Williams, Kirchner, Stephenson Honored by TU College of Business

More than 240 people attended the annual College of Business Administration Hall of Fame induction ceremony Oct. 26 at the Allen Chapman Activity Center on The University of Tulsa campus.

Three prominent businessmen brought to 21 the total in the Hall of Fame, which began in 2000.

John H. Williams was given the Outstanding Business Leader award, while King P. Kirchner and Charles C. Stephenson were honored as Outstanding Entrepreneurs.

John Williams’ family had a long business history – a tradition he continued by starting the Williams Cos.

His uncles set the example for John, who co-launched Williams Cos. in 1949 with his brother, Charles P. Williams, and cousin, David R. Williams, Jr. As the successor company to the family-owned Williams Brothers Company, Williams Cos. cemented the Williams name and presence in the energy industry.

During John’s 29-year tenure as CEO, the market value of Williams Cos. increased from $25,000 in 1950 to $406.5 million in 1978. Today, the company is valued at $12.36 billion.

Since King Kirchner co-founded Unit Corporation in 1963, the company has grown from three drilling rigs to 116 and from three employees to 3,000 – more than half the population of Perry, Okla., where he first smelled an oil field.

Kirchner retired as CEO in 2001 and as chairman in 2003, but continues to serve as a director of the fourth-largest land drilling contractor in the United States, with a $2.6 billion market capital company.

Charles Stephenson invested in himself in 1983 when he co-founded Vintage Petroleum Inc., an independent energy company headquartered in Tulsa.

Vintage was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1990. Stephenson served as chairman of the board, president and CEO. Today, the company has grown from three employees at start-up to more than 750 in four countries.

Stephenson retired from his position with Vintage after 22 years of ensuring its place among the leaders in the oil and gas industry. The company was sold to Occidental earlier this year.

In his remarks during the ceremony, College of Business Administration Dean Gale Sullenberger praised not only the honorees’ business savvy, but also their dedication to the community by supporting worthy causes.

Also participating in the program were TU President Steadman Upham; Williams Cos. Chairman, President and CEO Steve Malcolm, who introduced John Williams; Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode, who introduced King Kirchner; and Richard Minshall, chairman and CEO of Capital Advisors Inc., who introduced Charles Stephenson.

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