Business & People Notes

Brad White has joined Jackie Cooper Imports as a Porsche sales consultant. White has over 12 years experience in automotive sales. His most recent position was sales manager for Manhattan Jaguar. Prior to that, he worked for Ray Catena Mercedes-Benz, where he was also involved in Porsche and Aston-Martin sales.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, has named Gary Knight vice president for Generating Assets. The promotion came as AEP named seven leaders to new power generation posts. The formation of these new positions results from a six-month study and reflects the utility company’s efforts to better align power generation with operating companies’ budgetary and regulatory systems. Knight has spent the majority of his career in power generation at PSO, first joining the payroll in 1981. He served most recently as director of generation. Knight earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Tulsa. He is a registered professional engineer in Oklahoma, a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a commissioned inspector of the National Board of Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspectors.

An Oklahoma State University alumna, Debra Engle has been named senior vice president of development for the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Engle brings more than 20 years of development and higher education fundraising experience to the Foundation, and her deep-rooted ties to OSU span more than 15 years of service to various entities across campus.

Engle returns to OSU after serving a seven-year stint as senior vice president of development for the Iowa State University Foundation. In that role, she held numerous leadership positions as she worked with constituents to determine annual fundraising priority projects, direct feasibility studies and strategies and established ISU’s Women and Philanthropy program during her tenure.

Prior to joining the ISU Foundation, Engle was a senior director of development at OSU.

KJRH 2NEWS hired Justin Wilfon as the new co-anchor for 2NEWS Today and 2NEWS mid-day. Wilfon graduated from Southern Illinois University and gained anchoring and reporting experience in both Washington and Kentucky before moving to Tulsa, where he anchored KOKI’s weekend evening newscasts. Wilfon joins 2NEWS Anchor Erin Christy and 2NEWS Meteorologist Julie Chin on 2NEWS Today weekdays from 5-7 a.m. and 2NEWS mid-day, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

ONEOK, Inc. and ONEOK Partners, L.P. recently announced James C. Kneale, currently president and chief operating officer of ONEOK, has assumed additional responsibilities as president and chief operating officer of ONEOK Partners. The position was previously held by John W. Gibson, chief executive officer of ONEOK, and chairman and chief executive officer of ONEOK. Gibson announced that as a result of Kneale’s new responsibilities, other management changes and reporting relationships are being made, effective immediately, unless otherwise indicated. Reporting to Kneale will be Pierce H. Norton II and Terry K. Spencer, who were both promoted to executive vice presidents of ONEOK, Inc. Norton will continue as executive vice president-natural gas of ONEOK Partners, and Spencer will continue as executive vice president-natural gas liquids of ONEOK Partners. They previously reported to Gibson.

Samuel Combs III, president of ONEOK Distribution Companies, and Stephan R. Guy, senior vice president of technical services, will now report to Norton. Both had previously reported to Kneale.
Roger N. Mitchell has been named president of Oklahoma Natural Gas, succeeding Phyllis S. Worley who is retiring after 38 years of service. Gregory A. Phillips, currently regional vice president for Texas Gas Service, has been promoted to president, succeeding Mitchell. A replacement for Phillips will be named at a later date. Mitchell and Phillips will report to Combs.

Oklahoma Mailing Equipment was recently recognized as a major contributor in achieving market leadership by sister companies Neopost Inc. and Hasler Inc., worldwide providers of mailing and shipping solutions. Dealers and distributors who have played a major role in meeting the goal of 51 percent achieved market share are recognized by Christopher M. O’Brien, president and CEO of Neopost and John Vavra, President of Hasler as major contributors to the company’s growth and success.

FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt Café, an innovative frozen yogurt franchise brand, has recently signed two franchise agreements with immediate plans to establish the six cafés into the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. The FreshBerry concept was created by David Rutkauskas, Founder, President and CEO of parent company, Beautiful Brands International (BBI). The first FreshBerry opened in January in Tulsa.

The management team of Community Care College recently announced the purchase of the property of the former Crown BMW, Buick and Jeep Dealership. The new location will undergo four to five months of construction in preparation for a second branch off Community Care College called Oklahoma Technical College.

Tulsa Opera’s new leadership team is taking shape with the addition of John Peter “Jeep” Jeffries as executive director. Jeffries, who has been executive director of Opera Grand Rapids in Michigan since 2001, will join Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas in leading Tulsa Opera into its 61st season and beyond.

For nearly 30 years, Jeffries has worked throughout North America at both large and small opera companies including Florida Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Portland Opera and Opera Idaho. In his position at Opera Grand Rapids, Jeffries led the company from an operating deficit to surplus through a combination of tactics that resulted in reducing costs and increasing earned and donated revenue. Jeffries graduated from the University of Michigan in 1975 with an Honors Degree from the Department of Speech, Communication and Theater.

In addition, Kostis Protopapas, interim artistic director since former General Director Carol I. Crawford’s November 2007 resignation, has been named artistic director. Protopapas, with Tulsa Opera since 2001, will provide artistic leadership through shaping the company’s repertoire, serving as principal conductor of the Tulsa Opera Orchestra and continuing to serve as chorusmaster.

In addition to his work at Tulsa Opera, Protopapas has also served as assistant conductor for the Los Angeles Opera since 2004, where he regularly collaborates with Music Director James Conlon and General Director Placido Domingo. Protopapas has previously been an assistant conductor at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Santa Fe Opera, were he worked side by side with such conductors as Bruno Bartoletti, Sir Andrew Davis and Alan Gilbert. During the 2002 and 2003 seasons he was the assistant chorusmaster at Lyric Opera, under the legendary Donald Palumbo. Born in Athens, Protopapas studied Archaeology and History of Art at the University of Athens. He came to the United States in 1993 on an Onassis Foundation scholarship to study piano at The Boston Conservatory and conducting at Boston University.

Mary Jane Bias has been named early education division leader for Community Action Project of Tulsa County. Bias comes to CAP with more than 30 years of leadership experience in education, including seven years as superintendent of Bixby Public Schools. Most recently, Bias was an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations at NSU. In her new position, Bias will direct strategic and operational goals for CAP’s early childhood programs, which includes Head Start, Early Head Start, State of Oklahoma Pilot Early Childhood Program and Educare.

CFR Inc. has been named the top small company to work for in the state of Oklahoma. CFR is a leading regional insurance and risk management firm with offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Kansas City. The selection process for this award included an extensive survey and questionnaire to employees, which collected information about each company’s policies, practices and demographics. CFR prides itself in providing employees an enjoyable and unique work environmentt. which it believes carries over to its clients.

Updated 06-23-2008

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