The Tulsa Regional Chamber announced its annual Small Business Awards, with the owner of a store specializing in Tulsa-centric items topping the list.
The Tulsa Small Business Summit and Awards is the chamber’s pinnacle event for small business owners and their employees.
The event convenes area businesses to build connections, learn key takeaways to grow their business and celebrate the local affect of small business.
“The story of Tulsa in my mind is the story of the success of small businesses,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said at the event.
“You look at so many of the great leaders in the history of our city, they started out as small business people. Many of them built those small businesses up into big companies. Many of them ran small businesses their whole career.”
Small Business Person of the Year: Angelene Wright, Ida Red
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“I was integral from the inception, and I handled the majority of all operations. It began as a niche store selling products from the local historic venue, Cain’s Ballroom. I used my time as manager and art director to learn and develop my plan for where I knew Ida Red could go,” Wright said.
“When I purchased the business in 2016, I expanded merchandising by creating products and developing product lines that I knew would have greater success and popularity and evolving it into my personal vision for the shop. When I was studying at the University of Tulsa, I began thinking about how there weren’t many Tulsa or Oklahoma-themed products available (outside of campy “airport souvenirs”) — I began using the artistic and branding knowledge I had learned at TU to produce Oklahoma-related items that people would actually want to buy and wear.
“I realized that there is not only a demand for this in our community, but also an immense value in local pride that runs deep. Celebrating your city and state, and supporting your creators and artists is powerful and deep in significance, and this has become our passion and focus at Ida Red.”
Family Owned Business of the Year: Littlefield Agency, Sam Littlefield, CEO
If there is one thing they’ve learned over the years, it’s newly defined core values: Littlefield team first, “Freaking go to the edge, Gotta adapt or die,” Littlefield said.
“You read that right, LFG (Let’s freaking go!). It’s at the core of everything we do. We put our employees first and not only do they know it, but we also publicize the above core values on our website.
“Secondly, our clients look for us to take them to the edge creatively. We aren’t the kind of people who will push them off the edge, but we will show them what awesome/different work they can do to beat their competitors.
“The last core value, which may seem harsh, is the reason we’re in business 40+ years later. If we don’t adapt as an agency and stay relevant, our clients wouldn’t keep working with us after all these years.”
Manufacturer of the Year: Extract Companies, Matt Gipson, president
Extract Companies was formed in October 2017.
“We started as an artificial lift oilfield service company with a technology focus on down hole electric submersible pump equipment and service. We spent the first few months developing our inventory and conducted our first ESP sales in early 2018 in the Mid Continent region with offices in Tulsa.
“In January of 2018, HOSS Pump Systems was acquired and added as a horizontal surface pump solution product line under the Extract Companies umbrella. In 2019, Extract Companies expanded into the Permain Basin and opened an office in Midland.
“That office allowed us to participate in the most prolific oilfield market in North American, which utilizes every form of Artificial Lift on a broad basis.”
Extract also opened service centers and sales office in Liberal, Kansas, Abilene, Texas, and Purcell from 2019-2022.
“Extract has remained competitive in our industry by staying focused on what customers want regarding responsive service and technology innovation. Staying in tune with customer needs and focusing on service, doing the job right and being on time, has kept us extremely competitive in our field along with working innovative technology that yields better economic outcomes for our customers.”
Entrepreneurial Success: Asemio, Aaron Bean, CEO
Bean said that as managing director of Asemio, “I’ve come to understand that our work’s core is undeniably human-centered, both inside and outside our organization.
“Our mission is not just about providing services to nonprofit clients, but about building a world where empathy, respect, and integrity guide all our interactions.
“We embody this philosophy internally by fostering a workplace environment that values each team member, encourages their voices, nurtures their professional growth, and assures their psychological safety.
“Externally, we manifest it by providing our nonprofit clients with solutions that are tailored, transparent, and deeply rooted in understanding their unique goals, needs, and the communities they serve.
“To me, leading Asemio means upholding these two equally critical responsibilities: to do right by our team, and to do right by our clients. Both these responsibilities intertwine, creating a human-centered ecosystem that reflects our values, drives our mission, and strengthens our impact. This dual commitment isn’t just a business philosophy — it’s a testament to who we are, what we stand for, and how we navigate our path in the nonprofit space.”
Diverse Business Champion: Raise the Bar Investments, Ray’Chel Wilson, CEO.
Raise the Bar Investments was founded by Ray’Chel Wilson, a Certified Financial Education Instructor with over seven years of experience in full-day classroom and after-school academic settings.
Witnessing the impact of financial illiteracy on her students and community, Ray’Chel embarked on a mission to bridge the gap in financial education. Her personal financial achievements, including leveraging cryptocurrency profits to pay off student loans and significantly increasing her earned income, further fueled her desire to share her knowledge and empower others.
Raise the Bar Investments was established as a minority-owned, black-owned, and woman-owned small business, driven by the vision of eliminating the racial and gender wealth gaps and increasing financial wellness among underrepresented individuals.
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