In 2000, Stan Lybarger, then President & CEO of BOK Financial Corporation, and Luke Corbett, former Chairman & CEO of Kerr-McGee Corporation, recognized the need for more involvement in education by the business community to make Oklahoma more globally competitive. Citing their own experiences with a workforce of predominantly Oklahoma graduates, they knew that:
- A company’s success is directly linked to the economic health of the communities they serve, both in personal income levels and trends.
- Higher learning means higher earning, as college graduates earn about 80% more than those without a degree.
- Lower income levels mean a smaller tax base, with fewer funds dedicated for services and infrastructure investment.
- Statistics demonstrate that better-educated populations show more civic and social involvement and lower incidence of social problems.
To take action on this idea, they garnered commitments from seventeen of the state’s largest businesses and the three largest chambers of commerce to support and fund the Oklahoma Business & Education Coalition (OBEC). To assist with the fulfillment of the organization’s mission, OBEC created the Education Policy Coordinating Committee (EPCC). Comprised of representatives from the business and education sectors, the EPCC has periodically served as the driving force behind OBEC’s educational agenda since its inception. OBEC’s partnerships with the State Department of Education, Oklahoma state legislators, Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education, and other similar organizations are building the infrastructure necessary to improve Oklahoma’s education system. OBEC continues to bring local, state, and national leaders together to assist with important educational policy issues under the leadership of current Executive Director Phyllis Hudecki and Board Chairman David Page.
Mr. Page serves as Managing Director for commercial banking activities in Oklahoma for JPMorgan Chase Bank. He began his banking career with First National Bank & Trust Co. of Tulsa in 1982, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. predecessor institution.
After several years as a commercial lending Vice President, Page was promoted to manager of the International division, with responsibilities for trade finance and trade services in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. He has held leadership roles in the commercial bank which included division and market manager.
Mr. Page is currently the Chair of the Tulsa Port Authority and the Oklahoma Business & Education Coalition. He is a past Chair of the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a current Board Member of the Tulsa Stadium Trust, Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Oklahoma. Previous boards Mr. Page has served on include Foundation for Tulsa Schools, Red Cross, YMCA, Downtown Tulsa Unlimited, Tulsa Area United Way, Tulsa Community Foundation, Operation Aware of Oklahoma, Tulsa Community College Foundation and the local chapter National MS Society.
Mr. Page earned a B.S. degree in business administration and an M.B.A., both from the University of Tulsa. In addition, he is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware.
Hans Helmerich, 56, is the Chairman of the Board of Helmerich & Payne, Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Previously, he served as the Company’s CEO for 25 years. Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (HP, NYSE) is the largest provider of land drilling services in the U. S. with a market cap of over $6 billion. As of February 28, 2015, the Company’s fleet includes 345 land rigs in the U.S., 40 international land rigs, and nine offshore platform rigs.
Helmerich is a board member of two additional NYSE companies, Atwood Oceanics, Inc. and Cimarex Energy Co., and also a Trustee of Northwestern Mutual Life. His community service includes board membership on the Gilcrease Museum National Board, Indian Nations Council, Boy Scouts of America, The Nature Conservancy, Oklahoma Chapter, Oklahoma Business Education Coalition, Tulsa Community Foundation and the Tulsa Metro Chamber. Helmerich graduated from Dartmouth College and completed Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development. Hans Helmerich is married to Lea, and they have five children.
Phyllis Hudecki, a native of rural Morris, Oklahoma, has more than 30 years of experience in many facets of education on local, state, and national levels. She currently directs the work of OBEC, a large business-led coalition established in 2000. The coalition, supported by CEO’s from 30 of the state’s leading businesses, has developed an ambitious agenda to improve and strengthen education in Oklahoma. The agenda and work of OBEC is developed via consensus from business and education leaders. OBEC has partnered with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education on several initiatives aimed at systemic reform of education in Oklahoma. Much of the agenda has been focused on establishing an infrastructure to guide and inform education policy. This includes work on benchmarking state curriculum standards, reviewing the alignment of state tests, cross-walking of high school curriculum standards with ACT Standards of Transition, evaluating the state’s education accountability policy, and serving as the state business partner for Oklahoma’s participation in the American Diploma Project. OBEC partnered with Governor Brad Henry and legislative leaders to enact two major education policy reforms. In 2005-06 the enactment of the Achieving Classroom Excellence legislation, a landmark high school reform law, raised standards and increased the requirements to receive a high school diploma. During 2009 legislation creating the Education Quality and Accountability Board to review, approve and audit the testing and accountability programs established by the State Department of Education and also forming a P-20 Data Council, was based on an education accountability governance study commissioned by OBEC.
Phyllis has served and continues to serve on numerous national and state committees and boards. Because OBEC has been recognized by national organizations for successfully impacting education reform in Oklahoma, she is often asked to speak about the role of business in education reform. In 2009, the National Assessment Governing Board appointed Phyllis to chair the NAEP Business Policy Task Force established to develop communication between NAEP and the business community.
Prior to assuming her role with OBEC in June, 2000, Phyllis spent nine years at the University of California-Berkeley, where she was associate director of the National Center for Research in Vocational Education. During this time she also served as a co-chair of a teaching standards development committee and a field consultant to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Her career includes positions with the Iowa, Missouri and Massachusetts state departments of education and the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. She started her career as a teacher in Norwich, Connecticut, and gained experience in school administration as an assistant principal at a technical high school in Kansas City, Missouri.
She received her doctorate of education and baccalaureate in education from Oklahoma State University, an educational specialist degree in education administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a master’s degree in education from the University of Connecticut.
In 2006 Hudecki was named one of Fifty Women Making a Difference in Oklahoma and in spring 2007 was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Oklahoma State University’s College of Human Environmental Sciences.
- Board MemberAlan S. ArmstrongPresident and CEO, Williams
- Board MemberBrian PaschalSenior Vice President, Education and Workforce, Tulsa Chamber
- Board MemberDavid GriffinPresident and General Manager, Griffin Capital Corp.
- Board MemberDrew DuganEducation and Workforce Development , Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce
- Board MemberFred MorganCEO , State Chamber of Oklahoma
- Board MemberH.J. ReedManager, State Government Affairs, Phillips66 (formerly ConocoPhillips)
- Board MemberJeff DavisPublic Affairs Specialist, State Farm
- Board MemberKen LevitExecutive Director, George Kaiser Family Foundation
- Board MemberLarry NicholsExecutive Chairman, Devon Energy Corp. A/R
- Board MemberMike NealPresident and CEO, Tulsa Regional Chamber
- Board MemberMike ThornbrughDirector, Corporate Affairs, QuikTrip Corp.
- Board MemberPaula MarshallCEO, Bama Pie Companies
- Board MemberRalph MasonCEO and Senior Partner , Mason Harrison Ratliff
- Board MemberRoy WilliamsPresident and CEO, Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce
- Board MemberStacy SchustermanChairman and Co-CEO, Samson Energy Company, LLC
- Board MemberStuart SolomonPresident and COO, Public Service Company of Oklahoma
- Board MemberWes SmithwickPresident and CEO, Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce