Small Business Symposium 2017

Keynote Speakers

Start or Grow Your Oklahoma Business Symposium

October 6-7, 2017

GEORGE NIGH


GEORGE NIGH

FEATURE SPEAKER 

Governor George Nigh served four different terms as governor; more than anyone in state history.
At age 23, Nigh became the youngest member of the state legislature when elected to the House of Representatives from Pittsburg County. He introduced the bill that made Oklahoma the official state song in 1953. Nigh served as lieutenant governor of Oklahoma from 1959 to 1963. He alternated between service in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as a teacher in the McAlester public schools.

During his career in public service, he chaired the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors, co-chaired the Interstate Oil Compact Commission, served on the Executive Committee of the Southern States Energy Board, chaired the southern Growth Policies Board, and presided over the Council of State Governments. He was also a recipient of the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. After leaving office, he became President of the University of Central Oklahoma, a position from which he retired in 1997. In 2000, he wrote his autobiography, Good Guys Wear White Hats: The Life of George Nigh.

ROGER FORD


ROGER FORD

KEYNOTE SPEAKER 

He began work with Bill Eisenhour Funeral Homes in 1971 as an apprentice Funeral Director while attending college. After working for the Eisenhour family for 31 years, the business was sold to a corporation.  In 2003, Roger opened Ford Funeral Service. Roger is a member of the Oklahoma Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association. As a public speaker on Grief Recovery, Roger does about 40 programs each year. He has been involved in several television and radio talk shows about Grief Recovery and has had an article published in Bereavement Magazine. 

He has served on the Oklahoma Governor’s task force for Base Closure Prevention and is a past President of the Board of Director’s of the Rose State College Foundation. Roger was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2016.  

ADAM EDWARDS

ADAM EDWARDS

KEYNOTE SPEAKER 

Throughout his career, Adam has worked his way up the corporate ladder of Fortune 100 companies and embarked on exciting entrepreneurial opportunities. In 2008, his investment firm The Nspire Group procured the master franchise rights for Golden Heart Senior Care of Oklahoma, then built and sold the 18-unit master in less than 2 years. In 2014, Adam joined the Executive Team at Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits as their Director of Franchise Development and grew the unit structure by double- digits for the southeast region in the United States. Adam also owns and operates iMatch Franchise, an independent franchise brokerage and low to mid-market, mergers and acquisitions’ firm with over 12 years of award-winning experience. Most recently in 2017, Adam accepted a Senior Adviser position with a Private Equity Family, over-seeing their small-to-mid cap investment strategies. 

Looking to diversify his portfolio, Adam inked a deal to create a national market for Waters Edge Winery throughout the eastern portion of the United States, as a distribution partner. On many occasions, Adam has been recognized with performance and philanthropy awards, making him a true “Trail-Blazer” as a successful African-American Winemaker and Business Owner.