influential young leaders drive the state forward, and the 40 professionals cataloged here exemplify the best of what Oklahoma has to offer. Through a graceful balancing act of hard work, pioneering and volunteerism, those honored set precedents for aspiring leaders around the state.
This group has a collective willingness to go the extra mile. By putting in time and effort to help others in addition to their professional duties, they have become leaders in many fields, from engineering and medicine to art and law.
Here are the stories of the 2020 Class of 40 Under 40.
All photos courtesy honorees or their companies.
40 Under 40 honorees are unranked and presented in no particular order.
40. Mary Benedicta Maier
Coordinator of the department of religion, Saint Francis Health System
Sister Mary Benedicta Maier, RSM, dedicates her life to helping those in need and serves both clinical and non-clinical staff at Saint Francis Health System “through promotion of the mission, vision and values, and medical ethics education and consultation.” In recent years, she has worked to establish Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee. “I am privileged to provide spiritual support to patients, families and staff,” she says. “Bringing Christ’s joy to the most wounded and making them laugh is a gift.” She often interacts with those who are sick and suffering “at the most vulnerable moments of their lives” and says the most rewarding moments occur when “helping a terminal patient come to reconciliation and peace with Christ and the church after holding onto 50 years of regrets.” She desires to make her life “perpetual volunteerism and service” and enacts that goal by being available to help others at any time. Before entering the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan, she was a Gold Award Girl Scout and a member of Rotaract. She has participated in beach and creek clean-ups and served HIV/AIDS patients at a Mother Teresa home in Washington, D.C. Off the clock, she enjoys spending time with her religious community, playing games and enjoying all that Tulsa has to offer.
39. Nick Jones
Attorney and shareholder,
Barrow and Grimm
Nick Jones provides legal services and counsel to individuals, entrepreneurs and business owners on estate planning and business law. The favorite parts of his job are “bringing a business plan to fruition and putting to rest concerns about unknowns.” Apart from helping his clients, Jones got into the profession to create consensus. “I wanted to be at the center of deal-making,” he says. Oklahoma’s legalization of medical marijuana has added another group to his client portfolio. “When I started practicing business law and estate planning 10 years ago, I never thought I would be representing the cannabis industry,” he says, “but with Oklahoma’s adoption of its medical marijuana program, my clients, old and new, have been excited to be a part of the action. It has been fulfilling to have a front row seat to witness the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels this industry.” Outside work, Jones serves as an associate justice for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Supreme Court. “It has been culturally meaningful to have an impact on my tribe’s governance and history,” he says. Jones also enjoys spending time with his family, playing tennis and fly fishing.
38. David Chen
Owner/operator, Chick-fil-A at Southroads Shopping Center
One might wonder how a man with a degree in chemical engineering became a franchiser for Chick-fil-A. David Chen says that while his story is unique, it’s “one that I believe only God could orchestrate.” After graduating from college, Chen moved to China for two years as a missionary. When he returned, he says he felt called to the service industry and worked at Chick-fil-A headquarters before moving to Oklahoma in 2015. Now, Chen and his team are “in charge of engaging, motivating and developing a team of over 120 team members to deliver thousands of moments of care to our guests.” His franchise saw great success in 2019; it was the largest volume franchise in Tulsa and the second largest in Oklahoma. The team also won the company’s Symbol of Success award for growing sales over 25 percent. At the core of Chen’s leadership are care and compassion – for customers and for his staff. “Cared-for team members will care for our guests and our community,” he says. Chen, along with his family, is active at church and with Junior Achievement of Oklahoma. His franchise also donated more than $200,000 in 2019 to community efforts.
37. Monica McKee
Director of patient services, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Changing the heath-care delivery system for Native Americans for generations to come is Monica McKee’s goal. Her day-to-day duties consist of ensuring access to care, policy compliance and clinical efficiency, along with overseeing the dental, optometry and physical therapy departments and serving as patient advocate and infection control officer. Her ability to positively affect a large number of lives drove her to this role. “As a clinician for over a decade, everything I did made an impact on the individual patient I worked with,” she says. “As a health-care administrator, my reach is much further.” McKee believes her keys to success are “kindness, loyalty, fortitude and treating everyone as equal,” which are shown in her greatest achievement at work: helping the clinic to become the first Native American facility in the nation to be recognized as a leader in LGBTQ health-care equality by the national nonprofit Human Rights Campaign. McKee volunteers with March of Dimes and the Care Center and enjoys kickboxing and spending time with her family.
