By Tim Priebe
May 10, 2022

Professional Q&A: Janet Yowell

The EEDA director shares her career path and professional purpose in Edmond.
Janet Yowell at the Edmond Economic Development Authority (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Janet Yowell is the executive director of Edmond Economic Development Authority and has been in Edmond for more than three decades. Yowell is truly passionate about developing business opportunities and assisting in the growth of the Edmond community through her work at the EEDA and beyond.

Q: Do you live in Edmond, work in Edmond, or both?

A: I have lived in Edmond for 30 years and worked in Edmond for 33 years.

Q: Where did you grow up and go to school?

A: I was born in Red Bank, NJ and lived in Palo Alto, CA and Naperville, IL before moving to OKC, all by the time I was in fourth grade. My father was a recruiter for Western Electric and, as many families in the Bell system, we were transferred frequently. I went to high school at John Marshall and am a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. I met my husband the year after college, and we will have been married 38 years in May. His family is from Piedmont where his great, great grandfather, Marcellus, was the first mayor. 

Q: What did you do prior to getting involved with the EEDA?

A: My job prior to the EEDA was working for CMI Energy, a company in the stockyards that was taking garbage and turning it into electricity. It was a company really ahead of its time, so it had a hard time getting off the ground.

Q: How did you get involved with the EEDA?

A: My former boss had contacts with the director of the organization at the time. Job changes are almost always about contacts! When I was hired, our offices were upstairs from what is now Othello’s, but was Garfield’s restaurant at the time. In 1997, when the Edmond Chamber building was completed, we moved into our current offices. I worked for three directors, and when the job opened up again, I was encouraged by some board members to apply. I will always be grateful for that support and encouragement. 

EEDA Executive Director Janet Yowell (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: The best part of this job is being involved in the process of bringing new companies, jobs and development to Edmond. Edmond is a dynamic community and draws lots of interest. Finding the best place to direct companies and developments locating in Edmond is important, and I take that very seriously. 

I also enjoy being involved in many organizations across the metro. I’ve been involved with the Commercial Real Estate Council, Urban Land Institute of Oklahoma, and the International Council of Shopping Centers. I have served in leadership positions with the Edmond Rotary Club, the Greater Oklahoma City Partnership, and Select Oklahoma, a statewide economic development recruiting organization. I’ve seen a lot of growth and change over the years and believe it has been positive. Working for the city, I know there are so many people who care about Edmond and work hard every day toward the goal of making this a great community. 

Q: What’s something you’re passionate about in your personal life?

A: I love to be in the mountains—it rejuvenates me. I’m up for travel pretty much anywhere. I have a travel bucket list that includes the Pacific Northwest states that I have yet to see.

Q: What do you like about Edmond?

A: There are so many things to love about Edmond. We have activities for anyone to participate in or attend, and there are plenty of ways to become involved if you want to serve the community. We have enough of a variety of shops, restaurants, and services that you never need to leave! When I do need a break from Edmond, it only takes a short time away to come back and appreciate all of the great things Edmond has to offer. 

Q: What is your number one tip for other professionals, either for work or life in general?

A: Communicate often and truly listen to people. You can empower people, gain trust and find common ground.

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.