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VOTE NOW FOR 2017 THE BEST OF THE BEST AT WWW.OKMAG.COM DECEMBER 2016

11 Oklahomans on the Looks That Define Them

PLUS

GREAT COMPANIES

TO WORK FOR

ConsumerAffair’s Zac Carman on Company Culture

LUXURY LIVING

A Custom-Tailored Lifestyle

2017

RED RIBBON GALA PREVIEW

Rustic Cuff ’s

Jill Donovan


Patient-Centered Patient-Centered Cancer Cancer Care Care

OKLAHOMANS NO LONGER NEED TO TRAVEL OUT OF OKLAHOMANS NO LONGER NEED TO TRAVEL OUT OF state to receive world-class cancer care. The Stephenson Cancer Center at state to receive world-class cancer care. The Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma provides cancer care teams that are redefining the University of Oklahoma provides cancer care teams that are redefining patient-centered care in a new state-of-the-art facility. patient-centered care in a new state-of-the-art facility. As nationally recognized leaders in research and patient care, experts As nationally recognized leaders in research and patient care, experts at the Stephenson Cancer Center are exploring new treatments and at the Stephenson Cancer Center are exploring new treatments and breakthroughs with advanced research and clinical trials right here at breakthroughs with advanced research and clinical trials right here at home. home.

800 NE 10th Street 800 NECity, 10th OK Street Oklahoma 73104 Oklahoma City, 271-1112 OK 73104 Phone (405)

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Phone (405) 271-1112 Fax (405) 271-5797 Fax (405) 271-5797 stephensoncancercenter.org stephensoncancercenter.org

The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo


The O riginator of Cult ure d Pe arls.

S i n c e 18 9 3 .


Features December

47 Great Companies to Work For

This year’s Great Companies to Work For, an unranked sampling that Oklahoma Magazine publishes each December, succeed through exceptional leadership and benefits along with a culture of empowering employees to excel in all areas of life.

2016 Oklahoma Magazine  Vol. XX, No. 12

66

People With Style

Edith Head once said “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it,” and 11 exquisitely dressed Oklahomans greatly prove that point. From bank owners to interior designers to anesthesiologists, people in our state personalize and personify style.

WANT SOME MORE? DECEMBER 2016

While the word luxury may bring to mind ideas such as opulence and grandeur, one of the key ideas of luxury living is having goods or services tailored to your exact wants and needs. Oklahoma Magazine takes a look at some ways that businesses help their customers find their own personal luxury haven.

December 2016

74 Luxury Lifestyles

Read expanded articles and stories that don’t appear in the print edition.

11 Oklahomans on the Look That Defines Them

GREAT COMPANIES

PLUS

Rustic Cuff’s

Jill Donovan

TO WORK FOR ConsumerAffair’s Zac Carman on Company Culture

LUXURY LIVING A Custom-Tailored Lifestyle

2017

RED RIBBON GALA PREVIEW dec cover.indd 5

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

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MORE PHOTOS ON THE COVER: RUSTIC CUFF’S JILL DONOVAN TALKS TO OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE ABOUT HER METEORIC RISE TO SUCCESS. PHOTO BY MARC RAINS

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View expanded Scene, Fashion, Taste and Entertainment galleries.

MORE EVENTS

The online calendar includes even more great Oklahoma events.


WE ARE EVERYTHING CANCER IS NOT.

St. John and Tulsa Cancer Institute have united to give Oklahomans a new level of confidence and hope. We are Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute. We’ve fought on the front lines of cancer for decades. Our team of experts fully understands the insensitive nature of this disease. We know it’s a fight that demands excellence on every level. Together, we are honored to be the only certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center, in the state. We are everything cancer is not. Compassionate. Caring for the whole person. We are here for you and your entire family the moment you need us, and far beyond. We are lovers of life, and we will fight for yours the rest of ours. OCSRI.org

Tulsa* | Bartlesville | Stillwater | McAlester

*

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Departments

ALL THINGS OKLAHOMA

11 The State 14 16 18 20 22 24 26

State residents have a wealth of ways to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

People Culture History Sports Makers Business Insider

29 Life & Style 30

34 36 38 39 40 42 45

Interiors

Few horses have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in high style, but they do at Vintage Farms in southwest Tulsa.

Hobbies City Life Health FYI Destinations Style

Mix sparkle, glam and plenty of accessories to keep the holiday spirit alive through style.

Scene

11 42 30

83 Taste 84 86 87 87

An elegant watering hole and steakhouse in Tulsa comes to life every night in a hidden building accessible only via a side alley.

Local Flavor Chef Chat In Season Random Flavors

89 Where & When 90 95

OKC Broadway brings an enchanting alternative to traditional shows with Elf the Musical.

In Tulsa/In OKC Film and Cinema

96 Closing Thoughts

4

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

89


Thank you for trusting us with your healthcare.

2016

From the day Saint Francis Hospital opened in 1960, we have been committed to one mission: to extend the presence and healing ministry of Christ in all we do. His caring is the model for how we serve patients, families and each other in Tulsa and the surrounding areas. Over the decades, we have expanded and adapted to the growing needs of the region and to ongoing changes in the healthcare industry. Thank you to the physicians, nurses, employees and volunteers for their dedication to serving patients and for making the mission of Saint Francis a reality.

saintfrancis.com


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Oklahoma Magazine is published monthly by Schuman Publishing Company P.O. Box 14204 • Tulsa, OK 74159-1204 918.744.6205 • FAX: 918.748.5772 mail@okmag.com www.okmag.com Subscriptions are $18 for 12 issues. Mail checks to Oklahoma Magazine P.O. Box 14204 Tulsa, OK 74159-1204 Copyright © 2016 by Schuman Publishing Company. Oklahoma Wedding, The Best of the Best, 40 Under 40, Single in the City, Great Companies To Work For and Oklahomans of the Year are registered trademarks of Schuman Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. All photographs, articles, materials and design elements in Oklahoma Magazine and on okmag.com are protected by applicable copyright and trademark laws, and are owned by Schuman Publishing Company or third party providers. Reproduction, copying, or redistribution without the express written permission of Schuman Publishing Company is strictly prohibited. All requests for permission and reprints must be made in writing to Oklahoma Magazine, c/o Reprint Services, P.O. Box 14204, Tulsa, OK 74159-1204. Advertising claims and the views expressed in the magazine by writers or artists do not necessarily represent those of Oklahoma Magazine, Schuman Publishing Company, or its affiliates.

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LET TER FROM THE EDITOR Everyone has his or her own style. Whether it’s putting on the first thing you grab from your closet in the morning or constructing a thoughtful, carefully planned out wardrobe scheduled days in advance, your style defines how you are perceived by the world. This month, Oklahoma Magazine looks at 11 Oklahomans who take their style very seriously. Whether it’s a three-piece suit or jeans and a T-shirt, these people let the world know their personalities through their fashion choices. We talked to each of them, finding out what defines their style, their favorite (and least favorite) trends and how they use their clothing to speak to the world. Personal style is a focus of our Luxury Lifestyle feature this month as well. Luxury items give Oklahomans an opportunity to add features and customize their homes, cars or vacations to suit them. Whether you’re looking for an elegant matte paint job or a once-in-a-lifetime trip into space, there are Oklahoma businesses that can make it happen. Also in this issue is our annual Great Companies to Work For report, which looks at more than 100 companies in Oklahoma and explains what sets them apart from the pack. As always, feel free to contact me at editor@okmag.com. Sincerely,

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

ConsumerAffairs in downtown Tulsa is setting the standard in creatively stimulating, modern office spaces. CEO Zac Carman believes growing a successful company and raising the bar within an industry starts with the comfort and happiness of its employees. Recently, Carman opened his doors in the newly renovated upper floors of the Petroleum Club building, giving viewers a first-hand look at what a truly leading-edge work space looks like. Tour the facility and all of its amenities and hear Carman’s innovative business philosophy on okmag.com.

PHOTO COURTESY FEATUREFLASH PHOTO AGENCY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

DECEMBER 1ST

TOURING CONSUMER AFFAIRS

2,043,000 @garthbrooks 273,000 @garthbrooks 475,000 @garthbrooks Garth Brooks is one of the state’s most celebrated talents, the recent CMA Entertainer of the Year Award-winner and a man known for inspiring people through record-breaking country music hits. Born in Tulsa, Brooks carved his path in the Oklahoma music scene before moving to Tennessee. Throughout his career, Brooks never strayed too far from his roots, and, until recently, lived in Owasso with his wife, fellow country music star Trisha Yearwood. On social media, Brooks keeps his fans inthe-know about upcoming releases.

S TAY CONNECTED

GARTH BROOKS

OK


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State

ALL THINGS OKLAHOMA

Okla-hohoho-ma Traditions

State residents have a wealth of ways to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

C

ities across the country transform each December into festive winter wonderlands in celebration of the holiday season. From our small towns to our metropolitan areas, Oklahoma is rich with Christmas traditions. From tree lightings, cheerful train rides, festivals, holiday performances and shimmering light displays, Oklahomans have a wealth of ways to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

THE POLAR EXPRESS WILL DEPART FROM THE EASTERN FLYER STATION IN STILLWATER ON SELECT DAYS. PHOTO COURTESY THE POLAR EXPRESS

Christmas trees at the Oklahoma State Capitol

More than 1,500 Oklahoma students, their teachers and parents decorate 26 4-foot-tall Christmas trees that will adorn the Capitol building throughout the holiday season,

each with its own creative theme. The students at the annual celebration are treated to a fun day of activities including storytellers, musical entertainment and more in return for their hard work. While the tree-lighting ceremony this year was on Nov. 29, the trees are available for viewing both indoors and outdoors thoughout the season.

All aboard The Polar Express

The story of The Polar Express has worked its way into the hearts of many. Fans of the tale can climb aboard a magical train ride that recreates all of the sights and sounds captured in the beloved book and movie including golden tickets, dancing chefs, hot chocolate and the jolly elf himself, Santa. Departing from the Eastern DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet is the very definition of a holiday tradition. Generations have grown up watching sugar plum fairies, toy soldiers, the Mouse King and the heroic Nutcracker prince. Perhaps what makes this ballet so loved is the vast cast of children that perform in the magical story on stage each performance, embodying the youthful spirit of the season. Over the years, The Nutcracker has evolved with many distinct interpretations and adaptations. The Oklahoma City Ballet performs the classic tale set in 19th-century Russia. Clara and her fanciful dreamlike world sets the stage for professional dancers and more than 100 children to craft an experience the whole family can enjoy. The ballet is adding a new feature to their performance line up this year. On Dec. 18, families can enjoy a Nutcracker Tea, where favorite characters will bring the Kingdom of Sweets to life. Tickets to the tea are $30 and all ages are welcome to attend. The Oklahoma City Ballet performances begin Dec. 10 and tickets start at $26. In contrast, the Tulsa Ballet takes their Nutcracker tale on a unique journey to 1920s Paris, providing the story an intimate connec

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

tion with the city’s Art Deco architecture. The magical journey of the young Marie Stahlbaum combines the visual appeal of a Broadway show with the Nutcracker’s heartwarming Christmas fairytale. Local children take part in this production as well, helping a larger-thanlife Mouse King battle the Nutcracker prince and his toy soldiers. The Tulsa Ballet takes the stage beginning Dec. 10 and tickets start at $25.

Christmas Light Displays

Touring a light display is a holiday rite of passage. Oklahomans of all ages cheerfully welcome the wonder and magic of the season crafted by the soft glow of twinkling Christmas lights. All across our state, communities big and small come together for their dazzling winter displays. While each Oklahoma family has their favorites they visit each year, our state is proudly home to a few displays that have been taken to the national stage. Chickasha’s annual Festival of Light was named one of the top 10 light displays in the nation, and the Downs family of Norman gained notoriety as they competed in the first season of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight. So bundle up in your mittens and scarves or cozy up in the warmth of a car and enjoy sparkling winter time show or two!

River on Dec. 18. Marking the parade’s 12th year, Oklahomans can enjoy an exciting holiday ski show and festive floating light displays that usher in the arrival of Santa. The evening’s celebrations end with a bang in the form of a fireworks show. Spectators are also welcome to enjoy all the excitement and fun that the Boathouse District has to offer in its RIVERSPORT Adventures. Parade activities begin at 6 p.m. Tulsa will hold its Christmas parade at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10. The parade, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, begins on Boston Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets. This year, reserved bleacher seating is available along the parade route so Oklahomans looking to get into the Christmas spirit will have a close look at all the floats, balloons and marching bands. For more information, visit tulsachristmasparade. org. LINDSAY CUOMO

PHOTO COURTESY DOWNTOWN OKLAHOMA CITY INC.

PHOTO COURTESY TULSA BALLET

The State

Flyer Station in Stillwater on select days through Dec. 23, the hourlong train ride takes passengers to the North Pole, where Santa boards the train to give each child a silver sleigh bell. Passengers are encouraged to board the train wearing their pajamas – just like the characters in the story. Tickets start at $22 for children 12 and under and $32 for passengers 13 years old and up. Find all the details ateasternflyerpolarexpressride. com.

SandRidge Santa Run

In the early hours of what is sure to be a crisp morning on Dec. 10, runners sporting shades of red and green will take a festive jog through the streets of downtown OKC, starting from and finishing at Leadership Square. With a variety of distances from the kids’ dash to the one-mile fun run and a 5K race, Okies of all ages are welcome to join in the Yuletide run and the costume contest that will follow. Medals will be awarded for the top three male and female finishers in each age bracket, and cash prizes will go to the top three winners of the costume contest. OKC Thunder mascot Rumble and the Thunder girls will be there to cheer you on. The day’s festivities will also include a Mad Science presentation called “The Case for Santa” and a free photo booth. Register today at downtownindecember.com/ sandridge-santa-run.

Christmas Parades

Many Main Streets across our state will celebrate the Christmas season with a jovial parade, but Oklahoma City’s parade sets itself apart by floating down the Oklahoma

LIGHT UP YOUR CHRISTMAS

There are a variety of Christmas light displays across the state, including: Yukon’s Christmas in the Park Through Dec. 31, 6-10 p.m. Woodward’s Crystal Christmas Through Dec. 31, 6-10 p.m. Chickasha’s Festival of Light Through Dec. 31, Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 6-11 p.m. Broken Arrow’s Rhema Lights Through Jan. 1, 5:30-11:30 p.m. Muskogee’s Garden of Lights Through Dec. 31 Downs Family Christmas Lights Through Jan. 3 Woolaroc Wonderland of Lights Dec. 2 – 23, Friday – Sunday, 5-9 p.m.


Capture, Share #uticasquare

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Your shopping list is actually an invitation to enjoy this magical season at Utica Square. Charming storefront windows bring out the childlike wonder in us all. Extended holiday hours give you plenty of time to shop, stroll and make memories to treasure.


The State

PEOPLE

Home Is Where the Art Is Tulsa native Tim Blake Nelson returns to the state as an Oklahoma Arts Institute alumnus.

M

CLOCKWISE: ACTOR, WRITER AND DIRECTOR TIM BLAKE NELSON WILL BE INDUCTED INTO THE OKLAHOMA ARTS INSTITUTE HALL OF FAME THIS MONTH. PHOTO BY ANDREW PARSONS

NELSON SAYS HIS EXPERIENCE AT OAI WAS TRANSFORMATIVE. PHOTO COURTESY OKLAHOMA ARTS INSTITUTE

OAI, WHICH WORKS TO HELP STUDENTS ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL FOR CREATIVITY, IS CELEBRATING ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR.

PHOTO COURTESY OKLAHOMA ARTS INSTITUTE

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any Oklahoma children who are passionate about the arts dream of attending the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain each summer. Years ago, a young Tulsa native named Tim Blake Nelson attended the poetry program for three years. He calls his experience at Quartz Mountain “transformative.” “Though I had excellent English teachers in high school, and I was brought up in a very intellectual home, I had not been exposed to much poetry, let alone the poetry workshop experience provided at Quartz Mountain,” Nelson says. “We studied with real poets who treated us not like high school kids, but college students, and these expectations were profoundly uplifting, both technically within our work, and psychologically in encouraging us to take that work and ourselves seriously.” As one of the institute’s most celebrated participants, Nelson will return to Oklahoma for his induction into the inaugural OAI Alumni Hall of Fame ceremony, held in conjunction with the institute’s 40th anniversary. An acting veteran of such movies as O Brother, Where Art Thou, The Incredible Hulk and Leaves of Grass – as well as the writer and director of numerous other films and plays – Nelson says his Oklahoma roots have informed much of his creativity and career. “Growing up in Oklahoma has been a boon for me both directly and indirectly,” he says. “Everyone who creates in the arts has to do so from a specific place, whether he/ she loves or repudiates that place, or feels something in between. I mostly

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

love Oklahoma, and to this day I am most comfortable writing and playing characters from what I consider ‘my’ part of the world, though I’ve now lived in New York for far longer.… Additionally, growing up in the Southwest, and making a decision early on to immerse myself in the place and meet as many characters with as many points of view and stories and manners of expressing themselves as possible, I became my own sort of student of acting and storytelling without even knowing it, just by virtue of wanting to meet as many interesting people around me as possible in such a wonderfully specific region of the country.” Nelson has written and directed several movies set in his home state, with more in the works. He says the key to encouraging arts of all types in Oklahoma is to approach life with an open mind. This, Nelson says, fosters the kind of spirit in which the arts can thrive. “Because the arts emanate from the position that anything is possible, closed minds will always inhibit creativity,” he says. “The more accepting and inclusive we can be, the more we benefit from one another and the myriad perspectives we all bring to the world around us. This

crosses ethnicities, creeds, genders, sexual preferences and all other ways we find to distinguish groups from one another in destructive or inimical ways. As for the positive aspects of Oklahoma, what I continue to appreciate most is a generosity of spirit that makes us one of the most welcoming areas of the country. I love coming home because a kind of patient decency seems to pervade. “Okies give one another the benefit of the doubt, and we forgive; we want and see the best in one another. I truly believe that. Specifically when it comes to the arts, places like OAI, one of the only organizations of its kind to focus almost exclusively on in-state kids, will nurture future artists who can take that Okie generosity of spirit far out into the world.” TARA MALONE


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The State

C U LT U R E

Sherlockians of Tulsa

The Afghanistan Perceivers make Holmes at home in Green Country.

T

DEAN CLARK, BRANDI BLANKENSHIP, ROSALIE MOLLICA AND RICHARD KEARNS DISCUSS SHERLOCK HOLMES IN THE PARLIAMENT ROOM AT THE WHITE LION PUB, WHERE THE AFGHANISTAN PERCEIVERS MEET EACH MONTH. PHOTO BY DAN MORGAN

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ales from 19th-century London are still alive in present-day Tulsa. Once a month, a group of dedicated fans of all ages and backgrounds sit at the White Lion pub to eat, drink and talk indepth about the tales of Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They call themselves the Afghanistan Perceivers, a name derived from the first Holmes mystery, A Study in Scarlet, in which the great detective accurately deduces of his soon-to-be partner, Dr. John Watson, “You have been to Afghanistan, I perceive.” The Perceivers, one of many Sherlockian societies across the world but the only club in Oklahoma, was founded in 1974 by Stafford Davis, Richard Johnson and Dean Clark. Clark is still a member of the society and travels all over the world to meet fellow enthusiasts. “I have been to Sherlock meetings in Barcelona, Venice, Toronto, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas, and of course New York, which is where they have the big Sherlock birthday bash every January,” Clark says. “The Tulsa club is definitely one of the more active ones. I’m proud of that. We always have been because Stafford was just a nonstop energy guy.” Each member is given a canonical name that serves as an alias. Clark, a retired journalist, is known as Dr. Leslie Armstrong, the scholarly suspect from “The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter.” Librarian Brandi

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

Blankenship, one of the younger members of the society, decided to go a different route with her name. “My first name, I didn’t think the character fit me,” she says. “I petitioned the canonical name selection group to change it to Brandy. I’m the alcohol that Watson thinks is a cure-all for everything. We always laugh because in almost every story Watson wants to give somebody some brandy.” Blankenship came to Holmes through the Basil Rathbone movies of the 1930s and ’40s, then moved to the books and the Benedict Cumberbatch series by the BBC. Clark found Sherlock when he was 11 while his father was stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany. “I came across the classic comic book version of A Study in Scarlet,” Clark says. “I became a fan and stayed a fan. I’ve been an unofficial Sherlockian since 1955. I had no idea there were clubs everywhere until 1974, when I got a call from Rick Johnson to join the Tulsa club. That’s when I became an official Sherlockian.” According to Clark, Peter Blau, a well-known Sherlockian, described the draw of such societies the best. “[Blau] says, ‘You go to most parties and meetings and about 20 percent of the people are interesting. You go to a Sherlock meeting and everybody’s interesting.’ I share that sentiment.” For information, email lahtivictor96@gmail.com. BETH WEESE


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The State

HISTORY

WPA’s Lasting Legacy

D

New Deal project built thousands of sites, buildings and facilities in Oklahoma.

uring the 1930s, in the depths of the Great Depression and before the United States’ entrance into World War II, millions of people were out of work and struggling to survive. President Franklin Roosevelt was desperate to find ways to put people back to work. And that is how the Works Progress Administration (later the Work Projects Administration) relief program was born. It was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal and offered a new start and new opportunities to millions of people, including many in Oklahoma. The WPA was an effort to both stimulate the economy and help able-bodied workers provide for themselves. Workers were hired to do a range of skilled and unskilled projects. They built public buildings such as school auditoriums, facilities at public parks, National

Guard armories, city halls and jails. Women and men alike worked in school cafeterias, nursery schools and libraries, and many participated in adult education programs. The construction projects had large, longlasting effects on Oklahoma. The state was hard hit by the Great Depression. People had lost jobs, farms, homes and the ability to feed their families. So, the opportunity to work, whether in a skilled trade as an artist or as a laborer on construction sites, was welcomed by many. And the benefit to the state provided additional opportunities that might not have existed otherwise. “The infrastructure created by the WPA and other New Deal programs is, in many cases, still serving Oklahomans today. The WPA built schools, recreational facilities, roads and bridges, National Guard armories and much more. It is difficult to imagine what the condi-

tions would have been for Oklahoma school children through the mid-20th century if it were not for the WPA,” says Melvena Heisch, deputy state historic preservation officer with the Oklahoma Historical Society. Overall, 1,010 schools were constructed in the state, along with hundreds of other school and community facilities. Many of the men hired for these projects had no background in masonry or carpentry, but were able to learn these useful skills as they worked. A study of these structures done in the late 1980s by researcher W. David Baird found that the workmanship improved over time. Baird’s study also found that the work was “above average.” This was due to two reasons: first, the workers improved as they gained more experience. Second, because the goal of the projects was to employ people, not the actual output of the work, there was no pressure to complete projects quickly. Workers could take their time and do their jobs correctly. According to Baird’s study, the WPA employed an average of 51,292 each month.pe in Oklahoma between 1935 and 1941. The WPA disbanded at the federal level in 1943, when its necessity had come to an end because of the United States’ involvement in World War II and a wartime economy that provided employment opportunities. But the relief program’s influence continues to be seen in Oklahoma nearly 75 years later. BONNIE RUCKER

MORE WPA PROJECTS Memorial Union Tower University of Oklahoma Mohawk Park Tulsa Oklahoma National Guard Armory Oklahoma City Will Rogers High School Tulsa Will Rogers Park Oklahoma City Woodward Park Tulsa

MEMORIAL UNION TOWER RISES ABOVE THE CAMPUS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA. PHOTO COURTESY THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016


SPORTS

The State

En Garde for Fencing

F

encing is not just

fancy sword fighting; it’s a unique sport that requires hard training and mental energy. And although fencing might seem overly obscure, Oklahoma has a dedicated base of athletes and three fencing clubs across the state: Redlands Fencing Center, Oklahoma Sport Fencing and the Tulsa Fencing Club. Shelli Ribaudo and her husband, David, own Redlands Fencing Center in Oklahoma City. She says the number of interested fencers is increasing. “Oklahoma has a small but growing fencing community,” Ribaudo says. “Redlands Fencing Center has a 30-year tradition of fencing in Oklahoma City, and David and I are proud to carry on the legacy.” Some enjoy the sport as a hobby, but others take their training very seriously since it is an Olympic sport, Ribaudo says. Competitive fencing also takes place on the local, regional and national levels. But how do people get interested in the sport in the first place? For some, their interest is kindled after taking a class or after looking for a new way to stay fit. Fencer James Compton says he was first drawn to the sport for other reasons.

