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Brent Wilson, Galvanic Energy
A graduate of The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University, Brent Wilson holds advanced degrees in geology, chemistry, and energy management. Over the past two decades, Wilson has worked in research, exploration, and corporate management for the environmental and energy sectors. Additionally, Wilson has authored peer-reviewed articles for multiple scientific publications, created a water research division at a Fortune 100 company, and received award recognitions for environmental stewardship and change leadership.
In 2018, Wilson branched out on his own, launching Galvanic Energy, an exploration company seeking rare earth and strategic minerals to further the advancement of U.S. renewable energies. Starting with his own capital, Wilson hired a technical team of former colleagues and received advisory support from industry leaders who became angel investors. Employing sophisticated exploration methods, the Galvanic team discovered a U.S. world-class reserve of lithium associated with an oilfield brine reservoir; the estimated 3 million tons of lithium carry a gross resource estimate of $20 billion.
By 2019, Wilson raised $5 million in private equity and shifted from exploration to procurement of assets — primarily brine leases. With a mineral ownership position exceeding 25,000 acres and growing quickly, the company is preparing to acquire wells and begin pilot testing to refine reserve estimates and prove potential production yields. To fund operations, Galvanic has launched a $10 million capital raise, which will soon open to new private equity investors.
Projections for the lithium battery market range from 5-10x growth over the next decade, during which auto manufacturers have committed $320 billion to develop electric vehicles. Meanwhile, markets are steadily growing to support lithium battery storage systems for solar and wind farms.
Oklahoma City’s Galvanic Energy is establishing a very desirable asset, attractive to companies such as Tesla, Ford, and GM, which have recently announced interest in lithium battery manufacturing in the U.S. and securing domestic supply chains to support ambitious electric vehicle production goals.
Register to Attend
Danny Slusarchuk, Standards IT
Oklahoma Venture Forum, driving the economic ecosystem in the state. Thanksgiving and Christmas are great times to reflect, set your jaw, and move into the new year primed. OVF is doing just that.
The OVF Executive Committee and Board of Directors continue to work hard to continue to provide quality, relevant content. Our director members are also participating in the OVF Awards selection committee, upcoming board nominating committee, and evangelizing a prosperous statewide economy.
We are continually recruiting pitch presenters and new members from cities outside of OKC who understand the value of connecting with OVF. Including these members and presenters from around the state will bring entrepreneurial rich communities like Durant and Lawton access to Oklahoma’s oldest entrepreneurial & innovation ecosystem. We have always had great participation from The Forge in Tulsa and continue to cultivate that arena, and we look to you for more ideas of communities to invite or individuals that should be participating or attending OVF. If you have suggestions, please contact our Executive Director Che’.
There are many ways to support the improvement of the Oklahoma’s entrepreneurial and economic growth. Bringing a guest to one of our speaker or pitch presentation events is always beneficial to OVF, your guest and to the speakers. Another way to participate and support is to sponsor breakout sessions or afterhours events. You could also support recognition of local ventures by sponsoring a table at our annual awards ceremony or take it one step further and align yourself as an organization that recognizes and supports the values of OVF and become the OVF Awards Event Sponsor. The organizations who support OVF, Oklahoma’s oldest entrepreneurial & innovation ecosystem understand the importance of supporting entrepreneurial growth in Oklahoma.
Enjoy and be healthy.
Attend December OVF Power Lunch
Heather Rouba, CMSWillowbrook
Heather works for CMSWillowbrook, the state’s 3rd largest construction management firm, in Project Development and is responsible for identifying and developing new client relationships, while maintaining existing client relationships, leading to new company revenue and business opportunities. She works in collaboration with construction executives, subject matter experts within the organization, and project teams to identify, qualify, and position for opportunities aligning with market sectors and the strategic plan. She also works on private project origination where CMS partners on the development side to create projects from inception.
Some current and recent projects Heather has worked on:
1. Dunbar Commons – historic preservation school on 7th and Lottie, converted from historic all black school to senior housing with senior and historic tax credits, also LIHTC.
2. Homeland – working in partnership with the Alliance and partners to bring the first grocery store in 30 years the NE side of Oklahoma City, which is considered a food desert.
