Art is subjective, and the beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Our readers, then, must have beautiful eyes. Sculptor Rosalind Cook has once again garnered the most votes for Best Artist. Working in bronze, the sculptor focuses on both large and small works. P.S. Gordon focuses on portraits and still lifes, and his works have graced the walls of New York galleries as well as homes with private collections. Otto Duecker is a painter that specializes in New Realism. His works are exhibited in galleries around the country as well as collected by individuals and museums, including Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Philbrook Museum.
After what can only be seen as a wildly successful career in the NBA, what is one to do? Why, paint, of course. Desmond Mason is reinventing himself as a well-known artist in his hometown of Oklahoma City, creating canvases that showcase emotional works. Fine artist Greg Burns specializes in finely detailed ink and watercolor works. His art has traveled all around the world to be both exhibited and collected. Denise Duong is a young, up-and-coming artist in Oklahoma City who is known for her mixed media images.
There are many organizations in need, and there are plenty of ways to give. One of the most popular ways to raise awareness as well as dollars in Oklahoma is with a charity event. In Tulsa, Red Ribbon Gala, designed by Talmadge Powell Creative and benefiting Tulsa CARES, was voted most popular charity event. Tulsa CARES provides social services to those affected by HIV and AIDS. Coming in next is Painted Pony Ball, designed by Joe Mathis and benefiting The Children’s Hospital Foundation at Saint Francis. The foundation is a supporting organization of The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis, the only dedicated hospital for children in the eastern part of Oklahoma. Fashion A Cure, designed by Fashion A Cure committee members and benefiting Oklahoma Project Woman, raises funds to help women afford life-saving mammograms. Carnivale, designed by Talmadge Powell Creative and benefiting Mental Health Association in Tulsa, is one of Tulsa’s most memorable parties with a good cause.
In Oklahoma City, it’s Red Tie Night, designed by the Red Tie Night volunteer committee and benefiting Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, that brings out the big names in the state’s biggest city. The organization, whose mission is to raise awareness while lowering the number of those affected by HIV and AIDS, threw a memorable party in 2013 and drew a sizable crowd that included Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and NFL star Adrian Peterson. Boots & Ball Gowns Gala, designed by Boots & Ball Gowns Gala volunteer committee members and benefiting Infant Crisis Services, is a perennial favorite among Oklahoma Magazine readers. Famous faces, including Oklahoma’s own Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, came out to raise money for the organization, whose mission is that no baby goes hungry. One of Oklahoma City’s most elegant affairs, Renaissance Ball, designed by event chairs Tina and Elby Beal and Renaissance Ball planning committee and benefiting Oklahoma City Museum of Art, was again a success in 2012. With a theme of “A Decade Downtown,” the museum celebrated the 10th anniversary of its downtown location.
When dining out, customers expect a great meal. In the Sooner State, getting a new and exciting meal with artistic flair and gourmet flourishes is becoming easier with the mix of new and seasoned chefs. Readers know that Justin Thompson, executive chef and owner of Juniper and Prhyme, has proven himself time and again as a force with which to be reckoned. James Shrader, executive chef at Palace Café, fuses Asian inspirations with a bit of Northwest flair to create dishes that are as memorable as they are delicious. Tuck Curren, the venerable chef/owner of Biga and Local Table catering services, certainly knows his way around the kitchen, and diners know it.
Oklahoma City culinary scene veteran Ryan Parrott, formerly the executive chef of Local, is once gain the top vote-getter in this year’s “The Best of the Best.” Parrott is currently endeavoring to open his own restaurant, Tamazul, in Oklahoma City’s chic Classen Curve. Andrew Black, vice president of culinary operations at Williams & Associates Hospitality and executive chef of Flint, Vast, Vast Events and Colcord Catering, garnered second place in this year’s survey. Jonathon Stranger, one half of the popular duo of chefs that operate the kitchens of Ludivine, a farm-to-table concept restaurant in Oklahoma City, comes in third this year.
