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Economic Development Grant for the Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award

Logo: Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award.

About the Program
The Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants. Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 in other financial support AND receive a matching $500 State Regents’ Economic Development Grant that is applied to either:

  1. The tuition of an employee of the business being recognized.
  2. A paid internship for a current student of the institution to work at the business being recognized.
  3. A faculty externship with the business being recognized.
  4. Enhancement of the partnership with additional equipment, materials or supplies.

Submissions are provided by the institutions and reviewed by a committee of State Regents’ staff and the EDC Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award committee to insure the integrity of the program. Only one partner summary is allowed per institution, with a maximum of 25 annual recognitions if each of the 25 public higher education institutions submits a partner to be recognized. Through outside sponsorship, the State Regents provide one plaque of recognition to honor the business partner and institution leaders for their outstanding partnership. They receive the plaque of recognition at a reception that is held in the spring of each year.

2015 Recipients
The 27 partnerships listed below will be recognized for 2015 during the ceremony at the Oklahoma History Center on March 10.


Cameron University and Lawton Marketing Group
Lawton Marketing Group commenced operations in CU's Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES) incubator in February 2013. Since that time, the marketing agency has grown by about 600 percent, with more than 75 percent of its revenue coming into Oklahoma from out of state, and it also added four full-time staff members. CETES provides Lawton Marketing Group with oversight on its growth strategies and connects it with student interns. To date, Lawton Marketing Group has employed four CU interns and hired one full-time after graduation. It has also shared its expertise with search engine optimization and social marketing with community members in presentations made at Tech Nights, a monthly program organized by CETES. BACK TO LIST

Carl Albert State College and Arvest Bank
The partnership between Arvest and CASC benefits the college as well as the communities of Poteau and Sallisaw. Arvest, with branches in both cities, is deeply involved in the communities it serves, volunteering time and donating resources. Arvest supports CASC scholarships, campus fundraisers, and activities and assists with CASC’s residential housing expansions on the Poteau campus and with foundation gift donations. Several of its employees serve as trustee members of the CASC Foundation board, including Rodney Shepard, current Arvest CEO and president of the Fort Smith region, and Ted Sheets, local community president of eastern Oklahoma. Arvest supports the Fort Smith Regional Alliance that comprises eight counties, including Sequoyah and Le Flore. Arvest, dedicated to economic development, employs more than 30 people at its Poteau and Sallisaw branches. BACK TO LIST

Connors State College and the Greater Muskogee Chamber of Commerce
The chamber has been a steadfast partner with CSC in promoting the economic and social well-being of the greater Muskogee region through a variety of programs to strengthen retail and agri-business. The chamber also offers Muskogee exceptional professional development opportunities through Leadership Muskogee, Chambers Youth Leadership Muskogee, and the annual Success Expo and Women’s Leadership Conference. For the past several years, CSC and the chamber have partnered to host Chamber University, a series of quarterly workshops geared to update chamber members on emerging business topics. Recently, CSC sponsored the Chambers Health and Wellness Luncheon as well as several debates for the Democratic and Republican candidates for state superintendent and local state representative districts, for which CSC president Dr. Tim Faltyn served as a moderator. BACK TO LIST

East Central University and Kellogg & Sovereign Consulting LLC
The beneficial partnership between ECU and Kellogg & Sovereign, a grant-writing and technology-consulting service provider, led to the creation of a recently established Scholar Leader Program at the ECU Stonecipher School of Business. This new program includes three levels of student engagement and recognition opportunities: student leaders, deans’ council and student scholars. The student scholars will take a trip to New York City over spring break to visit Wall Street, tour large businesses and engage in cultural activities. When the new School of Business was built, Kellogg & Sovereign funded the technology in the new financial lab. As a result, ECU has a student resource not normally found in an institution of its size. In addition to hiring ECU graduates, Kellogg & Sovereign also supports ECU’s nationally recognized Oklahoma Business Week summer camp and the School of Business awards and scholarship banquet. BACK TO LIST

