Each year, okc.BIZ presents Best of Business, a reader-driven nomination, voting and awards process that spans more than 20 categories, hundreds of nominees and thousands of votes.
Be sure to check out 2017’s winners below.
Best Commercial Bank or Financing Source
Bank of Oklahoma
Bank of Oklahoma combines the best of two banking worlds. As part of BOK Financial Corporation, it’s a top-25 U.S.-based financial services company with a long history of strength and stability, offering resources and experience that smaller banks are not always able to provide. BOK Financial, headquartered in Tulsa, has grown to include operations in a 10-state area, and personal service remains a priority.
Bank of Oklahoma emphasizes relationship banking for companies of all sizes. It helps growing companies raise capital in a variety of ways, from providing assistance with Small Business Administration 504 (SBA) loans to serving as an agent for loan syndicates to companies that need multibank credit facilities. The capacity to lend, paired with state-of-the-art treasury services and local customer service, continue to make Bank of Oklahoma the ideal bank for businesses. More than 630 Bank of Oklahoma employees live and work at almost 20 locations across the Oklahoma City metro area.
Bankers understand local challenges and opportunities because they live and work in the same communities as their customers. Local decision-makers and senior banking experts work with clients face-to-face to help businesses expand when the time is right. BOK Financial traces its roots back to the early 1900s, when oil industry entrepreneurs couldn’t find a bank that would loan them money. A group of oilmen founded the company to provide businesses the capital they needed. More than 100 years later, Bank of Oklahoma remains the bank for business, which is why this company again tops okc.BIZ’s Best of Business recognition.
Republic Bank & Trust
Best Web Design and Service
It starts with listening to client needs and ends with customized websites and apps accessed by thousands. Norman-based Levant Technologies is the key for getting the message of local businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs online. With a personalized approach and a commitment to extraordinary customer service, hundreds have turned to the experts at Levant for compelling website designs. Those businesses and organizations watch as the clicks roll in, increasing their presence and their ability to reach people across the globe.
Levant isn’t a newcomer to the Best of Business list, and Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma named Levant a Top Company to Watch in 2017 after the firm placed was named a Torch Ethics nominee.
This small, hardworking team has even been named one of the Top 5 Best Overall Companies in North America and one of the Top 5 Community Impact honorees for its work with nonprofits, awarded in 2016 by the U.S. Business Excellence Forum.
The Levant team launches more than 100 new online projects a year for local business owners. The firm was founded in 2003 by Tarek Dina and is presently run by CEO Stacy Eads, who has been honored by three news organizations as an under-40 top executive, including okc.BIZ’s Forty Under 40 awards. The company has grown over the past 14 years to a full-time staff of 14 with offices in both Norman and Chicago.
s design, inc.
VI Marketing and Branding
Best Commercial Architecture Firm
Frankfurt Short Bruza
Since its founding in 1945, Frankfurt Short Bruza has exceeded expectations and contributed iconic structures to Oklahoma communities. As its reputation and client list grows locally, nationally and internationally, FSB has worked hard to establish itself as a provider of high-quality architectural and engineering services.
Specializing in the markets of aviation, civic, corporate, educational, federal, infrastructure/technology and Native American projects, FSB is renowned for its ability to exceed client expectations.
Operating under guiding principles of character, teamwork, excellence and community, employees enjoy working at FSB. Nearly 30 percent of the firm’s 150 employees have been with the company more than 10 years. Today, a vibrant new brand, new collaborative workspaces and a growing Fortune 500 client list continue to attract high-caliber staff.
Over the decades, the firm has become a dynamic business and community leader in Oklahoma City, as evidenced by its Best of Business top-five recognition last year.
Frankfurt Short Bruza has also earned American Institute of Architects’ Central Oklahoma Chapter’s Firm of the Year award an unprecedented four times.
FSB’s reputation for quality and service allows it to win projects such as the Will Rogers World Airport terminal expansion, Oklahoma State Capitol interior renovation, Choctaw Nation headquarters and an Air Force One aviation facility at Andrews Air Force Base.
Krittenbrink Architecture LLC
Best Public Relations Firm
Jones Public Relations, Inc.
