There’s an energy in Oklahoma – an energy that convinces many of the state’s natives to stay and invest in their communities. This powerful energy also drives young Oklahomans, who leave temporarily, to return and make a lasting mark in their home state. Oklahoma is no longer synonymous with the oil and gas industry – this great state is now known for everything from medical achievements to technological advancements that are paving the way for the rest of the country. These advancements are largely made possible by the young achievers who have a common goal: to improve and enhance the land they love. All over the state, from the Black Mesa to Beavers Bend, Oklahomans are changing the world. Oklahoma Magazine is proud to present the 11th annual class of 40 Under 40.
Ophthalmologist, Cornea and Refractive Surgery Specialist, Triad Eye Institute
Dr. Ryan Patrick Conley of Triad Eye Institute makes a living changing people’s lives – by giving them the gift of better sight. “I love performing more common procedures like cataract surgery and LASIK, but I especially enjoy helping people that didn’t realize things could be done to improve their vision,” he says. “Advances in technology continue to allow us to better treat eye conditions that previously were without good treatment options. That never gets old!” Conley may be young, but he has already made history. “I was proud the day I was the first eye surgeon in Oklahoma to perform laser-assisted cataract surgery,” he says. Conley also volunteers his time and talent on medical missionary trips, where he restores vision to those in developing countries who don’t have access to the same medical care as those in the United States. And the best advice he’s ever received? It’s a simple but effective: “Focus,” he says. “No pun intended.”
Veterinarian and Assistant Service Center Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Rosslyn Biggs loves animals so much that she’s made a successful career out of it. At the USDA, Biggs manages a staff that facilitates the international import/export of animals, while also assisting animal owners, private vets and many more people and businesses. When she’s not at work or with her family, Biggs has a serious appreciation for horses – she’s the chairman of the Pony of the Americas National Congress and recently made history. “Last year I became the first breeder in the history of the Pony of the Americas organization to register foals that were the result of embryo transfer.”
Community Affairs Director, APSCO; State Director, OK2Grow and Dream It Do It
When Stephanie Cameron isn’t handling community and government relations at APSCO, she’s working at the OK2Grow nonprofit that focuses on youth entrepreneurship. There, she implements workforce development activities and facilitates programs, internships tours and career fairs. As if that didn’t keep her busy enough, Cameron’s list of volunteer causes is vast – and she made a conscious effort to have it that way. “Volunteerism has helped me to stretch and grow personally and professionally, and I have developed so many friendships through volunteer roles,” she says. And if she wasn’t on this career path? “My ‘out there’ and ‘if money were no object’ job would be a waterfall trail tour guide,” she says.
Clinical Professor, Oklahoma State University
David W. Davis molds the minds of young hospitality students at Oklahoma State University and loves conferring with, pushing and bettering them. “Higher education is about discovery, and to discover you have to take risks,” he says. “I love guiding students towards risks that may manifest joy, tears and possibly world peace.” Davis has also developed a passion for a widespread problem in our state. “I am working to promote awareness that human trafficking exists and thrives in Oklahoma,” he says. “Through training and cooperation amongst organizations we can work to save thousands of modern day slaves.” Off the clock, Davis is an encouraging, open-minded dad. “I cheer on my three boys in baseball, soccer and becoming a ninja.”
President and CEO, UMB Bank – Oklahoma Region
As the president and CEO of Oklahoma’s UMB Bank branch, David Hardy grows and develops the bank’s presence in Oklahoma while managing his employees. “Developing associates and the next generation of leaders in the company is a great honor,” he says. As a CEO at only 35, Hardy has a simple formula for success: “My personal mantra is to be humble and stay hungry.” At home, Hardy leaves the competing to his children. “I have three daughters who are very competitive in the dance world,” he says. “I guess you could say that I’m a proud dance dad.” To top it off, Hardy has a storybook romance. “I am married to my high school sweetheart. We started dating when we were 14 years old.”
Clarinetist and Development Director, Tulsa Symphony
To call Angela Carter a skilled multitasker is a supreme understatement. By day she’s a development director at Tulsa Symphony, and by night she is a professional clarinetist for the same organization. “My day is spent raising awareness and support for the product I help create on the concert stage in the evenings,” she says. Carter – a Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada native – moved to Tulsa because she sensed the city was teeming with possibilities. “My husband and I chose to move to Tulsa because of its thriving arts scene and the energy surrounding it,” she says. “We knew there was something special going on here and wanted our family to be a part of it.”
Attorney/Shareholder, McAfee & Taft
H. Cole Marshall’s job as a corporate attorney has him handling cases that pertain to real estate, business transactions, and entity organization and governance matters. But if he weren’t an attorney, he’d be a “real estate developer, college professor or bartender … in that order.” His favorite perk of the job? “Working on projects that have a material impact on my community,” he says. Marshall’s got a full home life, too. He spends time off the clock “playing ball with my son (Hazen, 4), dancing with my daughter (Mabry, 2) or cooking with my wife (Melanie).” His wife graced him with sage words that he abides by daily: “The best advice I’ve received is from my wife, who reminds me to take life one day at a time.”
Plastic Surgeon, Warren Clinic
Dr. Paul Berry sums up his job as a plastic surgeon in one sentence: “I help people feel better about themselves.” The best part about his work day is sharing the delight of his patients when they achieve their goals. “I am super proud when patients share photos of themselves that reveal how much more comfortable they are in their own skin after procedures I perform,” he says. Berry received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of South Florida Honors College and his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine and has also been a Medical Research Scholar with the National Institutes of Health. He participates in medical missions in underserved communities. “Volunteering helps remind me of how much fun it is to use my skill set to help people without all the extra paperwork,” he says. “We are here to help each other.” After a day at the clinic, he says his favorite stress reliever is chasing his kids around their home.
Architect, KKT Architects
“I think I would be a good politician, being able to work together with many diverse groups, having a vision to represent all people, solving problems and progressing toward a today that is better than tomorrow,” Brandon Hackett says. Fortunately for the clients of KKT Architects, Hackett has turned that ability into listening and helping others with their architectural needs. When explaining his job, the first thing he mentions is how he fosters relationships with individuals and organizations “to understand their needs and wishes so that we can design spaces to fit those needs perfectly.” When he’s not working, he volunteers at his son’s school and works with local nonprofit groups, including Domestic Violence Intervention Services, CAP Tulsa, Lindsey House and Tulsa CARES. “Getting to know the people on the ground in these organizations shows the real heart of Tulsa,” he says. He says he’s happiest when his day is filled with activity and accomplishment. “I would much prefer a busy day to a ‘relaxing day at the beach,’” he says.
Attorney, Hall Estill
Blake Lawrence works diligently to represent his Hall Estill clients in a wide array of cases – from business disputes to corporate collections. He also confers with galleries and museums in matters pertaining to the preservation, transfer and sale of art. However, Lawrence strongly believes in fostering a fulfilling life outside of work. His stress relievers include “putting my kids to bed and watching The Office for the 12th time,” but he also spends time volunteering for various organizations. “I have seen the best sides of people by volunteering for causes,” he says. “The staffs of nonprofits are tireless individuals who are making tremendous change.” In addition, Lawrence is an advocate for a relatively screen-free existence. In fact, if his life were a movie, the title would be GET OFF YOUR PHONE: An Introspective.