Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive March 2017 Show 1710 Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1710

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1710

This week on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we look at how the economy of the ninth largest town in Oklahoma continues to change.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1710

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1710

For more information visit these links:

City of Enid Oklahoma

Enid Regional Development Alliance

Vance Air Force Base


St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center


Autry Technology Center

Mid-Del Technology Center


Enid Woodring Regional Airport

Hiroshima-Atomic Bomb

AdvancePierre Foods

Enid Symphony Center

Show Details

Show 1710: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: March 5, 2017



Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.” So when life gives you lemons, the folks in Enid, Oklahoma, know how to make lemonade. This week, we travel to north central Oklahoma to see how through good times and bad, Enid, Oklahoma, continues to innovate.

Martie Oyler: When everyone does well, then the whole community prospers.

Rob: We’ll see how partnerships between industry and education is helping grow their economy.

Brady McCullough: We have a tremendous impact on the economy. Not only are we a big employer impacting economy itself, but supplying the workforce.

Rob: From agriculture to health care and aerospace, we’ll look at innovative Enid on “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by CareerTech – a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company -- with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. Well, Enid, Oklahoma, has seen its share of setbacks – everything from the loss of a major employer to the ups and downs of agriculture and energy. But through it all, this town of 50,000 in north central Oklahoma has shown a remarkable resiliency thanks to a heaping helping of innovation. Today, we’re gonna focus on some of the lessons that can be learned from Enid, Oklahoma, and with that here’s our Courtney Maye.

Courtney Maye: Enid, Oklahoma. It’s a growing city where mom and pop businesses are strong, yet so are large corporations. So what is the secret to Enid’s successful economy?

Brent Kisling: We’ve done a number of public/private partnerships. And we’ve also tried to make sure our infrastructure is strong.

Courtney: Brent Kisling is the executive director of the Enid Regional Development Alliance, an organization that plays a key role in making decisions about economic development and city expansion.

Kisling: As you step back and you try to market Vance Air Force Base and the Land Run and entrepreneurship and wildcatting out in the oilfield, it really all came back to the word “adventurous.” If you’re a pilot going Mach 1, that’s adventurous. If you’re somebody in the Land Run riding a horse with your hair on fire to stake your claim, that’s, uh, that’s adventurous. If you’re the wildcatter or the entrepreneur that has bet everything on that next hole or that next business, that’s adventurous as well. So now all of our marketing strategy revolves around that word “adventurous.” And we’ve added to that the fact that there are boundless opportunities here, that we’re a very original group of folks here in town, and we have a very vibrant economy and citizenry here.

Courtney: And one local business owner reaping the benefits is Jimmy Stallings, chairman for a local environment engineering company called Envirotech. And he says Enid’s support of new businesses contributes to the success of the city’s economy.

Jimmy Stallings: We have a very inviting business climate, and what I mean by that is from our economic development groups through our city council and all the way through city staff and then you have, um, we’re very pro-business. And while with any municipality we have regulations and rules, we also have some very helpful people that’ll help you, help guide new businesses through some the hurdles. And then on the culture of the business community, we have a group of businesses that recognize if one business succeeds it’s good for everybody.

Courtney: And helping fill the skills gap in Enid is Autry Technology Center. Autry partners with more than 500 businesses to ensure students in its program are trained for the jobs needed to be filled. Autry Superintendent Brady McCullough.

Brady McCullough: I think we have a tremendous impact on the economy, not only are we a big employer impacting the economy itself but supplying the workforce for those businesses that we have here. We have a lot of customized training programs as well as our full-time programs that open up that pipeline of a skilled workforce to many, many companies here in the Enid and northwest Oklahoma area. Another way that we try to stay on the edge of that is with our executive leadership council. We actually meet with over 20 of the largest employers in this area on a monthly basis. During those meetings we talk about issues that those employers face in this area.

Courtney: Martie Oyler is also heavily involved with executive leadership council, and she says it’s the diversity of the companies in Enid that contribute to the city’s continuous expansion.

Martie Oyler: Enid is fortunate in that our growth has been constant and steady, and it’s diverse. We don’t have everything in one area, you know. We have a lot of oil and gas, we have a lot of manufacturing, education, there’s so many, retail is big, you know. Enid is the hub, the retail hub of northwest Oklahoma. We support each other. We play well together, and I think that has certainly been a big part of the success of this community.

Courtney: And helping this city continue to be the hub of northwest Oklahoma.

Oyler: When everyone does well, then the whole community prospers. So if we see the retail area growth, then we know that that has to be supported with business and industry, and we are very, very fortunate to have a chamber of commerce, a city manager, and we also have great educational support here in Enid. And all of that comes together to support the success that we have seen in our community.

