2013 Speakers

Speaker Biographies

Ruben Aragon

Panelist: Jobs and Economic Development


Ruben V. Aragon was elected President and CEO of the Latino Community Development Agency  (LCDA)  in July 2012, after having served as Vice-Chairman of its Board.  LCDA is the largest and most effective non-profit service agency in the State of Oklahoma serving the rapidly growing Hispanic population in Central Oklahoma.  Mr. Aragon has served on numerous non-profit boards and is also the Chairman of the Metro Tech Foundation Board.

Mr. Aragon has been a lifelong serial entrepreneur, founding and growing numerous manufacturing companies in Pennsylvania, Texas and Oklahoma.  He was the founder and CEO of A-X Heat Transfer, a manufacturing company with worldwide sales of proprietary heat exchangers used primarily in the manufacturing and processing of sulfuric acid.  Mr. Aragon was the founder and CEO of Duralast Rubber Products, Inc. in Tulsa, OK, a custom molder of rubber products used in the oilfield industry along with proprietary rubber wheels for use in many industries.   Through a successful proxy battle, Mr. Aragon successfully engineered a takeover of Regal International Inc., then a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)  traded company, after which Mr. Aragon became Chairman and CEO.

Mr. Aragon was recruited to Oklahoma City in 1979 by Texas International Company, then a NYSE traded company.  Mr. Aragon became Senior Vice President and Director of the company and was the chief executive in charge of a major oilfield equipment manufacturing division. 

Mr. Aragon holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Harvard University and  Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Mexico


Jari Askins

Panelist: Political Leadership – Myths and Realities


Jari Askins is Associate Provost for External Relations at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.  In this capacity, she provides leadership for the services offered at the Health Sciences Center with a priority focus on the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center and the Office of Alumni and Development.

When Jari was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 15th Lieutenant Governor in 2007, she achieved the rare distinction of being involved in public service in all three branches of state government.

Born and reared in Duncan, Oklahoma, Lieutenant Governor Askins received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  She served as special district judge for the District Court of Stephens County for eight years, from 1982 – 1990.  In 1991, the Governor appointed her to the Pardon and Parole Board, which elected her as its first woman chairman.  She later served as executive director of the Pardon and Parole Board and as deputy general counsel to the Governor. 

Askins was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1994 from District 50, and served for twelve years.  During her last term, Askins became the first woman to lead a caucus in the Oklahoma Legislature when she was elected Democratic House Leader.  She won statewide election as Lieutenant Governor in 2006.  

Lieutenant Governor Askins received numerous awards during her career in public service.  Honors include “outstanding legislator” awards from more than three dozen organizations, Leadership Oklahoma’s Outstanding Graduate, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women Kate Barnard Award, and the “Commitment to Excellence Award” from the Oklahoma Academy.  In 2001, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Since leaving office, Jari has received the 2012 Pioneer Woman Award from the Pioneer Woman Museum Advisory Board; the William G. Paul Oklahoma Justice Award from Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma; and the Spirit of the Urban Indian Award from the Oklahoma City Indian Health Clinic.

Askins also has been recognized by the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians, the Rural Health Association, the Oklahoma State Medical Association and the OU College of Medicine Alumni Association for her commitment to improve access to and quality of healthcare for all Oklahomans. 

Askins serves on the Board of Directors of Arvest Bank in Southwest Oklahoma, the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and on the Board of Trustees of Phillips Theological Seminary.  She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Academy of State Goals, and the First Christian Church of Duncan, where she still sings in the choir.


Megan Benn

Moderator: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections


Megan is on contract with OK Policy as an Outreach Coordinator to bring organizations together to promote sound budget and tax policies in the state. Megan has over 17 years of public policy experience at both the state and federal levels. She has researched and promoted policies related to economic development, education, and state budget and tax structures. Megan’s work experience includes stints at the White House, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the Oklahoma State Senate Research and Policy Division, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and currently with her own private public affairs consulting and lobbying firm. Megan received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Texas Christian University. Megan and her husband Dr. Jason Benn reside in Norman, OK with their two children.


David Blatt

Welcome and Introductions; Presenter: Making Sausage – Overview of the Oklahoma Legislative Process; Presenter: The nuts and bolts of state budget and taxes


David helped found OK Policy and served as Director of Policy before becoming the organization’s Director in 2010. David’s work involves conducting research, writing papers, and giving public presentations on state budget and tax policy, poverty, asset development, and various other subjects. Recognized as one of the state’s leading experts on fiscal policy and selected as one of the Tulsa World’s five Oklahomans to Watch” in 2011, he is a member and regional co-chair of the Scholars Strategy Network. David previously served for seven years as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and for three years as a budget analyst for the State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. He lives in Tulsa with his wife, Patty Hipsher, a special education teacher at an elementary school in Broken Arrow and their son, Noah.


Eileen Bradshaw

Panelist: Poverty and the Safety Net


Eileen Ryan Bradshaw assumed the role of Executive Director at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma just over one year ago.  Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Emergency Infant Services, an agency serving the basic needs of children under six. Working on a daily basis with families who routinely struggled to feed their children really heightened her interest in food insecurity, and the issues involving the morality and fairness in food distribution and policy.

