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OKCU Hall of Honor inducts leaders of community, business

Richard Clements, Stephen Prescott, and Pat and Ray Potts will be inducted in the Hall of Honor on Oct. 19. Not pictured is honoree Thomas Hoenig. Photo Chris Landsberger/ The Oklahoman.
Richard Clements, Stephen Prescott, and Pat and Ray Potts will be inducted in the Hall of Honor on Oct. 19. Not pictured is honoree Thomas Hoenig. Photo Chris Landsberger/ The Oklahoman.
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Five individuals who have clearly made significant contributions to the growth and development of Oklahoma will be inducted into the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor by Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business on Oct. 19.

The 2017 inductees are Ray and Pat Potts with the Lifetime Achievement Award, Richard Clements with the Outstanding Achievement Award, Tom Hoenig with the Chairman's Award and Stephen Prescott with the President’s Award. They will be celebrated during the 31st annual Hall of Honor luncheon at the Cox Convention Center.

The newest inductees will join the 114 individuals already inducted into the Hall of Honor.

“Over the years, the Hall of Honor has grown into an impressive group of individuals who have not only made Oklahoma a better place, but have also left their mark on the country through their work and commitment,” said Melissa Cory, director of communications and the school’s executive and professional education.

Cory called the event an opportunity to celebrate visionaries, leaders and role models for OKCU students, who are the next generation of business and community leaders.

“We are thrilled to honor leaders who have made significant contributions to our state and region through their dedication and support to our community,” she said.

The Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor luncheon is the premier event benefitting the Meinders School of Business scholarship program.

Corporate sponsorships and individual tickets are still available. To register, contact Cory at 405-208-5540 or mcory@okcu.edu. Online registration is also available online on the Hall of Honor page at okcu.edu/business.

Richard Clements

Founder, Clements Foods

If you live in Oklahoma, chances are food made at Clements Foods has enhanced your meal.

The company — which makes preserves, peanut butter, condiments, vinegar and more — was founded by Richard Clements and his late father in 1953.

Richard Clements. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.
Richard Clements. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.
“If there hadn’t been Clements Foods, I’m not sure specifically what I would have done, but I’m sure that I would have been in business with my father,” Clements said.

The company makes more than 1,000 different uniquely labeled products. Though Clements Foods products are sold at most local groceries, 95 percent of its inventory is trucked outside of the state. Some is exported throughout the world.

Looking back at 64 years of growing a family-owned business, Clements said he loved every minute. Taking care of his employees is part of that.

“I’m proudest of the jobs that we have created and what we’ve done for our employees,” Clements said. “We continue to pay a Christmas bonus and the amount has become very significant for our employees. We have never laid off any of our employees. Early on, we offered health insurance to our employees at no cost to them, except for co-pays and deductibles...” 

The company has followed the same management philosophy:

“We have grown steadily through the years, expanding our product line and our distribution territory,” he said. “We’ve always tried to improve how we do everything. In business, you have to remain current, or you’ll get left behind.”

While Clements has handed the reigns to his sons, he continues to be a presence within the company – just as his father was before him.

“When he was in town, my father always came to the office for at least part of the day. He continued to do this almost until he passed away in 1987 at the age of 92,” Clements said. “My sons began entering the business full-time after they completed college and business school. In the 1990s we transitioned to them having primary responsibility for things. And, like my father, I continue to go to the office every day for a while at least.” 

Like his foods, Clements is a homegrown product. He attended Oklahoma City public schools, graduating from Classen High School. Selected for the Navy’s V-12 program, he studied at Emory and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1948.

After he served during the Korean War he went into business with his father.

“My father had left the coffee company where he worked for 20 years and where I had worked after college and before being called back into the Navy,” Clements said. “The owner of one coffee company said that he’d be happy to sell us his company, except that he’d just sold it to someone else. We went to see him and learned that he made salad dressings and potato chips…We both realized that there was an opportunity for us to buy a company in Oklahoma City which made salad dressing and other items.”

 “Everything works out for the best I guess,” he added.

 Oklahoma City has always been a great place to live and to raise a family, Clements said.