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

“I was always interested in history and fantasy, pirates and knights and swords and sorcery, so I think at my first fencing lesson all of that struck a chord inside me,” he says. “Combined with how incredibly fun and unique the experience is, I was hooked.” Many enthusiasts also love fencing because of its chess-like maneuvering and strategy. “Fencing is in a lot of ways a competition against yourself as much as it is an external competition,” Compton says. “The layers of tactics and strategy go deep; there’s the moment of action you have to react to, the considerations of what happened in the last three points, and trying to set up the next two points all in a single second. The sport is also a unique combination of meticulous planning and execution juxtaposed with unexpected improvisation. I’ve never done anything else that has the same feeling.” When asked about it, sometimes fencers run into some misconceptions. “Sometimes you have to just take a deep breath when someone refers to fencing as sword fighting,” says Carolyn GreshamFiegel, fencing coach and co-owner of Oklahoma Sport Fencing in Edmond, with a laugh. “What you see in movies or on TV is a lot different than what we actually do.” Interested in trying this sport out for yourself? Gresham-Fiegel encourages anyone who is intrigued to try it. “Just try it; you might like it!” she says. “Fencing helps develop life skills too, because it’s all about problem solving and you have to remain calm in stressful situations. Being able to stay calm when someone is coming at you with a pointy object is a great skill to practice!” Compton adds that approaching the sport without assumptions is important. “Throw your expectations out the window and approach it with an open mind – fencing is not what people expect,” Compton says. “The other suggestion is to be prepared to be sore the next day. You’ll use muscles you didn’t know exist learning physical skills you’ve probably not thought about before. Being able to get a 3-inch square target 8 feet away from you, in half a second, is not a movement we run into every day.” MEGAN MORGAN

PHOTO BY SHELLI RIBAUDO

The sport is picking up in popularity around the state.


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The State

MAKERS

Leather Wonders

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EMILY BLACKBURN CAREFULLY CUTS LEATHER FOR HER CUSTOMIZED CREATIONS.

PHOTOS BY NATALIE GREEN

Emily Blackburn balances functionality and beauty in her handcrafted goods.

mily Blackburn’s passion to create has moved her since she was very young, fueled by time spent in the woodshop with her dad. “I was probably 10 when he had us working in the shop creating small things like footstools,” Blackburn says. “That really started my desire for creating an idea that you have in your mind to something tangible that you can hold in your hand.” Then she read My Side of the Mountain, a story about a teenage boy who runs away to the Catskill Mountains, where he learns how to live off the land and make items necessary for his survival. “I bought a rabbit pelt, and then found some materials around the house to make a purse. I loved that it was useful and it was interesting,” she says. “I pursued it as a hobby for many years. I bet it wasn’t very good work in the beginning, but I loved the challenge of sketching an idea, coming up with the dimensions, the pattern and then coming up with the final product.” Blackburn, of Tulsa, specializes in making bags and wallets for her shop Blackburn Goods, all made from her choice medium: leather. “It kind of develops to the person who owns it in a much more personal way than fabric does,” she says. “Leather hardens itself to hard use, and it actually

kind of adapts to the environment. That’s a really interesting element.” The material is not the only thing her designs share. They are also all practical pieces, many seeking to solve a problem – like her Kelly bag. “I was frustrated with the small purses that can never fit everything, and purses that are too large that make my back hurt or make my shoulder hurt or I overfill,” she says. “So when I worked on the Kelly with this friend of mine, our goal was to have it fit a regular size iPad, have a large pocket on the outside, have two large pockets on the inside and an ability to grab the handle at the top and wear it crossbody style or shorten the strap if you wanted to wear it underneath your arm like an armbag. We took all these elements, the necessities and the design, and we put it all into a sketch.” Once she has a sketch, she does a mock-up in butcher paper to tweak the pattern, using staples to keep it all together. Then it’s time to cut the leather. “It’s kind of scary when you see this beautiful thing you’ve invested $120 in just the basic raw materials and you have to go and cut. And you can’t go back,” she says. “That’s the thing with leather; you can’t patch it up. You pretty much have to be sure of what you’re doing every time.” Blackburn works diligently to ensure that everything she makes is just right, spending 20-30 hours on each new design. “I want to create something that is probably three-quarters functional and one-quarter fashionable,” she says. “Classic elements like functionality, storage, organization and just the quality that comes from something being handmade – those things will never go out of style.” BETH WEESE

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016


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The State

BUSINESS

Blazing Trails When it comes to innovation in luxury motor homes, all roads lead to Oklahoma-based Newell Coach.

S

tep in any motor home, and you’ll see elements of design and engineering that stem from Miami, Oklahomabased Newell Coach, a family-run company that manufactures, sells and services Newell luxury motor coaches. From the look of the headlights to the placement of the engine, Newell is a trailblazer in the industry. Innovation has been a key driver of Newell “For me, it’s been since L.K. as much of a hobby Coach Newell founded as a business.” the eponymous company in the late 1960s. Newell was the first to use diesel power and rear engine placement for motor homes, a configuration that’s now the industry standard. Today, NEWELL COACH CREATES president Karl Blade continues to MOTOR COACHES THAT build on that innovation. COMBINE THE BEST OF LUXURY HOTELS, SMART The motor coaches, which cost HOME AUTOMATION AND approximately $2 million, combine AUTOMOBILES. PHOTOS COURTESY NEWELL COACH the best of luxury hotels, smart

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

home automation and automobiles. The company collaborates with Austria-based Porsche Design and top-tier international purveyors to maintain its leading edge. “We’ve seen a lot of the innovation we’ve done show up in competitors and then move down the ladder,” Blade says. “If you look at a three- or four-year-old Newell and a current product that’s half our price, you’ll see that some of the styling we’ve done has inspired them.” The company sells approximately 26 motor coaches a year, each taking approximately six to eight months to complete. Each motor coach is custom built to the buyer’s preferences. Whereas other motor home companies purchase and convert empty bus shells for the structure, Newell Coach is the only company to build the chassis and body in-house. Further differentiating itself from competitors, Newell Coach sells factory direct, drawing people from all over the world to its northeastern

Oklahoma facility. The result is a more customer-responsive product and service. “It’s a relationship business as much as a product business,” Blade says. “We get to know the customers, and if they have a problem, they can pick up the phone and call me.” The company also has a technical support hotline that’s manned around the clock, 365 days a year. The company, which employs approximately 200 people, also custom makes the systems’ electronics, which allow the motor homes to operate like smart homes. Even the suspension system is computercontrolled. “They’re condominiums on wheels,” Blade says. “We use only the nicest, finest products and build the motor coaches from the ground up to appeal to our customer. We aren’t targeting a budget; we’re targeting an end product.” Customers range from self-made entrepreneurs to NASCAR and Indy drivers. Even the late Dodi Fayed, son of Egyptian billionaire


OWNER KARL BLADE SAYS USING THE MOTOR HOMES HAS BEEN HIS HOBBY FOR OVER 40 YEARS.

KITCHENS AND OTHER AREAS IN THE COACH ARE OFTEN PLACED IN SPACES THAT SLIDE OUT TO CREATE MORE KITCHENS AND OTHER AREAS IN THE COACH ARE OFTEN PLACED IN SPACES THAT SLIDE OUT TO CREATE MORE ROOM WHEN THE COACH IS STATIONARY. NEWELL’S INNOVATIVE DESIGNS ALLOW THEM TO HAVE MORE SPACE FOR BATHROOMS BY PLACING THEM ABOVE THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT.

Mohamed Al-Fayed and boyfriend of Diana, Princess of Wales, was a customer. “When we’re only dealing with a handful of customers, they get the VIP treatment,” Blade says. “Roughly 50 percent of our business is repeat and 50 percent are couples who are at a stage of life where they want to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their success.” But perhaps the most enthusiastic Newell Coach customers are Blade and his wife, Alice. “Using the motor homes has been my life and my hobby for over 40 years. When we bought Newell in the late ’70s, we thought we’d gone to heaven,” Blade says. “Being part of

the fan base and user group, we’ve understood our customers very well. When we go out and spend time in one, I always come back with a list of modifications, and that comes from use. For me, it’s been as much of a hobby as a business.” CAMILLE TORRES

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

25


The State INSIDER

Can’t Make It to the Manger Capturing the magic of Christmas in a song isn’t easy.

B

ack in the early part of this century, I was amazed and delighted when my old friend Steve Ripley, the internationally known, Oklahoma-based music figure, called and asked if I wanted to help him with a nostalgic song he was writing called “Gone Away,” which he planned to put on his first solo disc. This was about a decade after he’d first climbed onto the national charts with his platinum-selling, country-rock group, The Tractors, and around 35 years since we had first met as disc jockeys at Oklahoma State University’s rock ’n’ roll station, KVRO. I not only love Steve; I deeply admire and enjoy the work he has There’s something done over bigger than ourselves the years. So of course, to which we can and I,was thrilled should aspire. to have the opportunity of working with him. Over the next couple of weeks, we talked about the concept he had in mind – which was, as I saw it, essentially a riff on writer John O’Hara’s famous observation about nostalgia being a kind of homesickness – and I emailed him a number of ideas for possible lyrics. To be honest, my contributions to the tune ended up being pretty minimal, but Steve was kind enough to give me a piece of the publishing rights any

26

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

way. He also invited me to play my 1965 Vox Jaguar organ on the track – another wonderful Ripley gift. Hearing my old Vox wheezing along on the finished product still has the power to give me goosebumps. “Gone Away” was the first single from the Ripley disc, released in 2004. Eight years later, it was covered, with an additional countrified verse added, by country legends Whispering Bill Anderson and the Oak Ridge Boys (who utilized the musical bed Steve had created, which means you can hear my entry-level playing on Whispering Bill’s version as well). I guess having a song to which I’d contributed go into national release made me think I was a songwriter. And while that notion continues to be debunked with alarming regularity, I’m still at it and have been for some time. My files tell me it was a year after the release of “Gone Away” that I first began trying to wrestle a holiday number to the ground. I haven’t yet succeeded, but it’s still kicking around in my head, and with Yuletide on the way, I might at least make something out of it by focusing on it for this column. Right about here, I should say that if you’re a songwriter who wants to hit it big, aiming toward the holiday market looks like a fine choice. According to the Celebrity Net Worth and The Richest websites, of the top 10 moneymaking songs ever written, three are holiday tunes: “White Christmas” (having earned, so far,

a reported $36 million for writer Irving Berlin and his estate), “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” ($25 million) and “The Christmas Song” ($19 million). On the other hand, there’s lots of competition. Tons of new seasonal songs hit the airwaves every year, and few of them get any lasting traction. Remember, for instance, “The Christmas Shoes,” about that poor kid at a checkout counter on Christmas Eve, who didn’t have enough money to buy a pair of shoes for his dying mother? It was so popular for a while that it formed the basis of a made-for-TV movie starring Rob Lowe. It hung in there on the seasonal playlists for a few years, but I haven’t heard it much lately. With the exception of the occasional anomaly like “Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer” – which, amazingly, came out 37 years ago – most of the holiday songs that stick around seem to be a mixture of the secular, and, if not obviously the sacred, then at least the kind of sentimental hopefulness that suggests there’s something bigger than ourselves to which we can and should aspire, what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” (Maybe the best recent example of this is “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” originally written to help raise money for Ethiopian famine victims in 1984.) My partly finished composition mixes all three of the biggest Yuletide-tune elements – the secular, the sacred and the sentimental. It’s


called “Can’t Make It to the Manger,” and it’s a story-song about a young guy from a small town known far and wide for the outdoor living-nativity tableau it presents every year. This particular holiday season, however, our protagonist is on a new job in a city several hours away, forced to work over the holidays and therefore unable to get back to his hometown this year – the first time he’s ever had to spend Christmas away from family and friends. As the song starts, he’s making his way despairingly through the frigid urban landscape, feeling sorry for himself, when he passes a bus station and is broached by a young woman asking him for money. She says she needs $20 more to get a ticket home and insists she’ll pay it back. He gives her the cash and his business address, confident he can kiss that 20 bucks goodbye. Then again, it’s Christmas, a time in which kindness and compassion are supposed to be stoked in souls, and, what the heck, maybe she needs it more than he does. A few days later, while working at his nearly deserted office, he gets an envelope in the mail. Inside is a $20 bill and a photograph of the living nativity from his town. The young woman he helped can clearly be seen playing Mary, mother of Jesus. An ac-

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companying note says she couldn’t have made it to the manger without him. As I’ve tried to get this down over the years, things have kept getting in the way. Why doesn’t he know her, since they’re both from the same little town? Is it too much of a coincidence for them both to be from there? Is she maybe from another place instead, a relative or friend of someone involved with the nativity scene, who got pulled in at the last minute? Is that why she had to panhandle the 20 bucks, because she was short on ready cash? And once I figure all this out, how do I get it down in a couple of lines? Sure, I’m overthinking it. But whatever the problem, the fact remains that after more than a decade, all I have are a few verses, some of which work and some of which don’t. Out of those, I have managed to pen a couple, I think, that come pretty close to what I want to capture regarding the magic and sentimentality and even love that the season can bring:

Wherever you are in all the world In darkness or despair If you lift your head and look for the star The manger’s always there. They say God works in mysterious ways And now I think I see I couldn’t make it to the manger So the manger made it to me. Whatever you put your faith in during this special season, wherever and whatever your own particular manger might be, my hope and prayer is that you find it – or that it finds you. Happy holidays. JOHN WOOLEY

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DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Life & Style

A M A P TO L I V I N G W E L L

Light Up the Neigh-borhood

N

Decorations amplify the holiday spirit.

othing signals the holidays quite like the beautiful decor lining the houses on blocks in every Oklahoma neighborhood. There is a certain magic in the air when one drives through a well-lit, highly decorated district during the Christmas season. Although most people engage in holiday decorating, certain families go the extra

mile to spread palpable Christmas cheer. Take, for example, Patrick and Vicki McDonie of Vintage Farms, who decorate their barn along with their home every winter. The horses inside this handsome barn are surrounded by wreaths, chandeliers and other beautiful holiday embellishments. What are you waiting for? Grab your decorations and go spread some cheer of your own. DECEMBER 2016| WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Life & Style INTERIORS

A Holiday for Everyone A southwest Tulsa home goes all out for Christmas and its horses.

F

ew horses have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in high style, but they do at Vintage Farms in southwest Tulsa. These pampered horses live in exquisite quarters, surrounded by holiday decor. Stars adorn their handsome stalls, and custom chandeliers and ceiling fans hang from above. At Patrick and Vicki McDonie’s Vintage Farms, Christmas is truly the time to deck the halls in superb fashion. This unusual residence combines the horse’s quarters on the ground level with two tack rooms, two showers, a horse blanket closet and a laundry room. A small studio den for the McDonies’ two daughters, Emily and Lexi, is near the barn’s entry. The McDonies travel often and found a barn they loved in Californina. “That was the inspiration for the design of the home,” Vicki says. Brad McMains of Tulsa’s Hunter Homes was the builder. The horses reside in two wings off the barn’s entry hall. The family’s spacious living and entertaining quarters are upstairs. Every room is dressed in holiday attire that complements the home’s subtle color palette of gray and white. Accents of pink, mauve, turquoise and blue complement the neutral theme. The exterior of the home is staged as beautifully as the interior, but it is the 12-foot-tall Christmas tree in the barn entry that makes a memorable first impression. It sets the stage for the holiday decor. Swags of metallic gold, reminiscent of Fourth of July sparklers, line the ceilings, even in the stables. The tree is a magnificent confection, frosted with white faux snow and trimmed with a variety of pale turquoise and bronze balls, accented by soft gold ribbons, pine cones dusted with gold and silver, grape clusters, birds, silver owls and branches. The tree sits on a fur skirt. Two pearlized reindeer wearing festive wreaths greet visitors. Trees of all sizes are throughout the residence, featuring a surprising mix of materials and textures: feathers, wood and felt, pearls, fur and glitter. Small horses, reindeer, churches and bird houses are motifs. The most unusual tree features blue and silver balls on a metal pyramid in the spacious upstairs kitchen/dining/family room, aka the great room.

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016


CLOCKWISE: THE TREE IS THE CENTERPIECE OF THE STABLE’S HOLIDAY DECOR. THE FAMILY’S PET DOGS, BROWNIE AND TIGER LILLY, ARE AS PAMPERED AS THE HORSES. A PYRAMID METAL TREE DRESSED WITH BLUE AND SILVER ORNAMENTS, COMPLEMENTS THE BLUE SOFA IN THE SPACIOUS LIVING/DINING/KITCHEN GREAT ROOM AREA. THE DINING TABLE IS SET FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH A TRIO OF SILVER CONE TREES AND FRESH FLOWERS. TWO CHAIRS IN A MUTED BLUE AND GRAY FABRIC WERE CUSTOM UPHOLSTERED BY GREG THAYER, WHO HAS DESIGN OFFICES IN TULSA AND MUSKOGEE. PHOTOS BY SCOTT JOHNSON, HAWKS PHOTOGRAPHY

DECEMBER 2016| WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Life & Style

CLOCKWISE: MUTED SHADES OF LILAC AND MAUVE HIGHLIGHT THE GRAY AND WHITE THEME OF THIS SOPHISTICATED RETREAT. TUESDAY, A COBB-WELCH HORSE, STANDS OUTSIDE THE ENTRANCE TO THE STABLE, WHICH IS DRESSED IN FULL CHRISTMAS ATTIRE. THE ARCHITECTURAL FOOTPRINT OF VINTAGE FARMS IN SOUTHWEST TULSA WAS INSPIRED BY A BARN THE PATRICK MCDONIE FAMILY SAW ON A TRIP TO CALIFORNIA.

Meet the Designer

“Blue is Emily’s color in horse competitions,” Vicki notes, “so our holiday theme is white, gold, silver and touches of blue.” Vicki and designer Margaret Ferrell met five years ago when Margaret was designing areas of their traditional family home in midtown Tulsa. For this project, Margaret says, “The biggest challenge was learning about the needs of the horses.” Margaret and Vicki shopped for furnishings and accessories in Dallas, New York and Houston. For this Christmas, they found treasures at Tulsa’s T.A. Lorton and the Dallas Gift Market. The great room is the entertaining pulse of the home. This area offers an upstairs view of the sprawling grounds, including the equestrian training arena where Emily practices her English riding horsemanship. Nearby is a fashionable tree house – the domain Lexi and her playmates enjoy. Quite special to the family are two upstairs venues that overlook the horses’ stalls. Barnstyle doors, with railings, open up for a view of the stalls so the family can tell their horses goodnight. While the horses are the stars at Vintage Farms, three cats and two dogs are as pampered as the horses: Brownie, a Boxer; and Tiger Lilly, an English bulldog. Vintage Farms is a unique residence. “I spent years looking for this land, which had 100 native pecan trees on it,” Vicki says. “It’s 37 acres. We are animal lovers, and we wanted a

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

special place for our horses. The horses’ safety was our main consideration in every aspect of the design.” Watching Vicki work with Southern Vintage, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood horse, it’s easy to see the love she has for the family’s horses. Recently, she extended her affection to Barney, a 35-year-old horse, so he would have a nice place to spend his golden years. Life for the horses at Vintage Farms is nice, indeed – especially during the holidays.

A veteran interior designer, Margaret Ferrell says her greatest joy in design is to help her clients live not only beautifully, but comfortably – a goal she achieved with her work on Vintage Farms. “Vintage Farms was a fun project because I not only got to do my job creating a space unique to the McDonie Family, I also got to create stunning, beautifully appointed stalls suited for their remarkable horses.” Ferrell began working for an architect 26 years ago and then, after her husband’s transfer to Kentucky, they restored or renovated homes in the Cherokee Triangle area of Louisville. They continued their work after moving to Tulsa, flipping 68 homes in the midtown Tulsa area. Ferrell is known for her edgy yet functional residential projects in Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana, and she has worked on projects as distant as an estate in Shanghai, China. She also performed a detailed restoration of the top three floors of Waite Phillips’ corporate office in the Philtower, which required extensive research to make it historically accurate.

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Life & Style

HOBBIES

Picture Purrfect

Cat shows have their own special appeal.

T FELINE FRIENDS CAN COMPETE IN BREED CATEGORIES WHERE THEY ARE JUDGED ON SEVERAL DIFFERENT CRITERIA. PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

34

he internet loves cats, but pet owners have placed their beloved felines on display for the world to see long before the web popularized “lol cat” memes. The Cat Fanciers’ Association held its first cat shows in 1906 in Buffalo, New York, and Detroit, Michigan. Cat shows have much in common with well-known dog shows, but with fundamental differences, says Charles Nell, who works closely with three cat show organizations in Oklahoma: ThunderKatz, Red River Rascals and MuskogeeCats. “The most common misconception ... is many people believe cats are put on a leash and shown the same as dogs, which isn’t the case,” Nell says. Instead, cats in a judging ring are placed on a table and inspected for breed-specific qualifications. Judges might distract a cat with a toy to get a closer view of its eye or ear shape. Another difference is the level of public interaction. “All the cats are in a holding area where spectators can look at them. Cats are called by number and breeds to judging rings and

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

placed in a judging cage. The judge then takes each one out and examines it,” says Sharron Henderson of MuskogeeCats. Nell says watching cat shows is much different than viewing shows of other animals. Many judges in The International Cat Association will tell audiences about the breeds they are judging, some of the criteria they look for, and traits of the breeds, Nell says. You also do not have to be a breeder to show cats, and there is an all-inclusive category that allows any cat to be shown and judged (as long as the cat is registered with TICA). “There is a Household Pet and Household Pet Kitten category at every cat show,” says Deborah Keith, a Bengal cat breeder and ThunderKatz member. “I had previously been involved with showing dogs and Arabian horses, and as I got older I needed to slow down a bit and find something a little less physically challenging,” Keith says. “I’ve always had cats sleeping at the end of my bed, so the next logical choice was to show cats. I chose the Bengal cat because they have been bred to resemble a leopard.” Nell also became interested in showing cats in a roundabout way. When his children were little, he and his wife wanted a cat for their growing family and discovered the Ragdoll breed. Their first cat, Toulouse, arrived in 2000. In a few years, they were in love with the breed and bought their first pair. “Growing up, I was a dog person and had never owned a cat. That all changed after Toulouse,” he says. “I love coming home to my cats waiting for me at the door and relaxing with a cat on my lap.” Henderson has been involved in cat shows even longer than Nell and Keith. “I have loved cats as long as I have lived. I went to my first cat show in the mid-’80s and saw an amazing spotted cat on exhibition,” she says. “Now I breed and show Bengal kittens and cats.” These ailurophiles want the general public to attend shows. “Rescue groups are at every show with adorable kittens and cats looking to be adopted,” says Henderson, while Nell notes“there are many beautiful breeds for attendees to see, and they also get the chance to speak with breeders.” Oklahoma cat shows can be found on the TICA show calendar at www.ticamembers. org. MEGAN MORGAN


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Life & Style

FUN FACTS P O P U L AT I O N

A BRONZE STATUE OF CHICKASAW PERFORMAER TE ATA, WHOSE NAME MEANS BEARER OF THE MORNING, STANDS OUTSIDE TROUTT HALL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND ARTS OF OKLAHOMA.

PHOTO COURTESY USAO

CIT Y LIFE

No Small Parcel Chickasha packages fancy lights, academics and boutique shopping.

A

popular holiday festival attended by hundreds of thousands of people, a downtown full of boutique shops and a formidable small liberal-arts college might be the norm in many mid-sized and larger cities. That’s why Chickasha, 45 minutes southwest of the state capital, stands out. Chickasha’s annual Festival of Light, on display until Dec. 31, has run in Shannon Springs Park since its inception as a small event in 1992. The festival now draws 300,000 visitors from across the country. The 43-acre park is transformed into a drive-through or walk-through wonderland of holiday spirit with 3.5 million lights, four miles of lighted walkways, a 25-foot-tall angel and a state-of-the-art, animated, musically choreographed show. “We have a number of brand new displays,” says Kim Sims Kohler, the city’s communications and special events manager. Admission to the Festival of Light is free, thanks to donations and sponsors, she says. The event also has a Facebook page highlighting dates of the live nativity, carriage rides, food trucks and photo times with Santa Claus. Chickasha (the Choctaw word for Chickasaw) is also home to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, a 116-year-old, liberal arts institution. USAO is typical of that type of college (small, academically diverse, interdisciplinary classes within an integrated curriculum) but atypical because it’s one of just a handful of publicly funded liberal arts colleges in the country ... and the only one in Oklahoma. USAO and Chickasha have grown up as siblings, with a symbiosis indelibly linking school and town. The college “works closely

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

with the city and its economic development council to create strategies to move Chickasha forward both economically and culturally,” USAO President John Feaver says. “The university is working to secure a property in downtown Chickasha for a visual arts gallery. USAO also collaborates with local businesses, helping them to find the skilled talent they need.” Chickasha citizens reciprocate those efforts. Feaver cites how USAO almost shut its swimming pool, but the community raised funds to keep it open. Not far from USAO and Shannon Springs Park is downtown, with plenty of dining options. From fashion to fine jewelry and everything in between, there is something for everyone, Kohler says. A monthly attraction is Third Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.” Stores have giveaways and discounts, and restaurants offer specials. Live music and a food truck are included. For automobile lovers, the Chickasha Antique Auto Club holds “Coffee and Cars” every third Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the historic Rock Island Depot. The depot was key to Chickasha’s creation. The Rock Island Railroad laid track from Kansas across Oklahoma Territory and ended opposite the northwest corner of the future Grady County. Paralleling the Chisholm Trail, the tracks entered Chickasaw lands of Indian Territory at Minco and continued to the next selected point toward the Red River. Chickasha, 45 miles northeast of Lawton, began in 1892 when a U.S. Post Office was built. To meet the requirement of improvements on city lots, residents in 1898 put up tents or shacks to create the impression of a rag town. But that’s not the case today. SHARON MCBRIDE

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H E A LT H

Life & Style

Merry Moderation

B

Avoid the holiday weight gain with these tips.

etween office parties and holiday gatherings with family and friends, December is filled with savory feasts and delicious treats – and often the unwanted gift of extra pounds. To help you enjoy the season without worrying about your waistline, Natalie Sanders, a dietitian with St. John Health System in Tulsa, shares the following tips.