Eileen is a native Tulsan, and a graduate of Bishop Kelley High school. She received a Bachelor’s of Art in Philosophy from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She is married to Steve Bradshaw, and has 3 children. She is active in the community, and has served as an advisor, board member and volunteer for various organizations in Tulsa.


Steven Buck

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Health Policy Challenges


Steven Buck serves ODMHSAS as deputy commissioner for communications and prevention.  In this capacity, Buck directs ODMHSAS’s prevention and provider certification initiatives.  He also oversees both internal and external communications and is the agency’s lead on state legislative relations. 

Prior to joining the department in August 2007, Buck enjoyed a ten year career with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  During his tenure, he served in multiple capacities, including director of state policy, director of state relations, and executive director of NAMI Oklahoma.  As director of state policy, Buck provided oversight and consultation in the area of public policy development to the 50 NAMI state organizations.

Buck has advocacy experience in multiple state legislatures and has been involved in numerous campaigns and policy initiatives.    

He and his wife, Lisa, have four daughters and are currently fostering two boys. A native Oklahoman, he is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics.


Dr. Gerry Clancy

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Health Policy Challenges


Dr. Gerard Clancy, MD, was named president of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa in 2006. He is responsible for all OU-Tulsa programs and the development and growth of the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center. Clancy was named Dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine-Tulsa in 2001.

Clancy serves on numerous community boards in the Tulsa area. He received the 2002 National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Community Psychiatry Award at the national meeting. The Oklahoma State Medical Association awarded him the 2003-2004 Award for Community Service for the development of a community partnership to improve access to care for the medically underserved. Under his leadership, the IMPACT team, a mobile psychiatric team, and the Bedlam Alliance for Community Health, a network of clinics providing free medical care, have become a safety net for the underserved in northeastern Oklahoma.

Clancy is published in the basic, clinical and educational sciences. He has written a modifiable electronic medical textbook on emergency psychiatry that was recently adapted for use in Spain and on U.S. Navy ships across the world. He continues to work across the country on the development of outreach psychiatric programs for those with refractory severe mental illnesses. He continues to teach students and residents and sees patients regularly.

He attended the University of Iowa for the majority of his formal education. Clancy received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, completed an American Heart Association Research Fellowship and completed his medical degree. Clancy served as a faculty member of the University of Iowa in the Department of Psychiatry. He was involved in the leadership of several major initiatives at the University including establishing mobile clinics for individuals who were homeless and mentally ill.


Montelle Van Clark

Presenter: Energy breakout session

Montelle Van Clark is a recipient of Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award and a Board Member of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, where he directs policy efforts and grants on energy and air quality. In 2008 he was appointed by Governor Brad Henry to the Air Quality Council for the State of Oklahoma, and in 2012 he was reappointed to the Council by Governor Mary Fallin.


Michael Connelly

Presenter: Criminal Justice breakout sessions


Michael Connelly is a partner in JCO Consulting which serves correctional and sentencing resources to state and local governments.  For his company, he writes and edits the Corrections Sentencing 2020 blog.  He was previously Administrator of the Evaluation & Analysis Unit of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and also served as executive director of sentencing commissions in Maryland and Wisconsin.  Prior to that, he was research director for the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center, which staffed the state sentencing commission and allowed him to serve as state Statistical Analysis Center director.

Dr. Connelly also managed grant projects for the Justice Research and Statistics Association, including BJA technical assistance on program evaluation to state and local criminal justice agencies. He has partnered with the Pew Center on the States and the Crime and Justice Institute on sentencing and corrections policy reform in various states. In addition, he was previously an associate professor of public policy and administration for Southwestern Oklahoma State University as well as since adjuncting for the University of Maryland, Norwich University, Columbia College, and the University of Oklahoma. 

His research has appeared in policy, political science, education, criminal justice, and sentencing journals as well as in professional and government publications.  He previously served on the executive board of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. 

He received his Ph.D. in political science with an outside field in criminology from the University of Missouri.


Felicia Collins Correia

Panelist: Poverty and the Safety Net


Felicia Collins Correia has been the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA Tulsa since December 2006. She previously served as the Executive Director of Tulsa’s Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc., a position she held for 18 years. Ms. Collins Correia, a native New Yorker, earned her Masters of Social Work and Masters of Public Health degrees from Columbia University. In 1982, she was selected by the National Urban Leageue to serve a one-year fellowship in the George Edmund Hayes Fellowship Program. In 1984, Ms. Collins Correia joined the Massachusetts Department of Public Health where she was Director of Perinatal and Genetics Services, working primarily on a statewide infant mortality prevention initiative until her move to Oklahoma in 1987.

