MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 3, 2013

Economic development director going to Tulsa

Brien Thorstenberg to take position with Tulsa Chamber

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Though the man who spearheaded the Action in Muskogee effort has announced he is moving on, AIM officials say the initiative will go on as planned.

Brien Thorstenberg, director of business and economic development for the Port of Muskogee, announced Thursday he has taken a position with the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, according to a media release.

He will become their vice president of economic development effective May 20.

The AIM project began last August, forming eight initiatives, including education, infrastructure, a better place to live and more.

Committees have been formed and recently presented project ideas to the AIM steering committee. The next step is to choose the projects AIM will target and pursue funding, officials said.

He leaves the project in the hands of Chair Timothy Faltyn, president of Connors State College, and Co-Chair Lisa Wade Raasch, also director of the Wellness Initiative, Thorstenberg said in an email Thursday.

Faltyn said Thorstenberg has done “a phenomenal job” with AIM and other economic development projects.

“He’s really been a catalyst, and we’re going to miss him,” Faltyn said. “What he’s done, though, is help us get poised to take this to the next level with all of the community involvement we have. We never wanted to see him go, but we are in a good place.”

Thorstenberg said in the media release he will continue to also look out for Muskogee’s best interests in his new position.

“I am very excited to be joining the Tulsa Regional Chamber team. The support the Port of Muskogee, the city of Muskogee and the community have given me in my role as director of business and economic development has been tremendous,” he said. “In my capacity as vice president of the Chamber’s economic development division, I look forward to continuing to serve Muskogee and all of northeast Oklahoma.”

Scott Robinson, Port of Muskogee director, said in the media release that Thorstenberg made a significant contribution to the city and the port.

“Brien leaves Muskogee with a stronger foundation for growth and success than when he arrived,” Robinson said. “There is consolation in the fact that, as a regional Tulsa’s Future partner, Muskogee will continue to benefit from Brien’s leadership and commitment to the economic development of the region.”

Robinson said Marie Seabolt has been named acting director as the port looks for a new director of business and economic development.

Thorstenberg served as vice president of development of the Ardmore Development Authority for nine years, according to the media release. He began employment with the Muskogee City-County Port Authority in February 2012 as director of business and economic development for the City of Muskogee and the Port of Muskogee. In Muskogee, he has championed industry expansions and a community visioning project to move the community forward, the release said.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.