Have a plan before the event.

“See what types of foods and beverages will be served,” Sanders says. “Plan a small meal or snack prior to the party to help avoid tempting foods. Limit special treats to the actual day only. Choose your indulgence items carefully and savor a controlled portion without guilt.”

Bring your own dish.

“Take healthy food options to any function so there will be something that will be a safe choice at the party,” Sanders says. “A salad with quinoa, walnuts and cranberries can be very festive, but also very healthy. Try to fill your plate with half vegetables and fruits. Be mindful when you are eating, slow down, and pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are the cook, be careful with all of the tastings and nibbles in the kitchen. They add up.”

Don’t skip workouts because it’s cold.

On a chilly day, most of us would rather curl up with hot cocoa than hit the gym or venture outside. To keep moving, Sanders suggests incorporating exercise into your holiday routine, such as walking to look at lights or grabbing the family for an after dinner stroll. “It’s important to get others involved,” she says. “They will help to make it more enjoyable.” A workout or activity in the morning can help balance out any overeating that may occur later in the day.

Keep drinking water.

In winter, we tend to drink less water, but Sanders

recommends hydration in the morning with one or two cups. “Try water with lemon, warm water or hot tea,” she says. “Flavored water pitchers can be very festive and healthy options. For holiday parties, try infusions of sliced fruit, lemon, cucumber or mint.”

Limit alcohol and watch liquid calories.

“Special beverages and alcohol can be a huge source of calories,” she says. “Most are high in sugar, which can cause blood sugar spikes, increased stress hormone production and increased fat storage. Look for lower sugar or lower calorie alternatives like a hard liquor mixed with tonic water or unsweetened carbonated water.”

Make new traditions.

Direct attention away from food and toward family time or the community. “Try volunteering to help others, take a hike, a walk or play football,” she says. “Think of fun activities your family would enjoy. These are usually memories that will last a lifetime!”

Focus on maintaining weight.

“Focusing on weight maintenance during the holidays is a great idea,” says Sanders. “It can be a challenging time. If you are OK with the status quo, maintain where you are. Set goals not related to weight during this time. For example, set goals eliminating alcohol, avoiding sweets or increasing exercise. Make specific goals, and make a plan for how you will achieve them.” REBECCA FAST

“Think of fun activities your family would enjoy. These are usually memories that will last a lifetime!”

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016


F YI

Keeping Christmas Trees Fresh Some simple care can help your tree look green all season.

C

THIS FESTIVE DESIGN WAS CREATED BY TED AND DEBBIE’S FLOWER & GARDEN. PHOTO BY CHRIS HUMPHREY PHOTOGRAPHER

hristmas is just around the corner and many families have begun the quest for the perfect tree to bring home and decorate for the season. With a little care and attention, the trees can stay fresh and easily last through the holidays. There is an array of places in the state to find Christmas trees, including local farms that grow their own and allow visitors to cut the trees there, stores that bring in trees from farms in and out of state, and floral shops that carry the trees for everyone to choose from. While looking for a tree, everyone should choose one with soft needles that bend, says Shawnda Peters with Ted and Debbie’s Flowers in Tulsa. She says that the needles should never snap. “You can reach into the tree and pull toward yourself and the branches should bend with you,” she adds. Of all the varieties of Christmas trees, she recommends the Douglas fir for longevity but believes that any type of tree can last through the holidays and stay fresh when provided with the right care. Once chosen, the tree should have a fresh cut made to its trunk, along with netting to protect the branches for the ride home. Peters says that it’s always best to take the trees home right away instead of stopping along the way. Picking a good spot for the tree at home is also a good way to keep the tree looking fresh. Peters recommends placing the tree away from any heat sources, such as vents and fireplaces, to keep the tree from drying too quickly. “The fireplace, of course, can especially be dangerous the closer we get to the holidays due to dry needles and limbs,” she says. When the tree is set up in a good spot, water should be added. Peters says that there are tree preservatives available to help the longevity of a tree. “I have also heard that you can boil two teaspoons of sugar in a cup of water and add this to your water the first time you place your tree stand,” she says. “You should check and add water daily. If you have a fresh cut on your tree, it will drink quickly and that’s a great sign of its longevity. The tree preservative or sugar with your water and a humidifier may also help with keeping the needles hydrated.” She adds that not letting the tree run out of water is key. “Once a tree has been without water for too long, reviving could be difficult. I suppose you could try a fresh cut on your tree.” Peters also stressed the importance of buying your tree from a local farm or store if at all possible, along with supporting that merchant with other holiday shopping. “Small businesses thrive on holiday sales,” she says. ANNE BOYD

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

39


Life & Style D E S T I N AT I O N S

Have a Warm, Shaka Christmas, Hawaiian-Style

I

Hang 10 for the holidays and get away from the cold and ice.

t’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, even in Hawaii – just trade golden beaches, blue waters and colorful Hawaiian shirts for Oklahoma’s white, icy weather. I’m game! Yes, Christmas in the islands is merry, bright and shaka. You know shaka, right? That’s the friendly hand gesture popularized by surfers for Hang Loose or Hang 10, formed by making a loose fist, extending the thumb and pinky, and lazily shaking the hand. Waving shaka can mean hello, that’s cool, good job or goodbye. There’s even a 21-foot Shaka Santa who with his wife, Tutu Mele, is stationed outside Honolulu Hale (city hall) amid the civic center’s annual holiday light display on Oahu, throwing a shaka. The tree-lighting ceremony takes place this year Dec. 3, accompanied by monthlong displays of uniquely decorated Christmas trees and wreaths, an electric light parade, keiki (children) rides, food booths and entertainment. Although not 21-feet tall, some of Santa’s helpers have been known to make their way to shore aboard outrigger canoes during December, where they greet the keiki and hand out gifts on the beach at several locations including the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Halekulani in Waikiki (Oahu). The island of Kauai kicks off the holidays even before Honolulu, with the Dec. 2 annual lighting of Christmas decorations on the grounds

40

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016


of the historic County Building. Live local entertainment, Christmas caroling and a float parade down Rice Street are some of the night’s activities. Hawaii’s second-longest-running parade will celebrate its 56th run on Dec. 3 in Waimea on the island of Hawaii. This year is themed “Starlight Christmas” and will include a Santa float, dozens of units representing everyone from Waimea keiki to kupuna (elders) representing churches, schools, youth groups, community organizations, farms, ranches and businesses, plus a huge brigade of festively-lighted trucks. As always, Santa has promised to ride in the parade and afterwards, visit with keiki at Parker Ranch Center’s Fireside Food Court. One thing you must learn before departing Oklahoma for Hawaii is how to say Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. Mele Kalikimaka, just like the song made famous by Don Ho, Bing Crosby, Bette Midler and countless others. The second annual Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace is a one-stop local holiday shop catering to visitors and residents who are looking for holiday gifts and family activities. The event will be held Dec. 10 and 11 at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall on Oahu. Locals regard the two days as Hawaii’s premier holiday shopping emporium, showcasing food products, gifts, books, apparel, jewelry, crafts and lots of market goods. On Dec. 10, since you’re on Oahu anyway, take in the Electric Light Parade, Kapolei City Lights, along with beautiful Christmas trees at Kapolei Hale and the Street Party from 3 to 8 p.m. that features food trucks, entertainment and many free activities for keiki. The incomparable Amy Hanaialii and Willie K Holiday deliver the best in Hawaiian music in an exclusive engagement the evening of Dec. 17. The melodies will fill a truly remarkable venue, the Hawaii Theatre on Oahu. Feeling energetic? On Dec. 18, it’s the 12th annual 5k Jingle Bell Beach Run at Coconut Grove Marketplace in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. Awards are given out to the top finishers as well as the top Christmas costumes. Raffle prizes follow the awards, so it’s hard for anyone to go home empty-handed. And finally, on Christmas Eve, it’s the Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium on Oahu. How many more reasons to have a merry shaka Hawaiian Christmas do you need? Mahalo. CHUCK MAI, AAA OKLAHOMA

CLOCKWISE: HALEKULANI HOTEL OFFERS A POOL AS WELL AS EASY ACCESS TO THE BEACH. PHOTO COURTESY HALEKULANI

HONOLULU CITY LIGHTS DISPLAYS MULTIPLE UNIQUE CHRISTMAS TREES. PHOTO COURTESY HONOLULU CITY LIGHTS

BEACHSIDE VIEWS HELP MAKE THE HOLIDAYS EVEN MORE RELAXING. PHOTO COURTESY HALEKULANI

HAWAII HAS PLENTY OF MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE HOLIDAYS. PHOTO COURTESY HALEKULANI

SNOWMEN WITH SURFBOARDS ILLUSTRATE HAWAII’S UNCOVENTIONAL APPROACH TO THE HOLIDAYS. PHOTO COURTESY HONOLULU CITY LIGHTS

TO LEARN MORE HonoluluCityLights.org. LightsOnRice.org hawaiitheatre.com kona5k.com

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Life & Style

ST YLE

Glitz & Glam

The holiday season brings with it a mountain of social events and parties that require festive and fashionable outfits. Mix sparkle, glam and plenty of accessories to keep the holiday spirit alive through your style.

JOIE LACE BLAZER, $398; JOIE METALLIC TANK, $198; JOIE LACE MINI SKIRT, $198; REBECCA MINKOFF CLUTCH, $95; JIMMY CHOO FOX FUR POM-POM PUMPS, $895, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE. STERLING SILVER CLEAR QUARTZ TEAR DROP EARRINGS, $550; CLEAR QUARTZ BANGLE, $395; DIA STATION BANGLE, $695; THREE-SECTION DIA BRACELET, $995; LARGE CHAIN LINK BRACELET, $550; STERLING SILVER AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL THREE-STONE RING, $750, BRUCE G. WEBER PRECIOUS JEWELS.

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

HALSTON HERITAGE SCARLET GOWN, $595; ALBERT MAKALI BOLERO, $290; MILEY CLUTCH, $265; JIMMY CHOO GLITTER POINTED HEELS, $675, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE. GREY DUST HOOPS, $405; SHORT AND LONG STERLING SILVER AND BLACK DUST LINK NECKLACES, $1,015 AND $1,485; STERLING SILVER AND RUTHENIUM MULTI-STRAND BRACELETS, $400 EACH; STERLING SILVER AND RUTHENIUM JOINT BLACK DUST RING, $595, BRUCE G. WEBER PRECIOUS JEWELS.


ALICE AND OLIVIA GOLD SEQUINED SHIRT, $295; ALICE AND OLIVIA GOLD SEQUINED SKIRT, $295; LOEFFLER RANDALL SUEDE LOCK CLUTCH, $250; MANOLO BLAHNIK NOTTURNO HEEL, $695, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE. ROSE GOLD STERLING SILVER BROWN DUST HOOPS, $480; ROSE GOLD STERLING SILVER BROWN DUST BEADED BRACELET, $420; ROSE GOLD STERLING SILVER BROWN DUST DOUBLE ROW RING, $359, BRUCE G. WEBER PRECIOUS JEWELS.

PARKER BLACK AND GOLD LEATHER STRIPED DRESS, $298; LOEFFLER RANDALL GOLD CLUTCH, $250; JIMMY CHOO POINTY PUMP WITH CRYSTAL, $975, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE. STERLING SILVER EARRINGS FEATURING WHITE SAPPHIRES AND DIAMONDS, $4,260; OPEN SHIELD NECKLACE ACCENTED WITH WHITE SAPPHIRES, $2,990 (SHOWN WITH ATTACHABLE SCROLL PENDANT, $2,490); SKINNY SQUARE MOTIF BANGLE, $2,990; OPEN CIRCLE LINK BRACELET, $3,290; WIDE BRACELET FEATURING WHITE SAPPHIRES, $4,390; STERLING SILVER CHAMPAGNE DIA RING, $2,790, BRUCE G. WEBER PRECIOUS JEWELS. DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Life & Style FRANK LYMAN TOMATO KNIT DRESS, $225; FOS TASSEL PEARL NECKLACE, $36; FOS GOLD BRACELET, $30; DONNA’S FASHIONS. JIMMY CHOO LUCY SUE HEEL WITH ANKLE STRAP, $695, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE.

44

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

JOHNNY WAS VELVET GOWN, $338; FOS GOLD AND BLACK EARRINGS, $54; FOS SILVER AND GOLD RING, $48, DONNA’S FASHIONS. MANOLO BLAHNIK NOTTURNO MULE HEEL WITH JEWEL, $985, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE.


SCENE

MAYOR MICK CORNETT, BOB MEINDERS, PAUL LEFEBVRE, MAUREEN HEFFERNAN; ORCHIDS IN OCTOBER, MYRIAD BOTANICAL GARDENS, OKC DR. JAMES & LINDA STEWART; SAINTS BALL, ST. ANTHONY HOSPITAL, OKC

ROBYN SUNDAY-ALLEN, ENOCH KELLY HANEY, DR. EVERETT RHOADES; RED FEATHER GALA, OKLAHOMA CITY INDIAN CLINIC, OKC

JW CRAF T, MOLLIE CR AF T, JILLIAN IHLO IHLOFF; GREEN LEAF , WILL GALA , UP WITH TRFF EES, TULSA

CATHY & THE HONORABLE FRANK KEATING, FELICIA COLLINS CORREIA, KEVIN MARSHALL, THE HONORABLE STEPHANIE SEYMOUR, LEN & PATTY EATON; 2016 TULSA HALL OF FAME INDUCTION, TULSA

APRIL & SID MCANNALLY; GIVING SPIRTS, COMMUNITY FOOD BANK OF EASTERN OKLAHOMA, TULSA

KEITH MCCOMBS, PAULA K. PORTER, DR. ROBERT SALINAS, MARY BRINKLEY, DARRYL FITZGERALD; INSPIRE AWARDS, EASTER SEALS OKLAHOMA, OKC

Y, DICK VICKIE GOURLE ’S RO ST AE M SIAS; ESTRA BALL , OKC ORCH C OK LEAGUE,

SONIA SMITH, MATTHEW BROWNE, HENRY BROWNE JR., WHITNEY BROWNE HOOTEN, ANNIE BOHANON, DAVID HOOTEN; STARLIGHT BALL, CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, OKC

ANDREW WARREN AND RANIA NASREDDINE; GREEN LEAF GALA, UP WITH TREES, TULSA

BONNIE KLEIN, PAT GORDON; GREEN LEAF GALA, UP WITH TREES, TULSA

JAMES WALLIS, DONALD HOOSE, CARON LAWHORN, GERARD CLANCY; UNIVERSITY OF TULSA 2016 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI CELEBRATION, TULSA

THE HONORABLE FRANK KEATING, CATHY KEATING, BRITTNEY KEATING, CHIP KEATING; STARLIGHT BALL, CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, OKC DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

45


Honored to be One of Oklahoma’s Best. Cherokee Nation and its businesses employ 11,000 people and have a $1.55 billion economic impact on northeast Oklahoma. One of the drivers of this prosperity and stability is Cherokee Nation Businesses, the company that holds the tribe’s economic portfolio. CNB blends its heritage of ingenuity with professional experience to build opportunities in high potential industries, develop custom client solutions and provide support for Cherokee Nation’s programs and services. This spirit of innovation and excellence is bringing about a better quality of life for generations of Cherokee people.

cherokeenationbusinesses.com © 2016 Cherokee Nation Businesses. All Rights Reserved.


Melton Tru ck Lines , Inc .

2016

®

EMPOWERMENT is an operative

keyword in education, traditional business, government and non-profits. This year’s Great Companies to Work For, Oklahoma Magazine’s annual unranked sampling, embody this trend. Workers at these companies and institutions are made to feel that they can make a difference. For instance, Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation half-jokingly wants to put himself out of a job by doing as much as he personally can to help every one of the Nation’s employ-

ees and members. “I’m trying to flip the model to where I’m at the bottom, not the top, so that I can support and empower them,” he says. SemGroup, a midstream energy company, “fosters a culture that empowers our employees through many different projects,” says Kay Kittleman, the company’s senior director of human resources. “Many people wear many different hats and that helps them grow in their own skill set. They get involved in more projects.” Empowerment also takes the form of managers checking themselves on what works best

with employees, not the other way around. “Most people leave a job because of the bosses, not the organization, so we want to improve our managers by challenging one another,” Batton says. At most great companies, employee feedback is taken seriously. Kittleman says SemGroup has “no boundaries and that permeates the whole culture. We want to see where we have gaps because we’re not perfect.” This year’s broad survey of Great Companies to Work For tries to reflect these qualities. DECEMBER 2016| WWW.OKMAG.COM

47


Great Companies to work for

Em

PHOTOS BY CHRIS HUMPHREY PHOTOGRAPHER

Taking Care of

48

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016


mployees ConsumerAffairs adopts new ideas to increase the company’s productivity.

Zac Carman’s office doesn’t look like a stereotypical CEO’s office. The head of ConsumerAffairs has the company’s Stormtrooper Award, complete with a full-sized Stormtrooper helmet, from the movie Star Wars, in one corner. A copy of The Oregon Trail Card Game sits on top of a bookcase. His desk doesn’t denote any special status: it’s the same type of desk used by every other employee at the company. It’s not even his office, really – he shares it with three other people. Carman’s office isn’t the only thing that marks ConsumerAffairs as a nontraditional company in Oklahoma. The dress code is casual, and more employees wear jeans than suits. Employees may stop by a stocked cooler to pick up a beer or play a quick game of foosball or table tennis when they hit a mental block for a problem. “In creative organizations, productivity is a function of creativity,” Carman says. “Our business is one in which people need to be creative, and people need to think about problems in a unique way. Productivity is measured in creating new solutions to problems or creating new content to address a problem. Those people can’t be productive if you are cramping their style.” Carman is a fifth-generation Tulsan and Dartmouth College graduate who was working for an investment firm when he decided to find a company he could acquire, along with a group of investors, and move to Tulsa. From the beginning, he says he wanted to build an enduring franchise and create what he calls “a city-changing company.” Since he has acquired the company, which provides guidance to people making major purchases, ConsumerAffairs.com has climbed from 1 million monthly visitors to 7 million monthly visitors and shown similar growth in every area. Carman credits much of that growth to a focus on creating an environment where the company’s employees can succeed. “The more we do to take care of employees, the better the business performs,” he says. “Our growth has accelerated every year. When I acquired the company, the business was growing pretty slowly – 20 or 30 percent a year. Then we began to grow about 100 percent

a year, and now we’re just shy of tripling the company each year. The ability to do that as the numbers get bigger is pretty staggering.” While the company’s environment may be considered unusual in Oklahoma, Carman says it’s the status quo in cities like San Francisco or Seattle. Part of the difference is the age of the companies – Carman says many companies with similar environments, including Facebook and Google, are less than 20 years old. The company’s benefits to employees stretch far beyond a stocked refrigerator for drinks and snacks cabinet. The company provides health insurance for the employee and family, a 401(k) matching plan and some unusual benefits like unlimited paid time off. Carman says many people viewed giving unlimited paid time off with some skepticism. One friend, also an entrepreneur in Tulsa, told him it would never work and people would take advantage of the benefit. The company’s experience, however, told a different story. “We actually had to put an incentive plan in place to get people to take time off, because if you hire the right people who are truly highly functioning, those people just want to kill it,” he says. “They want to do a great job, and those people will never take vacation.” While the company works to create a positive, upbeat atmosphere for its employees, Carman also says the revitalization of Tulsa’s downtown has helped when recruiting from other cities. He says he likes to think of ConsumerAffairs as playing a small part in that movement, but also points to work done by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Tulsa Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum and the McNellie’s Group in creating a thriving social scene in Tulsa. “I think that you can’t have one without the other,” Carman says. “Without a vibrant downtown, without the Brady Arts District and the [Blue Dome] District and that vibrancy of the social scene, you can’t recruit people here. It’s a holistic effort.” While people may have been skeptical of the environment at ConsumerAffairs, Carman says he expects more people to follow the model in the future. “I think the reality is if they don’t, those companies will get disrupted, and all the best talent is going to go elsewhere,” he says. JUSTIN MARTINO

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

49


Great Companies to work for AEROSPACE

Field Aerospace

OKLAHOMA CITY www.fieldaero.com Field Aerospace, formerly ARInc., prides itself on being America’s literal wingman because of its diversity of service: aircraft specializations and modifications, fleet maintenance, life cycle upgrades, technology integration, and military or Federal Aviation Administration certifications. The roots of the company go back 65 years to Oshawa, Ontario, then a small town just outside Greater Toronto. Field Aviation provided maintenance support to aircraft operators performing survey and mapping operations over Canada’s vast territories. Field also converted military aircraft into planes for civilian roles. Now, Field Aerospace supports the KC-10 Extender, the KC-135 Stratotanker and the C-130 Hercules military transports.

TULSA www.nordam.com NORDAM, founded in 1969 by Ray and Milann Siegfried, has always had a dynamic vision and passion for treating each of its 2,500 employees with respect and care ... and a healthy dose of fun in the workplace. Bluegrass concerts and costume parties work their way into the NORDAM routine. NORDAM, specializing in manufacturing and repair, is one of the largest independent aerospace companies in the world. “Family-owned and operated, we rely on the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of our employees ... to remain at the forefront of the aerospace industry,” one official writes. “Our people come first, always.” NORDAM University allows workers to take instructor-led courses, online learning, self study or classes formed with external organizations (such as colleges and technical centers). The Ray Siegfried Leadership Academy develops those employees who “upend the pyramid and run to great purpose,” according to the company.

BANKING AND FINANCE Arvest

THROUGHOUT OKLAHOMA www.arvest.com Since entering the Oklahoma market in 1987 with a 50 percent purchase of Security National Bank of Norman, Arvest has had multifold growth and serves 26 cities and towns in the Sooner State. Arvest employees participate in much of the company’s charity work for communities and schools.

Bank 2

OKLAHOMA CITY www.bank2online.com After the Chickasaw Nation bought it in 2002, Bank 2 has turned into one of the most successful minorityowned financial institutions in the United States. Bank 2 holds the most mortgages for Native Americans in Oklahoma and is one of the leading lenders throughout the country. With assets of more than $100 million, Bank 2 is regularly cited as one of the top Native American-owned businesses in North America.

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

PHOTO COURTESY OKC THUNDER

NORDAM

Bank of Oklahoma/BOK Financial Corp.

TULSA www.bokf.com With nearly 3,000 employees across the state, Bank of Oklahoma remains a top employer each year. Founded in 1908 as the National Bank of Tulsa, the bank is the largest holding of BOK Financial Corp., with 4,715 employees and chaired by businessman and philanthropist George Kaiser. Bank of Oklahoma’s vision “is to be recognized as the top performing, highest quality, most reputable financial institution ... in the Oklahoma markets,” according to CEO and President Steve Bradshaw. According to a BOK Financial official, the company “values an environment where each employee’s unique gifts and differences are recognized, respected and utilized. We believe that each person connects to our purpose, values, and competencies, and through that connection individual contributions directly impact the success of our organization. Our focus on a highly engaged workforce allows us to attract and retain the finest talent in the industry.”

First Fidelity Bank

OKLAHOMA CITY www.ffb.com First Fidelity might add another alliterative word to its title: family. The bank is owned by chairman Bill Cameron, his sister Lynda Cameron, CEO and President Lee Symcox and his wife, Executive Vice President Suzanne Symcox. They are quick to demonstrate that their 400

workers comprise the First Fidelity Family, fostering a loyal workplace. And just as family members address each other in familiar terms, First Fidelity employees are committed to learning all their clients’ first names.

MidFirst Bank

OKLAHOMA CITY www.midfirst.com MidFirst, which also has a large presence in Tulsa, is one of the largest privately owned banks in the country; employees have a close loyalty to the company and its customers, not to shareholders. MidFirst is also committed to environmentally friendly practices, from energy management systems in all new construction projects to recycling and landscape initiatives at all facilities. For instance, drought-resistant plants and trees adorn Arizona branches to conserve water.

Tinker Federal Credit Union

OKLAHOMA CITY www.tinkerfcu.org With 332,000 members and more than $3.5 billion in assets, Tinker is the largest credit union in the state. That’s quite different from 1946, when a small group of Tinker Field (now Tinker Air Force Base) workers pooled their resources to begin a non-profit employee credit union. Workers at Vance Air Force Base in Enid joined the team in 1967, and more than 700 central Oklahoma companies have followed.