Ms. Collins Correia has received numerous awards for her social justice work and her nonprofit leadership, including the Tulsa Chapter Women In Communications Newsmaker Award; the Status of Women Service Award from the Sigma Gamma Rho Soroity, Inc.; the Sunshine Peace Award, which is offered biannually through the Sunshine Lady Foundation with the support and assistance of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; selection as one of the eight Oustanding Women of the Year by Tulsa Woman News; the prestigious Pinnacle Award for Public Advocacy from the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and The Tulsa Women’s Foundation. Ms. Collins Correia was most recently selected as one of five Williams Women of Inspiration in 2012.


Tiece Dempsey

Presenter: Health Care overview; Moderator: Oklahoma’s Health Policy Challenges


Tiece joined OK Policy in January 2013. She earned a B.S. in General Business from Oklahoma State University and a Masters in Health Administration from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She worked in the Healthcare Industry approximately five years before deciding to attend law school. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law and was admitted to practice law in Oklahoma in September 2012. She is a native of the Oklahoma City area and participates in the Whiz Kids tutoring program.


Linda Edmondson

Moderator: Poverty and the Safety Net


Linda Edmondson is a social worker, non-profit consultant and community volunteer.  She serves on several statewide boards including the Oklahoma Policy Institute, Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Hospice Foundation, the State Capitol Preservation Commission and the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU Tulsa.

Previously she has served as co-chair of the Attorney General’s Task Force on End of Life Care and also as co-founder and executive director of the Oklahoma Association for Healthcare Ethics.  Before moving to Oklahoma City and becoming director of the Citizens League of Central Oklahoma, her social work career included ten years as director of social work at Muskogee Regional Medical Center.  She also worked for Muskogee Public Schools and the Department of Human Services.  

While living in Muskogee Edmondson was the first president of Muskogee Cooperative Ministries and helped establish the Community Pantry, the Literacy Council, and Friends of the Library.

Edmondson has been honored as a distinguished alumnus of the OU College of Arts and Sciences and also as Oklahoma’s “Social Worker of the Year.”  She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Oklahoma. 


John H. Feaver

Moderator: Political Leadership – Myths and Realities


John H. Feaver.  With a PhD in American History from the University of Oklahoma, in 1980 he joined the faculty at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha.  Active in the classroom for the next 15 years, he was appointed chair of the Division of Business and Social Science in 1985, Assistant to the President in 1987, and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1988.  In the summer of 2000 he was named the college’s 12th president, a position he continues to hold.

Immediate Past Chair of the Council of College Presidents that serves in an advisory role to the Chancellor and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, he sits on a number of statewide boards to include Creative Oklahoma Inc., the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals; the Oklahoma Arts Institute; Oklahoma Policy Institute; and the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Association.  He is past member on the Boards of the Oklahoma Heritage Association, Preservation Oklahoma, and Oklahoma A+Schools.  He also sits on the Boards of the Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition, Chickasha Area Economic Development Council, and the Chickasha Historic Preservation Commission. In 2012, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

He is married to Marilyn Feaver, Executive Director of the Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition.  They have four children and two grandchildren.


Keith Gaddie

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections


Keith Gaddie (Ph.D. 1993, University of Georgia) is professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma and editor of the journals Social Science Quarterly and The American Review of Politics.  He’s written several books, including Politics in America (10th, with Tom Dye), Georgia Politics in a State of Change (with Chuck Bullock), and the forthcoming Red State Rising: The New Oklahoma Politics (OU Press, with Bill Shapard).  He has also worked as an election law consultant on voting rights matters in a dozen states. A reformed runner, Keith’s hobbies are restoring English sports cars, drinking Irish beer, and writing trivia books about college sports.


Dr. Charles Grim 

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Health Policy Challenges

Charles W. Grim, D.D.S. is the Senior Director for Health Services for the Cherokee Nation.  As Senior Director for Health Services, Dr. Grim serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital (CNWWH).  He is also actively involved in helping expand the health industry sector of the Cherokee Nation.  CNWWH is a DNV-accredited, 60 bed hospital providing Obstetrical, Intensive Care and Medical/Surgical inpatient services and a wide range of outpatient services.  The hospital has over 650 employees and approximately 70 medical providers and a budget in excess of 70 million dollars.  The hospital provides approximately 1000 deliveries annually and has in excess of 4600 patient admissions, 13,000 inpatient days and over 265,000 outpatient visits.  Quality health care is provided to a patient population in excess of 142,000 in a primary service area covering over 4300 square miles; however patients receiving care here come from communities throughout the United States.

Prior to joining the Cherokee Nation Health Services leadership, Dr. Grim was appointed by President George W. Bush and received unanimous Senate confirmation as the Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS).  Dr. Grim administered the nationwide multi-billion dollar health care delivery program from August 2002 until September 2007.  The IHS is responsible for providing preventive, curative, and community health care to approximately 1.9 million of the Nation’s 3.3 million American Indians and Alaska Natives and is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for Indian people. The IHS is composed of 12 administrative Area (regional) Offices, which oversee local hospitals and clinics. Dr. Grim has a strong health management background and during a 26 year career with the IHS held numerous clinical, administrative and executive leadership positions within the Agency prior to being appointed its Director.

Dr. Grim is a native of Oklahoma and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.  He is a retired Assistant Surgeon General and Rear Admiral (upper half) in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Services (USPHS).  Dr. Grim graduated from the University of Oklahoma College Of Dentistry in 1983, where he was recently named Alumni of the Year.  He is board certified in Dental Public Health and a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry.  In addition to his dentistry degree, Dr. Grim also holds a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan.  Among his honors and awards are numerous U.S. Public Health Service Medals and Citations, including the U.S. Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medallion.  Dr. Grim has been listed in multiple editions of Marquis Who’s Who, including those editions of Who’s Who in America, in American Politics and in Medicine and Healthcare.  The state of Oklahoma has presented him with the Spirit Award and the Governor has honored him by issuing two proclamations citing the dates of his two Senate confirmation hearings as “Charles W. Grim Day” in the state.  He has also been presented the Health Leader of the Year award by the Commissioned Officers Association.  Dr. Grim is a member of numerous professional associations and boards.  He is married to Dr. Gloria Grim and they have 5 children.


 Mickey Hepner

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges


Dr. Mickey Hepner is Dean of the College of Business at the University of Central Oklahoma. A faculty member since 2001, he was appointed Dean in January 2011. Dr. Hepner received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma in 2001. His field of research is public policy and has authored reports for the Urban Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Academy.


Rachel Hutchings

Panelist: Jobs and Economic Development


Rachel Hutchings is the Corporate & Government Relations Manager for American Airlines’ Maintenance and Engineering operation in Tulsa. In this role, she is the point of contact for Community Leaders, Industry Partners and Legislators. 

In 2010, she earned a Master’s Degree in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Oklahoma. She earned her Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Management from Tulsa Community College and University of Phoenix, respectively.

Rachel is Chair of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, a member of the Governors Council for Workforce and Economic Development, and Crew Leader for TYPros’ Government Relations Crew.  She is also currently participating in Leadership Oklahoma.

Rachel’s awards include 2009 Oklahoma Workforce Business Leader, 2011 Tulsa Business Journal’s Tulsa 40, and 2013 Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 and the Tulsa Business & Legal News Women of Distinction.

 Rachel and her husband, Dean, have six children: Matthew, Benjamin, Michael, Katherine, Cecilia and Daulton.


Glen D. Johnson 

Panelist: Political Leadership – Myths and Realities

Chancellor Glen D. Johnson is the chief executive officer for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. Dr. Johnson leads a state system comprised of 25 state colleges and universities, ten constituent agencies, two higher education centers and independent colleges and universities coordinated with the state system. He reports to a constitutional board whose nine members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Johnson became 8th Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System in January 2007 after a national search. Before assuming the role of chancellor, Johnson served as the 16th president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant for ten years.  

Johnson served as Director of Public Policy and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law. Prior to his work at the University of Oklahoma, Johnson served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1982 to 1996 and was Speaker of the House from 1990 to 1996. At the time of his election as Speaker, he was the youngest sitting Speaker in the United States.

Johnson is an honors graduate of the University of Oklahoma, with an undergraduate degree in political science and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law.  He was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa in 1976.  Johnson holds memberships in numerous professional, state and national organizations and has been the recipient of many awards and honors during his career. In 2012, he was elected to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and currently serves as vice chairman. In 2013 he was appointed to serve on the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Board of Directors. 

 He is also a founding member of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 1986. He is a member of the Oklahoma Heritage Association’s Executive Board of Directors and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November of 2006.  He is a member of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum Board of Trustees, a member of the Epworth Villa Board of Directors and the Oklahoma State Fair Board of Directors.  He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Oklahoma City University in 2009 and has been named as a Life Fellow of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.

Johnson is the son of former United States Congressman Glen D. Johnson, Sr., and Imogene Johnson and was born in Oklahoma City.  He attended grade school in Washington, D.C.  and graduated from Muskogee High School in 1972.  Johnson and his wife Melinda, a teacher at Edmond Memorial High School, live in Oklahoma City.


Randy Krehbiel

Panelist: The Changing Media Landscape


Randy Krehbiel has been a reporter for the Tulsa World since 1979. He has been the chief political reporter, focusing on state and federal government, since 2006. He has also written about higher education, Tulsa and Oklahoma history, the Tulsa Race Riot, race relations and economic development, and for 13 years was a member of the World sports staff. In 2006, he published “Tulsa’s Daily World: The Story of a Newspaper and its Town.”


Sheryl Lovelady

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections


Sheryl Lovelady is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Afterschool Network. With a background in the political and government sectors, she served on staff at the Oklahoma State Senate and was Executive Director of a statewide legislative caucus organization. She served as Director of Communications for the City of Tulsa and has also worked throughout the United States as a strategist with a Washington DC and Florida-based public opinion research firm.

She is a graduate of Leadership Tulsa and the United States Department of Defense leadership program through the Pentagon. She serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations including: the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma, and the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum.

Sheryl is also an election analyst for OETA TV.