36. Camille Nassar Owens
Business development officer, Nabholz
A high school career test led Camille Nassar Owens onto her career path. “At the time, I had no idea what public relations was,” she says, “but after the research project, I knew it was for me.” At Nabholz, Owens works to generate new business and focuses on client and community relations around the state. “The chief goal of my job is to create new opportunities,” she says. “For us at Nabholz, creating opportunities is synonymous with creating relationships. I feel lucky that my job consists of meeting incredible people all over the state to learn more about their story.” She finds that the culture of caring at Nabholz sets the company apart. “Each and every individual in our office has a heart of gold, and that’s truly what has generated our success,” she says. Owens is passionate about eradicating social injustice and child abuse, as shown in her volunteer work with the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice and the Child Abuse Network. When not volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, going to spin class and attending live music events.
35. Joe Giordano Jr.
Assistant general manager, BOK Center
Despite his relatively young age, Joe Giordano Jr. is in charge of operations at BOK Center, Tulsa’s largest event venue. The job requires him to multitask each day by supporting BOK’s initiatives, working with senior management teams to uphold standards of excellence and bringing some of the biggest acts in the world to Tulsa. Giordano cites 2018’s 10-year anniversary concert series as his career highlight because he helped to book acts like Metallica, P!nk, U2 and the Eagles. He credits Tulsans for continuing to propel the city forward. “Tulsa is truly a collaborative city that recognizes we have something special, and we’re all very passionate about seeing our city continue its legacy as a top music destination in the United States,” he says. While the job is stressful, Giordano finds success through his passion. “I absolutely love what I do, and it doesn’t feel like work to me at all,” he says. Giordano is involved in the ASM Rocks committee at work, which helps charities like Habitat for Humanity and United Way. Off work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and Siberian husky, Rocky, and looks forward to his five-year wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii.
34. Dominic D. Williams
Attorney, OG&E Energy
Dominic Williams covers a wide array of the law with OG&E, including cybersecurity, intellectual property, energy law and information technology. “In addition to the amazing co-workers and members who make up OGE, I love the diversity of areas of law that I have an opportunity to practice,” he says. “It is intellectually challenging and personally fulfilling to be able to advise and represent Oklahoma’s oldest and largest investor-owned electric utility.” While problem-solving is a key part of the job, Williams also likes the person-to-person connections and the company’s focus on community outreach. “I am proudest of working for a company that not only delivers energy that gives people comfort, safety and security, but is also diligent in its service and support of the diverse communities where we all live and work,” he says. Sports play a large role in Williams’ off-the-clock activities; he enjoys playing golf, watching college football and supporting the Oklahoma Thunder City. He volunteers with inter-city youth organizations and Oklahoma City Community College, which gives him immense perspective. “One of the best nuggets of advice I have tried to incorporate in my life comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’”
33. Paul Jones
Clinical director of patient care services, Norman Regional Health System
Paul Jones works every day to ensure the health of his community in his role at Norman Regional. He oversees a variety of areas within the network, including intensive care, progressive care, inpatient wound care, and stroke, bariatric and dialysis programs. “I love that I get to make a difference in other people’s lives,” says Jones, who is also a registered nurse. “We save lives in many different ways. There is always something special about watching others learn and grow, and that is exactly what happens to our healers every day. I love to watch others grow and achieve greatness during times of adversity.” Off the clock, Jones volunteers at his church and the Wilson Foundation and is working to coordinate a partnership with Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity and Norman Regional by “setting up opportunities for our healers at the hospital to also serve their local community.” In 2017, Jones and his wife, a labor and delivery nurse, adopted three siblings, making them a family of seven. Together, they enjoy “being outside, working in the yard and riding four-wheelers.”
32. Mark W. Zitzow
Director of urban planning, Johnson and Associates
As an urban planner, Mark Zitzow works on a variety of projects for private developers and municipalities. Every day is different, whether he’s working on site planning, entitlements processes or master plans. Many of Zitzow’s responsibilities revolve around reaching consensus between clients and community needs, which he finds as a rewarding part of the job, along with being on the ground floor of infrastructure development in his home city. “I became interested in what was happening in downtown Oklahoma City and wanted to be a part of the new development and activity that was taking place,” he says. “I felt the best way to stay engaged and work on these projects was to better understand our built environment. That led me to the University of Oklahoma and the City Planning program.” In his spare time, Zitzow volunteers with the Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association and the Sunbeam Beacons Program, which he believes has made him “a more patient and compassionate person.” Along with spending time with his wife and two dogs, he also works as an adjunct faculty member at OU.
31. Mackenzie Jochim
Associate veterinarian, VCA Woodland South Animal Hospital
Being a veterinarian is much more than interacting with cute animals, and Mackenzie Jochim knows that firsthand. “While I would love to say I spend my days cuddling puppies and kittens, the majority of the time I am treating very ill or injured animals,” she says. Whether she’s diagnosing illnesses, emotionally supporting families or performing emergency surgery, Jochim has a love for animals and counts on her ability to think critically to keep the job rewarding. “Medicine still amazes me at times with how effective it can be,” she says. “The fact that I don’t have a ‘rinse and repeat’ job keeps me on my toes.” Jochim is proudest of the perseverance and compassion those in her profession have; an example of her own perseverance came through a harrowing experience as a teenager. “I had a mystery illness in my freshman year of high school that no one was ever able to diagnose,” she says. “It was really hard on my mom and me in various ways.” Jochim is active off the clock through outdoor activities, traveling, ballroom dancing and volunteering her expertise with local shelters and Leadership Broken Arrow.