OU - Oklahoma’s Leader in Excellence

• The University of Oklahoma’s 2016 freshman class is the largest and highest academically ranked in the history of the university with the highest average ACT score, 26.5. • OU is the only public university in U.S. history to ever rank first among both public and private universities in the number of freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled. • OU was recently awarded the prestigious Davis Cup for the third consecutive year in recognition of its record-setting enrollment of United World College international freshmen. OU is the only public university to ever be awarded the Davis Cup. • OU is the only university in the nation, public or private, whose students have won Goldwater, Mitchell, Truman, Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright and National Security Education Program scholarships in the same year. • The OU Honors College is one of the top 25 programs at a public university in the nation based on A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs.

• OU has produced 29 Rhodes Scholars; no other university in Oklahoma has had more than three. • OU has achieved an all-time record freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of 90 percent, ranking OU among the top universities in the nation. OU is one of only 34 public institutions in the nation currently reporting retention rates of 90 percent or higher. • With construction underway and move in set for next fall, OU will become one of the first public universities in the country to build residential colleges for upperclassmen and women, patterned on those at Yale, Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge in England. The living/learning communities will become the cornerstone of the undergraduate experience. • OU is a leader among all American universities in international exchange and study abroad programs. OU is closing in on reaching a four-year goal to increase the number of students studying abroad to 50 percent. OU currently offers programs in 79 countries and over 223 cities in six continents. Students from 120 countries are enrolled at OU.

The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo

- The Pride of Oklahoma


Great Companies to work for True Sky Credit Union

OKLAHOMA CITY www.faaecu.org True Sky’s history is not grounded; it has always symbolized workers associated with flying and aviation, ever since eight Civil Aeronautics Administration members began the credit union in 1947. The financial institution changed its name to the FAA Credit Union in the 1950s, when the Federal Aviation Agency emerged. That lasted until this year, when the name switched to True Sky. What has remained the same through nearly 70 years of operation is its mission: providing high quality service to empower members and enrich their lives. True Sky has 140 full-time employees.

Tulsa Federal Credit Union

TULSA www.tulsafederalcu.org With just 178 employees, Tulsa Federal packs a financial punch in managing more than 60,000 members and $650 million in assets. Workers feel valued by the credit union because, as one officials writes, “We live by the mantra that our members’ experience will never exceed our employees’ experience. As a result, we celebrate a strong, talented and member focused workforce. We focus on hiring a diverse workforce that reflects many viewpoints and schools of thought. In this way, we foster diversity and inclusion in an effort to make the best decisions for both our employees and our members. We provide ongoing training and development both in the classroom and on the job. We know employees are our best ambassadors.”

TTCU, The Credit Union

TULSA www.ttcu.com A cigar box. A teacher’s righthand desk drawer. The old Central High School. Those are the essential elements of TTCU’s origin story. Linnie Wilson, a bookkeeping teacher at Central, kept track of those early assets of $1,600 in 1934. Within three years, the membership swelled to 400 members ... and Miss Wilson found herself working in a new office building and in a new profession: the credit union. Originally, the loans were for teachers to buy suits and dresses for the classroom; now, with 120,000 members and assets of more than $1.6 billion, the loans are much larger. But the mission of serving teachers remains the same.

CONSTRUCTION

Crossland Construction

OKLAHOMA CITY AND TULSA www.crossland.com This company has its own in-house training and educational department known as the Crossland Academy. In addition to professional development and leadership opportunities, employees can earn nationally accredited certifications. A Crossland official writes: “Employee success is both pursued and celebrated. [E]very employee find[s] a perfect place within the organization, even if the journey to that position requires an unconventional path. The Crossland Academy trains and retains each of us through innovative, on-the-job training programs, internships, registered apprenticeships, mentoring and individual learning plans. Our leadership devotes considerable resources to the skill development and lifelong learning of our team members.” The Crossland Academy, the company’s family atmosphere, defined career opportunities, competitive pay and benefits, and Crossland’s steady growth in the industry are the anchor reasons for 990 workers buying into the company’s goals. “Whether it’s a field engineer in a hard hat or an accountant at our corporate office or a Crossland brother in a boardroom, our goal is singular, regardless of the project – to be the very best at what we do,” says the company official, adding that Crossland’s “niche in the construction community is providing project owners and architects the highest levels of personal service and involvement, exceptional quality, and the best project value. We are also one of the top contractors in steel erection and concrete structures.”

Flintco

TULSA www.flintco.com As Flintco approaches its centenary in 2018, its 550 workers retain qualities from the company’s founding: taking pride in one’s work and exuding a spirit of service. Employees take the personal approach to each project by focusing on client goals, understanding individual markets and maximizing resources to their fullest extent. The byproduct is, on average,

a remarkable 15-year tenure for each employee. Flintco’s ethic is “My training is never done,” so the Arrowhead Academy fulfills a company promise to workers that they can continue developing as professionals. Leadership management, safety, finance, programming and communication are among the courses offered by the academy. “By investing in training, we empower our people to tailor their own career growth,” an official writes.

Manhattan Construction Co.

TULSA www.manhattanconstructiongroup.com Not many companies can boast having a 52-year employee, but 120-year-old Manhattan, one of Oklahoma’s oldest, can. A company official writes: “When Laurence H. Rooney founded Manhattan Construction Co. in 1896, he built his business and reputation on trustworthiness and dependability. These timeless values have enabled Manhattan to become one of the most respected construction firms in the nation. In the last three years, Manhattan has received more than 50 industry honors for quality and safety. The company works in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Manhattan is a family of builders committed to the development of teams who do the right thing for our projects, our clients, and each other.” Manhattan’s nearly 500 full-time workers can receive tuition reimbursement, performance-based bonuses and rewards for employee referrals. The result is an average worker tenure of eight years, a solid number in the sometimes volatile construction industry.

Ross Group

TULSA www.withrossgroup.com Ross Group’s 225 full-time employees create a topnotch team environment, according to a company official. Of the workplace culture, another Ross Group official says: “We’re a roll-up-our-sleeves and get-itdone kind of place. Collaborative. Transparent. And darn proud of the great work our clients have allowed us to do. It all boils down to the fact that companies don’t build projects. People do. And we’ve made sure we hire and partner with some of the best, most experienced, most passionate people in the industry. Enough said.”

ENERGY

TULSA www.bestwell.com The roustabout, the heart and soul of any oil and natural gas company, knows exactly what has to happen at the energy source. Fittingly, Best Well, founded in 2007 by four guys with two trucks, maintains the common sense approach of roustabouts. The company creates a leadership environment for all of its workers so they can engage fully with their families and communities; this training allows employees to succeed in areas outside the company, too.

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PHOTO COURTESY MANHATTAN CONSTRUCTION

Best Well Services


Love Your Job, Love Where You Work...We Do! meltontruck.com/careers - 918-234-1000


Great Companies to work for Continental Resources

OKLAHOMA CITY www.contres.com New workers are thrown right into the mix at Continental and fully expected to bring their new ideas to the fore. Continental works closely with colleges and universities with petroleum engineering, geology and related majors to recruit employees. This approach reflects the philosophy of chairman and CEO Harold Hamm, who has directed Continental since its founding in 1967.

Devon Energy

PHOTO COURTESY SEMGROUP

OKLAHOMA CITY www.devonenergy.com Devon’s guiding principles for an employee are: always do what’s right; deliver results; be a team player; and be a good neighbor. The result is a culture of achievement that has garnered frequent industry awards since Devon began in 1971. Devon also contributes resources to science, technology, engineering and math programs in schools because it sees the economic growth and prosperity associated with those fields. Central to that mission is the Devon Science Giants program, which provides strategic, inventive, hands-on curricula to STEM teachers.

EOG Resources

OKLAHOMA CITY www.eogresources.com EOG stands for energy, opportunity and growth, which comprise the company’s vision for employees. EOG’s decentralized corporate structure encourages collaboration and many cross-functional teams of scientists and engineers. Employees have open lines of communication with everyone, especially face-to-face conversations. This participatory approach encourages workers to propose innovative ideas that will be heard, analyzed and acted on.

Magellan Midstream Partners

TULSA www.magellanlp.com More than half of Magellan’s employees work in operations and production. The average tenure for all workers is 12 years, 17 years for managers and supervisors, and 20 for directors. Safety, efficiency, honesty and responsibility are at the core of this spinoff from the Williams Companies, especially when it comes to workers. Magellan, which owns the longest refined petroleum products pipeline system in the country, can tap into nearly 50 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.

OGE Energy

OKLAHOMA CITY www.oge.com OGE, founded in 1902, places a premium on employees demonstrating teamwork, integrity and public service. Many of OGE’s 2,500 workers fully participate in company programs such as Lend-a-Hand and Cool Zones to give back to the community. OGE also has partnerships with many schools through its Teacher Grant Program, Fourth Grade Electrical Safety Program, Prairie Project and Positive Tomorrows.

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Oilfield Pipe and Supply

DEWEY www.oilfieldpipe.com This quiet company, with 155 full-time employees, is modestly one of Dewey’s largest employers as it supplies any pipe needed in the energy industry, from steel casing to coil form. It’s been fabricating large steel-rolled and welded pipe since 1986.

bonuses, matches employees’ charitable contributions, has tuition reimbursement, offers discount stock purchases and reimburses those with gym memberships. Workers may submit feedback, suggestions and complaints online. A SemGroup official writes that the company garners loyalty because of “our transparency and casual work environment.”

ONEOK

Cardinal Engineering/ Enviro Clean Cardinal

SemGroup

Guy Engineering Services

TULSA www.oneok.com Originally an intrastate natural gas pipeline company, ONEOK is one of the nation’s premier energy companies. Its 2,380 full-time employees “strive to better not only their company but also the communities in which they live,” a ONEOK official writes. ONEOK recognizes that its success in the future depends upon embracing the unique perspectives of a diverse entry-level pool. ONEOK hires from universities, technical schools and other venues to create a comprehensive, inclusion strategy for business and employee relations. ONEOK assists employees with professional development to advance their careers.

TULSA www.semgroupcorp.com The 1,100 full-time employees at SemGroup arrive everyday to an inviting, inclusive, team-oriented workplace. Workers stay on an average of five years and many have decades of experience in the energy industry. SemGroup grants performance-based

OKLAHOMA CITY www.cardinalengineers.com Cardinal, a civil engineering powerhouse, provides transportation design, land planning, utility study and design, and site development. Corporate sibling Enviro Clean Cardinal is one of the most comprehensive environmental and civil engineering service firms along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Midwest. Enviro Clean has more than 150 employees with additional offices in Tulsa, Norman, Ada, Yukon and Woodward. Members of its executive team have, individually, decades of experience in their respective specialties, be it air-quality practices or hydrogeology.

TULSA www.guyengr.com Guy designs roads for the state of Oklahoma, its municipalities and all 77 counties. It also provides bridge inspections, surveying and mapping services. The work is serious because of its importance to having safe thoroughfares, but Guy’s 35 full-time employees


HEALTH CARE

Alliance Health Deaconess Hospital

OKLAHOMA CITY www.alliancehealthdeaconess.com Founded in 1900 as the Home of Redeeming Love to help unwed mothers, Deaconess still runs its Open Arms Free Clinic to provide basic medical care for those who do not have physicians. In 2015, it combined with nine Community Health System hospitals to form AllianceHealth Oklahoma.

Cancer Treatment Centers of AmericaSouthwestern Region

TULSA www.cancercenter.com/southwestern The Tulsa campus of Cancer Treatment Centers of

FOOD INDUSTRY

Bama (Pies) Companies

TULSA www.bama.com In Dallas, during the Great Depression, Henry Marshall made ends meet by selling mouthwatering pies baked by his wife, Cornelia Alabama Marshall, known as Grandma Bama. When their son, Paul, married and moved to Tulsa, he began a branch of the family business that eventually evolved into the giant pie-production plant on Route 66 near the University of Tulsa. Paul Marshall, the CEO and president from 1937 to 1984, says, “Although the product of our company is pie, our story is people, common people who became uncommon as they hacked out a path to success.” This company’s devotion to its 1,000 employees continues many years later. An official writes: “We often say around the office that our founders embody the American Dream. What they accomplished is evidenced in our unyielding dedication to our employees and to our products.” Workers provide quarterly feedback to current CEO Paula Marshall; the consistent reasons why they like working at Bama are the benefits (including an on-site fitness center), health and wellness programs, job satisfaction, professional development and growth, environment and sense of teamwork.

Ben E. Keith Foods

EDMOND www.benekeith/food/locations/oklahoma Ben E. Keith Foods, based in Fort Worth, Texas, was introduced to Oklahoma in December 1983 with the

America is big on numbers and how every member of the entire operation works together to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. This workplace boasts a 97.6 overall hospital rating (on a 0-100 scale) and a 97.2 rating for patients being satisfied with their doctors or surgeons. In addition, 85.3 percent of patients in the Tulsa hospital report that they are informed about what to do upon discharge, 73.7 percent of patients say they always receive help as soon as they want it, 85.7 percent report that their doctors always communicate well, 71.89 percent say that their pain is always controlled, and 74.2 percent report that staff members always explain medicines and their side effects before dispensing them. The statistics come from patient surveys that provide important feedback to the hospital.

Cordell Memorial Hospital

CORDELL www.cordellmemorialhospital.com The challenges that rural hospitals face are immense, given dwindling populations and resources. Commitment to and by employees is critical, and that is found at Cordell Memorial. The number of full-time employees is small (51), but their impact is large in western Oklahoma. The hospital has a 50-percent retirement match and pays for any health-care needs when employees get medical attention there.

purchase of Johnston Fruit Co. Three years later, the Collin-DietzMorris Co. was acquired; both companies, under the Ben E. Keith banner, started to grow the Oklahoma facility. The Oklahoma division, which also serves Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas, moved from its original distribution center in Oklahoma City to a state-of-the-art facility in Edmond in January 2006. It totals over 355,000 square feet on 88 acres with room for expansion. The warehouse contains 44 dock doors with products stored in eight different temperature zones. The Oklahoma division has more than 460 employees and includes an inventory of over 15,000 items.

Hillcrest HealthCare System

TULSA www.hillcrest.com Hillcrest’s emergency center has nationally recognized specialists, especially when it comes to identifying the tell-tale signs of stroke. Hillcrest is also the home of the Oklahoma Heart Institute, the region’s largest hospital dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. The Peggy V. Helmerich Women’s Health Center at Hillcrest has specialists in gynecological oncology, uro-gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, perinatology, neonatology, osteoporosis and breast surgery.

INTEGRIS Health

OKLAHOMA CITY www.integrisok.com The values of INTEGRIS (three L’s – Love, Learn and Lead) permeate the 7,738 full-time employees themselves. The average tenure for an INTEGRIS worker is eight years, a solid number in health care, which often sees a much higher turnover rate. In addition to on-site child care, other significant employee benefits include adoption assistance and tuition reimbursement. In employee surveys, INTEGRIS employees praise their workplace. “It feels like a family,” one says. The primary foci are on patients, their experiences at Integris, and clinical excellence. Workers also spearhead much community service, from programs and services for seniors to summer camps for youth.

PHOTO OF JEFF REASOR BY OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE

work in a joyous atmosphere. Milestones of any kind – birthdays, new babies, weddings – are celebrated. An impromptu visit from a snow cone truck is the norm. The management team understands that life happens, so flexible shifts are part of the company’s work fabric. “We follow a Great Game of Business models, which reinforces our pride and sense of ownership in the company,” one Guy official writes. “All employees come to the Friday weekly huddles, where we review and forecast financial date and celebrate successes. It is the best place I have ever worked.”

Central Liquor Co.

OKLAHOMA CITY www.centralliquor.com Central Liquor, founded nearly 60 years ago by Zeak Naifeh with 20 employees, operated out of a 13,000-square-foot warehouse. Today, third generation Naifeh partners own and operate a 238,000-squarefoot facility with 200 employees. As the largest liquor wholesaler in Oklahoma, Central Liquor stocks some 9,000 lines of wines and spirits, and sells to around 500 liquor stores and 1,100 clubs across nearly every county in Oklahoma.

Reasor’s Foods

TAHLEQUAH www.reasors.com This Northeastern Oklahoma grocery chain, employeeowned since 2007, continues its remarkable growth; it has 19 stores, one convenience store and nearly 3,000 workers. Larry Reasor began the first store in Tahlequah in 1967 and son Jeff is the chairman and CEO, but they both are known for their hands-on leadership and empowering their employees. This commitment to workers, via leadership programs, diversity initiatives and other professional development, is reflected in the first-class service that one receives at Reasor’s. DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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TRANSPORTATION

American Airlines

TULSA www.aa.com American is based in Fort Worth, Texas, but has thousands of employees in Oklahoma, especially at its maintenance center near Tulsa International Airport. Competitive benefits, union-driven wages and the perks of flying for free (including family members) lead to employee loyalty and satisfaction.

Melton Truck Lines

TULSA www.meltontruck.com This leader in flat-bed transportation matches 1,500 employees and their skills with the right job. For instance, one driver wanted to get out from behind the wheel, so the company used his experience and communication skills to set him up as a problem-solving dispatcher. “I moved all the way from Florida to work for this company,” he says. “That’s how good it is.” On-site, Melton has a 3,500-square-foot gym with a personal trainer, a full-service cafe, a doctor, dentist and hair stylist. “Our employees work hard for us because we work hard for them,” one official says.

Omni Air Transport

TULSA www.flyomni.com This successful charter aircraft and management services company flies more than 800 private trips each year. It has a 30,000-square-foot hangar and administration facility near Tulsa International Airport. Omni’s 45 pilots and crew have constructed Omni’s industry-recognized safety record. As a result, many of Omni’s clients have been around for more than 15 of the company’s 33 years of existence. An official writes, “Omni Air Transport offers a strong positive culture with a real chance to grow professionally. I have the opportunity to work with colleagues who are truly at the forefront of this industry and this requires me to stretch my brain and skills, which is very rewarding.”

TBS Factoring Service

OKLAHOMA CITY www.tbsfactoring.com The family-ownership group has worked with independent truckers for 50 years to keep their cash flowing. The seasoned staffers dedicate themselves to helping their clients, who, in turn, stay loyal to TBS. The company’s values – respect, excellence, valuing others’ time and talents, honesty and integrity – promote teamwork among employees.

Mercy Hospital

OKLAHOMA CITY www.mercy.net What began as an 1884 journey by five Sisters of Mercy into Indian Territory to open St. Mary’s Academy in Konawa has eventually become a renowned medical center that features the Coletta Building, a cuttingedge center for cancer detection and treatment. The Sisters bought Oklahoma City General Hospital in 1947 and quickly turned it into a top-rated facility; Mercy performed Oklahoma’s first open-heart surgery in 1960. Mercy has a record of being on the forefront of medical innovation; for instance, it was one of the first hospitals to have a comprehensive, integrated electronic health records system. Mercy has also received numerous national awards for its prevention and treatment of strokes.

Norman Regional Hospital

NORMAN www.normanregional.com Norman Regional has grown enormously in the past decade, but it has always maintained its mission of serving the immediate community. The hospital was founded on that premise in 1946, when it provided Norman with a hospital for the first time in three years after American Legion Memorial closed during World War II. Fast forward 70 years and Norman Regional’s HealthPlex received a 2016 Women’s Choice Award as one of the country’s best hospitals for heart care. “Norman Regional’s team prides themselves on providing expert care to our community. We offer nationally recognized care, right here in Norman, Oklahoma,” says David Whitaker, Norman Regional president and CEO. “Being honored … proves the dedication and expertise of our physicians, nurses, therapists and entire team.”

OU Physicians

OKLAHOMA CITY www.oumedicine.com/ou-physicians This physicians’ group, the state’s largest, comprises nearly every adult and child specialty. Of the consortium’s 660 doctors, about 175 are called OU Children’s Physicians, the majority of whom have board certifications in their specialties. In addition to seeing patients at the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, OU Physicians have offices in Tulsa, Edmond and other cites in the state. Many OU Physicians also serve as faculty at the OU College of Medicine.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

OKLAHOMA CITY omrf.org Founded in 1946, OMRF has strived for decades to understand and develop treatments for heart disease, cancer, lupus and Alzheimer’s disease with the goal of helping Oklahomans have longer, healthier lives.

Oklahoma State University Medical Center

TULSA www.osumc.net As the nation’s largest osteopathic teaching facility, OSU Medical Center has 11 residency programs, 150

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residents and nine fellowship programs. The medical center works with nurses and other staff members when special circumstances arise. One testimonial, according to a medical center official, cites a nurse who needed to work a shift opposite of her husband. She writes: “Since I’ve been here, I’ve got my ‘work family.’ I never dread going to work. That’s what keeps me at OSU.” A dietician adds, “I appreciate that OSUMC provides different tools for co-workers to utilize in order to achieve our purpose: exceptional health care, every patient, every time.”

Saint Francis Health System

TULSA www.saintfrancis.com From the tiniest premature babies to those needing end-of-life care options, the physicians and staff at Saint Francis treat each patient with dignity and integrity. Saint Francis Health System fully integrates its doctors to provide a complete continuum of care. The philosophy of Saint Francis is that health care is a fundamental human right, so everyone serves the region to shape public policy that will address the root causes of illness and suffering. The goal is to see that these problems are addressed and eradicated by developing programs that help those most vulnerable in society: the poor, the alienated and the aged.

St. Anthony Hospital

OKLAHOMA CITY www.saintsok.com Setting out from Maryville, Missouri, in 1898, two members of the Sisters of St. Francis order came to Oklahoma City to find donors to their hometown hospital in the Show Me state. Instead, they wound up raising money to open the first hospital in the recently established Oklahoma Territory. St. Anthony opened Aug. 1 of that year with 12 beds. The hospital, with its $220 million expansion and renovation in 2003, has acted as a vital cog in the development of Midtown; its education center, cardiac emergency department, revamped Center for Behavioral Medicine and other new projects have brought increased commerce in that area of Oklahoma City.

St. John Health System

TULSA www.stjohnhealthsystem.com St. John turned 90 years old in 2016. In 2017, it will mark 100 years since the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother bought land for the 8.75-acre campus at 21st Street and Utica Avenue. St. John physicians and staff, numbering more than 5,800, are committed to holistic care and advocates for a compassionate, just society through actions and words. They are also united in their devotion to service for the poor; reverence, respect and compassion for the dignity and diversity of life; integrity; wisdom; creativity; and dedication.

Stephenson Cancer Center

OKLAHOMA CITY stephensoncancercenter.org The University of Oklahoma’s Stephenson Cancer Center has the ideal blend of patient care with innovative

PHOTO COURTESY MELTON TRUCK LINES

Great Companies to work for


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PHOTO COURTESY QUIKTRIP

Great Companies to work for

research. Everyone on staff buys into the comprehensive, multidisciplinary cancer care for patients in a coordinated, compassionate manner. At the same time, Stephenson digs new ground in the basic, translational, clinical, behavioral and populationsbased sciences. As Oklahoma’s only Phase I clinical trials program, Stephenson serves patients in all 77 counties.

Tulsa Clinical Research

TULSA www.tulsaclinicalresearch.com This tiny company, with 12 employees, has a decadeslong footprint in Tulsa because of its clinical research studies for patients with neuro-psychiatric disorders, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory issues. Workers have a hand in just about all parts of the operation: cutting-edge research; collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, universities and government agencies; and interactions with patients. Everyone onboard, in some way, contributes to the advancement of scientific medical knowledge to help future generations.

Valir Health

OKLAHOMA CITY www.valir.com Valir creates an environment where its 370 full-time employees commit themselves daily to high ethical standards and doing what’s right. From in- and outpatient physical rehabilitation to end-of-life care and hospice, Valir ensures that patients are treated in the right place, at the right time, with the right care. Workers are eligible for performance-based bonuses, an on-site fitness room, an employee assistance program, tuition reimbursement and relocation costs. As a result, the workplace is ethical, collaborative, engaged, compassionate and entrepreneurial.

HIGHER EDUCATION Cameron University LAWTON

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Employees, be they faculty, administrators or staff, keep their focus on providing what is best for Cameron’s students. After all, the university is one of the first colleges in the nation (if not the first) to promise that those achieving bachelor’s degrees in their fields would be fully qualified to work anywhere in their respective disciplines. This Cameron Guarantee, as it’s known, “provides additional education, at no expense to the graduate or employer, to CU baccalaureate graduates who enter the workforce and whose employers identify a deficiency in core employment areas in the graduate’s major field of study.” Such commitment by the entire university takes concentrated teamwork by employees to provide resources to students at all levels.

Mid-America Christian University

OKLAHOMA CITY www.macu.edu The past four years at MACU have seen explosive growth in its population (from 909 students to more than 2,800), which means it has added to the services offered to those students. That translates into more faculty, support staff, administrators and buildings, including Kennedy Hall (which houses the library), the Student Center and the College Bookstore. Two residence halls will near completion soon, and plans are in the works for an expanded gymnasium, a leadership center and a new auditorium.