Jones Public Relations, Inc. is known for making its clients heard in Oklahoma City and across the nation. Established 16 years ago by Brenda Jones Barwick, APR, president and CEO, the firm provides clientele with integrated communications strategies in areas including public affairs, digital and social media, content marketing, consumer marketing, branding, creative services, research insights and leadership training.
In this instant-gratification, real-time social media world, a good public relations firm is as important as a reliable vehicle during an ice storm. Clients need traction and dependability. That’s where Jones PR comes in. This well-connected firm boasts significant international, national and statewide contacts with extensive intelligence of the public sphere and political policy. Through its team of close to 20 members, Jones PR gets your message to the right people at the right time.
In 2016, the agency earned an honorable mention in PRWeek’s Nonprofit Campaign of the Year awards for its work with the National Down Syndrome Society and a Bronze Anvil External Video Programs award for its work with Association of Oklahoma General Contractors (ACOG). In 2015 and 2016, Jones PR was ranked in Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America.
Jones PR is no stranger to peer recognition. In recent years, the firm earned multiple No. 1 honors in okc.BIZ’s Best of Business awards.
Anglin Public Relations
VI Marketing and Branding
Best Employer Group Medical Insurance Provider
BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma
BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) is the state’s largest health care company, serving more than 800,000 members from every corner of Oklahoma and everywhere in between. BCBSOK stands apart because it now reaches more members through the Mobile Assistance Center, which goes into communities and helps members and nonmembers with things big and small, from insurance inquiries and claims to printing insurance ID cards.
For more than 76 years, BCBSOK has been there for its members — sometimes during the worst times in their lives. The company is there as an ally, to provide security and peace of mind. It is able to do this because of its employees’ commitment and passion. Everything BCBSOK does is guided by the straightforward core purpose: “To do everything in our power to stand with our members in sickness and in health.”
BCBSOK was founded March 15, 1940, by Dr. Harry Turner of Oklahoma City and Dr. James Stevenson of Tulsa. The organizers needed seed money of $10,000 to launch their enterprise. They agreed that the first city — Oklahoma City or Tulsa — to come up with its $5,000 share would become the company’s headquarters. Tulsa won, and the business established itself in Green Country.
BCBSOK also operates the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports programs that provide Oklahomans access to preventive health services. Its signature program is the Oklahoma Caring Van Program, which was launched in 1999 to serve families statewide. Since 1999, more than 155,000 children have received nearly 283,000 immunizations aboard Caring Vans.
After multiple years on the okc.BIZ Best of Business honoree list, this year, business peers voted BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma the No. 1 Best Employer Group Medical Insurance Provider in the metro.
Best Continuing Education or Professional Development Institution
Sandler Training of Oklahoma
It’s never too late to learn new things, and Sandler Training of Oklahoma knows this. The company uses reinforcement, business coaching and accountability to ensure visionary clients have the best learning experience possible, whether they’re learning by themselves, with a team or as part of an organization. Sandler stresses an effective, efficient, no-nonsense approach to sales, management and leadership development that produces results and removes counterproductive communication and behaviors. Sandler’s clients have excelled in more than 200 industries over four decades and have cemented the company’s status as a global education leader.
Doyce and Mike Crandall founded Sandler Training of Oklahoma in 2009, and they are still active in helping clients grow. Sandler trainers have already had highly successful careers as sales and management professionals, and they use the Sandler methodology in their mission to train and mentor others to be successful in their professional lives, which typically positively impacts their personal lives, too.
Sandler believes that tailoring plans to clients is more effective than using a generic, off-the-shelf approach. The company builds a delivery methodology to help clients grow over time — a more effective approach than promising a magical quick fix.
This is the second consecutive year Sandler Training of Oklahoma has earned the No. 1 slot as Best of Business’ Best Continuing Education or Professional Development Institution. The office achieved Diamond Status within the Sandler Network (which is awarded to only 10 percent of all offices). Last year, Mike Crandall released the book Motivational Management The Sandler Way on understanding what happens in the subconscious that drives our thoughts and actions.
