Category Archives: Mentors

YPNG Mentor George Lee – How Education Elevates Your Life

YPNG Mentor George Lee  How Education Elevates Your Life   Overview YPNG Mentor George Lee grew up in a low-income neighborhood where few people graduated from high school and almost no one went to college. But George overcame his situation and recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma with dual Masters Degrees in Human Resources and Education. George succeeded because early in his life he saw that education offered a way out of the economic situation faced by the people in his community. The record of achievement he built in high school was the currency that let him get the scholarships and grants he needed to pay for his education and the choice of several highly regarded universities to attend. By taking responsibility for himself early in his life and setting high goals, he has opened doors to many opportunities and has a bright future as he starts his...

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Criminal Justice Instructor – Mentor, Richard Stewart

Criminal Justice Instructor  Mentor – Richard Stewart   Richard is a Criminal Justice instructor at Tulsa Tech who has developed a unique program for his students. Unlike most professions where you must have a degree or certification and be technically proficient to get an entry-level job, law enforcement agencies like to train new recruits themselves in their processes and procedures. So instead of a high level of technical proficiency, employers are looking for people who have shown a heart for community service, have a diversity of life and educational experiences and who can think for themselves. These are all personal characteristics they know make good officers. Consequently, Richard has developed extracurricular community service programs, in addition to an academic curriculum. His students have assisted in park revitalizations, volunteered at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and raised funds for the Special Olympics of Oklahoma. They have also been...

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Pharmacy Technician Instructor – Mentor – Nicole Hanselman

Pharmacy Technician Instructor  Mentor – Nicole Hanselman   Nicole is an instructor for the Pharmacy Technician program at Tulsa Tech’s Health Sciences Center. This program is designed for high school seniors and prepares them for the national certification exam after they graduate. With this certification, students are able to start out earning a good wage with their high school diploma. For people who want to go on to college, being a pharmacy technician is a great way to earn money while you are going to school, because many pharmacies are open twenty-four hours a day or some have extended hours making work schedules flexible. Nicole paid for most of her bachelor’s degree by working as a pharmacy tech while she attended college. Besides jobs in a retail pharmacy, pharmacy tech’s can also work in hospitals, where they can learn to fill floor stock, do sterile and non-sterile compounding, and work...

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Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic – Mentor, Steve Nguyen

Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic  Mentor – Steve Nguyen   Steve is the Coordinator of the Emergency Medical Services Program at Tulsa Tech, where you can become certified as an emergency medical technician (EMT) while you are still in high school. After graduation, you can then take the additional courses required to become a Paramedic. Steve first got his EMT certification and started working for emergency medical service providers while he took classes to become a paramedic. He then completed a bachelor’s in business management, with the idea of working his way up the corporate ladder at EMSA, where he was employed as a paramedic. But Steve’s career path changed after he was hired as a part-time instructor at Tulsa Tech and found he also had a passion for teaching. He went back to school once more for a master’s in education and now heads the program. Like many...

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Renewable Energy Company Founder – Mentor, David Jankowsky

Renewable Energy Company Founder Mentor – David Jankowsky    David started Francis Renewable Energy, LLC (FRE) in 2015 to provide solar, geothermal and other energy efficient systems for the residential, commercial and public sectors. Demand for renewables is growing because advances in the technology have reduced the cost of solar electricity and geothermal heating and cooling to the point where they are now more economic than systems using fossil fuels. Renewables are expected to gain an even greater cost advantage as the technology continues to improve. Renewables also offer the additional benefit of reducing pollution and carbon emissions in a meaningful way, while providing energy security by eliminating the use of the utilities’ transmission infrastructure, which we have seen is susceptible to hacking and other terrorist activities. Because of these advantages over fossil fuels, jobs in renewable energy are growing rapidly worldwide while jobs in the fossil fuel industry...

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Director of HS Engineering Academy – Mentor, Lane Matheson

Director of HS Engineering Academy  Mentor – Lane Matheson   Lane heads the Tulsa Engineering Academy at Memorial High School (TEAM) where she teaches STEM courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics along with the skills they need to succeed in life. She began teaching high school after a successful ten-year career as an aerospace engineer where she worked on the International Space Station at McDonnell Douglas. She intended on teaching for only five years and then going back to her career as an aerospace engineer. But she decided to stay after seeing the positive impact her program was having on her students. Almost all of them went on to a four-year college and graduated. Besides academic classes, Lane gives her students a chance to compete in local, regional and national engineering competitions so they apply what they have learned to practical problem solving. The Memorial robotics teams have...

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Broadcast and Sound Engineer – Mentor, Tim Bell

Broadcast and Sound Engineer Mentor – Tim Bell   Tim is the Broadcast Sound Engineering instructor at Tulsa Technology Center’s Owasso campus. He helped develop the school’s audio/video production program that may be the only one of its kind at the secondary school level. The Tulsa Tech facilities include a fully functional recording studio and the equipment required to learn film-style videography. Students learn to use the standard software utilized within the industry and are taught how to set up, operate and critically evaluate content for radio and television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings and movies. Graduates have the technical training they need to get a wide range of industry jobs. The classes also help prepare students who want to go on to a higher education and major in audio production or filmmaking. Tim has had an interesting career path. He had a love of photography beginning in fifth grade,...

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STEM Academy Director – Mentor, Shea Ferrell

STEM Academy Director  Mentor, Shea Ferrell   Shea has been the Director of Tulsa Tech’s STEM Academy since 2013. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The curriculum is designed to prepare high school students for college programs in engineering and includes not just academic classes, but also hands-on projects where students can see how their course work in subjects like mathematics and physics is used to solve real world problems. The Academy has been highly successful under Shea’s leadership. Between 85% and 90% of each year’s Academy graduates go on to college and graduate with their engineering degree. While the Tulsa Tech STEM Academy graduates about one hundred students each year, over twice as many students apply. Many are turned down because of classroom space and resource limitations, not because these students do not have the academic qualifications. Shea has had an interesting career. He...

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Theatrical and Documentary Film Producer – Mentor- Jay Krottinger

Theatrical and Documentary Film Producer  Mentor- Jay Krottinger   Jay and his partner Ryan Tanner founded Square 1  Theatrics in 2012 to produce entertainment that is thought provoking and able to inspire social change. Square 1 has produced regional and Broadway works in collaboration with other producers that include the 2012 production of Flipside: The Patti Page Story that played in Oklahoma and off-Broadway, the 2013 Broadway revival of Pippin that won four Tony Awards including best revival of a musical, the 2015 London production of Memphis the Musical that won two Laurence Olivier Awards and was nominated for eleven, the 2016 Broadway musical Waitress that was nominated for four Tony Awards and the Broadway play A Time to Kill. They are currently working on a new Broadway musical Come From Away that will open in early 2017 and are developing a 4 person off –Broadway show and a...

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Engineer, Educator, West Point Graduate, Mentor – Christella Chavez

Engineer, Educator, West Point Graduate Mentor - Christella Chavez   Christella grew up in a rural, largely Spanish speaking community in northeastern New Mexico with a very substandard school system. Her home life was easily characterized as dysfunctional and disadvantaged, as her father left the family when she was only 3 years old, and her mother was diagnosed with severe mental illness and was hospitalized most of her life. Chriss and her three siblings were raised by her maternal grandmother in an old adobe home with dirt floors, wood-burning stoves, and no indoor plumbing. She and her brother began selling newspapers when they were 8 and 9 to help raise money to feed herself and her siblings. By all accounts, Chriss would have been labeled as poor, disadvantaged and not expected to amount to much. Chriss overcame these disadvantages because she loved to learn. She learned to read at...

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Pipeline Engineer/ Mentor to Young Girls – Mentor- Suzanne Dodson

Pipeline Engineer/ Mentor to Young Girls  Mentor- Suzanne Dodson   Suzanne graduated cum laude from the University of Tulsa in 2002 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering. After graduation, she joined a division of the Williams Company that is now Magellan Midstream Partners where she is a Pipeline Integrity Engineer. Suzanne is also actively involved in encouraging young women to enter careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She became a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) while she was still in college and is a past section president & leadership coach. She was a founding member of TU Women’s Robotics and currently a Girl Scout Troop leader, volunteering with several all-girl FIRST Lego League robotics teams where she works with elementary aged girls to teach them the principals of engineering. Suzanne wants girls to learn at an early age that they can make...

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Dance Teacher / Choreographer, Mentor – Katie McCall

Dance Teacher / Choreographer  Mentor – Katie McCall   Katie has over twenty years experience teaching dance in schools and studios and has developed innovative programs for her students that use dance to build self-esteem and promote healthy life styles. Besides teaching, she has been a professional dancer and choreographer for dance companies in Asheville, North Carolina and Austin, Texas and locally for the Tulsa Contemporary Dance Theater and the Harwelden Institute. She also formed Monica Huggins Dance Theatre, a program of the non-profit Oklahoma Performing Arts Organization. Katie began teaching dance and arts management as a certified teacher in public schools in 2010 at the Tulsa Central Fine and Performing Arts High School. Five years later, she moved to the Broken Arrow High School where she is developing a unique program that not only gives students exposure to a variety of dance styles but is also designed to...