Northeastern State University

TAHLEQUAH www.nsuok.edu Northeastern State has a closeness that makes everyone in the community supportive of each other. This family atmosphere pervades the workplace, which in turn affects students. Communication between employees breeds cohesion, comfort and collaboration. Plus, faculty and staff enjoy the interactions with a diverse student population as well as the rich history that the university has with the Cherokee Nation, with which it shares Tahlequah as a home base.

Oklahoma Baptist University

SHAWNEE www.okbu.edu Founded in 1910, the Home of the Bison is almost as old as the state. In the next decade, OBU wants to implement programs that address the quality of life for all its employees. This will include professional development and community outreach. In addition, OBU officials say that faculty and staff are among the highest paid at schools with membership in the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Employees have also embraced OBU’s commitment to environmentalism and its arboretum, one of the best in the state, symbolizes that stewardship.

Oklahoma City Community College

OKLAHOMA CITY www.occc.edu Faculty and staff follow OCCC’s 2018 Roadmap, which aims to increase the number of students who receive a certificate or degree by 50 percent, to close achievement gaps among under-served populations, and to double annual giving for scholarships, community events and the endowment. Employees, encouraged to take calculated risks to accomplish these goals, remain committed to the college’s core tenets: access to all students, college readiness, student success, graduate success and community development.

Oklahoma City University

OKLAHOMA CITY www.okcu.edu Chartered as Epworth University on Sept. 1, 1904, OCU, like the state capital, actually existed in Guthrie for a while before settling in for good in Oklahoma City. The school has survived economic downturns through the years, yet students frequently describe OCU faculty as dedicated, passionate and demanding; support staffers and administrative workers only add to this student-focused work environment. “We’re all about you” is each


employee’s mantra to the student body. Staff members are often recognized for strategic initiatives that they contribute to OCU, as well as health and wellness on and off campus.

Oklahoma State University

STILLWATER www.okstate.edu OSU workers are in the habit of not just saying, but also living, the university’s self-proclamation as America’s Healthiest Campus. It has one of the oldest stand-alone wellness centers among U.S. colleges and universities, along with one of the oldest tobacco-free policies in the nation. OSU employees have embraced these policies and opportunities. Officials say, “[H]ealthy employees … are happier, more engaged, resilient, confident, and successful. [They] are better prepared, both physically and mentally, to achieve … personal and professional goals.” In addition, OSU provides its 6,064 workers with an assistance plan for confidential counseling services, a work-life solutions program and on-call legal support. Diversity among faculty members has also increased in the past five years, particularly among Asian Americans, African Americans and Hispanics.

Oral Roberts University

TULSA www.oru.edu Passion is the operative word for ORU’s 590 full-time employees, some of whom have been at the South Tulsa school for 45 years. Many more have worked for 20-30 years. One official says ORU’s staff and faculty “love the students and really want to see them succeed, whether they are working in the cafeteria or in the classroom.” Employees frequently take advantage of tuition remission for themselves or dependents, as well as on-site fitness facilities. ORU also has an online employee feedback portal that guarantees anonymity. The result is a workplace dominated by faith, spirit, fun and energy.

When everyone works off the same page of essential behavior, the outcomes improve for everyone throughout the university. The school’s commitment to staff and faculty is straightforward: providing opportunities for professional development; adhering to well-defined organizational instructions, policies and procedures; adapting to changes in higher education; administering a system of shared governance that foster clear communication; and nurturing a campus community responsive to the needs of a diverse population.

Tulsa Community College

TULSA www.tulsacc.edu TCC has undergone a major reorganization of employees, duties and coverage areas since President Leigh Goodson arrived in 2014. The college has tried to operate as one large entity instead of four primary campuses and three community campuses. While their assignments may have changed, employees retain their zeal for the role community colleges play in society. Staff and faculty, part-time and full-time, embrace TCC’s racial, socioeconomic and age diversity. Employees understand that a vast majority of students have jobs that take up most of their time, so they put in extra effort to help those students succeed.

University of Central Oklahoma

EDMOND www.uco.edu Working on a college campus has inherent advantages, such as landscaped gardens and lawns, impressive buildings, access to fitness facilities and significant amounts of time off. Yes, UCO has those perks, but others that have proved popular with its 1,200 full-time

employees are opportunities for professional development, the tuition waiver program, a sense of family, the three C’s (character, community and civility), quality of life in Edmond, volunteering with organizations off-campus, programs that help workers facing crises, diversity and transparency from the top, starting with President Don Betz. These factors form an atmosphere that has a voluntary faculty turnover rate of 0.5 percent and a voluntary staff turnover rate of 10 percent.

University of Oklahoma

NORMAN www.ou.edu The state’s flagship university, with campuses in Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, prides itself in being one of the best workplaces in the region. Employees have access to many of the facilities and services that students use. Employee reviews of the university are overwhelmingly positive because of the support of administrators and a collegial atmosphere overall.

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

CHICKASHA www.usao.edu USAO is one of a handful of small liberal arts schools in the United States that are not private. That in itself makes USAO a unique place to work as Oklahoma’s only publicly funded, liberal-arts college. Like most liberal arts schools, USAO fosters closeness throughout the campus. Employees seem to thrive in this environment. Because the school’s mission statement commands that “an education integrates knowledge from many disciplines,” faculty and staff work together to bridge gaps and support each other. Plus, Chickasha has a down-home, small-town feel, even though Oklahoma City is only 45 minutes away.

Rogers State University

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

DURANT www.se.edu The core values of employees at Southeastern are: kindness to all; honesty and integrity; professionalism; customer- and student-focused service; innovation and creativity; open and effective communications; accurate, timely and reliable information; and teamwork.

PHOTO COURTESY KEY PERSONNEL

CLAREMORE www.rsu.edu Rogers State’s existence and essence are interchangeable with Claremore’s. The symbiosis between the college on the hill and its city forms a bond that permeates the workplace. A fitting example is the close relationship with Claremont Elementary, whose main building was where RSU began in 1909 as Eastern University Preparatory School. RSU staff and faculty devote thousands of hours there. One of Rogers State’s missions is “to enhance the educational attainment, social awareness and quality of life of Claremont students.” In many ways, working at RSU means working for the community.

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Great Companies to work for University of Tulsa

TULSA www.utulsa.edu TU’s 1,250 employees share a common sense of decency and duty, especially when it comes to giving back to the community. Faculty and staff volunteer hundreds of thousands of hours off-campus, mainly through its True Blue Neighbors Program. TU encourages volunteerism by paying employees up to 8 hours of time per month to perform community service work off-campus.

HUMAN RESOURCES AND EMPLOYMENT

American Checked Inc.

TULSA www.americanchecked.com This miniature dynamo, a woman/Native-owned company, has just 22 full-time employees but some well-known clients, such as the U.S. Forest Service, the City of Tulsa, Hickory Farms and the Cherokee Nation. As a nationally accredited background screening service, American Checked has developed software that helps to differentiate the types of red marks that can appear on someone’s history. Employees know that not all warning flags are the same. As part of training, each employee goes out of the way to make a customer’s day better. This mirrors what American Checked does for its workers, who have a monthly budget to conduct fun activities to spice up the workplace. “The company also gives its “Make Their Day” crew $50 for each person’s birthday to spend on surprises and a cake,” one officials writes. “We all take turns and serve on the ‘Make Their Day’ crew two months a year.”

Key Personnel

TULSA www.keyjobs.com Since 1978, this Certified Woman Owned Company has provided job placement for everyone from entry-level workers to experience professionals. Mutual respect, professional enjoyment, a sense of fulfillment and a team-focused atmosphere are some of the highlights of working at Key. “Being a smaller company allows us to utilize every team member’s ideas and have discussions about our successes and struggles,” an official writes. “Our management ... facilitates discussions on how to improve the ‘Key Experience’ for our employees and customers.... This is one of the reasons we are so successful and [a top] staffing agency.”

HireCall

TULSA www.hirecall.com The company formerly known as Premier Staffing began in 1996. It provides temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire placements in dozens of industries. Other services include background screening, skill- and job-fit testing, training, payroll and risk management. While HireCall has expanded over the years, in both employee numbers and states served, “we still see ourselves as a group of individuals with a start-up mindset,” an official writes.

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Robert Half

OKLAHOMA CITY AND TULSA www.roberthalf.com In 1948, Robert Half began his self-named company, one of the nation’s most established staffing agencies. It offered specialized services long before many others did. The Tulsa and Oklahoma City offices focus on placements for accounting, finance, technology and administrative positions. Robert Half has a global reach in its placements. The company, under its founder, has always fought against discriminatory employment; its lead principals are: leadership by example; ethics first; an openness to new ideas; and dedication to excellence.

INSURANCE

American Fidelity Assurance

OKLAHOMA CITY www.americanfidelity.com Collaboration, transparency, meaningful work and openness are the operative norms for workers at American Fidelity. It’s not unusual for the company’s leaders to just drop by for a chat. American Fidelity’s 1,757 employees, spread across 27 U.S. cities, may voice their opinions freely, especially with online, anonymous submissions offering feedback, suggestions and critiques. Worker ratings of the company are top notch, specifically when it comes to workplace atmosphere (96 percent), corporate citizenship and donations (95 percent), employee pride in American Fidelity (94 percent), internal communication (94 percent), bosses (94 percent) employee pride in accomplishments and work (93 percent), autonomy and responsibility (92 percent) and the ability to take time off work when necessary (92 percent).

BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma

TULSA www.bcbsok.com With 1,019 full-time employees, BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurer in Oklahoma. Since its founding in 1940, the company does not forget the personal sides of its workers’ lives. “Every employee in every department is valued,” an official writes. Because BlueCross BlueShield is member-owned, not corporate-owned, employees are empowered to advocate for their clients. BlueCross BlueShield, part of Health Care Service Corp., strives and is recognized for a diverse workplace, especially with women, racial minorities and veterans because it wants “a workforce increasingly aware of and sensitive to our collective differences,” writes HCSC senior vice president Nazneen Razi. “Realizing the full strength of our diverse employee population, however, will ultimately stem from continuing to build on our capacity to demonstrate inclusive behaviors. This is our opportunity.”

Community Care Oklahoma

TULSA www.ccok.com Saint Francis Hospital and St. John Medical Center created CommunityCare in 1993 as a joint venture, Tulsa’s

first health maintenance organization. It has expanded significantly (with preferred-physician organization, a Medicare HMO and a Medicare supplemental plan) and employs more than 450 people in its Tulsa and Oklahoma City offices. CommunityCare’s guiding principles are respect, integrity, confidentiality and ethics.

GlobalHealth

OKLAHOMA CITY www.globalhealth.com GlobalHealth represents more than 45,000 people in all 77 counties in Oklahoma. It primarily serves federal, state, municipal and school employees and has more than 250 workers.

MANUFACTURING AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLIES Advantage Controls

MUSKOGEE www.advantagecontrols.com This family-owned company, begun in 1994, specializes in water-treatment technology. Its product line has grown from simple analog water controllers to a single high-tech cluster that monitors and controls cooling towers, boilers and waste systems. Advantage employees “build authentic, personal relationships, which makes it easier to collaborate and work as a team to reach a common goal,” an official writes. “We strive to act with caring, humility and confidence. We take calculated risks – testing new ideas and innovations – and we accept our mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. Variety and diversity are not only ever present; they are essential.”

Boardman

OKLAHOMA CITY www.boardmaninc.com For 106 years, Boardman has provided myriad manufactured products. For thousands of Oklahomans, the company has made water well casings and buckets, hog feeders, stock tanks, cotton seed gins, oil mill equipment, fuel storage tanks, grease racks, smoke stacks, breechings, culverts, and tanks for trucks and trailers. From 1929 to 1996, it even made firetrucks. It’s the largest Oklahoma-based bridge builder, too. Workers dedicate themselves to the company’s values: integrity, safety, commitment and teamwork. “Our ‘can do’ attitude continues as we lend our custom fabrication expertise to new customers and opportunities,” an official writes.

Centek

OKLAHOMA CITY www.centekgroup.com Centek designs, markets and manufactures innovative oil field centralizers and stop collars. Central to this 4-year-old company’s growth are its 48 full-time employees. “If we do right by our people, success will follow, and it has,” an official writes. “Our culture is built on family, trust, teamwork, empowerment, mutual respect, integrity and opportunity.” Centek’s workers design their own work areas, lead plant tours, solve problems individually and collectively, and volunteered 1,620 hours to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. More than 95 percent of employees have perfect attendance.


TRIBAL ENTERPRISES Cherokee Nation

CATOOSA www.cherokeenationbusiness.com According to tribal officials, 65 percent of profits from the Nation’s businesses are plowed straight back into those workplaces. The other 35 percent goes toward programs and services directly benefiting Cherokee citizens. That atmosphere of helping each other and keeping money within Cherokee communities has obviously paid off with high retention of 6,230 full-time employees, who help increase profits each year … for themselves and the Nation. For example, Cherokee tourism has been recognized nationally and Principal Chief Bill John Baker won an award for his steadfast commitment to tribal hospitality. Service, teamwork, integrity and commitment comprise the core values of Cherokee employees.

Chickasaw Nation

DURANT www.choctawnation.com Choctaw Chief Gary Batton has made community health a priority for the tribe and its 5,859 full-time employees, who, along with their dependents, receive free prescriptions, vaccinations and immunizations. Workers may use wellness centers throughout the Choctaw Nation to stay in shape and improve their health. This year, Batton issued two Miko (Choctaw for chief) Initiatives challenging workers and tribal members to lose weight. For instance, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr. shed 60 pounds during this program. “That’s the part I love – giving people ways to exercise,” says Batton, who has also instituted many rounds of training and development for tribal leaders. “I have a coach myself to check my perspectives and assumptions.” He says putting employees above himself (the opposite of the top-down model) has led to expanded services for the entire tribe.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation

SHAWNEE www.potawatomi.org As the largest employer in Pottawatomie County with 1,900 full-time employees, the Nation has grown rapidly during the past decade. However, workers maintain a small, family atmosphere because they share Citizen Potawatomi’s ultimate mission of serving its citizens. Among the businesses run by the tribe are Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, and the FireLake arena, casino, bowling center, golf course, ball fields, design shop, pizza, fry bread-taco restaurant, discount food store, express grocery store, corner convenience store and travel plaza.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

OKMULGEE www.mcn-nsn.gov The Nation works closely with the Oklahoma State Institute of Technology in Okmulgee to help employees wanting to further their educations or careers. Through OSU Tech, the tribe has dynamic classroom training that allows students to work, take courses and receive a stipend simultaneously, along with financial aid for other educational expenses. Examples include students going through the registered nursing or compressed natural gas programs at OSU Tech. The tribe also has an extensive employee rights program, which helps to improve the quality of life for 3,900 full-time workers and their families.

Osage Nation

PAWHUSKA www.osagenation-nsn.gov The Osage Nation brings corporate-level benefits to its 540 employees, who primarily live in rural areas. Professional development, education incentives and other support services create loyalty among workers, whose wages help drive economies in many towns throughout Osage County. The tribe, the largest employer in Pawhuska, has recently opened two buildings that offer plenty of space for employee programs. The tribe has found that this has helped with work productivity and service delivery.

Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

WEWOKA www.sno-nsn.gov In addition to operating casinos in Seminole, Wewoka and Konawa, the Nation operates a softball complex, campgrounds and the 26-room Grisso Mansion, an ideal venue for weddings and other celebrations.

THE CHEROKEE NATION HAS A NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION DRONE. PHOTO COURTESY CHEROKEE NATION

ADA www.chickasaw.net A plethora of career paths marks the Nation, whose business interests almost run from A to Z, with the Artesian Gallery and Studio in Sulphur to the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville. Workers can find just about any kind of job, whether it’s in finance (Bank2 in Oklahoma City), journalism (the Chickasaw Press) or performing arts (the McSwain Theatre in Ada). Chickasaw officials say this economically diverse base has allowed tribal businesses to grow, employees to prosper, programs and services to expand, and the overall quality of life for the Nation to improve.

Choctaw Nation

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Great Companies to work for

Keller Williams Realty

THROUGHOUT OKLAHOMA www.kw.com With its founding in 1983, Keller Williams is relatively new to the real-estate scene, but that hasn’t kept it from being one of the fastest growing franchises in the country. Many of its agents embrace “the company’s emphasis on education, coaching, technology, culture and wealth-building opportunities that redefine their potential and take them to new heights,” according to the company.

McGraw Realtors

Coldwell Banker

REAL ESTATE Century 21

THROUGHOUT OKLAHOMA www.century21.com Century 21 is perennially recognized for excellence because their agents are personable, responsive and thorough. Employees are also committed to the community, especially when it comes to Century 21’s longtime partnership with Easter Seals. More than $114 million has gone to the charity from company franchisees since 1979. The company also supports veterans who need help with employment, assimilation after deployment and home ownership.

Delco Electric

OKLAHOMA CITY www.delcoelectric.com A family-owned electrical contractor since 1979, Delco prides itself in its professionalism, safe work practices, service and reliability, all of which have fueled employee commitment and financial strength.

Ditch Witch

PERRY www.ditchwitch.com The Perry powerhouse, known for its bright orange

THROUGHOUT OKLAHOMA www.coldwellbanker.com Coldwell Banker, founded in 1906, proclaims itself as “the oldest and most established real estate franchise system in North America.” The company and its agents have long embraced progressive technology and pushed Coldwell Banker to become the first national real estate brand with an iPad app, the first to augment its website for smart phones, the first to create an iPhone app for international listings, the first with an iPad app to integrate big data with home listings and the first to harness the power of video into listings, news and information.

Stan Johnson Company

equipment since its founding in 1949, invented the underground utility construction industry. It designs, builds and markets a complete line of directional drills, drill pipe, tooling for horizontal directional drilling, vacuum excavators, trenchers, sprockets, mini-skid steers and vibratory plows. “We bleed orange because the majority of our employees, past and present, have brought to their jobs the grit, work ethic and pride of ownership that come from growing up in rural America,” an official writes. “And we bleed orange because our employees don’t just work at the factory; they own it, along with the [Malzahn] family that founded it. Orange blood courses through the veins of every Ditch Witch employee, and it fuels every piece of equipment we build.”

facility. The plant’s work ethic is reflected daily in continuous improvements, many from suggestions by employees. Total wages and benefits from the plant total more than $250 million annually, with an estimated $945 million pumped into the Greater Lawton economy. The Lawton plant, built in 1978, has five founding values: Put People First, Sooner Spirit, Integrity, Work Smarter Not Harder, and No Finish Line. This framework includes: communication; education and training; and employee involvement, teamwork and task forces.

PHOTO COURTESY MAGELLAN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS

Goodyear Tire and Rubber

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TULSA www.mcgrawrealtors.com Tulsa-based McGraw is the largest independent realestate company in Oklahoma and has been around for more than 70 years. The company believes that its success depends upon recruiting and retaining top-notch agents, who buy into McGraw’s culture of excellence, ethics and high standards.

LAWTON www.goodyear.com The Lawton plant and its 2,400 workers produce radial tires for passenger cars and light trucks for markets throughout the world. It’s one of the Goodyear’s largest, most efficient facilities, and is the largest manufacturing plant in Oklahoma (about 2.85 million square feet of production equipment on a 550-acre site). Employees and their families may use the on-site medical center, physician assistant services, pharmacy, vision clinic and physical therapy

TULSA www.stanjohnsonco.com Throughout its 30-plus-years history, the company’s mantra is “Going beyond.” Employees pick up on this. “By putting the interests of others in front of our own, we believe that opportunity flows from deep, long-lasting relationships based on mutual interest and respect,” the company says. The Stan Johnson workplace fosters professionalism, finding the right fit for each worker, integrity, building relationships and mentoring.

MISCELLANEOUS/OTHER Oklahoma City Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY www.nba.com/thunder As Oklahoma’s only major professional sports team, the Thunder has a symbiotic relationship with its adoring fans ... and employees (from superstar players to administrative staffers) recognize this deep connection. General manager Sam Presti has each new Thunder signee visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Sportswriter Bill Simmons wrote on Grantland.com: “With the possible exception of Portland, no NBA team means more to its city. This goes beyond having the loudest fans.” Staff members, in reviews of the workplace, often cite the benefits of a team-oriented environment, helpful co-workers, open communication and interactions with fans.


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QuikTrip

TULSA www.quiktrip.com Annually recognized by numerous sources as one of the top privately held companies in the United States, QuikTrip builds loyal employees by paying them well, helping them with collegiate tuition, offering generous benefits and providing plenty of opportunities for advancement. For instance, hundreds of administrative positions at the corporate campus are staffed by workers who began as store clerks. QuikTrip, an $11 billion company, keeps growing each year and now has more than 19,700 workers and 700 stores across 11 states. In addition to a workplace atmosphere that encourages volunteerism, QuikTrip itself donates 5 percent of its net profits to charitable organizations each year. These numbers greatly surpass QT’s humble beginnings as a single store on Peoria Avenue, opened in 1958 by Burt Holmes and Chester Cadieux.

LAW FIRMS Oklahoma has a plethora of first-rate law firms, and it’s no coincidence that many attorneys come from the state’s three law schools (the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma City University).

OKLAHOMA CITY

Crowe & Dunlevy, begun in 1902, dates to Oklahoma Territory days and became the first recognized law partnership the next year. It opened its Tulsa office in 1989. Crowe & Dunlevy also has had its Diversity Scholars Program since 2005 with scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 . Echols & Associates, formed in 1979, is primarily engaged in contested, complex family law cases. The firm takes a team approach with many cases because of the complicated layers of family disputes. Foliart Huff Ottaway & Bottom, since 1949, has prepared and tried civil cases in all Oklahoma federal and state courts. Staff lawyers often present seminars, develop corporate policies and assist with employment issues. Hammons, Gowens, Hurst & Associates has focused for 40 years on employment law, from sexual harassment and disability discrimination to wrongful termination and violations of the Family Medical Leave Act. The firm has a track record of holding employers accountable for poor behavior and irresponsible actions. The firm also

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SMG Tulsa

TULSA www.smgworld.com SMG manages both the BOK Center and the Cox Business Center. The former was named Arena of the Year by the International Entertainment Buyers Association, while the latter boasts the largest ballroom in the state (30,000 square feet). SMG takes pride in each event at either facility, be it a wedding party at Cox or a Paul McCartney concert at the BOK. SMG workers “rock at what they do ... not just for the right now, but for the long term,” an official writes. “We look for people who are great at lots of things, love big challenges and welcome big ideas.” For its employees and their training and development, SMG uses its k’nekt (a play on the word connect) training program to promote communication and dealings with clients. “We are all in this together” is the motto. SMG says: “All of our behaviors impact each other. Every aspect of our industry is people-centric: entertainment and sporting events, meetings, conferences and social events. We needed to design programs exclusively for our unique requirements. We under-

provides catered counsel for disputes over Social Security. Tawwater Law Firm, for more than 36 years, has specialized in personal injury lawsuits, from insurance disputes and motor vehicle accidents to medical malpractice an product liability. Tawwater has had success against large multinational corporations, but prides itself on not being a “law factory.”

TULSA

Barrow & Grimm began in 1976 and specializes in business, estate, labor-employment, construction and tax law, along with dispute resolution. Attorneys often combine their areas of expertise to address cases that don’t fit into one particular legal area. Boesche McDermott is a traditional law firm formed in 1927; it focuses on business, estate, tax, real estate, financial, commercial and oil-natural gas law. The firm’s clientele ranges from the individual small-business owner to global conglomerates.

stand the importance of hospitality and quality of service, of increasing sales and driving revenues, of always looking to exceed guest, client and customer expectations.”

TMA Systems

TULSA www.tmasystems.com TMA has transformed organizations for more than 25 years by providing the most technologically advanced maintenance management software available. One of the company’s core values and beliefs revolves around employees, who “are our most valuable resource,” an official writes. “We empower them to reach their full potential by providing an environment that utilizes their skills, creativity and capabilities.” With this as a baseline, another core value (a cooperative environment) becomes a given, too. “The autonomy of our departments is important in promoting focused, quick decisions, and the ability to measure the effectiveness of the operating unit. At the same time, the ability to cooperate with the organization as a whole is imperative to the organization’s success.”

Conner & Winters was founded in 1933 and has offices in Oklahoma City, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Northwest Arkansas and Washington. While its early reputation was built on oil, banking and business matters, Conner & Winters has had success in income, estate and financial law. Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson is downto-earth in saying, “We are not a cookie-cutter law firm.” Founded in 1896 in Indian Territory, DSDA was one of the first law firms in Oklahoma to hire a female attorney and is a member of the prestigious Meritas global alliance of legal companies. GableGotwals, with 90 attorneys and Fortune 500 clients, is one of the largest law firms in the state. Founded in 1919, the firm’s lawyers give back to the community through civic organizations. Jones Gotcher, which opened its doors more than 50 years ago, has fostered three state Bar Association presidents, five Tulsa County Bar Association presidents and a member of the American Bar Association’s board of governors. The firm expects its attorneys to see the profession “as a lifelong educational process. All lawyers participate in a continuing training and development programs.” Latham Wagner Steele Lehman, which goes by the initials LWSL as its brand, prides itself on another meaning for those letters: Lawyers Who Still Listen. They tend to each client’s individual needs and have followed that motto since the firm began more than 15 years ago.

