OKC Economic Development – Sandino Thompson, EightTwenty and Jennifer Nakayama, Downtown OKC Partnership Jeff Seymour-Moderator
Sandino L. Thompson is a community developer and thought leader with a passion for social innovation and inclusive development. He has over 20 years of experience successfully managing multimillion-dollar commercial and residential projects encompassing new construction, renovation, and historic preservation throughout the United States. Mr. Thompson combines this experience with an extensive number of economic and workforce development initiatives focused on human self-sufficiency and community revitalization.
He is focused on strategies that harness the untapped potential of overlooked communities to drive economic growth and resiliency. His efforts include revitalization projects in Northeast Oklahoma City that have won national and international acclaim for innovative placemaking and inclusive design. Mr. Thompson facilitates consultation, development, and investment in partnerships that improve the physical infrastructure of the built environment while expanding social infrastructure that provides for a more sustainable community. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management Engineering with a minor in Political Science from Oklahoma State University.
Jennifer Nakayama serves as the President and CEO of Downtown OKC Partnership. Nakayama assumed this role in February 2023 following a six-year tenure as President and Executive Director of the Waikiki Business Improvement District (WBID).
Nakayama’s academic journey is rooted in excellence, having earned a Bachelor’s Degree from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master’s Degree from the University of California at Davis. Her academic skills have been seamlessly complemented by her professional achievements. As a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) in civil engineering, Nakayama has showcased her ability to blend her educational background with her real-world expertise.
At the Waikiki BID, Nakayama’s work focused on safety and operations while continuing to enhance the quality of life for residents. Her key emphasis includes advocacy for businesses and community stakeholders, public activation and placemaking, as well as research and planning for district-wide benefit. Daily public services include custodial, maintenance, landscaping, security, safety, and homeless outreach.
Nakayama, originally from southern California, was selected from over 50 candidates through a national executive search. Her passion for public spaces brings communities together in collaborative ways that genuinely focus on partnerships between residents, businesses, and government.
In her time at Downtown OKC Partnership, her attention has been on building relationships and leveraging partnerships to further enhance downtown Oklahoma City for those who reside, work and visit Downtown OKC.
Jeff Seymour serves as the Executive Vice President for Economic Development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. In this role he leads the Chamber’s effort to expand the regional economy through new business recruitment, providing support to existing businesses and entrepreneurs and meeting the talent and workforce needs of current and future employers.
Prior to serving at the Chamber, Jeff served as Executive Director of the Franklin County Development Council, a county-wide economic development organization in the greater Kansas City region and the Executive Director of the Blackwell Chamber of Commerce and Blackwell Industrial Authority in Blackwell, OK. Jeff also worked at the Ponca City Development Authority.
Jeff lives in Northern Oklahoma City with his wife Natasha and daughter Emmaline. He is an avid biker and traveler and is graduate of Oklahoma State University and Northern Oklahoma College with degrees in economics and international business. Jeff holds the status of a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council.
Chair of the Day
Jerrod Shouse is the founder of Shouse Consulting. He has more than twenty years of experience working within Oklahoma state government and has built Shouse Consulting into one of Oklahoma’s most respected public affairs firms.
Prior to founding Shouse Consulting, Jerrod served six years in the office of Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating as the governor’s personal assistant and as a policy advisor on several issues. He later served as press secretary for University of Oklahoma President David Boren and as spokesperson for the university.
Jerrod has served on the boards of the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Oklahoma Arts Institute Foundation, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Board of Advisors, the Leadership Oklahoma City Alumni Board, and on Governor Mary Fallin’s Task Force on Economic Development and Job Creation.
Jerrod received a Bachelor of Arts degree in public affairs and administration from the University of Oklahoma.