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Staffing Company President – Mentor – Lynn Flinn

Staffing Company President  Mentor - Lynn Flinn   Lynn is the President and Managing Partner of The Rowland Group, a staffing company with offices in Tulsa and Houston which specializes in the areas of Accounting & Finance, Information Technology and Engineering & Energy. She began her business career as an auditor for a nation-wide accounting firm. She then transitioned to controller for banking, oil & gas and publishing companies before a new career direction, joining a large staffing company. There she became a regional manager of twelve offices. After eleven years with the staffing company, she left to establish the Tulsa branch of EWF International (Executive Women’s Forum International), a peer advisory group for women in business and also established the Tulsa Chapter of OKEthics, a group of business men and women promoting ethical business practices in the state. In 2006, Lynn was asked by the founders of The...

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Landscape Architect / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Derek McCall

Landscape Architect / Entrepreneur Mentor, Derek McCall   Derek is the founder of the DRM Design Group, a Tulsa based Landscape Architecture firm doing business throughout the United States and overseas. Before he started his own firm, Derek gained a broad range of experience working for several prestigious Landscape Architecture firms and worked on projects in Asia, the Middle East and in the Caribbean as well as commercial, residential and resort developments throughout the US. Even though he is a young entrepreneur building his own company, Derek still makes time to give back to his community. The most recent example is the design work his firm is doing pro-bono on the Tulsa Police Athletic Outreach Center being designed on the grounds of the Gilcrease police station. The Center will provide children opportunities to become comfortable with their neighborhood police while strengthening their athletic abilities and providing them a safe...

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Engineer / Corporate Manager / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Tom Naugle

Engineer / Corporate Manager / Entrepreneur Mentor, Tom Naugle  Tom’s business career is a good example of what you can achieve with hard work, persistence and the ability to motivate and manage people. Tom paid for his education himself and started working to save for college while he was in high school and then continued to work during the summers while he was getting his BS in Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State. After graduating, Tom began his business career as an engineer working for two chemical companies before a mentor encouraged him to apply to Harvard Business School and get an MBA. That degree opened the door to a position with Cooper Industries where he first worked in the corporate planning department and then went on to manage several of their divisions. He successfully turned around one failing business and improved the profitability of others before he was recruited...

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Managing Partner and CEO – Mentor, Frauke Quiroga

Managing Partner and CEO Mentor, Frauke Quiroga   Frauke is the Managing Partner and CEO of Luxa Enterprises LLC, a business services firm where her clients can contract out their accounting, human resource and payroll management needs. Start-ups to mid-sized companies often have limited resources to be able to efficiently manage all these area of their business. Frauke has built a staff of experts who can take over these functions so her clients can concentrate on delivering products and services to their customers rather than having to deal with these administrative functions. Before joining Luxa, she had more than twenty years of accounting, audit and business leadership experience in Fortune 100 companies, including Bell Canada Enterprises, Allied Signal/Honeywell, Hilti and John Zink (Koch Chemical Technologies) and held positions as a Controller, Financial Analyst, Chief Financial Officer and Marketing Manager. She earned a MBA from the University of Tulsa while working...

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Advertising Agency Managing Partner- Mentor, Angela Harless

Advertising Agency Managing Partner  Mentor, Angela Harless   Angela is a managing partner at AcrobatAnt, an independent advertising agency she and four others formed in 2008. Their firm uses a broad range of marketing and branding strategies to help clients sell their products and services, including television, radio, print, digital and direct marketing. She works as an Account Manager with a diverse roster of clients and also as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Angela was recently recognized in Oklahoma Magazine as one of the “Top 40 Under 40,” a group of the best and brightest young business and professional people in the state, and has been acknowledged as a “Distinguished Alumni” by the Tulsa Community College Alumni Association.Angela is active in the community and is involved in a number of volunteer organizations. She was able to serve the city of Tulsa by serving on the Business Services Task Force,...

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Supervising Television Director – Mentor, John LeMasters

Supervising Television Director  Mentor – John LeMasters   John is the Assistant Director of Television Production for Griffin Communication’s Channel 6 where he personally directs the station’s prime time evening news program and supervises five other directors and one audio operator who work on the channel’s other live news broadcasts. Besides keeping the station’s viewers aware of important news, Channel 6 prides itself on its live storm coverage and breaking news. The station’s news directors along with the weather anchors and other newsroom staff often work long hours when storms threaten the local area in order to give their viewers current information on dangerous weather conditions to help keep them safe. John did not start out wanting to be a television director when he graduated from high school. He was an athlete and played baseball at a college in Texas. He planned on getting a degree in physical education...

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Radiologic Technology Instructor – Mentor, Cindy Heald

Radiologic Technology Instructor  Mentor, Cindy Heald   Cindy is the instructor/coordinator for the Radiologic Technology (RT) program at Tulsa Tech and is herself a graduate of the program. The RT program at Tulsa Tech is highly regarded by the Tulsa medical community. As a result, all the students in the 2016 graduating class were placed with local employers. One of the reasons for the program’s success placing their students is that the major hospitals and clinics have representatives on an Advisory Board that gives input to help improve the program. Because of their involvement, Tulsa Tech stays current with the rapid changes in imaging technology and the new kinds of imaging equipment used by the area’s employers. If you decide to be a radiologic technologist (also known as “radiographer”) there are a number of ways you can advance your career. You can choose to specialize in one of the...

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Architect / Civic Leader – Mentor, Andrew A. Kinslow

Architect / Civic Leader Mentor, Andrew A. Kinslow Andy started what is now called KKT Architects in 1989 with just two other people first doing interior design and space planning. His firm has since grown to become a full-service architecture, interior and engineering firm with fifty-six employees averaging over three million square feet of design space a year. The firm has designed a wide range of well-known local buildings including the new Unit Corporation headquarters, the Woody Guthrie Center, the Tulsa Historical Society and the Zarrow Center for the Arts as well as downtown revitalization projects including the Mayo 420 Apartments. KKT also developed the concept for the Oklahoma Weather Museum and Research Center, a tornado shaped building that has received international recognition for its innovative design. Andy gives back to his community and is a civic leader who has served on the boards of many organization including the...

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Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator – Mentor, Susan England

Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator Mentor, Susan England Susan holds a Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Nursing Education and is the Coordinator of the Practical Nursing Program at Tulsa Tech, the oldest and largest technology center in Oklahoma’s nationally acclaimed CareerTech system. Before becoming an educator, she worked in hospitals and clinics, first as a Licensed Practical Nurse, then as a Registered Nurse. Susan earned her BSN and MS while she worked full-time, a career path followed by most people who get advance degrees in nursing. Nursing is an important profession because nurses provide the majority of patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care sites, and other health care settings. In her article, Susan talks about what it is like to be a nurse and work with patients in these places where the job can be stressful and challenging. She also points out other areas...

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Broadcast Journalist / Morning News Anchor

Broadcast Journalist and Morning New Anchor Mentor- Rich Lenz   Rich is the co- anchor of Six In The Morning, the city's highest rated local morning news show. Rich became a news anchor by following the same career path as many other successful people in broadcasting. He first worked in smaller cities to gain experience before moving to larger markets and advanced from jobs behind the camera, to sportscasting to news anchoring. He credits his willingness to move in order to gain experience as one of the key reasons he was able to become a news anchor in a large television market like Tulsa. Besides being a broadcaster, Rich is also an accomplished songwriter, musician and vocalist and still writes songs for the Children’s Hospital Telethon in New Orleans where he worked for thirteen years as a sports caster and news anchor before coming to Tulsa. Television is one...

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Educational Planner – Mentor, Terrie Shipley

Educational Planner Mentor,  Terrie Shipley   Terrie is an experienced Independent Educational Consultant who works one-on-one with high school students to help them choose the educational path that will best reach their academic and personal goals. Terrie’s degrees include a B.S. in Journalism and a B.A. in Political Science from Syracuse University and a M.A. in Education from Michigan State University. She is now working on completing her doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Terrie is also active in the Tulsa community and is the Associate Director of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, a program designed by international philanthropist Lynn Shusterman to teach high school students the fundamentals of philanthropy and leadership and to give them the opportunity to create their own social franchise. Terrie is also currently acting as the Board President of Mental Health Association Oklahoma. Terrie started her consulting business after working in the...

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Audiologist – Mentor, Dr. Tish Nelson

  Audiologist  Mentor, Dr. Tish Nelson Dr. Nelson holds both a Masters and Au.D. in Audiology and is the sole owner of Audiology Doctors of Tulsa PLLC, a private practice she started in 2007. The practice performs advanced diagnostic testing for hearing loss and other ear related problems like balance disorders (dizziness) and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). The information is used to develop the best treatment program for our patients. In her article, Dr. Nelson talks about how the miniaturization of digital computer technology has given audiologists new ways to diagnose and treat hearing disorders. Because of this new technology, 80% of people with hearing loss can now be helped by some kind of hearing instrument. There are even ways for people who are profoundly deaf to receive a surgical implant that stimulates the cochlea in the inner ear and allows them to hear. In the future, this...

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Technical Drafting and Design – Mentor, Michael Doering

Technical Drafting and Design  Mentor, Michael Doering   Michael is a Technical Drafting and Design Instructor at Tulsa Tech, a registered Architect and is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), an organization that protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of Architecture. He is also active in his church and the community. Drafting is an important field because nothing can be built or manufactured until drawings and blueprints are completed and computer technology has changed the way these drawings are made. To keep up with the rapid changes in this technology, Michael has developed a curriculum for his drafting students that teaches them the latest Computer-Aided Design and Drafting programs including a program called Revit, which has become the program used by most local Architects and Engineers. These new computer programs all allow drafting to be done...

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Mechatronics Technician – Mentor, Casey Taylor

Mechatronics Technician  Mentor, Casey Taylor   Mechatronics is an exciting new field in high tech manufacturing used to create machinery and equipment that has built in artificial intelligence. A Mechatronic Technician works with engineers to design and maintain this advanced manufacturing equipment. The Mechatronics program taught at Tulsa Tech by Casey Taylor is designed to give students the training they need to get an entry-level job in this growing field and is open to high school students, as well as adults. In his article, Casey talks about what a Mechatronics Technician does each day and the career prospects available to young people who have completed the Tulsa Tech program. The course work includes instruction in things like hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, optics and computer science. Graduates of this program will know how to install, maintain and repair the mechanical controls, fluid power systems, electrical and electronic equipment used in a...

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Machining Technician – Mentor, Rick Huddleston

Machining Technician   Mentor – Rick Huddleston   Rick is an instructor at Tulsa Tech’s Broken Arrow campus where his students can earn as many eleven different certifications in machining technology from the National Institute for Metal Working Skills (NIMS). Metalworking companies use the NIMS certifications as a basis for recruiting, hiring, placement and promotion. These include the four basic certifications needed for an entry-level job as a machinist and seven additional certifications for machining technicians who want to improve their job skills and pay. Before becoming an instructor at Tulsa Tech, Rick began working in the trade immediately after he received his own initial training at a technical school much like Tulsa Tech. Rick’s career path demonstrates that becoming a machinist also offers the opportunity for advancement as he rose to the position of General Manager for several machine shops. Rick has made aircraft parts for the US...

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Cyber Security/Digital Forensics – Mentor, Don Pipkin

Cyber Security/Digital Forensics  Mentor, Don Pipkin   Don is a Cyber Security and Digital Forensics Instructor at Tulsa Tech’s Riverside Campus. Before becoming an instructor in 2007, he worked in business for over twenty years, eighteen of those with Hewlett-Packard. Don is also the author of several books including “Halting the Hacker: A Practical Guide to Computer Security” and “Information Security: Protecting the Global Enterprise”. He is recognized as an international expert on cyber security and his books have been translated into several foreign languages including Chinese. Don earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Tulsa and was a regular guest lecturer at TU and Rogers State University. In his article, Don points out that while cyber security and digital forensics are growing fields, schools are only graduating about half of the people needed to fill available positions. Strong demand means there are scholarships...

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Journalist / Associate Editor – Mentor, Julie DelCour

Journalist / Associate Editor Mentor, Julie DelCour   Julie is an award-winning print journalist inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 2015. She spent all but four years of her career in journalism with the Tulsa World where she worked for thirty-nine years.  The first half of her career at the paper largely was spent as a beat reporter covering judicial matters in local, state and federal courts, including three years as the lead reporter on the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing, the trials of the two defendants and the execution of one defendant. Throughout her career she also contributed freelance articles to national publications, including the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and the National Law Journal, and a variety of local and regional publications.  In 1998, she was named to the Editorial Department, and in 2007, Julie became one of the newspaper’s first two women...

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Director of Operations – Mentor, Brian Head

Director of Operations Mentor, Brian Head   Brian is the Director of Operations for the Nelson Auto Group, which owns four automobile dealerships in two states and associated businesses including auto repair, collision repair, auto finance and collection. Brian started with the company as a computer programmer and designed the information systems used by people at all levels of the organization from the owner and the managers of individual profit centers to the customer service representatives, parts managers, repair technicians and people involved in sales and finance. His integrated IT system is more robust than the typical programs used by similar businesses in part because the information is in real time rather than being provided at the end of an accounting cutoff period. This means that each day every person using the system knows exactly where he or she is in terms of reaching their productivity goals. To be...

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Aircraft Maintenance Technician – Mentor, Sheryl Oxley

Aircraft Maintenance Technician  Mentor, Sheryl Oxley  Sheryl is an airframe and power plant (A&P) instructor at Tulsa Tech and a FAA Designated Mechanical Examiner. She is also the coordinator for the school’s aviation programs. Prior to becoming an instructor at Tulsa Tech, she was an aircraft maintenance technician for Bombardier Aerospace, Atlantic Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, a simulator technician for a defense contractor, and a flight simulator technician for Flight Safety Boeing. Sheryl holds a Bachelors of Science in Technical and Industrial Education from Oklahoma State and an Associates of Science in Airframe Mechanics and Aircraft Maintenance Technology from the Community College of the Air Force and an Associates of Science in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications from Tarrant Community College. In her article, Sheryl discusses what is required to become an aircraft maintenance technician and earn your Airframe and Power Plant certificates. With these certifications, you can get...

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College Football Coach – Mentor, Dave Rader

College Football Coach Mentor, Dave Rader   Dave was the head football coach for the University of Tulsa from 1988 to 1999. His 1991 Golden Hurricane squad finished with a 10-2 record, a Freedom Bowl victory over San Diego State and ranked 21st in both the final Coaches’ Poll and final AP poll. Dave was a gifted athlete and a starting quarterback in high school and then for the University of Tulsa his junior and senior year. He was picked by the San Diego Chargers in the 1979 draft and ended the year with the New York Giants. His first college coaching job was at the University of Alabama as the quarterback and wide receiver coach. He then went to Mississippi State as an assistant and a year later was hired at TU. Dave was as an assistant head coach for his alma mater for one year before being...

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CEO Tulsa Community Foundation – Mentor, Phil Lakin, Jr.

CEO Tulsa Community Foundation Mentor, Phil Lakin, Jr   Phil Lakin, Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer of the Tulsa Community Foundation, the second largest community foundation in the United States with over four billion dollars in assets. For those of you who are not familiar with community foundations, their common mission is to assist individuals and corporations in gifting resources to area nonprofits. In this way, these foundations enhance the quality of life and increase giving in their local communities. Phil was hired as CEO shortly after the foundation was formed in late 1998 and had assets of only a little more than one hundred thousand dollars. Besides heading TCF, Phil also gives back to the community by serving on the boards of other non-profit organizations including the Tulsa Area United Way, the Tulsa Community College Foundation and the American Alpine Club as well as serving on the...

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Hotel General Manager – Mentor, Trisha Kerkstra

Hotel General Manager Mentor, Trisha Kerkstra   Trisha is the General Manager of POSTOAK Lodge and Retreat, a resort and conference center located on 1,000 acres six miles north of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has followed an interesting career path first getting a degree in sociology and then working as a counselor. After three years as a counselor, she went on to graduate school and received a Masters in Higher Education. Trisha was then hired by the University of Tulsa to manage housing and dining in the residence halls. She quickly became a director, a position where she learned many of the same management skills she would later use when she entered the hospitality industry. After ten years at TU, Trisha wanted to try something new and worked first for the Marriot and later the Doubletree Hotel where she held positions that broadened her experience in the hospitality industry...

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Nutritionist / Businesswoman, Mentor- Cece Davis Gifford

Nutritionist / Businesswoman  Cece Davis Gifford Cece is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian, the owner and founder of Nutrition Consultants of Tulsa and is one of only three Certified Specialists in Sports Dietetics in Oklahoma. She is a recognized leader in her profession and has served in executive positions in both state and national dietetic associations. Cece has written many articles on diet and nutrition for magazines and newspapers and is the author of the book “ Nutrition for People Who Sit All Day” where she discusses the health consequences of prolonged sitting and offers nutritional guidance to help minimize those health problems. Cece points out in her article that being a registered dietitian involves much more than just helping people manage their weight. A registered dietitian, (RD), is the only qualified healthcare professional to teach nutrition and is part of a team of medical professionals including doctors, nurses, therapists...

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Insurance Agency Owner, Mentor – Mark Tedford

Insurance Agency Owner Mentor - Mark Tedford   Mark is the co-owner of Tedford Insurance. Since Mark and his brother took over the agency in 2004, it has doubled in size. They now have over seventy employees with seven locations throughout Oklahoma as well an eighth location in Fort Worth, Texas. In his article, Mark talks about the labor shortage in the insurance business and the opportunities available for well-trained people. While there are classes that are important to take in high school and college, the specific training you need for a career in the insurance industry is done by the insurance companies themselves after you are hired. This makes it important to choose a company with a good training program if you decide to enter the business. Mark also points out insurance is a business career where few people ever leave once they become established. Compensation tends to...

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Meteorologist – Mentor, Mike Teague

  Meteorologist Mentor, Mike Teague  Mike is an experienced meteorologist who is one of three mangers at the National Weather Service Office in Tulsa. He also teaches in the Aviation Sciences department at Tulsa Community College and has been a mentor to many young people interested in meteorology. The Tulsa NWS office collects weather data from Northeastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas that is then fed into the main computer generated weather models for the US. The office also provides a number of local services including regional weather forecasts, storm alerts and also works with the Army Corps of Engineers to forecast river and lake elevations. This is important work that protects lives and property and helps people manage their businesses. Mike did not start out wanting to become a meteorologist. When he graduated from high school, Mike joined the Air Force to try and get technical training because he...

