News Story

Rural Development Center fosters economic growth

Office of Communications & Marketing | Northeastern State University
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Oklahoma communities and businesses have a strong ally on the Tahlequah campus of Northeastern State University: the Oklahoma Center for Rural Development.
Since 2004, the OCRD has provided geographic, demographic, economic and growth information about Oklahoma communities and the state as a whole. Such data is used to identify and support the economic development needs of communities, businesses and regional partnerships.
"We use current data, updated every six months, to provide a complete demographic review of a community’s market or trade area," said Ray Murphy, OCRD director and instructor of economics for NSU. "This offers an understanding of the regional culture and capacity as it is today and provides a benchmark from which to identify opportunities and track future progress."
An analysis from the OCRD can include trends in population and home values, educational attainments, workplace characteristics, retail market demand supply reports, income and age distributions, traffic counts and aerial overviews.
The OCRD often partners with other offices, including the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center and the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance on the NSU-Broken Arrow campus and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Each year, the OCRD processes about 200 project requests from across the state.
"Frequently we are guest speakers and considered the 'go-to people' for economic development issues," Murphy said. "Providing our services throughout Oklahoma is one fulfillment of NSU's efforts to foster collaboration and pursue continuous improvement in the community."
Murphy said he always finds enjoyment in gathering the data for projects, even if it means pulling double duty as a director and classroom teacher.
"Because we are an on-the-ground organization, we are able to listen to the issues, needs and concerns of communities," he said. "I never tire of the opportunities to create products and services that assist the economic development of our clients."
For more information about the OCRD call Murphy at 918-605-0919 or write to

Published: 6/4/2013 12:56:27 PM

Go back to News Central