Small Business Awards honor Tulsa’s rising entrepreneurs
Tulsa Metro Chamber honored emerging entrepreneurs and the best in small business at the 2009 Crystal Star Small Business Awards luncheon last week at the Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills.
“These awards recognize the small businesses that embody the spirit of enterprise,” said Mike Neal, Chamber president and CEO. “These entrepreneurs have demonstrated the innovation and determination that makes the nation – and the Tulsa region – a great place to live and do business.”
Neal presented the awards along with David Page, 2009 chair of the Chamber’s board of directors and market president, JPMorgan Chase & Co; Rick Bahlinger, chair of the Small Business Council and owner, Runners Licensing; and Derek Gates, vice chairman of the Chamber’s board for small business and president and chief engineer, D.W. Gates Engineering.
U.S. Chamber Blue Ribbon Award recipient Clay Clark, owner of Tulsa-based DJ Connection, served as emcee. Clark is a previous Tulsa Metro Chamber and SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
2009 Small Business Award recipients
• Small Business Person of the Year: Julie Hakman AmericanChecked, Inc.
• Small Business Journalist: Margarita Vega-Treviño Hispano de Tulsa
• Women in Business Champion: Adrienne Kallweit, SeekingSitters Franchise System Inc.
• Minority Small Business Champion: María De Leon, Que Buena KXTD 1530
• Family-Owned Business of the Year: Steve York, York Electronic Systems Inc.
• Financial Services Champion: Cynthia J. Sharp, Sharp Financial Services
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Roger Thompson, Thompson Photos
Chamber recognizes Oklahoma Scholars graduates
Representatives from Tulsa Metro Chamber and Tulsa Public Schools recognized 197 students who successfully completed the Oklahoma Scholars course of study at a special dinner at Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills last week. Parents, family members and school personnel were invited to attend with the students, the second group of Oklahoma Scholars graduates. Now in its sixth consecutive year, the Oklahoma Scholars program continues to encourage high school students to complete a more rigorous course of study. Oklahoma Scholars is a partnership between the Chamber and Tulsa Public Schools.
Tulsa’s Young Professionals presents gift to city
Tulsa’s Young Professionals, in partnership with the City of Tulsa and Land Legacy and with the support of Arvest Bank, presented a sculpture today to the city of Tulsa in honor of the Oklahoma Centennial. TYPros’ gift was unveiled at a ceremony at the new Chapman Centennial Green at Sixth and Boston in downtown.
The 12-foot sculpture, created by Shane Fernandez, past chair of TYPros and corporate director of architecture at Crafton Tull Sparks, was chosen during an open-call art competition in 2007. The piece serves as a gift to the city referencing Tulsa’s history of the oil and gas industry while also focusing on the future of Tulsa and its next generation of leaders.
“Tulsa’s Young Professionals was very involved in many of the Oklahoma Centennial projects, and this gift was one of the projects we worked hardest to make happen,” said Karisha Arnett, 2009 TYPros chair. “This beautiful piece of art is our legacy to Tulsa, and we are immensely proud that it will reside in downtown.”
TYPros members raised money to fund the project at a Centennial Party in 2006. Originally designed on a smaller scale, the project took nearly two years and additional funding from Arvest Bank to complete for installation in the fountain at Chapman Centennial Green.
“It was an honor to have been selected to design this gift for the city,” Fernandez said. “This was certainly a labor of love as I have a great love for this city and for Tulsa’s Young Professionals. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish for Tulsa.”
Gomez, Tulsa city councilor, accepted the gift on behalf of Mayor Kathy Taylor. Speakers at the unveiling included Gomez; Don Walker, president and CEO of Arvest and chair of Land Legacy; Arnett; and Fernandez.
Chamber staff visiting federal delegation during Small Business Summit
Tulsa Metro Chamber staff and members will meet with all seven members of Oklahoma’s federal delegation during the U.S. Chamber Small Business Summit, this week in Washington.
President and CEO Mike Neal and Government Affairs Vice President Bernie Koch will lead a discussion with Congress members regarding local projects and other legislation significant to the Tulsa region.
“One of the Chamber’s greatest benefit to the Tulsa region and small business is our commitment to ensuring legislation benefiting Tulsa citizens and businesses is passed,” said Koch. “To do this we are utilizing every opportunity to get in front of Oklahoma law makers and make sure our needs are heard.”
Issues topping the list of discussion include:
• The reauthorization of federal transportation funding for FY 2010 including funding for reconstruction of the entire length of I-244.
• Support of INCOG priorities in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill.
• Appropriation for $1 million for permitting and final design activities for the improvements to Zink Dam and the construction of the Sand Springs and South Tulsa/Jenks low water dams.
• Support authorization to deepen the Kerr-McClellan Waterway to 12’ and to widen the last 50 miles to the Port of Catoosa.
• Support development of renewable and alternative energy sources and infrastructure, such as non-corn based ethanol, LNG, CNG, biofuels, nuclear, ethanol, wind power, solar, and others, in addition to encouraging continued development of conventional energy sources.
• Support $2 million in funding for the National Energy Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa.
• Oppose the administration’s 2010 budget proposal to repeal the intangible drilling cost credit and the depletion allowance.
• Support extending tax incentives for businesses on former Indian lands in Oklahoma and make them permanent.
• Oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.
Should Tulsa be home to a WNBA team?
In light of recent economic events, a local group is conducting an update to a previous feasibility study that was performed in July 2008 regarding the potential expansion of a Women’s National Basketball Association team to the Tulsa market.
The WNBA is the country’s premier professional women’s basketball league and had its inaugural season in 1997. Currently, the league is comprised of 14 teams, the majority of which play in existing NBA markets.
In order to gauge the local market’s support for a WNBA team, the group is asking the local corporate community to provide feedback as it relates to the potential expansion of a WNBA team to Tulsa.
Your guidance and opinions are essential at this critical moment in assessing the ability of the Tulsa market to support a WNBA team. Your time, insight and advice are deeply appreciated.
To launch the questionnaire, simply click on the link below or cut and paste the link into the address bar of your internet browser and hit return.
Chamber names new VP to assist in business retention and expansion
Jim Fram, the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development, recently announced the promotion of Kinnee Tilly to vice president of business retention, expansion and small business. Tilly, who previously served as the director of small and minority business development for the Chamber, will focus on the retention and expansion of existing businesses in the Tulsa metropolitan area as well as the development of small business. Tilly will continue to spearhead minority business development and the Chamber’s Small Business Council.
“Kinnee Tilly is a vision-driven executive with a successful track record of business development in Tulsa,” Fram said. “Under her guidance, the Chamber will expand its existing business services to further support and grow the companies providing and creating jobs here in Tulsa.”
Before joining Tulsa Metro Chamber, Tilly served as the executive director of the Jenks Public Schools Foundation for 10 years where she managed nine programs, implemented board development programs and increased the organization’s visibility. Her background also includes advertising and marketing.
“I look forward to helping advance the Chamber’s economic development efforts,” Tilly said. “I am honored to further cultivate the already successful business base in one of the greatest cities in the country.”
Tilly earned a bachelor of arts at Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Mo., and a master of arts at the University of Oklahoma.
Resource Campaign continues momentum
This week marked the halfway point of the Chamber’s annual Resource Campaign and Campaign Co-Chairman Wade Edmundson announced just over $1.6 million raised thus far at a weekly rewards lunch held for campaign volunteers at Baxter’s Interurban Grill, 717 S. Houston.
Only five weeks left to secure sponsorships
The actual total of $1,607,641 leaves nearly $700,000 left to raise to reach the $2.3 million goal with just five weeks left in the 10-week campaign.
"We’re at a crucial point in the campaign," said John Bowen, Resource Campaign chairman. "Our volunteers have done an amazing job, but it’s time to rally for final push to reach our goal."
At the lunch, top producers were announced and awarded a trip for two to Whistler, British Columbia. In all, 26 volunteers have been awarded the trip.
The Chamber's annual Resource Campaign, which generates revenue by selling sponsorships and memberships, officially kicked off on March 31. Approximately 150 volunteers will help raise the $2.3 million goal amount by connecting businesses with Chamber sponsorship opportunities for maximum exposure and return.
If you would like to learn more about available sponsorships or trade opportunities with the Tulsa Metro Chamber, contact Karen Humphrey, campaign director, at email@example.com or call 560-0250.
This annual campaign contributes approximately 23 percent of the Chamber's total annual budget, all of which is directly returned to Chamber members in the form of business-building events and initiatives that benefit the entire community.