Rob: Now, such innovation is nothing new for the town of Enid; in fact, it goes back well before statehood. What began as a family store has grown over the years into the largest privately owned grain company in the state. With five generations of experience, W.B. Johnston Enterprises has expanded to over 20 locations in Texas and Oklahoma. Now, if you’d like to learn more about these agricultural entrepreneurs, I was able to sit down with that family’s patriarch a few years back, and I have that story streaming on our website under our value added section at

Female Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon” with Rob McClendon – weekly insight into your changing world.

Rob McClendon: Well, few towns have probably grown faster than Enid, Oklahoma. In a single day, Enid went from a population of zero to 10,000 thanks to the Oklahoma Land Run, which is chronicled in Smithsonian-style quality at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in downtown Enid, which is also home to one of the most misspelled streets in the nation. After the sinking of the Battleship Maine in the Spanish American War, the Enid City Council changed the name of D Street to Maine, and that is Maine with an E like the state the ship was named for, undoubtedly confusing postmasters nationwide. Well, located in north central Oklahoma, Enid is classified as a micropolitan hub, which means it serves people well outside the city limits with everything from retail to health care, something that has developed into a key component of Enid’s economic success. And that is where Blane Singletary picks up our story.

Blane Singletary: St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center may be based in Enid, but the scope of their services go so much further.

Stan Tatum: We serve not only Enid and Garfield County as our primary service area, but really the nine counties that surround Garfield County.

Blane: Stan Tatum is the CEO of the hospital. He’s proud to head one of two major hospitals in Enid that also serve rural communities like Fairview, Okeene and Cheyenne.

Tatum: So we actually have a service area that’s about 200,000 in terms of population.

Blane: For just over 100 years, St. Mary’s has helped the town of Enid become an important hub city for health care in northwestern Oklahoma. While many of these communities have smaller, critical access hospitals, quite often they don’t have the staff or facilities to get the job done.

Tatum: Anytime any of those patients need a specialist, they have to refer those to a provider that can provide a higher level of care, which is typically Enid.

Blane: That means when any of those 200,000 Oklahomans need a routine medical procedure or the unthinkable happens, the patient and their loved ones will be able to receive substantial treatment in a timely manner without having to go too far away.

Tatum: It’s very important for families to have their loved ones when they’re admitted to a hospital close, so that they can either stay with them or visit them multiple times a day. If we were not here, that would be another hour and a half for them to have to drive to Oklahoma City, and so it’s very important that we have these services that are close to their home so that they can, you know, see their loved ones on a regular basis.

Blane: And they give personal attention to each and every one of those 200,000 whenever they walk through the door or even the parking lot, with rides being given by the “Saint Mobiles.” And everyone up to the CEO takes part in making sure their patients are getting the most of their care.

Tatum: The benefit of that is that there’s a lot fewer needs to hit the call button. So the nurses are trying to anticipate the patient’s need as opposed to react to ’em.

Blane: St. Mary’s also boasts an inpatient rehabilitation institute. One-of-a-kind for this area, it gives some important treatments to people with debilitating illnesses. Lori McMillin is the director.

Lori McMillin: We have patients that come up here that have had strokes and brain injuries, a variety of other kinds of medical illnesses, so the emphasis is really on physical, occupational, speech therapy, trying to get those people back home after they’ve been ill.

Blane: A facility like this one is not only good for their patients, but for those who are training and budding as medical professionals.

McMillin: We actually attract students from outside areas as well as students from the Enid area to fill these positions.

Blane: And that touches on another big way regional hospitals benefit the Enid community – the economy.

McMillin: You’re bringing people in who maybe wouldn’t have lived in Enid before but they’ve become consumers who have dollars to spend in the community. So, you know, that’s a big contributor, I think, to our economy.

Blane: With St. Mary’s and nearby Integris Hospital ranking in the top five employers in Enid, Stan Tatum agrees.

Tatum: Because when people look to locate their business in a particular community, the two predominant things they look at is the education system for the kids and the health care providers you have in town. And if you don’t have those, it’s a major deterrent for new business coming to Enid.

Blane: These kinds of hospitals bring a slice of big city health care in a small town sentiment. This closely knit community and team know how to keep moving forward, addressing any obstacle in their way.

Tatum: We have a meeting every Monday morning to talk about the challenges and issues that we face, and we strategize with our board and our medical executive committee about things that we need to do to be successful. And it’s a new crisis every day it seems like that we have to address, and I’d like to think it’s that group decision that has made us successful.

Female Announcer: Still to come on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we meet an Oklahoman whose career has a second verse, but first, a high flying industry.

