The manufacturing industry continues to make products and headlines in Broken Arrow, now the third largest manufacturing city in Oklahoma. More than 350 manufacturing companies are located here with more on the way.
“Oklahoma is heavy into manufacturing, and Broken Arrow works regionally with Tulsa to make northeastern Oklahoma the manufacturing hub of the state,” says Kinnee Tilly, senior vice president of Broken Arrow Economic Development Corp. “The industry contributes greatly to our employment and wealth because for every one manufacturing job, six other people are employed related to that job.”
Broken Arrow provides an ideal manufacturing location for many reasons. Its location in the center of the country gives companies easy access to major transportation lines, including interstate, rail and air. The Tulsa International Airport is only 15 minutes away. Government officials offer many financial incentives to companies that bring in jobs, and Broken Arrow is a business-friendly community.
“Plus, Broken Arrow has an abundance of land for companies to grow, and some companies in Tulsa are actually running out of room and moving here," Tilly says. "For example, Molded Products moved from Tulsa and constructed a new building in Broken Arrow that opened in late 2014.”
Aviation and Energy Industries
The aviation and energy industries are the city’s two largest manufacturing sectors, and even billionaire Warren Buffett owns a local company. FlightSafety International employs 1,000 people who engineer and manufacture high-tech flight simulators.
As for energy, companies enjoying success these days include Zeeco, a world leader in the design and manufacture of industrial combustion and pollution control technologies for the petroleum and chemical industries; and Exterran, which is involved in oil and natural gas production, processing, transportation and other related applications.
“A number of energy-based companies in Broken Arrow have been expanding,” Tilly says. “One of them is NOV Enerflow, which manufactures large fracking trucks that work at oil well sites. NOV Enerflow added 30 people to its workforce in 2014.”
Another company doing well is OSECO, producer of pressure-release safety devices called rupture discs that are used in chemical plants and oil refineries as well as markets like medical equipment, aircraft braking systems, biotech, sanitation and food and beverage. OSECO has 100 employees today compared to 70 in 2013, and some of their clients are NASA, SpaceX, Anheuser-Busch, Dow Chemical and Shell.
In addition, OSECO has supplied rupture discs needed for a major construction project occurring for the past four years in Saudi Arabia, which will result in the largest chemical plant complex ever built.
“Our company has experienced a growth spurt like many others in Broken Arrow, and with a good supplier base in the area, we get almost all our supplies locally,” says Bryan Sanderlin, president of OSECO. “I like doing business that way. The Broken Arrow chamber and economic development people make sure that local manufacturers are aware of each other, so you’ll often see smaller businesses supplying larger companies here.”