Top prep students to attend Business Week in Ada

ADA, Okla. – Stacey Bolin, director of the Wilburn L. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship & Oklahoma Business Week at East Central University, is preparing for the emotional “good kind of tired” she gets during Oklahoma Business Week.The third annual educational opportunity gets underway June 1-6 at ECU in Ada.

Many of the finest, most innovative and brightest high school students from across several states will learn business, entrepreneurial, marketing and other skill sets to succeed in the highly rewarding, and very competitive business world.

Sponsored in large part by the Chickasaw Nation, OBW welcomed more than 80 students in 2013. This included more than 30 Chickasaw students selected to participate. That overall number will climb as high as 120 this year as the weeklong program is expanded, Bolin said.

The Chickasaw Business and Conference Center on the ECU campus will be the main hub of activity for the week.

Students accepted into the program will select teams, plan a business, promote the business and product, and “pitch” it to community business leaders and ECU professors.

“It is hands-on and full throttle,” Bolin said with a laugh.

Oklahoma Business Week is enjoying a glamorous reputation that fuels student interest to attend and learn, Bolin said. Winning teams are rewarded with prizes, many aimed at assisting their transition into a higher education environment.

Discovering how to get there from here!

While business is the theme, there is an equally important objective, Bolin explained.

“The students live on the ECU campus for the week,” she said. “It gives them a chance to make friends and experience what it is like to attend college. Studies have shown when students are given such an opportunity they are more likely to pursue higher education and attend college.”

To complement this opportunity, ECU is bringing in some heavy hitters – most all of them ECU graduates who have climbed the ladder to phenomenal success.

“It is a way of communicating to students you can get there from here,” Bolin said.

Michael Prince will be a speaker. Prince is a 1993 ECU graduate and a former Latta High School Panther. He was chief operating officer for Nike until becoming president and chief operating officer for Cole Haan, a high-end fashion fixture based in Maine. Cole Haan was purchased from Nike in 2012. It offers men’s and women’s fashions, casual footwear, belts, hosiery, handbags, gloves, scarves, hats, outerwear and sunglasses.

Alan Marcum, executive vice president of Devon Energy, will lend his expertise, too. He graduated from ECU in 1990. Richard Craig will make a presentation to students. Craig is a 1979 ECU graduate and a lawyer for McAfee-Taft, one of Oklahoma’s most prestigious business law firms. Frank Crawford is president of Crawford and Associates, an Oklahoma-based governmental accounting firm with clients globally. He graduated from ECU in 1985.

One of the greatest supporters of Oklahoma Business Week is Gov. Bill Anoatubby. He graduated from ECU in 1972 with a business and accounting degree. He is Governor of the Chickasaw Nation.

It’s time to apply!

While the program is about teaching students business and all that encompasses, it is also about making friends, growing a solid foundation of contacts and having fun, Bolin said.

“It is a very intense week and the week is demanding. But we go to Wintersmith Park for an evening and take the students to Lazerzone, too, so it’s fun,” the instructor said. “I like to say we infuse education with a fun setting.”

To be a part of Oklahoma Business Week, students must make application. Most everything needed is online at There is information about the week, a video and applications. Bolin said interested students may also telephone her at (580) 559-5596 or email her at

April 18 is the deadline for application submissions.

“We already have a few applicants,” she said. “We will be going through a screening process and will be selecting students soon.”

Last Updated: 10/20/2014