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Air Traffic Controller – Mentor, Gary Wescott

Air Traffic Controller  Mentor, Gary Wescott   Being an Air Traffic Controller is a career where young people, who can qualify, will have higher lifetime earnings than the average four-year college graduate while making a smaller investment of time and money in their education. This is especially true for young people who qualify for tuition assistance at TCC under the “Tulsa Achieves” program where all or a large part of your tuition is paid. YPNG Mentor Gary Wescott is both an experienced controller and an educator. He retired after twenty-one and a half years as an Air Traffic Controller and became an Assistant Professor for the Air Traffic Control program at Tulsa Community College. Gary didn’t know anything about being an Air Traffic Controller when he graduated from high school and took accounting and business classes in college. He learned about the FAA Air Traffic Control program from his...

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Bank Chairman and CEO – Mentor, Sean Kouplen

Bank Chairman and CEO Mentor, Sean Kouplen YPNG Mentor Sean Kouplen is the Chairman and CEO of Regent Bank and was recently honored as one of Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO’s, one of OSU’s Top 50 MBA Graduates of the century and named to Oklahoma Magazine and Tulsa Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 lists. Sean has also been active in the community and served as the president of the Oklahoma State University National Alumni Association, Bixby Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Bixby. He has also served on the board of directors of Junior Achievement, the Tulsa Chamber Small Business Council, the Tulsa Metro Chamber Small Business Council, Tulsa Zoo Board and Tulsa Young President’s Organization.  Sean actively mentors young people and is the author of the book “ 12 Life Lessons Every Graduate Should Know”. Sean did not go to college with the idea of becoming a...

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Certified Collision Shop Manger – Mentor, Duane Hamilton

Certified Collision Shop Manger  Mentor, Duane Hamilton Duane is one of two managers at a certified collision shop that does body repair work for a group of luxury automobile dealerships. Auto body collision repair is a well paying skilled trade that has seen many changes because of the introduction of new metals that include stronger yet lighter steels, aluminum and various other lighter materials. These new metals and materials require today’s auto body technicians to be better trained in how to weld and fit parts made from these new materials as well as how to apply the new paints, rivets and adhesives now used by automobile manufacturers. These new metals and materials also require a larger investment in tools and equipment by the dealership to be able to get certified by the manufacturer. In order to maintain a shop’s certification with the automobile manufacturer, technicians are required to undergo...

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Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative  Summary This Mentor is an award winning sales representative for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the US. She chose to specialize in drugs that are prescribed by psychiatrists, medical doctors whose practice involves the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Specializing in this one class of drugs rather than multiple categories allowed her to develop detailed product knowledge about each drug’s chemistry, side effects and potential interaction with other drugs. This has in turn allowed her to become a valuable partner to her doctors as a resource to help them determine the effectiveness of the drugs she represents in their patients. In her article, she also talks about what pharmaceutical companies look for when hiring representatives and ways you can improve your chances when you go to be interviewed for these kinds of position. She also describes the work habits you will need to...

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Director of Sales for a Provider of Post Acute Care and Consulting Services

Director of Sales for a Provider of Post Acute Care and Consulting Services   Introduction This Mentor has over ten years of health care experience managing top performing sales teams for large national publicly traded companies. She has managed marketing/business development teams responsible for approximately $80 million in annual revenue. Her markets have included Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois and Georgia. She has received a host of awards for outstanding sales performance, leadership and goal attainment. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, budgeting, managing special construction projects, strategic planning, oversight of the public relations and communications departments, interaction with patients and service providers and review of reimbursement procedures and processes. In her article she talks about the ways that reimbursement policies for both private insurance companies and government insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid are driving the health care industry. Knowing these reimbursement policies is important...

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Senior Metallurgical Engineer – Mentor, Peter Kullen

Senior Metallurgical Engineer – Mentor, Peter Kullen Peter is an experienced metallurgical engineer who works for a large integrated steel producer that manufactures a wide range of steel sheet and tubular products for the automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction, and oil and gas industries. He has a degree from Carnegie Mellon University, the fifth highest rated engineering school in the US. Peter works directly with over fifty of his company’s customers as a regional technical service engineer to make sure the steel used in their manufacturing process is optimally formulated for their applications and consults with his customers on ways to make their production processes that use his company’s steels more efficient. This kind of metallurgical engineering finds ways to reduce manufacturing costs and is critical to maintaining the quality of products manufactured in America and throughout the world. Engineering is also one of the highest paid professions...

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Food & Beverage Management Company President / Entrepreneur – Mentor – Siegmund “Sig” Brown

Food & Beverage  Management Company President / Entrepreneur Mentor,  Siegmund “Sig” Brown Sigmund is the founder and sole shareholder of EXPOSERVE Management Corporation, a food and beverage management services company that has contracts with major entertainment venues in Oklahoma that host sporting events, concerts, trade shows, exhibitions and the arts. These include the Tulsa Expo Square, a 240-acre multipurpose complex with a variety of events throughout the year. Other venues are The Tulsa Performing Arts Center, The Oklahoma Aquarium, The Philbrook Museum of Art, The SpiritBank Event Center, Harwelden Mansion and The Hardesty Arts Center.  Since launching his business ten years ago, he has experienced compounded annual growth, doubling his share of the local market.   Sigmund grew up in Western Canada. His parents were hotel and restaurant managers who were trained in Europe. Initially he was not interested in following in his parent’s footsteps in the hotel industry. Instead...

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Executive Chef – Mentor, Christopher Bullis

Executive Chef YPNG Mentor, Christopher Bullis  Summary Chris was recently appointed the Executive Chef at Exposerve, a large food and beverage services company that has contracts with major entertainment venues for sporting events, concerts and the arts. He learned to cook with his mother while he was growing up and decided to make the culinary arts his career early in high school. Chris took culinary classes at the local technical college his junior and senior years and during that time entered and won both state and national cooking competitions. Success at these competitions came with scholarships that allowed him to go to one of the best culinary universities in the country. Chris has a strong work ethic. He began working as a cook when he was just sixteen and worked full time as a chef in hotel restaurants while he went to college. Chris points out that everyone starts...

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Musician, Composer, Recording Artist, Teacher – Mentor, Shelby Eicher

Musician, Composer, Recording Artist, Teacher  Mentor, Shelby Eicher Shelby is a well-known musician who is a founding member of the National Fiddlers Hall of Fame and served as Education Director for 10 years. He grew up in a musical family in northwestern Ohio and was given a fiddle for his fifth birthday. Shelby was first taught by his grandmother and received formal lessons when he was eight. He first began performing with his family in a square dance band, Shelby Eicher and the Fulton County Sand Sifters. Shelby became interested in Bluegrass music during high school and after graduating went to Claremore Junior College, now known as Rodgers State College, in Claremore, Oklahoma, which had a program in Bluegrass. After graduating, he made his way to Nashville and landed a job playing with Jimmie C. Newman on the Grand Ole Opry and then joined country artist Mel McDaniels before...

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Metal Fabrication Company President – Mentor, Dave Huges

Metal Fabrication Company President  Mentor Dave Hughes Dave is both the President/Chief Operating Officer and part owner of a metal fabricating company he helped acquire as part of a diversification strategy for an equipment manufacturer where he is also the Vice President of Global Sales. This company is a family owned business that manufactures polyethylene fusion machines used to build low and medium pressure pipelines as well as machines used to make fintubes used in heat exchangers. After earning a bachelors degree in accounting at the University of Oklahoma, he first moved to the East Coast and worked in the Boston office of a national accounting firm and later in their Cleveland office before getting an MBA at Case Western Reserve University. He then took a executive position with a national healthcare company before moving to Tulsa to work for McElroy Manufacturing, Inc. The first three years he was...

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Building Company CEO – Mentor, John Rupe, Jr.

Building Company CEO Mentor - John Rupe, Jr.\ John Rupe, Jr. didn’t go to college with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. In fact, he majored in political science and then landed jobs working for a Congressman, a building company, and a tech company - all before starting his own business. In a short 14-year time frame, John has built a large, diversified commercial real estate company. He started out constructing commercial buildings for clientele, and later went on to develop his own projects by building on land he acquired and renovating existing buildings. As his core business grew, John expanded his operation to include property management, leasing, and brokering the sale of commercial real estate. Rooted in core values of building trust, confidence and integrity, the company continues to grow and now has over 60 employees. Due to his success at an early age, John was invited to...

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Chemical Engineer – Mentor, Jim Franklin

Chemical Engineer  Mentor, Jim Franklin This Mentor has over forty years experience as a chemical engineer. During that time, he has worked as a process design engineer, an operations manager for a major integrated oil company, a consulting engineer and as a design/ sales engineer for a major combustion equipment company. In these positions, Jim has designed complex process equipment for petrochemical plant expansions that improved the efficiency of the plant and reduced environment emissions.   In addition to designing equipment, Jim was a plant operations manager where he operated a plant that was build with equipment he designed. Later in his career, Jim specialized in the design and sales of combustion and emission reduction equipment for refineries, petrochemical plants, and oil/gas production facilities. His career as a chemical engineer has also given him the opportunity to travel to many interesting places around the world selling and helping install this...

