View Full Version : Brett Hamm resigning at DOKC

09-02-2008, 09:13 PM
I've heard rumors and just confirmed in Steve's blog, Brett Hamm is resigning.

09-02-2008, 09:15 PM
To do what?

09-02-2008, 09:46 PM
Story in tomorrow's paper.

09-03-2008, 07:22 AM
Downtown advocacy leader resigns after tenure of projects
By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

David Rainbolt, board chairman of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., confirmed Tuesday that Brett Hamm has resigned as president of the downtown advocacy group.

"Brett has been a servant of Oklahoma City in several capacities over many years," Rainbolt said in a prepared statement. "The last two with Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. have been very productive. He leaves the organization in a solid position. We wish him well."

Rainbolt was unavailable for further comment and Hamm did not return calls and e-mails from The Oklahoman. The organization reported the resignation is effective immediately, but did not indicate any interim or permanent replacement.

Hamm was hired two years ago to replace then president Dave Lopez, who stepped down to oversee American Fidelity Assurance Co.'s charitable foundation.

Hamm went to work as a mayor's aide for Kirk Humphreys in 2003 after serving on the staff of former U.S. Sen. Don Nickles and working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

He left the mayor's office in 2005, and briefly served as executive vice president and senior partner at Saxum Strategic Communications.

What he led
Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. was created in 2000 as a non-profit organization to develop, manage and market downtown Oklahoma City. The organization is run by a private board of directors, but also has a public board to oversee its operation of an approximately $1 million annual business improvement district that is funded through property assessments.

During Hamm's tenure, Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. expanded its Downtown in December festivities, launched campaigns promoting downtown housing and saw completion of a long-awaited renovation of The Underground downtown pedestrian tunnels.

09-03-2008, 08:10 AM
Anybody have an insight to what's behind this move?

Brett and his team seemed to be doing a great job.

09-03-2008, 04:21 PM
This seemed abrupt.

09-04-2008, 08:23 AM
Downtown OKC searches for new president
By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

Brett Hamm, former president of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. and the organization's board chairman David Rainbolt both told The Oklahoman on Wednesday that Hamm's sudden departure did not involve any disagreement or controversy.

Hamm was president for almost two years, and his immediate resignation on Tuesday surprised many downtown observers as it coincided with the upcoming 10-year renewal of the downtown business improvement district operated by the organization.

"For most of my career, I've been advocating for business development and economic growth,” Hamm said. "Now is the time to be a part of it.”

What happened?
Both Rainbolt and Hamm said the timing of his departure is good because a consultant has been hired to oversee renewal of the business improvement district, which is also known as a "BID.”

The district was established in 2000 and is funded through special property tax assessments that pay for marketing, maintenance and special downtown projects. The district's term is set to expire in 2010.

"We're in good shape,” Rainbolt said. "The BID budget got approved today at a committee meeting and fiscal year end is approaching. We're in good shape on overall budget preparation. We've hired a consultant to really handle the core of the BID renewal.”

Replacement sought
Hamm is the third president to resign in less than eight years. Rainbolt said such turn-over reflects the rapidly changing nature of the job and challenges facing the organization and is not connected to any issues with staff or the board.
Rainbolt said the organization has more constituencies, including the city, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and a growing downtown residential population.

For the first time in the organization's history, the board of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. is forming a search committee, led by former chairman Fred Hall, to hire a replacement.

"Things are different than they were 10 years ago,” Hall said. "There are many cities around the country that have organizations similar to downtown Oklahoma City. We expect there to be candidates that have spot-on experience from similar types of organizations. ... The good news is there are models in other cities we can learn from.”

What's next for Hamm?
Hamm, meanwhile, promises he won't be a stranger to downtown.
"I'm not going to disappear in regard to downtown or citywide development,” Hamm said.

"There a number of clients I'm visiting with that are interested in working on this specific purpose.”
Brett Hamm

Resignation Letter

09-04-2008, 08:48 AM
Hamm is the third president to resign in less than eight years. Rainbolt said such turn-over reflects the rapidly changing nature of the job and challenges facing the organization and is not connected to any issues with staff or the board.

All jobs and industries are rapidly changing and they don't have this type of turnover, especially at the top.

Sounds like he left without having another firm job offer in hand, and that isn't a good sign.

Hopefully they have the good sense to take care of Kim Searls who has always done a great job.

09-04-2008, 11:51 AM
Hamm was trying to launch a PR firm when he took the Downtown OKC job, and even had one decent-sized client on board, although I don't remember who it was. You may recall he worked for about an hour as a vp of Hexxum or Haxxor or whatever that company is the ex-OU basketball player runs.

09-04-2008, 02:36 PM

09-04-2008, 08:38 PM

Saxum Public Relations ::: Oklahoma City (

09-04-2008, 08:56 PM
Sounds like a condom.

09-06-2008, 07:57 PM
OCIS search tells us he is in the middle of a divorce and being sued by Saxxum. :(

09-09-2008, 08:33 AM
Downtown group should be wise with hire
By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

As Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. begins its search for its fourth president in eight years, could the organization learn something from the Bricktown Association?
The Bricktown Association was on shaky ground one year ago. A split decision by its board to withhold money to pay its then director Frank Sims ended in his resignation and protests by some group members that the move was heavy-handed and timed to coincide with a poor turn-out by his supporters.

But then the association, which had frequently seen battles for control and direction the previous dozen years, took the unprecedented turn of advertising the director's job and assembling a panel of property owners and merchants to interview the finalists.

While the applicants' names were never made public, the ones I saw included some individuals who were and are respected and involved in the community. Ultimately, the association chose Jim Cowan, who was selling his interest in the Bricktown Brewery.

Relations remained tense for the first few weeks between property owners, who were seen as seizing control of the association, and merchants who liked Sims. But a year later, that rift has all but disappeared as Cowan has attempted to improve communication between the two sides while also drawing closer ties to the city.

In the past year alone, the association has attempted to broker an agreement with all parking operators to create a price cap and is also trying to improve signage and education on where to find parking and to end "event night surprises” for visitors simply looking to enjoy a nice meal without paying $10 to park.

Encouraging participation
Cowan, meanwhile, has worked with Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. and the city to hire consultants to create a master development plan aimed at encouraging property owners to stop sitting on vacant buildings instead of leasing or putting them up for sale.
The association has also coordinated monthly owners' meetings as a way to encourage their participation in the district's development, and has held a series of meetings with club owners aimed at addressing late night violence that plagued previous summers in the entertainment district.

Could all of this have happened had Cowan been hired at the snap of a finger of a board chairman? Maybe. But it's more likely Cowan's credibility would have been hampered from the start if he had to first sell merchants and owners he was truly qualified for the job.

Getting a running start
And that's exactly the dilemma faced by Brett Hamm when he was hired by Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. as its president two years ago. The pending resignation of Dave Lopez at the time was kept secret until the day Hamm's hiring was announced. Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. did not advertise the job or cast its net for other potentially qualified candidates.
So instead of getting a running start — which is what Cowan has enjoyed this past year — Hamm did have to invest some of his energies assuring constituents he was ready for the job and knew what he was doing.

This time around, the board of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. is promising to do something they've never done — advertise the president's job and weigh who might be best qualified to run the organization as downtown enters the second decade of its 21st Century renaissance.