Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen knows that thriving businesses in the state are widespread. But he also recognizes that many Oklahomans are not aware of the numerous company success stories. Kouplen is placing an increased focus on growing existing businesses in the state and encouraging more start-ups, and telling the stories of thriving companies plays an important role in that effort.
“Bringing in new companies is great, but if we want to achieve our goal of being a top 10 economy, we have to grow the businesses that are here in the state. That is our top priority,” said Kouplen. “Part of our job is to tell the success of Oklahoma businesses—hopefully by sharing these stories we can shed light on what effective Oklahoma business leaders say make their operations here successful, raise awareness of some of the business resources that are available to existing businesses and inspire more entrepreneurs to start and grow their companies right here in Oklahoma.”
“For example, I would bet most Oklahomans don’t know that Frederick is home to Henniges Automotive, which manufactures parts for companies like GM, Ford, BMW and others,” said Kouplen. “Henniges is a perfect example of a thriving company that has a great story to tell.”
The City of Frederick, Okla. may only have 4,000 residents, but it is also where you’ll find one of the state’s automotive parts manufacturers providing world-class vehicle sealing and anti-vibration solutions for well-known auto manufacturers. And where Henniges Automotive has found four decades of success.
The company’s leaders attribute much of their success to their people. “Our workforce is our biggest asset. We have a very strong and senior workforce that takes pride in providing quality parts to our customers,” said Chase Massie, Human Resources Director, Henniges Automotive.
But growing a successful operation comes with some new challenges. “One of our most recent obstacles was finding the number of qualified employees we need as we continue to grow.”
To address this obstacle, Henniges formed a partnership with Great Plains Technology Center. They worked together, identified specific needs and created a certification class that is offered multiple times a year, helping the company maintain and grow its workforce of more than 300 Oklahomans.
“Oklahoma is known for its hardworking communities. This is no different in Frederick. It is these blue collar workers that make Oklahoma the location of choice,” said Massie. “We are celebrating 40 years this year in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is place you can find long term success and great partnerships throughout the state.”