Forget Black Friday! Who needs Cyber Monday?

The US Government is in the process of giving your company the door buster savings you’ve been looking for. While you shop away for family and friends don’t forget to shop for your business too!

Are there projects that you would like to see completed in your office? Things that you have been putting off or thought that you couldn’t afford? Does the idea of a last minute tax break for your business sound exciting to you?

With Section 179, you have the perfect reason to check these projects off of your list before the end of the calendar year.

What is Section 179?

Section 179 is a tax deduction from the IRS tax code that allows you to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment, either purchased or financed during the tax year.

Until further notice, the IRS has permanently increased the Section 179 deduction limit from $25,000 to $500,000 in order to reduce the planning frustrations of years past. The 2016 spending cap on equipment purchases is $2,000,000. This is the maximum amount that can be spent on equipment before the Section 179 deduction available to your company begins to be reduced on a dollar for dollar basis.

Qualifying Property

Section 179 new or used eligible items include:

  • Equipment (machines, etc) purchased for business use
  • Tangible personal property used in business
  • Business Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 6,000 lbs (Section 179 Vehicle Deductions)
  • Computers
  • Computer “Off-the-Shelf” Software
  • Office Furniture
  • Office Equipment
  • Property attached to your building that is not a structural component of the building (i.e.: a printing press, large manufacturing tools and equipment)
  • Partial Business Use (equipment that is purchased for business use and personal use: generally, your deduction will be based on the percentage of time you use the equipment for business purposes).

Please note that in order to qualify for the Section 179 deduction, the eligible equipment listed above must be purchased and put into use between January 1 and December 31 of the tax year you are claiming.

Non Qualifying Property

The following is a list of property that does not qualify for Section 179:

  • Real Property does not qualify for the Section 179 Deduction. Real Property is typically defined as land, buildings, permanent structures and the components of the permanent structures (including improvements). Other examples of property that would not qualify for the Section 179 Deduction include paved parking areas and fences.
  • Air conditioning and heating equipment is generally not eligible for the Section 179 Deduction.
  • Property used outside the United States generally does not qualify for the Section 179 Deduction.
  • Property that is used to furnish lodging is generally not qualified for the Section 179 Deduction.
  • Property acquired by gift or inheritance, as well as property purchased from related parties does not qualify for the Section 179 Deduction (No, you can’t sell equipment to yourself and qualify for Section 179).
  • Any property that is not considered to be personal property, may not qualify for the Section 179 Deduction.
  • Used Equipment (that is new to you) qualifies for Section 179, however used equipment does not qualify for Bonus Depreciation (if offered in a given tax year).

Don’t Wait, Shop Today!

For more information about the Section 179 deduction, please visit Section179.org or call 918-770-8738.


Eric Kehmeier is the Founder and President of Integrated Business Technologies (IBT), a leading provider of information technology and professional services to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma. He has been honored by the Tulsa Regional Chamber as the 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the year, the Broken Arrow Chamber 2014 Business Person of the year, 2012 Men of Distinction Honoree, and named a top up-and-coming professional under 40 by the Tulsa Business Journal.

Saving Money Shouldn’t Cost a Pretty Penny!

Improve comfort, use less energy and save money with a little help from PSO. Energy-saving tips, tools and rebates are available to help. We reward customers for making energy-saving improvements around the house. We also provide free energy-saving home improvements to qualifying homeowners with household incomes of less than $45,000 per year.

REBATES & DISCOUNTS

Transform your home with energy-saving upgrades and get valuable rebates from PSO. Receive instant discounts on lighting, new windows, doors, heating/cooling systems, and more. Plus, make three or more improvements and you could qualify for the 50% multi-upgrade bonus.

HOME WEATHERIZATION

At PSO, we offer assistance to customers in need. Through Home Weatherization, qualifying homeowners with a household income of less than $45,000 per year may be eligible to receive free upgrades, like insulation and weather-stripping, to make their homes more comfortable.

WAYS TO SAVE

Check out our toolkit with resources to help you lower bills and save energy at home. You can also buy or build a PSO-certified or ENERGY STAR®-certified new home. These homes are more durable, more comfortable and more energy-efficient.

ANALYZE YOUR USAGE

Analyze your home’s usage to find energy-saving ideas. My Energy Advisor is an online home-assessment tool that lets you track energy usage, set goals to reduce monthly bills and find rebates to help you save even more.  Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be saving in no time:

  1. Log in to your PSO account.
  2. Provide details about your energy usage habits at home.
  3. Add recommendations to your Energy Savings Plan.