Eastern Oklahoma State College and AT&T
The unique partnership between AT&T and EOSC benefits greater Latimer and Pittsburg counties. The partnership began when AT&T was seeking a location to place a new tower in order to bring 4G LTE service to the area. At the same time, EOSC was in search of a tower to place its 25,000-watt radio station. To meet both their needs, AT&T entered into an agreement with EOSC to build a 350-foot tower on EOSC’s Wilburton campus in order to provide 4G service. With the addition of the tower, EOSC was able to launch KWLB-Mountaineer Radio in December. The radio station integrates perfectly into EOSC’s mass communications program in radio broadcasting as well as providing non-stop marketing for the college within a 60-mile radius of the campus. A long-term agreement is in place that will allow both services to be provided to the area for years to come. BACK TO LIST

Langston University and Northeast Resource Center
The partnership between LU and Northeast Resource Center produced LU’s first food pantry, benefitting many students on its campus. With education and the cost of living on the rise, an increasing number of college students are faced with cutting corners on food and being hungry in order to remain in school. Recognizing the challenges involved in getting a food pantry stocked and operational, the Northeast Resource Center provided the first donations of nutritional food, hygiene, cleaning and laundry supplies to assist LU’s food pantry to open its doors in October 2013. The pantry has since received a grant from the Regional Food Bank and formed a partnership with Feed the Children. These collaborations have allowed the pantry to serve approximately 30 pounds of food, hygiene and cleaning items to more than 100 student visitors per month on LU’s campus. BACK TO LIST

Murray State College, the Pink Pistol and Miranda Lambert
Since Miranda Lambert, multi-award-winning vocalist, opened the Pink Pistol in 2012, Main Street in Tishomingo has experienced an unprecedented revitalization, positively impacting MSC’s new stores in the area. Record sales tax revenues, new businesses opening or relocating to Main Street, and storefront renovations reflect the impact of the Pink Pistol. One of those new businesses on Main Street is Murray on Main. With the renewed interest in shopping, MSC opened the store as a way to create a presence for the college downtown. Murray on Main allows MSC to make branded merchandise available in addition to other gift items. Thanks to the success of the store in Tishomingo, MSC recently opened another location in Ardmore, which serves as both a gift retail outlet and an MSC bookstore. Both business locations have created potential intern opportunities for future degree tracks in retail management. BACK TO LIST

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and Sodexo Food Services
Sodexo has been a generous supporter of NEOAMC and the local community. Sodexo´s sponsorships include more than $20,000 annually for the nation´s largest high school basketball tournament, golf tournaments, Chamber of Commerce Employee Extravaganza and scoreboard sponsorship for Red Robertson Field. Sodexo collaborates with NEOAMC and the community through a variety of special events including the annual college foundation auction, Hall of Fame celebrations and several grand opening celebrations. Sodexo also employs NEO students in part-time positions. In the last four years, Sodexo has doubled the number of students employed. Sodexo’s generosity extends to the Miami community and surrounding areas by supporting tornado relief and assisting a variety of community organizations through food donations and other fundraising activities. BACK TO LIST

Northeastern State University and the AT&T Foundation
The AT&T Foundation and NSU continue to work together to advance literacy and to positively impact the lives of children and families in northeastern Oklahoma. By providing grants of $20,000 in both 2013 and 2014, the foundation is assisting NSU’s Wadley Center for Reading and Technology in its efforts to help people of all ages overcome reading deficiencies through tutoring. The AT&T grants have provided the reading clinic with the latest in high-speed connectivity, computer tablets and large displays, and books. The center is a focal point for teacher candidates enrolled at NSU’s College of Education. The candidates learn how to assess the reading skills of elementary school students and create lesson plans and activities to sharpen those skills. NSU also works with AT&T to promote their It Can Wait campaign that discourages texting while driving. BACK TO LIST

Northern Oklahoma College and Piyush and Lisa Patel/PL Studios
A 16-year partnership between NOC and Piyush and Lisa Patel/PL Studios has resulted in the development of the multimedia and digital communications program at NOC, an animation and web-authoring program. By 2000, it became the world’s largest Media 100/iFinish laboratory. As a result, NOC hired two graduates to help teach the 3-D and web classes, with a third instructor hired in 2001. It eventually morphed into a 16-week intense training program, which culminated in the Associate in Applied Science degree program. In 2004, the Patels moved their business to an incubator program in Oklahoma City, and the program changed to Digital Media Institute (DMI), a two-year curriculum with a 2+2 articulation transfer agreement with Cameron University. PL Studios has since placed interns, employed a number of NOC DMI graduates, created an advisory board, and established the Piyush and Lisa Patel DMI Scholarship Fund in 2013. BACK TO LIST

Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Woods County District 2
NWOSU and the leadership and employees of Woods County District 2 have a longstanding partnership that has greatly enhanced the quality of life for area residents and improved the educational experience for students. In summer 2014, the employees of District 2 provided assistance to NWOSU in the construction of a new press box at its football stadium. District 2 provided equipment, manpower and supplies to prepare the foundation for the structure, saving NWOSU thousands of dollars in construction costs. Woods County also provides NWOSU with use of its facilities for special events, including use of the courthouse lawn for homecoming and Bahama Breakaway and the fairgrounds area for the annual Northwestern Ranger Rodeo. BACK TO LIST

Oklahoma City Community College and the Oklahoma Hospital Association
In its second year of partnership with OHA, OCCC has developed and offered the Leadership Development Series to health care organizations that are members of OHA. This program targets hospital administrators, directors and managers who desire to increase their knowledge, skills and abilities as they relate to leadership. The program consists of eight modules, incorporating subjects such as an opening team-building retreat, strategic planning, leading and motivating diverse generations in the workplace, providing outstanding patient care, and the essence of leadership. To date, 40 leaders have taken part in this important leadership development program. OHA views the program as a vital component in preparing the next generation of health care leaders across Oklahoma. BACK TO LIST

Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Texas County Commissioners
The partnership between Texas County commissioners and OPSU spans several years and has furthered the growth of OPSU and the surrounding Texas County community. The commissioners’ notable contributions include: site work for the construction of the Noble Cultural and Activity Center, work on the campus street system and parking lots in conjunction with the construction of the Science and Agriculture Building, improvement of the roads around the campus ballpark complex, and improvement of the university farm roads. District 3 Commissioner Jack Strain, an OPSU graduate, serves on the OPSU Advisory Committee and the Panhandle Association of Alumni and Friends board of directors and was a 2014 Alumni Hall of Fame honoree. Strain and his wife, Gwen, also an OPSU graduate, handle the score clock and shot clock during OPSU home basketball games. BACK TO LIST

Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) and KiZE Concepts
In 2011, staff from KiZE Concepts attended FAPC’s program, Basic Training: A Guide to Starting Your Own Food Business. Since that bimonthly workshop, FAPC has supported the high-energy, high-protein nutrition bar and snack provider with product technical assistance, food safety, shelf-life, and sensory analysis in comparisons of its products with competitor products. The most recent work has been on the purchase, installation and operation of a food pump and extrusion unit at the manufacturing facility, which allows KiZE to manufacture a more consistent product. Brand and market development are crucial to new business success. FAPC continues to partner with KiZE through business and market development. This award will cover trade show booth rental at the 2015 Oklahoma Super Trade Show. BACK TO LIST

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and the MidContinent Chapter of the Gas Processors Association (GPA)
The partnership between GPA and OSU-IT helped establish OSUIT’s natural gas compression program in 1999. GPA chapter members serve on the program’s advisory board, help develop the curriculum and hold several fundraising events each year to raise scholarship money. GPA also provides matching funds up to $5,000 for scholarships and donated about $45,000 toward scholarship funds and program operating costs last year. The member organization also became involved with OSUIT’s pipeline integrity technology program and donated $25,000 toward classroom renovations and equipment. OSUIT and GPA have built a strong relationship, creating an impressive return on investment for their member companies, which actively seek OSUIT graduates for their hands-on skills and training needed for companies and the industry. BACK TO LIST

Oklahoma State University–Oklahoma City, Cox Communications and Percy Kirk
OSU-OKC, Cox and Percy Kirk, Cox’s senior vice president and general manager for the central region, have created a unique academic partnership, the Cox Reaching Higher cohort. This two-year-old concept, driven by Cox, identifies high-performing, full-time Cox employees with leadership potential who have not completed a college degree. This innovative program had 16 in its first cohort in fall 2013, with another 10 entering this fall. The first cohort member graduated with an associate degree in May 2014 and is now enrolled at OSU-Tulsa, pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The cohort members emphasize that the program has improved their skills on the job, increased the pride in their company and motivated them to continue with their educational goals. Cox was also a signature sponsor of the inaugural Paint This Town Orange event, which raised $300,000 for student scholarships and brought recognition to the campus. BACK TO LIST

