The First Word 7/5/23
Midstates, ACEC National & Congressman Lucas
This past month we had a busy, productive time completing our fiscal year and preparing for another outstanding season for our membership.

We joined our colleagues in the Midwest States Conference in Missouri for fellowship, connection and our annual meeting in what proved a successful session.

A week later, we attended the ACEC National Convention in Washington, D.C.

At the Annual Meeting, there were many beneficial breakout sessions, entertainment and inspiring speakers Annual Convention - ACEC. Additionally, we were able to visit with almost every member of congress/staff as well as our U.S. Senators to share our issues impacting our local member firms.

Special attention was paid to research & development amortization, H.R. 2673 which would remove the 5-year amortization period for research and development. This was met with support and interest within Oklahoma's delegation.

Many thanks to our member firms who sent representatives to ACEC's National Convention. We look forward to next year's meeting and hope to see you there!

Finally, we capped the month off with a fundraising reception for Congressman Frank Lucas, who is supportive of our national initiatives. The event was hosted at EST by Mike Vahabzadegan, many of our board members and member firms were able to attend or send representatives. This was a productive event and appreciated by the Congressman and his staff.
A few Additional Items-

Workforce Commission Created
SB 621 creates the Oklahoma Workforce Commission. Led by private sector business leaders, the commission will direct the state’s workforce development strategy and initiatives.
The legislation, authored by Sen. Adam Pugh and Rep. Brian Hill, is designed to break down silos and limit duplication in the current workforce pipeline; ultimately, leading to more direct and efficient completion of education pathways. That means more skilled workers for employers and better paying careers for Oklahomans. Engineering has been identified as a focus for Oklahoma. Workforce Transformation Becomes Law in Oklahoma | Oklahoma State Chamber (
Interim Director of Dept of Commerce
The former Executive Director Brent Kisling abruptly left the department and has been replaced with retired General Hopper Smith. He has an excellent reputation and will do well in the interim.

We still have 2 open positions for Leadership for Engineers--Please sign up below!!!
Welcome our new Board Member: Rick Bond
Our selection committee recommended and membership approved Rick Bond of Benchmark to serve on our board as Vice Chair - Education & P.R. Hollis Allen has officially served his last year on the board and we are grateful for all of his time, effort and leadership to make a difference for ACEC OKLAHOMA.

Below is Rick's Bio--Welcome Rick!

A native Oklahoman, Richard “Rick” Bond has an extensive career in engineering. Rick graduated in 1985 with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, later earning an MBA from Southern Nazarene University. Rick worked for ODOT in a variety of roles following undergrad including Resident Engineer, Area Maintenance Engineer Assistant DE for Constriction and Assistant DE for Maintenance.

Rick entered the private sector in 2005, working as Consultant Resident Engineer for ODOT and OTA projects, later becoming Principal of Benchmark Construction Services in 2014. He is currently the CEO of Benchmark Construction Services LLC, a civil engineering firm focused on field services.

Rick and his wife, Dee, live in Moore, OK and enjoy traveling, are active members of Life.Church and have four adult children and four beautiful grandchildren.
REMINDER: 2023 Leadership for Engineers

Back by Popular Demand! Registration for Leadership for Engineers 2023 is now open! You can complete and application here and submit it to We will accept three more applicants and the cost is $1,995.

Sessions will take place on the following dates:
  • Aug 24-25 Tulsa
  • Sep 14-15 Stillwater
  • Oct 5-6 OKC

We have already had multiple registrants. Act fast to reserve one of the remaining spots for 2023!
2023 OK Capitol INTERN Tour

Thanks to our wonderful member firm interns who were able to participate in this year's Capitol tour. Great group and great questions.

Special thanks to Trait Thompson who provided the tour and was the head of the capitol improvement effort.
Upcoming Events

Aug 24-25
Leadership for Engineers Session One
Tulsa, OK Hardrock Hotel

Aug 29 2-3:45 PM
August Board & General Membership Meeting
Tulsa, OK TBD

Mike Thompson
President & CEO
220 N.E. 28th Street, Suite 135
Oklahoma City, OK 73105