New York audience hears of Oklahoma's pluses

Published: Friday, October 2, 2009 7:00 am By: Max Nichols

The Oklahoman

NEW YORK - New York business leaders were encouraged to "discover the global and economic momentum in Oklahoma" Tuesday evening during a reception at the 21 Club in New York by the Oklahoma Fast Forward Team.

Natalie Shirley of the state Commerce Department told guests Oklahoma provides opportunities for investors in industries designed for the future. The event was hosted by the Oklahoma Governor's Economic Team and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable along with the Commerce Department.New York guests were presented with "John Steinbeck Was Wrong about Oklahoma," a 31-page booklet by Oklahoma historian Bob Burke on the state's list of entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, entertainers, business leaders and political leaders over the past century.

"Oklahomans were nothing like the families that Steinbeck portrayed as idealess, shiftless, hick tenant farmers in 'The Grapes of Wrath' in 1939," Burke wrote. In contrast, he pointed out the inventions and achievements of Oklahomans, ranging from S.N. Goldman's shopping cart and Carl Magee's parking meter to astronauts Tom Stafford and John Herrington.

Burk pointed out Dr. Jordan Tang and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation discovered the enzyme responsible for Alzheimer's disease.

Burke included the inventions of the aerosol can and plastic by Phillips Petroleum scientists in Bartlesville.

Entertainers from Oklahoma also were featured by Burke, ranging from Will Rogers to Dale Robertson, James Garner and Megan Mullally to Kristin Chenoweth, Van Heflin, Shirley Jones, Brad Pitt and Chuck Norris.

He listed performers Woodie Guthrie, Reba MacEntire, Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood.

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