3. Tulsa Parking Authority Public Private Partnership Mixed Use – we recently won this project, where we are co-developing and building a mixed use parking garage, multi family, retail and boutique hotel concept in downtown Tulsa’s Brady District on Main & Cameron.
4. Residences at Classen Curve – working with developer Hines to build a 326 unit class A multi family complex just north of Whole Foods in OKC.
Rouba holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design with a minor in art history from the University of Central Oklahoma and was awarded the Presidential Leadership Scholarship and the Award of Excellence in Design. She worked for JHBR Architects and the UCO Architectural and Engineering Services Department as an interior designer. Rouba later completed graduate work at the University of Oklahoma and earned her master’s degree in construction management, where her master’s thesis was published and accepted for presentation at the Associated Schools of Construction’s international conference in Liverpool, London. She worked for Manhattan Construction and Gumerson Blake Design Build prior to her work at CMSWillowbrook.
Rouba was named as a Journal Record’s Achievers under 40 in May 2019, is in the 2020 Leadership OKC class and recently completed the Leadership Exchange Academy program through the State Chamber. She also represented the state as Mrs. Oklahoma in 2009.
In 2017, she was named the National Associated General Contractors Scholar, National Association of Home Builders Professional Women in Building Scholar and received the TEXO Construction Association Foundation Award.
A former model herself, Rouba opened Brink Model Management in 2009 and has led the modeling industry in Oklahoma ever since, with models featured in campaigns such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gauthier, Miu Miu and Chloe, and on covers of magazines such as Vogue Italia, Elle, and Vogue Paris. Her models work for brands such as Nike, Levi’s, Aeropostale, Urban Outfitters, ASOS, and more. Rouba competed at the International Model and Talent Association convention in New York City in 1998, where she placed as 1st runner-up in both the “Most Sought After Model” and “Model of the Year” categories. Rouba signed with Karin Models (now MC2 Models) in New York and Miami during her modeling tenure.
Attend the December OVF Power Lunch
Main Speaker I Lisa Mullen I CEO of Drōv Technologies
by Dennis Spielman
As a smart truck and trailer movement leader, Drōv Technologies enables intelligent and safe technology in the transportation industry. They're developing the AirBoxOne, which controls tire inflation and deflation on the trailer dynamically based on the vehicle's load.
"As the trailer's loaded, it calculates the optimal tire pressure and adjust accordingly," explained Lisa Mullen, . "Then, in that same box, we have set an IoT gateway that will connect to sensor capabilities around the trailer. Everything from the door lock, GPS, accelerometer, refrigeration, temperature, wheel end temperature, light out detection, camera, cargo sensing capabilities, just to name a few of the initial feature sets."
The benefits of the system include safety and financial ROI. There are fuel efficiency savings that come with standard tire inflation and management. In terms of safety, having correctly inflated and managed tires will prevent critical issues such as blowouts or leaks that lead to that.
"Our system can detect not only typical leaks like when you roll over something, but we can get down to valve stem leaks," Mullen said. "And diagnose situations that could ultimately, if left undiagnosed, become bigger problems for the fleet."
In addition to leak issues, AirBoxOne can diagnose if bearings are heating up or if the temperature on wheel ends are getting to a critical level and prevent wheel end fires. The system can alert the driver and the fleet of those issues to avoid situations that might occur if it gets to a critical level.
Mullen's involvement with Drōv Technologies started when a group of investors and business partners bought the company when it was just a mechanical tire inflation product. During evaluations, they made the bold decision to take all of the previous products off the market and re-engineer the wheel-end componentry.
"While we did that, we took a look at the market and said, 'There's all this money going into technology and the truck, and there's no technology or very little going into the trailer,'" Mullen said. "In addition to that, we had the notion of inflating and deflating on load, but we had a prototype we hadn't flushed that out. With what was not happening in the market for the trailer side but what was happening on the truck, we thought let's make this more of a technology solution. We've spent the last few years building out a comprehensive technology solution that can lead the trailer industry from now into the future."
Mullen is excited about Drōv's position to continue developing the future of trailer technology.
"We're being challenged and asked about technology that leans towards working with autonomous trucks or say advanced safety features that aren't offered in the market and the way that we've built our platform, unlike anyone else in the industry, is really in an open and agnostic way that we can receive and we can work on those capabilities," Mullen said. "The future for me is about development and really pushing the industry forward and maybe disrupting processes in the ways that people think about the trailer industry. And then there'll be an integration into the truck side as well."