30. Trista Shomo
Senior safety manager, Manhattan Construction Co.
Keeping her Manhattan co-workers safe is Trista Shomo’s primary goal. While overseeing and enforcing safe work practices and eliminating conditions that could lead to injury or property damage, Shomo is “building and coaching a safety culture that is educational and interactive and allows me to connect and engage with people on a personal level based on trust.” She enjoys that she can “bring empathy and compassion in an industry that has a reputation for being rough and tough.” One of her greatest achievements is overseeing the safety for the state Capitol’s interior restoration project. Outside work, Shomo volunteers for Junior Achievement, Toys for Tots, the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank, the University of Oklahoma’s Construction Science-Mentorship for Women in Construction, and Bags for Veterans. “I love that I can be a mentor and a role model for all kids, and especially my daughter, Layla, who is actively involved in volunteering with me,” she says. “I want her to know the importance of giving back when you can and the impact one can make in doing so – personally and professionally.”
29. Monica Ybarra
Attorney/corporate counsel, TBS Factoring Service
A love for investigating and solving problems led Monica Ybarra to become an attorney. At TBS, a freight factoring company, Ybarra advises the business on a variety of legal issues and works with leadership to identify risks, assist the company and meet business goals. “I love collaborating with colleagues whose professional backgrounds are so diverse and helping them bring their visions to life,” she says. “I am proud to be a part of helping businesses achieve growth.” In her day-to-day professional life, Ybarra holds onto a particular piece of advice that steers her in the right direction. “Assume positive intent,” she says. “Giving others the benefit of the doubt affects how you respond to every situation and opens up opportunities to learn.” Off the clock, Ybarra volunteers her time with the National Exchange Club and the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Family Junction Youth Shelter, and acts as a Salvation Army bell ringer. She enjoys reading and going on road trips, with her favorite spot being Santa Fe, New Mexico. She also works on a unique endeavor in her off time – “a long-term project of documenting my family’s story through oral history,” she says.
28. Jasmine Willis-Wallace
Program operations manager, Tulsa Public Schools
Jasmine Willis-Wallace works zealously to evolve and improve public education in Tulsa Public Schools, where she oversees the Tulsa Teacher Corps, the new-teacher training and development program. Her job requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking and big picture ideas, which are right up her alley. “I work with individuals who think big and have the desire to be change agents in the field of public education,” she says. “My job allows for me to develop lifelong educators who always put students first and care deeply about the education of all students.” Willis-Wallace’s search for true meaning in her professional life led her to achieving a doctorate in education. “I want to be in a profession where I can make a difference and have a lasting impact on future generations,” she says. Willis-Wallace believes in sharing her knowledge through volunteerism with tutoring, school board appointments and presenting workshops for career readiness. Along with being a new mom to her son, she enjoys exercise and is a fitness instructor for Zumba and toning classes.
27. Eric Lopp
Senior project manager, Crossland Construction Co.
Eric Lopp manages a variety of construction projects in his daily routine and enjoys his impact on the Oklahoma skyline. His favorite part of the job is the “ability to change a community by adding something new or bringing something that was old back to life,” he says. “The world of construction is ever changing and evolving. You get to bring ideas to life.” Creating community spaces is the joy of his job – citing the completion of Tulsa’s Gathering Place as his career highlight. Doing everything correctly and treating others with respect are at the core of Lopp’s leadership style. “At the end of the day, it’s important to do what is right – right for your clients, right by your company and, most importantly, right by you,” he says. In his off time, Lopp enjoys visiting and working on his family farm in Kansas, traveling, hunting, riding his bike and doing yoga. He also volunteers with the local food bank because “knowing that you are helping ensure everyone is getting access to food is something that is important.”
26. Kasra Ahmadinia
Spine surgeon, Advanced Orthopedics of Oklahoma
As a spine surgeon, Kasra Ahmadinia focuses on minimally invasive ways to correct pathologies in both adults and children. “The best part of my job is getting people back to the functional levels that they are accustomed to,” he says. “Patients often [have] debilitating back pain and nerve pain, and the greatest feeling is being able to relieve them of that pain.” Apart from healing patients, Ahmadinia also advances medicine as an author. “My greatest achievement in the field of spine surgery is having my research published in medical journals and writing book chapters for multiple spine textbooks,” he says. Ahmadinia is passionate about improving health-care efficiency through lowered costs and easier access. “I have been very active through the political action arm of our National Spine Association,” he says. “I have been to Washington the last several years to meet with representatives and senators and discuss ideas for improving health care, particularly in the field of spine surgery.” Outside the hospital, he enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his wife and two sons.