Dale Carnegie Training
Francis Tuttle Technology Center
Professional Development Institute, Oklahoma City Community College
University of Central Oklahoma
Best Advertising Agency
VI Marketing and Branding
At VI, the pursuit of innovative marketing and branding ideas for clients is both satisfying and consuming. From its first day, VI team members were early adopters of the belief that every company, product and service has a story to tell, that every brand worth its salt should have a voice and unique position in the marketplace. The VI team succeeds by finding new marketing and branding strategies that help transform companies from good to great.
VI maintains it position in the market by living its brand identity every day while practicing its principles through its people, culture, work and community engagement. In 2016 alone, VI was awarded 68 Oklahoma City American Advertising Awards (ADDYs), including 24 gold and a People’s Choice honor. It also became a Google Certified Partner and hosted a statewide Utilities Summit and a Digital Summit as well as the 14th annual Carne Diem chili cook-off, street party and United Way fundraiser in downtown Oklahoma City.
VI is passionate, fun, loyal and smart. Above all, VI team members are great marketers with an understanding of trends and consumer behaviors. Strategic thinking is in their DNA. A regional firm approaching 70 strong, VI has been exercising its integrated marketing approach for more than 28 years. Business peers have frequently voted VI one of the top Best Advertising Agencies over the years.
Best CPA or Accounting Firm for a Business
Eide Bailly LLP
Eide Bailly client experiences are different than at other CPA firms. Its professionals deliver genuine and insightful advice, and they strive to become your trusted business advisors. Founded in 1917, Eide Bailly is one of INSIDE Public Accounting’s Top 25 CPA firms in the nation, with 29 offices in 13 states. Its clients benefit from local, personal service while enjoying access to 1,700 professionals with diverse skill sets and experiences.
From its core services of audit and assurance and tax to expanded services including accounting services, cost segregation, financial services, forensic and valuation, health care reform, international services, risk advisory services, technology consulting, transaction services and wealth management, its experienced professionals make clients feel understood, connected and confident. Eide Bailly’s collaborative approach demonstrates its dedication to all its clients and their success.
Working together, the firm leverages the talents and strengths of its team of professionals. That means clients work with professionals who truly care about their business and will take the time to get to know them and their organization. Clients also gain insights from the firm’s industry and service specialists to accomplish their objectives. Additionally, clients receive personal attention from their Eide Bailly service team, which often includes professionals at the partner level.
BKD CPAs & Advisors
Hyde & Company CPAs PC
Matthew Mann CPA PLLC
Best Place for a Business Event
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum opened its doors in 1965. For more than 25 years, it has offered facility rental services to businesses and organizations looking to surround themselves with a first-class experience that encompasses true American and Oklahoma history. The museum’s extensive art and artifact collections and frequently changing exhibits offer guests a one-of-a kind event.
With a focus on hospitality, the museum offers world-class food and beverage service through Petroleum Club Oklahoma City and state-of-the-art audio-visual service through PDCAV.
In addition to the Sam Noble Special Events Center, the museum offers venues such as the S.B. “Burk” Burnett Board Room, Dub & Mozelle Richardson Theater and its newest event space, Prosperity Junction.
The Board Room and Richard Theater are perfect for meetings with out-of-town clients or as a breakout space to foster new creativity with your staff, and both are big reasons Best of Business voters again ranked National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum one of the metro’s Best Places for a Business Event. Prosperity Junction, a turn-of-the-century cattle town, offers a unique opportunity to immerse guests in the narrative of the American West.
The museum is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. It collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. More than 10 million visitors from around the world have sought out this unique museum to gain better understanding of the West.
21c Museum Hotel
Broadway 10 Bar & Chophouse
Oklahoma Memorial Union – University of Oklahoma
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
Best Commercial Real Estate Company
Baker First CRE Services
With experience in all types of commercial real estate, from raw land to developed properties and all aspects therein, Baker First focuses on superior service. Its services include commercial brokerage, property management, development and construction. Many national chains and other businesses turn to Baker First when looking to expand to Oklahoma City.
Opened in 1988, Baker First has strong institutional knowledge of the regional market. This knowledge, combined with its robust relationships, helps the firm provide quick results for clients. The combination of services common with a large firm and customer care that is typical from small business has allowed Baker First to develop a strong reputation in the industry.
Baker First stresses innovation. Continually evolving over the years has helped the company better understand client needs and desires while always improving its internal systems and processes. It strives to provide seamless communication from start to finish.
