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  • January 28, 2021 12:45 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

     

    Don Van Pelt Smith, Omega3Beef

    Many people thought it couldn’t be done. But we’ve developed new, more healthy beef with the proven benefits of omega 3’s — and the same delicious flavor you and your family have grown to love.

    Like most people, we love the traditional taste of beef. We also know that standard beef is high in saturated fats that can lead to heart disease. We also know that despite the many nutritional benefits of beef, there are also some concerns. In fact, many people are limiting their beef consumption, or eating the very leanest cuts, to address such concerns. We have a better idea: improve the nutrition of beef by improving cattle feed to produce beef with omega 3’s similar to ocean fish.

    We’re on a mission to evolve the cattle industry, keeping the same wonderful taste of traditional beef, but making it healthy for our hearts. Same taste … better health.

    Great News. The European Commission of the European Community (28 countries in Europe) has approved our algae as a feed ingredient for cattle, hens, pigs, and sheep. We are talking with leading grocery chains in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. The grocery chains will order Omega3Beef from their existing suppliers. The feedlot operators and grass feeding operations in these existing supply chains will buy the algae to produce Omega3Beef. Look for Omega3Beef steaks and burgers in stores this Spring.

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  • January 28, 2021 12:40 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

      Tra Pippin, Accentra Home Health & Hospice

    Succeeding in the Turnaround Industry

    By Dennis Spielman

    With the experience of having raised nearly $800 million for companies, and buying and selling approximately 40 companies, Tra Pippin considers himself qualified in the turnaround industry arena. He’s also turned around businesses that ranged from a low of 1 million in revenue to a high of about $150 million. Pippin got into the industry happenstance manner.

    “I bought a company back in June of 1982 called Perfection Equipment Company,” said Pippin. “And at the time, I think our revenues were roughly $2 million a month. Well, there was a little shopping center bank here in Oklahoma City called Penn Square Bank that crashed on July 5, 1982. And I don’t think either myself or my partner recognized the fact that a little shopping center bank could have the impact that it did, but it caused probably the greatest crash in the oil industry, certainly in my lifetime.”

    Their revenue went from two to two-and-a-half million dollars a month to approximately $300,000 a month. Based on that, at the time, Pippin purchased the company. They had about 130 employees. A year later, they were down to 30 employees and were making decisions on how to cut based on whether someone had been there 15 years or 20 years. The industry turned around, and Perfection Equipment Company today is a lively, growing company in Oklahoma City.

    Pippin said he learned how to save a company before there were associations, conventions, and resources dedicated to the turnaround industry. When buying a company now, Pippin has several things he looks for to inform his decision.

    “Probably the most important thing that I look for is, ‘Does the company have passionate people remaining?’” said Pippin. “Nine times out of 10, about 85% of the time, current management is the issue, current management is the problem. Normally, I replace current management, but if the line managers and the other key employees don’t have a passion for that company, I’m typically not interested in either buying it or turning it around for a bank or a financial institution.”

    When turning around a company, Pippin advises that the first thing buyers do is get a handle on the cash flow. Pippin analyzes cash flow through a 13-week rolling forecast. Every Monday, they would review and update it, make sure every bill was accounted for, and communicate with employees and leaders what’s going on.

    “We grew one company in sales revenue within 15 months, from $8 million to over a $100 million in revenue,” said Pippin. “But in the meantime, they went bankrupt. They outstripped their cash even though we warned them. All they wanted was top-line revenue. They wanted to be a $100 million a year company; basically, they succeeded but ran out of money on the way. So whoever it is, whatever company, they may be a phenomenal salesperson, they may be able to generate sales, incredible sales, but if they don’t have the profitability to grow, they’ve got to figure out a way to get their working capital.”

    When it comes to selling a company, Pippin said it’s a marketing piece once you’ve got the company on solid ground. “You try and put the company in the best light and tell them, you tell the potential buyers why this company is such a great company, ‘It was on its butt nine months ago, and now look what we’ve done. The sky’s the limit now.’”

    If you’re considering attending Pippin’s OVF talk, he said he could help give broad-brush solutions to their issue with their company.

