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OCU Meinders School of Business Announces Five Hall of Honor Inductees
OKLAHOMA CITY— Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business will honor five local business leaders at the annual Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor luncheon Nov. 4 at the Cox Center. The 2009 inductees are Harold Hamm, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award; C. Stephen Lynn, Chairman’s Award; Robert Z. Naifeh, President’s Award; Bart Conner, Entrepreneurial Spirit Award; and Judy Love, Lifetime Achievement Award. “The 2009 inductees personify business success and personal excellence,” said Vince Orza, Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business dean. “They have built companies from scratch, developed their businesses to a level ranking them among the best in the nation, become philanthropists whose wealth has helped others and achieved greatness in multiple fields. The accomplishments and generosity of these five individuals makes them role models for students in the Meinders School of Business and all of America.” Naifeh oversees the third generation of his family’s business. When alcoholic beverages were legalized in Oklahoma in 1959, the Naifeh family decided to embark on a new venture with the beginning of Central Liquor Company. As the company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it is the largest and oldest licensee in the state. Naifeh attended the Oklahoma Military Academy and the University of Oklahoma, and served in the 82nd Airborne during the Korean War. Following his military service, Naifeh went in to business with his father, Zeak, at Sooner Sales Company, a wholesale candy, tobacco and drug sundry company. During his five decades in business, Naifeh has diversified the family holdings which include CSC Trucking, Sooner Beer, Republic Best Brands, Market Wholesale, Naifeh Realty, SF&R Realty, Naifco Realty and Naifco Oil and Gas. Naifeh holds an honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science from Oklahoma City University. Hamm serves as Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, an independent oil and natural gas company that is a leader in applied technology. He also is chairman of the boards of Hiland Holdings and Hiland Partners. He is past chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and served as a founding board member of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. He served as president of the National Stripper Well Association and founder and chairman of Save Domestic Oil Inc. Recently, he co-founded the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance to preserve the domestic oil and gas markets for oil and gas produced domestically. After graduating from high school, Hamm worked for an oilfield service contractor and Champlin Petroleum Company before taking up payments on a used tank-truck and borrowing $1,000 on a cosigned note to start a one-truck oilfield service business, which provided him with his entry into the oil and gas industry. In 1967, Hamm incorporated Shelly Dean Oil Company, which later became Continental Resources. Various Hamm companies now operate in 20 states, employing hundreds. In 2007, Hamm was named to the Forbes Magazine list of the 400 wealthiest Americans and is No. 42 on the latest list. Lynn is chief executive officer of three major public companies. In 2007, he acquired Back Yard Burgers, which operates and franchises approximately 180 restaurants throughout the South and Midwest. Additionally, he is majority owner of Cummings Incorporated, the oldest national sign company in the country with customers such as Chevron, Chrysler, Bank of America and Pizza Hut. Lynn also has been chairman and CEO of Shoney’s Inc. since 1995. Shoney’s Inc. owns and franchises more than 1,500 Shoney’s, Captain D’s, Pargo’s and Fifth Quarter Steakhouses. Lynn went to Shoney’s after 12 years as chairman and CEO of Sonic Corporation. He has held a variety of positions in the food industry and has served as vice president for Century 21 Real Estate Corporation. Conner is the only American male gymnast to win gold medals at every level of national and international competition. He has been a USA champion, NCAA champion, Pan-American Games champion, world champion, World Cup champion and Olympic champion. He was a member of the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympic teams. Conner attended the University of Oklahoma, where he earned 14 NCAA All-America honors and led his team to two national titles. He earned a journalism degree and in 1984, went into business with his coach, Paul Ziert. Today, they own several gymnastics related business interests including the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy where more than 1,000 gymnasts train at every level. In 1992, Conner and Ziert took over International Gymnast magazine the premier publication of its kind. In 1996, they formed Grips Etc., a gymnastics supply company and opened a new office and factory in Norman to produce gymnastics grips, T-shirts and tumbling shoes. Conner has worked as an expert announcer for every major television network and his production company, Perfect 10 Productions, has produced gymnastics TV shows for ESPN, Fox Sports Net, Oxygen TV and the World Championship Sports Network. Judy Love helped her husband, Tom, start Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores in 1964. She worked with the company full time until 1975 and currently serves as secretary of corporation and handles other special assignments. She formed her own design firm in 1983, which she continues to operate today. She is a member of the boards of directors of several entities, has received many awards and is very active in the community working with the St. Anthony Foundation, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Allied Arts, Oklahoma City Community Foundation and others. Love holds an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in interior design from the University of Central Oklahoma. In addition to recognizing members of the business community, the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor luncheon benefits the Meinders School of Business scholarship program. Corporate sponsorships and individual tickets are available. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Melissa Cory at 208-5540.