Redlands Community College and Emergency Medical Services Authority
RCC’s emergency medical technology (EMT) program has an ongoing partnership with EMSA and the contracted operating company, American Medical Response (AMR). This partnership allows qualified AMR instructors to join RCC’s EMT faculty. They teach carefully selected cadres of AMR employees, bringing them from EMT to paramedic in one year, half the time normally required. The nearly 100 AMR-trained instructors, with a 97 percent pass rate, have demonstrated innovative, highly effective use of online lecture and in-class simulations training. The impact of RCC’s EMT program has allowed it to leverage the instructional techniques throughout the other levels of instruction: EMR, EMT and Advanced. Because of this successful partnership, RCC has achieved accreditation by the Committee on Accreditation of Education Programs for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP), which is now a requirement for paramedic training in Oklahoma. BACK TO LIST

Rogers State University and Google Inc.
Since opening its $700 million Mayes County data center in 2011, Google has quickly become a pillar of educational support in northeastern Oklahoma through its financial generosity, as well as its employees’ time and talents. Among its many activities was the 2012 launch of AeroGames, a partnership with RSU that utilizes fun, interactive competitions focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Now in its third year, Google employees work directly with hundreds of middle and high school students. Another initiative is Googlefest, a free, one-day training session to prepare educators, nonprofits and small businesses to utilize Google’s technological resources to advance their missions. These activities have been held at the recently opened RSU-Pryor campus, for which Google provided a $40,000 grant through its Charitable Giving Fund of the Tides Foundation to install the technology backbone for the campus, located within the same industrial park as the Google data center. BACK TO LIST

Rose State College and Tinker Air Force Base
The 44-year-old partnership between RSC and TAFB has forged a common agenda to foster and promote higher education. TAFB’s Air Force Sustainment Center, led by Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, is a catalyst for lifelong learning. As a testament to the overwhelming success of the partnership, thousands of Team Tinker peacekeepers have met their collegiate and professional development goals with general education classes and training programs such as leadership cultivation, project management, federal budget procedures, small business practices, and Lean Six Sigma. TAFB officials believe RSC’s new Fab Lab will enhance this partnership by providing the base with an extraordinary resource. RSC also provides offices for the center´s Force Development Division, a 2010 recipient of this award. This noteworthy partnership continues to grow and, as a result, has established an educational and training pathway for the workforce of tomorrow. BACK TO LIST

Seminole State College and Security State Bank
The partnership between SSC and Security State Bank has resulted in the creation of several small businesses and jobs in Wewoka. The bank was the sponsoring agency for a $25,000 grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka to help fund SSC’s Rural Business and Resources Center. Security State Bank is a longtime supporter of the SSC Educational Foundation, providing sponsorships and, most recently, stepping forward to assist with the building of a large, underground community safe room to be constructed on campus as part of the Dan and Andrea Boren Center. Bryan Cain, president of Security State Bank, worked closely with the SSC Rural Business and Resources Center and the city of Wewoka in establishing a business incubator in the Wewoka Industrial Park. Bank officers have also served as trustees of the SSC Educational Foundation and the SSC board of regents. BACK TO LIST

Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Rustin Concrete
Rustin Concrete and the Rustin family are behind the scenes ensuring success at Southeastern by contributing to student scholarships, athletics, building campaigns and other campus improvements. Rustin Concrete’s human resources manager, Joan Chadwick, has been an advocate for the manufacturing and transportation, distribution, and logistics cluster meetings and provides necessary real-world information for workforce and economic development initiatives. The Rustin family believes in education and has been a longtime contributor to the Southeastern Foundation, with endowments in each of their parent’s names. Their level of support for Southeastern and providing funding to numerous community organizations will continue to strengthen the region to ensure that Durant and southeastern Oklahoma will be a better place to live and work. BACK TO LIST

