The City of Chickasha is excited to announce the hiring of Jim Cowan as the Economic Development Director.
“We are very excited to add Jim Cowan to our team,” said John Noblitt, Chickasha City Manager. “As a Chickasha native, Jim understands some of the challenges Chickasha has had. He will be a great asset in helping increase the quality of life for Chickasha citizens.”
In this role, Cowan will develop and lead strategies to attract new businesses and encourage expansion and retention of existing businesses, helping to promote a diversified local economy.
“When I come back to Chickasha and look at things here, I don’t like to look at things how they are, I like to think what it could look like in a couple of years,” Cowan said. “What excites me most so far is the commitment from people here locally. When you have a community that believes in itself and everyone is willing to work together, amazing things can happen.”
Cowan graduated from Chickasha High School and started college at USAO before earning a degree at SWOSU in Weatherford. He worked at Steak & Ale and as a manager at the Waterford Hotel in Oklahoma City before being transferred to hotels in South Carolina then to California. In 1992, Cowan moved back to Oklahoma to open the Bricktown Brewery as the General Manager, eventually buying the company.
Cowan said he feels this time at the Bricktown Brewery helped prepare him for a career in economic development.
“When you talk about economic development, I got a chance to live it firsthand, opening, running and owning a business,” Cowan said. “During my 17 years at the Bricktown Brewery, I voluntarily served as President of the Bricktown Association three times. I tried to keep the merchants actively involved and stressed the importance of working together to grow the district.”
After selling the Bricktown Brewery in 2007, Cowan served as director of the Bricktown Association for three years. During this time, the New Orleans Hornets temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City then the Oklahoma City Thunder moved to town.
“The neatest thing about Bricktown was watching it blossom right before your eyes,” Cowan said. “There were so many people who said ‘that’ll never happen, that’s not possible’ – even me. I never dreamed [OKC] would have an NBA team.”
In his youth, Cowan’s first job was at the Dixie when he was 14 years old, then, at 16 years old, he was one of the first two employees at Jake’s Rib. In 1978, he was one of the first male waitstaff in Chickasha.
Outside of the office, Cowan describes himself as a crazy sports fanatic who enjoys playing golf with his wife and watching Thunder basketball and OU football. He said he is looking forward to getting involved in the Chickasha community.
Tamara Carlson will continue working as the Economic Development Analyst for the City of Chickasha.