The Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League announced today that Tulsa-area businessman Jono Helmerich will be the new team president.
Helmerich, along with other local business leaders, is an owner of the 66ers. He and the other owners will have a more visible role in team operations as the 66ers complete their second year in the NBA D-League and look forward to Year 3.
Joe Berry will be leaving after 22 months of service to the team to take a position with N3 Capital of Fort Worth, Texas, where he will be working on new business development. Berry will start with N3 on March 1, and assist in the transition.
In March 2005, the 66ers hired Berry to establish a strong front office staff and to situate the organization in the best position possible in their young existence.
“This is a special organization, and I am proud to have led it for nearly two years,” said Berry. “In that time, the team has laid a sturdy foundation and became an active community partner. I am sad to leave, but I know Jono is uniquely positioned to take this team to the next level.”
“The fact is that Joe has done great job with getting this team up and running,” said Helmerich. “What we’re doing now is a natural transition from my role as an active investor and my devotion to the Tulsa community to make this team a success.”
“My role will not be about notoriety, but about continuing the communication between shareholders, the management, and the community. I want to facilitate the continued success of team and show Tulsa that the 66ers are a bona fide extension of the NBA.”
Helmerich was announced as a member of the Tulsa 66ers investor group in March 2006, one year after the announcement of the team’s establishment. Since then, Helmerich has spearheaded the investor group and helped build awareness and support for the organization.
Other local business leaders of the Tulsa 66ers investor group include Tom Kivisto, Paula Marshall, Mitchell and Amber Garrett, Melvin Gilliam, Todd White, Adam Adwon, Robert Watson, Jon Kantor, Mark Bonney, Scott Dickman, Bob Boyd and Mitch Adwon.
“It’s only fitting for Jono to be named president,” said David Kahn of Southwest Basketball, LLC, which is the majority owner of four D-League teams, including the 66ers. “Along with Boyd, Adwon and other local owners, Jono has already devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to the team and to Tulsa. Early in this process we recognized the importance of maintaining a local tie to the community with active participation from investors. This announcement only reaffirms that commitment.”
Helmerich’s involvement with the Tulsa 66ers is a natural extension of his interest in Tulsa’s growth and development since he began his career in the area. Helmerich most recently served as the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Solutions, Inc., Tulsa. Prior to his position at SSI, Helmerich served as president of MidFirst Bank-Tulsa.
Helmerich is also involved in a number of civic organizations, including Family and Children’s Services, where he is a past president, a board member and past chairman of a successful $8.1 million capital campaign. He is also the past chairman of the capital campaign for Monte Cassino School, a successful $8.4 million effort; past president and a board member of the Tulsa Opera; former president and board member of the Tulsa City and County Library Trust Board; board member of the Thomas Gilcrease Museum, and chairman of the Tulsa County Friends of the Fairgrounds Foundation.