Baker First’s clients applaud it for being visionary and creative.
“We are committed to quality work and improving the community,” said president and CEO Rod Baker. “Our work should reflect our passion for our profession.”
Fairness and honest dealings are the company’s first priority.
“If we make a mistake, we admit it and strive to correct it and not repeat it,” Baker said. “The relationship is our overriding concern.”
Baker First has a core of highly dedicated, long-term associates who share a common vision. “We always look out for our client needs first, and they show us appreciation through loyalty,” Baker said, which is an important reason the company returns to the top honor in this year’s Best of Business awards.
Keller Williams Realty
NAI Sullivan Group
Rieger Realty, LLC.
Best Caterer for a Company Event
Aunt Pittypat’s Catering
Aunt Pittypat’s Catering has led quality catering in culinary creativity in Oklahoma City for more than 35 years. It boasts an exceptionally well-trained staff, high-quality and modern display equipment, creative and detail-oriented sales managers and one of the best executive chefs in the city — co-owner Christine Dowd.
Aunt Pittypat’s has been in the Howell family since 1986. Bob Howell established it as a culinary leader and trendsetter then. His daughter Maggie Howell and Christine Dowd bought the business in 2004. They pride themselves in great customer service and restaurant-level staffing and training that matches the high quality of food, which are big reasons businesses voted it Best of Business’ No. 1 spot for Best Caterers for a Company Event. Since off-premise catering is its own distinct business, the company has sought over three decades to bring a top level of quality to any venue a client could dream up.
“Our food is chef-driven,” Maggie Howell said. “We strive for restaurant quality food service in an off-premise catering situation. This level of quality sets us apart from the rest.”
Aunt Pittypat’s calling card is its ability to cater unmatched quality for informal events and boxed lunches as well as high-end, one-of-a-kind banquets, receptions and stationed events. Although its corporate clients appreciate its packaged menu selections, its social and special event clients love that Aunt Pittypat’s customizes every detail to suit their event.
“From rentals, bar service, socially skilled staffing, decor and styling, we can handle as much or as little of the event as our clients’ needs demand,” Howell said.
Abbey Road Catering
Running Wild Catering
Sooner Legends Banquet & Catering Services
The Petroleum Club of Oklahoma City
Best Information Technology Management Company
With a history of providing top services while building strong client relationships, InterWorks, Inc. continues to excel in the field of information technology management. InterWorks, founded in 1996, has a passion for technology and people. It delivers full-spectrum IT and data solutions to a diverse client base. From servers and storage to development and visualization, InterWorks does it all.
“We continue to win the repeat business of our clients, establishing ourselves as trusted advisors for all their technology needs,” CEO Behfar Jahanshahi said. “Whether it’s a local business just next door or a household name like Facebook or Google, we provide the same high level of service to all our clients.”
InterWorks’ website includes a page with two prominent words: “Be happy.” It also says,
“Believe it or not, you can do big things while having the time of your life.” One look within an InterWorks office proves that this mantra is more than just words.
“We’ve always made it a point to break away from stuffy corporate norms and let our employees define what we want to be as a company,” Jahanshahi said. “This sense of ownership and camaraderie definitely makes for happier employees and, by extension, happier clients.”
Leveraging innovative technology from partners such as Dell and Tableau Software, InterWorks helps organizations across the globe build foundations for sustained success, offering services from coast to coast and even in the U.K., Germany and Netherlands.
InterWorks has also been voted an okc.BIZ Best of Business honoree for multiple years and is a regular in okc.BIZ’s Best Places to Work in Oklahoma list. It also made the Inc. 5000 for nine consecutive years.
Smart Computing Technology, LLC
Best Event Rental & Planning Company
factor 110 | 110 events
For many companies, putting on a meeting or event can be nerve-wracking. Between finding a location and confirming the details, it’s a massive undertaking. Since its founding in 2006, the team at factor 110 has helped its clients design and execute their vision.