“I think that it is better now than ever,” he said. 

Yet workforce development and preparedness is one of the biggest challenges facing the community. That’s why he is passionate about improving educational opportunities in the state.

“Many public school districts are doing a great job. But, we need to figure how to help the Oklahoma City Public School District give a better education to our neediest young people,” he said. “I got a great education in Oklahoma City Public Schools and I hope that we can get back to giving that again.”

He also wants to see Oklahoma’s ranking improve for health and lifestyle issues.  

“We need to eat healthier food, be more active, and reduce rates of smoking and the like,” he said. “I think if we can do this, we can attract to Oklahoma City more companies that will offer higher paying jobs which will improve peoples’ standards of living.”

Clements certainly has done his share to make it happen. He has been involved with the United Way for more than 60 years and been active within Allied Arts - to name just a few – giving back to the community that has given him so much.

“My philosophy these days is that if I’d known that I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself,” he said. “Seriously, I’ve been abundantly blessed throughout my life for which I’m most grateful. And, I look forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Thomas M. Hoenig

Vice Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

There is perhaps no one in the regulatory system more outspoken than this year’s Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor inductee Thomas Hoenig – vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It may be a symptom of his 43-years of experience overseeing banks, or perhaps it is simply a reflection of how deeply he cares for his industry.

Thomas Hoenig. Photo provided.
Thomas Hoenig. Photo provided.
After so many years, Hoenig remains passionate about his job.

“The banking industry has the potential to make their communities prosper and to assure a brighter future for our country,” he said.

Despite it being a numbers game, the heart of the industry is helping people and allowing businesses to grow.

“The FDIC provides a foundation for a more stable industry and I am honored to be a part of that,” he said.

Hoenig, who served 38 years in the Federal Reserve system supervising banks before becoming the vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission in 2012, has weathered at least four financial crises. These experiences have only underscored his commitment to making banking better. 

“As Vice Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, I have the opportunity to work with bankers throughout the United States and the world. These individuals care a great deal about their communities and it is my honor to work with them,” he said. “The FDIC helps keep the money that consumers and businesses hold with their banks safe and productive.”

It’s an industry always under scrutiny and not without challenges.

“The industry is consolidating at an incredibly rapid pace,” Hoenig said. “This is changing the very nature of banking and the nature of how businesses borrow and grow in the future.”

As he accepts this award from Meinders School of Business, he gives a nod to the those who are now considering a career in the financial industry and offers some advice to this next generation of bankers: “Any individual who wishes to be part of banking has to be able to share a vision for their community and must want individuals within their community to be as successful or more successful than themselves,” he said.

As a native of Fort Madison, Iowa, who received a doctorate in economics from Iowa State University, he has a special spot in his heart for Oklahoma. Before his role as vice chair of the FDIC, he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which has had an office in Oklahoma for nearly a century. He was part of building that history, working with its bankers and public, for over 40 years.

“Oklahoma is a state full of people with great ideas and great courage, as I have learned so many times over the past four decades,” Hoenig said. “It is my privilege to be receiving this award and to be a formal part of the Oklahoma community. Thank you.”  

 

Ray & Pat Potts

Founders, Potts Family Foundation

The lifeblood of any community is its families and children. The Potts Family Foundation has been making sure the needs of families and children in Oklahoma are met.

Pat and Ray Potts. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.
Pat and Ray Potts. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.
Founders Ray and Pat Potts know that business within a community will prosper if the people within the community are well.

“If we want to survive as a community, we need to use head and heart as part of our decision-making,” Pat said. It’s a piece of wisdom she picked up while earning her MBA.

For decades, the nonprofit organization has made Oklahoma a better place to live by supporting the arts, public education, and early childhood care and development, both independently and through collaboration with other funders.

Pat Potts co-founded the Community Resource Development Foundation and its successor, the Potts Family Foundation. She also founded the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and served as president and CEO for over 20 years.

Pat recalled when the center started and needed to grow, she worked to gain support within the community. The Potts turned to friends and business leaders in the community who understood the difference that this work would make within the community – and Oklahoma City began to embrace the organization.