Terry McGee

Panelist: Jobs and Economic Development


Terry McGee is a builder, developer and Chief Executive Officer at McGee Enterprises, Inc, which has been incorporated since 1987 for the sole purpose of residential renovation, new construction, and light commercial construction development. Mr. McGee made it his intention to specialize in the area of in-fill housing in an effort to improve communities realizing quality housing. In addition to operating in the capacity of the Chief Executive officer of McGee Enterprises Inc. Mr. McGee has had an inside look at the needs of the City of Tulsa while employed as an Assistant Fire Marshal for the City of Tulsa where he retired in 2004 after 26 years of service.  Mr. McGee is the recipient of the A. Philip Randolph Tireless Warrior Award, Wess & Cathryn Young Community Service Award Tulsa Partners Inc. Volunteer of the Year Award, Saint Augustine Church Outstanding Volunteer Award, among numerous other civic awards and achievements. 


Patrick B. McGuigan

Panelist: The Changing Media Landscape


Patrick B. McGuigan is editor of CapitolBeatOK, Oklahoma City bureau chief for the Watchdog.org network, associate publisher of The City Sentinel newspaper, an analyst for News9, the CBS News affiliate in Oklahoma City, and often appears as a panelist for The Oklahoma Network, the PBS affiliate. He is the author of three books and editor of six, mostly on legal policy. This year, The Washington Post blog “The Fix” designated him one of Oklahoma’s leading political journalists. 


Pat McFerron

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections


Pat McFerron serves as a political consultant and lobbyist for CMA Strategies. He is CMA’s point person for developing convincing and effective messaging strategies for client issues and campaigns. Pat co-founded CMA Strategies with partner Sharon Caldwell in 2003 after CHS & Associates’ partner Tom Cole was elected to the United States Congress. 

McFerron has long been involved in lobbying and coalition development.   In 1993, McFerron organized and led a statewide effort in Oklahoma to oppose the BTU tax while serving as a spokesman for Oklahomans for Affordable Energy.  Since that time, McFerron has lead high profile coalition building efforts on diverse legislative issues ranging from Indian Gaming Compacts, the protection of Public Power communities, bringing NBA basketball to Oklahoma City and changing state law to enable Oklahoma hospitals to garner greater federal matching funds.  

CMA Strategies and Pat McFerron are proud to represent a top-tier client list at the state capitol.  A few of these include:  AT&T, Wal-Mart, the District Attorneys’ Council of Oklahoma, DCP Mid-Stream, and the Oklahoma Charter Schools Association.

In addition to lobbying and grassroots coalition building, CMA Strategies is a nationally recognized political consulting firm.  Recent clients include Oklahoma’s current Attorney General, Lt. Governor, State Superintendent and six U.S. Congressmen, including all five members of the Oklahoma delegations and Mike Pompeo of Kansas.   McFerron and members of CMA have overseen more than a dozen successful initiatives in the Oklahoma City area such as the MAPS 3, MAPS for Kids and Big League City campaigns.

In addition to his duties with CMA, Pat McFerron was recently named President of Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates (CHS).  Founded in 1989, CHS works across the nation and has been recognized for its success by Campaigns & Elections Magazine and Roll Call. McFerron has designed and managed hundreds of branding and message development projects in 41 states as well as national and international endeavors during his 19 years with CHS.

A William Randolph Hearst Scholar, McFerron was graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University, where he served as President of the Student Government Association. He has studied at the graduate level at The American University in Washington, D.C.  He is married to Sharon, a national certified elementary school teacher, and has two children.


Justin McLaughlin

Panelist: Jobs and Economic Development


Justin McLaughlin serves in the role of Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber.  In this capacity, he leads a nationally recognized team of professional economic developers who work in the areas of business attraction, business retention/expansion, small business development, and entrepreneurship.

Justin is a native Oklahoman and holds a bachelor of business administration in finance from the University of Central Oklahoma and is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.  He holds a designation as a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council and is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Arizona.  


Ken Miller

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges


Dr. Ken Miller, Republican, is the eighteenth state treasurer of Oklahoma, serving since January 10, 2011. He was elected with almost 67 percent of the vote in the 2010 General Election.

As the state’s chief financial officer, Miller protects and manages more than $22 billion of taxpayer money deposited each year, safeguards the financial health of the state and promotes responsible fiscal policy. He serves as chair or member on numerous boards and commissions including the State Pension Oversight Commission, the Oklahoma College Savings Plan Board of Trustees, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund Board of Investors and the State Board of Equalization, which certifies funds available for the state budget. 

Miller holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, a M.B.A. from Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Lipscomb University. His fields of specialization are applied public economics and public finance effects on economic growth. In addition to his duties as state treasurer, Miller is a tenured economics professor at Oklahoma Christian University, where he teaches at the graduate and undergraduate levels and has been honored with the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” award and the Merrick Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching Free Enterprise. 

Miller served six years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he had 225 bills signed into law and led efforts to modernize state government and enhance transparency and accountability. Miller served his last three years in the House as Chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee, where he guided Oklahoma through the largest spending cuts in state history while maintaining the delivery of core government services. 