Mullen credits the company's success to her incredible team of engineers and product people, business people, and an office culture that's inviting. Mullen wants an environment where people are excited to arrive at work each day.
"You want to work at a place that facilitates a culture that you know you're doing something meaningful and interesting in your job, but you also really enjoy the people that you work with," Mullen said. "I think that it's important to show people that if you're the CEO, you will go out still and sweep the floor if it needs to be swept or you'll pack boxes or sort inventory that we're all in it together. I think that conveying to people that, 'A, what we're doing is amazing and you should be proud of yourself, but we're also proud of you in terms of the work you're putting in.' I think a lot of times, people in management positions assume that people know that they're appreciated because they're doing good work, but it's important to remind people every day that what they're doing is incredible and valued, and they are valued."
Lisa Mullen will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Be sure to register below for the online ZOOM event to learn more about DROV, ask your questions, and connect with other entrepreneurs in Oklahoma.
OVF Member Highlight:
Ward Hobson, Partner
Doerner, Suanders, Daniel & Anderson
D. Ward Hobson brings a range of business and intellectual property experience to his practice. Ward primarily counsels clients on the acquisition, protection, maintenance and enforcement of intellectual property rights on both a local and national scale. His experience includes managing patent and trademark portfolios, providing clearance opinions, devising filing strategies, procuring and maintaining of patents, trademark and copyright registrations, negotiating intellectual property agreements, reviewing and analyzing intellectual property due diligence in connection with asset purchases, and defending intellectual property rights through Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings and various state and federal court litigation.
In addition, Ward regularly counsels clients on corporate transactions, entity formations, real estate transactions, commercial lending transactions, healthcare transactions and a variety of litigation matters.
Read more about Ward Hobson HERE
Director, Launch Pad FT
Francis Tuttle Technology Center
“I have worked in a wide variety of backgrounds starting with the corporate world, moving into non-profit work, then higher education, and now look forward to helping new businesses make the leap into operation and ensure their continued success. My strengths lie in viewing the large picture for an organization and being able to manage projects to exceed the long term objectives and set the organization up to succeed in the future.”
McGrail joined Launch Pad FT after serving three years as the small business management coordinator at Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton. McGrail earned a Master of Business Administration from Cameron University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Tulsa. McGrail has earned certification as a business incubation manager from the International Business Innovation Association.
"Jennifer’s background in the small business sector, as well as her long ties to CareerTech, will serve her well as director of Launch Pad FT,” said Dr. Peggy Geib, Francis Tuttle assistant superintendent for business and industry services. "I am confident Jennifer is the right leader to guide our incubator and the new businesses we serve.”
McGrail comes from a small business family and has extensive experience with many issues that small and start-up businesses regularly face, including insurance, business development, and recruitment. CareerTech is also in McGrail’s family. Her mother worked for 31 years at Great Plains.
“How Coronavirus and Other Infections Trigger Neurologic, Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders”
President & CEO, Moleculera Labs
Dr. Craig Shimasaki is a scientist, businessperson, and serial entrepreneur with over 31 years of biotechnology industry experience, starting his career at Genentech. He co-founded four companies and is President & CEO of Moleculera Labs, a University of Oklahoma spin-out company focused on autoimmune neurobiology clinical laboratory testing. His passion is to see acutely needed medical products become readily available for patients who need them. He has assisted professors, physicians and scientists in translating their ideas into commercial products. He an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oklahoma, Price School of Business and teaches biotechnology entrepreneurship.
Dr. Shimasaki is a co-inventor on several medical and diagnostic patents. His product development experience includes biologics, therapeutics, molecular diagnostics and medical devices, and he directed two CLIA Clinical Laboratories. He has led five clinical diagnostic tests through FDA approval and has been involved in raising over $60 million for these companies and participated in taking one company public. He has authored and edited two books “The Business of Bioscience: What Goes Into Making a Biotechnology Product” and “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship: Starting, Managing and Leading Biotech Companies”. He serves on several boards involved in entrepreneurial endeavors. Dr. Shimasaki received his BS in Biochemistry from University of California at Davis, his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Tulsa, and his MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business.
