POSTED ON JANUARY 25, 2012:
Business-owners basking in their own sunshine
AppTank, apptank.com, is a web-based, "app development marketplace for individuals and businesses," according to founder Kayvon Olomi. AppTank can match a project to a developer or an outside, professional developer to a project -- though it is "not a place to sell your app ideas." The organization matches mobile developers with "pre-approved" app projects from an array of businesses but specifically large firms.
"We are focused on premium app development...from enterprise app development (apps produced for in-house corporate use) to games," Olomi said. "Developers come from around the world. We get somewhere between 25-50 new developers a day."
This local organization is working on a global scale and attracting attention from some high-profile organizations. Forbes profiled Olomi in a "30 Under 30" issue and AppTank was a final nominee for the 2001 Webby Award.
and Digital Forensics, Mid-Continent Tower, Suite 1701 401 S. Boston Ave. Have a pesky high-profile employee who needs to be canned without stealing your valuable digital property? Avansic's the one to call for this and your other forensic data preservation, extraction and processing needs. Established in 2004 by University of Tulsa graduate and former research assistant professor, Dr. Gavin W. Manes, Avansic uses its high-tech know-how to assist individuals, businesses and litigation teams.
"We do e-discovery and digital forensics," Director of Operations Beth Downing explained. "We're very active in the region. The thing that sets us apart is our scientific approach to what we do...making sure that we can process and investigate information as efficiently and effectively as possible, in order to save our clients money."
Downing said they love being in downtown Tulsa, and that almost everybody at the local branch is Oklahoma educated.
Aqua Vita Creative, 11113 S. Cedar St., Jenks, is more than just another graphic design firm. Owner Jack Cox and company are a self-described group of super-nerds with a wide range of real-life professional skills. According to their website, "We solve communication and business problems, using a tasty blend of creative strategy, design, and marketing." Businesses and organizations have turned to AVC, which was founded in 2009, for graphic and web design, brand strategy, advertising, and any number of other related needs.
The name Aqua Vita, which is Latin for "water of life," was inspired by a clean water project in Bolivia they had done promotional work for. "The work that we had been doing to date was good and it sustained us, but we wanted to build a company that genuinely made a difference," Cox told UTW. His goal was "to create a company that was clean, inspiring, and had open communication between employees." Cox's favorite part of his job is "finding other businesses that have succeeded against all odds" and helping them. "I have a lot of fun," he said.
Sky Fitness & Wellbeing,
in two locations, Sky of South Tulsa, 10121 S. Sheridan Rd., and the new Sky of Midtown, 4103 S. Yale Ave. According to president, Jay Wagnon, Sky operates according to a philosophy that has been dubbed the "Circle of Success," which coordinates four components for the client: exercise, stress management, knowledge and nutrition. "Our mission revolves around creating balance in each of our members lives," said Liz McDaniel, Sky's marketing manager. Well-equipped facilities, fitness programs, nutrition coaching, private trainers and more all contribute to this balance in the four components.
McDaniel said that each location is a full-service fitness facility with "all the amenities you could possibly want." The fitness center is joined by the Sky Café, featuring fresh smoothies, juices, coffee and healthy snacks, and Sky Kids, which is "so much more than daycare," McDaniel said. For an additional fee, parents can bring their children for supervised, entertaining, fitness-minded activities while they workout in the adult gym. "$20 a night, and they feed the children," McDaniel said.
An affiliated physical rehabilitation center, Proactive Therapy, adjoins the South Tulsa location and serves people of all ages requiring physical therapy, for example, after injury or surgery. Dedicated sports rehabilitation services are also available.
Vintage Queen, 219 E. Main, Jenks, is a vintage retail store which includes furniture and home décor, clothing and accessories, as well as gifts of all kinds. Last year they expanded into a new space but also kept their wall space at River City Trading Post. "Our claim to fame is that we carry a mix of the new and the old, and we just blend them together to make a very modern look," owner Beverly Osborne said.
The quaint store carries quality pieces at reasonable prices. Surprisingly, they even have a "man corner," with selections just for the guys. "I also offer home redesign, interior design consultation [and] do personal shopping for individual pieces of furniture," she said. "The latest thing I've been doing is unique windows and doors." Osbourne also helps brides-to-be find wedding décor with a vintage flair. Due to customer requests, she is considering expanding into the world of consignment but doesn't have the space for that yet. Vintage Queen is a must-see store with a host of unique offerings.
The Campbell Hotel Event Center & Spa, 2636 E. 11th St., features 26 uniquely themed rooms by local designers in the historic Max W. Campbell Building on Route 66. "There's a room for every person and every personality," said Jennifer Cravens, event and sales manager for The Campbell. Recently included in the National Register of Historic Places, this Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival structure built in 1927 once housed the famed Casa Loma Hotel, the only place for tired travelers to stay in what was then the outskirts of town. Last year, the owners -- the local Group M Investment, Inc. -- gave it a complete renovation and partnered with the Foundation for Tulsa Schools, which chose the site for its 2011 Designer Showcase benefitting Tulsa public education.
The hotel offers a growing list of amenities such as a full-service spa (Spa Maxx) -- including hair, skin, nails, massage, waxing and more with many packages -- and the beautifully appointed ballroom (also called the Campbell Event Center) available for such events as wedding receptions, parties and charity dinners.
The Campbell Hotel.
