The Best of the Best 2015

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Places and Faces

Artist

Artists add color to our lives. They let us into their imaginative and creative worlds through each work on display, while questioning the ordinary, empowering the unexpected, causing introspection and thought and exploring the world that surrounds us. P.S. Gordon gained attention with his watercolor still lifes and portraits before being inspired by oil-on-canvas. Otto Duecker, a hyperrealist painter, has recently gained attention for his photo-like oil paintings of celebrities, including depictions of Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Depp, Arnold Palmer and Picasso. Janet Fadler Davie is a muralist whose works bring color and imagery into homes and businesses throughout Tulsa and the country, and Scott Taylor is the talented and creative owner behind Colorpop, an artistic design company in Tulsa.

Desmond Mason, Best Artist photo by Brent Fuchs.

Desmond Mason, Best Artist
Photo by Brent Fuchs.

Desmond Mason has always used art as a means of expression and since retiring from the NBA in 2009 has sold original paintings to collectors worldwide. Greg Burns didn’t allow a joint condition to cripple his artistic talents, holding his paintbrush in his mouth when creating his finely detailed ink and watercolor masterpieces. Ryan Cunningham considers himself a figurative painter whose works depict the modern west and life.

Charity Event

Oklahomans understand the importance of giving back to their community and those in need, and it’s evident in the countless charity events hosted each year. Carnivale, benefiting Mental Health Association Oklahoma, is host to the “best party in town” and celebrates its yearly success with a shower of confetti. Red Ribbon Gala, benefiting Tulsa CARES, brings fabulously dressed patrons under one roof to raise funds that support those impacted by HIV/AIDS. Go Red For Women, benefiting American Heart Association, empowers women to take their health into their own hands and fight against heart disease.

Red Tie Night, benefiting Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, is a much-anticipated event each year with live and silent auctions, dinner and dancing in Oklahoma City. Relay For Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society, has patrons walking through the night to save lives impacted by cancer. Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, benefiting Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, mirrors the same resilience, community, ambitions and hope that the city and state embodied after the tragedy of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Chef

We know the names of our favorite restaurants and the ones we’ve never been to but have heard great things about. But do we know the names of the chefs that inspire and create the flavors we’re most fond of? These are a few you should. James Shrader of Palace Café is the talent behind the delicately crafted, upscale selections on the menu. Tim Inman of Stonehorse Café is the mastermind behind its delectable French delights and the engineer of the café’s made-from-scratch foundation, while Justin Thompson spreads his finesse to multiple locations, including Juniper, Prhyme, Tavolo and 624 Kitchen & Catering. Tuck Curren is the inspiration behind Biga’s hearty, flavorful Italian cuisine, and Michael Minden of Michael V’s Restaurant creates and executes the rich specialties guests can’t get enough of.

Kurt Fleischfresser of The Coach House brings experience and flair to the restaurant’s always changing, seasonal menu. Daniel Nemec of Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse believes whole-heartedly in the quality of his work, thus creating an unparalleled dining experience.

Jake Henry Jr., Best CEO.

Jake Henry Jr., Best CEO.

CEO

It takes intelligence, hard work and commitment, dreams, experience, an innovative mind and so much more to run a company as well as obtain that position in the first place. Oklahoma is home to great organizations that thrive because of their leaders and the teams they inspire. Jake Henry Jr. has served as Saint Francis Health System’s President and CEO since 2002 and continues to make Saint Francis a leader in health. Chet Cadieux followed in his father’s footsteps at QuikTrip and understands that commitment to his employees means better customer service in the long run. Paula Marshall joined The Bama Companies in 1970 and became CEO in 1984 and has since expanded the company’s reach within the industry.

Having been a part of the organization since 1998, John Richels became Devon Energy president and CEO in 2010 and continues to make a leading impact on the company’s growth and success in the industry. David Green opened his first Hobby Lobby in 1972. Today, he oversees 600 stores across the country. In January 2013, Chuck Spicer became the leader of OU Medical Center, one of Oklahoma’s largest health care systems, and has since provided the company with his undeniable passion and leadership.

Company To Work For

Everyone wants be part of the engine that drives a successful company. ONEOK values and believes in the people that work to make it one of the largest companies in its field, promoting collaboration while appreciating each employee’s individual contribution to the brand. Cherokee Nation Businesses, also landing at the top of the list, supports its tribal members by investing in its citizens and creating jobs that will help its economy thrive. Williams Companies, named Most Admired U.S. Energy Company of 2015 by Fortune, offers exciting and rewarding opportunities to its employees while inspiring and developing their abilities; QuikTrip has always been an organization that gives its customers the best experience by valuing and appreciating the hard work of its employees. Saint Francis Health System understands that giving the best care means providing its patients with the best doctors, nurses and staff, a team that Saint Francis believes is at the core of its success. Manhattan Construction has built its organization with a strong focus on its hardworking employees who strive to improve and innovate within the industry.

Devon Energy understands that those they hire drive their company and therefore creates an environment that appreciates its employees while helping them succeed, a win-win. Chesapeake Energy fosters leadership and innovation while offering competitive compensation and benefits, and SandRidge Energy supports its employees’ goals while encouraging growth. Chickasaw Nation has a strong economy because of its enthusiastic and hardworking people and its support and belief in them, while OU Medical Center makes a difference in its patients’ lives because it makes a difference in its employees’.