    Tra Pippin will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Be sure to register for the online ZOOM event to learn more about turning around a business, asking your questions, and networking with entrepreneurs in Oklahoma.

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  • January 28, 2021 12:37 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

     Henry Dumas, Moore Norman Technology

    10 Resolutions to Make 2021 a Better Business Year

    1. Figure out how your customers’ needs have changed.

    This Covid-19 pandemic is a shock for the whole world. Almost all your customers’ lives are different than they were a few month ago, and they will probably be different again in six months. They may never be the same. Your short-term cash flow depends on providing them with goods and services during the crisis. Your long-term viability depends on understanding how their needs will be different when the pandemic is over.

    The first thing to consider is that people are building new habits right now. There are millions of isolated households whose normal routines have been upended, and just like them you must experiment if you want to remain a part of their lives. Some restaurants are offering takeout comfort food, even if they usually just serve in their dining rooms. Retailers are emphasizing online experiences. Your customers do not need a vapid email about how you care about them, but they do need entertainment and comfort and hope. Some of their new habits will persist after the pandemic, which means it is particularly important for you to figure out how to continue to offer services that deliver value during the crisis.

    Think hard about how the post-pandemic world will change your business model — and bring your customers into your planning process. Many of your customers will be poorer, but they will also be eager to enjoy themselves after the long seclusion. Many will still be scared about the risks of contagious disease. Some of them may have decided that they like ordering online. E-commerce has spiked by nearly 40% in the wake of Covid-19.

    Reach out to them to learn how their lives have changed and figure out the most exciting thing that you can offer your customers once they can leave their homes. Ask them what they are looking forward to and help them look forward to the day that they can buy from you again.

    2. Take steps to improve your digital presence

    If it’s been more than a year since your site has been updated, if you haven’t taken action to make your online presence mobile-friendly, if you still haven’t created an email marketing list, or if digital isn’t part of your marketing strategy at all, it’s time to add this to your new resolutions. You could even take a step further than mobile-friendly and use a mobile-first approach to your digital presence.

    3. Promote your business regularly and consistently

    Since small business owners wear a lot of hats, you might not always have “marketing” at the top of your to-do list. While you should focus on delivering that amazing small business experience, you should not forget to market that amazing experience to the outside world. To attract new customers, you must make promotion a priority. Take the time to create a marketing plan or, if your funds allow it, hire a marketing expert to help you set it up.

    4. Make business strategizing a weekly event

    Planning is vital if you want to foster a growing business. But running a small business can be chaotic and it is easy to get sucked into the day-to-day operations. Business strategizing allows you to take a step back and highlight what worked and what did not, while adjusting old goals and setting new ones. So why do it just once a quarter or once a year? Set aside time each week to review your strategies. This will help you stay on track and allow you to have a clear hold on your business.

    5. Drop What's Not Working and Move On

    All products are not going to be super sellers, all sales methods are not going to work for everyone, and all suppliers or contractors are not going to be ideally suited to your business. If a technique, product, or business relationship is not working for you, stop using it. Do not invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on. Something better will turn up.

    6. Learn how to manage your cash flow more effectively

    Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business. In fact, a prominent study from the financial services company U.S. Bank found that 82 percent of startups and small businesses fail due to poor cash-flow management.

    7. Set Realistic Goals & Find a Trusted Advisor or Coach

    Goal setting is a valuable habit—if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Resolve that the goals you set will be achievable, not so far out of reach they only lead to frustration. If you have trouble setting realistic goals, there are ways to map out a formula that makes sense for you. Research & follow the filter for “Smart” goals.

    There is a reason why runners often train with a group. It helps to have someone keep you accountable and motivated to hit your goals and get things done.

    The American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability. They found people are 65% likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. That is a pretty good increase. However, that chance of success increases to 95% when they build in ongoing meetings with their partners to check in on their progress. That is a huge difference!

    Bottom line: write down your goals, find a trusted advisor or coach, and then make sure you regularly meet or check in with them. You will be crossing those items off your list faster than ever!