For this team, success is about factoring in the difference. It’s about the difference they provide in their service, value and creativity by exploring unique approaches while respecting the mission and budget. It’s about going above and beyond, giving 110 percent and being flexible. It’s about being resourceful, unique and client-focused.
factor 110 | destination Oklahoma is the premier destination management company in Oklahoma, while 110 events provides the finest inventory in event rentals.
factor 110’s unparalleled knowledge of the finest local venues, caterers, attractions, tours, transportation and other services allows clients to achieve the ultimate destination experience. The company’s unsurpassed service, creativity and enthusiasm are the hallmarks of its success and why peers recognize it as a Best of Business Best Event Rental & Planning Company. As visitors and conference-goers arrive in Oklahoma City, factor 110 becomes their guide to showcasing the exciting sights and surprises the state has to offer.
The company continues to revolutionize Oklahoma’s meeting and convention industry. The certified, award-winning team has more industry certifications, awards and crisis management training than any other event company in the state.
Celebrating 10 years in 2017, the company is proud of its track record and prides itself as an industry trendsetter.
Conventions & More
Marianne’s Rentals for Special Events
Best Commercial Law Firm
Durbin, Larimore and Bialick, P.C.
What sets Durbin Larimore & Bialick, P.C. apart from other law firms is its capability to provide the quality, reputation and full range of services expected of larger law firms while maintaining the accessibility, flexibility and efficiency of a smaller firm.
The firm’s guiding principle is to be the best law firm possible, not necessarily the biggest or the most profit-driven. Its attorneys each share a deep commitment to maintaining the highest standards of excellence in the legal field, whether they are representing individuals, startup companies, a growing business or established institutions in the courtroom or in the boardroom. Durbin, Larimore & Bialick’s long track record of success is largely attributable to its concerted effort to recruit and employ highly skilled attorneys with expertise in a wide range of matters.
Durbin Larimore & Bialick, P.C. was founded in 1983 by Gerald E. Durbin, James K. Larimore and Mark E. Bialick. All three remain active in the firm today.
The firm maintains a rating by Martindale Hubbell as one of the top 1,000 law firms in the United States, and it is consistently recognized in Chambers USA and Best Lawyers. Three members have been inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. More than half of the firm’s 20 attorneys have been consistently recognized as Oklahoma Super Lawyers, three ranking in Oklahoma’s top 50 and two ranking in the top 10 attorneys in the state.
Blau Law Firm
Crowe & Dunlevy Attorneys and Counselors at Law
McAfee & Taft
Spencer Fane LLP
Best Place for a Company Retreat
Chickasaw Retreat & Conference Center
Located one hour south of Oklahoma City in south-central Oklahoma in the heart of the historic Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center is an ideal location for corporate retreats, weddings, family reunions, church groups and relaxing getaways.
The retreat sits at one of the highest points in the Arbuckle Mountains, overlooking the Lake of the Arbuckles and the peaks and valleys of the surrounding landscape. The retreat features more than 10 locations to host your company’s next event, including numerous conference and meeting rooms as well as an amphitheater, lounge and both group and private dining spaces.
Additionally, guests can enjoy the retreat’s two-story, state-of-the-art fitness center complete with more than 30 pieces of exercise equipment and an indoor walking track, on-site by-reservation spa, indoor lap pool, sauna and steam room and more. With 360-degree views throughout the hotel and fitness center, guests can relax, re-energize and find renewed inspiration. Just a short drive away from local attractions like the Bedré Fine Chocolate factory, the Chickasaw Retreat & Conference Center is a perfect getaway for any event, whether business or personal. The retreat is surrounded by plenty of outdoor adventure nearby as well, such as natural springs, waterfalls, caverns, hiking trails and more. The opportunity for organized adventure makes the retreat a model location to work on team-building or to relax and enjoy some downtime. Nearby, in the town of Sulphur, guests can also immerse themselves in local favorites, including boutique shopping, fine dining or taking in an art exhibit.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma Memorial Union – University of Oklahoma
Sooner Bowling Center
The Artesian Hotel, Casino & Spa
Best Commercial Construction Company
DBG Construction LLC
Founded in 2007, DBG Construction LLC is beginning its 10th year as a woman-owned small business and full-service general contractor in Oklahoma City. Since its earliest projects, DBG has worked diligently to set a new benchmark for contractors in the commercial construction industry. Cofounders Deemah Ramadan and Frey Radfar have built the company’s reputation as an innovative firm that manages and executes timely, cost-effective results. DBG’s construction operations were founded on transparent communication, and they continue to champion the company’s purpose of providing a building experience that inspires and delights the community.
DBG Construction has successfully completed major projects for clients such as Chase Bank, the University of Oklahoma, Norman Regional Hospital, Moore Public Schools, Carlisle FoodService Products and Dunlap Codding law firm. These projects have included construction management, ground-up construction, design/build and facility maintenance. The company’s facility maintenance team handles repairs and multitrade projects, currently servicing more than 100 locations throughout Oklahoma.
DBG achieved several new milestones in 2016. Its clientele has expanded, including Norman Regional Hospital and Chick-Fil-A. DBG continues to build on its reputation for completing challenging projects within budget and ahead of schedule. Its team continues to be selected for demanding projects based on its under-budget estimates and its reputation for completing internal deadlines ahead of schedule. DBG is passionate about building a better community one person, one building, one city at a time.
Alliance Property Development
Smith and Pickel
Best Commercial Sign Company
Blue Diamond Signs
Blue Diamond Signs is relatively young, and owner and president Donny Ho sees that as an advantage. Ho started his custom signage manufacturing business in 2001 as an advertising agency that created lots of logo designs and visual effects. He soon found a niche for creating signs that stood out from the competition.
“We have two simple goals: produce amazing work and deliver it on time,” Ho said.
Blue Diamond offers a wide variety of products while offering a turnkey solution, including design, permitting, fabrication and installation.
“We produce everything in-house at our 10,000-square-foot facility, and since we’re not too small yet not too big, our client’s project doesn’t get lost with a 100 other jobs,” Ho said.
You’ve seen Blue Diamond Signs’ work all over town. Ho’s client roster includes Lockheed Martin, Kings Travel Plaza, Lithko Contracting LLC, Cumulus Media, Oklahoma’s Turner Turnpike, Mustang Elementary School, Natural Grocers, Victory Car Wash and more.
The company creates custom monuments, digital LED message boards, awning and canopy signs, parking lot lighting, vehicle wraps, banners, neon and more — and all Blue Diamond Signs work is guaranteed. Many of Ho’s designers and technicians bring more than two decades of prior experience with them to each project they take on, helping clients achieve their branding goals. Ho is a founding member and president of the Asian Chamber of Oklahoma.
Industrial Signs & Neon
Best Local Commercial Insurance Agency
Garner Insurance Company
In its four years in business, Garner Insurance has been highly successful. The independent insurance agency makes educating customers on the many aspects of insurance a top priority. Garner is committed to providing an outstanding experience in shopping for insurance and fully serving each customer. With access to more than 125 companies, Garner can tailor a policy to fit many different needs.
Commercial insurance coverage options include bonds, general liability, commercial auto and property, business owners policy (BOB), contractors, builders risk, restaurant and even church insurance.
“Having their insurance all in one place simplifies our clients’ lives,” said owner Jared Garner.
Garner has grown rapidly in the past year and a half, from two employees to six, and serves the Norman community and the state of Oklahoma.
“We serve all types of businesses, but we’ve developed a niche in trucking companies and those that do directional drilling for cable, sewer and water lines,” Garner said.
The company also provides personal home, vehicle and life insurance.
Garner said each client has access to a dedicated team of experts working together to find the best policy fit.
“We like to go to each business,” he said. “Then we come up with a plan that combines various products, including umbrella policies, that provide the the maximum in protection at the lowest cost.”
Bradford Willis, Farmers Insurance
NFP Corporate Services
Rich & Cartmill Insurance and Bonds
Best Commercial Property Management/Leasing Company
Northstar Properties thrives as a reliable and innovative property management company overseeing apartment complexes and storage space throughout the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas. Its staff is determined to deliver maximum results, increasing profits through commercial property management, finance, administration, construction, development, rehabilitation, due diligence services, modernization and more. Northstar maintains its reputation as an industry leader by focusing on employee education and fostering honest, profitable relationships with investors and clients.