PHOTO COURTESY LATHAM WAGNER STEELE LEHMAN

Great Companies to work for


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By Mary Willa Allen

Edith Head once said “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it,” and 11 exquisitely dressed Oklahomans greatly prove that point. From bank owners to interior designers to anesthesiologists, people in our state personalize and personify what it means to be stylish. They fully understand that the clothes you wear define who you are, whether it be custom-tailored suits, ballgowns, ripped jeans or cowboy boots.

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Gentner Drummond

Bank Owner, Rancher, Attorney and Serial Entrepreneur Tulsa How/when did you get interested in fashion? When I met Wendy. How does dressing well affect your day-to-day life? As a young fighter pilot, I was instructed that my personal appearance affected my professional performance. This holds true in business and law, instilling confidence in my colleagues, customers and clients. What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? Mixing cowboy boots with a suit, once. (Wendy says that’s a fashion no-no.) Whose closet would you love to raid? [OSU-Tulsa Vice President of Student Affairs and 2017 Red Ribbon Gala co-chair] Raj Basu’s. Where do you like to shop? Suitsupply Cut to the Bone Bespoke – Suitsupply SOHO, New York. A trend I’m hating right now is… Pants hemmed above the ankle. I own too many… Sport coats.

Wendy Drummond

Attorney, Business Owner and CEO Tulsa How would you describe your style? An eclectic cross of Jackie Onassis, Beyonce and Reba McEntire. How/when did you get interested in fashion? I first became acutely aware of fashion trends while living in Italy as an exchange student in 1985-86. What is the biggest fashion “moment” you’ve ever had? Arriving at our wedding horseback wearing my Max Mara dress with my favorite cowboy boots. Whose closet would you love to raid? Michelle Obama’s. (We are similar in height!) Who’s your favorite fashion designer? Carolina Herrera. Where do you like to shop? Abersons. A trend I’m hating right now is… Dyed gray hair on young women (every strand of my gray is natural). I own too many… Pairs of cowboy boots.


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PHOTO BY CHRIS HUMPHREY PHOTOGRAPHER


Tranae Young

PHOTO BY MARC RAINS

PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

Brand Development at ConsumerAffairs Tulsa How would you describe your style? I would describe my style as being versatile and mood dependent. Sometime I take the less is more approach, and other times I mix and match patterns and fabrics as much as my heart desires! What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? Bright eyeshadows with bright clothing. Talk about overboard! Thank goodness there isn’t a lot of photo evidence from that trend. What is the biggest fashion “moment” you’ve ever had? Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami. South Beach in itself is enchanting, but the show

brought so many different elements of styles! Whose closet would you love to raid? Julia Kuczyńska is a polish fashion blogger. The girl’s got style! A trend I’m loving right now is… Platform sneakers! Love the added element of wearing platform sneakers with a T-shirt dress. I own too many... Skater skirts. I bought into the trend, and now I am left with so many skirts. Fingers crossed they will make a comeback. On the weekends, you can find me wearing… With winter approaching – knee-high boots, high-waisted jeans and my oversized sweater collection.

Amy Rappaport

Interior Designer OKC How/when did you get interested in fashion? My grandmother sparked many interest in my life and fashion was always a huge part of her life. How does your style reflect your personality? One can get a feel of my personality through my accessories: it’s usually a statement belt, handbag or shoes. I never leave home without a cocktail ring. Who is your favorite designer? Tom Ford. A trend I am loving right now is… Velvet and rose gold. A trend I’m hating right now is… Over accessorizing. Where do you like to shop? Locally, I shop at 200 Park for Her. The rest is out of town.

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Hunter Houston

PHOTO BY MARC RAINS

Brand Development at ConsumerAffairs Tulsa How/when did you get interested in fashion? My mom is the person that made me appreciate style and fashion. She is an interior designer/event coordinator/party planner and has always been impeccably dressed. She raised me to always look presentable and taught me to give some thought to how I looked before I left the house. I don’t think I fully appreciated the importance of looking presentable and actually developed my own personal style until my senior year of college, though. It finally developed into an actual passion of mine about three years ago. What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? I was really into sweater vests for a while. Thankfully, though, that was only a brief time of my life. What is the biggest fashion “moment” you’ve ever had? My biggest fashion “moment” is probably when I started my blog. It was something people had been telling me to do for a while, so it was exciting to actually see it come to fruition. Now that it’s to a place where it gets consistent traffic, and I get featured on various social media fashion pages, it makes me think that it could be something significant. Who’s your favorite fashion designer? I really like what Frank Muytjens has done with the menswear at J.Crew. He has managed to keep the classic vibe that J.Crew is known for but has added a new, fresh flavor to their aesthetic. Where do you like to shop? J.Crew, Zara, Gilt, ASOS, Nordstrom and H&M. A trend I’m hating right now is… I’m not a big fan of the extra long T-shirts that look like night gowns. I think they look sloppy. If I could live in a different fashion era, it would be… England in the 1920s. I love how the men were always dressed up in threepiece suits and that everyone got dressed up for dinner and parties. It was such a classy era.

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Fashion Blogger/Influencer OKC How would you describe your style? I’m multidimensional, breaking down barriers that some may view as rules. If my confidence feels comfortable then I’m rocking it, plain and simple! How does dressing well affect your day-to-day life? I believe that without confidence, style means nothing! I also believe that limits don’t exist in fashion. I dress approachably and show others that I’m happy regardless of the brand I may or may not be wearing. What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? Why didn’t anyone tell me about tailor-fitted clothing decades ago? I have no idea why baggy clothes were appealing to me. Thankfully I don’t have many pictures of this time. A trend I’m loving right now is… Ripped jeans are definitely a style I’m admiring right now. If I could live in a different fashion era, it would be… The ’90s. They were all about owning your own style without caring about what people think.

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

Rodney Daniels Jr.


Jacob C. Carman

Som Carman

Commercial Real Estate Agent at Emerson’s Commercial Real Estate OKC How would you describe your style? It’s undefined. I just wear things I like, whether it’s preppy, trendy, classic or boho. What is the item or items in your closet you couldn’t live without? My UGG boots. They’re uglier than sin but they are so comfortable! What is the biggest fashion “moment” you’ve ever had? My wedding day. To this day my wedding dress is the most expensive and important piece of clothing I’ve ever owned. A trend I’m loving right now is… Velvet. Especially velvet shoes. If I could live in a different fashion era, it would be… Louis XIV-era France.

PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

Anesthesiologist for Anesthesia Medical Professionals Inc. OKC How would you describe your style? Ever evolving. Brand name pieces are far less significant these days. It’s mostly casual and outdoorsy for the moment, but I do clean up well for the right social occasions. How does your style reflect your personality? I’m a type B psychometric: laid back and relaxed. I do not get irritated or angry easily. A casual style complements my temperament. What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? Getting sucked into the short lived Affliction, True Religion and Ed Hardy craze. Whose closet would you love to raid? David Beckham’s. If I could live in a different fashion era, it would be... 1800s American West.

PHOTO BY CHRIS HUMPHREY PHOTOGRAPHER

Barrett Stubblefield

Entrepreneur, Health Care Services Tulsa How/when did you get interested in fashion? My uncle was in the fashion business when I was very young, and he always kept me well dressed. After he passed away, I relied on GQ for trend and style input. What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? Probably in the 1980s: parachute pants with zippers or MC Hammer pants … just kidding. Not having clothing tailored to fit me. Where’s your favorite place to shop? Travers Mahan Apparel in Tulsa is where I go for most of my attire, such as Samuelsohn, Robert Talbott, and Rodd & Gunn. A trend I’m hating right now is… I never have been into “skinny” apparel – it’s unforgiving and unflattering. The 2016 “dad bod” is in, so again tailored fit is best solution. I own too many… Unmatched socks. On the weekends, you can find me wearing… As a father of two children I dress comfortably on the weekends: jeans and T-shirt with flip flops or active sports wear. DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Grant Mathiews

Owner and Interior Designer Tulsa How would you describe your style? Very eclectic! I don’t like looking like everyone else, I never have. I definitely have multiple sides to me. I love sporting a fine, tailored suit with custom shoes, and I also like hanging out down at my folks’ place back home in my Wranglers and boots! How does dressing well affect your day-to-day life? That’s easy! My confidence goes through the roof. I dress for myself and reap the benefits of what it does for me. I don’t dress to impress others. I’m a pretty confident guy in the first place, so my dressing well enhances my day-today experience. What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? Chambray on denim with a woven leather belt and Cole Haans. I was in a fraternity … I conformed for like three minutes! What’s your favorite place to shop? I would have to say 80 percent of my clothes are custom made at Q Clothier on Classen Curve here in OKC. My two favorite places to shop for off-the-rack fashion are Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York. A trend I’m hating right now is... I don’t hate anything in this world, but I have a strong, strong, strong dislike for wearing Under Armor 24/7. No. If I could live in a different fashion era, it would be... Oh, without question the late ’70s! High-end fashion for men is iconic from that era, and while you won’t see me modeling bell bottoms anytime soon, the ’70s represent a time when quality in fashion was at its best.

PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

Jill Donovan

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Owner/Designer at Rustic Cuff Tulsa How/when did you get interested in fashion? Growing up I always wanted to wear namebrand clothes, but my mom would not spend the money. I would go to Kmart and buy IZOD socks, cut the crocodile off and glue it onto my generic shirt. How would you describe your style? Somewhere between Princess Di and Sporty Spice. What is the biggest fashion mistake you’ve ever made? One morning a few years ago I was getting dressed in the dark and threw on a T-shirt and skirt. When I got to the office I discovered I was wearing a Spanx slip. What is the biggest fashion “moment” you’ve ever had? Until being featured in the People With Style issue of Oklahoma Magazine, the best moment was Oprah wearing a Rustic Cuff on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine in March 2014. If I could live in a different fashion era, it would be… Adam and Eve. I love the simple and understated look of a fig leaf. On the weekends, you can find me wearing… a concert T-shirt, ripped jean shorts and a pair of UGG wedges.


THE RISE OF RUSTIC CUFF Tulsa-based jewelry designer Rustic Cuff, a business started in 2011 by Tulsa native Jill Donovan, has exploded into a fashion phenomenon. Donovan’s time in the spotlight wasn’t always smooth sailing, though – in 2004, after making it onto The Oprah Winfrey Show, she was shamed by etiquette experts for re-gifting. Donovan buckled down, got creative and proved that with hard work, life comes full circle – Oprah wore a Rustic Cuff on the cover of the March 2014 issue of her magazine O, and one of Donovan’s cuffs was named as a part of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2016. Although it seems that Donovan was born to design, she didn’t start out in fashion. “I was an adjunct law professor for eight years. I was a terrible attorney,” she says with a laugh. It took a sabbatical for Donovan to develop her love affair with jewelry, and in 2011, Rustic Cuff was born. She had zero employees for a full year. Today, she oversees 220 people. With her highly expanded staff, it would be easy for Donovan to delegate her design tasks, but her passion pushes her to create. “I design about 80 to 90 percent of all the bracelets, and I usually design between midnight and 3 a.m,” she says. “That’s the only time it’s quiet.” The loveable noise-makers in Donovan’s family are her two daughters, Peanut and Ireland. When asked about the cultural obsession with these bracelets, Donovan realizes the jewelry is only one part of a larger picture. “It’s not just about the bracelets,” she says. “These people want to be a part of a community. They stand in line and make relationships. This is about connections – people connecting with other people.” Donovan is dedicated to these connections – so much so that she often goes to great lengths to speak with her patrons. “There are TVs in the showroom, and sometimes I Skype in and play games with the customers. I make them do funny things and then give them free jewelry,” she says. “When I’m in the store, we never make any money. I love talking to these people, and I just can’t charge them.” Donovan credits the wonderful people within the city of Tulsa for making it a pleasure to come to work each day. “Doing it in a town like Tulsa brings me more joy than any other city could. I never want to leave,” she says. “I call us a small, large family at Rustic Cuff.”

PHOTO BY MARC RAINS

experienced meteoric success.

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Tailo

CUSTOM-

VIRGIN GALACTIC IS PLANNING TO OFFER FLIGHTS INTO SPACE, ALTHOUGH NO LAUNCH DATE HAS BEEN SET. PHOTO COURTESY VIRGIN GALACTIC

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

The Sky Is No Longer the Limit

Many people may view luxury travel as staying in the finest hotels or jetting off in style, but true luxury travel goes far behind that. “I think luxury travel today is defined less about flying in business/first class and five-star hotels, because one traveler’s idea of luxury may be another’s normal,” says Dawn Snyder, luxury travel adviser at World Travel in Tulsa. “It is more about the experience with ‘insider’ access to people, places and activities that few have

the opportunity to do.” Snyder has 36 years of experience in arranging vacations for people seeking a customized experience that suits their individual interests and desires. She has arranged world cruises for clients that reach six of the seven continents – Antarctica is an expedition on its own, she says. She can arrange private visits to the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, a private behind-the-scenes tour at the Louvre in Paris or a


lored LUXURY While the word luxury may bring to mind ideas such as comfort and opulence, one of the defining ideas of luxury living is having goods or services tailored to your exact wants and needs. Whether it’s jewelry, a car or your vacation, Oklahoma Magazine looks at some ways businesses help their customers find their own personal luxury.

Comfortable in Your Own Home

Perhaps no purchase reflects a person’s tastes and style more than his or her home. When purchasing, designing or renovating a home, there is no end to opportunities to put your own touch on your home, whether it be through furniture, paint, appliances or the materials used for countertops in the kitchen and bathroom. Peter Walter, founder of real estate firm Walter & Associates, says there are a few factors that define most luxury homes, including quality, design and location. Finding the perfect home to buy is just the first step, however, as the new homeowner now has an opportunity to furnish, decorate and even remodel the home if desired. For that step, Walter recommends hiring a professional, and notes that some stores provide this service for free. Homes sold by Walter & Associates can vary greatly in price, reaching up to $5 million or more, but just because a home is more expensive doesn’t mean it is the best fit for a buyer. “I just sold a small home that was designed by Charles Dilbeck. It was decorated and updated by [Tulsa designer] Doug Campbell. It is spectacular and sold in the $300,000s,” he says. “There are other factors besides price.”

Luxury Trips private luxury safari in Africa. World Travel can also reserve spots for the A&K Private Jet Journey, hosted with Geoffrey Kent, founder and CEO of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent. For $129,000 per person, the trip takes a maximum of 50 people around the world to see rare animals in their natural habitats, stay at the finest hotels and capture some of the most stunning views in the world. The trip also grants privileged access to many museums.

If those options aren’t exclusive enough, World Travel can book trips into space with Virgin Galactic as soon as the company begins commercial flights. For that experience, travelers will pay the full amount of $250,000 in advance and apply to become a Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut before attending training and a simulation. Around 700 people worldwide have already signed up for the experience, Snyder says.

WORLD CRUISES $40,000-$300,000 per person A&K PRIVATE JET JOURNEY $129,000 per person VIRGIN GALACTIC SPACE FLIGHT $250,000 per person

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Purchasing jewelry is a personal decision – as with any luxury purchase, it’s important to get exactly what you want. The right jewelry store can help you make sure you’re not only happy with your purchase, but with the quality and care of the service for years to come. If you’re looking for unique pieces, many designers can help to make sure you receive exactly that. “No two Robert Procop pieces are exactly the same,” says Michelle Holdgrafer of Bruce G. Weber Precious Jewels. “A customer is truly getting a one-of-a-kind piece that will be unique to their own jewelry collection.” Even for pieces that are not created to be unique, many options are available to customize your purchase. Bruce G. Weber can engrave watches for a personal touch, and customers are able to add diamond bezels and diamond dials to all 18-carat gold and platinum Rolex watches to suit their own personal styles. Luxury jewelry is meant to last, and Bruce G. Weber also offers service to keep the items they sell in shape for the lifetime of the piece. Holdgrafer says a properly maintained Rolex will last for generations, and the store is an official Rolex dealer with the ability to clean and service the watches. Bruce G. Weber also offers jewelry repair and custom design services in its store and has established relationships with designers to give its customers even more options. “We pride ourselves in working with amazing designers, like Robert Procop, to have expanded jewelry collections and personal appearances at our store so they are able to meet the customers and make exclusive, one-of-a-kind pieces accessible to them,” Holdgrafer says.

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PHOTO COURTESY ROLEX

Unique Accessories

PHOTO COURTESY OMNI AIR TRANSPORT

PHOTO COURTESY CARTIER

John Hill, general manager at Audi Tulsa, part of the Don Thornton Automotive Group, has many years of experience driving and testing luxury cars, and even he has to pause to find the right words when describing what it’s like to drive an Audi R8 V10 Plus Coupe for the first time. “There’s nothing like it,” he says. “When you go to an R8, it’s clearly different. You start it; it sounds different. You rev it; it sounds different. And when you ask it to do something, it’s in a league unto itself.” The Audi R8, which costs $189,900, has the performance and features to classify it as a super car. As might be expected, many features that might be considered optional – including racing shell seats in Nappa leather, a virtual cockpit and a Wi-Fi hotspot – come standard on the R8. But like other cars in its classification, there are a wide variety of customization options that allow buyers to truly make the car their own. A driver who enjoys listening to music while he or she drives can choose to install a 13-speaker, 550-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system for $1,900. One who is planning on spending serious time at the track might opt for the high-performance carbon ceramic brake package for $9,900. And a driver who just wants a vehicle that stands out on the road can ask for a matte finish paint job, a style Hill says is reasonably new in the United States, for $6,000 or try something more subtle with diamond pattern-stitched leather sport seats for $5,000. Because the cars are typically built to order, Hill says there are many ways a buyer can get a car that suits exactly what he or she wants.

PHOTO COURTESY AUDI

A Personalized Supercar


Audi R8 V10 Plus Coupe BANG & OLUFSEN SOUND SYSTEM $1,900

$189,900

$189,900 CARBON CERAMIC BRAKE PACKAGE $9,900

DIAMOND PATTERN-STITCHED LEATHER SPORT SEATS $5,000

A Bespoke Flight Experience

Commercial airline flights are rarely a pleasant experience – between security checkpoints, the check-in process and the inevitable delays, getting to your destination is often a stressful, unpleasant journey. For those who enjoy flying in style, however, there are options for a flight tailored just to your needs. Flying with a charter jet company such as Omni Air Transport, located in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City, eliminates many of the hassles associated with commercial flights. While the company prides itself on making travel more convenient and pleasant, it offers more by keeping each client’s needs in mind. “We go further by bespoking the experience to match our clients’ individual needs – whether it’s a business meeting with the need for a meeting room or a special anniversary where a specific gift is required, our dedicated support team is on hand to make all necessary arrangements on the client’s behalf,” says Dan Burnstein, CEO of Omni Air Transport. The cost for a flight can vary – Burnstein says prices can range anywhere from $8,000-$9,000 for single-day trips up to $70,000-$80,000 for multi-day, multi-stop trips. He adds that the company, which has been in business since 1983, has noticed more new clients realizing private charter is a more viable option than they expected. The benefits include convenience, a charter sales and scheduling team available 24/7, a choice of multiple types of aircraft and, of course, the ability to choose exactly what will make your flight perfect. Charter Flight “We can make simple arrangements like catering and drinks, which are directly passed SINGLE-DAY TRIP on to the client at cost, to the more elaborate $8,000-$9,000 add-ons,” Burnstein says. “It really is just a MULTI-DAY, MULTI-STOP TRIPS question of what is required as opposed to if $70,000-$80,000 we can comply. Nothing is beyond our expert team’s ability to arrange. If it is needed, our ADDITIONAL AMENITIES team will ensure we deliver.” Varied, depending on need

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SPECIAL PROMOTION

Red Ribbon Gala

RAJ BASU AND REBEKAH TENNIS, CO-CHAIRS OF THE RED RIBBON GALA, ARE READY FOR “THE MOST GLAMOROUS PARTY IN TOWN.” PHOTO BY CHRIS HUMPRHEY PHOTOGRAPHER

The event supporting Tulsa CARES is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017.

A

20-year anniversary represents a milestone, so an event helping thousands of people over those two decades takes on added significance. Raj Basu, co-chair of the 20th Red Ribbon Gala, recognizes that the primary fundraiser benefiting Tulsa CARES and those with HIV/ AIDS can prompt mixed feelings, but any sorrow associated with the reasons behind the need is trumped by generosity and kind spirits. “On the one hand, I wish there wasn’t a need for the gala,” says Basu, whose wife, Rebekah Tennis, is the gala’s other co-chair. “On the other hand, it’s heartwarming to see people give of their purses and their time. We’re doing so much to help that it’s mind-boggling.” The March 4 gala anticipates 600-700 guests with a goal of raising more than $1 million, a far cry from the 300 guests and $725 raised 20 years ago. Basu says today’s lofty numbers reflect changes within Tulsa County regarding HIV/ AIDS and the increased awareness and education promoted by the gala and Tulsa CARES. “People don’t see this as a dirty disease,” says Basu, vice president of student affairs at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, “but there’s still a stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. On social media you’ll see a person post about cancer or a knee operation. You don’t see a post that says, ‘Hey, I found out that I have HIV/AIDS.’ So my passion is to reduce the stigma. It’s not about one particular group. It’s a disease. “We’ve come a long way in 20 years, and the barriers are breaking down, but we’re not where we need to be.” Tennis is the counterpunch in this husbandwife, “two-pronged attack” for the gala. As a fitness trainer at St. John Medical Center, she focuses on health and wellness. She says Tulsa CARES “helps the person with HIV/AIDS through educating that person on living better, living healthier.” In early 2016, Tulsa CARES opened its Charles Faudree Center, built with money from the gala, and increased its caseload from 450 clients to 610 “and we already need more space,” board chairman Ty Kaszubowski says. The facility has expanded its mental-health therapies, diversified its support groups, coordi

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RED RIBBON GALA Saturday, March 4, 2017 Cox Business Center in Tulsa Benefits Tulsa CARES For ticket information, visit www.redribbongala.org nated clients’ health care, assisted with searches for health insurance and helped with housing and utility deposits. Amanda Swope, resource development coodinator, says Tulsa CARES would like to become “the all-encompassing circle of care for those with HIV/AIDS,” so it will soon offer free testing and screening for everyone and have a nurse practitioner on-site several times a month. The theme of the 2017 gala is Untied-United. Basu says those words’ acronymic symbolism help people move away from the myths of HIV/ AIDS. “When you’re untied from the misperceptions and prejudices of the past, we can be united to fight the disease,” he says. Basu also reminds everyone that “this is the most glamorous party in town. If you’re understated, you have to stay home.” After a cocktail hour, dinner and auction, the

nine-piece big band Grove Merchants, from Oklahoma City, will perform for the second year in a row. The gala’s honorees will be Sanford and Irene Burnstein, whose foundation and family have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the event. Sanford Burnstein founded Omni Air Transport in 1983. The Burnsteins’ son, Dan, president of an Omni division, and their daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Rob Coretz, have long been active with Tulsa CARES, which “is in the family, so to speak,” Sanford Burnstein says. Basu says the Burnsteins initially did not want to be named as honorees “because they’re so humble,” but the 20-year personal relationship that Tennis has with Irene Burnstein made the difference. “She’s funny and she has a good heart,” Tennis says. “I always listen to her.” BRIAN WILSON


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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

THE PROFESSIONALS HOSPICE CARE Like many families we will be getting together with my parents this holiday season. My dad has Alzheimer’s disease and recently took a turn for the worse. It is taking its toll on my mother and my brother and I want to discuss hospice care with her. Can you explain the process?

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What are some basic steps to legacy planning?

You will need a medical professional to determine if your father does indeed qualify for hospice care under Medicare regulations. First, a person must have a life-limiting illness and a prognosis of six months or less left to live. Second, two physicians must make this determination and certify in writing. At Grace Hospice, one of our registered nurses follows the Medicare guidelines to evaluate all patients. We can do the same for your father. If he does qualify for hospice care at that point, your family can decide whether or not to use his hospice benefit. At Grace Hospice, we provide care during the course of the disease and also provide support to the family throughout as well as for a 13-month period of bereavement after the death. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hospice nurse, please call 918-744-7223.