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Roofing Company President/ Entrepreneur – Mentor, Chris Meyer

Roofing Company President/ Entrepreneur  Mentor, Chris Meyer   Chris is a successful businessman and the owner of Turner Roofing, a company he purchased in 2008. Since he has owned this business, sales and profitability have more than doubled. But Chris never started out with the goal of owning a roofing company or being an entrepreneur. He tried college for six months and then worked at a number of construction jobs before he decided to go to a two-year college in Florida to train to become a commercial airline pilot like his father. He struggled for two years after graduation trying to build enough hours to be able to be hired by a commercial airline. At that time there were just too many people trying to become commercial pilots at the same time there was weak demand for pilots because of consolidation in the industry. So he moved on and...

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Motion Graphics Designer – Mentor, David Johnson

Motion Graphics Designer – Mentor, David Johnson   David was a musician in high school whose dream was to one day have his own recording studio. After high school, he attended Baylor University where he majored in telecommunications and religion. His course work included audio and video recording as well as broadcast journalism and film production. David took full advantage of his college experience to build a strong network with other students, their parents and the faculty. It was because of one of these relationships that he was able to get his first job with the Dallas Mavericks production team. After two seasons in an entry-level position, he was offered the choice of advancing with the Mavericks organization or accepting a position as a video graphic designer with a large church in Tulsa. He decided to work at the church where he stayed for ten years. During that time...

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Sausage Maker / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Siegmund Sumaruk

Sausage Maker / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Siegmund Sumaruk Summary This Mentor is a fifth generation sausage maker who emigrated from Linz, Austria in 1965 when he was twenty- one. Through persistence and hard work, he has built a successful business that includes a sausage factory, a German deli, a meat market, a restaurant and wild game processing. He has also developed a regional market for his sausage with only minimal advertising based on his reputation for making quality products. When Siegi came to the US, his first job was processing meat in Waco Texas. He then worked for a sausage manufacturer and deli owner in Dallas and was later asked to start a similar operation in partnership with someone from Tulsa. The partnership did not work well and he decided to start his own operation at another location. Siegi raised money from a number of investors that allowed him...

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Hospital Executive / Score Mentor – Joseph Gagliardi

Hospital Executive / Score Mentor - Joseph Gagliardi   Summary  Joseph graduated from St Louis University with a BS in Commerce and Finance. He obtained his MBA from Regis University. Joseph entered the health care industry when he began working for a hospital management/consulting company. He then went on to manage individual hospitals and healthcare systems. He advance quickly as a hospital executive in part because early in his career he gained a reputation for being able to turn around hospitals that were failing by concentrating on ways to improve patient satisfaction. During his career he was CEO of six hospitals and healthcare systems. The most rewarding experience was President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. While he has retired from hospital management, Joseph still consults with hospitals and healthcare organizations. He is also involved in the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE). This is a national...

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Firefighter – Mentor, Stan May

Firefighter – Mentor, Stan May Summary Stan is a second generation firefighter who has worked for the Tulsa Fire Department for 24 years. During that time he advanced from Firefighter to Captain and was elected to a two-year term as President of the Firefighters Union. He has also served as an Assistant Fire Marshal in Code Enforcement and is now the Public Information Officer for the TFD. In his article, Stan talks about the requirements you must meet to be accepted as well as the training you receive at the fire academy. He also describes how firefighters work together to protect the citizens and each other when fighting a dangerous fire. Because some firefighters are not physically able to do the job once they are past their late fifties, firefighters receive good pension benefits beginning after 22 years of service with maximum benefits of 75% of their pay after...

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Entrepreneur – Mentor, Roger Chasteen

Entrepreneur – Mentor, Roger Chasteen This mentor describes himself as a serial entrepreneur. He has been involved in a variety of businesses including an office products company, a telecommunications company with 54 locations and 300 employees, FM and worldwide streaming radio stations, an auto dealership, commercial real estate, book publishing and recently oil and gas. His success has come from hard work and by living a conservative life style that allowed him to accumulate the capital he needed to start and grow his business ventures. While he is continuing to evaluate new business opportunities, he is also giving back by helping mentor young people interested in starting a new business. Roger is doing this through personal mentoring as well as was a part of a Shark Tank program similar in concept to the television show where students at a local university can present their ideas to a group of...

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Director of Service and Parts – Mentor, Ted Dollar

Director of Service and Parts – Mentor, Ted Dollar Ted has been the manager of the service department for one of the most successful Lexus dealerships in the US for twenty-five years. He worked his way up in the automotive business starting as a detailer then an auto technician and service advisor before becoming a service manager. Besides his job as a service manager, his article discusses career opportunities in the auto business for technicians and service advisors, jobs that pay as much or more than many careers requiring a college degree. Ted also talks about what he looks for when he hires people for these positions, the training and continuous education requirements once you are hired and how you advance through the various levels of certification. His article will be of interest to anyone who is looking to lean more about these career opportunities in the automobile business,...

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Electrician/ Apprenticeship Training Director – Mentor, Ted Jenkins

Electrician/Apprenticeship Training Director – Mentor, Ted Jenkins Summary Ted Jenkins is a fourth generation electrician and the current Training Director of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) in Tulsa. There are 285 IBEW locals that help sponsor JATC apprenticeship programs in all fifty states. JATC apprenticeship programs are recognized as one of the best in the US. These apprenticeship programs allow you to earn a good wage plus receive benefits like healthcare and pension contributions while you are training. The IBEW also promotes diversity and encourages women, veterans and minorities to apply not just young people graduating from high school. Besides good pay and benefits, there is also the chance for advancement and like many skilled trades there is the opportunity to later start your own business as an electrical contractor. Because the baby boomers are beginning to retire, there is expected...

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Police Captain – Mentor, Mike Williams

Police Captain – Mentor, Mike Williams Capt. Williams achieve professional success by working hard and overcoming obstacles he encountered in his life. When he was a freshman in high school, Capt. Williams realized he would not receive a good education in his inner city high school. So he took the initiative to apply to a magnet school and was accepted. When Capt. Williams graduated, he joined the Navy with the goal of becoming an air traffic controller. But he never received the training he wanted and left. He then decided to apply to become a policeman and was accepted as a cadet at the Tulsa Police Department. Tulsa requires their policeman to have a four-year college degree.  He earned his while also working full time as a cadet while he was attending college. Because of his strong work ethic, he received his college degree in three and a half...

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CPA Firm Partner – Mentor, Brent Curry

CPA Firm Partner - Mentor, Brent Curry This mentor is the managing partner of a highly respected accounting firm as well as the Past President of the National Board of Directors of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association and a current member of the Board of Governors of the University’s Foundation. He grew up on a farm and ranch in rural Oklahoma and put himself through college by raising his own cattle, share cropping neighbors’ land and working in the school cafeteria. Brent majored in accounting and joined a national accounting firm after he graduated from OSU. He worked there for four years and then moved to a regional firm where three years later he was made a partner when he was only 29. Brent continued to advance and became the managing partner of offices in two different cities and then managing partner of the entire firm. While many...

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Consulting Engineer – Mentor, Glen Hall

Consulting Engineer – Mentor, Glen Hall Glen received his engineering degree from the University of Illinois and later obtained an MBA from the University of Michigan while he worked for Ford Motor Company in Detroit. His career path later included jobs with a number of automotive suppliers. In his last position with a supplier, he was the Director of Operations over four plants and a distribution warehouse that employed 1400 people. Glen recently made another career change and became a consultant helping companies identify and hire engineering and manufacturing talent. Helping companies solve these staffing problems has allowed him to develop his own successful consulting practice. Glen’s article will be of interest to anyone considering engineering as a career and especially those who want to know more about mechanical and process engineering.   Overview I grew up on a farm in rural Illinois near Kentucky border. I was not...

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Director of IT Service Delivery- Mentor, Kirk Miller

Director of IT Service Delivery- Mentor, Kirk Miller This Mentor has had an interesting career path within the IT industry.  He rose to a position consulting with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the US where he was the Director of Service Delivery and a Security Operations Manager. But like many young people, he started out on another career path before he got his engineering degree. His article contains a number of personal experiences and suggestions for the best ways to prepare yourself for a career in this field and suggestions about entry level jobs and the experience you need to have to advance in an IT engineering career. All engineering careers offer one of the highest starting salaries and lifetime earnings. IT is also one of the categories within the engineering profession with the highest projected growth.  Overview   My career path is in some ways common...

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Physical Therapist – Mentor, Kimberly Briguccia

Physical Therapist – Mentor, Kimberly Briguccia Kimberly has been a physical therapist since 1995 and is also a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT). She is also a successful businesswoman who has her own outpatient, orthopedic and spinal clinic. As the population ages and obesity and diabetes increases, demand for physical therapists is expected to grow by 36% over the next ten years according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a rate that is almost three times faster than the average occupation. In her article, Kimberly talks about the college courses you will need to complete get your degree, licensing requirements and the various employment opportunities for a PT. She also discusses how she has built a successful therapy clinic and the key points you should know about running this kind of business. Her article will be of interest to anyone considering a career in physical therapy as well as...

