoma River. Mr. Cain has been employed by the City of Oklahoma City for over 19 years, serving the entire time in the Public Transportation and Parking Department, and was named Director in 2004. He received his undergraduate degree from Central Methodist University and an MBA from the University of Southern California. Cain is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City and currently serves as President of the statewide Oklahoma Transit Association.

Photo of James EllisonJames Ellison
Marketing and Development
Othello Partners, Inc.

After graduating from the University of California in 2005, James Ellison has consulted on numerous real estate developments within walk-able proximity to key transit stations in Seattle, Washington. Mr. Ellison played a key role consulting on two mixed-use transit oriented developments (TOD) at the Othello/Holly light rail station with Othello Partners, Inc. Both projects, The Station at Othello Park (under construction) and Othello Station North (permitting), consist of 300-plus Class A apartments accompanied by approximately 17,000 square-feet of retail/commercial space within 200 feet of the light rail station. Currently, Ellison is working in partnership with Baker First Commercial in Oklahoma City to develop a new breed of housing and retail spaces for Generation Y’ers and other people with a passion for modern design and a sustainable lifestyle. Mr. Ellison is the Vice Chairman of the Modern Transit Project (MTP) and has spent the last 12 months passionately working toward getting the streetcar on the ballot for MAPS 3, and then toward getting it passed by the voters of Oklahoma City in December.

Photo of Tom McDanielTom McDaniel
Oklahoma City University

Tom McDaniel serves as president of Oklahoma City University and has led a transformation of the 106 year-old institution in his nine-year tenure including the construction and dedication of the new Meinders School of Business, the Wanda L. Bass Music Center, the Ann Lacy Visitors and Admissions Center, and the Norick Art Center. Mr. McDaniel holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma. He currently serves as Co-Chair with Oklahoma City Mayor Cornett on the Central Oklahoma Regional Transit Dialogue, and was recently appointed to Chair the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to oversee the MAPS 3 projects.

Photo of Laura KeyesLaura Keyes
Senior Principal Program Specialist
Atlanta Regional Commission

Laura Keyes is an AICP-certified planner and has worked for the Atlanta Regional Commission since 1999. She currently manages ARC’s Community Development Unit in the Area Agency on Aging Division where she leads the Agency’s Lifelong Communities Program. She previously worked in ARC’s Transportation Planning Division on the development of the Regional Transportation Plan, the region’s Comprehensive Transportation Planning Program. Ms. Keyes is the Vice President of Chapter Affairs for the Georgia Planning Association, and recently served on the Citizen Infill Task Force for the City of Decatur, GA. Ms. Keyes holds a Bachelors of Science in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, and a Masters of Science from the School of Agriculture at Michigan State University.

Photo of Judy HatfieldJudy J. Hatfield
President and CEO
Equity Realty

Judy Hatfield is President and CEO of Equity Realty, Inc. She is currently serving on the OKC Chamber Board of Directors and is co-chairing the TRDC campaign for the Chamber for the second year. Ms. Hatfield has served as Chairman of the Board of the State Chamber, also. She currently serves on the OKC National Memorial Board of Directors. Hatfield is on the International Board of Directors of the CCIM Institute and also serves on their CCIM Technology Board of Directors. She was recently appointed to the Board of Governors of ARCS through her affiliation with NAR and OKMAR. Ms. Hatfield is President of the Sooner Stilettos, mentoring organization for the OU Women’s Basketball Team. She has earned the Norman Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year Award and is in the Circle of Excellence for the Journal Record Woman of the Year.

Photo of Jay JohnstononJay Johnston
Vice President
Johnston Builders

Jay Johnston is a certified builder and board member of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. Johnston, a third generation builder from Oklahoma City, started Johnston Builders in 1997 with his brother and father. His experience includes commercial development and construction of office buildings, strip shopping, and storage facilities. Johnston is now focused on office and residential development, which has resulted in the completion of 13 residential communities in the past 15 years.

Photo of Kenyon MorganKenyon Morgan
Kenyon Morgan Architects

Kenyon Morgan holds degrees from Yale and the University of Oklahoma in Economics and Architecture. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Morgan has been a practicing architect in Oklahoma City for thirty years. His major projects, Epworth Villa in Oklahoma City, Legacy Village in Bentonville Arkansas, and Neighborhoods of Broken Arrow for Baptist Village Communities have been models of innovation in design for older Americans. His recent designs have focused on enhancing the role of seniors in the community rather than isolating them apart from the community. Mr. Morgan has served as developer and architect for several affordable facilities for seniors and homeless such as Pershing Center and Temple Gardens in Oklahoma City.

Past Roundtables :