The following steps will help you plan the long-term impact you have on people and causes, and can play a critical role in minimizing your estate’s exposure to taxes. Owned property: If you are married and own property you intend to gift, DAVID KARIMIAN CFP®, CRPC® check state laws to see how regulations may affect your estate. Beneficiary statements: Review your beneficiary designations to ensure they align with your wishes. These designations take precedence over those named in a will. Health care directive and living will: It’s important to be prepared for unexpected turns in your health, and that includes having a health care directive. Power of attorney: You could consider empowering an individual to make decisions on your behalf if circumstances arise that prevent you from doing so yourself. Digital accounts: Make sure your loved ones know how to find all required information to access your online accounts. Your financial advisor can review your estate goals to assure that your legacy intentions are consistent with your overall financial strategy.

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INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL How to Stay Safe this Holiday Season The hectic holiday shopping season means parking lots full of people, last minute bargains, and an increased chance of theft. Here are some reminders to keep you, your family, and your goodies safe both in the stores and online. RUSS IDEN Personal safety starts with always being aware of who is around you, keeping a tight grip on your valuables, and putting your gifts and valuables in the trunk of a locked car while parking in a well-lit area. Safe shopping online includes using trusted sites, ensuring sites have the “https” on their payment page, and staying off public Wi-Fi for sites that require passwords or personal information. Identity theft increases during the holidays, so use cash or credit when you can, carry only what you need in your wallet or purse, and watch out for skimming tools on the ATM or gas pump. Lastly, always protect your valuables at home by locking doors and windows and setting your alarm. By taking some extra precautions when you shop, you’ll make sure everyone gets what they want this holiday season. For more information about theft and safety, call a AAA agent near you.

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I’ve noticed that you have over 17k followers on Facebook and 12k on Instagram. What are your tips for growing an online presence?

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to this follower.

1. It’s not about you. People who don’t know you have no reason to follow you online. Give them one. Know who your ideal follower is and share content that is interesting, inspirational, helpful, or funny

2. Be consistent. To grow an online presence, you must be consistent and reliable. Share content daily. Use a tool like Buffer to schedule content in advance. For social media to funnel customers into your business, you need to think of social media as part of your job. 3. Know your brand. Know how you want to be seen and perceived online. Share content that is on brand to allow people to know what to expect from you. Turning followers into paid clients is easy when the client is very clear on who you are, what you do, and how you can help them.

Amanda Frances Business Coach for Women Entrepreneurs amandafrances.com amanda@amandafrances.com

This time of year I want to look my best for the holidays, but between errands, shopping, relatives visiting and the kids out of school, I’m having a hard time justifying doing anything for myself. The holidays are a hectic time for all of us, and everyone is under time constraints. At BA Med Spa, we understand busy schedules, and that’s why we created our 12 Days of Christmas. This gives our patients the opportunity to purchase services and products at reduced prices to use now or after the first of the year when time is more readily available. If you can’t carve out time this season, reward yourself in the new year! Whether you want to diffuse crows feet, restore volume or just refresh your skin with a lunchtime peel, we have our best pricing of the year just in time to face the holidays and ring in the new year looking your best. Call us at 918.872.9999 or visit us at www.baweightspa.com to learn more about our fantastic holiday offers. MALISSA SPACEK

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PHYSICAL THERAPY For several years I have always felt tightness and soreness in my right hamstring. I don’t remember hurting myself so what could be causing my problem? Based on your description, it seems we can rule out an actual hamstring injury. There are several other possible TIM MINNICK, PT sources of your pain and they all involve referral of pain 1) A lumbar facet joint with restricted mobility can result in tightness in the hamstring. 2) Decreased neural mobility of certain lumbar nerve roots, or the sciatic nerve, may result in hamstring pain. 3) Trigger points in certain hip muscles may refer pain to various areas of the leg. 4) Spine arthritic changes can result in inflammation, which then may refer pain into the leg. This list is only a few possibilities. Consultation with a physical therapist to determine the cause of your pain would be beneficial. Techniques I often use for these problems include neural mobilization, dry needling, joint mobilization, and various stretching and strengthening exercises.

Tim Minnick, PT Excel Therapy Specialists 2232 West Houston, Broken Arrow, OK 918.259.9522 www.exceltherapyok.com Views expressed in the Professionals do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma Magazine, Schuman Publishing Co. or its affiliates.


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To be included in the Professionals, call 918.744.6205. ATTORNEY AT LAW I was injured at work, but my employer says my injury is not covered under workers’ compensation insurance because I had a previous injury to the same area. Is there anything I can do? Currently, there are a lot of workers’ compensation laws under review by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Many have already been determined to be unconstitutional or found to be unenforceable for other reasons. Simply because an employee had a previous injury or condition does not preclude the individual from having a work related compensable injury under the law. Under the current law, there are multiple deadlines to meet as it relates to filing your claim to protect your rights. Therefore, it is critical to immediately contact an attorney to protect your rights. ESTHER M. SANDERS

Esther M. Sanders Sanders & Associates, P.C. 1015 S. Detroit Ave. Tulsa, OK 74120 • 918.745.2000 Telephone 800.745.2006 Toll Free

FLOORING EXPERT

PERSONAL TRAINER Why can’t I shed this weight? 1. Poor nutrition. No matter how hard you train, you can’t lose those pounds without proper nutrition. You must stop skipping meals, yo-yo dieting and eating processed foods. Also stop the intake of caffeine, cola and corn. Refined foods, white rice, alcohol, processed and JOHN JACKSON pasteurized foods serve to make you fatter. 2. Overtraining. There are detrimental aspects of traditional cardio training. Too much will create a hormonal environment that is not conducive to building muscle or weight loss. Also, if you are nutritionally depleted you will only drain your body more by exercising with no energy source. 3. Health and function. Make sure you have been assessed by a health professional who can properly assess adrenal, thyroid, sleep and digestive dysfunction. 4. Limits. It’s important to stress the body differently at all cost, but remember to listen to your body. 5. Balance. You must balance nutrition and smart exercise to eliminate fat. Also it is important to appreciate the body you are given.

John Jackson, Personal Trainer St. John Siegfried Health Club 1819 E. 19th St., Tulsa, OK 74104 918.902.4028 jljackson70@hotmail.com

What is the best way to make selections for a remodel? Find something you love and build around that. It can be a wall color, a counter top, floor tile, or accent/fixture. Once you have something picked, you can build upon that inspiration. Another option is to find a picture online that you want to mimic for your space. This is a good way for several reasons. You have a clear idea of what you want, and it can alleviate the stress of being unsure the products will flow together. CLAUDETTE ROWAN

Whichever method you choose, we can help design your flooring. The vast number of options for flooring and accents are great, but can be overwhelming. We always recommend taking samples home and see them in your space and lighting.

Claudette Rowan Tiles & Stones 5556 S. Mingo Tulsa, OK 74146 918.270.4900 tilesandstonesclaudette@gmail.com www.tilesandstonesonline.com

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

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Taste

F O O D, D R I N K A N D O T H E R P L E A S U R E S

For Old Time’s Steak ‘Secretive’ alley-side eatery has bygone glamour and simple chophouse traditions.

I

AN ELEGANT, SECRETIVE WATERING HOLE AND STEAKHOUSE IN TULSA OFFERS DELICIOUS USDA PRIME PORTERHOUSE STEAK. PHOTO BY CHRIS HUMPHREY PHOTOGRAPHER

f it were a movie, you’d want to leap through the screen and enter a world that’s much more vibrant and romantic than our own. You can’t do that with movies. But you can with restaurants. You just have to find it first – and that’s not easy. An elegant, secretive watering hole and steakhouse comes to life every night in a cavernous, hidden building accessible only via a side alley. It flies so far below the radar that, while some call it the Lounge and others know it as Bull in the Alley, it doesn’t even have an official name, and if it did we probably wouldn’t be permitted to tell you. “Remember, you’re the first magazine we’ve ever allowed inside,” several employees tell us, “and we can’t allow you to print our address or phone number.” But we can hint. “And anyone who finds us will be welcomed,” corporate chef Trevor Tack says. “We’re elegant, not snobby.” Head for Tulsa’s Brady Arts District and find the northeast corner of Brady and Main streets. Walk east on Brady and find an alley heading to the left. Though clean, brightly

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Taste

THE DELECTABLE TURTLE ICE CREAM PIE IS THE PERFECT ENDING TO A PRISTINE MEAL. SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT YOU EAT TILL YOU BUST. PHOTO BY CHRIS HUMPHREY PHOTOGRAPHER

lit and newly paved, it’s easy to miss. A short walk down this alley brings you to a tall green door on the left, with a tiny bovine sculpture high above. Walk through this door, and you’re in a small room which, like the rest of the restaurant, has a marble floor and towering ceiling. A hostess in an elegant black dress leads you into the main room. When you walk through that door, you step back in time. How far back, you can’t be sure. Most people see it as the Roaring ’20s or Hollywood Regency 1930s. It’s the sort of place Ernest Hemingway may have had in mind in The Sun Also Rises (1926) when Jake Barnes narrates, “We sat on high stools at the bar while the barman shook the Martinis in a large nickelled shaker” – except that here martinis are stirred, not shaken. Tack, Tulsa’s culinary wunderkind and formerly executive chef at Bodean, has been intimately involved in this project from the beginning; he says the inspiration is 1950s Las Vegas. In any case, it’s an era just dripping in glamour, with just a hint of the naughty. “I still think this is the sexiest restaurant I’ve ever been in,” Tack says enthusiastically. “And oh, how I love it.” The menu is what you’d see if you visited an old-school New York steakhouse, the kind of place that has sated hearty appetites since the

19th century: a few old-fashioned appetizers (escargots in shell, shrimp cocktail), a daily fish special, a wedge salad. But those play second fiddle to the steak. “The best steak, the best creamed spinach, the best potatoes, that’s all you need for an old-school steakhouse,” says Tack, who spent several weeks eating at the finest steakhouses in New York and Chicago before designing his menu. Here the steak is a huge porterhouse, and it’s USDA Prime. Most restaurants have broilers that top out at 500 degrees, but the broiler here cruises along at 1,500 degrees – not quite hot enough to melt steel, but certainly more than enough to soften it. Chefs broil the steak the way it’s done at Peter Luger’s and Gallagher’s in New York. First, the steak goes in briefly to sear it. Then they take it out and cut grooves in it. The steak and grooves are slathered with butter, then broiled to the desired doneness. Out it comes, dripping with juices. It’s rushed to your table, served on a tilt so the juices pool at the bottom, ready for you to spoon them on your meat. The waiter slowly serves each diner with two perfect slices, one from the New York strip side of the bone and the other from the filet mignon side. You sit and watch politely and, during that time, the heady meat aroma triggers primal urges that make you want to grab the bone. And then you eat, and it’s just perfect. It’s hard for a reviewer to describe the taste of a pristine prime-aged steak. Most simply describe the reactions of the diner. Perhaps Hemingway could have done it. Suffice it to say that you eat till you bust. Then the dessert comes, and one portion of turtle ice cream pie, dripping in chocolate, stands almost a foot high and is bigger than a head of lettuce, and it’s so good that you eat it, too. BRIAN SCHWARTZ

LO C A L F L AV O R

THE SCIENCE OF SPUDS

Think of Spudology as an advanced placement class in baked potatoes, but there’s good news – cramming for the test is going to taste pretty great. Oklahoma City’s top-of-the-line potato bar offers a crash course in the infinite flavor combinations that one vegetable can bear. Space lovers will enjoy the Astronomy spud with shrimp, onions, carrots and bell pepper, while fans of Italian fare should try the Earth Science with marinara, three cheeses and pepperoni. Eco-friendly eaters might want to order the Environmental Science, topped with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. To mix it up, go for the Anatomy and Physiology, a sweet potato topped with cinnamon and butter. Spuds not your thing? Well, you’re weird, but there are plenty of options for your kind of crazy, including sliders with an assortment of meaty choices and brisket or rib tip dinners with fixings. But Spudology isn’t just for students of serious eats – teachers get a 20 percent discount on Thursdays. Drop what you’re doing like a hot potato and go there. Spudology is at 6241 N.W. Expressway in Oklahoma City. For menus and other information, visit spudology.com. TARA MALONE

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

Class is in session at OKC’s Spudology potato bar.


TASTE THE WORLD at Tulsa’s TORERO feel like a trip to south america? thanks to torero bar and kitchen in downtown tulsa, you don’t have to go far to change things up.

T

orero opened this past August to much ado: is it a Ta pas bar? A gastropub? A beer nerd’s mecca? Now a few months into service, some are calling it casual small plates. Co-owner Noah Bush (along with co-owner John Gaberino and part-owner Ian Van Anglen) just calls it ‘different.’ “We’ve had success bringing new concepts into Tulsa, and we figured we’d push the envelope.” Although Torero’s entrée section is full of large plates, their small plate setup lets guests try several dishes without having to without having to commit to a whole meal. The mix-and-match menu invites diners on a trip through all of Latin America–with a few surprising twists. “There’s nothing traditional about what we’re doing, and we’re not even trying to be authentic. We love this style of eating, and we just wanted to do something completely different for Tulsa.”

Gaberino are also part-owners of The Saturn Room and Hodges Bend, two of Tulsa’s favorite cocktail bars), but Torero’s bar pays special attention to the beer drinkers. With a Cicerone-certified Bar Manager and over 90 beers to sample, there’s plenty to keep guests interested, and plenty of things to snack on between rounds. For the street food-curious, the lunch menu is a great place to start. Try the chicken and avocado arepas, the Medianoche Cubana sandwich, the empanadas, or keep it simple with tacos. A weekday and late night happy hour also boasts discounted ceviches, $1 chicken wings, $2 chili-rubbed baby back ribs from 3-6pm on weekdays, and 9pm-close every evening. Torero is planning a special New Year’s Eve menu, as well as a beer dinner with the folks from Boulevard Brewing Company in late January. The four-course dinner will feature accompanying beer pairings, all planned by Boulevard’s own Master Cicerone. Torero’s lofted mezzanine is also available for holiday parties, and can accommodate up to 50 comfortably. For reservations or tickets, visit torerobarandkitchen.com.

While traditional tapas bars feature staples like olives, cheeses, vegetables, and fish, Torero stays closer to the gastropub side with American additions. Without being beholden to generations-old recipes, the restaurant takes the flavors and feeling of Latin America—the long, conversational meal, a table full of people passing plates—and shapes it for Tulsa. For those who prefer to get in and out quickly, the restaurant’s close proximity the PAC and BOK center also makes it great for a pre-show drink. Speaking of drinks, any meal at Torero should start with one. Bush is known for his cocktails (he and

S P E C I A L A DV E RT I S E M E N T


Scotty Irani shows chefs don’t need a brick-and-mortar establishment to stay busy.

W

hat does it mean to be a chef? Essentially, it means chief, the one overseeing all in the kitchen, but it also means being an artist. For chef Scotty Irani, it means being more than someone who prepares meals or worries just about what’s cooking. It’s a title and art form he takes seriously. “We aren’t always in brick and mortar establishments/restaurants,” he explains. “We are catering chefs, cake designers, pie makers and cookie bakers, and personal chefs. We wear many hats underneath the toque from business manager, accountant to teacher, listener to artist.” Each chef has his or her own style, concentrations and gifts, but it all requires passion. “Most of the time a smile, a clean plate and return business is the only positive affirmation

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

ALAINA STEVENS

BLACK PEPPER AND THYME BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 2 cups flour (plus extra for work surface) 10 tbs cold unsalted butter, cubed 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder ¾ cup whole buttermilk 1 tbs fresh thyme 2 tsp cracked black pepper Melted butter to brush on after baking

COMBINE your dry ingredients in a bowl or food processor. Give it a stir or a few pulses to combine everything. Add the cubed cold butter and start cutting/rubbing in or pulsing the processor until you have nice pea or bean sized pieces of butter in your dry mixture. If using the food processor, pour the contents out into a large mixing bowl.

ADD the fresh thyme and black pepper and

give it a toss or three with a wooden spoon, then add the buttermilk and start mixing with the same spoon.

MIX until combined and a dough has formed.

Turn out onto a floured surface. Give the dough a couple of flips and light smacks on the floured surface to un-sticky the dough. Add more flour to the surface, top of dough and bottom, to keep the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out to about a half inch thickness then begin cutting with a biscuit cutter. You can choose what size of biscuit you will like. I make a perfect dozen using my 2 (maybe 3) inch round cutter.

BAKE the biscuits at 475 degrees on a

lightly greased sheet pan for 5 minutes then turn off the oven and let them set in the oven an additional 8-10 minutes to brown up. Brush the tops with melted butter and serve warm.

PHOTO COURTESY SCOTTY IRANI

A Chef With Many Hats

PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

Taste

C H E F C H AT

you get in this business,” Irani says. “That’s good enough for me. If you’re looking for constant kudos, awards, fame and money, you’re in the wrong business. You have to have passion and love of the kitchen to be in this business.” Irani says he wanted to cook professionally from a young age and thanks to his parents his dreams became a reality. “I started cooking when I was 5 years old,” he recalls. “I was helping my father one morning with Sunday breakfast, and I told him I wanted to ‘do this’ when I grew up, and he said, ‘Then you want to be a chef.’” From that Sunday morning to culinary school in Rhode Island to now, the Sapulpa native has had many roles in the kitchen and created several culinary masterpieces for Oklahoma City residents. It wasn’t until he owned his place, a neighborhood gourmet breakfast and sandwich shop in Nichols Hills called Scotty’s, that he finally had the title of chef. Irani sold Scotty’s in 2006, but that hasn’t slowed him down. Irani participates in a weekly cooking segment on KAUT Freedom 43’s morning show and is a contributing writer for EdibleOKC, where he has won two awards for his articles. Let’s not forget his line of spices, rubs and sauces called In the Kitchen with Scotty. “After I sold the restaurant and started my personal chef business, on a regular basis I had former customers contacting me asking if I would make them a batch of my Jezebel Sauce or blackening seasoning,” Irani says. “So I thought why not offer this to people and see how it goes.” Irani gets inspiration from everywhere from other local chefs to even himself. “We have incredible talent in Oklahoma City; fantastic and creative in-home cooks who have turned their passion into food blogging and great places to source ingredients,” he says. “I also have confidence in my talent and ideas. I have that ability to taste in my head, which is something hard to explain, but I can see ingredients and formulate flavors in my mind. Sometimes those flavors are spot on and sometimes they are, ‘You didn’t think that out too well.’” When asked about opening a restaurant again, Irani says, “ … as far as again, some day … maybe. I like what I’m doing now.”


IN SEASON

Pom Power

Pomegranates may be known as the jewel of autumn, but they’re in season from October until January – long after the temperatures drop in Oklahoma. If you haven’t already been working fresh pomegranates into your diet, it’s worth looking at the benefits of one of the healthiest fruits available.

Drop the Anchor

R A N D O M F L AV O R S

PHOTO COURTESY IN THE RAW

Sensational Sushi

Eatery in the raw is more than just a restaurant – it’s a full sensory experience with its high-energy, friendly and hip atmosphere. The menu boasts an array of entrees, serving traditional sushi dishes like sashimi and nigiri along with cooked dishes like halibut and salmon. Delicious desserts include gateau and chocolate brulee, and there’s a tasty cocktail special every week. Multiple locations in the Tulsa and OKC metro; intherawsushi.com

Pomegranates are considered a superfood because of their high nutritional value, according to the Pomegranate Council, a nonprofit organization headquartered in California. They’re high in vitamin C and potassium and a source of fiber for your diet. They also contain large amounts of three different antioxidants – tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid – and are low in calories. The aril of the pomegranate, the edible part of the fruit, is encased within a bitter rind and white membrane. The arils contain seeds but can be eaten whole, depending on your preference. You can eat them fresh or use them for cooking – arils can be used to top salads or desserts, and the juice can be used as a glaze or marinade for entrees. If cooking isn’t your thing, pomegranate juice is an easy way to get all the nutritional value – juice it yourself and drink it straight or mix it with anything from a morning juice blend to a margarita.

You wouldn’t usually put the words gourmet and corndog in the same sentence, but that’s what you get at Anchor Down in Oklahoma City. Hand crafted and finger-lickin’ good, their dogs range from chicken sausage and beef to delectable vegan options. Add in 14 beers on tap, craft cocktails, salads and appetizers, and you’ve got a perfect lunch or dinner hotspot. 30 N.E. Second St., Oklahoma City; anchordownokc.com.

PHOTO COURTESY ANCHOR DOWN

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is casual dining done right. With taco plates, huevos rancheros and pretty much any other Mexican delicacy you could imagine (along with local favorites like brisket sandwiches), Fuzzy’s hits all the right notes. The cocktail list is expansive, including several margarita flavors along with frozen liquor slushies and so much more. Multiple locations in the OKC metro and Stillwater; fuzzystacoshop.com.

PHOTO COURTESY FUZZY’S TACO SHOP

Tacos, Margs, Nachos, Oh My!

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Where & When

G R E AT T H I N G S TO D O I N O K L A H O M A

Elf Hits All the Right Notes OKC Broadway brings an enchanting alternative to traditional Christmas shows.

PHOTO COURTESY OKC BROADWAY

A

curious orphan infant accidentally crawls in Santa’s Christmas bag and ends up back at the North Pole. Fast forward several years, and Buddy the elf comes to the startling realization that, being 6 feet tall and the only baritone in the elf choir, maybe he’s more than just a little different: he’s a human. Elf became an instant classic with its combination of sentimentality and humor, like the cinematic equivalent to a stocking full of candy. To see the movie come to life on stage, OKC Broadway brings Elf the Musical to the Civic Center Musical Hall. Among the cast’s ensemble is Betty Weinberger, a graduate of Oklahoma City University who finds that her rigorous college education was the ticket to her success. “I think my education at OCU is one of the only reasons that I actually get to do what I do,” she says. “People tell me all the time that when they see Oklahoma City University on a resume during an audition, they automatically know that you’re going to be a professional.” Weinberger feels both lucky and excited to be returning to Oklahoma for a leg of the tour, as she created lasting connections with the people and places in the state. “It’s the program that I went to Oklahoma for, but what I found after living there for four years is that I really fell

in love with Oklahoma,” she says. “I saw Broadway shows at the Civic Center Music Hall during college, so I remember thinking how cool it would be to come back and do a show in the theater. And I get to now, which is a really special thing.” The common fear with movie-to-musical adaptations is the loss of classic moments and beloved characters, but this musical promises to keep all that and add Broadway vitality into the mix, too. “With the musical, you have all of the iconic characters, you have a lot of iconic lines, and the storyline is similar. But what’s great about this show is that you have bright lights, Broadway pizazz, giant dance numbers, costumes – it’s a whole new world,” she says. “It does honor the movie, but the musical just brings this whole new, beautiful light to the story.” Any theater company can only select a certain amount of shows for every season, but Elf was a nobrainer choice for OKC Broadway Executive Director Elizabeth Gray. “Being able to include a terrific holiday-themed Broadway musical for OKC Broadway patrons was a big draw in bringing the show to Oklahoma City,” says Gray. “In Elf, we really see a big, fun Broadway musical that is a great alternative to traditional holiday stage productions, yet with a storyline loved by so many through the now classic movie.” The show runs Dec. 27-31. For details and tickets, visit okcbroadway.com. MARY WILLA ALLEN

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Where & When

IN TULSA TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Dec. 1 BOK CENTER Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be performing a best of the Christmas trilogy show: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. – bokcenter.com RHEMA CHRISTMAS LIGHTS Dec. 1-Jan. 1 RHEMA CAMPUS It’s time for the spectacular Rhema Christmas lights extravaganza! This brilliant display of twinkling lights first began in 1982 with about 60,000 lights and has grown to become one of Tulsa’s must-see holiday destinations. – rhemabiblechurch.com LIGHTS ON THE HILL Thru Dec. 26 CHANDLER PARK Enjoy one of the brightest Christmas light displays in Tulsa! Millions of lights will line the roads throughout the park. Lights will also be on every day during the week of Dec. 19-25. – parks.tulsacounty. org MICHAEL W. SMITH & AMY GRANT Dec. 3 BOK CENTER KXOJ presents Christmas with Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant featuring Tulsa Symphony Orchestra with special guest Jordan Smith, Season 9 winner of NBC’s The Voice. – bokcenter.com WEEZER Dec. 5 BRADY THEATER Since 1992, Weezer has been gracing the world with classic American rock. With hits like “Beverly Hills” and “Island in the Sun,” Weezer has been a consistent force in rock music. They’ll be at Brady Theater on Dec. 5. – bradytheater.com STEVE VAI Dec. 6 CAIN’S BALLROOM Steve Vai is a virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer and consummate producer who

sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery. He’s stopping in at Cain’s Ballroom on Dec. 6. – cainsballroom.com ORU BASKETBALL Dec. 7-31 MABEE CENTER Come out and cheer on the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles as they take on various competitors all month long. – mabeecenter. com AMERICAN THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS: A CHRISTMAS CAROL Dec. 8-23 TULSA PAC December once again brings the 40th return of the Tulsa family holiday tradition A Christmas Carol to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center through Dec. 23. Experience this joyous and opulent musical adaptation from American Theatre Company. – americantheatrecompany.org THE DIRTY RIVER BOYS Dec. 9 THE VANGUARD Playing upwards of 200 dates a year, giving heartfelt, unrestrained performances and winning over a loyal audience show by show, the Dirty River Boys are becoming a phenomenon. They’ll be at The Vanguard Dec. 9. – thevanguardtulsa.com SIGNATURE SYMPHONY PRESENTS CHRISTMAS IN TULSA Dec. 9-10 TULSA COMMUNITY COLLEGE Join the Signature Symphony family along with the Signature Chorale in a night of carols from around the world. – signaturesymphony.org THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE Dec. 9-18 BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE This new dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ classic, set in the land of Narnia, faithfully recreates the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch

and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the exciting, neverto-be-forgotten Narnia. – bacptheatre7471.com TULSA CHRISTMAS PARADE Dec. 10 DOWNTOWN TULSA Nearly a century after the first celebrations began, Tulsa continues the tradition of gathering families together to watch the annual Christmas parade light up Downtown Tulsa. – tulsachristmasparade.org THE BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA Dec. 10 HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-awardwinner Brian Setzer leads his 18-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Dec. 10. – hardrockcasinotulsa.com DAVID PHELPS CHRISTMAS Dec. 12 BROKEN ARROW PAC A graduate of Baylor University, David Phelps is credited among today’s most spectacular voices. His seemingly endless vocal range coupled with his gift for communicating a song has brought the house down in the world’s most prestigious venues. See him at the Broken Arrow PAC on Dec. 12. – brokenarrowpac.com TULSA ORATORIO CHORUS PRESENTS: GLORIAS OF CHRISTMAS Dec. 15 UNIVERSITY OF TULSA Justifiably one of Vivaldi’s best-known works, Gloria was only rediscovered well into the 20th century but has quickly become a worldwide seasonal favorite. It is a sumptuous and exciting choral and orchestral experience. – tulsachorus.com SHERIDAN ROAD CHRISTMAS CABARET Dec. 15-16 TULSA PAC Candlelight, nostalgia, a cappella carols

DANCE

The quintessential holiday ballet The Nutcracker returns to Tulsa Ballet this December to charm and enchant its guests. Artistic Director Marcello Angelini says he finds it both exciting and magical to cast all different ages in the show, including young dancers, second company members, main company dancers and “retired” members of the Tulsa Ballet staff. “Having four generations of dancers performing at the same time, on the same stage, adds multiple layers of artistry to the show,” he says. “Seeing young promise, accomplished professionals and retired stars on the same stage is just fabulous!” Angelini also takes pride in the fact that Tulsa Ballet’s The Nutcracker differs from others in terms of technical difficulty. “My favorite part is to see the look on the faces of new dancers in the company when they first start learning our version. Most other versions of this work are, let’s say, simplistic,” he says. “Which, in my opinion, is perceived as boring by the audience. What makes a show exciting is when every performer on that stage is dancing at the edge of their technical and artistic abilities.” Apart from this unique technical complexity, Tulsa Ballet’s The Nutcracker promises to transport its guests to the magical world of Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince. “The idea was to take our audience to spectacular new places and locations, allowing them to travel the world without ever leaving the city limits,” Angelini says. The show will run Dec. 10-11, 16-18 and 22-23 at the Tulsa PAC. Visit tulsaballet.org for details.