TO GET STARTED

Here are some no-cost/low-cost energy-saving tips:

  1. Not Using It? Unplug It
  • Unplugging underutilized appliances can lead to big savings in electricity usage.
  • Plug electronics into a smart power strip. It turns off items that go into standby mode.
  1. Use Computer’s Energy Saving Features
  • If you have an ENERGY STAR® computer, enable its shut-down features.
  • “Sleep” mode reduces electricity usage by up to 70% when inactive.
  • “Hibernate” mode shuts down computer after specified time; restarts using less electricity.
  • Shut off computer if you’re going to be away more than 2 hours.
  1. Control Temperature
  • Winter: Try 68-degree thermostat setting when you’re home; lower it at night or when you’re away.
  • Summer: Set thermostat to minimum 78 degrees; circulate air with fans.
  • Open shades in winter to let sunlight in. Close in summer to keep home cooler.
  1. Use Appliances Wisely
  • Set water heater 120 – 130 degrees; use a water heater blanket.
  • Wash full loads of laundry in cold water.
  • Clean dryer’s lint filter each time. Use a clothesline.
  • Wash full loads in dishwasher; use shorter wash/rinse cycles and air-dry.
  1. Turn Off Lights
  • Incandescent bulbs are inefficient, so turn them off when you don’t need them.
  • Turn off fluorescent lights if leaving for 15 minutes or more.
  1. Plug Air Leaks
  • Caulk, weather-strip and insulate windows and doors wherever you find air leaks.
  1. Energy-Efficient Lighting
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lights and LEDs for significant energy savings.
  • CFLs and LEDs cost 3-10 times more than incandescent but last 6-15 times longer.
  1. Change Heating and Cooling Filters
  • Replace air conditioner and furnace filters regularly to maintain peak efficiency.
  1. Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures
  • A $10 low-flow showerhead can yield significant hot water savings.
  • Install faucet aerators having a flow rate of no more than 1 gallon per minute.
  1. Energy-Efficient Electronics & Appliances
  • Electronics and appliances with the ENERGY STAR® label use less energy. Look for the Blue Star logo when buying to reduce power usage.

 

To learn more and to sign up for PSO’s energy-saving customer programs, please explore our website:   http://www.powerforwardwithpso.com/

 

BA Chamber President and City Leaders travel to NYC to promote Broken Arrow

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Broken Arrow leaders from the Chamber, Economic Development Corporation and the City recently participated in the annual Oklahoma business retention call trip in New York City.   This event is one of many that we attend each year as we work to keep Broken Arrow in the forefront of economic development.

Kinnee Tilly and I were joined this year by Mayor Thurmond, City Manager Michael Spurgeon and Norm Stephens of the City.   Chamber Chair Ted Cundiff also attended.  Together, we met with business executives who have a presence in our community, as well as with those who might contemplate such. Several Oklahoma leaders were in attendance such as Governor Fallin and State Secretary of Commerce Debi Snodgrass.  Also, present were representatives from our sister communities all over Oklahoma.

Why do we do this?   Until recently, Broken Arrow didn’t participate in these kind of economic development initiatives.   However, in the past five years our Economic Development Corporation has seen the many benefits of this type of outreach.  Sometimes the results are not immediate but have a more long-term impact.  We have been very successful at promoting our community and building relationships with the parent companies of those with investments–and jobs–right here in Broken Arrow.  Our city partners also recognize the value and are there to participate when asked.

Our primary focus is on the growth and development of good, well-paying jobs in our community.  The New York call trip is just one of the many tools that we use to achieve that mission.   When we grow our job base here, there are more customers and more money in the community to support our businesses.  If you have ideas you would like to share or questions about our job growth programs, please give me a call.

Thank you for being a part of the Broken Arrow Chamber.


Wes Smithwick is President and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

 

Meet the Staff – Eric Alley

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Our ace bookkeeper is none other than Eric Alley.  He answered a few questions to give you a better understanding of who he really is:


Brief description of what you do for the Chamber: My official title is bookkeeper, so I deal with the money. I also help with our TRC campaign, event registrations, and I seem to get asked to move boxes a lot  : ) 

Where did you go to school and what did you study and/or where have you worked/done previously? I got a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma. I worked with my father in real estate after graduating, then came to the Chamber.

What do link best about your job? I love being a part of what goes on behind-the-scenes for things I’ve participated in for almost my whole life, like Rooster Days and Buy BA. 

When you are not at the Chamber, what do you enjoy doing? I’m pretty much always doing something with my family, or working on some kind of project on my house or cars.

