Ten People to Watch in 2014

Larry Mocha:
As of APSCO, Larry Mocha has been a long-time advocate for small business, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, education and workforce development.

APSCO is in the midst of an expansion and will be celebrating 50 years as a Tulsa manufacturer in 2014. Mocha will be serving as chairman of the Foundation, chairman of the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Manufacturing Council, chairman of CompSource Oklahoma and chairman of the Center for Legislative Excellence.

In addition, he is furthering his community outreach through the OK2Grow Foundation. The foundation was created after the 2011 Governor’s Conference on Small Business, which he organized with Jerry Holder and Lynda Wingo. The organization’s mission is to engage and inspire students. The Governor’s Conference on Small Business will be held in October of 2014.

Kathy Taylor:
Though Kathy Taylor was defeated in her 2013 quest to gain re-election to the office of mayor of Tulsa, chances are she will stay active on the civic scene to work for the betterment of Greater Tulsa and her fellow citizens.

She is involved in the Taylor Lobeck Family Foundation, established in 1997. The foundation is a sponsor of community enrichment events that highlight Tulsa and bring the community together such as Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa Tough and Winterfest. In 2012, the foundation partnered with Tulsa Community College and became involved with the StartUp Cup, a business model competition.

The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for Oklahomans through education, community enrichment and entrepreneurialism. Whether in public service or private, expect Kathy Taylor to continue to make an impact.

Dr. William M. Wilson:
Dr. William M. Wilson, the fourth president of Oral Roberts University, is known globally for his ethics and business acumen. He is a noted Bible teacher with a weekly television program “World Impact with Billy Wilson,” which, for more than 15 years, has reached 170 nations in five languages.

He most recently served as the executive director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal in Cleveland, Tenn.

Wilson served on the Board of Trustees as vice-chair until his election as president. He has written several books including “Father Cry,” “Foundations of Faith” and “Fasting Forward.”

A native of Owensboro, Ky., Wilson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Kentucky University in Secondary Education and a Master of Arts degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, Lisa, have one daughter, Sara, and a son, Shaun, and five grandchildren.

Dr. Derrick Gragg:
Dr. Derrick Gragg was selected as The University of Tulsa’s vice president and director of athletics last spring. His tenure has gotten off to somewhat of a tenuous start, as the football team finished a disappointing losing season, and the basketball team has also struggled, though much of the players are young and the schedule has been somewhat difficult.

Gragg has spent the past seven years as the director of intercollegiate athletics at Eastern Michigan University. Gragg, a Vanderbilt graduate, has spent the past 20 years in progressively-advanced roles at the universities of Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

Next year will be interesting for Gragg, as TU moves to the American Athletic Conference with stronger competition than in the current Conference . Attendance at both football and basketball games, as well as overall marketing of the programs, will be key issues for the new athletic director.

Pete Kozma:
Pete Kozma was born in Tulsa and played high school baseball at Owasso High School. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft and began his professional career that year.

In his first professional season, Kozma played for three minor league teams. By 2011, he was called up to the major league Cardinals, where he has played a key role in each of the past three seasons. The 2014 season will be important to the Oklahoman, who needs to improve his hitting and fielding consistency to remain. One of his big moments was in 2012 when he singled to give the Cardinals the deciding runs in the winner-take-all fifth game of the 2012 National League Division Series over the Washington Nationals.

All of northeastern Oklahoma baseball fans will be pulling for Pete Kozma to solidify his tenure as a true major league baseball star.

Wade Edmundson:
Wade Edmundson, Oklahoma market for Commerce Bank, will serve as Tulsa Regional Chamber’s 2014 chair of the Board of Directors. Edmundson will be formally inaugurated at the chamber’s Annual Meeting, to be held Jan. 15 in the Cox Business Center ballroom. Edmundson will also discuss his primary initiatives for the year.

Edmundson has over 37 years of commercial banking experience, all of which was has been spent in the Oklahoma market.

He has previously held positions with Bank of Oklahoma, Bank IV (formerly Fourth National Bank) and First Tulsa; he led a group of organizers who formed Summit Bank in 2002.

Edmundson serves on the board of the American Red Cross, the advisory board for Youth Services and was co-chair for the 2013 Salvation Army Benefit Dinner.
Edmundson received his B.S and from Oklahoma State University.

Stacey Butterfield:
Stacey Butterfield is entering the second semester of her first school year as Jenks Public Schools Superintendent. The school district continues to focus on how to help students achieve excellence in and out of the classroom, and that includes technology.

“As technology changes so does our focus,” says Butterfield. “We refocus on class options and how we are delivering instruction.”

In the coming school years, the district will further focus on utilizing research-based leading-edge instruction and learning opportunities in a face-to-face, blended and virtual classroom setting.

Starting in January, freshmen at the Freshman Academy will receive Google Chrome Books—one way in which the school district is endeavoring to evolve with technology.

Another focus for Butterfield in the coming years is health and wellness. “There’s a link between health and wellness and student achievement,” she says.

Shagah Zakerion:
Shagah Zakerion enters 2014 as the new executive director for Tulsa’s Young Professionals. Zakerion succeeds Brian Paschal. She joined ros in 2011 as program coordinator before being promoted to program manager in 2012.

Since she came to ros, Zakerion has managed more than 80 events, programs and initiatives annually, including Street CReD, Bring It To Tulsa, and community partnerships with local nonprofit organizations in an effort to help raise funds and awareness for the organizations. As executive director, Zakerion will oversee the strategic direction of the organization.

Zakerion was recognized as a 2013 Journal Record “Achievers Under 40” and the 2013 Oklahoma Department of Commerce Kendall Whittier Main Street Board Member of the Year.

She holds a bachelor’s in public relations from the University of Oklahoma, with a double minor in political science and women’s and gender studies.

Chris Benge:
Chris Benge has had an amazing political and civic career. Recently the Tulsa Regional Chamber senior vice president of Government Affairs, he was appointed Nov. 8 by Governor Fallin as Oklahoma’s 33rd Secretary of State. Benge served the Oklahoma House of Representatives as the Speaker of the House. Benge, a Republican from southwest Tulsa, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998 by defeating a popular incumbent, Shelby Satterfield. His term ended due to term limits in 2010. A graduate of Webster High School and Oklahoma State University with a degree in business, Benge has managed a business, Benge Painting Company from 1981 to 1997. As Speaker of the House, Benge presided over the 52nd Oklahoma Legislature. During this time, he pushed for energy reform in Oklahoma, stressing the need for the U.S. to wean itself from foreign oil.

Joy Hofmeister:
Joy Hofmeister is gaining strong support for the office of Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction. Hofmeister is seeking the Republican nomination in the June 2014 primary and will face incumbent Janet Barresi. The general election takes place on Nov. 4, 2014.

A former public school teacher, Hofmeister serves as of Kumon Math and Reading Centers of South Tulsa. She served on the Oklahoma State Board of Education from January 2012 until her resignation on April 24, 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Christian University and has teaching certificates in English and elementary education.

She serves or has served on many school-related boards of directors, such as the Jenks Public Schools Foundation, select committee for Study of School Finance and advisory committees for Kumon North America. She also has participated in the Trends in International Math and Science Study research testing.

Updated 01-03-2014

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