"Tables chairs and linens are included in our rentals," Cravens said. "We also allow outside catering." The ballroom accommodates 200 seated or 250 standing guests. Cravens also said that by Valentine's Day they will be opening a bar off the hotel lobby. An adjoining restaurant is also planned for the near future. "It's a fun atmosphere, and we're continually growing and we're not done yet," Cravens said. For more information, see thecampbellhotel.com or call 918-744-5500.
MCI Diagnostic Center, 7018 S. Utica Ave, is an independent diagnostic imaging center offering various exams, most of which are carried out after a patient has been referred by a primary care physician or specialist. Examples include cardiac scoring, CT scan, lung cancer screen, MRI, bone density exam, and stress testing.
"We're the largest outpatient diagnostic center in northeastern Oklahoma," said CEO and Founder Colleen Payne-Nabors. "We have more modalities than any other free standing" facility in the area.
MCI also performs comprehensive sleep studies, checking heart rate, respiration and other factors overnight for the diagnosis of sleep disorders. Payne-Nabors stresses the importance of being properly accredited and seeking extra accreditation to assure MCI is "a center of excellence."
"We went through test on top of test to make sure that this center is operating at a level of consistency so that that the general public feels comfortable," Payne-Nabors said.
Ascent Outdoor Apparel,
1325 E. 15th St. For those who want only the best even when they sweat (and also want to look good doing it), Ascent is a locally owned, independent outdoor boutique specializing in active apparel for all ages. Owner, Philip Shain, who opened the Cherry St. shop in 2010, said, "We choose brands, first of all, that we like ourselves, and then of course we try to offer other items that people may ask for. Although we focus mostly on apparel, we will be bringing in more accessories and gear soon."
Shain also said that besides established favorites such as The North Face and Columbia, he tries to find interesting quality brands that are more difficult to find in Tulsa, such as Aether products, which will soon be making an appearance at the store. Footwear and luggage are also available. Adjacent to Ascent, and part of the same business, is Movement, which features active wear designed specifically for women.
406 S. Boulder Ave., houses and provides space/services and solidarity to over 120 attorneys in town, offering strong but not toxic collegiality for lawyers that want it. Tulsan Kent Morlan is doing his best to help out new grads, mid-career lawyers who want a less regimented "crib" and young pros that decide that the conventional law firm work is not their thing. And law dogs, new and old, need the help.
Starting with the now typical debt burden a newly minted lawyer typically shoulders these days, it's good to have Morlan at your back. Since the mid '90s Morlan and his wife/partner Terri have owned/managed MoreLaw Suites: an ever-changing "project" that features modest cost, accessible office spaces, conference rooms, a lawyer search and case archive database and administrative support offerings that, by his reckoning, lowers the cost of operating a solo/small firm law practice from about $10,000 to $12,000.
Founded in 2010 by certified personal trainer Kristin Ross, winner of the 2011 Spirit Bank/Tulsa Community College Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, PregoFit is dedicated to the physical fitness of pregnant women. At the center of the company's offerings is the PregoFit Workouts DVD series, which guides women through exercises appropriate for each stage of pregnancy.
Many women want to work out while pregnant, but aren't sure how. "Around 2007, I realized that there was not a product I felt comfortable recommending to people," Ross said. After a time of research and development, the PregoFit workout was released, and from there the company grew to include a charitable arm, PregoFit Movement. "Every time someone purchases a PregoFit workout we will donate another DVD set to a non-profit organization of their choice," Ross said. They have also worked with organizations such as Catholic Charities Madonna House, providing equipment and classes for the women served there. By the end of February, the videos will also be available as digital downloads for use on computers, tablets and other devices. The accompanying website, www.pregofit.com, also offers online fitness coaching and pregnancy-related products.
1728 S. Carson Ave., is a still small but an expanding Tulsa solar energy firm on the horizon of what may be revolutionary change for American energy. A less than two-year-old venture, Ion Solar is an emerging leader in Green Country in a full array of markets including residential, commercial, municipal and non-profits. The firm also does systems design, installation and board gauge consultation.
Ion devotes time and effort to educating kids in Tulsa -- they recently installed a demonstration/tutorial solar array at Tulsa's McLain Magnet High School. Plus, the firm is helping to craft an "alternative energy" business ecology in Tulsa via stout customer services, public briefings on solar economics and its conscious use of a bevy of American-made products. The company is headed by Todd Stephens, a Tulsa architect/engineer, a passionate environmentalist and a pioneer entrepreneur in the green energy movement.
Simon Estes Educational Foundation,
100 N. Greenwood Ave., is a relatively small, but extremely worthy and surprisingly imaginative philanthropic venture that has deeply altered the trajectory of many needy Tulsa students seeking a college education. Jayne Reed, a Tulsa community activist and a former nursing professional, established the Simon Estes Foundation in 1983. Reed has done yeoman's work at many social service and community development boards here in Tulsa.
There has been an amazingly wide array of colleges and universities and degree programs selected by Estes student/fellows and a "rainbow" mix of kids picked by the project over its nearly 30 year history. Each student is "adopted" by a (typically) single private donor or a company. Estes' student fellows are not simply given college cash: they are also provided, in an almost seamless way, with deep support and the varied talents of the Foundation's dedicated and very diverse board. According to Executive Director Dwight Eskew, "It's not just the money... it's an entire deep network of caring, mentoring, watching and advocacy that comes forcefully into play once students enter the program."
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