Ten People We Watched in 2012

Newspapers annually highlights individuals predicted to be newsmakers. Here, we review the “10 People We Watched in 2012.”

Jan Slater
Jan Slater began the year as of the Oklahoma State University Medical Center, which was operating under a working agreement with St. John Health System. During the year, the Medical Center terminated its management agreement with St. John, meaning Slater has left her position at the hospital.
The decision to end St. John’s management of the medical center was mutual but at the request of St. John, according to an article in the Tulsa World.
Under her guidance, OSUMC underwent expansion, improvements and renovations. Trustees praised her work at the medical center.
Slater served for 19 years as a corporate legal counsel for St. John Health System before being appointed to her current post in June.
Having grown up in India with American missionary parents, Slater came to the U.S. for college. She did post-graduate work in health administration and has a joint degree in law and business administration.

Alan Armstrong
Alan Armstrong is the president and of Williams, Tulsa’s energy giant. At the beginning of 2012, the exploration and production wing of Williams began trading on the as Energy, which focuses solely on producing energy.
Armstrong oversaw increased growth at Williams, including within energy infrastructure. The growth reflects Armstrong’s strategic initiative to guide Williams to become the leading energy infrastructure company in North America.
Williams owns approximately 70 percent and is general partner of Williams Partners. In March, Williams Partners purchased Caiman Eastern Midstream for $2.5 billion.
Other key moves made during the year include Williams Partners’ acquisition of Williams’ Gulf Olefins business, building the first propane dehydration facility in Canada, and establishing a major natural gas hub in northeastern Pennsylvania.

William Collins
William Collins was named vice president of base maintenance for American Airlines in October 2010. The company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing in November 2011 made 2012 a challenging year for Collins and for AA employees. During the course of the year, AA was involved in negotiations to determine the number of employees that would be ultimately laid off. In October, 370 Tulsa layoffs were announced. The layoffs began in November 2012 for fleet service workers and will continue through December. Layoffs will begin in January 2012 and continue through February 2013. Additionally, 709 employees, comprised of logistics, plant maintenance and mechanics, opted to take early retirement. In response to its bankruptcy, AA plans to restructure, increase revenue and cut costs. Part of the cost cutting measures include additional layoffs of more than 10,000 people and outsourcing a portion of its fleet maintenance.

Wes Smithwick
Wes Smithwick will soon enter his third year as Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce president.
2012 saw many notable events, including the decision to rename downtown Broken Arrow and to move forward with streetscape improvements. “These decisions will help to create a sense of a place downtown where people can spend some time,” says Smithwick. “Growth snowballs and is contagious. Just within a couple weeks of the name announcement, we received phone calls from people with interest in coming downtown.”
Earlier this year, Money Magazine named Broken Arrow one of the top 100 places to live. “We regularly receive these kinds of awards because we stay true to our core competencies of good streets, outstanding public safety, great parks and great public schools.”
Smithwick and the chamber plan to enter 2013 with the continued focus of growing businesses and jobs in the area.

Trish Richey
Trish Richey’s six years as Bixby’s economic development director continue to spur excitement as she oversees increasing growth throughout the city.
In March, Encore Memorial, a luxury apartment complex, opened at 126th Street and Memorial Drive. It currently has 71 percent occupancy. In addition, Bixby’s housing market has held steady with home sale prices averaging just under $300,000.
Various restaurants and grocery stores are being added to Bixby’s landscape, including Whataburger and Reasor’s newest location at 111th Street and Memorial Drive, with Sprout’s Farmers Market to open in the spring of 2013.
The Tulsa 66ers have returned to the SpiritBank Event Center for its upcoming season, and 100 percent of the facility is currently leased to businesses, bringing 186 jobs to the community.
The Bentley Sports Complex brought an additional $500,000 to the local economy. Richey expects to see further city growth in 2013.

Rev. Joseph Bias
The talented Rev. Joseph Bias, minister of worship at First United Methodist Church, oversaw another highly successful Crescendo awards in 2012. The talented Bias met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while in high school and later sang a solo at his funeral. Johnny Cash and Amy Grant are just two of the many who have shared the stage with him.
His involvement with Tulsa Rotary led to the creation of the Crescendo Music Awards in 1999. Under his guidance, the annual event has given students from around the world an opportunity to earn college scholarships. The event has grown from a budget of $1,500 for awards and from several students to over 700 students in line for auditions and prizes that total $35,000. In 2012 two matching grants of $100,000 were offered with a goal of reaching $1 million by 2015.
The 2013 event will be March 21-23 at the VanTrease Center at . For more information, see www.crescendomusicawards.com.

Becky Frank
Becky Frank, chairman & of Schnake Turnbo Frank PR, had a busy year, beginning with her inauguration as chair of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. Throughout the year, Frank was deeply involved in promoting regional development. An ambitious initiative she spearheaded was the enVision Summit at Expo Square in April. The Summit brought together regional leaders and citizens to envision possibilities and construct future plans for the region, including branding to market the region both nationally and internationally. Another key initiative was the October Governor’s Trade Mission to Europe, which she sees as helping the Tulsa region and Oklahoma to forge lasting partnerships in the area of economic development. In May, Frank’s tireless dedication to the region was recognized. The American Women in Communications () honored Frank as a Newsmaker of the Year at the 2012 “Taking the Reins” luncheon.

Gary Kloppenburg
For its first two seasons in Tulsa, the Tulsa Shock had achieved only nine total wins. First-time head coach Gary Kloppenburg entered the 2012 season focused, not on winning big, but on just winning.
Coach Klop, as players refer to him, got his start in the with the Seattle Storm in 2000 where he served as an assistant until 2003. After a brief stint with the Phoenix Mercury, he served as an assistant with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats from 2004 to 2007 before joining the Fever in 2008. While in Indiana, he helped the Fever to three straight playoff appearances.
When speaking before the start of the 2012 season, Kloppenburg spoke of “rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on building a new franchise.” And rolling up the sleeves he did. Kloppenburg lead the Shock to its most successful season thus far and looks forward to increasing those wins next season.

Nadia Guevara
At the start of 2012, Nadia Guevara and Owasso Community Resources () began two new community programs.
The rental assistance program was created to help prevent homelessness by providing temporary financial assistance to families who cannot pay their rent. The other new program, the job center, is what Guevara is most excited about. “It was formed because 80 percent of the people we serve struggle with finding and keeping a job,” she says.
Through the job center, participants receive instruction on interviewing, creating a resume and cover letter, and other assistance. Currently, more than 250 people have completed the program.
began in 1994 and endeavors to help families with their essential needs. Guevara has spent many years working with nonprofit organizations. “I love that there is an organization in town that is able to provide assistance when people have nowhere to go,” she says.

Ross Parmley
Ross Parmley’s year as the athletic director of the University of Tulsa ended in disgrace as he was fired for being, according to a court affidavit, an “admitted gambler.” The affidavit was part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged Oklahoma City gambling ring. Parmley became school’s full-time athletic director in January 2012, and immediately he was faced with many challenges. Foremost at the time was declining attendance in men’s basketball. After the season, he dismissed Head Coach Doug Wojcik and then hired Danny Manning from Bill Self’s staff at Kansas. Other challenges lingering throughout the year included relatively low attendance at home football games and conference realignment which has seen Tulsa lose long-time rivals such as Houston and to be replaced by lesser known schools such as Texas-San Antonio and Charlotte, a situation uncomfortable with many TU fans.

Updated 11-26-2012

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