When Pat retired as executive director of the center in 2000, the Community Development Resource Foundation underwent reorganization and became Potts Family Foundation, a supporting nonprofit. This change granted the ability to expand the focus of giving to beneficiaries of Oklahoma community foundations. In 2015, the foundation became a private foundation adapting to changing regulations and evolving activities. Since its inception, approximately 15,000 organizations have received services and grants of over $6 million.

Pat was also a founder of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition and served on the Oklahoma City School Board, Oklahoma City Beautiful, the Zoo Trust and the Society of Fund Raising Executives. She currently serves on the board of Sunbeam Foundation. Pat was honored by the Journal Record as “Woman of the Year” in 2012.

Pat believes in leveraging resources “to address root causes and build the human potential of the people of our state one child and one organization at a time.”

While Oklahoma is a great place to live, more needs to be done to offer opportunity to all – especially in education and family services.

“We need to focus more on prevention instead of punishment,” Pat said. Focus must be turned to treatment and benefits may be felt throughout the community.

That requires collaboration.

“We need to get better at problem-solving in a non-partisan way,” Pat said.

Ray has always been by her side passionately supporting the foundation’s efforts of making Oklahoma the best place to raise a family.

Ray Potts co-founded Potts Stephenson Exploration Co. Inc. and served as its president and CEO for over 30 years. Ray has served as chairman of the Natural Gas Committee of the Independent Association of Petroleum Geologists of America, and is a past-president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. He served on the State Board of Education and later as the first president of the Oklahoma City Public School Foundation. He also currently serves on the board of Smart Start Oklahoma.

Ray has a particular interest in supporting investment in early childhood education because, “it produces the best return for the individual and for society.”

Ray recounted learning that when a baby is born, its brain houses over one hundred billion neurons that will chart paths based on the social experiences. By the age of two and a half, approximately 85 percent of the baby's neurological growth is complete, meaning the foundation of the brain's capacity is in place. 

“It’s remarkable. The impact the singing, touch and interactions have in getting a child ready to learn for the rest of his or her life is simply remarkable,” he said. “That was a revelation.”

He added that one of the biggest challenges for Oklahoma is having a group of well-educated citizens to fill the jobs coming to the state. Laying the groundwork to fulfill this need must start early.

“Having adequate daycare centers with workers staffed to support the brain development of young children is critical,” he said.

No matter if you are a student graduating from college, a family down on your luck, or a long-time business leader, it takes people like Pat and Ray to make Oklahoma a better place.

“Life is full of challenges and change really requires commitment,” Pat said.

After all, life is not a sprint but a marathon.

“Challenges and disappointment, when met with faith, hope and love can turn into blessings. And with faith, hope and love you can deal with the marathon,” she added.

Stephen Prescott, M.D.

President, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Over the past seven decades, the people of Oklahoma have created a gem of an institution in the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation – furthering the understanding and treatment of human disease. But it has also become an economic driver for Oklahoma, attracting world-class researchers and research funding to the state.

Dr. Stephen Prescott. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.
Dr. Stephen Prescott. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.
Since 2006, Stephen Prescott, M.D., has been at the helm of the organization. He is this year’s Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor President’s Award honoree.

“Successful research requires outstanding scientists, and you attract and retain them by creating a supportive environment,” he said. “Building that environment is key when you’re competing against research universities and institutes like Harvard, Stanford and Scripps, and OMRF has done it through a combination of creating the right space, infrastructure and people. You can see the results in our research output. Our success rates in competing for grants are twice the national average, and multiple drugs and therapeutic products available in hospitals and clinics around the world were born in OMRF’s labs.”

“Oklahomans should be proud of what they’ve built at OMRF, because the research they’re supporting makes a meaningful impact on the lives of patients everywhere,” Prescott added.

Prescott certainly has played a role in this success. A leader in studies of the basic mechanisms of human disease, Prescott came to OMRF from the University of Utah, where he founded the Eccles Program in Human and Molecular Biology & Genetics and served as the executive director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, an NCI‐designated cancer center.

