MidAmerica | 4075 Sanders Mitchell St | Pryor Creek, OK 74361 | Phone: (918) 825-3500 | Fax: (918) 825-4022 | Email: dstewart@maip.com
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MidAmerica Celebrates 60 Years

10/07/2020

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If it hadn’t been for world-wide turmoil and the American government’s needs in the wake of World War II, MidAmerica Industrial Park may have never been founded. 

Beginning in 1941 and lasting through the turbulent years of World War II, a sprawling 15,867 acre government ammunition plant in Mayes County, Oklahoma, was filled with over 10,000 employees making black powder for war munitions. 

Four years later, at the conclusion of the war, the plant shut down, ending wartime employment for thousands of workers, most of whom had been imported to fill the needs of the manufacturing process. 

However, the vision of one man and the active cooperation of many others, reaching even into the halls of Congress and the White House itself, resulted in the creation of one of the nation’s largest industrial parks. 


MIDAMERICA INDUSTRIAL PARK 
Gene R. Redden, an employee of the National Gypsum Company, which owned a factory in the area, was charged with managing the closed facility. Now reduced to 10,046 acres covering over 20 full sections of land and parts, Redden predicted the federal government would eventually declare the land surplus and break it up, selling to farmers, ranchers and land spectators. 

But Redden saw the area with its 509 buildings, 38 miles of railroad spur, four complete water systems covering 800 acres, including fire hydrants and three complete chemical plants, as the potential core to a highly diversified industrial park. Thus began the efforts toward founding MidAmerica Industrial Park. 

Fifteen years later—sixty years ago—a public trust called the Oklahoma Ordnance Works Authority, the operators of MidAmerica Industrial Park, was formed to encourage economic growth and create jobs. 

The fifteen years between the end of the war and the official start of MidAmerica Industrial Park came with tremendous dedication and a tenacity to not give up, overcoming multiple hurdles. This same tenacity is what has fueled MidAmerica ever since. 

It began on December 30, 1960, when the OOWA came into official existence by filing a trust indenture and the deed to one acre of land. The purchase of the additional 10,045 acres came nearly a year later on October 23, 1961. 

Sixty years later, MidAmerica is the largest industrial park in the Central United States and the eighth largest in the world. It is home to 4,500 employees and 80 companies, 30% of which represent the metal, machining and manufacturing sectors. The Park has experienced 20% growth over the past five years. Five Fortune 500 companies reside on the grounds including Google, DuPont and Siemens. 

How did it get there? 

MidAmerica’s visionary strategic plan is and has always been a living-document, constantly updating and refocusing on the primary drivers that stimulate economic growth and investment. It is continuously reinventing itself to stay relevant, keep up with market changes, competition and technology. 

As early as 1966, when MidAmerica was just four years old, President Lyndon B. Johnson made a dedicatory address at the Park. President Johnson was so impressed with MidAmerica’s venture and the job-producing protentional, he wanted to personally see the operation. More than 10,000 people witnessed him speak about how the Park was boosting his Great Society plan to create jobs and a better economy atmosphere for all Americans. 

In 1971, the same year the Arkansas River navigation project became a reality, MidAmerica companies were using the channel. MidAmerica saw the power of utilizing the water transformation system and fought for its companies’ ability to use it. 

From the late 1970’s through the early 2000’s MidAmerica continued to expand and adapt to the growing needs of the businesses in the park, it’s employees and the surrounding community. In 1978 GRDA commissioned Unit 1 of its coal-fired electric generation facility, providing more power to the park. 

In 1995, Northeast Technology Center opened its superintendent’s office and industry training center in the Park, and in 1997 they began their post-secondary vocational training in the Park. This began the partnership MidAmerica still has today with Northeast Tech. Additionally, 1997 saw the first restaurant open in the Park: Mid-American Grille. 

OSU Institute of Technology, MidAmerica’s Enterprise Center, was developed in 2005. This was another step towards MidAmerica’s commitment to workforce development. This site was used as a business incubator. 

Google announced it was coming to Oklahoma in 2007, and its first data center opened in the Park four years later. By the time Google unveiled its second building in 2012, the company’s investment in the state was $700 million. 

“Google and Oklahoma are an ideal fit,” said Andrew Silvestri, Google’s Head of Data Center Policy and Community Development. 

“When we search for a data center site we have very specific criteria such as the caliber of the workforce, the right business climate and the infrastructure to support the power and technical needs of our operations. Mayes County and MidAmerica Industrial Park fit the bill and have surpassed our expectations.” 

