Scott Dewald
President & CEO
REI Oklahoma

Years ago I received the following advice; "keep your foot in it!" This advice came from Chuck several months after I replaced him as chairman of our local Church. Chuck is a distinguished older gentleman, he is an opinion leader. As in most small Churches, he has served as chairman numerous times.


Chuck is a quiet, reserved man who never says much. Imagine my surprise when I learned he is passionate about auto mechanics and racing cars. He knows more about motor sports and winning world land speed records than I will ever know.


My focus as chair was to increase the visibility and intensity of our youth groups and Sunday school programs. We created day camps, rented moon bounces, turned our education wing into a jungle, gave ownership of the classrooms to the kids, created incentive and awards programs, turned our back yard into a giant slip and slide and generally made a lot of noise. We were having fun and making progress.


We also started to hear a little bit of grumbling from a few of the older folks. Thinking we might need to slow things down a bit, I went to Chuck and asked his advice on our efforts. He looked me square in the eye and said, "Keep your foot in it!" Seeing the puzzled look on my face he clarified by saying "I want you to press on the gas pedal so hard your foot is in the carburetor". That was all the permission I needed and we had a blast.


At REI Oklahoma, we are "keeping our foot in it!" As kids head back to school, temperatures cool down a bit and the rains continue, we want to take a moment to reflect on what happens when you "keep your foot in it."


Because of her hard work and dedication, Debbie Partin, REI Business Lending Director, has been selected as one of The Journal Record's "50 Making a Difference" for 2013. The Journal Record Woman of the Year program recognizes Oklahoma's leading women who epitomize leadership in both their professional endeavors and the communities where they live. Debbie, along with other honorees, will be recognized and the Woman of the Year will be announced at an event on October 3rd in Oklahoma City. We are very proud of Debbie, and pleased to have her as part of our team.


Debbie has also been a key leader in developing and deploying next week's 19th Annual Mid-America Lender's Conference in Oklahoma City. Debbie serves on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (OKAGGL), the group responsible for hosting this incredible event. Topics range from starting an SBA department, to closing, liquidation, and secondary markets. If you want up to date information on the trends and direction of the SBA programs, you should be at this event. We congratulate the OKAGGL team on this great event and we encourage you to visit for registration information.  This is just one of several great events REI Oklahoma will be a part of over the next few months. 


REI Oklahoma is committed to expanding economic opportunities for Oklahomans. We look forward to working with you. Please call us at 800.658.2823.  We're ready to help guide your dreams forward and pledge to "keep our feet in it."     

Car Show Benefits the March of Dimes and Colton's Main Street Run     

REI Oklahoma is partnering with the Choctaw Casino to host the 5th annual "Cruisin For A Cure", a classic car, truck and motorcycle show. Over the past four years, we have been able to contribute more than $43,000 to benefit the March of Dimes. The 2013 event also benefits Colton's Main Street Run.

The car show takes place Saturday, September 14th at the
Choctaw Event Center in Durant.  Registration will be held from 8 AM to Noon.  We are very appreciative of the many sponsors, and hope you will join us for this enjoyable event!  We also thank the members of our Special Events Committee which is chaired by Linda Davis of our Business Development Division for their hard work on this important project. You can learn more about it by clicking here.  
Recent Projects Total More Than $113 Million

REI Oklahoma recently closed on more than $113 million in New Markets Tax Credit projects. The projects will re-purpose 3 unoccupied facilities in Oklahoma, and create more than 250 jobs for the state.


"The New Markets Tax Credit program opens several doors of opportunity for businesses and communities in Oklahoma," said Kenny Simpson REI Oklahoma Executive Vice President. "From a world-wide company such as ASCO having the resources to begin production in a new area, to The Tile Shop adding jobs in the Durant area, to an unused historical facility being renovated in Oklahoma City, the benefits of these projects are wide-reaching."


ASCO Aerospace USA, LLC

ASCO Aerospace USA
ASCO Aerospace USA, LLC is a privately owned company, which designs and manufactures high lift devices, complex mechanical assemblies and major functional components  for the aerospace industry. The project will convert a vacant facility in Stillwater, which   was once utilized to produce watercraft engines, to serve as a place of employment for more than 250 employees when the plant becomes fully-operational by 2015. REI Oklahoma partnered with MetaFund and U.S. Bank in utilization of the tax credit. U.S. Bank served as the equity investor for the project.


Carnegie Centre 
Carnegie Centre, LLC 

Vacant since 2004, a historical building which once served as an Oklahoma City library will be redeveloped to bring residential lofts and two floors of retail and office space to downtown  Oklahoma  City.  The project has generated interest among potential commercial tenants such as banks, medical professionals, national retailers, a yoga group and other office users.  REI Oklahoma partnered with U.S. Bank in utilizing the tax credit for the project.


The Tile Shop of Oklahoma, LLC  

The Tile Shop, based in Minnesota, is a retailer in the home tile market. Their products include ceramic tile, stone tile, application
The Tile Shop of Oklahoma 
material and accessories. The company began manufacturing grout, sealer and setting material in 1991, and began expanding operations outside of Minnesota soon after. They are currently located in 20 states, operating more than 60 retail stores.  In 2012, the company located a vacant facility in Durant for use in expanding its manufacturing process. This expansion will created 30 to 50 jobs with an average wage of $35,000 annually. REI Oklahoma partnered with USBREI TTS Investment Fund, LLC in utilizing the tax credit for this project.        
Susan Bates, Senior Loan Officer
REI Business Lending
Q & A with Susan Bates, Senior Loan Officer

Considering starting or expanding a business and have questions about the loan process?  Here are answers to a few common questions from Susan Bates, REI Business Lending Senior Loan Officer: 


Do I need a business plan?