Cofounder Edmond Carlson established his property management career in 1984 when he helped build and manage two of the region’s most successful property management firms. Carlson, who received his MBA from Pepperdine University, is proud of early success in turning around a distressed apartment community in Norman. He and his partners quickly grew the management company to be one of the largest in the state.
In 2004, they formed Northstar Properties so they could streamline their portfolio and emphasize relationships with employees and residents.
For more almost years, president Kristi Carlson has driven Northstar Properties strategic planning and growth, helping solidify the company as one of the city’s most successful apartment owners.
She earned a bachelor’s in marketing from the University of Oklahoma and has served as Apartment Association of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors president and vice president. She also previously served on Oklahoma Multi-Family Housing Association’s board of directors.
Baker First CRE Services
Price Edwards & Company
Best Agency for Business Travel
Travel With Kathy
Travel With Kathy serves businesses and nonprofit organizations in several ways. These include trips that are awarded as prizes for employee contests or as raffles by nonprofits. Travel With Kathy also can arrange trips for an entire small company. It also coordinates travel such as senior trips, destination weddings and family reunions.
Owner Kathy Cardott said she vets cruise lines and tour companies to determine their ability to deliver what they promise.
“It’s important to read the fine print if a deal seems too good to be true,” she said.
Cardott stays current in the travel industry by participating in educational trips for agents and through training and accreditation. The firm is accredited by Cruise Lines International Association and has extensive experience putting together individual and group cruises and vacation packages to Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe and other destinations.
Cardott provides exceptional personal service with her attention to detail and a superior dedication to her clients. Her love for languages and travel inspired her to create a business in which she could help others enjoy their own travel experiences.
Before she retired from teaching, she worked in the field of English as a second language.
She assists her clients based on own her traveling experiences to destinations including Alaska, Canada, Japan, Caribbean Islands, several European and South American countries, New York City, Chicago, Orlando and more.
Bentley Hedges Travel
Journey House Travel Inc.
Best Business Furniture/Equipment/Supply Company
Stow’s Office Furniture
An office without quality furniture is as useless as a pool without clean water. Stow’s Office Furniture has everything its clients need to transform ho-hum offices into exemplary workspaces that radiate success. The locally owned and operated business offers a wide selection of desks, chairs, conference room furnishings, accent pieces, filing and storage solutions, modular manufactured system workspaces and more.
Stow’s staff will work with you to meet your office needs while staying within your budget. With almost 30 years in the business, Stow’s is adept at anticipating business needs and helping create office environments perfect for both clients and employees.
Started in 1989 by Jerry Stow, Stow’s is a locally grown success story. Wanting to earn extra revenue to help support his family, Stow launched his company by buying inventory from another business and refurbishing the pieces in his garage. When the inventory quickly sold out, Stow realized the unfilled niche and need for quality, lightly used office furniture at reasonable prices. From there, he rented storage units and soon had them filled with furniture. Those quickly emptied, too.
Today, Jerry and his wife Diana maintain partnerships with more than 30 manufacturers as they work hard to provide customers with a superior selection of new and quality pre-owned office furnishings.
In 1995, Stow’s moved into its three-story, 60,000 square-foot facility in downtown Oklahoma City’s historic Automobile Alley district. The company expanded into the Tulsa market in 2001.
Copelin’s Office Supplies
Smart Image Systems
Best Promotional Products Company
Moisant Promotional Products
Established in 1990 by Bill and Teresa Moisant, Moisant Promotional Products has grown into a multimillion-dollar company that continues to offer the exceptional level of individualized customer service it was known for when Bill and Teresa were its only employees. The locally owned and operated company has built its reputation the old-fashioned way. They know good service builds loyalty, which is a big reason it’s been honored eight times as one of the metro’s Best Promotional Products Companies.
Moisant provides clients with a variety of customized promotional goods — awards and recognition products, tools and hardware, apparel, executive gifts, games, caps and hats, sports and outdoor accessories, home and kitchen accoutrements and more — that can take advertising to the next level. Moisant professionals consult with clients on the best ways to promote their brands, and the business continues to grow by using the technology necessary to stay ahead of the game.
Whether it’s a button-down oxford shirt with your company name embroidered on it, stemless wine glasses and barware displaying your event logo or a colorful variety of rubberized-grip, retractable ballpoint pens with a website address, Moisant Promotional Products helps clients find cost-effective ways to market and promote your businesses with custom promotional items.
