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Diversifying Oklahoma’s economic opportunities via brewing, tourism and taking chances.What started with “poor decisions and lots of circumstances,” COOP Ale Works has grown into a company with a $20 million expansion plan at the former 45th Infantry Armory. Despite feeling like an outsider in the brewing community from not being a brewer himself, Daniel Mercer, CEO of Coop Ale Works, sees positives in his business-focused skill set.“From day one, back in 2006 when Mark and J.D. and I met, one of my kind of tidbits and inputs was that we had the opportunity, in the research phase, to set a foundation for how we wanted to move forward and how diligent we wanted to be and how we wanted to run this thing,” Mercer said. “We were starting a brewery from scratch in a market that didn't ’t have a production brewery outside of brewpubs, which aren’t packaging breweries.”They worked through the summer of 2006, brewing together. They then spent the next two years putting together plans, which included going to dozens of breweries around the United States. They visited with engineers, brewers, and financial people to investigate their methods of success, their histories and then built a strategy to launch COOP in the summer of 2008. They raised the initial capital, found their building, and then spent about six months building out “this little 5,000 square foot metal shack” over at 51st and Western, next to the 51st Street Speakeasy bar. They started brewing beer commercially on January 9th in 2009 and selling on March 3rd, 2009.

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For over 30 years, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) has been the state’s agency for technology development, technology transfer, and technology commercialization. With Governor Kevin Stitt’s goal to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state, OCAST is doing its part through partnerships and collaborations to stimulate economic development and technology-based economic development.“We help to get science and technology projects, support those through our grant process and elevate Oklahoma’s science and technology community so that we’re competitive nationally as well as globally,” explained OCAST’s Executive Director, Michael Carolina. “We have some leading-edge researchers and research companies that benefit from OCAST’s grants, and they’re able to attract federal grants as well as private money from the private sector to accelerate research to commercialization or conversion; the conversion of technology to the marketplace.”With the task to grow and diversify Oklahoma’s economy, Carolina described his job as atypical. Before joining OCAST, he worked in management and executive positions with the Western Electric Company, AT&T and Lucent Technologies. While with AT&T and Lucent Technologies, he was involved in engineering, strategic planning, new product design and introduction, manufacturing, technology transfer, and joint venture operations in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

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As a smart truck and trailer movement leader, Dr?v Technologies enables intelligent and safe technology in the transportation industry. They're developing the AirBoxOne, which controls tire inflation and deflation on the trailer dynamically based on the vehicle's load. "As the trailer's loaded, it calculates the optimal tire pressure and adjust accordingly," explained Lisa Mullen, . "Then, in that same box, we have set an IoT gateway that will connect to sensor capabilities around the trailer. Everything from the door lock, GPS, accelerometer, refrigeration, temperature, wheel-end temperature, light out detection, camera, cargo sensing capabilities, just to name a few of the initial feature sets." The benefits of the system include safety and financial ROI. There are fuel efficiency savings that come with standard tire inflation and management. In terms of safety, having correctly inflated and managed tires will prevent critical issues such as blowouts or leaks that lead to that. "Our system can detect not only typical leaks like when you roll over something, but we can get down to valve stem leaks," Mullen said. "And diagnose situations that could ultimately, if left undiagnosed, become bigger problems for the fleet." In addition to leak issues, AirBoxOne can diagnose if bearings are heating up or if the temperature on wheel ends are getting to a critical level and prevent wheel end fires. The system can alert the driver and the fleet of those issues to avoid situations that might occur if it gets to a critical level. Mullen's involvement with Dr?v Technologies started when a group of investors and business partners bought the company when it was just a mechanical tire inflation product. During evaluations, they made the bold decision to take all of the previous products off the market and re-engineer the wheel-end componentry. "While we did that, we took a look at the market and said, 'There's all this money going into technology and the truck, and there's no technology or very little going into the trailer,'" Mullen said. "In addition to that, we had the notion of inflating and deflating on load, but we had a prototype we hadn't flushed that out. With what was not happening in the market for the trailer side but what was happening on the truck, we thought let's make this more of a technology solution. We've spent the last few years building out a comprehensive technology solution that can lead the trailer industry from now into the future."

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Before becoming an International Business Coach, Stacy Eads had been the CEO of a Norman technology company for over a decade when she fell in love with the book, Scaling Up by Verne Harnish.For Eads’ presentation for December’s OVF power lunch, she will teach a tool that helps expedite decision-making processes during stressful times, especially with all of the pandemic’s pivots. The OODA Loop, which stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act, has helped her clientele make better designs during moments of fight or flight.Eads said one of the things she loves about the tool is that the first step is to make sure that you observe that you’re observing facts only. She explained that when people are in a crisis mode, their emotions are at play or there is competing information, and they’re unsure which way to go.Stacy Eads will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. Be sure to register for the online ZOOM event to learn more about OODA, ask your questions, and network with entrepreneurs in Oklahoma. As an Oklahoma City business coach and somebody who travels among North America helping CEOs, Eads is excited about having the opportunity to speak to the Oklahoma Venture Forum.“Many of them might’ve even heard of the OODA loop before, but maybe they have not put it into the perspective of how to use the OODA loop within the year 2020, and within the type of anxiety that CEOs are having these days,” Eads said. “The types of pivots that they’re making during this pandemic. So I’m excited to take an old concept that’s been around for decades and maybe breathe in some new life into what the year 2020 has to offer.”

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