25. Paige Masters
Attorney, Crowe and Dunlevy
Paige Masters is an expert in the fast-paced world of trial law, where she focuses primarily on complex civil disputes between commercial entities while advocating for her clients in everything from bad faith to trade secrets and fraud. Masters loves the “people with whom I work and the clients we represent,” she says. “I have had the pleasure of working alongside and learning from some of the smartest, most talented and thoughtful attorneys and legal professionals in the nation. I am likewise lucky to work with amazing clients.” In college, Masters was inspired to go to law school by volunteering with a domestic violence shelter and Court Appointed Special Advocates. While she went to law school planning to focus on child abuse and neglect, she fell in love with all spheres of law and was offered a full-time job with Crowe and Dunlevy upon her graduation in 2012. Crediting her hard work ethic to her parents, Masters always aims to be the most prepared lawyer in the courtroom. Masters is a certified aerobics instructor, serves as a volunteer at Oklahoma Lawyers for Children and her church, and enjoys spending time with her family.
24. Katie Sommer Lee
Attorney, Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger and Green
As a new partner at one of the oldest insurance defense litigation/corporate law firms in Oklahoma, Katie Sommer Lee focuses on workers compensation defense litigation and a slew of other legal needs. “I love being presented with challenging issues and coming up with creative solutions to obtain quality results,” she says. Although she excels as an attorney, she was hesitant to join the sector. “Both of my parents were attorneys, so I grew up wanting to do anything other than practice law for a living,” she says. “Fast forward a few years and here I am. It must be in the genes.” When it comes to her career, she takes one piece of counsel seriously. “The best advice I have ever received is that your reputation is paramount,” she says. “It is a constant reminder to lead life with integrity and to do the right thing, even when doing the right thing is hard.” Sommer Lee volunteers her time with child advocacy groups, including the Care Center and Positive Tomorrows. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, 3-year-old daughter and French bulldogs, along with experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen.
23. Kate Cofer
Principal architect, KKT Architects
Kate Cofer balances a variety of duties at KKT Architects. As the business engagement lead, she works to elevate the firm’s design acumen, explore marketing initiatives and develop client engagement activities. She also works on multiple architectural projects. “I don’t necessarily fit into a typical one-size-fits-all category,” she says. “At my core, I just want to do good and reliable work that helps our business and community to grow and advance.” The diversity of the job keeps it exciting, says Cofer, who credits “lots of Starbucks and the willingness to speak up” as her keys to success. She has known her career calling since a fourth grade architecture project. “I immediately jumped in,” she says. “I love solving puzzles, space planning and having diverse things to work on.” Apart from creating spaces that improve people’s lives, Cofer has also been an adjunct professor at Oklahoma State University. In her spare time, she donates her talents to the American Institute of Architects and the National Architecture Accreditation Board. She also enjoys yoga and volunteering at YWCA, and she and her husband are expecting a second child in August.
22. Gianny Romero
Project manager, Flintco
Gianny Romero provides management supervision to project personnel on construction projects while ensuring that projects are completed in compliance with safety standards, within budget and on schedule. She is also responsible for “overall management direction for all the functions required to successfully deliver projects, including assuring sufficient resource allocation and client satisfaction,” she says. Her favorite part of the job is the “active and ever-changing nature that keeps every day interesting.” Romero was born into a construction family – and she found the same passion. “My grandfather was a residential builder and my father is in the glazing business,” she says. “It was clear early on that we shared a mutual interest in the construction industry.” In her off time, Romero enjoys going on cruises at the lake and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. “There’s nothing better than helping build a home for a family in need and then actually meeting them, learning their story and watching them move in,” she says.
21. Allison Petersen
General counsel, INTEGRIS Health
Allison Petersen always knew she would help others but wanted to find a different way to do so than entering into health care itself. “My chosen career path did not allow me to directly care for patients – I hated chemistry – but I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who devote their lives to healing others,” she says. “I love that I get to be a part of the INTEGRIS team, even if it is up in an office clearing up the confusion of a burdensome regulation or behind a computer providing a path for fair compensation.” As part of the general counsel for the largest health system in the state, Petersen is responsible for ensuring INTEGRIS complies with all federal and state regulations while protecting business operations. And she’s got the expertise to lead – with both a master’s degree in health administration and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. “I enjoy problem-solving and love learning from others, so becoming a corporate attorney is a natural fit for me,” she says. “I see what INTEGRIS means to our patients and the role we want to play in improving the health of our state. I’m proud to play a small part in those achievements.” Off the clock, Petersen enjoys spending time with her husband and son and volunteering with the Emergency Medical Service Authority trust and the American Health Lawyers Association.