    8. Learn to Delegate and Do More of It

    There are so many things to do when you are running a small business, it is easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we are so tired and frazzled and have no time to do anything else. Let someone else do some of the tasks for a change. Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance.

    9. Put Time for Yourself on Your Calendar

    All work and no play are a recipe for mental and physical disaster. So, if you have trouble freeing up time to do the things you enjoy, write time regularly into your schedule to "meet with yourself" and stick to that commitment. If you will not invest in yourself, who will?

    10. Give Back to Your Community

    There are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Those who give, get. Nothing will seed and grow goodwill for you and your business better than giving back to your community. So, make one of your top resolutions to find a cause that matters to you and give what you can. Make this the year that you serve on a committee, be a mentor, volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in your community that make the place you live better.

    Henry Dumas

    Business Coach 

    Moore Norman Technology 

  • January 28, 2021 12:33 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

      Danny Slusarchuk, Standards IT 

    Chairman's Perspective

    Right off the bat I would like to give a shout out of appreciation to Alice Frentz and Che’ Loessberg for aggressively pushing our key strategy forward this year. Thanks to them, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee – OVF has gone statewide! Membership is up significantly and we are now extending our Board seats across Oklahoma to capitalize on our increased geography.

    You benefit from more pitch presentations, investment opportunities, and focused networking time with the economic drivers in our State. The awards ceremony is just around the corner and we have a great keynote speaker lined up. I won’t spoil it though, stay tuned for the official program and be sure to sponsor the event. The investments you make in OVF go directly into the economic ecosystem fostering innovation and diversifying wealth.

    Regards,

    Danny J. Slusarchuk

    Chief Executive Officer

    Standards IT

  • January 15, 2021 1:38 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    January 21st, 2021 ONLINE

    5:30 PM- 7:00 PM

    Register for log in details 


    Pitch Presenters


    Shahbano Imran, CEO, Workbench Labs
    Due to COVID-19 job loss, automation, and the nation’s long term transition away from Oil & Gas, there’s a dire need for job creation in Oklahoma. Workbench Labs wants to build a scalable and accessible model for successfully up-skilling the US workforce.


    Mitchell Sims, Founder,  PigTracks
    PigTracks is an SaaS platform connecting remote pipeline assets to the cloud, in real-time, so pipeline service teams can be more effective and efficient while executing pipeline integrity projects. 


    Wendy Hampton, CEO, Express Toxicology Services
    Express Toxicology Services is a Oklahoma Cannabis Lab that offers a full range of testing for medical marijuana, CBD/hemp, and other related agricultural yields ranging from potency testing to contamination for other harmful substances such as pesticides and heavy metals. 


    REGISTER TO ATTEND


  • December 28, 2020 4:01 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Dealine Extended to January 27th!

    The OVF Venture of the Year, Most Promising New Venture and the Award for Economic Impact are three of the most prestigious recognitions a company can receive. The awards represent the triumph of the entrepreneurial dream and spirit. Nominations and applications are now available for the May 2021 OVF Awards.

    The Oklahoma Venture Forum, as a means of publicly recognizing the achievements of successful Oklahoma businesses, has produced the awards biennially since 1989. The 2021 awards will be presented in ceremonies to be held in May 2021.

    There is no cost to enter, but the competition is keen. Each finalist will be invited to attend the awards presentation and will receive a plaque recognizing its growth and success.

  • December 28, 2020 3:58 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Chairman's Perspective
    Danny Slusarchuk
    Standards IT

    Welcome 2021. Welcome, welcome!

    I also want to welcome our latest members: Sarah Edwards, Nathaniel Harding, Melissa Houston, Tina Lindsay, Zach Miles, J.W. Peters, Heather Rouba, and Dan Schemm. Lots of new faces for the new year.

    Most new members join OVF because they have been a guest at some point, so keep inviting people who are interested in quality content, viable venture investment opportunity or industry specific networking. The OVF entrepreneurial & innovation ecosystem requires as many motivated participants as possible to continue to connect, recognize and promote economic growth for Oklahoma, thanks for doing your part.