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Optometrist and Businessman – Mentor, Dr. Robert Zoellner

Optometrist and Businessman - Mentor, Dr. Robert Zoellner Dr. Zoellner is one of the most successful optometrists in the U.S. While he knew he wanted to be a doctor when he entered college, he also liked business. So he decided to become an optometrist where he could help people improve their vision as well as be involved in the sales and marketing of glasses and contacts. Two years after graduation, Dr. Zoellner started a practice where he was affiliated with Eyemart Express. His two locations were so successful that four years later he became the President of Eyemart Express when he was only thirty. After a year, he returned to Tulsa where he soon built a much larger office near a major mall to replace one of his smaller locations. His business has steadily expanded. He now has 72 employees at his two locations. The mall location sells more...

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Sports Massage Therapist–Mentor, Teresa Reynolds

Sports Massage Therapist – Mentor, Teresa Reynolds   This mentor has overcome a difficult childhood and many adversities in her life. She grew up near Chicago and was a single mother when she was a teenager. But she finished high school and then went to junior college on a basketball scholarship where she was a two time All American and the highest scoring woman player in junior college basketball. She then went to a larger school where she wanted to play at a higher level and received a scholarship. But because of some mistakes by the school, she was declared ineligible and never played. But the school maintained her scholarship and she graduated with an Associates degree. She did not give up on her basketball dream and came to Tulsa in 2008 at the time that a WNBA team, the Shock, was purchased from Detroit. She worked hard and...

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Jewelry Designer – Mentor, Ann Garrett

Jewelry Designer – Mentor, Ann Garrett Ann is a well-known jewelry designer who works closely with her clients to create custom pieces of jewelry. Her unique designs have brought her customers from all over the world. Ann has been successful in large part because she never stops trying to get better. Each of her designs is unique, never repetitive and consequently cannot be easily copied by other jewelers. Ann’s article describes how she approaches the design process when she creates a custom piece of jewelry for a client and how she went about building her successful business including developing innovative approaches to marketing. This article should of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about jewelry design and fine arts careers where you have the opportunity to create something new every day.   Overview Like many young people, I did not know what I wanted to do when...

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Automobile Dealer and Entrepreneur – Mentor, Don Thornton

Automobile Dealer and Entrepreneur – Mentor, Don Thornton   Summary Don is an accomplished businessman who was twice recognized by Time Magazine as one of the top ten automobile dealers in the nation. Like many successful YPNG Mentors, Don came from a working class family and put himself through college in part by joining his college’s Air Force ROTC program. After graduation, he served his four-year commitment as an instructor, navigator and pilot. When he returned to civilian life, Don took a job as a stockbroker at a regional firm. But after three years, he switched career paths and began a new job as an automobile salesman. He quickly moved into management positions and in a few years became the general sales manager at a large Ford dealerships in Dallas. Because he had demonstrated success as a manger, he was chosen over a large number of other applicants to...

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Career Transformation Specialist and Success Trainer – Mentor, Isabell Estes

Career Transformation Specialist and Success Trainer – Mentor, Isabell Estes  Isabell Estes is the founder of Encore WorkLife. Prior to establishing Encore WorkLife, she was a franchisee and business coach for The Entrepreneur’s Source for 10 years and co-founded a volunteer organization called The Career Transitions Group of Oklahoma, a support group for professionals caught in the crossroads of sudden unemployment. She also had her own public relations and marketing consultancy called Estes Communications. Her corporate life was in marketing and public relations for Tele-Communications Inc., Tulsa Public Schools and TV Guide. She and her husband presently own the EnviroMaster franchise for Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  She has received many awards including the 2009 Women in Business Champion from the Oklahoma SBA, the 2013 Women Empowered by Business Crystal Award and the 2013 Marketing Trend Setter Award. Isabell entered career coaching after she had successfully made several major changes...

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Pharmacist and Pharmacy Owner – Mentor, Todd Pendergraft

Pharmacist and Pharmacy Owner – Mentor, Todd Pendergraft Todd Pendergraft owns two independent pharmacies that successfully compete with the national chains. He opened his first pharmacy after working as a pharmacy manager for a national retailer for 10 years. Todd’s motivation for going into business for himself was his family. Todd wanted to be able to control his work schedule so that he could spend more time helping raise his three children. Making the transition from pharmacist to pharmacy owner required him to learn more about managing the business than he was exposed to just working as an employee. Todd struggled initially as he learned how to manage his business. But he persisted, developed innovative business strategies and is successfully competing in his local market. This article should be of interest to anyone considering becoming a pharmacist or anyone wanting to know more about how to establish an independent...

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Veterinarian – Mentor, Doctor Dan G. Danner

Veterinarian – Mentor, Doctor Dan G. Danner Dr. Danner is an accomplished veterinarian and businessman who has practiced veterinarian medicine for over thirty eight years. During that time he designed and built a surgical hospital recognized by the American Animal Hospital Association as one of the most innovative and functionally designed facilities in the nation. While Dr. Danner has a special interest in surgery, dentistry and dermatology, his hospital also provides care for all breeds of dogs, cats, exotic animals, small pets and most exotic birds. His practice is also unique because he treats monkeys and is one of only three veterinarians on the Board of the National Simian Society, a group that works to improve the condition of monkeys that are privately owned. Dr. Danner was also appointed to the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinarian Medical Examiners by the governor and has served on the boards of many...

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Luxury Car Saleswoman – Mentor, Judy Weakley

Luxury Car Saleswoman – Mentor, Judy Weakley  This mentor has over twenty years experience in automobile sales and has consistently been one of the top producers at the dealership where she works as well as in the top ten percent of all auto salespeople nationally. In her article, she talks about how she approaches auto sales by first selling herself and establishing rapport with her customers. Her experience is similar to other YPNG mentors who have been successful in sales. All say that people generally form business relationships with salespeople they come to like and trust. Because of her integrity and interest in her customers, this mentor has been able to build a large book of repeat business as well as a strong referral business. Compensation in auto sales is primarily from commissions and requires a good work ethic to be successful. But the average salesperson who has established...

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Business Owner/ Entrepreneur – Mentor, Tom Robinett

Business Owner/ Entrepreneur – Mentor, Tom Robinett This Mentor has spent over forty years as the owner of an office supply business where he has successfully been able to compete against the big box stores. He did this by developing a strategy where he concentrated on commercial accounts, a part of the business where personal relationships are important. He also found ways to drive down his costs of doing business by building an efficient logistics system that eliminated his need to carry expensive inventory. In addition, he created a number of innovative products for niche markets that diversified his income base. This Mentor’s ideas about how to compete with the national chains and how to go about economically testing your business concepts should be of interest to anyone interesting in starting a new business or a current business owner facing competition from large, national companies that have entered their...

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Insurance Agency Owner – Mentor, Phil Maloney

Insurance Agency Owner – Mentor, Phil Maloney This mentor has operated his own insurance agency for over forty years. During that time he has steadily expanded his agency’s customer base by adding additional lines of insurance products as well as acquiring other insurance agencies. In his article, he discusses how the insurance business has evolved since he first started in 1972 and how he has successfully found ways to deal with the increased competition an insurance agency like his faces from national companies with large advertising budgets many of which are now trying to bypass agencies by selling over the internet. This article should be of interest to anyone considering becoming an insurance agent or starting an independent insurance agency or any other kind of business that require good communication skills.   Overview I developed a strong work ethic early in my life. I began my first job when...

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Registered Dental Hygienists –Mentors, Kari Wright and Katie Arneson

Registered Dental Hygienists –Mentors, Kari Wright and Katie Arneson These women each have over twenty years experience as dental hygienists. But they took different routes to enter the profession. Kari went to a university and received a four-year degree while Katie took her prerequisites at a local college in the evening while she was working full time and then entered a two-year program where she received an associate’s degree. Despite the different academic paths, they both hold the same state license. In their article, they also point out that getting into a dental hygiene program is very competitive and offer suggestions on ways to improve your chances of being accepted. Besides the skills needed to perform dental procedures, they also talk about what is required of you physically and emotionally to be successful in this career field. Their article will be of interest to anyone considering becoming a dental...

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Master Hair Stylist / Businessman – Mentor, Michael Brothers

Master Hair Stylist / Businessman – Mentor, Michael Brothers This Mentor has built a highly successful business using both his artistic skills as a stylist and the business skills he developed over the past twenty two years operating his own salons. Michael was helped along the way by several people who became his mentors. Another key to his success was that early in his career he recognized the importance of building long lasting relationships with his customers, employees and business partners. In his article, Michael shares the keys to becoming a successful stylist and the basic principals he followed to start and grow his salon business. His article should be read by anyone interested in becoming a hair stylist or learning more about the salon industry. Because Michael’s business model is based on many of the same principals used by many successful personal service businesses, his article should also...

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Licensed Professional Counselor / Director of Programs and Counseling at DVIS, Mentor – Missy Iski

This mentor is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), a licensed marital and family therapist (LMFT) and also the Director of Programs and Counseling for a domestic violence intervention services program (DVIS). She has broad experience in her field including working in private practice as well as holding a number of positions in a psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents as well as her current position as a Director at DVIS. In her article, she discusses the role of a counselor, the personal characteristics you must have if you want to work in this field and the education and training you need to become a LPC. Her article should be of interest to anyone who is considering this career field as well as people interested in learning more about mental health counseling and the types of services that are available. Overview I did not go to college with the idea...