20. Matthew Youngblood
At Garver, Matthew Youngblood acts as a project manager and engineer with specific expertise in construction and rehabilitation for highway projects. “I love making an impact on the community in which we work and live,” he says. “Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some of the largest and most complicated engineering projects – not only in Oklahoma but throughout the country, but I’m just as proud of the local community project down the street.” In high school, Youngblood says he was a poor student, but, after experiencing a devastating car accident, he changed his mindset. “After recovering, even at that young of an age, I asked myself that if I would have died then and there, what value would my life have had,” he says. “I asked myself, ‘What did you do? Would your own parents even have been proud of you?’ In those moments, I decided I was going to do something with my life.” The highlight of Youngblood’s job is chairing GarverGives, the firm’s corporate giving arm. Along with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives, GarverGives also works with organizations fighting homelessness, developmental disabilities and pediatric cancer. Youngblood, an avid camper, looks forward to the outdoor season with his wife and daughter every year.
19. David Stiles
Senior assurance manager, HoganTaylor
As a certified public accountant, David Stiles helps clients through complicated financial issues with his audit and advisory services. “I love working in an environment that challenges me to think both strategically and technically,” he says. “Every day presents itself with a new opportunity to serve my clients, community and peers.” Like putting pieces together in a puzzle, problem-solving and strategic thinking drew Stiles to accounting. “When faced with a complex situation, I enjoy managing all the variables until they are arranged in the most productive configuration possible,” he says. Stiles is proud of his contributions to a new software program called myPortal, which simplifies client requests. “This achievement not only distinguishes our firm from the competition but makes the lives of our teams and clients better,” he says. Stiles uses his talents for a variety of charitable efforts; he serves on the leadership team of the Nonprofit Practice Group at HoganTaylor, volunteers at church and acts as treasurer on the board at Clarehouse, which provides a home for terminally ill people. He also enjoys outdoor activities, exploring new technology and spending time with his wife and 1-year-old daughter.
18. Evan Moore
Physician, Eastern Oklahoma Ear, Nose and Throat
Otolaryngologist Evan Moore sees patients of all ages with diseases of the head and neck. Splitting his time between the office and the operating room, he handles anything from a “simple ear tube placement or tonsillectomy to extensive cancer surgeries of the mouth, throat or neck region,” he says. Moore enjoys working for an independent, physician-owned practice and his ability to give control back to those he serves. “Spending time with patients and educating them on ways to try to cure or manage disease processes often helps them – not only with their ailment but the stress of this loss of control,” he says. Moore became inspired to go into health care after volunteering at a hospital in college. “At first, it seemed so busy and random, but I soon realized this place was full of people caring for the sick and the needy,” he says. “Everyone had a different but critical role.” Moore enjoys spending time with his family, fishing and volunteering at his church, the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa School of Community Medicine and the Bedlam Clinic, which supports working people who are uninsured. “It is a great way to provide care for those who often fall through the cracks in our current medical system,” he says.
17. Doug Wichman
Director of manufacturing, AAON
Doug Wichman has a big job – overseeing all manufacturing operations for AAON, a Fortune 500 heating, ventilation and air conditioning manufacturer. “It is my job to define and execute a sound production strategy to ensure we meet the customers’ expectations,” he says. “This involves thorough planning and coordination between internal and external resources.” A team player, Wichman credits his co-workers for making AAON a great place to come to work, and he strives to return that favor. “As a leader at AAON, I want to make a positive impact for the company and our customers, but I will never overlook the opportunity to make a positive impact for all 2,000-plus team members I work with,” he says. Wichman is passionate about children in the foster care system because he grew up in a family of 15 children in an adoptive/foster family. “Seeing many of my siblings come in and out of the system in search for their forever homes has definitely played a major role in who I am today,” he says. “It is because of my upbringing that I am involved directly and indirectly with many youth-oriented activities,” including time spent at United Way and Junior Achievement.
16. Patrick G. Colvin
Attorney, Jones, Gotcher and Bogan
As a civil litigator, Patrick Colvin represents clients in a variety of cases, including torts, contract claims, fraud and consumer protection. “Every day is different,” he says. “One day I might be interviewing witnesses. The next I might be arguing a motion to a judge.” Colvin, who has several lawyers in his family, felt his abilities fell in line with the same line of work. “The skill sets that I have – being inquisitive, organized and driven – are a good fit for this profession,” he says. One of the highlights of his job is mentoring prospective attorneys. “Our firm frequently hosts externs from the University of Tulsa law school,” he says. “We have the privilege of helping to shape these young persons to become competent, diligent lawyers.” A partner in the firm at 30, Colvin uses his expertise for the fundraising team at Tulsa Legal Aid. “We solicit donations from law firms and other persons,” he says. “Tulsa Legal Aid provides legal work for the underserved, including people at risk of eviction.” Colvin is an avid runner and has participated in five marathons. He enjoys visiting local breweries with his friends and playing with his new puppy, Gracie.