Austin Moore: There is a shop here in Oklahoma that services the world.

Rob McClendon: Well, Enid, Oklahoma, has long had its eye on the sky. Clyde Cessna, founder of Cessna Aircraft was born in Enid and test flew his first airplanes over the Great Salt Plains. Enid native astronaut Owen K. Garriot spent two months orbiting the earth during the Skylab Three mission in 1973, while today, one-third of all the Air Force pilots get their training at Enid’s Vance Air Force Base, which is also a major employer for the area. And it’s an aviation legacy that extends to industry. Austin Moore takes us inside Aircraft Structures International.

Austin Moore: Accidents happen [car crash sounds], and when they do, we find the nearest body shop. That’s all well and good if you drive a Chevy or a Ford, but when your vehicle of choice is a Cessna Caravan, there is a shop here in Oklahoma that services the world.

Scott Bengtson: The one we’re standing in front of what was originally an airplane in Colombia in the military. The other one behind us over here was from Indonesia; it crashed on the side of a mountain, and we had a crew that we sent over, and it literally was helicoptered off the side of the mountain. They had to recover it that way because there was no roads to where this airplane was from.

Austin: Scott Bengtson manages Aircraft Structures International, an Enid company where they specialize in rebuilding this aviation workhorse.

Bengtson: We’re one of the unique places in the world. The factory builds them up in Wichita, they’ve the tooling, but we’re about the only other place in the world that you can get this kind of level of work done.

Austin: Owner Mickey Stowers says his company has found a niche in the aircraft industry.

Mickey Stowers: We deal exclusively with that one airplane. The first one came out in 1985, and they’re still in production today. There’s roughly 3,000 of ‘em. They produce about 100 a year. And we do everything with this aircraft. You give us a data plate and we can build an airplane.

Austin: That ability means even during a recession, this company stays aloft.

Bengtson: Airplanes are workhorses, so they’re not parking them when the financial crunch hits. They just keep working. So we found a niche, and we’re sticking with it.

Austin: But that steady supply of work demands a steady workforce.

Kyle Hockmeyer: Enid is a great town, but unless you have been here and know a lot about it, from the outside looking in, the perception is its small town America.

Austin: Posing a challenge to finding and keeping skilled employees.

Stowers: We’ve found in the past, when we bring somebody in and they’re not local, they might stay here, and they find a better opportunity somewhere else, and they’re gone. If they’re local, they don’t want to go anywhere; they stay here. So it’s a stable workforce.

Austin: Yet the work done here is unique and requires special skills. So the company approached Autry Technology Center. Partnering with Mid-Del Tech, they built a program to homegrow workers for this homegrown company. Autry Technology Center’s Kyle Hockmeyer.

Hockmeyer: Giving them a trade or a skill and not only just giving them that skill but actually helping them be placed into the job, which helps the company expand. So it’s full circle of what we’re trying to do, and it all comes together in this one program.

Austin: Instructor Bill Hersey takes his students through every rivet of the aircraft.

Bill Hersey: They know where it goes and why, not just, well, just do it that way because I told you to do it. This way they actually see where it fits on. The product they’re making, they’re gonna install it also.

Stowers: We’ve furnished an airframe which will never fly again, and they’re drilling it apart and putting it back together several times so that when these, they finish with their course, hopefully we can put ’em right to work here.

Austin: Student Devon Grubb appreciates the security of this program.

Devon Grubb: There is good benefits and good people. They’ve got good staff here so everyone’s pretty friendly even though we’re just new people.

Austin: That’s a point of pride for co-owner Kay Stowers.

Kay Stowers: There’s opportunities for people here. That they, you know, they need the opportunity to have a good career and not just a job. And that’s what we work really hard to make sure that they have a good career.

Austin: A partnership looking to help students, an employer and the local economy all take flight.

Rob McClendon: Well, Enid is also home to Woodring Regional Airport that was named after Lt. Irvin A. “Bert” Woodring, an Enid native who was one of the army’s most famous early test pilots. Now, Enid was also home to a World War II pilot who witnessed probably the most significant event of the last century. While most Enid residents knew Walter Scheffe as their friendly neighborhood pharmacist, the late Mr. Scheffe was also the pilot of the Yokohama Yo-Yo, whose crew photographed the first atomic bomb and its aftermath just moments after it exploded.

Walter Scheffe: People have asked me well what did you think when you saw the bomb, the results of the bomb? I really only thought of one thing – the war was over and I’m going to get to go home.

Rob: Now, Mr. Scheffe’s story is one of my personal favorites, and if you’d like to see the entire piece, I have it streaming on our website under our value added section.

Female Announcer: “Horizon” is at your fingertips – join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to catch the segments you may have missed and our latest new content as it happens.