Miller took his reputation as a reformer and common-sense fiscal conservative to the treasury where he continued to reduce waste and inefficiency by eliminating leased office space and consolidating the agency into one location in the State Capitol Building, cutting the agency’s operating budget and staff while increasing service delivery and output.

Miller’s fiscal policy experience in both the executive and legislative branches, combined with his credentials in economics and finance, led him to become an influential voice on major initiatives in areas of taxation, budget and incentives. 

Prior to his election to the State Legislature, Miller served in the administration of Governor Frank Keating as chairman of the Legislative Compensation Board where he established a 10-year freeze on legislative salaries that remains in effect today.

Miller began his professional career in banking at First American National Bank before joining MediFax-EDS, where he served as financial operations manager.


Don Millican

Moderator: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges; Presenter: Energy breakout session


Mr. Don P. Millican serves as Chief Financial Officer of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company. Prior to Mr. Kaiser, Mr. Millican was a Partner in the international accounting firm of Ernst & Young, where he served as Managing Partner of the Oklahoma practice and served on the national Board of Partners for the Americas practice until shortly before his retirement in 2003. Over his 29 years in public accounting, Mr. Millican served a variety of clients, most recently serving as … the overall coordinating partner for its services to ExxonMobil and Wal-Mart. Mr. Millican is engaged in many civic activities, serving on the board of Community Action Project, Tulsa Educare, Inc., Neighbor for Neighbor, Oklahoma Policy Institute and Tulsa Neighborhood Networks. He also serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma Christian University. Mr. Millican serves as a Director of Memjet, Ltd. He attended the University of North Texas and earned a B.B.A in accounting in 1974. He is a Certified Public Accountant.


Shelley Cadamy Munoz

Panelist: Jobs and Economic Development


Shelley Cadamy Munoz is currently the Executive Director of Workforce Tulsa.  Formerly she was the Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Broken Arrow Economic Development Corporation, one of the fastest growing suburbs in the nation.  She spent eight years as the Business & Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator for Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City where she assisted start-up as well as existing small businesses in strategy development and implementation.  Prior to that, she managed the entrepreneur program for the Edmond Economic Development Authority in Edmond, Oklahoma.  Finally, she was the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s first Business Intelligence Officer.  Shelley has nineteen years of economic development experience. 

Shelley earned a BA in Art History, Cum Laude, followed by a Master in Regional & City Planning, with an Economic Development emphasis, both from the University of Oklahoma. 

She currently serves on the board of the Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League. She is past Chair of the Oklahoma County Post Adjudication Review Board and the Edmond Historical Society and previously served on the boards of the Gatesway Foundation, Northwest Chamber of Commerce, the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond, and Shakespeare in the Park.  She is a graduate of Leadership Broken Arrow, Leadership Edmond, Leadership Oklahoma City, and Leadership Oklahoma Entrepreneur class.  Shelley is a member of the Inaugural class of the Journal Record’s “40 Achievers Under 40” and of the OKCBiz 2008 “40 Achievers under 40.”  She was named one of the “50 Women Making a Difference” by the Journal Record in 2009 and a Tulsa Shock “Women of Admiration” in 2012


Susan Neal

Welcome and Introductions


Susan Neal joined The University of Tulsa in May 2010. Neal comes to TU with over 30 years experience in government and community relations. While in Washington, D.C., Neal served as chief of staff to Congressman Mickey Edwards prior to her recruitment as a house and senate lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Upon her return to Tulsa in 1984, Neal served as vice president of Downtown Tulsa Unlimited for seven years working in community development. Neal then operated her own public relations company before becoming Director of Jumpstart, Tulsa’s comprehensive early childhood education campaign. She was elected to serve two terms on Tulsa’s City Council after which she served on both Mayor Kathy Taylor and Dewey Bartlett’s Management Teams as Director of Community Development and Education. Neal continues to serve on numerous city and non-profit boards serving the community of Tulsa.

Neal earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Oklahoma State University in 1976.


Lela Odom

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges


Lela Odom has spent her entire professional life working for the Oklahoma Education Association. Whether as a dedicated member or in a variety of positions on the OEA staff, she brings a wealth of experience to the position of executive director.

Odom was born and raised in Oklahoma City. After graduating from Southeast High School, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1971 from Central State University (now known as University of Central Oklahoma). 

After graduating from CSU, she taught second and third grades at Kelley Elementary in Moore and was named Teacher of the Year in her building in 1976. Odom was a very active OEA member, serving as building rep and in various leadership positions in the Moore ACT, including president. 

Odom joined the OEA staff in November 1977 as a UniServ director, and, over the next ten years, worked with various local Associations in Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Garvin, Grady and McLain Counties. In 1987, she was promoted to UniServ manager. As a manager, she supervised all areas of OEA services except Legislative and Political Organizing.

