Q&A: David Stratton

BOK Financial executive vice president and commercial banking director; 2019 Tulsa Regional Chamber chairman



David Stratton grew up in Claremore but has called Tulsa home since graduate school at the University of Tulsa. Stratton, who works in commercial banking for BOK Financial, is the 2019 Tulsa Regional Chamber chairman.

David Stratton has called Tulsa home for nearly two decades. Following a childhood in Claremore and after attending the University of Oklahoma and earning his MBA from the University of Tulsa, Stratton worked briefly for Williams before devoting 15 years to JP Morgan. In December 2018 he began work at BOK Financial, where he manages the corporate banking group primarily in the Tulsa region. Since 2013, Stratton has served on the board of directors for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. This month he’ll begin a one-year tenure as the chairman of the board.

TulsaPeople sat down with Stratton for an interview to discuss his roles and what’s in store for the Chamber and Tulsa in 2019.

 



This is a big time for you. You’re making a major career change at the same time you’re becoming the chairman of Tulsa Regional Chamber. How are you balancing all of this at once?

I don’t know if it’s great planning on my part (laughs). None of those was preconceived. In all of these jobs, you have just got to find a good balance. I think a lot of that for me starts at home. I have a great wife (Cassie) who supports me, and lets me do what I need to do. She’s extremely helpful to me. It’ll be a challenge, but I think it’ll be fun.

You’re moving up to the chairman position. What does it mean to you to be in that role to lead to the board?

It’s an honor because Tulsa, as a family, is where we want to be. I care about Tulsa tremendously, and I care about what goes on here. I want it to be a place where my girls want to be, and for me all that starts with what we are doing to promote things via economic development and creating opportunities for them. I’m excited about it.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for you, individually, and for the Chamber in 2019?

For me, it all has to start with education and workforce development. Education is an issue that, while we’ve made some progress in the last 12 months, I still think we have a long way to go. What we’ve done with getting teachers a pay raise is the tip of the iceberg, and I still think there is a lot of work to be done there.

My girls go to public schools. Classroom sizes are still way too large. So advocating on common ed is a big piece. I still think there are issues within higher ed that need to be addressed, as well, and certainly in Tulsa, particularly as it relates to funding, collaboration with the business community and graduating more students who want to stay in Tulsa and with degrees that Tulsa companies need.

On the other issue of workforce development, I still think in Tulsa we can do a lot better job of listening to our employers and helping them find people that will address the skillsets they need, and collaborating better between higher ed and the business community, technical schools, you name it, to really address the workforce we use.

Are there any other big issues on the Chamber’s radar that you feel are important to create a thriving environment in Tulsa?

Continuing to get the word out and really being an advocate for everything from a diversity and inclusion perspective. It’s been a real focus, from the board perspective, getting more diversity on the board.

The other part for me is when you think about the Chamber’s overall mission to create more jobs. I’m convinced that companies and cities that make diversity and inclusion a bigger priority over time will have economic development advantages, as well. The reason for that is because millennials and young people want to go to work in more progressive cities and for companies that create more opportunities for women and minorities. That will always be a focus of mine.

Chamber staff, elected officials, business leaders, educational administrators, regional partners and young professionals recently traveled to Columbus, Ohio. What did you take away from that trip that will help Tulsa?

We took a lot away from the trip. We initially picked Columbus for a few different reasons. One of the things they’ve done is leverage the community college system they have. It’s like Tulsa Community College. The higher ed piece and how they leverage that was a critical part for me and many other attendees. And we got to see what they’ve done with their downtown. They’ve done some great things in terms of making it more walkable and connecting different parts of their downtown. Another thing is the City of Tulsa has been working with (district planning and urban design firm) MKSK on our Arena District. They did Columbus’ work several years ago, so it was great to meet with them and see what they’ve done.

You have a job and a role in the Chamber that take a lot of time. Outside of the Chamber, are you involved with any other programs?

Most of the things I’ve been involved with civically, outside of the Chamber, have to do with education. That’s where my passion is. I’ve been involved with the Tulsa Community College Foundation, the Foundation for Tulsa Schools and Street School.

