Heather Davis-McDowell has joined the OCAST team as associate director of Programs succeeding Cornell Cross as the representative for northeast Oklahoma.
Heather comes to OCAST from the Bixby Chamber of Commerce where she served as vice president. Prior to her role with the Bixby Chamber, she held positions with the Tulsa Regional Chamber as executive director of small business and the Coweta Chamber of Commerce as executive director. She attended Oklahoma State University, Tulsa Community College and the Institute of Organizational Management, Tucson, AZ.
Heather’s background in economic development, operations management, small business programs, business retention and expansion as well as knowledge of the competitive award process will serve to build upon Cornell’s exceptional work in northeast Oklahoma. She has also been involved in the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s annual OneVoice initiative to identify and set legislative priorities that will advance the economies of northeast Oklahoma.
Heather brings the requisite experience and skills to continue – and grow – our network, collaborations and momentum in Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma.
Justin F. Wood joined OCAST as planning and policy legislative liaison. In this role, Justin will coordinate government affairs activities at the capitol and help plan and implement new strategies for outreach activities across Oklahoma’s legislative districts.
Justin brings a wealth of political, lobbying and community service experience to the agency. He was elected at age 21 to the Oklahoma House as Representatives in 2012 representing District 26 and served as representative from 2012 to 2016. In his second elected term, he was appointed assistant majority whip. After leaving the legislature, Justin held a management position with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma where he worked for three years in Shawnee and Tulsa. Justin comes to OCAST from the American Cancer Society Action Network where he served as director of government relations.
Justin graduated from Shawnee High School and has completed studies at Seminole State College and the University of Central Oklahoma.
Governor Kevin Stitt has appointed Dr. Kayse Shrum, the president of Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences, as secretary of science and innovation. President Shrum earned her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and has completed executive leadership and management training programs at Harvard University and Stanford University. In 2013, Dr. Shrum was named president of OSU Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS), becoming the youngest and first female president and dean of a medical school in the state of Oklahoma. She joined the OSU-CHS medical school faculty in 2002. In 2011, she was named provost of OSU-CHS and dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and served in that capacity until her promotion to president in 2013. President Shrum holds the George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Medical Excellence and Service and the Saint Francis Health System Endowed Chair of Pediatrics. In her new position, Secretary Shrum will serve as OCAST's cabinet secretary.
The governing board for the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology welcomed two new members and a new role for a third as Governor Stitt assumed office on January 14.
Joining the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development (OSTRaD) board are Blayne Arthur, recently appointed by Stitt as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Agriculture, and State Representative Tammy West, who was appointed by Speaker of the House Charles McCall.
Long-time OSTRaD board member Brent Kisling of Enid recently was named executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and now serves on the board in his new capacity.
Arthur most recently served as executive director of the Oklahoma 4H Foundation and previously worked at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry for eight years and served as deputy commissioner from 2012 to 2016.
West is resident of Bethany and represents District 84 in the House, which encompasses Bethany and adjacent areas of Oklahoma City, Warr Acres and Woodlawn Park. She has a degree in business management from the University of Central Oklahoma and has served in numerous volunteer roles in her community.
Kisling has served as executive director of the Enid Regional Development Alliance since 2009 and previously served roles in rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and as field director for Senator Jim Inhofe.
“We welcome these new members to the OSTRaD board and are excited about the leadership and creativity they bring to our work to diversify Oklahoma’s economy through innovation and new technologies,” said Michael Carolina, OCAST executive director. “OCAST shares Governor Stitt’s vision to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state, and we’re committed to accomplishing that by stimulating research and STEM education and jobs across our state.”
OCAST accomplishes its mission through a variety of peer-reviewed research funding programs and an innovative Intern Partnerships program that places promising college students at companies and laboratories around the state.
The OSTRaD board meets quarterly throughout the year, with the next meeting scheduled for March 26 at OU Research Park conference center in Oklahoma City.
Current OSTRaD board members are:
An Oklahoman is now the top science advisor for the administration of President Donald Trump.
Oklahoma weather scientist and educator Kelvin Droegemeier, Ph.D., was sworn in on February 11 as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
For the past 34 years, Droegemeier built a career as a weather researcher and educator at the University of Oklahoma, eventually serving as OU’s vice president of research from 2009-2018. He was a regents professor of meteorology, Weathernews chair emeritus in applied meteorology and Teigen presidential professor at OU.
Along the way he co-founded the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for the Analysis and Prediction of Storms and directed it from 1994-2006. In 2003, he co-founded and served for six years as deputy director of the NSC Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere. He also founded and served as director of the OU’s Sasaki Institute, a non-profit organization that fosters the development and application of knowledge, policy and advanced technology for the mutual benefit of the government, academic and private sectors.
Droegemeier also served on the National Science Board for both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, and since 2017 served as Oklahoma secretary of science and technology for former Governor Mary Fallin. He also was a co-founder of Norman-based Weather Decision Technologies.
“For more than three decades, Dr. Droegemeier has been a premier educator and expert in scientific and weather research,” said Michael Carolina, OCAST executive director. “His passion for both STEM education and scientific knowledge will serve to advance the role that science plays in the lives of all Americans in his new role in the Trump Administration. Congratulations, Dr. Droegemeier.”
Every year, the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, NASA, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and other government agencies fund small technology-based businesses with more than $2.5B through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
The SBIR and STTR programs provide non-dilutive funding to support research, product development, and commercialization of new technologies. SBIR and STTR funding is not a loan and never needs to be repaid. The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort, in partnership with the Tom Love Innovation Hub's Oklahoma Catalyst Programs, to connect small businesses with representatives from each of these government agencies to engage small tech companies, including women and minority-owned research and development businesses, in Oklahoma. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet directly with federal program managers who fund a wide spectrum of innovative ideas while learning about Oklahoma's local innovation support infrastructure.
For more information visit the website at www.okcatalyst.com/sbirroadtour.
OCAST's has released the 2019 Impact Report detailing program successes and company highlights.
The report outlines the impact the science and technology industry has had on Oklahoma the past year and highlights Oklahomans who are developing new science and technology ideas, inventions and medical treatments across the state.
Fiscal Year 2018 was another amazing year for OCAST in carrying out its mission of growing and diversifying Oklahoma’s economy. The state’s investment in OCAST continues to pay dividends as the result of investment in cutting-edge research, technology commercialization, entrepreneurial activity and job creation. We are pleased to highlight our accomplishments in this 2019 Impact Report.
The state’s return on investment in OCAST was 34:1 in FY 2018. That means for every dollar the state appropriated to OCAST for science and technology, the state realized a return of $34 as measured by things such as out-ofstate sales revenue, federal grants, private investment and, most importantly, jobs.
OCAST’s impact goes beyond the numbers. It’s about the people who make up Oklahoma’s science and technology community and how our programs have made a difference in their research activities and accomplishments.
The 2019 Impact Report which contains data for all affiliates and programs is available on the OCAST web site.