In addition to Lela’s responsibilities at OEA, she will serve a 2 year term as chair of the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust (OETT) during 2008-10. OETT is a Trust that was created by a $30 million settlement between the state of Oklahoma and ATT. The Trust provides grants to schools for technology and professional development to implement technology into classrooms across the state. Lela also serves as 2008-09 chair of the Oklahoma Commission of Education Association’s, which is a group of K-16 education representatives who work with the State Department of Education on the latest education issues. 

In her spare time, Lela loves to read and spend time with her family. She also serves on the board of her neighborhood association and is a member of Women of the South, which is an organization that promotes and does good deeds for South Oklahoma City.


Rebecca Pasternik-Ikard

Panelist: :Oklahoma’s Health Policy Challenges


Rebecca Pasternik-Ikard is the Deputy State Medicaid Director / SoonerCare Program Operations Director for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.  In this capacity, she has responsibility for the functions of various SoonerCare programs: including the Member Services, Provider Services, Population Care Management and Behavioral Health departments. SoonerCare Program Operations oversees the SoonerCare Choice Patient-Centered Medical Home program, which is the health care delivery system for some 540,000 enrollees. Before joining the Health Care Authority, she served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma in the litigation and administrative law sections. 

Mrs. Pasternik-Ikard earned her Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law; her Master of Science from the University of Oklahoma; and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma.  She has a background in burn nursing as well as injury epidemiology. In addition, she serves as a member of the National Association of State Health Policy (NASHP) Academy, as well as the CMS Managed Care and Children’s Coverage Technical Assistance Groups.


Gene Perry

Presenter: Overview of the Oklahoma Legislative Process; Moderator: The changing media landscape; Presenter: Education breakout session


Gene joined OK Policy in January 2011. He is a native Oklahoman and has an M.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from the University of Oklahoma. At OK Policy, he prepares the daily news update, In The Know, in addition to researching and writing about tax and budget, education, criminal justice, and energy policies. Gene also serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network.


Kate Richey

Moderator: Jobs and Economic Development; Presenter: Poverty and the Safety Net; Presenter Race and Gender breakout session


Kate Richey joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in January 2011. She has a B.B.A. in International Business from the University of Texas at San Antonio and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. Kate has extensive experience teaching government and public policy at the college level and currently researches and writes about immigration, poverty, race and the economy in Oklahoma.  She coordinates Oklahoma Assets Network (OAN), a diverse group of individuals and organizations who work to advance a range of policy initiatives to protect assets and advance opportunity for low income Oklahomans and in communities of color.


Cynthia Rogers

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges


Cynthia Rogers is a co-chair of the emerging Oklahoma Chapter of the SSN and an Associate in the Economics Department at the University of Oklahoma where she served as the Graduate Director from 2006-2013.  She earned a BA in economics from Kent State University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pittsburgh.  

Prior to joining the University of Oklahoma, Rogers worked for the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University where she was program coordinator and research mentor for the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates in Regional Science.  She has done consulting work for various agencies, including the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.  

Her research focuses on state and local public finance and economic development, with a special focus on methodological issues about the relationship between state tax policy and economic growth. She also uses Oklahoma data to analyze multi-tier, multijurisdictional taxation of retail sales. A common thread in her research is the development of estimation techniques to understand and evaluate the impact of public policies.  She has published more than 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, National Tax Journal, and Regional Science and Urban Economics, among others, and currently serves on the editorial board of the Review of Regional Studies. 


Theda Skocpol

Keynote Speaker: “Partisan Conflict and the Implementation of Health Care Reform Nationally and in the States”


Theda Skocpol (PhD, Harvard, 1975) is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.  At Harvard, she has served as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2005-2007) and as Director of the Center for American Political Studies (2000-2006).  In 1996, Skocpol served as President of the Social Science History Association, an interdisciplinary professional group, and in 2002-03, she served as President of the American Political Science Association during the centennial of this leading professional body.  In 2007, she was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science for her “visionary analysis of the significance of the state for revolutions, welfare, and political trust, pursued with theoretical depth and empirical evidence.”  The Skytte Prize is one of the largest and most prestigious in political science and is awarded annually by the Skytte Foundation  at Uppsala University (Sweden) to the scholar who in the view of the foundation has made the most valuable contribution to the discipline.  Skocpol has also been elected to membership in all three major U.S. interdisciplinary honor societies: the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1994), the American Philosophical Society (elected 2006), and the National Academy of Sciences (elected 2008).  In addition to her academic roles, Skocpol co-founded in 2009 and is current director of the Scholars Strategy Network (www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org), a national organization that encourages public engagement by university-based scholars.