A great work environment starts at the top. Leadership is key in having happy and productive employees. This year, our readers chose Jake Henry Jr., CEO of Saint Francis Health System, as the top CEO. Henry has been at the helm of Saint Francis since 2002, and under his tutelage, the hospital has seen major growth, including expansion of key departments and the opening of new facilities. Billionaire philanthropist George Kaiser, CEO of GBK Corp., also earns recognition for his leadership over several companies, including Kaiser-Francis Oil Company and BOK Financial Corp. Paula Marshall is the CEO of The Bama Companies and rounds out our top three Best CEOs. Marshall started from scratch at her family’s company by filling racks with pie shells at the company’s manufacturing plant.
He may be just a small-town boy at heart, but billionaire Harold Hamm has created one of the most successful energy companies in the country, Continental Resources. Since being elected president and CEO of Devon Energy, John Richels has overseen major growth in the company, including the completion of the now-iconic Devon Tower, which towers over an ever-growing downtown Oklahoma City. OU Medical Center’s Cole Eslyn, who recently retired from the post, rounds out our top three Best CEOs in the Oklahoma City area. AS CEO, Eslyn oversaw Oklahoma’s largest hospital and the only Trauma One center in the state.
Company to Work For
Plenty of things make a company the best to work for. It could be terrific benefits, use of the company gym, even casual Fridays. Williams Companies receives the top nod for its dedication to employees in terms of insurance and tuition assistance, paid time off and commitment to diversity. With employees at dozens of locations in at least 10 states, QuikTrip offers great incentives for employees, including promotions, bonuses and tuition reimbursement; no wonder they’re tops with our Tulsa readers. ONEOK, a leader in the diversified energy industry, provides a comprehensive benefit package to employees, including 401(k) matching and the relocation packages. Cherokee Nation Businesses employs more than 6,000, with special emphasis on creating jobs for Cherokees. Saint Francis Health System’s focus is on making its patients well, and that philosophy spills over to its employees, as well. Saint Francis employees have a full benefits package as well as access to the facility’s award winning gym, Saint Francis Health Zone. Manhattan Construction provides its employees excellent comprehensive benefits package as well as bonuses and 401(k) matching.
Though Chesapeake Energy has undergone a change in CEO this year, the work climate for the energy company’s more than 12,000 employees has not changed. Employees still enjoy access to several on-campus restaurants, a full benefits package, gym and a community garden. Competitive salaries and benefits packages are a hallmark of SandRidge Energy. Continental Resources’ relatively new relocation of its headquarters to Oklahoma City has provided a much larger hiring pool for this expanding energy company. OU Medicine believes in the basic tenets of professionalism, caring, communication, quality and innovation in its workplace, which is why top-tier health care professionals opt for careers at the hospital. The Chickasaw Nation ties for third with OU Medicine as Best Company To Work For. The nation provides employment and employment programs for thousands of individuals committed to improving the quality of life for Chickasaw people.
Just the mention of these people, places and landmarks conjures up greatness in Okies. In Tulsa, the BOK Center earns the nod as top landmark in the area, and it’s no surprise. Similarly, ONEOK Field, home of the Tulsa Drillers, has transformed the Greenwood District into the place to be during baseball season. The stadium fills with baseball enthusiasts happily chomping on their peanuts and Crackerjacks. And how could readers forget about the man that started it all, the Tulsa Golden Driller? They can’t, of course, which is why he rounds out the top three in Best Local
It’s no surprise that one of the biggest NBA stars in the world was named Best Local Icon in Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant led the Oklahoma City Thunder to its first 60-win season and to the second round of the 2013 play-offs. Second in voting in this category is the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Known as The Peake, it plays hosts to numerous concerts and attractions during the NBA off-season. Psychedelic rock group the Flaming Lips, who have called Oklahoma City home for its entire existence, rounds out the votes for Best Local Icon.
Local Radio Personality
Whether it’s in the car or at work, Oklahomans love their radio personalities. They keep us entertained in traffic jams and during crunchtime. In Tulsa, AM 1430 or AM 1300 The Buzz Sports Network’s Chris Plank keeps us entertained with inside analysis on everything from baseball to car racing. The Best of the Best veteran Lynn Herandez with 97.5 KMOD comes in second in voting this year. Hernandez plays contemporary as well as classic rock jams during the day and on Saturday nights. It’s 100.9 KXOJ’s Heather Miles that rounds out Tulsa’s top three Best Local Radio Personalities. Her morning show on this contemporary Christian radio station makes that morning commute a little bit easier.
