Last Wednesday The Edmond Sun paid special recognition to this year’s Top 20-Under-40 featured in “The Business Times” magazine during a breakfast at Peace Lutheran Church.
Special guest for the morning’s activities was Scott Fischer.
The Sun’s General Manager Lance Moler led the event, and as he welcomed the guests he urged them to stay in Edmond.
“People like you made Edmond my home and the place it is today,” Moler said.
Fischer’s business background includes a reputation as a successful financier and business owner. He invests in, operates, and monetizes several private and public companies in which he holds a variety of roles and responsibilities.
“Scott serves as chief operating officer of Fischer Enterprises, an investment firm which he is leading in a series of acquisitions to create a ‘snack and treat’ retail empire,” Moler said. “In this role he supervised the acquisition of the assets of Dippin’ Dots Inc., the iconic maker and franchisor of flash frozen tiny beads of ice cream.”
Fischer took the company from bankruptcy in 2012 and now serves as the president and board member and has led the business through its expansions in 12 countries outside the United States.
In July 2014 Fischer led Dippin’ Dots’ acquisition of Doc Popcorn, the largest franchised retailer of popcorn in the world.
He is the chief operating officer for Pointe-Vista Development, a master planned residential community development since its inception in 2006. The real estate side of Fischer’s business was recognized in 2010 as the fastest growing company in Oklahoma City during the 2010 Metro 50 Awards Banquet by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
Fischer earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. Upon graduation he was recognized by the university and received its first Young Distinguished Alumni Award. He holds a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Management from the University of Phoenix.
Philanthropic activities dot his life as he serves others including the chair of the Legislative Committee for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma. He also serves on the organization’s State Governing Board. In 2015 he was awarded the 2015 Judge William R. Saied Founder’s Award by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma. He was inducted into the class of 2014 Pink Tie Guys for Susan G. Komen of Central and Western Oklahoma, which is an organization that he still supports. And, he is an active supporter of the Oklahoma City Ballet and other organizations which support the arts.
Fischer shared his exercise with a life coach where he took a Vision Walk. He said the exercise included The Walk of Death which takes participants through their past life in five-year increments.
Fischer said, “A lot of participants were very emotional. There was a feeling of excitement, a feeling of trust and a hunger for life.”
He added that the walk left the participants physically, mentally and spiritually present with no regrets nor fears.
He went on to tell the audience members, “Be present in this moment; recognize and appreciate this moment right now.”
Fischer’s audience was made up of some of Edmond’s young business leaders as well as some of the most active individuals as they give back to their community after business hours.
The following are the “Top 20-Under-40” individuals recognized by The Edmond Sun’s “The Business Times” magazine.
Brandon Baker is a law partner with McAlister, McAlister, Baker and Nicklas PLLC in Edmond.
Giving back is an important part of who he is and is what he has done through pro bono legal work, and serving in various ministries helping others. One of Brandon’s colleagues, Cody Jones, said “Brandon is a selfless and hardworking servant of the community. He is simply an all-around guy the city of Edmond can easily and proudly call its own.”
In 2005, John Beecher started Broncho Books so that University of Central Oklahoma students would have another option of where to get their textbooks. His concept of lower prices were in such high demand that he needed a second location, so he opened the Textbook Brokers location on University Drive in 2007. He has funded scholarships at UCO and supports UCO athletics and student groups through donations and sponsorships.
Courtney Bradford works in the marketing and public relations department for the City of Edmond. She went to UCO with a degree in Strategic Communications. Courtney has been involved with the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Steering Committee for Edmond Young Professionals and is a recent graduate of Leadership Edmond.
The Director of Public Affairs and Leadership at the University of Central Oklahoma, Laura Butler is also active in the UCO and Oklahoma City metro community, serving on multiple community boards and organizations. She has served with Edmond Mobile Meals as a volunteer by delivering and preparing meals and assisting with the Little Chef’s program which promotes service engagement with youth.
The founder of Watkins-Conti Products Inc., Allison Conti developed a persistent medical condition after pregnancy, a condition that affects one in three women. She didn’t shrink into depression, instead she stepped up to the fight and faced the issue head on. Conti had the courage and wherewithal to design, patent, engineer and manufacture a solution that is entering the FDA approval process. Allison said she knew pushing forward with her project meant talking publicly about something very personal. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” she said. “I learn something every day.”
An Edmond native, Jana Coon is currently employed with Marsh Pointe, LLC. She is responsible for the overall daily function of a nursing facility and the residents who reside in the facility. Coon graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelors in Sociology and a minor in Substance Abuse Studies.
She said of her residents, “We become their family and they become our family, I spend more time with my residents than I do my own family. It gives them a will to keep going. They want somebody to listen to them and spend time with them.”
Bucky Dodd is Chief Learning Innovation Officer with the University of Central Oklahoma’s Institute for Learning Environment Design’s think tank for innovative approaches to learning. Dodd holds a Ph.D. in Education from Oklahoma State University, an M.Ed. in Adult Education and B.A. in Corporate Communication from UCO.
One of Dodd’s colleagues, Linda Banks, said, “Dr. Dodd is a highly innovative and creative leader with great vision. He is very action-oriented with regards to accomplishing his goals and leading organization, which has enabled him to establish a strong record of proven successes.”
Ryan Featherstone is the Commercial Relationship Manager at First Fidelity Bank in Edmond where he has worked for the past four and a half years and 15 years total in banking. Ryan is a 1996 Edmond Santa Fe graduate, and holds an MBA from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He is involved with the Central Homebuilders Association and the Edmond Public Schools Foundation. He also has served as a soccer coach through the Edmond Soccer Club and YMCA.