By Dennis Spielman
For over 30 years, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) has been the state’s agency for technology development, technology transfer, and technology commercialization. With Governor Kevin Stitt’s goal to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state, OCAST is doing its part through partnerships and collaborations to stimulate economic development and technology-based economic development.
“We help to get science and technology projects, support those through our grant process and elevate Oklahoma’s science and technology community so that we’re competitive nationally as well as globally,” explained OCAST’s Executive Director, Michael Carolina. “We have some leading-edge researchers and research companies that benefit from OCAST’s grants, and they’re able to attract federal grants as well as private money from the private sector to accelerate research to commercialization or conversion; the conversion of technology to the marketplace.”
With the task to grow and diversify Oklahoma’s economy, Carolina described his job as atypical. Before joining OCAST, he worked in management and executive positions with the Western Electric Company, AT&T and Lucent Technologies. While with AT&T and Lucent Technologies, he was involved in engineering, strategic planning, new product design and introduction, manufacturing, technology transfer, and joint venture operations in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
“I think in Oklahoma, we have an asset base here that’s pretty rich. Again, with our higher education system, with our industrial complex that includes energy and includes aerospace and defense, bio-science, biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing, healthcare,” Carolina said. “The healthcare industry is growing, and so I think there are a lot of things that we can point to that are strengths in a global economy.”
One example of OCAST’s success stories, which Carolina plans to discuss during his presentation for OVF, is the work of Craig Shimasaki at Moleculera Labs.
“[Moleculera Labs] is doing some work now on the impact of COVID or the correlation of COVID and brain health and mental health,” Carolina said. “That’s a real success story. Craig Shimasaki was able to take an OCAST grant and leverage that with federal dollars as well as private investment to move the autism spectrum along. Hopefully, we’ll have some effective treatments for it.”
From research to pre-seed dollars to seed capital dollars to manufacturing through intern partnerships, OCAST is developing the local talent base Oklahoma needs to go forward and keep the state from losing engineering STEM talent.
“If we have the kind of industrial base that’s attractive to our graduates when they leave our higher education system, they’re more likely to stay in the state because they have jobs in their specific areas of study,” explained Carolina. “We can organically grow our own businesses from scratch. And that's basically our task as OCAST, to help businesses grow organically.”
For Oklahoma to be top 10 in more areas, Carolina said it would require some strategic investment. By taking advantage of our geography, educational assets at the university level, industrial base, and the pioneer spirit of Oklahoma’s citizens, he believes we can make a difference and make Oklahoma relevant and competitive on a national and international scale.
“It requires working with our politicians, our legislature, the governor, and his team saying, how do we coalesce those assets, so that Oklahoma becomes not a Silicon Valley, but we can become a technology corridor,” Carolina said.
Michael Carolina will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Be sure to register for the online ZOOM event to learn more about OCAST, ask your questions, and network with entrepreneurs in Oklahoma. As a member, he encourages others to join the community and help with new ideas. He is looking to addressing the OVF and having some dialogue about where people think we should go next.
August 27th - 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm ONLINE
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Nathaniel Harding with Cortado Ventures Nathaniel Harding with Cortado Ventures discusses disruptive technology startupsin the midst of a pandemic.
Join Oklahoma business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs for networking breakouts and updates on all that is new with OVF membership this year.
Membership in the OVF is essential for any business, organization, group or individual involved in economic development on a local, state or national level.
Please register for log in details for this online event.
We will be giving away gift cards to some lucky attendees.
Door Prize Sponsor
Oklahoma Venture Forum relies on sponsorship to help fund the programs and quality content that we provide each month. OVF is also a great audience for promoting your company.
We are about to begin the 34th session of the Oklahoma Venture Forum and we want to make sure that our guests and members can continue to enjoy venture pitch presentations and success stories from the founders of Oklahoma.
This year we will explore:
You can see below that we have new opportunities to position your business in front of OVF Members and guests at our monthly online Power Lunches. Each lunch will have three breakout networking sessions that will offer an opportunity for company logo visibility and slogan mentions at a very economical rate.
In May we will host the OVF Awards recognizing the Venture of the Year, Most Promising New Business and Economic Impact Awards. This event offers a variety of levels of sponsorship options.
There are several choices for introducing your organization to OVF guests and members, while helping to support OVF!
Click the More Information button to see additional information or to select your sponsorship now.
Best regards,Oklahoma Venture Forum
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