My name is Conner Bender, and I am thrilled to hear about your recent announcement. Yeah, the one about your company looking for some new stomping ground. That’s great. I also heard that you have cities throwing themselves at you, vying for your attention. Well, that’s good and all, but first, have you heard of a state called Oklahoma? Oh, that fly over state? You may be right, but what if I told you that people can sometimes overlook things. You believe that, right? What if I showed you a hidden gem that the rest of the world doesn’t know about because they always look in the wrong places. Amazon, I want to show you a hidden gem, and it goes by the name of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Growing up near an edge of the city, I have seen Tulsa go through tremendous growth. So much growth that I decided to stay here for college, which resulted in me moving to the other side of the city. The decision to stay here culminated from several factors, but most notably was the opportunity I could capitalize on. Today, opportunity can be viewed improperly or thrown around like a buzzword, but Amazon, I am asking you to look at Tulsa as an opportunity from a couple of strategically unique angles.
At a modest metropolitan population size of a little over a million, Tulsa punches above its weight. Some of the attractive features the community is built on is grounded by a welcoming and affirming environment for exploration. Our city is full of creatives that take projects upon themselves just for the sake of improving their surroundings. There are groups of people that not only care about municipal development, but survival.
Our vibrant grassroots initiatives truly showcase what we want every citizen to embody. One recent example exhibits individuals growing tired from how outdated our city flag was becoming. Instead of sitting idle about it, they decided to take action. They kickstarted a social media campaign and website, called the Tulsa Flag, that asked for ordinary people to send in meaningful flag designs. Once they narrowed down to three finalists, citizens had the ability to text in their choice with one design winning the majority vote. Although the design is not officially adopted by the city yet, lots of Tulsans have embraced the flag simply because it was created by the people and for the people.
With that in mind, my next question to you, Amazon, is how much do you place on long-term investments? I agree, among other active Amazon users, that your company will be sustainable for decades to come, but how will you be different? How will you continue to spice up e-commerce? Bringing your people and infrastructure to the city of Tulsa is a long-term investment for your employees, their families, and your future. Employees at your company for the long haul will get tired of the “coastal craze.” The best way to increase your retention rate is to diversify your locations. Making your second headquarters in Tulsa—which is in the Midwest—would be a bold move, but it sets the tone for what direction you are moving in as company. Your mission statement talks about “focusing on the customer.” In order to achieve that, employees need a reason to focus, and a new environment is a perfect incentive for them to keep your mission fresh in their minds.
Something else that you will find in the city is a supply of flourishing academics and dedicated students. According to the U.S. News 2018 College Ranking report, University of Tulsa is ranked the top university in the state along with being in the top 100 of the country. If you want to be recruiting the top young adults of Oklahoma, you can just look within the city to find them.
As cybersecurity is becoming a growing issue, TU students can fulfill any security concerns and gaps you may have. In fact, the University of Tulsa is recognized as a NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations among other prestigious cyber certifications. Only 19 universities in the United States have this honor. The only other city on the list of 19 that you may be considering is Pittsburgh, which has Carnegie Mellon University, but the city crime rates should raise some concerns, especially if you are truly wanting to bring families with you.
As a company, funneling these types of students would be in your best interest since they are being taught under a specialized course curriculum. We live in an age where security breaches are frequently unexpected, which can be best described as a game of whack-a-mole. The breach will pop up and companies will hammer the vulnerability head on. Then it becomes an anxious waiting game for when another breach will occur. Your strategy should be to hire cyber exterminators to eliminate the moles before they even pop up. This can be achieved with a talented team, and TU students can help prevent these scenarios from occurring.
Amazon, I want to leave you with one closing remark that distinguishes Tulsa from every other city you are looking at. We have people that care—not only about our city, but that care for each other. We are not only selling you our resources, we are giving you the opportunity to experience the Tulsa community. Our city can best be described as that friendly neighborhood hipster who is trying to connect with everyone on the block. And Amazon, if you knock on our door, we will welcome you with open arms. We aren’t planning on moving any time soon anyways.
A Proud Tulsan
A letter to the Editor