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Commercial Airline Pilot – Mentor, Kent Faith

Commercial Airline Pilot – Mentor, Kent Faith This mentor has been a commercial airline pilot with a major carrier for twenty-six years and has flown both domestic and international routes. He was drawn to commercial aviation because of his love of flying. But because there are many people who also like flying and want to make it a career, becoming a commercial airline pilot is highly competitive and the training can be expensive. The airline industry is also cyclical. Pilots with less seniority do get laid off when the economy is in recession. So it is important for anyone considering pursuing a career as a commercial pilot to understand this can be a difficult career even though job satisfaction among commercial airline pilots is very high. Overview While attending college, I wanted to learn to fly and trained for a private pilot’s license. About that time, my father died....

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Sales Engineer/ CEO – Mentor, Tim McFerrin

Sales Engineer, a Non Traditional Career for an Engineering School Graduate –Mentor, Tim McFerrin  Tim McFerrin is a graduate of the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Kansas and the President and CEO of the Myers-Aubrey Company headquartered in Tulsa, OK. Myers-Aubrey is a Manufacturer’s Representative with 30 employees spread over six offices in the Midwest. The company has been in business for 86 years and Tim is only the 4th President. In his article, he shares with you some of the life lessons he has learned. If you follow this Mentor’s suggestions, your chances of building a successful career in any field you ultimately choose will increase dramatically.   Overview I want to tell young people about a career that most would consider non-traditional for a graduate from an Engineering School, a manufactures sales representative. Nothing happens in this world until something is sold. Think about this...

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CPA/Attorney, Director of Corporate Compliance – Mentor, Carol McNern

CPA/Attorney, Director of Corporate Compliance – Mentor, Carol McNern  This mentor studied accounting in college and began her professional career working for a large public accounting firm auditing and preparing tax returns. After a few years she joined a large public corporation preparing financial reports for shareholders and regulatory agencies, as well as, doing corporate planning and budgeting. She later went to law school while she was working in a corporate accounting position in order to advance her career giving her a broader business perspective. Upon completing her law degree, she tried several legal specialties including criminal law, domestic relations, and tax and audit. She eventually returned to corporate management as the Director of Tax for a closely held limited liability company. Next she was the Treasurer of a closely held corporation. Current she serves as the Director of Corporate Compliance for a closely held corporation where she utilizes...

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Plumber and Business Agent Dispatcher – Mentor, Mike Skinner

Plumber and Business Agent Dispatcher - Mentor, Mike Skinner This Mentor has broad experience in the plumbing trade. After completing a five-year union apprenticeship program, he went on to work for contractors involved in school and hospital construction, rose to a supervisory position and managed crews of up to thirty people. He is currently working as a business dispatcher with the local union where he places plumbers in jobs with union contractors. Mike is passionate about his trade. In his article, he shares with you the details of what is taught in a five year plumbing apprenticeship program, how you can increase your chances of being accepted in these kinds of programs and what you need to do in order to become a successful journeyman. His article should be read by anyone interesting in the plumbing trade or any other skilled trade in the service and construction industries where...

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Military Pilot / VP of Administration / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Phillip Kirk

Military Pilot / VP of Administration / Entrepreneur – Mentor, Phillip Kirk This mentor discovered that he had symptoms of the medical condition ADD when he was fifty-five a condition that most people assume would limit someone’s ability to build a successful career. That would have been a wrong assumption for this Mentor. By that time he had served as a Navy fighter pilot, graduated from college and had risen to the position of Executive VP for a NYSE company. He later went on to start his own business in the road construction industry using equipment he and his partner had improved upon to rehabilitate concrete highways. The business grew and these machines were used on road construction projects all over the world. Since retiring, he has been active in helping people in substance abuse programs as well as working as a Unit Leader of the Commemorative Air Force,...

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Nephrologist and Medical Researcher – Mentor, Jim Bourdeau

Nephrologist and Medical Researcher – Mentor, Jim Bourdeau   Currently, Dr. Bourdeau is a practicing nephrologist who diagnoses and treats kidney diseases. Earlier in his career, this mentor focused on medical research and tailored his education accordingly. He considers himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to medical knowledge through his publications and also to have served his patients. In addition to discussing his medical specialty, Dr. Bourdeau talks about the various forces that are changing the way medicine is practiced in the US and how he expects the system will evolve. His article should be read by anyone interested in a medical career and/or wanting to learn more about what factors are driving health care costs. Finally, he speaks to the issue of how government regulations are affecting the way patient care is being delivered in the US.   Overview I grew up in Seattle, Washington,...

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Health Club VP of Operations- Mentor, Travis Wood

Health Club VP of Operations- Mentor, Travis Wood Summary  This mentor wanted to be the principal of a public school and had set a long-term goal of becoming the Secretary of Education for his state. He earned a Masters in Education Administration that would have allowed him to pursue this career path. But after seeing how the public education system was changing in a way that he felt was not the path he wanted to pursue, he took a different career path and decided to enter the heath club industry. There he found motivated people who wanted to improve their lives, people he felt he could help reach their personal goals. While in these management positions, he built a reputation for being able to turn around poorly performing health clubs by listening to his members and then developing innovative programs to help them reach their individual goals. This focus...

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Chiropractor and Entrepreneur – Mentor, Dr. Tom Cate

Chiropractor and Entrepreneur – Mentor, Dr. Tom Cate This mentor has built one of the largest chiropractic practices in the US consistently ranking in the top one percent. He is also an entrepreneur who has started several successful businesses. Dr. Cate grew up in a blue-collar family that lived in a tough part of a large city. His success proves that what you can achieve depends on your own ability and ambition and not your background. In his article, Dr. Cate also discusses changes in government regulations, the way insurance companies now reimburse doctors for medical services and how both these changes are affecting patent care. This article covers many important topics and should be read by anyone interested in becoming a chiropractic doctor or entering any part of the medical field as well as everyone who wants to better understand the way new regulations are affecting the quality...

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Corporate Event Planner and Business Owner – Mentor, Cynthia McFerrin

Corporate Event Planner and Business Owner – Mentor, Cynthia McFerrin This mentor has an interesting career that is not well known and one many people would not immediately consider as a career possibility. Yet the most recent government labor surveys in 2012 show there were 94,200 event planners in the US . Their number is expected to grow by 33% over the next ten years, much faster than other occupations.  Event planning at this Mentor’s level is a career that allows you to travel and meet many interesting people. But it is also one that requires hard work, a substantial time commitment and can also be very stressful. Cynthia is a mother with twin boys and started her own firm rather than continuing to work for a large corporation in order to better balance her career with her family. This is a common theme for many YPNG Mentors that...

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Founder of a Major Law Firm – Mentor, Don Pray

Founder of a Major Law Firm – Mentor, Don Pray Introduction This mentor built a highly respected, thirty-person law firm. After three decades as managing partner of his firm, he decided to leave to run a billion dollar charitable foundation that he formed for one of his clients. At this foundation, Don worked with colleges to develop innovative programs to help teach the principals of entrepreneurship to students and helped create other programs to teach young people how to build their own business. But he did not start his career expecting to become a lawyer. His undergraduate degree was in petroleum engineering. Don decided to pursue law after working as an engineer because he wanted the opportunity to run his own business rather than work as an employee and felt law offered him the best opportunity to achieve his goal. In this article, Don discusses what is required of...

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Welder and Certification Center Instructor – Mentor, Kenny Eden

Welder and Certification Center Instructor – Mentor, Kenny Eden This mentor has broad experience in the welding trade including working with research engineers developing new equipment designs at a major oil company, working on the North Slope of Alaska, managing a state welder certification center and working with students in welding apprenticeship programs. In his article, he describes what is involved for a person to complete a four-year welder apprentice program. He also gives you suggestions on how to inexpensively determine if you have the mechanical aptitude to be successful in this trade. This article should be read by anyone considering any type of construction trade and people interesting in learning how apprenticeship programs train people to become journeymen. Overview I grew up on a ranch where we raised cattle. Being a rancher’s son, I was taught how to work with my hands and repair equipment. After watching me...

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Restaurant Owners and Concept Developers – Bill and Zahidah Hyman

Restaurant Owners and Concept Developers – Bill and Zahidah Hyman

Restaurant Owners and Concept Developers – Bill and Zahidah Hyman Bill and Zahidah have developed a successful, upscale Asian restaurant concept. They now have two locations and are looking to expand into another city. They achieved success in this highly competitive industry through hard work and attention to detail. In this article, they share with you the things you should consider if you want to develop your own restaurant concept as well as the basics of operating the business. This article should be read by those of you interested in owning or working in a restaurant and especially anyone wanting to test their own restaurant concept. It is also a good case study for entrepreneurs who want to start a business as many of the principals they used to develop their restaurant concept also apply to other kinds of businesses start-ups.   Summary My family moved to Tulsa when...