 Skocpol’s work covers an unusually broad spectrum of topics including both comparative politics (States and Social Revolutions, 1979) and American politics (Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States, 1992).  Among her other works are Bringing the State Back In (1985, with Peter Evans and Dietrich Rueschemeyer); Social Policy in the United States (1995); Boomerang: Clinton’s Health Security Effort and the Turn Against Government in US Politics (1996); Civic Engagement in American Democracy (1999, with Morris Fiorina); Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (2003); Inequality and American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn (2005, with Lawrence R. Jacobs); What a Mighty Power We Can Be: African American Fraternal Groups and The Struggle for Racial Equality (2006, with Ariane Liazos and Marshall Ganz); and The Transformation of American Politics: Activist Government and the Rise of Conservatism (2007, with Paul Pierson).  Her most recent books are Health Care Reform and American Politics (2012, with Lawrence R. Jacobs), The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (2012, with Vanessa Williamson), and Obama and America’s Political Future (2012).  Her books and articles have been widely cited in political science literature and have won numerous awards, including the 1993 Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book in political science for the previous year (Protecting Soldiers and Mothers).  Skocpol’s research focuses on U.S. social policy and civic engagement in American democracy, including changes since the 1960s.  Her current projects study the transformations of U.S. federal policies in the Obama era.


Kris Steele

Panelist: Political Leadership – Myths and Realities; Panelist: Poverty and the Safety Net


Kris Steele is the Executive Director of TEEM (The Education and Employment Ministry), a nonprofit specializing in reducing poverty, unemployment and homelessness in the greater Oklahoma City area. TEEM seeks to empower individuals and strengthen communities through education, job training, social services and job placement. Prior to joining TEEM, Kris represented Shawnee as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representative for twelve years, serving as Speaker from 2010 – 2012. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, and a Master Degree in Education from East Central University in Ada. 

Kris and his wife Kellie reside in Shawnee and are blessed with two daughters, 10-year old Mackenzie and 8-year old Madison.


Greta Stewart

 Panelist: Oklahoma’s Health Policy Challenges


 Bio: Greta Stewart, MPH, CAE

Professional 1993-present

Founding Executive Director – Oklahoma Primary Care   Association

Oversees member services for federal and non-federal safety   net entities providing preventive, primary, oral and behavioral health care   for ~ 160,000 uninsured and underinsured Oklahomans in thirty counties

Concurrent administration


Oklahoma Farmworker Health Initiative

A sixteen-county health voucher program providing health   care access and enabling services to more than 1,500 migratory and seasonal   farm workers across the state



• President, Oklahoma Society of Association Executives, 2008-09

• Certified Association Executive (CAE) Credential, American Society of Association Executives, 2006

• President, Oklahoma Public Health Association, 2005-06

• Chairperson, Women of Color Health Fair and Forum, 2004-09

• Diversity Executive Leadership Program, American Society of Association Executives, 2003-04

• Leadership Oklahoma Class XIII, 2000

• Implementation Team – Learning Eliminates Child Abuse Program (LECAP), Mary Mahoney Memorial Health Center; and the Women’s Caring Connection Mentor Program

• Implementation Team – Safe Harbor Mentor Program for pregnant and parenting teens, Emerson Alternative School (first public health assignment)

• Virtual Law School, American Society of Association Executives

• Registered lobbyist, 2008-2010

• Beta Sigma Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


2013 Nominee: Journal Record Woman of the Year

2011 19th Biennial Legislative Black Caucus A.C. Hamlin Award

Oklahoma Society of Association Executives Association Executive of the Year

Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians Advocate of the Year

2006 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Community Service Award


• Master of Public Health, University of Oklahoma, 1991

• Bachelor of Science, Business/Management, Langston University, 1982


• Hobbies: Cooking, deep water aerobics, swimming, gardening and poker.

• Family: Married to Louis; Mom of three (2 girls, 1 boy); Granny to six (3 girls, 3 boys)

*2013 Breast cancer survivor!


J.D. Strong

Presenter: Water breakout session


J.D. Strong was named Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board in October 2010. He previously served as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Environment, where he coordinated activities of the Environmental Cabinet, including the Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Board, and Department of Wildlife Conservation. A fifth generation Oklahoman, Strong grew up in Weatherford and earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. While finishing his degree at OSU, Strong began his career at the OWRB working as an environmental specialist. J.D. Strong was named Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board in October 2010. He previously served as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Environment, where he coordinated activities of the Environmental Cabinet, including the Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Board, and Department of Wildlife Conservation. A fifth generation Oklahoman, Strong grew up in Weatherford and earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. While finishing his degree at OSU, Strong began his career at the OWRB working as an environmental specialist.


Jim Struby

Panelist: Poverty and the Safety Net

Jim Struby has worked for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) since 1977.  He has been in a management role at the agency for over thirty years.  Currently, Jim is a Chief Officer and the Director of Adult and Family Services (AFS).  AFS staff provide access to programs and services that actively support safety, health, independence and productivity for children, adults, and families at risk or in need.  AFS employees number around 2000 and work in all 77 counties with multiple offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma Counties administering TANF, SNAP, Child Care Subsidy, LIHEAP and determining eligibility for Medicaid.


Holly Wall

Panelist: The changing media landscape


Holly Wall is the News Editor for This Land Press. She is an award-winning journalist who’s written about business, art and family matters for various newspapers and magazines in Oklahoma. Before joining This Land, she was senior editor at Tulsa Business Journal and, before that, managing editor at Urban Tulsa Weekly. Holly rounds up Oklahoma news on a daily basis for This Land’s website, but her favorite stories are about quirks in the state’s history and the fascinating characters who call this place home.