Winners of the annual Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce Awards were recognized at a luncheon held at Rogers State University on Tuesday, January 17.
For Corporate of the Year, RCB Bank takes top honors. Chamber Board Chairman Jim Simmons served as master of ceremonies.
“This business employs 700 people and was established in Claremore in 1936. Claremore is very fortunate to have this business as part of our community,” Simmons said.
Today, as a $4 billion financial institution with 65 branches in Oklahoma and Kansas, RCB Bank leads in customer service, cutting-edge technology and the communities they serve, Simons said .
“It’s been majority owned by the same family for over 87 years and they’ve been very active in helping our community grow,” he said. ]
RCB Bank President and CEO Roger Mosier said RCB Bank is honored to be awarded the 2022 Large Business of the Year by the Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Dedication to economic development, commitment to community engagement and overall professional excellence embodies the ethos of RCB BANK in every community we serve. The fact that our hometown recognizes our efforts in these areas makes this award Special,” Mosier said.
Other business honorees were Kisha and Bobbie McNair, owners of Claremore Children’s Center and Chelsea Children’s Center Entrepreneur of the Year; Claremore Historical Museum, named Nonprofit of the Year; and Spirits of 66, owned by Becky Cowherd, by Managed by Amy Cope.
Dr. Keith Martin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Rogers State University, received the Educator of the Year award for the first time, offering the first engineering degree at the university.
Individual awards go to Larry Rahmeier, with attorneys Rahmeier and Sanbrano, 2023 Ambassador of the Year; Travis Peck, Chamber Superstar Award; Kevin Fortner (Kevin Fortna) presents the 2023 Chairman’s Award to members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
New Chamber of Commerce board members introduced: Josh Cantrell with Grand Lake Mental Health; Rogers County Treasurer Jason Carini; Jason Jones of Hillcrest Hospital, Claremore and Pryor; Jamie Kennedy, with Kennedy Hoes and Superior Real Estate; Brian Treat with Chick-fil-A; and Gentry Stafford with Spectrum Paint.
Simmons pointed to the Chamber’s highlights of the year, including five iconic Chamber echelons and numerous ribbon cuttings. He said there were more than 28 chamber members during Restaurant Week.He also said 75 business people traveled to Oklahoma City for Claremore Day at the Capitol; they hosted the second annual Chamber Cup Golf Tournament; the Leading Ladies Gala honored 10 outstanding women; cigar and whiskey evenings; and handing out $14,500 in annual Santa cash giveaways.
“There was also an unclaimed Santa cash ticket in there,” he said.
Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell was the guest speaker.
He is the President of the Oklahoma Senate, a recruiter and tourism secretary for companies seeking to relocate or expand in Oklahoma, and is the state’s wildlife and heritage and chief marketing officer. In that role, Simmons said in his introduction, he helped promote tourism, Oklahoma’s third-largest industry.
Simmons said he launched Oklahoma Fishing Trips, Oklahoma Road Trips and #OKHereWeGo tourism campaigns, which have generated more than $91 million since 2019.
“Leadership is an activity, not a position. We are leaders because our ideas motivate people to get work done,” says Pinnell.
He is passionate about several things.
“Regional investors must continue to be a priority with CareerTech. I know business owners here can’t find skilled employees. We have world-class CareerTech in Oklahoma,” Pinnell said.
One solution is to bring the store back to high school.
“Oklahoma, as we all know, plays very well in the sandbox with everyone else. We’re more interested in moving to Oklahoma than we’ve been in years. We play to our strengths, and CareerTech is one of them. We Hopefully this will help keep our native boys and girls here,” he said.
Small business growth has to be a revelation for Oklahoma.
“During the pandemic, we’ve discovered the importance of all business. Too many taxpayers don’t understand that if we don’t shop locally, we can’t pay the police and fire. We live and die on sales taxes,” he said. Say.
Tourism is the gateway to economic development.
“If you want to see America, you have to go to Oklahoma. When we bring people to Oklahoma, we sell really well,” Pinnell said.
Investments will pay off, he added.
“Broken Arrow does a great job of telling people to shop locally—not Tulsa, but Broken Arrow. Bentonville, Arkansas has the best bike trail in the country. They built it. And the best museum; they Built it. Every one of our RV parks was full this weekend. Build an RV park today and you’ll make money. There are four million people in the state,” Pinnell said.
In 2021, Oklahoma’s outdoor recreation industry generated $862 million in economic outcomes.
Claremore Area Chamber President and CEO Barby Myers said celebrating the community and Chamber members is a great way to start the year.
“Our Chamber Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon is always the best place to introduce our 2023 Chamber Board of Directors, celebrate our Chamber leaders and volunteers, and reflect on the 2022 Annual by recognizing our annual Nonprofit of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year. We love highlighting our businesses and recognizing the excellence and excellence of the Chamber’s 380+ members. The Chamber is in amazing shape this year,” Myers said.