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Family Physician – Mentor, Dr. Barry Troutman

Family Physician – Mentor, Dr. Barry Troutman  Summary Dr. Troutman followed an unusual career path. He initially completed a business degree in marketing, worked for several years in sales and then went back to college to become a pharmacist before he decided to pursue a medical degree. His story has a common element with many YPNG Mentors who grew up in small towns. None of them had a privileged background. But they all became successful in their careers because they developed a strong work ethic. Besides describing what he does in his practice, Dr. Troutman also shares his perspective on the future of medicine in the United States given the changes in insurance coverage and government regulations. His article should be read not only by people who are considering a career in any field of medicine but also by anyone interested in a doctor’s perspective on how escalating insurance...

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Cabinet and Furniture Maker and Business Owner, Mentor, Barry Suderman

Cabinet and Furniture Maker and Business Owner - Mentor, Barry Suderman   Summary This Mentor is both a highly skilled tradesman and a successful business owner. His career path shows what you can achieve with hard work, an aptitude for your trade and by building a team that reflects your own high professional standards. His background is similar to many successful YPNG Mentors who grew up on farms or in small rural towns where they learned the importance of hard work at an early age, something that they carried with them their whole lives. This Mentor first shares with you how he gained the experience to become a skilled tradesperson. He then talks about the basic principals you need to understand to be able to create a successful business. This article should be read by young people interested in this or any other skilled trade as well as anyone...

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Agricultural Chemical Marketer and Entrepreneur – Mentor, Marvin Boote

Agricultural Chemical Marketer and Entrepreneur – Mentor, Marvin Boote   Summary This Mentor has over sixty years of business experience, fourteen as an agricultural chemical salesman and fifty as the founder of his own chemical marketing company. His entire business career was built on the unique ways he solved business problems and on his reputation for personal integrity that inspired everyone who ever worked with him. Mr. Boote has always given back by being a mentor to many people wanting to start their own businesses and is doing it again by writing this article. It should be read by anyone interested in seeing how he was able start and build a successful business in the volatile agriculture commodity markets starting with limited capital. It is also a good article to learn some of the basic principals you need to know to start and build a successful business.   Overview...

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Business Services and Consulting Sales Leader to Fortune 500 Companies – Mentor, Dan Nichols

Business Services and Consulting Sales Leader to Fortune 500 Companies – Mentor, Dan Nichols

Business Services and Consulting Sales Leader to Fortune 500 Companies – Mentor, Dan Nichols Summary   Young people who set high goals for themselves should read this article. It is a good example of what you to can achieve with hard work and persistence no matter what your background. Dan grew up on a farm in the Midwest but knew early on that he wanted to succeed at the highest levels of American business. He prepared himself by getting a business degree in college and by choosing his initial jobs in areas that would broaden his business experience and help him reach his ultimate career goals. This article should also be read by anyone interested in consulting and marketing as a career because it provides insight on the personal traits it takes to be successful selling yourself and your company’s services.   Overview   I grew up on a...

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Home Designer/ Self Employed Business Owner – Mentor, Dennis Walden

Home Designer/ Self Employed Business Owner – Mentor, Dennis Walden Summary This Mentor is both a successful home designer and self-employed businessman. He offers many insights not just on home design as a career, but also the business side of the profession based on his twenty-two year career of being self-employed.  He also points out that you can become a designer by taking work/study programs during high school and then attending a local technical college where your tuition is often free. This article should be of interest to anyone who has talent for drawing, good math skills and wants a career that allows someone to express their creativity.  Overview I had an interest in home design while I was going to  high school in San Jose, California. There I took art and drafting and was able to spend time during my junior and senior year working in an apprenticeship...

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Microbiologist – Mentor, Karen Nelson

Microbiologist – Mentor, Karen Nelson

  Introduction Karen Nelson is a well known Microbiologist who has appeared in the PBS series "Intimate Strangers". This interesting article is also on the website for the American Society for Microbiology. The ASA gave us permission to include it in our Mentor library along with links to other similar articles by other microbiologists. Go to www.asm.org. Then click on the career tab and then profiles to read similar articles on different careers in microbiology. Microbiology is one of the many careers you may not encounter everyday. But this is important work that helps protect the health of people throughout the world. Overview Karen Nelson is a Jamaican-born microbiologist who is working to spell out the entire genetic code of different microbes at The Institute for Genomic Research, or TIGR, (pronounced like "tiger") in Rockville, Maryland. She led the research team that came up with the whole genetic sequence...

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Elementary School Principal in Low Income School Districts, Elementary School Teacher – Mentor, Gloria G.

Elementary School Principal in Low Income School Districts, Elementary School Teacher – Mentor, Gloria G. This Mentor has forty years experience teaching and working as an administrator in public elementary schools. She first taught children from third to sixth grade for twenty years and then moved from teaching to administration. The transition was a dramatic career change taking her from teaching gifted students in a middle class school district to becoming the principal of a Title I (low income) inner city elementary school for four years before moving to yet another a Title I school – this time in a rural district. As illustrated by Ms. G’s experiences, low-income school districts pose unique challenges. Addressing fundamental issues, such as nutrition and hunger were a critical part of providing a positive learning environment. This mentor’s experiences and insights are a recommended read for anyone interested in the issues and problems...

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Web Site Developer – Mentor, Arvell Craig

Web Site Developer – Mentor, Arvell Craig

Web Site Developer – Mentor, Arvell Craig This mentor designed and built the YPNG website. He has thirteen years experience as a developer while working independently as an independent consultant and entrepreneur. He describes for you the rapid technical changes that have taken place over that time and tells you how he has successfully adapted to those changes and grown his business. This mentor has generously offered to take questions from Members and has provided contact information. His article should be read by those of you who are interested in pursuing web site development as a career, particularly if you intend to free lance or become and entrepreneur and start your own company.   Overview Starting from the year 2001 up until now, I have been building websites. While I was still in college, studying electrical engineer and computer science, the internet’s rapid growth and popularity caught my attention and...

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Chief Life Flight Nurse and Program Manager, Physician’s Assistant – Mentor, Charlotte Ankersheil

Chief Life Flight Nurse and Program Manager, Physician’s Assistant – Mentor, Charlotte Ankersheil   This mentor has over forty years experience in nursing and later as a Physician Assistant. She began her career as an LPN working in an emergency room. Six years later she got her degree as an RN by going to night school. She then worked on a life flight helicopter for over twelve years where she rose to the position of Program Manager and logged over 1,500 life flight missions. She went on to become a Physician Assistant working in an ER for another fifteen years where she performed many of the duties of a doctor. This mentor’s article will be particularly relevant to those of you who don’t have a lot of money to spend on your education but want to earn a good salary. Her career path proves that you can have a...

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Heating and Air Technician and Business Owner – Mentor, Mike McBee

This mentor has forty years experience in this industry first as a technician and then as a business owner after he purchased the company he work for when he was only 23. He successfully grew the business from one with 3 employees and a few hundred thousand dollars in sales to a business with 13 employees and over two million in sales. In his Mentor Article he tells you how to become a licensed journeyman, what the trade involves and things you can do to prepare yourself while you are in high school. He also explains what is required to successfully run a heating and air conditioning business. As you will see in his article, this is a skilled trade with compensation levels equal to or greater than many careers requiring college degrees. It also has the advantage found in many skilled trades for those of you with entrepreneurial...

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Dancer, Singer, Actor – Mentor, Ronald Young

Dancer, Singer, Actor – Mentor, Ronald Young This mentor pursued his passion for dancing, singing and acting and was able to build a highly successful career in this competitive field. His mentor article explains that to succeed in a show business career you must constantly work on improving your talents. Throughout his own career, he never stopped taking classes for voice, dance, acting and doing whatever else it took to reach his career goals. He also explains the business side of show business so that you understand how professionals in these career categories can advance financially not just artistically. His story is a true American success story that demonstrates what can be accomplished by combining a person’s natural talents with a strong work ethic, a constant focus on your personal goals and a willingness to take risks that allow you to explore the opportunities that life offers. Overview of...

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Petroleum Engineer – Mentor, Larry Robinson

This mentor recently retired from Chevron, one of the largest public oil and gas  companies in the US. He rose through the ranks and was given a variety of assignments within the company including the opportunity to work overseas as well as in the United States. In his article, he points out the steps he took to broaden his expertise. He also offers several  suggestions on how to get started in this profession after you graduate from college as well as how to manage your career once you are hired. Petroleum engineering is currently the highest paid profession for people who obtain a a four year degree and the highest paid category within  the various engineering specialties.  Nine of  the top ten jobs  for a four year college graduate based on both starting salaries and lifetime earnings are in engineering. All engineering categories are also projected to have some of the highest projected growth rates...

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Systems Engineer/Information Technology – Mentor, Kirk Miller

This Mentor has had an interesting career path within the IT industry.  He rose to a position with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the US where he was the Director of Service Delivery and a Security Operations Manager. But like many young people, he started out on another career path before he got his engineering degree. His article contains a number of personal experiences and suggestions for the best ways to prepare yourself for a career in this field and suggestions about entry level jobs and the experience you need to have to advance in an IT engineering career. Like all engineering careers, becoming a systems engineer offers one of the highest starting salaries and lifetime earnings. It is also one of the categories within the engineering profession with the highest projected growth. As expected, when writing about Information Technology, IT, and computer career options and opportunities...

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