By AMBER NEVILLE
TYPROS CHAMPION: Dustin Thames is one of Tulsa’s Young Professionals’ biggest proponents. Thames spends much of his time off the clock contributing to the organization.
DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
Dustin Thames is a proud, Tulsa young professional whose interests are as colorful as his mid-century modern living room in the Lortondale neighborhood of Tulsa. Thames claims about himself, “fashion, event planning, real estate, architecture… favorite colors, navy blue and gray. If I wore only these two colors, I’d be content.”
Getting a little deeper, Thames graduated high school in 1998 from Booker T. Washington, which was recently featured nationally as a renowned high school for its model of successful students. Thames started college at the University of Oklahoma in 1998, and transferred to the University of Tulsa to study Spanish and international business.
While at TU, Thames convinced his parents to allow him to pursue fashion and design. Thames says his parents remember him, from an early age, being particular about his attire. In 2000, Thames enrolled at the Art Institute of Dallas, where he completed an Associate of Applied Arts degree in Fashion Design. Thames became exposed to the special events industry working for Neiman Marcus and other special events companies while in Dallas. “At the time, I wanted to be a Runway Fashion Producer,” says Thames.
Steeped in internships and opportunities presented to him in the fashion world, Thames realized he missed Tulsa. “It was such an amazing experience: Very fulfilling, yet somewhat superficial. I realized that ‘home’ was where my friends and family were back in Tulsa.” So, in 2005 Thames returned to his beautiful hometown and began consulting for special events designer Talmadge Powell, who recently hosted the Center Grand Opening festivities.
When back in Tulsa, Thames started a wine group called Cru, made up of hand-selected friends, who otherwise would not have known one another. Thames remembers, “I am not sure if we ever learned anything about wine, but we all became good friends and now network on behalf of each other extensively.”
Thames first TYPro’s event was with friend and co-member Cassie Reese at an Unplugged event in 2005 featuring former mayor Bill LaFortune. (On a side note, Reese has recently been elected as the 2010 Chair-elect.)
Thames’ involvement earned him the first ever, “Volunteer of the Year” award in 2006 for the Special Events Crew. In 2007, he was asked to co-lead the Crew and is currently the crew leader in his second consecutive term. When asked about his personal goals within ros, Thames responds, “I want to make ros the organization that synergistically represents an ubiquitous voice for young professionals across the city of Tulsa and its surrounding suburbs. For example, we have reached out to the ros (Muskogee Young Professionals) group and others with the goal of learning from their organization, while in turn providing support for them.”
As the special events crew leader, it is Thames’ role to help resonate to both the leadership team and to the members of TYPro’s what members want and what the leadership team can provide to the membership. He adds, “All of us on the leadership team commit a lot of time to the organization, for free, strictly on a volunteer basis.”
When Thames is working for pay, he is an active Realtor specializing in the neighborhoods of downtown, midtown and north Tulsa areas with Chinowth & Cohen Realtors at their midtown office, www.cctulsa.com.
Thames is also active on the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture board as their intern and on the steering committee for its “Modern Tulsa” group. He is also co-chairing the Pink People Committee for the 1st Pink Party for the Tulsa affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to be held at the Cain’s ballroom. The event will be held April 10, 2010.
The next major ros event will be the mayoral “SmashUp” sponsored by NewsTalk Radio. It will be held at Jewel on Nov. 3 immediately following the ros Pub Club. The event will feature a debate among the Tulsa mayoral candidates. The December Pub Club will be held in the Crystal Ballroom inside the newly renovated Mayo Hotel & Residence.
Editor’s Note: Tulsa-area leadership has been working hard over the past few years to keep young professional talent in the region. One organization that has been very effective with these efforts is Tulsa’s Young Professionals, known by its acronym “TYPros.” This is one of an ongoing Newspapers series spotlighting young Tulsa leadership. Greater Tulsa is fortunate to have young talent contributing to its betterment.
Tulsa’s Young Professionals, or “TYPros,” is a group of diverse young professionals, whose typical ages range from 21-40, working together to showcase Tulsa as an excellent place to live, work and play. The mission of ros is to retain and attract young talent, while focusing on fostering Tulsa’s next generation of leadership. Membership is free. ros provides its members with opportunities to get in front of and build relationships with local community and business leaders. For more information or to become a member, visit www.typros.org.