15. Lisa Mogelnicki
Foot and ankle surgeon, The Orthopaedic Center
Her high school and college job of being an athletic trainer led Lisa Mogelnicki to a career as a foot and ankle surgeon. “I enjoyed treating those injuries the most,” she says. “As an athletic trainer, we tended to the injuries acutely and then performed the rehab post-operatively or after the physician’s evaluation. I wanted to be a part of the whole process.” Now, Mogelnicki evaluates and treats foot and ankle conditions, operates on patients and works in a wound care clinic. A favorite part of her job is “making people feel better physically, which ultimately improves their overall disposition,” she says. Curating strong relationships with her patients makes her proud and she views the healing process as a team effort. “We work together,” she says. “I am able to educate [patients] on proper foot care and they have to follow through with my instructions.” Mogelnicki volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates, Domestic Violence Intervention Services and the Day Center for the Homeless, enjoys spending time with loved ones and owns a rescue pitbull and lizard.
14. Brad Barnhart
Operations general manager, Cherokee Nation
Strategic Programs – Cherokee Nation Businesses
In his role with Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs, Brad Barnhart oversees more than 600 employees nationwide and executes contracts with the U.S. government. “I love that every day brings new challenges and new opportunities to support the Cherokee Nation,” he says. “I always wanted to lead a company, and the opportunity presented itself with Cherokee Nation Businesses five years ago.” More than an excellent leader, Barnhart enjoys that his job gives others the opportunity to thrive. “Every day, our company is striving to create opportunities for the Cherokee Nation,” he says. “Through the efforts of our company, we create employment opportunities for hundreds of people and fulfill our financial commitments to the Cherokee Nation [by] supporting their education services, hospital construction and community infrastructure improvements.” As general manager, Barnhart takes a “we, not me” approach. “I have found success in my career because I surrounded myself with smart, successful people who are all focused on achieving the same goals,” he says. Barnhart spends time outside of work with his family and is also an avid woodworker.
13. Jackie Price Johannsen
President, Price Family Properties
Jackie Price Johannsen works doggedly to breathe new life into downtown Tulsa through her work at Price Family Properties. The company owns and operates more than 2.5 million square feet of commercial and residential properties – many of which are historic Art Deco structures – and restores them. “I love seeing our visions come to life,” she says. “A lot of time and energy goes into the details of building out an office space, building a parking garage or converting an old office building into residential unit, and to see the final project is so rewarding.” Johannsen was a corporate lawyer in New York before returning to Tulsa to work with her family. “I had never imagined being in real estate, but it has been such an interesting career change,” she says. “To hear how much people love living and working downtown, or to overhear visitors say that Tulsa is so much cooler than they expected, makes me so proud to know that we are doing our small part in making downtown Tulsa better.” Johannsen volunteers her time with Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, which provides post-secondary education and other resources to underserved Tulsans. She and her husband are expecting a second son in August.
12. Andrew R. Davis
Lawyer, Calvert Law Firm
Andrew Davis represents clients in a variety of legal matters, from breach of contract and business disputes to complex commercial litigation, fraud and oil and gas issues. “I love having the opportunity to help and counsel people throughout the legal process, which is often confusing and stressful,” he says. “I am proud to be an advocate for my clients and help them level the playing field against money, power and influence.” Davis’ proudest moments are helping his clients achieve successful jury verdicts and donating his time to low-income people through Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. “It is a blessing to be able to represent someone who might not otherwise have access to legal representation,” he says. If he weren’t a lawyer, he might be a professional athlete. “I played basketball at Texas A&M University-Commerce,” he says. “I may have tried to play professional basketball in another country, perhaps Spain or Australia.” Outside work, Davis enjoys time with his wife and daughter, who have seen lots of positive change in the last year. “We bought a new house and found out my wife is pregnant with our second daughter,” he says.
11. W.H. ‘Wink’ Kopczynski III
Acquisitions project manager, Paladin Land Group
As a Paladin landman, W.H. “Wink” Kopczynski III manages and directs a variety of oil and gas professionals and acquires oil and gas interests for his clients, who range from start-ups to established companies. “Each day brings new challenges and rewards,” says Kopczynski, a third-generation oil and gas worker. “Landmen are often the ‘boots on the ground’ for this industry, so to be able to represent multiple companies in front of many different communities and families throughout this great state is very rewarding.” Outside work, Kopczynskivolunteers his time with the Tulsa Area United Way, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and various industry groups, like the Tulsa Association of Petroleum Landmen. “My involvement with [those charities] has truly been incredibly rewarding, but also a very real dose of reality in recognizing the many blessings in my life,” he says. Kopczynski enjoys golfing, University of Oklahoma football and traveling with his wife, “usually to a beach where our phones get little to no signal – or at least where we can pretend to not get a signal.”
