Spreading the word
Young professionals want you to join in the conversation.
Perhaps you’ve noticed — the winds of change are blowing, from the election of a bi-racial president to discussion of alternate energy sources to the revitalization of our own city’s downtown urban core.
The conversations going on in and around Tulsa regarding these topics are the same conversations going on in many other mid-sized cities in America. There is a renewed sense of potential and possibility here unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed and it’s one of the major reasons I moved back to Tulsa a year ago.
This wasn’t always my plan. I had grown up here, attended some college in the area, returned and found that most of my friends had decided to either stay in the town in which they had attended college or university or move to a major metropolis, such as Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco or New York. Back when I was in high school, I didn’t really understand why so many of my friends were so ready to get out, but in my early 20s, I had grown tired of dreaming of the possibilities a larger city held for me and I left to complete my degree at The Berklee College of Music in Boston and then moved to Los Angeles, where I worked as a mastering engineer in Hollywood. I’m glad I left because the perspective I gained was invaluable.
Now back in Tulsa, I have seen that the city has established that attracting and retaining young professionals is at the top of its priorities. No longer can we afford to educate and train the world’s finest and allow them to leave, as so many of my friends did, never to return.
Luckily, a number of initiatives and organizations (too many to name here) are already changing the tides on what we might call the “Tulsa Brain Drain.” One of those is our young-professionals organization. Tulsa’s Young Professionals (TYPros) is the largest and fastest-growing young-professionals organization in the nation, and it’s a model other cities are using to create and develop their own groups. TYPros offers social and networking aspects, as well as an opportunity to engage in initiatives the young professional cares about.
One initiative this TYPro cares about is PLANiTULSA. For the first time in more than 30 years, the city has decided to develop a new comprehensive plan, which will determine the pattern of growth for the city. The great thing about the initiative is that it gave everyday citizens an opportunity to be involved in its planning every step of the way. If Tulsa needs the creative power and business-generating force that is the young professional, it also needs commercial and residential developments that will attract him or her. Generations X & Y are now lawyers, bankers, doctors, nurses, artists, police officers, engineers and everyone else who makes up a city, and we want thriving cultural centers as well as a downtown hub where we walk to work or entertainment if we choose.
Together, we have the opportunity to see that it happens. If you have ever lived in a thriving metropolis, you can share in my excitement for downtown Tulsa’s urban renaissance, and I hope that you continue to support it by going there often. Hopefully, in the near future, we can all enjoy a city where people from all over the world visit and desire to live, and I hope that you, dear reader, join me in this conversation.
Jonathan Bolzle is a Platinum album-earning audio engineer, commercial real estate broker and developer for KMO Development Group Inc. in downtown Tulsa and active member of TYPros.