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  • August 31, 2023 12:05 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Member Highlight

    Bobby Stewart

    Business Performance Advisor helping CEOs & Business Owners with Human Capital, HR, Benefits and Compliance.

    I am a trusted partner to the business leaders in my community. I advise entrepreneurs and business owners with HR mastery, courage, and stability. I answer the needs of these entrepreneurs by matching them with Insperity's powerful, game-changing products and services. I deliver the solutions to help them meet the challenges of the day and rise above to succeed at the highest level.

    Register here to attend September 13 Power Lunch

  • August 30, 2023 5:20 PM | Anonymous

    Charles Thuo, Founder & CEO
    Apexloads, Inc.

    Born and raised in Kenya. Came to the USA in 2010 on a student visa. Graduated from OSU-OKC with an A.A.S in General Engineering technology. Enlisted in the US Army Reserves as a 91J (Quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer) 2013, which is also how I got my citizenship.

    Went back to college at the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a B.S in Aerospace Engineering and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant from the Army ROTC program. After graduation I worked with Cessna in Wichita, KS as a Structural Analysis Engineer on their latitude executive jets.

    Soon after, I attended Army Engineering school in Fort Leonard wood, MO and graduated as a 12A (Combat Engineer) and served in the Oklahoma National Guard as Platoon Leader with one tour of deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan. After the deployment I became an XO (Executive Officer) and now I’m serving as a Recon/Battle captain officer.

    After Cessna I moved back to Oklahoma to work with Boeing Defense as a Sustainment and later Design Engineer supporting NATO on the AWACS program.

    In late 2018, I got into logistics as a side hustle and transitioned to full time in April 2020. I could make the money I was getting for two weeks of work as an Engineer in three days in logistics.

    While in logistics, I identified the 10-15 year logistics technology gap between Africa and the USA and decided to develop Apexloads to close that gap.  At Apexloads, I’m on a mission to not only revolutionize but also shape logistics operations on the entire continent of Africa. Our strategy is simply adopting industry proven solutions from the USA and implementing them in Africa.

    Register To Attend Lunch
  • August 30, 2023 5:06 PM | Anonymous

    Empowering Entrepreneurs to Solve Defense Problems

    By Dennis Spielman

    Drew Hendricks, a Regional Engagement Principal at the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), has embarked on a dynamic career journey that spans military service, academia, entrepreneurship, and technology. His unique blend of experiences has equipped him with a holistic perspective on the complex landscape of defense innovation and entrepreneurship growth.

    Hendricks' path began when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after high school. Over his 14-year military career, he undertook diverse roles, from combat correspondent to marketing director for the recruiting command. Transitioning from active duty, Hendricks pursued higher education in advertising at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to collaborate with various business ventures, and he later earned an MBA from the University of Southern California.

    At NSIN, a program operating with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Hendricks fosters connections between academia, venture companies, and the Department of Defense (DoD). One of NSIN's flagship programs is the Venture portfolio, which develops and executes programs and services to facilitate access to emerging technology as it engages the talents of fast-moving innovators and non-traditional problem-solvers. The Venture Portfolio works directly with dual-use early-stage ventures emerging from both the academic and venture communities with solutions addressing Department of Defense problems.

    "NSIN's whole goal is to increase the speed of innovation and technological development within current and existing industries for national security," said Hendricks. "Right now, locked up in someone's brain somewhere, maybe even in Oklahoma, is a solution we need. But what happens is the DoD doesn't go around asking, 'What do you have? Show us what you got.'"

    Hendricks emphasized businesses should rely on more than just DoD contracts for sustainability. Hendricks said companies thrive by catering to broader markets, which can ultimately enhance their stability and innovation. NSIN aims to work with small companies early on and encourage them to maintain versatility rather than being exclusively dependent on defense contracts. This approach aligns with the organization's preference for engaging with companies poised for success in multiple sectors.

    "Oklahoma has a unique blend of capabilities that can address complex problems," Hendricks said. "We want the DoD to know we're here and ready to contribute. I want to help you, but I want to help you if you do something to solve a problem."

    NSIN Challenges hosts competitive prize competitions on a specific topic or technology vertical. The open challenges allow early to mid-stage companies, even if they do not have SAM numbers, to pitch solutions to potential U.S. Department of Defense mission partners and industry subject matter experts for evaluation. 