What is a little known fun fact about yourself? I’ve played the drums since I was about 11 years old.


If you have any questions about your account status, or if your band is looking for a drummer, Eric can be reached at 918-893-2105 or eric.alley@bachamber.com

Students Drive Toward Success

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Over 3.5 million professional truck drivers accounted for 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight tonnage in 2015, collecting $726 billion in gross freight revenues, according to a recent analysis published by the American Trucking Association. However, even with these record-setting numbers, there is still one problem facing the industry; professional trucking companies do not have enough qualified drivers to meet their growing demand.

Donnie Tulk, Coordinator for Tulsa Tech’s Professional Truck Driving Training Program, has spent over 30 years in the industry, and says the need for professional drivers is projected to rise dramatically during the next decade.

“Currently there is a shortage of approximately 48,000 drivers in the US,” Tulk said. “And by the end 2025, that number is estimated to be approximately 174,000 drivers, mostly due to the fact the median age for drivers today is 55.”

David Thompson, a student in the program, and a former electrician, is working toward his commercial driver’s license (CDL), along with additional credentials and endorsements, providing him with even more opportunities to help fill the void currently facing this rapidly growing industry.

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“I had been doing electrical work for several years, then I became interested in truck driving,” Thompson said. “Once I complete the program I would like to be a regional, or dedicated driver, which would allow me to still be home most weekends with my family.”

Tony Bottoms, Tulsa Tech Instructor for the program, with over 15 years industry experience, feels the time is right for those interested in this fast-growing career field.

“There are many options available for individuals who wish to work in this career field,” Bottoms said. “Everything from the premium pay types of jobs, associated with long-haul or over-the-road drivers, to regional or dedicated driving opportunities, which offer more flexible schedules for the driver.”

Ja’net Leath, an Air Force veteran and mother of 3, feels the timing is right too, and is excited to begin the next chapter of her life, along with her new career.

“My children are grown and I feel like this is the next step,” Leath said. “My goal is to become an over-the-road driver, to cover the lower 48 states, and see different parts of the country while I’m earning a great living.”

Although some driver training programs are much shorter, and only work to prepare students for the CDL exam. Tulsa Tech’s Professional Truck Driving Training Program was developed with input from our industry partners.

“We intentionally designed this program to exceed minimal regulations,” Tulk said. “And we adjusted our curriculum in response to the valuable input we have received from our many industry partners. They indicated a need for individuals with much more experience, than say, minimal entry-level driving skills, and they are seeking drivers who have more knowledge about industry regulations, trip planning, and a better understanding of the overall industry.”

The 600 hour program is divided into three courses, Entry Level Driver, Skills and Regulations, and Specialist Driver, with the latter giving students a unique opportunity to earn additional endorsements, or credentials, in order to transport more specialized loads. After 360 hours, students may opt to intern with one of our industry partners, with the remaining hours of the course structured as on-the-job-training.

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality customized corporate training, or wish to start driving toward a new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.


Dr. Steve Tiger is Superintendent & CEO of Tulsa Tech. He can be reached at steve.tiger@tulsatech.edu

Meet the Staff – Micah Price

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The multi-talented Micah Price has recently taken over the reins of Events Manager here at the Broken Arrow Chamber.  She answered a few questions to let you get to know her a bit better:

Give a brief description of what you do for the Chamber:
I am the Events Manager here at the Chamber. I help promote, design and execute all of the events.

Where did you go to school and what did you study and/or where have you worked/done previously?
I attended OSU Stillwater and got my major in Hospitality Management. I worked throughout my college career at the Recreation Facility on campus as a Center Manager and at Starbucks Coffee Co. as a Shift Supervisor.

What do you like best about your job?
I love the interaction I have with the members of the Chamber. It’s so beneficial to talk to all sorts of workers and business owners in the Broken Arrow community.

When you are not at the Chamber, what do you enjoy doing?
Spending time with my husband Gabe, daughter Ava, and our pup Roscoe.

What is a little known fun fact about yourself?
I am a coffee expert.


If you have any questions for Micah, she can be reached at 918-893-2103 or micah.price@bachamber.com.

What You Need to Know about Insurance Coverage for Earthquake Damage

The recent record-setting earthquake in northern Oklahoma has created concerns for many business owners / operators regarding the possibility of damage or loss of business income being covered by their property insurance policy.

Earthquake damage (Earth Movement in insurance policy terminology), regardless of whether is is naturally occurring or as a result of some other action is not covered by most property policies.  In previous times, we, as risk advisors and agents, felt that there was little need to recommend purchasing this type of coverage, as the likelihood of an earthquake that could result in damage was very remote.  Obviously, that is no longer the case.

The Changing Landscape

Several resources, including the United States Geological Survey, have made comments to the effect that damaging earthquakes will be more likely in the Southern Plains region of the country.  This area includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and other states.  Consequently, our agency will begin providing proposals for Earth Movement coverage to those clients who do not already have it as soon as our insurance markets will allow.  Most insurers have a current moratorium on writing this type of coverage.

Much like coverage for wind and hail losses, we expect that there will be a substantial deductible (which will be on a per event basis and not for cumulative damage) that will be a percentage of the total property value insured.  We believe that it will be a higher percentage than the 1-2% deductibles for wind / hail damage currently on most insurance policies.

While all insurance policy wording must be approved by the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID), there is not a requirement that all policy wording and coverages must read the same,  This fact requires the business owner to ascertain if their current property policy provides coverage at all, provides the coverage at a different limit dollar amount from that dollar amount provided for their building or business personal property (BPP) also known as a “sub-limit”, or if the amount of coverage is for the full limit provided for the building / BPP / loss of business income.  We discuss these options with our clients and assist them in making the best decision for their situation.

Determining Appropriate Coverage

A key element of determining the proper amount of coverage for earthquake damage is the same as it is for any other damage to your physical property.  Too many times, we are asked to ensure a building for the appraised amount or the amount of the Bank loan on the property.  That is not how property insurance contracts work.  The bank or other lender is not interested in the amount of coverage needed to replace or repair your structure, so any appraisal they require is for what they could sell the property for, not the cost to build it back.  We recommend that our clients secure a a replacement cost appraisal from a contractor or architect. You may be charged a fee for this service, but that fee is of little consequence when making sure that your assets are properly protected.

Additional Resources

Since this topic is at the forefront of insurance discussions, we recommend that you visit the OID’s webpage.  They are updating this discussion topic on a regular basis.  you can find answers to many of your questions there.  Timely topics include: what damage is covered and what is not, deductible issues, waiting periods, how the claim process works, etc.

The OID website also gives access to bulletins issues by the Insurance Commissioner.  On October 15, 2015, the OID issued a bulletin that required all property insurers that provide Earthquake Insurance to notify the policyholders and agents clarifying their intent to cover or to exclude earthquakes that are a result of “Oil & Gas Activities”.

Here is the wording that was required on the notification:

“Subject to all policy provisions, the coverage provided by this policy (IS) or (IS NOT) intended to cover earthquake damage resulting from:

a.  Extracting oil or gas from below the earth’s surface by any process, including but not limited to hydraulic fracking or drilling; or

b.  Injecting or inserting any substance, including but not limited to, water and wastewater, below the earth’s surface for any purpose; or

c.  Storage of any substance, including but not limited to, water and wastewater below the earth’s surface for any purpose; or

d.  Any combination of a – c above.”

You should be notified if your current property policy does provide earthquake coverage.  Our advice, given the current severity and frequency of earthquakes, is for you to be proactive and contact your insurance professional to find out what coverages you have and how it applies to your situation.  Coverage is available for your needs, subject to the current waiting periods.


Jim Beavers is Producer for The Arrow Group.  He can be reached at 918.258.6681 or  jbeavers@arrow-group.com.

Nominations for the Arrowhead Business Awards

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It seems like just a few short years ago that we began what has become one of our most popular programs, the Arrowhead Business Awards. Since 2012, when we handed out our first, we have honored close to fifty of Broken Arrow’s finest! This year we are adding two new awards that are specifically Rose District related.

Nominations are now open for the following awards:

· Business Person of the Year
· Business of the Year
· Small Business of the Year
· Retailer of the Year
· Manufacturer of the Year
· Restaurant/Bar of the Year
· Professional Business of the Year
· Women/Minority Business Awards
· Non-Profit of the Year
· Community Advocate of the Year

Nominate Now!

 

In addition, based on popular demand, we have created two new awards that are designed to honor those who are making the Rose District such a special place.

· Rose District Event of the Year
· Rose District Visionary of the Year

There are numerous events that bring thousands to the Rose District throughout the year. And, we have developers and entrepreneurs investing in new projects, buildings and businesses. Popular vote will decide these two awards.

Click Here to cast your vote!

 

Please visit the Chamber’s web page to learn more and nominate someone. But, you need to act quickly as nominations close on Friday, November 11th. Winners will be announced at the Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, February 4th at the Hard Rock Resort and Casino.