10. Kassi Roselius
Physician, medical professional director and public health coordinator, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services
To say Kassi Roselius wears many hats would be an understatement. First, she is a family physician who sees patients of all ages for preventive medical needs; performs well-child checks; offers prenatal care; handles procedures for contraception; and manages patients’ chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension. Second, she is a medical professional director who “assists in the direct leadership of colleagues, including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.” In that role, she is a voting member of the governing body of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Third, she is the Nation’s public health coordinator, providing access to immunizations and promoting healthy lifestyles with outreach programs. The favorite part of her job is “getting to know my patients and their families,” says Roselius, adding that she is proud when “patients can find some relief or satisfaction in a diagnosis or treatment.” Her multi-faceted job with the Nation combines all that she seeks as a professional: the ability to be her own boss; science; and serving others. Roselius is a self-described “foodie” and in her spare time enjoys running, reading, dancing and live music.
9. Heath Evans
Surgeon, Eastern Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Heath Evans treats a variety of issues, diseases and disorders of the face and jaw. These include everything from dental implants and tooth removals to treating tumors, bone grafting and corrective jaw surgery. A favorite part of his job is the collection of people he interacts with – both co-workers and patients. “I have the opportunity to meet so many different people and try and impact their lives and health in a positive way,” says Evans, adding that he especially enjoys “taking great care of someone who is terrified to be there and giving him or her a positive outcome.” His father and brother are both dentists, so Evans felt a pull to enter the same sector. Active in philanthropic efforts around Tulsa, Evans spends time with the Eastern Oklahoma Donated Dental Services, Little Light House and YWCA. He also has a special love for the Mental Health Association. “Substance abuse has touched [family members’] lives, and opioid abuse is a big issue in my profession, so the Mental Health Association is a natural fit,” he says. Outside work, Evans enjoys spending time with his family on skiing trips or at Grand Lake.
8. Amy Summers
Chief executive officer, Red River Youth Academy
Amy Summers leads the charge at the Red River Youth Academy, an inpatient mental health facility for children and adolescents with behavioral disorders. She coordinates all interdisciplinary care, oversees the staff and ensures the facility is prepared for any situation. Summers loves the hands-on part of her leadership role, which allows her to be directly involved with all programs. While the job seems daunting, Summers has prepared for it her entire life. “Growing up, I was always the ‘good girl’ who gave advice and direction to my peers,” she says. “This led me to wanting to work with troubled youth and, in turn, to the counseling profession.” After she became a licensed counselor, her ambition led her to administration. In her spare time, Summers volunteers with the Batten Disease Support and Research Association; her daughter was diagnosed with the nervous system disease at just 22 months old. “I attended Rare Disease Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in February and spoke to legislators about various issues facing the children and families affected by rare diseases,” she says.
7. Joel Daniel Phillips
San Francisco transplant Joel Daniel Phillips moved to Tulsa in 2017, when he was selected for the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. He anticipated Tulsa as a place to enjoy a transformative – but brief – experience; instead, it has become his permanent home. Phillips says working for himself is a major benefit – and what took him out of the graphic design business more than seven years ago. “I get to decide on a moment-by-moment basis what is important or interesting to me and then respond to that,” he says. Phillips’ work has been showcased around the country, including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. He has a solo exhibition in New York this fall. He often uses his art as social commentary and cites a series of life-size portraits of his disenfranchised neighbors in San Francisco as an example. “What started as a way to get to know my neighbors very quickly became using portraiture to celebrate the value of folks whom larger society had chosen to overlook,” he says. Phillips is recently engaged and enjoys woodworking, outdoor activities and a sandlot baseball club.
6. Morgan Hager
Vice president of health, safety, environmental and regulatory, Chesapeake Energy
Operational integrity is the goal for Morgan Hager, who supports a team of oil and gas professionals and maintains a focus on health, safety, and environmental and regulatory excellence at Chesapeake. “Our values, ‘the who we are,’ is a commitment to enabling safe and environmentally responsible operations and incorporates our societal and governance programs and initiatives,” she says. Hager enjoys her co-workers and the collaborative environment at Chesapeake. “Every day we work through challenges and do it together,” she says. “We have a clear vision, which allows us to collaborate, create work/life harmony for each other, have variety in our work, be autonomous, and still come out at the end of a challenge with an innovative solution to make us better each day.” Hager’s interest in math, science and engineering, combined with her love for people and making the world a better place, landed her in this role. “I wanted the world to be safer, cleaner and healthier,” she says. Hager is on the executive leadership team at the Central Oklahoma American Heart Association; the involvement was inspired by her husband, Dustin, who was born with a congenital heart defect. Off the clock, Hager spends time with her family and supports the Oklahoma City Thunder.