It’s easy to see why business peers so frequently vote Moisant as a go-to option for business promotional products: Their customers appreciate the level of service it provides.
IMAGENation Promotional Group, Inc.
Best Business-Related Nonprofit
Oklahoma Venture Forum
Oklahoma Venture Forum is the state’s preeminent entrepreneurial development organization and promotes economic growth by fostering discussion and development opportunities between inventors, investors, innovators, community leaders and others.
Oklahoma City leaders launched OVF out of their resolve to diversify the area’s industrial base and change the future economic outlook of the city. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce led the initiative to form the organization, and its diverse membership represents an array of business interests across the state.
Since 1987, the nonprofit has connected entrepreneurs to Oklahoma’s growing network of investors, venture funds, incubators and other service providers through monthly meetings, social media, publications and annual awards. OVF programs create awareness of business opportunities and trends and offer purposeful networking for leaders of commerce.
OVF offers a unique platform for entrepreneurs to discuss their business achievements, startup goals, obstacles and/or solutions with an audience of like-minded entrepreneurs, potential mentors and venture capital investors. Over the past five years, its monthly speaker series luncheon has hosted more than 90 entrepreneurs. Luncheons and after-hours events offer a variety of presentations from Oklahoma entrepreneurs and features some of the country’s most impressive and groundbreaking technology, science and applications.
Since its beginning, its members have shown long-term dedication to it, and founding member Bill Cameron of American Fidelity continues to support OVF through an Investor Level membership.
Better Business Bureau
Chickasaw Nation Department of Health
Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Best Commercial Graphic Design Firm
Freestyle Creative describes itself as the intersection between strategy and creativity. Founded in 2007 by Vahid Farzaneh as a film production company, its services now include targeted digital marketing, advertising, branding and design, website development, video production and public relations.
As a full-service advertising agency, Freestyle uses graphic design and other tools to develop marketing campaigns. Every good brand has a story to tell, and Freestyle helps bring that story to life. Its “full circle” client service process is comprised of six steps: research and analysis, creative development, deployment and customer engagement, weekly campaign progress measurement, analysis and campaign adjustment and delivering quantifiable results.
Since its launch seven years ago, it has grown organically, developing strong ties in the Oklahoma community. Freestyle takes pride in helping brands reach their full potential through creativity, strategic thinking and quality design.
This up-and-coming advertising agency serves clients big and small, from the University of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation to venture-backed tech startups such as Driven Analytics. Freestyle’s team of young professionals assists clients in creating holistic marketing and creative strategies built to drive growth and deliver a targeted message.
Freestyle employees are also encouraged to contribute their talents to making our community better and to help advance Oklahoma City. Its team is active with community organizations including Oklahoma City Ad Club, Oklahoma City Rotary Club 29, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council Oklahoma City, Positive Tomorrows and many more.
s design inc
VI Marketing and Branding
Best Local Investment Advisor or Provider for a Business
Eide Bailly Financial Service
For nearly two decades, Eide Bailly Financial Services has helped clients effectively navigate the seasons of their financial lives. It’s important that clients are connected, understood and confident, and Eide Bailly Financial Services team members employ a variety of resources — including financial planning, retirement income planning, education planning, portfolio design, asset management, insurance services and fiduciary reviews — to create comprehensive, customized solutions that meet client goals.
As a CPA-based financial services firm, Eide Bailly brings together the talents and knowledge of key advisors by using a collaborative, academic, research-driven approach that demonstrates its dedication to each client’s success and culminates in solutions, ideas and opportunities. At Eide Bailly Financial Services, ﬁnancial planning is the deﬁning core of what the firm is as well as the foundation of each client relationship. It strives to build relationships that go beyond just quarterly account statements or portfolio investment returns. The firm also helps clients define what matters to them today while anticipating their needs for tomorrow.
Eide Bailly Financial Services wants its clients to feel absolutely confident in their relationship with their advisor and in the value they are receiving from the firm. Working together, the firm leverages the talents and strengths of its team of professionals.
DM Wealth Management
Gorton Financial Group
Scott Dunn, Opes One Advisors