    OVF is completely booked this session for main speakers and we only have a few spots left for pitch presentations. Please continue to send your main speaker suggestions and we will begin booking for the 2021-2022 session. Let us know who you want to see and we will do our best to book them.

    Now to tell you about our main event, the annual OVF Awards ceremony. This year will be a little different. We have typically alternated award categories each year. The 2021 OVF Awards will combine Venture of the Year, Most Promising New Venture and the Award for Economic Impact, so it will be an epic awards event for Oklahoma.

    Don’t miss this impressive event and don't miss the opportunity to support these recognitions by sponsoring a table, one of the three recognition pieces, or go one step further and partner with OVF to become a title sponsor.

    As a reminder the award nominations/applications are due January 20th. Contact Che’ or any of the board members if you need any additional information.

    I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Power Lunch on January 13th or the After Hours Pitch Event on January 21st.

    Happy New Year.

    ATTEND AN EVENT

    BECOME A SPONSOR


  • December 28, 2020 3:56 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Suzette Chang
    Thick Descriptions 
    Founder & CEO 

    Suzette's focus is the politics of human identity and how “labels” influence and impact humans as we function and interact with each other. She gives specific attention to “historical labels”, their meaning during the past and how those meanings impact the present and shape our understandings of the future. Suzette has a Masters in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma.

    Cultural Innovation founded in Anthropology

    As an organization whose work is based in anthropology, Thick Descriptions values the unique approaches to the natural and social sciences that exist in cultures around the world. Thick Descriptions understands that all human culture represents the lived experiences of people and communities; the contributions of innovators from a variety of backgrounds representing diverse perspectives are necessary for us to cooperate toward a more functional and healthier world. This collaborative, technological innovation is key to the refinement of more sustainable communities and global systems.

    Values

    Anthropology is the Foundation of Science

    Thick Descriptions’ commitment to the natural and social sciences begins with an understanding that our understandings of ourselves, each other, and the world around us are filtered through the lens of our own cultural experiences.

    Education for All

    Thick Descriptions is committed to bringing science empowerment and cultural intelligence education to those who have historically faced educational barriers both seen and unseen and to communities that overlooked those impacted by these barriers.

    Humanity-Thinking

    Thick Descriptions values the science and culture fields because of their potential to move us closer to knowledge driven, healthier and more sustainable communities. Our educational mindset is humanity centric.

    Better Together

    Thick Descriptions values the unique attributes of the world’s human cultures, and we believe that we work best when we work together. People from all cultural backgrounds have made and will continue to make essential contributions to understandings of science and culture for the betterment of the human community.

  • December 28, 2020 3:53 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    James Grimsley
    Executive Director Advanced Technology Initiatives
    Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

    James Grimsley is a nationally recognized expert on policy and technology related to unmanned aircraft ("drones") and autonomous systems. Mr. Grimsley has appeared in numerous press outlets since 2007 speaking about technology policy issues and is a recognized speaker on the topic at international conferences and events.

    Mr. Grimsley is currently the Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Mr. Grimsley was also recently appointed to the Oklahoma Transportation Commission in May 2019 by Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall and currently serves as the Transportation Commissioner for District 2.

    Mr. Grimsley is the founder of successful technology company startups and is also a former Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma – Norman Campus (OU). Mr. Grimsley was also the founding director of the OU Center for Applied Research and Development (CARD). Mr. Grimsley is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Mr. Grimsley was a Division Chief Engineer and later an Assistant Vice President with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Prior to SAIC, Mr. Grimsley was a civilian electronics engineer with the United States Air Force.

    Mr. Grimsley also previously served as a Manager of Unmanned Systems Research for the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute (OAI).

    Mr. Grimsley has been active in a variety of state organizations and initiatives in Oklahoma and the region. Mr. Grimsley organized the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma (USA-OK), now a state chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and served as founding president. Mr. Grimsley also organized and led Oklahoma’s first six Oklahoma UAS Summits beginning in 2009. In 2011, Mr. Grimsley was appointed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to the Governor’s UAS Advisory Council and served through 2015. In 2016 Mr. Grimsley was appointed by the FAA to the FAA's Drone Advisory Committee - Subcommittee. In 2017 Mr. Grimsley was selected as a non-resident research fellow for the Noble Research Institute. Mr. Grimsley has also served on advisory committees for higher education, vocational training programs and secondary education. Mr. Grimsley is active in scholarly research in both technology and law, including co-authorship of a recent paper published in the William and Mary Law Review.