5. Bridget Goodacre
Construction manager, Cowen Construction
Bridget Goodacre is a fan of variety, so she’s found the perfect job as a construction manager. “I love that my job is so dynamic; no two days are the same,” she says. “I oversee construction projects from start to finish with accountability for the budget and schedule. Some of my other day-to-day responsibilities include supporting my project team, interacting with project owners and local jurisdictions, contract management and conflict resolution.” Other highlights of the job include the finished projects – “every day you can see something was accomplished” – and showing her children the buildings she’s completed. The project she considers her greatest achievement, the Rose District mixed-use building, is underway. “It is a landmark development for downtown Broken Arrow and I’m very proud to be a part of it,” says Goodacre, who believes success comes from devotion. “I feel personally vested in my projects and I love to dive into the details.” Off the clock, she loves the outdoors and spends time on the water, coaching her son’s soccer team and camping – and she even has a cul-de-sac Wiffle ball tournament planned for this summer.
4. Robert Lee
Mayor, City of Jenks; art director, University of Oklahoma National Resource Center for Youth Services
Robert Lee juggles two important jobs – one as the mayor of Jenks and the other as a graphic designer. The former is a volunteer role, the latter his profession. “As mayor, I work with the city council, city staff, residents and regional partners to make the city a better place to live,” he says. “The people I get to work with are my favorite part of serving the city. I’m incredibly proud of our residents, my colleagues on the council, the Jenks Chamber of Commerce and local business owners, city staff, the Oklahoma Aquarium, and our police, fire and public works departments.” His job as a graphic designer is rewarding because “I love helping organizations with the great work they’re doing,” he says. “Visual elements can make a huge impact on the success of any project, and I consider it an honor to assist with that extra push.” In both jobs, Lee finds joy in tangible accomplishments that improve people’s lives. His greatest achievement is bringing curbside recycling to Jenks. “Because of this program, thousands of pounds of recyclables are diverted from landfills each week and are put to better use by the folks at American Waste Control.” Lee, who is married to a previous 40 Under 40 honoree, enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and playing music.
3. Ben J. Harvey
Ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist, Dean McGee Eye Institute; clinical assistant professor, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
Helping patients maintain their vision and improve their quality of life makes the long hours and hard work worth it for Ben Harvey. As an ophthalmologist, he treats a variety of eye conditions with a focus on glaucoma and has recently added teaching at the University of Oklahoma to his professional duties. The favorite parts of his job are the relationships, where he can “get to know my patients and their families through continuity of care, as glaucoma is an incurable, lifelong disease requiring perpetual monitoring.” Harvey works closely with the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology, a nonprofit devoted to protecting Oklahomans’ vision. There, he’s worked on legislation for early access to eye drop refills. He is also involved in the Novitas Contractor Advisor Committee and is passionate about providing eye protection for young athletes in Oklahoma. “There should be no educational or monetary barriers prohibiting our population from preventable and potentially blinding eye injuries, especially when it comes to our pediatric population,” he says. In his off time, Harvey spends time with his wife and children, reading and working on his yard.
2. Jeannine Renault Irwin
District agency business consultant and office manager, Farmers Insurance – Robert Irwin and Associates
Jeannine Renault Irwin works closely with her team to create strategic planning and management for agents at Farmers Insurance. “Much of my expertise is centered on marketing strategies, community engagement and technology training,” she says. “Our job is never boring. Any given day brings in its own set of tasks and challenges, but the people that we surround ourselves with is the biggest perk.” Irwin’s husband, Rob, has been with Farmers for more than 30 years, and she chose to build and strengthen its agent base in Tulsa. “I moved around a lot as a child, and it was important to both of us that our children get to be brought up in a city where both parents are strongly rooted,” she says. Irwin has been involved with the Philbrook Museum for nearly a decade by serving on its board of trustees and helping to plan the Philbrook Wine Experience. She is also involved with Tulsa Ballet and volunteers with the National Charity League. When she’s not sitting courtside at her daughters’ tennis matches, she enjoys spending time with friends over dinner. “So many great meals and stories happen when you share wine with friends,” she says.
1. Kristen Thomas
Instructional design specialist, Cherokee Nation
“Every two weeks, a language dies,” Kristen Thomas says. “There are about 2,300 native speakers of the Cherokee language. Without significant intervention, the Cherokee language could face extinction in less than 40 years.” Thomas works diligently to prevent that from happening with the Cherokee language master/apprentice program, a two-year adult language immersion program whose goal is to “create new, proficient Cherokee speakers and teachers,” Thomas says. “My job is to facilitate a natural, progressive learning environment for Cherokee language learners.” While mastering a new language can be frustrating at times, Thomas’ favorite parts of the job are watching students “gain the confidence to speak the language and go on to teach Cherokee to others,” along with seeing native Cherokee speakers talk with second language learners for the first time. “To see their eyes light up with hope fills my heart,” she says. Recently, Thomas helped organize the first celebration of Cherokee speakers in U.S. history, with more than 600 native speakers in attendance. “That day is one that I will remember as one of the most rewarding days of my life,” she says. She also spends her spare time volunteering with youth leadership programs, relaxing with her family and learning new art forms.