Barry's list of the top 108 people of 2008
Did you make the list? Barry Friedman compiles the good, the bad and everyone in between (don’t forget the elephant) who made news or should have during the previous year.
Perhaps you think my first annual list will be shameless and arbitrary, a quid pro quo for those who plied me with fruit and cheese baskets.
Sure, there might be nepotism and shameless brown-nosing, but there’s also businessmen and women with vision, community leaders with guts, sports figures, artists, politicians with souls. Is it a perfect list? You kidding?
Some may soon be indicted; some aren’t even human.
You’ll love some; you’ll hate some. You’ll want extra copies of the issue; you’ll want to trash our magazine racks.
Caveat: The order doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter … doesn’t matter.
(OK, maybe a little.)
So enjoy. Or don’t.
I’m going to have some mango and Brie now.
1. Kathy Taylor, mayor, Tulsa. Your imprimatur on the city is audacious. Get the stadium built and we’ll give you a raise, which we hope you won’t take. (Incidentally, can you take us up in the jet sometime?)
2. George Kaiser, chairman, Bank of Oklahoma; philanthropist, George Kaiser Family Foundation.
3. Michael Neal, president and CEO, Tulsa Metro Chamber, which was voted 2008 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.
4. John Bolton, general manager, SMG Tulsa, BOK Center.
5. Chet Cadieux, president, QuikTrip Corp. Forget the River Parks Plaza. QT sells the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the free world.
6. Dr. Steadman Upham, president, The University of Tulsa. The place looks great, but what’s with the sand volleyball pit?
7. Mark Andrus, interim president and CEO, Expo Square. So can you figure out what the hell’s been going on over there?
8. Mart Green, ORU’s financial savior.
9. Susan Neal, director, Community Development and Education Initiatives, Mayor’s Office. Word is, if you need action, she’s the one to call.
10. Ron Palmer, police chief, Tulsa. Seemed prudent to include him.
11. Allen LaCroix, fire chief, Tulsa (see explanation above).
12. Suzann Stewart, senior vice president, Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau.
13. Chad Smith, principal chief, Cherokee Nation.
14. Henry Zarrow, philanthropist.
15. John Selph, chairman, Indian Nations Council of Governments.
16. Diane Perkins, executive director, Neighbor for Neighbor. Great work without the pre-printed corporate pledge cards.
17. Dr. Mouzon Biggs Jr., senior minister, Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. You’re the only pastor on television who doesn’t annoy us.
18. Carrie Underwood, hospice nurse, Saint Francis Hospital. They may have the same name, but this Carrie is our idol.
19. Stanley Glanz, sheriff, Tulsa. Really, though, do we need a sheriff? What are we, Mayberry?
20-21. Phil and Brent, radio guys, KMOD.
22. Christina Oden, director, Tulsa’s Young Professionals.
23. Charles Sherman, rabbi, Temple Israel. He’s my rabbi. Let me have this one.
24. Steven Malcolm, chairman, president and CEO, Williams Cos. Inc.
25. Karen Keith, incoming county commissioner, Tulsa.
26. Anne Bogie, executive director, Tulsa Project Woman.
27. Ken Busby, executive director, Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa.
28. Elliot Nelson, owner, James E. McNellie’s Public House.
29. Ginny Creveling, executive director, ONEOK Foundation.
30. Judy Eason McIntyre, state senator, District 11. Legislates from the heart.
31. Jim Miller, pastor, First Presbyterian Church.
32. Tom Kivisto, ex-CEO, SemGroup. We want to believe you, but you’re making it really tough.
33. Teri Bowers, COO/executive director, Oklahoma Aquarium.
34. Nancy Kachel, president/CEO, Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma Inc.
35. Cindy Martin, project director, Indian Health Care Resource Center; vice president, Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism.
36-38. Maria De Leon, Ed Martinez and Maria Carlota Palacios, community leaders, recipients of Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Excelencia Awards.
39-48. Pfc. Michael Phillips (19), Staff Sgt. Chris Hake (26), Spc. William Allmon (25), Maj. Scott Hagerty (41), Sgt. 1st Class David Hurst (31), Steven Farley (57), Sgt. Dan Eshbaugh (43), Cpl. Michael Thompson (23), Chief Warrant Officer Brady Rudolf (37) and Staff Sgt. Brandon Farley (30). Oklahomans who died in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008.
49. Tom Coburn, U.S. senator. He’s like that brilliant uncle who’s just a little off.
50. Mo Jbarra, sales manager, Don Carlton Honda. How good, how honest? Let’s put it this way: If God drove Hondas, Mo would be his car guy.
51. Lynn Schusterman, philanthropist; co-founder, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
52. Mary Lou, hotdog/polish sausage vendor, outside of Lowe’s. Mary knows a happy man is a man with hardware and kielbasa.
53. Tim Fernandez, program director, Tulsa Achieves. Even if there are bugs in the system, it’s a good system.
54. Ma Cong, principal dancer, Tulsa Ballet.
55. Mark Graham, president, CEO, Tulsa Area United Way. Not that there’s anything wrong with pre-printed corporate pledge cards.