    In 2014, Mr. Grimsley was named the AUVSI Member of the Year for contributions to the UAS industry and advocacy work as well as his state and national leadership in the UAS industry. Known both nationally and internationally, Mr. Grimsley is one of the leading recognizable figures in the UAS industry and is frequently interviewed in the international media (The Economist, Fortune, USA Today, Associated Press, The Guardian Newspaper, CNBC, etc.). In 2014 Mr. Grimsley was recognized as an Oklahoma Innovator of the Year by the Oklahoma Journal Record newspaper.

    In 2017, Mr. Grimsley led the proposal development and capture team for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma for the FAA's UAS Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP). The Choctaw Nation was ultimately selected as one of ten sites for the UAS IPP by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao and the Choctaw Nation was the only tribal government selected for the program.

    ATTEND

  • December 28, 2020 3:49 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Updating Policies with Technology and Building a Foundation for Autonomous Vehicles

    Written by Dennis Spielman

    With a background in government and public affairs, Tom Robins is putting his political knowledge to help Oklahoma grow as a Top 10 place for IT. In the fall of 2019, Robins started the OITA, the Oklahoma Innovative Technology Alliance, to give Oklahoma IT companies a voice in the public policy process. 

    “Having worked in DC, everybody has a trade association,” said Tom Robins. “Everybody’s represented. The guys who build your desks have a trade association where they’re getting together, talking about some of the barriers to their business and priorities. It shows that IT is growing up here in Oklahoma and creating opportunities.”

    As part of his presentation for the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch, Robins will highlight the gist of their mission statement and how they educate policy members, members of the legislature, and others, the best way to create an environment for IT and technology in Oklahoma.

    “We got organized at the end of this last year, and we’re really kicking things off in January,” said Robins. “We’re going to be doing a coffee and conversation with the Oklahoma legislators, with Oklahoma IT leaders. So I think that’ll be a great thing for investment, the investment community in Oklahoma, for OVF members, for people that are involved with businesses that have an IT innovative component that are either just starting or that are established, that want to network with other companies, but also want to start talking to policymakers about that.”

    Robins’ main topic of his presentation will be on the autonomous vehicle side. As president of the consulting company, Solid Foundation Consulting, Robins helps build projects and coalitions around different issues. One of those he got tapped to lead was on behalf of the secretary of transportation, was to head the Oklahoma autonomous vehicle working group. The purpose of the group is to signal to the markets, signal to investments, and signal to people who are interested that Oklahoma is open for business when it comes to autonomous vehicle technology.

    “There’s a lot of layers that need to be engaged on autonomous vehicles, both on the ground and aerial, and what that technology means and what the state needs to be doing to prepare,” said Robins. “It’s a landing place for people that have questions or an interest or are looking at investing in autonomous vehicle technology in some way, or autonomous transportation, I’d say, or electrification, and giving them a welcome mat, and then directing them through education engagement or policy to the right place.”

    An example of the group’s earliest win they had was the issue on truck platooning. Similar to how flocks of birds drift off of each other to converse energy, the state of Oklahoma passed a bill that allowed for that technology with trucks.

    “There’s trucks that can draft off each other and be able to what they call platoon if they’re connected via technology,” said Robins. “Now, there is still a driver in each of those seats, but they can draft off each other in a much closer, compatible way. And that is all through technology from those cabs talking to each other, right? So, there is already that happening on the road, but you have to be able to update the laws as you go along as you discover either county, municipal, or state regulations that either impede or hinder that development.”

    Tom Robins, along with Jim Grimsley, will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Be sure to register for the online ZOOM event to learn more about how technology is shifting in Oklahoma, ask your questions, and network with entrepreneurs in Oklahoma.

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