Southwestern Oklahoma State University and SportChassis
The long-standing partnership between SWOSU and SportChassis, a heavy-duty pickup manufacturer, has most recently resulted in a unique internship experience for two SWOSU students. SportChassis has been heavily focused on designing a right-hand drive truck for the international market and has employed SWOSU engineering technology and computer science interns during that process. The engineering technology intern has done work in 3-D modeling, documentation, programming and technical writing. The computer science intern has worked on server logs, job tracking, web design and a dealer portal. Both SWOSU students have brought a fresh perspective to their departments and have fit in well with the SportChassis team. BACK TO LIST

Tulsa Community College, Bama and APSCO Inc.
For the 2015 academic year, Union High School seniors who expressed an interest in manufacturing, showed a propensity for critical thinking and demonstrated good school attendance and a positive attitude were selected to participate in a multi-partner collaborative between Bama, APSCO, Union High School, TCC and Tulsa Technology Center. Made possible by a U.S. Department of Labor grant from TCC, students are receiving instruction based on nationally recognized pedagogy endorsed by local industry and ending with a national credential from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council. Bama and APSCO bridge the gap between manufacturers and future workers by providing guest speakers and classroom space in a manufacturing setting. In spring 2015, Bama and ASCPO will offer paid internships. Upon successful program completion and graduation, students may be offered full-time positions at either company and/or enroll later at TCC to receive up to 12 hours of college credit retroactively under the engineering technology degree program. BACK TO LIST

University of Central Oklahoma and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
With the full and ongoing support of RFBO, UCO has started and expanded two community outreach programs, UCO Central Pantry and an Edmond YMCA summer feeding program for youth and families. This partnership has been key to UCO´s success and ability to serve students and employees of the university in their individual times of need. On average, UCO sees at least 400 uses of its newly opened pantry each month. UCO also works with RFBO on several educational programs and service events on campus and at the RFBO facility in Oklahoma City. Some of these events include volunteer opportunities for students, like UCO´s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service; internships for nutrition and dietetics majors; or service-learning projects for a variety of courses and majors. BACK TO LIST

University of Oklahoma and Dell Inc.
In 2014, Dell and OU joined forces to launch a Center of Excellence in Learning Success. The vision for the center is to be a premier destination for current and future educators to learn best practices related to technology integration, instructional models and leadership to improve learning success. The first phase of the initiative features an innovative classroom in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education. This laboratory will support pre-service and in-service educators in the exploration and development of student-centered, collaborative and inquiry-based learning. The innovative classroom, which began research in January, gives educators the resources and knowledge they need to effectively integrate new technology into their curricula. The research findings will be shared with educators across Oklahoma. Dell also made a generous gift in technology hardware, software and services to help fund a major portion of the classroom. This award will be used to purchase additional equipment for the classroom. BACK TO LIST

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO)
The partnership between USAO and PSO has resulted in a magnificent outdoor laboratory for USAO students and service for the community. The unlikely partnership began when PSO forestry contractors trimmed the trees in the USAO habitat area based on a standard work plan. Out of concern for the natural habitat, a meeting was organized for USAO administration, science faculty and PSO forestry personnel to discuss ways to mitigate the growth of trees into the power lines while maintaining a robust teaching and research environment. The outcome was the relocation of a gate and construction of a 350-foot entrance road. PSO personnel then installed the new road parallel to the existing distribution power line and previously cut branches were placed over the roadbed as a natural bridge tying together previously separated sections of the habitat. BACK TO LIST

Western Oklahoma State College and Great Plains Child Care Resource and Referral
With quality of child care as a mutual goal, a partnership was formed between WOSC’s child development program and GPCCRR. Through this beneficial partnership, GPCCRR and WOSC share advisory board meetings. With the help of community partners, the board verifies that WOSC certificate and degrees and GPCCRR’s training are preparing WOSC child development students for the workforce. In its capacity as a referral service, GPCCRR also promotes WOSC’s online program; the Scholars for Excellence in Child Care scholarship, which was created to help students financially and through mentorship; and the OKWorks! grant that coaches students in successfully entering the child care workforce. GPCCRR also supports WOSC in the accreditation and reaccreditation process through the National Association for the Education of Young Children. BACK TO LIST




USDA Rural Development (external link)

Oklahoma City Human Resources Society (external link)

Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance (external link)

i2E (external link)

Resources for Student Veterans and Active-Duty Military

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (external link)