    "When I tell people it's not that you need to be a solve everything on that list telling you if you have that capability, you should apply," said Hendricks. "What ends up happening is you apply to the mass challenge, and then your venture gets accepted based on some of its stuff, you work with that DoD mission partner and other mission partners to figure out whether or not you have a product market fit. And then you pitch to that group."

    Drew Hendricks will speak more about the National Security Innovation Network to Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch members on Wednesday, September 13, 2023. The event will be held at Metro Tech Spring Lake Campus in Oklahoma City from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will be open to members and guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. 

    Register to Attend Power Lunch

  • August 30, 2023 4:50 PM | Anonymous

    Kathryn Floyd
    Business Development

    Kathryn Floyd joined NOW CFO in 2022, starting the market here in Oklahoma. NOW CFO is a “roll-up our sleeves” full service consulting firm with a singular focus on outsourced CFO, Controller, accounting, and finance needs. With offices throughout the United States, NOW CFO can prepare your organization for the future by implementing proven financial processes and complete financial visibility. NOW CFO’s outsourced accounting services are available on a fractional, part-time, or as-needed basis.

    Kathryn has extensive experience in the business development field, starting and extending markets across Oklahoma. They excel at bringing creative solutions to the table and building networking ecosystems. Kathryn recognizes and values the trust that their clients have in them and consistently exceeds their expectations. Kathryn possesses true passion to help their clients with any accounting problems they may be facing while simultaneously setting them up for success for the future.

    Register here to attend the September 13, 2023 Power Lunch

  • August 08, 2023 1:50 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    As we start this new OVF session, and for many, a new fiscal year, I am thrilled to take over as chair for 2023-2024!

    Oklahoma continues to expand resources for entrepreneurs, small business, and enterprise level ventures. Organizations like OVF are special because we have the unique opportunity to put all of those ecosystem builders and members together monthly– from service providers, to educational institutions, founders, funders, agencies, tribes, and more – we all are part of a community working toward the common goal of improving Oklahoma’s economy. OVF contributes by providing original content, intentional networking, and has been a trusted supporter of Oklahoma business interest since 1987. I’m grateful to Jennifer McGrail as she steps into the role of past chair and I’m excited about my executive committee and board as we have been hard at work for you during this summer break.

    August doesn’t just signal a new OVF year, it’s also for renewals and to recruit new members. There are many ways for members to engage and connect. Explore our membership tiers and find what fits best for you as an organization or an individual. If you’ve been a member for a long time, you might notice a few new things, namely, there will be 3 power lunches in Tulsa, a new OKC power lunch venue, increased value through guest passes, diversified sponsorship opportunities, expanded networking after the lunch meetings, and committees where you can share your talents to take OVF to the next level.

    Please join us on August 24th for our annual membership drive at MADHOPPER Brewing – I want to tell you about everything in person! Our first power lunch of the year will be held at MetroTech Springlake on September 13th.

    Register to Attend

  • May 03, 2023 1:38 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Entrepreneurial Champion Award

    The Oklahoma Innovative Technology Alliance and the Oklahoma Venture Forum are honored to present the award for Entrepreneurial Champion to Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell.


    Matt Pinnell was elected as the 17th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma on November 6, 2018. Pinnell is President of the Oklahoma State Senate and serves on multiple constitutional boards and commissions. He is also Secretary of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage on Governor Kevin Stitt’s cabinet.

    Pinnell is a recruiter for companies looking to move or expand to Oklahoma. Each year, he hosts the Lt. Governor’s Turkey Hunt, a two-week event that showcases Oklahoma to prospective out-of-state companies and site selection representatives. He launched a statewide rebrand in 2020, a campaign that has streamlined state agency processes and saved taxpayer dollars.

    As an entrepreneur himself, Pinnell champions small business growth. He serves on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce committee focused on small business growth, entrepreneurship, and workforce development. In 2022, he launched ‘A Look at Oklahoma CareerTech,’ a video interview series that showcases the education and employment opportunities the state’s CareerTech system provides.

    Attend the OVF Awards

  • May 03, 2023 1:36 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Award for Economic Impact 

    The Oklahoma Venture forum is honored to present the award for Economic Impact to the Cattlemen's Congress. 

    Cattlemen's Congress creating an economic impact
    by filling a void
    by Dennis Spielman

    Cattlemen's Congress, a unique event focused exclusively on cattle shows, has been awarded the prestigious Venture Forum Economic Impact Award. The Oklahoma-based organization was established in the winter of 2020 to provide a venue for cattlemen and cattlewomen across the United States to showcase and market their elite purebred genetics. 