At OMRF, Prescott has raised almost $100 million to fund the largest campus expansion in the foundation’s history. Today, OMRF physicians treat more than 2,000 MS patients while exploring new avenues of clinical research. The MS Center is part of OMRF’s Autoimmune Disease Institute, recognized by the Institutes of Health as one of only 10 Autoimmunity Centers of Excellence in the U.S. Under Stephen’s leadership, The Scientist magazine has repeatedly recognized OMRF as one of its “Best Places to Work” both in academia and for post‐doctoral fellows, and two medications born at OMRF have received FDA approval.

The OMRF’s success highlights the importance of research and science as a vital component of society and the economy.

“As our world grows more and more sophisticated, so do the problems we need to solve,” Prescott said. “Knowledge-based industries like biomedical research are absolutely essential to solving those problems. And like so many innovation-based pursuits, the search for fundamental biological truths yields many downstream benefits: patents, spin-off companies and new treatments for unsolved medical problems.”

For example, the work of OMRF’s scientists has yielded more than 700 domestic and international patents. Those patents speed the movement of discoveries from the bench to bedside, and each one also represents a potential new business venture. “They’ve formed the basis for more than 100 licenses and 15 different spin-off biotechnology companies, which, in turn, fuel widespread private-sector growth. And, most importantly, those patents have led to the creation of life-saving drugs for patients,” he explained.

As a man who has paved the path into the future for many young scientists and medical professionals, he offers some advice to the next generation of doctors and scientists.

“It’s a privilege to work in this area. Patients put their lives in your hands. Never take this responsibility lightly,” he said.

Moreover, it takes dedication and grit to succeed in this field, but it’s important to not lose sight of the bigger picture.

“Make time for family and friends. Few people look back on their careers and think, Gee, I wish I’d worked more. But the time you invest in your loved ones and friends will be the source of more happiness and satisfaction than you can imagine,” he said.

Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor luncheo is Oct. 19 at the Cox Convention Center. Online registration is available on the Hall of Honor page at okcu.edu/business.

Related Photos
Pat and Ray Potts. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.

Pat and Ray Potts. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2f2de2e601341b2f40e1942cff241de4.jpg" alt="Photo - Pat and Ray Potts. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman." title="Pat and Ray Potts. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman."><figcaption>Pat and Ray Potts. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b5ecc413f7ef62a902eb9978f5396709.jpg" alt="Photo - Dr. Stephen Prescott. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman." title="Dr. Stephen Prescott. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman."><figcaption>Dr. Stephen Prescott. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c0e3dd24d52a564c4f9713f1ee687d4b.jpg" alt="Photo - Richard Clements. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman." title="Richard Clements. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman."><figcaption>Richard Clements. Photo Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman.</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-cd77f8387be5a9eb3dd70b7a2af0a551.jpg" alt="Photo - Thomas Hoenig. Photo provided." title="Thomas Hoenig. Photo provided."><figcaption>Thomas Hoenig. Photo provided.</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7da7f3e07e2f42b0d02f1e516a22ae9c.jpg" alt="Photo - Richard Clements, Stephen Prescott, and Pat and Ray Potts will be inducted in the Hall of Honor on Oct. 19. Not pictured is honoree Thomas Hoenig. Photo Chris Landsberger/ The Oklahoman. " title="Richard Clements, Stephen Prescott, and Pat and Ray Potts will be inducted in the Hall of Honor on Oct. 19. Not pictured is honoree Thomas Hoenig. Photo Chris Landsberger/ The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>Richard Clements, Stephen Prescott, and Pat and Ray Potts will be inducted in the Hall of Honor on Oct. 19. Not pictured is honoree Thomas Hoenig. Photo Chris Landsberger/ The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure>
Michaela Marx Wheatley

Michaela Marx Wheatley is an award-winning writer and journalist who has written for newspapers and magazines in both the U.S. and Germany. These days she is a copywriter at BigWing Interactive and the editor of BrandInsight, The Oklahoman’s and... Read more ›

Meinders School of Business

The Meinders School of Business prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government, and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process. Read more ›

NewsOK BrandInsight provides a place for local organizations and companies to connect directly with the NewsOK audience by publishing articles of interest on the NewsOK digital platforms in a special section.
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