News Column

OCU Hosts Entrepreneurship Day Conference

January 27, 2014



OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 27 -- Oklahoma City University issued the following news release:

The Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University will host the 2014 Entrepreneurship Day conference from 8 to 11:30 a.m.Feb. 26. The event is free to the public and advanced registration is encouraged.

Guest speakers are Robert Browne, chairman emeritus of the Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Justin Briggs, technology executive of Altheus Therapeutics and founder of Chorus Labs; Phil Busey, founder, chairman and CEO of the Busey Group of Companies; Kami Huddleston and Ashley Bowen Murphy, founders of Brides of Oklahoma; and Craig Shimasaki, co-founder, president and CEO of Moleculera. They will each tell their entrepreneurial story of success including challenges, victories and insights learned along the way.

The presentations will be held in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in the business school at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue. Registration is available online at www.okcu.edu/loves.

The event is sponsored by the Love's Entrepreneurship Center at OCU. For more information, e-mail Bob Greve, director of the center, at rgreve@okcu.edu or call (405) 208-5437.

Guest speaker biographies

Robert Browne, a third generation Coca-Cola bottler, engineered a buyout of the Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company in 1980 at the age of 37. He had previously worked with Arthur Andersen & Company in New York City before moving back to Oklahoma City.

Browne was CEO and chairman of the board of Great Plains from 1980 until he sold the company in 2012. During those 32 years, Great Plains grew to become the fifth largest bottler of Coca-Cola in North America.

He recently wrote a book titled "Becoming Better the Sys-Tao Way: Transforming Traditional Leadership Philosophies Through the Lens of a Classic American Business." Browne's presentation will focus on how he transformed the leadership philosophy at Great Plains.

Justin Briggs is a technology executive with experience in developing and commercializing products across biotech, nanotechnology and software. Briggs leads operations and corporate development for Altheus Therapeutics, a venture-backed biotech company in Oklahoma City. Altheus is developing Zoenasa, a treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and recently completed enrollment of a Phase 2 clinical trial -- the furthest clinical milestone ever reached by an Oklahoma company.

Briggs is the founder of Chorus Labs, a software company that creates tools for the modern workplace. Chorus Labs' first product, Baton, was released in 2013. Baton is a tool to capture important thoughts and send contextual messages to collaborators and coworkers to improve delegation and task management.

Briggs is on the board of OhmSpace, a mentor at the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center at i2E, a founding member and former chairman of IgniteOKC and served last year as chairman of the Oklahoma Bioscience Roundtable. He has a degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA in finance with high honors from Oklahoma City University.

Phil Busey is the founder, chairman and CEO of the Busey Group of Companies and Delaware Resource Group (DRG).

Busey practiced law nationally for 25 years with expertise in Native American, commercial, corporate, government, public finance and contracting law. He documented more than $1 billion of commercial loans and acted as counsel on more than $1 billion of public finance bond issues.

He established the Busey Group of Companies in 2000 and DRG in 2002. His companies are principally focused on aerospace and defense purposes.

Busey earned his bachelor's degree and juris doctorate from OCU. He was honored as the U.S. Small Business Administration Oklahoma Business Person of the Year in 2010 and was inducted into the Oklahoma Commerce & Industry Hall of Honor in 2013.

Kami Huddleston and Ashley Bowen Murphy are magazine and digital publishers who are known for their creativity in business and design. Huddleston, a graphic designer, and Murphy, an attorney, joined together in 2007 to develop a multimedia platform that connected brides with local wedding vendors in the marketplace. Their multimedia advertising model -- which includes print, web, blog, electronic and social media components -- was developed to help brides plan their weddings.

The duo began their venture in Oklahoma with Brides of Oklahoma, and quickly expanded to serve Dallas with Brides of North Texas. They've been focused on serving brides in the local wedding niche, where their content marketing strategies and print publications have become a premier wedding resource.

They expanded their mission to serve a wider audience with the recent launch of Wed Society, a wedding inspiration search engine. The site houses a collection of their favorite editorial content and wedding information they've published, and is home to a searchable archive of thousands of wedding images through partnership with photographers and fashion designers from around the globe.

Huddleston and Murphy are graduates of Oklahoma City University. Huddleston is originally from Illinois and came to OCU on a full scholarship to play softball. She received her bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and won three national softball titles during her tenure. Murphy graduated summa cum laude with honors with a finance degree and served as president of the student government during her undergraduate years. She went on to attend law school at OCU as a Hatton W. Sumners scholar and received her juris doctorate in 2005. She worked in private practice at Hall Estill as an attorney before launching the company with Huddleston.

Craig Shimasaki is a scientist, businessman and entrepreneur, having co-founded three biotechnology companies. His career mission has been to bring medical products from research, clinical testing and regulatory approval to the public so that patients can be tested and treated.

Shimasaki spent the past 30 years developing biomedical products, working with the FDA, conducting clinical trials, in manufacturing and business development. He started his career at Genentech working on the processes development of an HIV vaccine. Most recently he served as CEO for seven years, helping to develop a genetic-based molecular test to identify a woman's predisposition to breast cancer, particularly for those without a family history of the disease.

Shimasaki has worked to bring five products through the FDA 510(k) approval process and he has served in various roles at several companies including director of project planning, vice president of research and development, chief operating officer and CEO. He is an inventor on multiple patents for diagnostic and clinical testing products.

Shimasaki serves on several boards and teaches students as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma in the entrepreneurship program at the Price School of Business. He has recently written a book to train scientists and physicians on how to bring needed medical products to market. It is titled "The Business of Bioscience: What Goes Into Making a Biotechnology Product."

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