It goes back to trying to create opportunities for people. For me, that’s where economic development starts. If we can educate our young people and give them the skills that they need, that then transitions into better jobs and makes companies want to come to Tulsa and stay here. That’s how job growth happens. It’s a passion of mine. I’m one of those rare people who loved school as a kid, and now having daughters of my own, I understand how important it is through the lens of a parent.

Enough of the work talk. What do you and your family like to do in Tulsa in your free time?

For me, it’s really spending time with my family, and trying to be intentional with them. I have an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. Our time together is what I like to do. That’s my hobby, whether it’s being at soccer practice or being in the middle of whatever they’re doing. Spending time at their school. Traveling together. We love to get away with just the four of us. Also I’m a runner. Running is my personal escape. It’s something I’d do more often if my knees would let me.

 

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September 2019

ATTENTION ELEPHANT LOVERS! Have you ever wanted to spend the day with an elephant? Now you can! Due to a great deal of public interest, the Oklahoma Awesome Adventures is partnering with the...

Cost: $400

Where:
Oklahoma Awesome Adventures
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Awesome Adventures
Telephone: 580-743-5849
Contact Name: Emily
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Cost: $30-40

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Uptown 23rd District
Uptown 23rd District
Oklahoma city, OK  73103
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Cost: Free and open to the community

Where:
Woodland Hills Mall
7021 S Memorial Dr.
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Telephone: 713-224-9115
Contact Name: Woodland Hills Mall

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The Home Remodeling Showcase is the premier showcase of newly remodeled homes in Tulsa and the surrounding areas.  Presented by the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association of Greater...

Cost: 10

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Spread throughout Metro Tulsa
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Sponsor: Pella Windows of Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-663-5820
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Cost: $15

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Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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Cost: Adults $5/Kids Free

Where:
13th & Guthrie Ave
1222 S. Guthrie Ave

Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: Tulsa Greek Festival
Telephone: 918-583-2082
Contact Name: Tonya Boone
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The Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa invites the public to come celebrate its annual Buddy Walk on Sunday September 22nd, 2019. The Buddy Walk Event will be 1:30-4:00 PM at Holland Hall...

Cost: Free

Where:
Holland Hall School
5666 E. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-804-3728
Website »

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Get moved with Tulsa Ballet! Experience incredible works from the most in-demand choreographers in the world at Creations in Studio K. Tickets start at $25. Read all about the exciting pieces...

Cost: $25 - above

Where:
Tulsa Ballet - Studio K
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Contact Name: Dan Meagher
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In our 4-week Beginning Fencing class, you'll learn about the history of Olympic fencing, the three fencing weapons – foil, saber and epee – and the general rules for each of the specific...

Cost: $75

Where:
Southminster Presbyterian Church Community Center
3500 S Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74106
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Sponsor: Tulsa Fencing Club
Telephone: 918-928-2663
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Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
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In our 4-week Beginning Fencing class, you'll learn about the history of Olympic fencing, the three fencing weapons – foil, saber and epee – and the general rules for each of the specific...

Cost: $75

Where:
Southminster Presbyterian Church Community Center
3500 S Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74106
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Sponsor: Tulsa Fencing Club
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Cost: Free

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Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
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NSUBA RiverHawk Run 5K Tuesday, Sept. 24 – 6 p.m. $25 early signup, $35 after Aug 16, kids 12 & under free. 3100 E. New Orleans St., Broken Arrow, OK 74014 Invite your...

Cost: $25/$35 after Aug. 16

Where:
NSUBA Campus
3100 E New Orleans Ave
Broken Arrow, OK  74014
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Website »

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In our 4-week Beginning Fencing class, you'll learn about the history of Olympic fencing, the three fencing weapons – foil, saber and epee – and the general rules for each of the specific...

Cost: $75

Where:
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3500 S Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74106
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Telephone: 918-928-2663
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307 East Reconciliation Way
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Cost: $15

Where:
Asbury United Methodist Church
6767 S Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury LifeCare Ministry
Telephone: 918-392-1146
Contact Name: Ruth Winn
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Cost: 0

Where:
Asbury United Methodist Church
6767 S Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury United Methodist Church
Telephone: 918-392-1146
Contact Name: Ruth Winn
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Cost: $15

Where:
Asbury United Methodist Church
6767 S Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury LifeCare Ministry
Telephone: 918-392-1146
Contact Name: Ruth Winn
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ONEOK Field
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Tulsa, OK
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1124 S. Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

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Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
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The Champions of Health Gala celebrates people and organizations that are making a positive impact on the health of our state through innovative programs. The proceeds from the evening benefit The...