Local Icon/Landmark

When you think of a city, its skyline, sports teams, celebrities or museums may come to mind. In Tulsa ONEOK Field, home to the Tulsa Drillers and the Tulsa Roughnecks FC, received even more coverage in May for hosting the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. Next, the 76-foot-tall, 43,500-pound Tulsa Golden Driller stands strong in our minds. The BOK Center, which in October 2014 was ranked 17th among arenas in the United States for ticket sales, is a downtown Tulsa landmark and continues to bring exciting talent to its stage.

Golden Driller, Best Local Icon. Photo by Brandon Scott.

Golden Driller, Best Local Icon
Photo by Brandon Scott.

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder slam-dunks at No. 1 in Oklahoma City for obvious reasons – we love the athletes that so greatly represent our state both on and off the court. Chesapeake Energy Arena gives Oklahoma City top-notch entertainment. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum pays tribute to and educates about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and is a reminder of our state’s resilience in the face of tragedy.

Local Radio Personality

What are Oklahomans listening to on the radio? 1430 KTBZ-AM, Tulsa’s sports station, keeps listeners tuned in with The Big Show, featuring Chris Plank. 100.9 KXOJ’s Heather Miles loves that her job means inspiring and encouraging her listeners through music. Bud and Broadway of 106.1 KTGX met three years ago and knew right away their chemistry would provide for an entertaining morning show, bringing comedy and great conversation to country radio.

Jack & Ron of 98.9 KYIS make the morning drive into work each day manageable with their show they’ve kept going for more than 20 years, and Ronnie Kaye joined 92.5 KOMA in 1992 after a long history in Radio and Television and continues to be a favorite personality in Oklahoma City. Shawn Witcher is a broadcaster with iheart Media and keeps the morning drive interesting with Bill Reed on 96.1 KXY’s Bill and Shawn Morning Show. The Afternoon Drive with Kaci and Jacob on 98.9 KYIS, providing its listeners with today’s hits and daily entertainment gossip, rounds out Oklahoma City’s favorite radio personalities.

Local TV Personality

Friendly faces with reliable information are what we look for in our news anchors. Karen Larsen with KJRH, Channel 2 is the anchor for the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts and has won awards for her coverage of important issues. Chera Kimiko with KOTV, Channel 6 is well known and respected in the industry and the community for her involvement and dedication to journalism and charitable causes. LeAnne Taylor has been with KOTV, Channel 6 for nearly 20 years and is enthusiastic, even in the early hours of the morning, about providing viewers with the most accurate and up-to-date information from 5 to 9 a.m., every weekday. Terry Hood, also with KOTV, Channel 6, has won awards for her writing and reporting and is very involved with the community.

In Oklahoma City, Linda Cavanaugh with KFOR, Channel 4 is committed to bettering her community and her state through her work and is well known for her investigative reporting. Paul Folger with KOCO, Channel 5 brings his comprehensive resume to his 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, as well as reporting live on breaking news stories. Kelly Ogle with KWTV, Channel 9 anchors the evening newscasts as well as his popular segment “My 2 Cents” and is well known for his in-depth investigative reporting.

Meteorologist

It seems that weather is always the hardest thing to predict, and we’re the first to criticize when the storm doesn’t hit. But do we give enough credit to the men and women who are there for us when it does? Travis Meyer with KOTV, Channel 6 is a reliable meteorologist with more than 30 years of experience and is very knowledgeable about Oklahoma weather having grown up in Nebraska and attending the University of Kansas. Mike Collier with KTUL, Channel 8 is a native Tulsan and trusted meteorologist, on every weekday from 4:30 to 10 a.m. Brittany Rainey has been with KJRH, Channel 2 for almost three years and enjoys covering the weather that Oklahoma offers.

Damon Lane with KOCO, Channel 5 is Oklahoma City’s favorite meteorologist and is extremely trusted in his community and industry for his severe weather coverage as well as being the only chief meteorologist in Oklahoma City with the highest certification from The American Meteorological Society. Mike Morgan with KFOR, Channel 4 has been awarded numerous honors for his weathercasts that put him ahead of the storm. David Payne with KWTV, Channel 9 is on at 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. and is a meteorologist Oklahoma City can depend on, receiving many high honors for his coverage of severe weather.

Small Town

Getting away from the city and exploring the nooks and crannies of Oklahoma can be a fun adventure. In Jenks, just south of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Aquarium, Riverwalk and River Spirit Casino await, as well as great dining, shopping and history. Owasso, sitting northeast of Tulsa, hosts fun annual events for its community and visitors, offers a rich history to explore and serves up delicious bites. Bixby, a bit farther south than Jenks, continues to grow as a great place to live and work.

Guthrie, north of Oklahoma City, is a perfect place to explore unique architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Stillwater, home to the Oklahoma State University campus, organizes special events for its community and shares its history with visitors and residents alike. Norman attractions include art museums and galleries, historical sites, annual events, restaurants and, most importantly, the University of Oklahoma.

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