If you are establishing a start-up business, a business plan will be necessary. If you've been in business for more than two years, you will need to summarize your business characteristics. If you're considering an expansion project, you will need to provide expansion details, and provide information on how the expansion will impact your revenue.

If I need help putting a business plan together, or need other guidance, where can I go?

REI Business Lending has several templates to help you prepare a business plan. For women and minorities, REI Women's Business Center and REI Native American Business Centers are excellent resources.  

If I'm not experienced in the industry I'm interested in, can I still qualify for a loan?

Again, your credit is a factor. There are credit based-loans available for those without industry-specific experience. In some cases, hiring a business manager with sufficient experience will help you qualify for a loan.


Do you have other questions?  If so, call Susan Bates at 800-658-2823 or e-mail  



2013 Small Business Summer Showcase

REI Women's Business Center recently welcomed home-based and small business owners to its annual Small Business Summer Showcase. The event, held in the REI Oklahoma Conference Center, featured jewelry, clothing, cosmetics and many other hand-crafted items. Business owners from across Oklahoma took advantage of the opportunity to showcase their products and services in a fun environment. 

Dr. Gavin Clarkson to Speak at MED Week 2013
med week speaker 2013
Dr. Gavin Clarkson
2013 MED Week Speaker 

An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Dr. Clarkson has consulted, written, and published extensively on tribal finance and economic development and has conducted significant research on the empirical data on Indian mascots. Dr. Clarkson was also a contributing author for the most recent edition of Felix Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law, providing material on tribal finance, economic development, and intellectual property.


In 2005, Dr. Clarkson received the first grant from the National Science Foundation to study the dynamics of tribal finance. His research and Congressional testimony on tribal access to the capital markets helped lead to the inclusion of $2B of Tribal Economic Development Bonds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  


The Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week 2013 Awards Dinner, which honors Oklahoma's outstanding minority entrepreneurs, will take place Thursday, August 29th in the Sky Room at the Hard Rock Resort located in Catoosa, Oklahoma at 777 West Cherokee Street.  Click here for ticket information.
MED Week Proclamation 

Governor Fallin Signs MED Week Proclamation

Showing her support for minority-owned enterprises within the state of Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin signed a proclamation supporting August 26th through August 30th as "Minority Enterprise Development Week" in the state of Oklahoma.

Minority Enterprise Development week,
hosted by REI Native American Business Centers, honors outstanding minority entrepreneurs in Oklahoma.

The proclamation recognizes that
nearly 17 percent of Oklahoma's businesses are operated by minority business owners directly employing approximately 57,000 workers who generate over $8.6 billion in gross receipts. 

Tips for Your Next Event

Is your business planning an event? You can take a few easy steps to make your evengreen cornert greener. Consider using these tips and impress your guests with your creativity and your conscience.


Pick an Easy Location  
When you're looking for that perfect setting, keep convenience, and global warming pollution, in mind. Help arrange for your guests to carpool to the event, and let them know their public transportation options.


E-vite Your Guests 
Emailing invitations saves paper (and money), especially if you have a long guest list - and give a phone number for RSVPs instead of reply cards.


Serve Local Food (and Feed the Locals) 

Look for a restaurant or caterer that uses fresh, local or organic foods. Make arrangements with a local food bank to pick up any leftovers at the end of the day.


Use Reusable or Biodegradable Tableware
Stick to cloth napkins and real tableware to reduce the amount of resources your event consumes and the amount of garbage you'll need to dispose of at the end of night. Many caterers can provide everything you need for serving, eating and drinking.

Decorate Naturally

Try using "living" d�cor such as moss, stones and succulent plants, or organic flowers instead of traditional pesticide-laden bouquets. Send your decorations home with your guests at the end of the event, or reuse them for another event.


Make Recycling Easy 
Do this by setting out clearly labeled recycling bins for items such as bottles, paper and cans.

Greening Your Event. Retrieved from

August - September 2013


20 - Afton - Minority & Women's Business Summit 

21 - Eufaula - Small Business Tax Basics 

22 - OKC - Comprehensive QuickBooks

22 - Durant - Business Tax Workshop

27 - Noble - Business 4 Breakfast

27 - Chickasha - HR Best Practices for Small Businesses

29 - Madill - Small Business Tax Basics

29 - Catoosa - MED Week 



10 - Sulphur - HR Essentials for Small Business
11 - Blanchard - Using Pintrest to Promote Your Business

12 - Durant - The Polished Professional - Secrets to Passion, Purpose and Style!

12 - Tulsa - Excel Essentials

14 - Durant - Cruisin' for a Cure Car Show
16 - Alva - Cyber-Security for Your Business 

17 - Idabel - Using an iPhone and iPad in Your Business

19 - Pryor - Advanced QuickBooks 

19 - Poteau - Comprehensive QuickBooks

20 - Edmond - Small Business Boot Camp 

24 - Noble - Business 4 Breakfast

26 - Durant - Business Tax Workshop




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