 

Wes Smithwick is President and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

 


 

 

CATEGORY DETAILS:

Business Person of the Year: A person whose business practices embody what it means to be a community partner, innovator, and leader. The Business Person of the Year is a prestigious award that will be given to someone who stands alone as an example to his or her peers. Must demonstrate their propensity to grow their business, community involvement, and job creation.

Business of the Year: A business that has made a significant impact in the community they serve, these are industry leaders that have created wealth through new jobs, bettered the city by encouraging their staff to be involved in the community, and continually innovate to be ahead of the pack.

Small Business of the Year: The small business award is reserved for outstanding small businesses that work to be key community partners. These are businesses with 25 or fewer employees and revenues less than $2,000,000.

Retailer of the Year: A retail establishment that provides outstanding quality merchandise and customer service. Must highlight their ability to attract customers and provide an experience that keeps them coming back. (Must produce sales tax in order to be considered for this award).

Manufacturer of the Year: These businesses create wealth for the community and export their goods across the nation and abroad. Providing quality jobs and opportunities for the region, they are the backbone of local economy and engage in the community.

Restaurant/Bar of the Year: Providing savory cuisine and unique concoctions to the Broken Arrow masses, these businesses create one-of-a-kind fare of the highest quality while providing exemplary service to their patrons (can include bars/drinking establishments, ice-cream parlors, or other food service establishments).

Professional Business of the Year: Professional businesses rely on their skills and expertise to provide unparalleled service and support to the community. Whether managing our finances, providing our healthcare, or counseling us in legal matters, they are the ones with the know-how.

Woman/Minority Business Awards: This award offers recognition to those businesses that face unique challenges in their field while still being outstanding examples of successful business people. Must show a propensity to assist other women/minority owned businesses (must be majority owned by a woman or minority).

Non-Profit of the Year: These organizations provide services and programming to the Broken Arrow community that are extraordinary, serving people’s needs and providing products and services not found in the for-profit realm.

Community Advocate of the Year: These organizations go above and beyond their business’ mission to serve the community at large, empowering their employees to serve and creating programs that bolster the community they call home.

Become a Participating Merchant for Buy Broken Arrow

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Sign Up TODAY for Buy Broken Arrow!

Buy BA is an affordable, fun way to market your business during the holiday shopping season and the deadline to register is quickly approaching. Buy BA is a Holiday Shopping program that was designed to create awareness of the businesses in our community, attract new shoppers to the stores and keep Broken Arrow shoppers shopping local. The campaign, which is in its 22nd season, has always been a very successful holiday marketing campaign for the businesses involved.

Click Here to Sign Up

Being a Participating Merchant for Buy Broken Arrow is $300 and includes two rolls of tickets (2,000 total tickets).  Customers who shop in your business will receive one ticket for every $10 spent.  Additional tickets can be purchased at the Chamber office during the campaign.  

Buy Broken Arrow Details

The 2016 Buy Broken Arrow campaign is November 1st – December 11th. The Drawing is December 13th at Moody’s Jewelry.

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Meet the Staff – Ben Beresh

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Our Communications Specialist, Ben Beresh can be seen at most Chamber events darting around the venue with a camera in hand.  Back in the office, he is busy crafting and telling the story of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.  He answered some questions to give you a better sense of who he really is.

What is your role at the Chamber?

I am Communications Specialist for the Chamber.  My duties include website maintenance, social media, photography, email marketing, copywriting, graphic design and corporate communications.

Where did you go to school and what did you study? Where have you worked previously?

I graduated from Oral Roberts University with a BS in Marketing.  I’ve previously worked as an Audio Engineer for Winnercomm Inc., as Director of Marketing for Chinowth & Cohen Realtors and as Director of Accounts for Little Mountain Productions.

What do like best about your job?

Broken Arrow is moving forward in such a positive way that I can’t help but be excited to be a part of the growth.  Communicating the Chamber’s impact on this community is fun, because it is a great story to tell!

When you are not at the Chamber, what do you enjoy doing?

When not at the Chamber, most of my time belongs to my wife and my four children.  I am a musician, so I can often be found with a guitar in my hand, whether at home or playing in our church worship band.  I also love films and enjoy reading a good book with a cup of tea.

What is a little-known fun fact about yourself?

I’m Canadian!  I was born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario- most of my family still lives there.


If you have any questions for Ben or would just like to say hello, he can be reached at 918-893-2109 or ben.beresh@bachamber.com.

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