    The award-winning event was born out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the National Western, a major livestock show in Denver, was canceled. The first-ever Cattlemen's Congress filled the void left by the canceled show, initially planning to operate for just one year.  

    “There was a lot of concern by the agriculture industry nationwide and cattlemen across the US that they had to keep that cattle industry moving from many different perspectives, from marketing, from their livelihoods, and also even a little bit to the food chain,” said Tyler Norvell, Secretary of the Board for Cattlemen's Congress. “So Oklahoma stepped up and we hosted the first ever Cattlemen's Congress to fill in for the National Western”  

    However, due to its tremendous success and the positive economic impact on Oklahoma City, the event continued. Tyler Norvell and Bray Haven, Executive Vice President, explained that their event is unique in that it focuses solely on cattle shows, without any additional components such as rodeos or carnivals. The strategic location of Oklahoma City at the crossroads of major highways I-40 and I-35 allows for easy access and places the event in the heart of cattle country. 

    "We're right here in the heart of cattle country,” said Haven. “Oklahoma's got a lot of cattlemen, a lot of people in the purebred cattle industry, but just simply right here in the middle of the US helps us a lot too. Makes us unique.” 

    The Cattlemen's Congress has drawn participants from 44 states and 5 countries, with exhibitors representing 60% of the US herd. The Venture Forum Economic Impact Award recognizes the exceptional contribution the event has made to Oklahoma City and the state as a whole. 

    As they look to the future, the organization aims to continue growing and expanding, particularly by involving more international visitors. They also plan to focus on educational conferences that teach cattlemen about industry trends, technology, and meeting consumer demands. 

    “One thing we're really starting to focus on now is international visitors,” said Haven. “We're really expanding in South America and the interest there. The way we see it is that's really our opportunity to grow because these first three years we've really captured as much of the market as we probably can in the US." 

    Both Norvell and Haven expressed their gratitude for the recognition from their peers and emphasized the hard work and dedication of the entire Cattlemen's Congress team. The event's success is a testament to the spirit of Oklahoma and the support it has received from various stakeholders, including the governor, state legislature, Oklahoma City Chamber, and Visitors Bureau. 

    "Winning this award is just a true testament of Oklahoman hospitality and the good people of Oklahoma and the good policy that we have here, the good leadership that we have here in our state,” said Haven.  

    The 2023 OVF Awards will take place at the Oklahoma History Center on May 18th, 2023, from 11 am to 1:30 pm. Details and tickets are available at  

    Attend the OVF Awards

  • May 03, 2023 1:33 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Mike Beckham, CEO of Simple Modern

    From Nonprofit to Entrepreneurship: Mike Beckham's Journey to Building Purpose-Driven Simple Modern

    by Dennis Spielman

    Simple Modern, an Oklahoma-based company, is well-known for its stylish and high-quality drinkware products. Despite being in a highly competitive market, the company has managed to work with major brands such as Marvel, Disney, and Target, which Mike Beckham attributes to a combination of vision, execution, and a bit of luck.

    “There's a long story about how we got our very first license,” said Mike Beckham, CEO of Simple Modern. “If you look at all the licenses we have, the very first one was I had to get what's called a local license with the University of Oklahoma. And I thought that would be a piece of cake, because I'd had some success in the business world, and I was an alumni of OU. And I was wrong. It was not a piece of cake. I had to really fight for it and work for it to convince OU that I was somebody that they wanted to license.”

    Mike Beckham shared that his journey into entrepreneurship wasn't a typical one. With a background in finance and nonprofit work, he lacked initially confidence in pursuing business ventures until his younger brother brought up the idea of starting a company together in 2009. This experience transformed his perspective, helping him realize his skills were well-suited for building businesses. Although Simple Modern has grown significantly, Beckham still considers it a startup, showcasing his ongoing passion for entrepreneurship.

    “I think it was the way that I first got vision and the confidence that entrepreneurship was something that I could do, and that my skills could actually really work in building a business, and so I caught the bug, I think,” said Beckham.

    Beckham’s experience working for a cause-oriented organization allowed him to develop a strong sense of purpose and commitment to giving back, which became the foundation for Simple Modern's mission-driven culture. By integrating philanthropic values into the company's core strategy, Beckham has been able to create a business that not only focuses on generating profits but also actively contributes to the betterment of society.

    "Our goal at Simple Modern is to create a business that is about more than just generating profits, but also about giving back and making the world a better place,” said Beckham.