In Oklahoma City, it seems radio personalities come in pairs. Tops on this year’s list are Drew and Kaci with 98.9 KYIS. The duo makes the afternoon commute home a little more bearable with interesting conversations with listeners as well as pop culture tidbits. Jack and Ron, also a part of the 98.9 KYIS family, have broadcast their morning show for more than 15 years. Rounding out the top three in Oklahoma City are Joey & Heather, who have produced their morning show for years, keeping Oklahoma City listeners in good spirits before they’ve even had morning coffee.
Local TV Personality
TV personalities serve an important part in our lives; they’re who we turn to when we need to find out the latest happenings in our community. Readers have once again named Chera Kimiko of KOTV Channel 6 as the top newscaster in Tulsa. Her in-depth reporting and professional demeanor have won her legions of fans across the state. Terry Hood, the evening anchor for KOTV Channel 6, comes in second in this year’s contest. Her investigative reporting and interesting profiles have made the reporter a pillar of Channel 6 since 1987. With numerous Emmys and other recognitions under her belt, Karen Larsen, KJRH Channel 2’s evening anchor, rounds out our top three. In addition to her anchor duties, Larsen has produced several health-related series and documentaries that have won her recognition.
A veteran in Oklahoma broadcasting, Linda Cavanaugh earns nods as the Best Local TV Personality in Oklahoma City, and it’s no surprise; this evening anchor has earned more than 30 national awards for reporting as well as 15 Emmys. Kelly Ogle nabs the second spot this year. Ogle, perhaps most famous for his “My Two Cents” segments, is the evening anchor at KWTV Channel 9. Kevin Ogle, at KFOR Channel 4, is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who co-anchors the weeknight news with Cavanaugh.
With Oklahoma’s ever-changing weather, it’s important to have trustworthy professionals letting you know what’s going on in – or coming out of – the sky. In Tulsa, Travis Meyer, chief meteorologist at KOTV Channel 6 is the man with the plan and the man our readers most often tune in to hear the latest weather, rain or shine. KJRH Channel 2’s chief meteorologist, Dan Threlkeld, has developed the trust of his viewers with accurate forecasting and a calm demeanor. Another meteorology veteran, Dick Faurot has advised viewers on Oklahoma weather patterns for 20 years as a meteorologist at KOTV Channel 6.
It’s no surprise that KWTV Channel 9 chief meteorologist Gary England received top votes for his forecasting skills. This veteran of Oklahoma weather is internationally known for his predictions and warnings, especially during tornado weather. Mike Morgan, chief meteorologist for Oklahoma City’s KFOR Channel 4, has been a part of the KFOR team for 20 years now. David Payne, a recent addition to KWTV Channel 9 but a trusted name in Oklahoma City weather coverage, is an on-air meteorologist as well as a storm chaser.
Although “small” is a subjective term, for those that live in one of the state’s two largest metro areas, these suburbs certainly seem quaint compared to the urban setting of Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Tulsa readers have weighed in on top small town, and Owasso, with its large residential areas and plethora of shopping, received the most votes. Jenks is also a popular choice, with its quaint downtown area as well as riverfront shopping and dining. Bixby, once a speck on the south side of Tulsa, has become a live-work-play destination.
Guthrie, that model of timeless Victorian towns, grabs the top spot for Best Small Town among Oklahoma City readers. Oklahoma’s first capital city still retains the charm of historic storefronts and gingerbread homes, but modern amenities are also available in this city of roughly 10,000. Edmond, which sits just south of Guthrie, boasts a population eight times that of Guthrie, but its quaint downtown and family-friendly activities and festivals give this suburb a small-town feel. A July 4 celebration that is recognized as one of the best in the nation, along with one of the state’s largest public universities, are also highlights of Edmond. Sandwiched between two of the three largest cities in Oklahoma, Moore – once a largely residential community – has seen growth in business as well as entertainment. Movie theaters, shopping and dining are all standard in this resilient community.