Many things help define a city. Its people play a major role. So does its size and where it is on the map. Airports, highways, landscape and streets are important, too. Of course, everyone judges cities differently, but if there is a single image that is most prominent in characterizing a city, it might be the skyline. You can't always judge a book by its cover, and the same is true for a city's skyline, but people often try. By scanning a skyline and spending time among the buildings, you can draw conclusions about a city's business community, its economic viability, its potential, its quality of life and its prestige. The image isn't confined to the downtown area, either. Impressions we develop from these relatively small districts are cast to the larger community. Oklahoma City has been fortunate. The renaissance unfolding downtown has benefited our larger community in ways that may never be measured. The economic development, private investment, cultural momentum and civic pride we have seen evolve over the last decade have redefined our downtown and our city. Clearly, Devon Energy has benefited from downtown's rebirth. Oklahoma City is a more attractive place to live and downtown is more suitable for a major corporate headquarters. We committed to Oklahoma City when we opened our offices downtown in 1971. We have grown a great deal since then, and thanks to major public initiatives such as MAPS and more than $2 billion in private investment, we are delighted to see the downtown area has matured right along with us. Over the years, people have questioned Devon's commitment to Oklahoma City, and they have wondered if we might follow the energy industry's migration to Houston. But our belief in the community has never been stronger. We demonstrated our faith a few months ago when we proposed plans to build a new corporate headquarters just north of the Myriad Gardens. With new opportunities and new oil and gas production, we anticipate rapid growth over the next decade and we will face the need for a larger work force. Today, we have more than 1,300 employees in downtown Oklahoma City occupying space in five buildings. Within four years, we expect that number to surpass 2,000. Our new headquarters is a necessity for our employees, and we also see it as an opportunity to create something special for downtown and its skyline. Its vast public space adjacent to the Myriad Gardens, its size and distinct design could be another point of pride for our community and another focal point for visitors to carry home with them. Devon was born in Oklahoma City and we grew up here. We have drawn from the community's spirit in the past and we will continue to draw from its strength in the future. Oklahoma City has an exciting new story to tell and through our beautiful new headquarters, we will be proud to help tell it. Nichols is chief executive officer of Devon Energy Corp.