    Mike Beckham emphasizes the importance of defining success as learning and cultivating a growth mindset. He believes that skilled experimentation accelerates learning and leads to innovative solutions. Despite increasing automation, Beckham remains optimistic about the future of entrepreneurship as a career choice.

    “One of the best pieces of advices that I can offer to somebody that's a young entrepreneur, is that if you develop a growth mindset and you become very good at experimentation, it almost inevitably will lead to value creation, because you start to learn really rapidly about customers and what they want, and their needs, and how to fix it, and what works and what doesn't, and how to pivot, and as you pivot, how to learn more,” said Beckham.

    In the upcoming Oklahoma Venture Forum Awards Show, Beckham will be the keynote speaker. He plans to share more about Simple Modern's story and focus on the importance of mission-driven leadership in entrepreneurship. Additionally, Beckham aims to share some of the lessons he's learned throughout his 14-year journey in the world of startups.

    “I love being a part of supporting this community, and I love what OVF is all about,” said Beckham.

    Attend the OVF Awards

  • May 01, 2023 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    OVF Chairwoman
    Jennifer McGrail, Executive Director
    Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology

    As my term as Chair of the Oklahoma Venture Forum comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you. It has been an immense honor and privilege to serve our community and work alongside such dedicated, talented individuals. Together, we have made significant strides in fostering entrepreneurship, driving innovation, and creating a supportive ecosystem for business growth in our great state.

    During my tenure, I have had the pleasure of witnessing our members' unwavering commitment to Oklahoma's entrepreneurial spirit. Your passion and hard work have had a profound impact, and I am confident that our organization will continue to thrive.

    As we celebrate our accomplishments, I would like to cordially invite you all to OVF Awards Luncheon, taking place on May 18th. This event will honor our outstanding entrepreneurs, startups, and organizations that have made remarkable contributions. We will also be announcing the winners of this year's prestigious OVF awards, which celebrate exceptional innovation and economic impact.

    Once again, thank you for allowing me to serve as your Chair. I look forward to seeing you at the Awards Event and continuing to support the Oklahoma Venture Forum in the years to come.

    Kindest Regards,

    Jennifer McGrail
    OVF Chair, 2022-2023

    Register to attend 2023 OVF Awards Event

  • April 04, 2023 2:42 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    Featuring Keynote Speaker Mike Beckham, Chief Executive Officer of Simple Modern

    OKLAHOMA CITY (April 5th, 2023) – Oklahoma Venture Forum will host the 2023 OVF Awards ceremony on May 18th, 2023, at the Oklahoma History Center. This year’s awards ceremony features keynote speaker Mike Beckham, Chief Executive Officer of Simple Modern. 

    The Oklahoma Venture Forum is a non-profit organization formed in 1987 to encourage economic development in Oklahoma. The organization provides opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs, and others to exchange ideas and experiences to grow new and existing small businesses. 

    The OVF Awards are among the most prestigious recognitions an Oklahoma company can receive. They represent the triumph of the entrepreneurial dream and spirit. Evaluation criteria for the Venture of the Year and Most Promising New Venture awards is based on product or service innovation, market potential, potential economic impact, and more.

    The Oklahoma Venture Forum has announced the finalists for this year’s OVF Awards. The 2023 Venture of the Year finalists include: Martin Bionics, Simple Modern, and MaxQ Research, LLC. The 2023 finalists for the Most Promising New Venture include IV Ensure, Volt, and Totem Technologies, LLC. Please join us at the ceremony to find out who this year’s award recipients will be. 

    These awards along with additional categories of Incubator Tenant, Entrepreneurial Champion and Economic Impact will be presented at this year’s OVF Awards luncheon. Sponsors for these recognitions and for the event include Moore Norman Technology Center, Oklahoma Business Incubator Association (OKBIA), Oklahoma Innovative Technology Association (OITA), Cortado Ventures, AXIS at Francis Tuttle Technology Center, and Standards IT.  

    “The OVF Awards play a significant role in boosting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oklahoma. The annual event recognizes and celebrates the innovative ideas and accomplishments of our own startups. By highlighting the success of these entrepreneurs, the OVF awards help to inspire and motivate others in the community to pursue their own entrepreneurial endeavors. “explains Jennifer McGrail, Chair of Oklahoma Venture Forum. 

    The 2023 OVF Awards will be hosted on May 18th, 2023, at the Oklahoma History Center. This event is open to the public and registration is $125 for non-members. Registration is required and can be done online through the website: For any inquiries about the awards event, please contact Che’ Loessberg at 

    Register to Attend

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