Rob McClendon: Well, here’s a little more Enid trivia you may not know. The town of Enid produces more Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches than any other town in the world – even Philadelphia, thanks to workers at Advance Pierre Food Company. Advance Pierre is also the largest producer of school lunch food in the entire United States. Well, Enid is also home to the state’s longest-running symphony. The Enid Symphony Orchestra has played each year since 1905, two years before Oklahoma statehood, which is where we met a gentleman by the name of Mike Misner – an accomplished musician whose life has taken on a different note.

Andy Barth: From the outside of this building, you can hear the Enid Symphony Orchestra – a typical concert warmup. But for one man, it is his life’s passion.

Mike Misner: Music started clear back when I was about 5 years old.

Andy: Mike Misner plays French horn in the Enid Symphony Orchestra and has quite a musical history. But the road to today’s symphony wasn’t always a sweet melody.

Misner: I was offered a full four-year scholarship to Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. And that was to be a music major to pursue a bachelor’s in music education. So I went to Southwestern and had a really good education there. And then after two years I decided, well, I want to get more into the, uh, into the orchestral side of playing.

Andy: Misner auditioned at Indiana University, the top music school in the world, and was accepted.

Misner: But due to financial constraints, you know, and paying out-of-state tuition and all that, I couldn’t afford to go. So I then transferred to Oklahoma State and finished out my degree there. Had a really great time, really great education, wonderful people to work with. And then it came time for graduate school because what I wanted to do more than anything was to be a full-time college music professor.

Andy: A profession that demands a lot time and money just to get started.

Misner: I ended up going to the University of Texas. I received my master’s degree in 1993. And when you apply for college jobs and what not, they say master’s required, but doctorate strongly preferred. So I ended up staying there at the University of Texas for my doctorate in musical arts and was a grad assistant there for a total of five years. And then in 2001, I did finally finish the degree. And then I thought, OK, I’m all set here, you know, and now I’ve got all the degrees, I’ve got all the armament, now let’s go out and get that job.

Andy: But after more than eight years of either no responses, or only part-time positions, Misner says his tune needed changing.

Misner: I was up here in Enid, this is my hometown. I just happened to look down there, and this was in the automotive waiting room, I just happened to look down there where they have the magazines and whatnot, and there was an Autry Tech catalog. And I saw where there was a network administration program. And so I just made the decision that, OK, I was going to come here and learn a new career. And so that’s what I did. I went back to Austin, I said goodbye to everybody, and two weeks later I was up here in Enid.

Andy: Back at home and back in school. Misner began to learn the ins and outs of computers, and IT systems, and once completed with his training, this time the job search was much different because the offers kept rolling in. An agency placed Misner with his current employer, Integris Baptist Health.

Misner: I’m getting more and more responsibilities every day. I’m now on the employee advisory council.

Andy: But what about his passion for music?

Misner: I still have it; I still have it. When I arrived back in Enid, I called Doug Newell, who is the conductor of the Enid Symphony. And I have known Doug for years and years, and I said, “Hey.” I said, “Are you still needing a horn player for the symphony?” And he just said, “Sure.” He said, “Your third horn chair is waiting for you,” just like when I left. So there it was sitting for me, and I have been playing with them ever since and still am, still there.

Andy: And it is here where his heart, his passion and his music have come together. Mike Misner is back in his hometown, making a good living while playing his heart out and still living his musical dream.

Female Announcer: Want to see more stories like this? All our segments are streaming on our YouTube channel at OklahomaHorizonTV.

Rob McClendon: Well it’s been the political debate of our generation. Next time on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we hear from both sides of the issue, of just how big or small our government should be.

Paul Pierson: This economy is a capitalist economy. It’s a market-based economy. It’s one where people have grown to recognize that you actually need government to be doing a fair number of things.

Russ Roberts: Where do we need government to have a heavy-hand is the question? And my answer to that usually is, not very many places.

Rob: Big versus small government, on Oklahoma’s show for the heartland, “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Rob McClendon: Well, that is gonna wrap us up for today, but you can see more of any of our stories on our website at You can follow us throughout the week on Twitter at OKHorizonTV or just become a “Horizon” fan on Facebook. I’m Rob McClendon. Thanks for including us in your day. Hope to see you back here next week.

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Female Announcer: Oklahoma’s CareerTech provides nationally recognized technical education. CareerTech elevates the economy – helping Oklahomans get great jobs. CareerTech connects thousands of qualified graduates with thriving Oklahoma businesses. CareerTech also gives Oklahoma companies training and services that help them become even more profitable. Oklahoma’s CareerTech – a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company.

Female Announcer: And the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.