56. Peter Mayo, owner, Brady Theater. We heard something about a renovation.
57. Jay Cronley, columnist, Tulsa World. How are the dogs?
58. Garth Brooks, musician. Play the BOK in 2009 and I’ll move you up the list.
59. Jacob Howland, chairman, department of philosophy and religion, The University of Tulsa. He’s the guy to go to for the big stuff — meaning of life and the Aristotelian metaphor of Schwarzenegger in “Terminator III.”
60. Teresa Miller, executive director, Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers; author.
61. Rich Fisher, general manager, KWGS; host, “Studio Tulsa.” He makes the big-, medium- and small-wigs all seem interesting.
62-63. Ken Neal, senior editor, and Janet Pearson, associate editor, Tulsa World. Space is limited. You’ll have to share.
64. Deidra Kirtley, chairwoman, Ronald McDonald House.
65. Steven Whitaker, director, Family and Youth Center, John 3:16 Mission.
66. Billy Bayouth, owner, Billy’s on the Square.
67. Clayton Vaughn, retired newsman, KOTV; retired executive director, Tulsa Historical Society. Think of him as the town elder.
68. Michael Sager, developer. Was downtown when downtown wasn’t cool.
69. Dan Boren, U.S. congressman. Either play nice or Sullivan makes the list next year — at least he acts like a member of his party.
70. Most Rev. Edward Slattery, chairman, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Tulsa. We don’t know anyone else with a Most before his or her name.
71. Vic Vreeland, mayor, Jenks. Didn’t get the bridge, didn’t get the Drillers. He’s going to be cranky in 2009, a continuing burr in Tulsa’s saddle. But our favorite burr.
72. Kristen Glover, spokesperson, Jim Glover Chevrolet. You, we love; however, Dad’ll have to come up with a new ad campaign or we’re buying our Cobalts elsewhere.
73. Chuck Lamson, owner, Tulsa Drillers.
74. David Cook, singer. For us, “American Idol” is a sign of the apocalypse, but as long as a homeboy or girl keeps winning, we can live with that.
75. James Goodwin, publisher, Oklahoma Eagle.
76. Rodney Carrington, comedian.
77. Travis Meyer, chief meteorologist, KOTV. Sometimes we hold you responsible.
78. Larry Payton, president, Celebrity Attractions.
79. Bradford Boone, MD, Eastern Oklahoma Orthopedic Center. Whether you injure yourself chasing down Romo or hauling a bag of peat moss, he’s your man.
80. Carol Bush, executive director, Tulsa Crime Commission.
81. Yvonne Harris, weekend news anchor, KTUL. She’s been in town like 112 years. Put her on weeknights already!
82. Bill Bernhardt, author.
83. Clark Wiens, co-founder, Circle Cinema. For those times you want subtitled French documentaries on German hegemony.
84. Jack Frank, president, Jack Frank Productions. Historian, documentarian.
85. “Mother” Grace Tucker, founder, Mother Tucker Ministries. “To be successful,” she says, “you have to help one yourself.”
86. Michael Wallis, author, “Route 66: The Mother Road.” For some, it’s a street; for others, it’s life itself.
87. Paulette Kingston, marketing manager/spokeswoman, 1-800-2SellHomes. We’ll just call her commercials memorable. Take that for what you will.
88. Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator, University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane. By all accounts, a genius. The first offensive coordinator in history to ever make one of these lists.
89. John Wooley, author.
90. Jack Henderson, Tulsa city councilman, District 1. Been on the council longer than there’s been a council.
91. Rob Smith, lawyer, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc., Tulsa. So enough already with the lawyer jokes.
92. David and Camille Rutkauskas, founders, Camille’s Sidewalk Café.
93. Mohamed ElGhobashy, imam, Islamic Society of Tulsa.
94. John Scott, director, Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
95. Michael Patton, director, Metropolitan Environmental Trust. Was green when green wasn’t cool.
96. Wendy Thomas, executive director, Leadership Tulsa.
97-98. Randi Miller, outgoing county commissioner, Tulsa. Sally Bell, slayer.
99. Marilyn Ihloff, president, Ihloff Salons and Day Spas.
100. Edward Dumit, orator. His voice is like melted glaze on a hot cinnamon roll.
101-102. Larry and Bill Mathis, furniture mavens. If they didn’t exist, we’d have to make them up.
103. Steven Lowery, waiter, Lucky’s. He only has one hand, not that it matters. Actually, it does. You try delivering hummus, a diet Coke and pita bread without two.
104. Jimmy Karstein, drummer. Ask anyone in town who knows anything about music.
105. Bill Hinkle, president, Hinkle Creative Services. He wrote the “Dad’ll Do It” campaign. Don’t hold it against him.
106. Mary Beth Babcock, owner, Dwelling Spaces. One of those people who, when compiling a list like this, you think, “Ooh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Put her on.”
107. Ray Siegfried III, vice chairman, NORDAM.
108. Gunda, Asian elephant, Tulsa Zoo. Technically not human, but she’s been here 54 years. She’s family.