Vision for the Economic Future for OKC – Cathy O’Connor

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“Omni Hotel, Mixed Use Development and Core to Shore”

Ms. Cathy O’Connor is the President of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, a non-profit corporation designed to coordinate public participation in economic development projects. In her role as President of the Alliance, Cathy has been instrumental in furthering development throughout Oklahoma City and promoting job creation. She was the point person on the team that worked to locate both the GE Global Energy Research Facility, and the Boeing Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment division in Oklahoma City. She also led the efforts to create the NE Renaissance Urban Renewal Area and Tax Increment Finance district, the Core to Shore Tax Increment Finance District and to develop a Convention Center Hotel to complement the new MAPS 3 Convention Center.

Prior to becoming President of the Alliance, Ms. O’Connor served as an Assistant City Manager with Oklahoma City where she enjoyed an almost 30 year career. Catherine was appointed Assistant City Manager in May 2001 worked to develop the incentives to bring Bass Pro Shops, QuadGraphics and Dell Computers to the Oklahoma City area. She led the City’s team to structure the terms for the redevelopment of the historic Skirvin Hotel. In her role with the Alliance she continues to have responsibility for management of the City’s Tax Increment Financing program; the $75 million Strategic Investment Program, a local economic development incentive fund; and management of the City’s Urban Renewal Authority and economic development trust.

Ms. O’Connor is active in a variety of community organizations and currently serves on the board of directors of the United Way of Central Oklahoma, Commercial Real Estate Women of Oklahoma City, the Beacon Club, Historic Preservation Inc. and the Committee of One Hundred. Ms. O’Connor is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City and Leadership Oklahoma. Cathy was named the Journal Record’s Oklahoma Woman of the Year in 2009 and has also received the Stanley Draper Award for Community Excellence from Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. and a Byliner Award for Economic Development from the Association of Women in Communications. She is a member of the Economic Club, the Downtown Rotary Club, the International Economic Development Council, the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Chair of the Day

Ashley Smith is a Partner with Rose Rock Development Partners, a full-service real estate development company operating in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. She is also CEO of, a real estate search engine and database, and maintains a solo law practice focusing on real estate and business matters. Ashley serves on the Club 29 Board. She is a graduate of Leadership OKC LOYAL Class 9 and Signature Class 36 and was honored as a Journal Record Achiever Under 40 in 2017. Ashley is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

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