Cost: $100/ticket

Where:
Cox Business Center
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: The Oklahoma Caring Foundation
Telephone: 918-551-2164
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux
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Cost: 100

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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Pop-acoustic worship group I AM THEY is announcing plans to headline The Trial & Triumph Tour this fall during the month of September with special guests Dan Bremnes and Elle Limebear....

Cost: (prices vary)

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center Marketing
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Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is Coming to Tulsa, OK, September 26 - 29 Bringing the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before TULSA, OK — Create unforgettable...

Cost: $15, $20, $30, $35, $40, $45

Where:
Expo Square Pavilion
4145 East 21st
Tulsa State Fair
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Feld Entertainment
Telephone: 918-798-3655
Contact Name: Kasey Littlefield

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Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
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More information

Get your wheels in motion and join us for our 6th Annual CF Cycle for Life NIGHT RIDE! Participants will start the evening at our Get Lit tent, getting their glow on, and gearing up to ride along...

Cost: $150 Fundraising Minimum

Where:
River Spirit Casino
, OK


Sponsor: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Telephone: 918-744-6354
Contact Name: April Mitchell

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Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
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Telephone: 918-813-6514
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The Tasting at Woodward Park is an elegant fundraising gala that matches upscale wines with delectable hors d’oeuvres to provide a stimulating culinary experience, all while enjoying leisurely...

Cost: $150 for members, $175 for non-members

Where:
Woodwark Park
2435 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Tulsa Garden Center
Telephone: 918-576-5155
Contact Name: Laura Chalus
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Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is Coming to Tulsa, OK, September 26 - 29 Bringing the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before TULSA, OK — Create unforgettable...

Cost: $15, $20, $30, $35, $40, $45

Where:
Expo Square Pavilion
4145 East 21st
Tulsa State Fair
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Feld Entertainment
Telephone: 918-798-3655
Contact Name: Kasey Littlefield

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A half-marathon, 5k, and one-mile fun run along Tulsa's scenic River Trails to raise funds and awareness to both celebrate cancer  survivors and help eradicate breast cancer.

Cost: Half: $70; 5k: $35

Where:
River Spirit Casino Resort
8330 Riverside Parkway
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: River Spirit Casino Resort
Telephone: 918-914-9039
Contact Name: Pamela Ballard
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A half-marathon, 5k, and one-mile fun run along Tulsa's scenic River Trails to raise funds and awareness to both celebrate cancer  survivors and help eradicate breast cancer.

Cost: Half: $70; 5k: $35

Where:
River Spirit Casino Resort
8330 Riverside Parkway
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Sponsor: River Spirit Casino Resort
Telephone: 918-914-9039
Contact Name: Pamela Ballard
Website »

More information

It's a 5k run or 1 mile walk with a twist. See all the historic churches in downtown Tulsa while participating in the Rosary! Children can listen to the Fatima story as parents participate in...

Cost: 30

Where:
Holy Family Cathedral
122 W 8th St
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: St. Michael Catholic Radio
Telephone: 918-260-3617
Contact Name: Tricia Schittler
Website »

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We’re excited to announce that New York Times best-selling author Amy Stewart will be our guest speaker for our fourth annual literary brunch on Saturday, September 28, starting at...

Cost: Cost is $65 for Garden members; $75 for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Website »

More information

Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

The Drunken Botanist at OK Distilling Company. Amy Stewart’s New York Times best-seller, The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World's Great Drinks, is a favorite of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Oklahoma Distilling Company
1724 E 7th St.
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Website »

More information

Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

As the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally,   Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the romantic era’s finest composers. Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony...

Cost: $20-$42

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is Coming to Tulsa, OK, September 26 - 29 Bringing the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before TULSA, OK — Create unforgettable...

Cost: $15, $20, $30, $35, $40, $45

Where:
Expo Square Pavilion
4145 East 21st
Tulsa State Fair
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Sponsor: Feld Entertainment
Telephone: 918-798-3655
Contact Name: Kasey Littlefield

More information

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Cost: 12.50

Where:
Duet Jazz Club
108 N. DETROIT AVENUE
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Story Club of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-596-2008
Contact Name: Ryan Howell
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