Editor’s note: My friends at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) recently launched their first podcast, which highlights Oklahoma innovators and companies across the state. I listened to the first three podcasts hosted by Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell and wrote this story about the podcast and the folks Pinnell interviewed:
“Thank you to all who are listening to the Innovate That! podcast.”
With those words, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell launched the initial podcast produced by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) and highlighting innovative Oklahoma companies and entrepreneurs.
OCAST is a legislatively funded state agency with a mission to expand and diversify Oklahoma’s economy by supporting research and development of new projects, processes and industries.
Pinnell serves as host of the Innovate That! podcast, interviewing Oklahoma innovators and highlighting the collaborative Oklahoma Innovation Model that provides assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“I’m really excited to start this podcast with OCAST,” Pinnell said. “They are all about innovation, all about helping companies create, helping companies grow their businesses in the state of Oklahoma. For us to build a top 10 state and build a state in the right way, we have to have OCAST and the Innovation Pipeline Model.”
The podcast is produced by Lyle Walters, OCAST’s Policy and Planning Legislative Liaison. You can listen to the Innovate That podcast on most major podcast apps including Podbean, Apple, Google, Amazon and Spotify.
The historic first Innovate That! podcast featured Dr. Richard Kopke, CEO of Oklahoma City’s Hough Ear Institute. The Institute developed a drug known as NHPN-1010 in cooperation with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) that can prevent and potentially restore hearing loss.
Hough Ear Institute is a not-for-profit research organization with a mission to restore hearing worldwide through research, education and humanitarian efforts.
Stillwater-based XploSafe was the second innovative company highlighted by the podcast, with Gas Tech Engineering of Sapulpa completing the trio of launch podcasts.
The positive influence of OCAST and its partners in the Oklahoma Innovation Model – i2E Inc., the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University and the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma – was a common theme in the first three podcasts.
“OCAST has been key to it all,” Kopke said of Hough Ear Institute’s success in both developing the drug and licensing it last year to Oblato Inc., which has indicated it plans to initiate Phase 2 clinical trials of NHPN-1010. “And through their granting process, OCAST has provided grants that were leveraged into several millions of dollars of Department of Defense funding.”
Kopke’s words were echoed by entrepreneurs in companies with different missions and in far different industries.
XploSafe is a provider of critical safety solutions for homeland security and chemical safety.
“OCAST programs have been instrumental in us being able to not only find funding to push out new products, but they’ve also helped us find the people that we hire,” said Michael Teicheira, operations manager for XploSafe. “The OCAST intern program funding in particular has been great for us.”
Gas Tech Engineering, which provides expertise in process engineering, design, fabrication and service, received OCAST funding to develop a new product for the oil and gas industry.
“Without the OCAST process, as a small, privately held company, I don’t think we could have done the project,” said Ron Key, chief technology officer at Gas Tech Engineering. “Now we are working with another Oklahoma agency, the OSU New Product Development Center.”
OCAST Executive Director Michael Carolina said the involvement of Pinnell and the Lt. Governor’s office shows the world of potential listeners that Oklahoma is all-in on developing new technologies and new companies.
“We’re so pleased Lt. Gov. Pinnell agreed to host our new podcast,” Carolina said. “He brings an enthusiasm for Oklahoma innovation that will make listeners across Oklahoma and the nation want to know more about innovation in our state.”
Oklahoma innovators have a great story to tell, and the Innovate That! podcast makes its accessible to potentially a worldwide audience, Pinnell said.
“That’s why Innovate That! is the name of this podcast,” he said. “To really bring amazing Oklahoma companies to the 4 million Oklahomans inside the state of Oklahoma, and, hopefully, to people around the country and around the world as well, who will be listening to this to see and to hear what an amazing state that Oklahoma is when it comes to innovation.”
Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).
The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology is a state agency tasked with leading Oklahoma’s technology-based economic development efforts, supporting the efforts of start-ups and entrepreneurs to transform promising innovations from concepts into commercial products. OCAST also is an active supporter of STEM education across Oklahoma and provides funding to support internships between local industries and two- and four-year colleges and universities. Visit ocast.ok.gov to learn more.