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

PHOTO COURTESY TULSA BALLET

The Nutcracker Reprise


ART

Tulsa is a city ripe with artistic talent, and John Hammer only magnifies that truth. To see his art for yourself, visit the Tulsa PAC throughout the month of December. Hammer, one of the inaugural studio artists at The Hardesty Arts Center, moved to Oklahoma as a child and now sets up camp in Claremore. He works at an inhome art studio and creates colorful and culturally pertinent artworks dubbed as “pop impressionism,” although his artwork didn’t start out so colorful. “I was always afraid of painting and color. When I started painting a few years ago my goal was realism but quickly found

out I didn’t have the patience for it,” says Hammer. “My style found me.” Citing influences like Warhol, Van Gogh and Rockwell, his pieces are both unique and approachable due to the relevant subject matter and intriguing designs. “I think my fascination of pop culture comes to me from growing up in the ’70s when TV, movies and advertising became a bigger part of our lives,” he says. Hammer’s exhibition will take place Dec. 2-30 on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m at the PAC. Old favorites and new artworks will both be available for purchase. For more information, head to thehammerstudio.com.

and jazzy Christmas fun take place in the elegant Westby Pavilion. With table seating for everyone, your ticket includes refreshments of wine, cheese, coffee and holiday desserts as you enjoy beautiful holiday harmonies. – tulsapac.com THEATRE TULSA PRESENTS: ELF JR. Dec. 16-18 TULSA PAC The modern holiday hit comes to the stage! When Buddy the accidental elf goes to New York to find his father, he discovers he has to revive the spirit of Christmas. – tulsapac.com TULSA FLEA MARKET Dec. 17 EXPO SQUARE The Tulsa Flea Market is the original and finest flea market in Tulsa. Family-owned and operated on the Tulsa Fairgrounds since 1972, you can shop for antiques, collectibles, vintage finds and much more. – tulsafleamarket.net CELEBRITY ATTRACTIONS PRESENTS: MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS BY CHIP DAVIS Dec. 28 TULSA PAC Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for over 30 years.

Chip Davis has created a show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics along with a selection of compositions from his groundbreaking Fresh Aire series. –celebrityattractions.com

IN OKC TURTLE ISLAND QUARTET Dec. 1 ARMSTRONG AUDITORIUM Two-time Grammy Award winner for Best Classical Crossover category, the Turtle Island Quartet fuses the traditional string quartet form with contemporary American musical styles of jazz and blues. Extraordinary improvisers and arrangers all, they have been the very definition of chamber jazz for thirty years. – armstrongauditorium.org OKC PHIL PRESENTS: THE CHRISTMAS SHOW STARRING KELLI O’HARA Dec. 1-3 CIVIC CENTER MUSIC HALL Oklahoma’s Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara, fresh from Broadway’s The King and I, stars in OKC’s original, full-staged Christmas extravaganza. Bring the entire family to welcome Santa

and his tap-dancing kickline, the Philharmonic Pops Chorale and Maestro Levine and the entire Philharmonic. – okcphil.org CITYREP THEATRE PRESENTS: A TUNA CHRISTMAS Dec. 1-18 CIVIC CENTER MUSIC HALL CityRep Artistic Director Donald Jordan and CityRep co-founder Jonathan Beck Reed are back in this Tony Award-nominated sequel to Greater Tuna, where it is Christmas in the third-smallest town in Texas. These two dazzling comic actors play all the denizens of a small town in this laugh-a-minute comic tour de force! – cityrep.com CODY JOHNSON Dec. 2 DIAMOND BALLROOM Johnson’s music is intense, focused and sincere. And when he takes the stage, there’s a Garth-like conviction to his performances. Johnson inhabits the songs and recreates their emotions because they’re so familiar. See him at Diamond Ballroom on Dec. 2. – thecjb.com DRIVE-THRU CHRISTMAS PAGEANT Dec. 2-4 BOYS RANCH TOWN, EDMOND This year’s pageant at

SP ORTS

Bedlam Bale

PHOTO BY GARY LAWSON

WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM BY JOHN HAMMER

A Tulsa Artist Shines

The most anticipated football game of the year for Oklahomans has to be Bedlam: the rivalry between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners. With passionate fans and high stakes, it makes for a thrilling spectator experience whether in the stands or on the couch at home. This year, the game will take place on the Sooner’s turf at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Dec. 3. The Sooners have a wide margin of victory in its 111year history: 85 wins versus the Cowboy’s 18, along with seven draws. The Cowboys have been upping their game in recent years, though, as they took the W in 2011 and 2014. Regardless, it will be an exciting three hours of football. Head to soonersports.com or okstate.com for ticket availability, full schedule and TV coverage information. DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Where & When

CULTURE

RETURN TO THE TERRITORY

Boys Ranch Town will take place Dec. 2-4. The staff and residents begin preparations for the pageant in the fall, setting up scenes and recording the audio soundtrack. Most of the actors in the pageant are residents of Boys Ranch Town. – obhc.org REDUXION THEATRE PRESENTS: JANE AUSTEN’S CHRISTMAS CRACKER! Dec. 2-17 CIVIC CENTER MUSIC HALL Raise a cup of good cheer and join us this holiday season for a magical journey through time, back to the elegance and society of a Regency Christmas ball, complete with sweets, treats, caroling and, best of all, an entire cast of characters from Jane Austen’s world. – okcciviccenter.com

PHOTO COURTESY GUTHRIE’S TERRITORIAL CHRISTMAS

Go back in time this holiday season to experience Christmas as it was in the Territory at Guthrie’s Victorian Walk. With the main goal of celebrating and honoring Oklahoma’s first capital, Guthrie, the walks provide an authentic look into the sights and sounds of a traditional Christmas back in the Territory. These charming, relaxed and nostalgic activities will transport you to simpler times when a quiet stroll through the city streets was the perfect weekend activity. Join in the holiday spirit with street musicians as they play rousing melodies. Grab a photo with Santa and walk past gorgeous window displays depicting Christmas illustrations. Enjoy the Victorian garb worn by Guthrie natives or dress up yourself to add to the experience. The Victorian Walks will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 17 in the Downtown Historic District of Guthrie. For more information, visit guthriesterritorialchristmas.com. CANTERBURY VOICES PRESENT: CANTERBURY CHRISTMAS Dec. 4 CIVIC CENTER MUSIC HALL Canterbury’s annual Christmas concert has become a much-loved and highly anticipated holiday tradition in the Oklahoma City community. Begin your holidays by giving the gift of music. – canterburyokc.com CASEY DONAHEW Dec. 9 RIVERWIND CASINO, NORMAN The Burleson native, with the help of his wife, Melinda, has painstakingly carved out an impressive niche for himself on the country music scene over the past decade, attracting a solid base of loyal fans who

flock to his legendary live shows. Find him at the Riverwind Casino on Dec. 9. – riverwind.com ALL-COLLEGE BASKETBALL CLASSIC Dec. 10 CHESAPEAKE ENERGY ARENA After a two-year hiatus, the historic All-College Basketball Classic returns this year to Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena for its 79th edition. The game has a NCAA Tournament game vibe featuring the Oklahoma Sooners and the Wichita State Shockers. – chesapeakearena.com CHRISTMAS TRAIN Dec. 17-18 OKLAHOMA RAILWAY MUSEUM Come ride the train with Santa, enjoy hot chocolate and Christmas carols and hear a reading of Christmas stories. Trains run

COMMUNITY

The entire month of December in downtown Oklahoma City is the place to be for seasonal and holidaythemed fun. “Downtown in December is essentially a huge holiday party for downtown residents,” says Riley Cole, the marketing coordinator at Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. And this “huge holiday party” won’t disappoint – with over 30 activities including free water taxi rides on the Bricktown Canal, ice skating in the Myriad Botanical Gardens, snow tubing at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and a lively Santa Run on Dec. 10, you’ll probably be spending a majority of your free time at this holiday-fueled jamboree. Apart from entertaining activities, Cole believes the Downtown in December event brings about a positive impact on the residents of downtown OKC, as many of them don’t have the yard space or free rein to create as much Christmas cheer in their annual decorating as they’d like. “All of the decorations and events activate their neighborhoods,” she says. “It allows the residents who don’t have a backyard to use Downtown in December as their living and hangout space.” Downtown in December will host events all month long. For a full schedule of events, visit downtownindecember.com.

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OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

PHOTO COURTESY DOWNTOWN IN DECEMBER, INC.

’Tis the Season


O N T H E S TA G E

PHOTO COURTESY CHOCTAW CASINO AND RESORT, DURANT

Choc-Full of Magic December at the Choctaw Casino brings with it cultural music performances as well as visits from beloved bands from the ’60s and ’70s, including Miss Saigon’s Love Story, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and KC and the Sunshine Band. Miss Saigon’s Love Story, a Vietnamese-variety musical concert, features some of the biggest names in the Vietnamese music industry like Wuang Dug, May Tam and Bao Anh. What’s better is that the concert is free and open to the public. The show begins at 10 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the Choctaw Grand Theater. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons ruled the charts in the ’60s and ’70s, and their music has experienced a resurgence in popularity after the musical Jersey Boys hit the scene in 2005. They have become icons of pop and rock with hits like “December, 1963” and “Sherry.” They’ll hit the stage on Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. Last but not least, KC and the Sunshine Band rounds out Choctaw Casino’s month of exceptional concerts. The band embodies disco and funk in its purest form with classic hits like “Get Down Tonight” and “Boogie Shoes.” They will perform on New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m. For more information on these and other exciting concerts at the Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, visit choctawcasinos.com.

Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18. – oklahomarailwaymuseum.org SHEN YUN 2017 Dec. 22-23 CIVIC CENTER MUSIC HALL Shen Yun invites you to experience this divine culture of the Middle Kingdom and brings the profound spirit of this lost civilization to life on stage with unrivaled artistic mastery. Every dance movement and musical note makes this a stunning visual and emotional experience you won’t find anywhere else. – shenyun.com

AROUND THE STATE PAT TAYLOR MEMORIAL PARADE OF LIGHTS Dec. 1 DOWNTOWN ADA Kick off the Christmas holiday season with a trip to Ada’s annual Pat Taylor Memorial Parade of Lights. Join local community members as they line eight city blocks of downtown Ada for a lighted, night-time Christmas parade that will include colorful floats, walking groups, marching bands, horses and decorated vehicles. – travelok.com MINCO HONEY FESTIVAL Dec. 3 MINCO The Minco Honey Festival started 26 years ago by the Minco Chamber of Commerce with nine craft booths. Now the Honey Festival has over 90 crafters, a quilt show, Honey Plant tours, kid’s tractor pull and made-in-Oklahoma products. – minco-ok.com TURNPIKE TROUBADORS & THE RANDY ROGERS BAND Dec. 3 FIRELAKE ARENA, SHAWNEE The overwhelming success that Turnpike Troubadours have had on the Red Dirt circuit says a lot about the quintet’s authenticity and fire, and The Randy Rogers Band is one of those few bands that can turn strife into art. See them both at Firelake Arena on Dec. 3 – firelakearena.com

DOLLY PARTON Dec. 9-10 WINSTAR WORLD CASINO Don’t miss country music superstar Dolly as she graces the Global Event Center stage with her smooth country vocals and larger-thanlife personality. – winstarworldcasino.com ULTIMATE CALF ROPING Dec. 10-11 STEPHENS COUNTRY FAIR & EXPO CENTER Watch as ropers show off their skills at Ultimate Calf Roping. The best of the best will be on hand to lasso and tie as quickly as possible, competing against each other’s times. See all the fast-paced action for yourself. You don’t wanna miss this! – stephenscountyok.com VICTORIAN HOMES TOUR Dec. 12 GUTHRIE Guthrie’s finest homes, churches and the Carnegie Library will be dressed for the season and delighted to have visitors to enjoy tales of their beginnings in the early days of Oklahoma’s first capital. – guthriesterritorialchristmas.com CHRIS YOUNG Dec. 16 WINSTAR WORLD CASINO WinStar World Casino and Resort proudly presents one of today’s hottest country music stars, Chris Young, live in the Global Event Center on Friday, Dec. 16. – winstarworldcasino.com WOOLAROC WONDERLAND OF LIGHTS Thru Dec. 23 WOOLAROC MUSEUM AND WILDLIFE PRESERVE A wonderful holiday tradition returns again this year at Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve with the spectacular Wonderland of Lights. The grounds and buildings of Woolaroc will be covered with over 750,000 lights as the historic ranch transforms itself into a magical winter wonderland. – woolaroc.org POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDE Thru Dec. 23 STILLWATER STATION The Polar Express Train Ride comes to The Eastern Flyer, recreated to match all the sights and sounds of the beloved story. Picture the excitement of children dressed in pajamas with golden

tickets clutched in their hands as they board the train on their journey to the North Pole. – easternflyerpolarexpressride.com RODNEY CARRINGTON Dec. 30 GRAND CASINO HOTEL & RESORT Rodney Carrington is a multi-talented comedian, actor, singer and writer who recorded nine major record label comedy albums. Rodney recently released three new albums on his brand new record label. He’s stopping in to the Grand Casino on Dec. 30. – rodneycarrington.com NIGHTTIME LIGHTED CHRISTMAS PARADE & FIREWORKS Thru Dec. 30 DOWNTOWN KINGFISHER Bundle up, grab your camera and get into the holiday spirit for Kingfisher’s Nighttime Lighted Christmas Parade & Fireworks. This beloved holiday tradition features lighted floats, cars, horses, fire trucks and more. – kingfisher.org DON HENLEY Dec. 31 WINSTAR WORLD CASINO A solo artist and founding member of the Eagles, Don Henley has received many accolades, including eight Grammy Awards and numerous gold and platinum records. Ring in the New Year with a spectacular performance by Don Henley in the Global Event Center. – winstarworldcasino.com PAULS VALLEY ICE SKATING Thru Jan. 1 PAULS VALLEY ICE SKATE PARK Gather family and friends to enjoy ice skating at Pauls Valley Ice Skate Park. The park is located next to the Santa Fe Depot Museum. Visit to skate and enjoy the holiday season. – chickasawcounty.com

FOR EVEN MORE EXCITING EVENTS IN TULSA, OKC AND AROUND THE STATE, HEAD TO OKMAG.COM DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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Flaming Lip’s first concert on their newly announced tour,” says Scott Marsh, the chief operating officer of Levelland Productions, the company behind the Criterion. “Having their first show in Oklahoma City in years and in our first year as a venue is an incredible show for us and one we have dreamed on since beginning the planning for The Criterion.” Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. For more information, visit criterionokc. com.

PHOTO COURTESY TULSA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

RETURN OF THE FLAMING LIPS

Returning to the city where it all began, the Flaming Lips will play at the Criterion on Dec. 16 leading up to the release of the band’s new album Oczy Mlody, dropping in January of next year. As a venue that only opened its doors in March, 2016, the Criterion has found instant success with several artists taking the stage like NEEDTOBREATHE, Schoolboy Q and Glass Animals. The Flaming Lips will be another great addition to the venue’s already mounting success. “It’s a huge honor to have the

MUSIC

Come Home for the Holidays

PHOTO COURTESSY LEVELLAND PRODUCTIONS

Where & When

O N T H E S TA G E

The gift of music amplifies the holiday spirit, and Tulsa Symphony Orchestra’s Home for the Holidays event perfectly embodies the idea of celebrating the holidays through song. “[TSO] wanted to offer the Tulsa community a musical extravaganza at the holidays that was diverse and that would create new memories and traditions for families,” says Amy Roark, marketing manager and flautist at Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. The event brings together talented voices from around the state: Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, Sweet Adelines and Darren Drone of Tulsa Opera, plus 125 voices from area high school choirs and spectacular Suzuki violinists, who will coalesce to perform treasured holiday favorites. Add to that audience sing-alongs and lush orchestral arrangements and the holiday spirit will be hard to ignore. “Singing, to me, is such a big part of the holidays,” Roark says. “Combine that with the energy of 90 or so symphonic musicians on stage and that feeling of joy is magnified.” Home for the Holidays will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 at the Tulsa PAC. Affordable childcare is offered to those with youngsters. Visit tulsasymphony.org for details and ticket information.

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FILM AND CINEMA

More Than the Standards From Christmas classics to Mafia dramas, there’s something for everyone in movies this month.

HACKSAW RIDGE

Christmas, more than any other holiday – except perhaps Halloween – feels custom-made for movies. So many classic Christmas films have been made over the years that popping one (or more) in during the build up to Dec. 25 is a firm tradition for many families. Usually Christmas movies are a home affair: curl up on the couch, build a fire, drink some cocoa and enjoy Yuletide cheer on TV. But this year, let me encourage you to bundle up and head over to Circle Cinema in Tulsa to catch one of the greatest of all Christmas films on the big screen. What exactly makes White Christmas so special? Is it the rich chemistry between Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney? The deep bench of songs, which contains many riches beyond just the title track? Or maybe it’s the warm, homey setting in the Northeast of long ago. Whatever the strands, they combine to make a wistful, wonderful Christmas gift that looks even better in a theater. As a bonus, Circle Cinema’s organ will accompany select viewings with live music.

PHOTO BY MARK RODGERS

Around Town

In Theaters

Mel Gibson’s new film, Hacksaw Ridge, is one of the odder war films of recent years, not least in its choice of subject matter: It follows Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), who received a Medal of Honor in World War II despite his insistence on complete pacifism. Doss worked as a medic and dragged close to a hundred men off the battlefield that gives the film its title, and this structure too gives the film a distinctiveness. Largely bloodless for its first half, it builds to an orgy of violence on the field, which Gibson gives a haunted feel. Where most war films would stop, however, Hacksaw Ridge begins, and the film then details Doss’s determined rescue of his wounded compatriots. The film falters a little, substituting caricature for a more nuanced view of the Japanese across the lines, but overall it offers a steady, fascinating look at one man’s principled clinging to nonviolence in the midst of so much killing.

For those decidedly not in the mood for holiday spirit in their films, Warner Home Video is releasing a new 4k HD version of Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas on Dec. 6. Often considered Scorcese’s masterpiece, the film has been parodied and imitated so many times that it’s almost impossible to approach it with fresh eyes, but that’s what the film demands and deserves. Full of bold, bravura filmmaking (all the freeze frames, the famed Copacabana scene), the film feels much shorter than its epic 2½ hour run time. A less ponderous gangster film than those made by Scorcese’s contemporary Francis Ford Coppola, Goodfellas opts for a straightforward, at times almost giddy approach to the Mafia. Newbie Henry

Hill (Ray Liotta) quickly gets seduced by the criminal lifestyle and rises through the ranks to become a powerful, wealthy man – before everything crashes down around him. Scorcese gives the film a pulsing energy that makes it feel breathless and relentless. ASHER GELZER-GOVATOS

PHOTO COURTESY WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT

WHITE CHRISTMAS

PHOTO COURTESY PARAMOUNT HE

At Home

DECEMBER 2016 | WWW.OKMAG.COM

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THE WHEELER DISTRICT IS LOCATED ON WESTERN AVENUE SOUTH OF THE OKLAHOMA RIVER. PHOTO BY BRENT FUCHS

C LO S I N G T H O U G H T S

Blair Humphreys

B

lair Humphreys has strong ties to Oklahoma City, so it’s fitting he had an opportunity to develop the city’s Wheeler District. The son of former OKC Mayor Kirk Humphreys, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma before attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a master’s degree in city planning and urban design. After a stint with the University of Oklahoma Institute for Quality Communities, Humphreys joined Humphreys Company and took on overseeing the design and development of the Wheeler District. We recently spoke with Humphreys and got his thoughts on…

…how the district got its Ferris wheel.

Before I was involved in the project, during the early planning in 2008, my brother Grant decided the south bank of the Oklahoma river needed something to draw visitors and take advantage of the beautiful view of the OKC skyline. When he learned that the former Santa Monica Ferris Wheel was for sale on eBay, he jumped online and pushed the bid button. It was definitely bold, even seemed a bit crazy at

96

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | DECEMBER 2016

the time. Now, after seeing how much people enjoy the Ferris wheel and how it perfectly frames the view, I have to praise Grant’s instincts and genius at creating places people love.

…the difficulties of bringing the Ferris wheel to OKC.

The Wheeler Ferris Wheel was my first real development project. It cost more, took longer and was much harder than I expected. I’m told this is a lesson learned anytime you start developing. Of course, when you build your first house, you can always carry the lessons learned forward to your second. I imagine the same is true for Ferris wheels, but doubt we’ll ever have the chance to prove it.

…plans for the Wheeler District.

The Ferris wheel plaza is just the beginning – we still have a long way to go. Over the next 10-15 years we plan to develop 2,000 housing units and over 300,000 square feet of commercial space. As the master land developers, we will be responsible for shaping the vision and developing the infrastructure, but my hope is that community partners in the form of artists, residents, proprietors,

urban developers and small businesses come alongside us to turn Wheeler from a vision into a real neighborhood.

…the teamwork required to plan the Wheeler District.

Between July 9-17, 2014, we hosted a series of co-design meetings that drew input from over 1,000 attendees from across the community and surrounding neighborhoods, as well as from stakeholders and elected officials. Dover Kohl, an award-winning planning and urban design firm, helped to facilitate the public input and incorporate it into the vision for Wheeler. We couldn’t take on a project like this without support and guidance from civic leaders, neighborhood stakeholders and a great working team that includes: Wheeler’s Director of Public Life Ashley Terry, Greg McAlister and the team at McAlister Construction, Jonathan Heusel of PATH Engineering, Sam Day of Commonworks Architecture, and local artist and developer Richard McKown.

…how the district fits in with OKC’s growth.

Wheeler is only possible because of the visionary leadership and dynamic growth found in OKC. Ultimately, I think Wheeler is a development for people who love OKC and who’ve come to believe that when we dream big and work together, we can create a better city for everyone. I think Wheeler is just one piece of the bigger story about OKC’s continued transformation for the better. Read the full conversation on okmag.com.


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