Senior Associate and Project Manager at FSB Architects and Engineers, Cathleen Guthery graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has worked on a variety of projects at FSB including the YWCA’s Battered Women’s Shelter and Heartland Middle School for Edmond Public Schools. She currently works in the Native American market for FSB on projects from casinos to an art preservation and storage building at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur.
“She is one of FSB’s rising young stars,” colleague Laura Majors said. “Even more unique in the male dominated architecture-engineering and construction world, Cathleen stands out further as a young woman who succeeded as a strong leader in a field that historically is not an easy road for women. Her collaborative skills, her persistence in the face of obstacles and her outstanding work ethic has made her stand out among her peers.”
UCO manager of sustainability and alternative transportation, Eric Hemphill’s role on campus is to create educational opportunities for students to learn about sustainability. UCO recently won their sixth Green Power Partnership Conference Championship in a row. Eric said UCO is committed to renewable, clean energy sources and is very proud to be recognized for working to positively impact Oklahoma. He serves as President of Sustainable OKC, a non-profit focused on raising awareness of sustainability issues in the metro, and highlighting and supporting organizations that are working in the area.
President of Right at Home in Edmond, Joel Herdzine’s company tailors its services to the needs of each of the families it serves. Herdzina spends his time talking with them and educating them about the paperwork, insurance and wills. He wants to help educate veterans on the services available to them and continue educating the community on how much home care can help families manage the challenges that come with aging. Herdzina also served as the Rotary Club President last year, and this year he is working to become a big brother for Big Brother Big Sisters.
Laura Hickenboth opened a full-service hair salon, Premier Beauty, Barber, Lash and Body. For Hickenboth beauty isn’t just her profession, but it’s also her passion. She is persistent about participating in the community.
Her company does events for Dress for Success, and they do makeovers before interviews. While Dress for Success provides clothes, Laura’s company does their hair and teaches them to do their makeup. The company also works with at-risk women’s groups and children’s groups.
Marketing brand manager for A-1 Freeman Moving Group, Jonathan Johnson leads social media strategies, organizes community involvement, and manages the online reputation. He is also on a mission to give back to the community. Johnson came to the state for college. During his undergraduate studies, he found a sense of community in Edmond and decided to stay. Johnson volunteers with Junior Achievement and teaches kindergarten students. He is active in Edmond Young Professionals and uses his marketing expertise to volunteer with nonprofits and help them improve their online presence and raise funds.
Dr. Guillermo Martinez
Dr. Martinez traveled far from his small hometown in Mexico to complete his doctoral degree in the United States when he was 25-years-old. Now, he teaches students at the University of Central Oklahoma about dictatorships in Latin America through an unconventional medium — film. He loves helping students reach their “ah-ha” moment in the classroom.
“My goal is to get them comfortable in understanding, trying to get them to think and getting them to question themselves and what they have learned,” he said.
Medical Practice Administrator for Retina Vitreous Center in Edmond, Bansari Mehta speaks seven languages and is constantly striving to have new experiences and volunteer with different organizations. She wears a lot of different hats. On the nonprofit side, she’s associated with the World Experiences Foundation, the United Nations Association of Oklahoma City, the Red Cross, and Make-a-Wish. She also mentors low-income first-generation students. She is helping to fight racism and bigotry by teaching anti-bias education through World Experiences Foundation. Mehta also spends time in Washington, D.C., lobbying for bills with an organization called Shot at Life.
Natalie Parker is another rising star from Citizen’s Bank of Edmond. She is Chief Financial Officer who oversees the strategic financial direction. Parker said no two days look are alike as a CFO. She is responsible for monitoring the financial statements, participating in all projects and assessing them from a cost standpoint, sitting on the Loan Committee, and serving as the chair for the Asset Liability Committee to make sure the bank is making decisions to drive strategic growth.
CEO of Standard IT in downtown Edmond, Danny Slusarchuk oversees the outsourcing of the IT Department doing everything from serving in the role of a Chief Information Officer down to working as a service desk. He is on the steering committee with Edmond Young Professionals. Danny is an Officer in the Army National Guard, but he grew up in Canada and was born in Greece. Slusarchuk’s goal is to bring high-paying jobs to Edmond.
Ryan Theobald helps his patients smile with confidence at Orthodontic Associates where he is a partner in the practice. Active in his church, Theobald spends a lot of time with friends, family, nieces, nephews and taking his dog to the park. He also serves the Ronald McDonald House and the Oklahoma Dental Association.
Ryan said, “I just want to continue treating people right. I'm looking forward to getting to see patients now and as they come back with their children.”
The owner of Be Well Acupuncture, Toni Twitty is working on a new bill to change the law to incorporate training and education in the Acupuncture field. When Toni isn’t helping patients at the office, she is coaching a recreational youth cheer program and knitting comfort blankets to donate.
Koorosh Zahrai is vice president of Plaza USA, and is working to make the downtown Edmond area attractive to a variety of new businesses through real estate development. His company is focusing on the area surrounding Campbell and Broadway where they completed their most recent project, a two-story, 15,683-square-foot office building, which is now home to companies including Standard IT and Rocket Fizz.
Zahrai received his BBA in Business Economics in 2009 from the University of Oklahoma. Now he spends his free time as an active member in several organizations in the community including president of the Edmond Summit Rotary club, participating in Edmond Young Professionals, the Edmond Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Edmond Business Association.