In 2013, MidAmerica partnered with Rogers State University and funded the construction of a 38,400-square-foot building on 84 acres to serve as a new RSU campus in Pryor. It was the largest single gift in RSU’s history and the $10 million project more than doubled the size of RSU’s previous campus. The facility is also used as MidAmerica’s career center, further supporting the workforce needs of companies located in the Park. 

On the heels of the RSU project, in 2014, MidAmerica launched MidAmerica Delivers, the Park’s workforce initiative. The program has built 11 best-in-class STEM labs and Career Centers through nine school districts in Eastern Oklahoma, hosted a STEM Alliance Showcase offering hands-on STEM activities to more than 900 students, funded STEM programs for area libraries so students and their families can have access to STEM education, and much more. The goal of MidAmerica Delivers is to ensure companies have access to the workforce they need to be successful. MidAmerica is committed to delivering that workforce. 

In the last five years alone, MidAmerica has committed to a $20 million capital investment plan. The plan has already developed 400 acres of shovel-ready land, roads to access the sites, and water and wastewater lines to ensure the property is ready for new opportunities. An additional 600 acres in the Igloo Valley Development and 500 acres in the Ridgeline Development will be ready in the coming years. 

In 2019, Google revealed plans to spend an additional $600 million at its facilities in the Park, bringing the company’s total investment in Oklahoma to more than $3 billion. Google’s complex at MidAmerica employs at least 500 people and is the company’s second largest in the world. Their presence has transformed the Park, the local school system and the area. 

Google CEO, Sundar Pichai said, “The Pryor Data Center is part of the engine that makes it possible for Google to help billions of people around the world. We look forward to being a part of this community for years to come.” 

In early 2020, MidAmerica held the grand opening for its Center of Excellence, a one-stop training and hiring center under the umbrella of MidAmerica Delivers. Not only does the Center provide education and training services, but is also accessible to MidAmerica companies for research and development. 

And finally, the icing on the cake, The District, a 162-acre development that incorporates retail, residential, parks and trails near the Park. The grand opening will happen later this year, creating the “sense of place” employers want for their employees. 

The multitude of growth and expansion improvements MidAmerica has made since its inception demonstrates its commitment to delivering solutions to address the challenges its employers face. 



IN THE PAST 60 YEARS MIDAMERICA HAS GROWN AND EXPANDED TO OFFER: 

  • An on-site water treatment plant with a 50-million-gallons-per-day capacity 
  • Its own wastewater collection and treatment system 
  • Power supplied by the Grand River Dam Authority and the Grand River Energy Center located at the Park at highly competitive rates 
  • Union Pacific Rail service 
  • An onsite airport with a 5,000-foot runway 
  • Proximity to the NAFTA highway, CANAMAX Corridor and deep-water access 
  • Plans for The District housing development set to open later this year 
  • STEM labs within 10 school districts 
  • The MidAmerica STEM Alliance, an initiative designed to ensure that youth in rural northeast Oklahoma communities can develop skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and connect with local career opportunities. 


The companies located within the Park are a shining example of MidAmerica’s 60 years of success. 

HE&M Saw, for example, moved into the Park in 1976 with 12 employees and a single, 12,000 square-foot building. The manufacturer of band saws now occupies 300,000 square feet on 14 acres of land and employs nearly 200 workers. Why MidAmerica? 

“The reason we chose MidAmerica is its central location in the United States and closeness to major highways that cut across the country, making it easily accessible for transportation of our products,” says Doug Harris, President and CEO. “In addition, the power is inexpensive and the surrounding area provides a very good, stable and well-trained workforce.” 

Harris cites the training and Workforce Development programs and two educational facilities — the MAIP Campus of the Northeast Technical Center and the Pryor Campus of Rogers State University — as particularly beneficial. Accelerated depreciation of property and the New Market Tax Credit are two more. 

“MAIP is wonderful when it comes to collaborating and working with the companies in the Park,” says Harris. “Under the direction of Dave Stewart, they listen to the businesses and develop tools to solve any issues they may have. Through their Workforce Development Program, they also assist in placing well-trained employees if a company in the Park should have a need.” 


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MidAmerica Fact

Located at the junction of US Highway 69 and US Highway 412, MidAmerica is near some of the nation’s most highly-traveled thoroughfares.

Junction of US 69 and US 412 Fact image
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