The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 14, 2013

No small feat

ENID, Okla. — Fuel Conversion Solutions won top prize Friday at a business luncheon hosted by Grow Enid Inc.

FCS converts vehicles to run on natural gas. David Yelle, a business partner for the firm, accepted the $15,000 prize for first place. The business also earned a year’s membership in Autry Technology Center’s Center for Business Development.

A video produced for the luncheon for FCS noted the business hopes to hire additional marketing staff and engage in a campaign to get more personal vehicles converted to use natural gas.

Prize money worth $28,000 was given out at the luncheon. Over the Fence Farms, an Enid business that makes breads and “unique mixes and goodies,” took home second place.

Third place went to Joe Lamerton, who is a local woodworker who produces custom furniture.

Southard House Bed and Breakfast was the fourth-place winner. Tres Sucre Chocolatiere was the audience pick among those attending the luncheon, which was held at Oakwood Country Club.

Brian Gaddy, coordinator for the James W. Strate Center for Business Development at Autry, presented the awards.

“We’d like to say thank you to the small businesses that are in Enid today, and operating, and making Enid a great place to live,” he said.

Gaddy noted that more than 99 percent of employers in the United States are considered “small businesses.”

“The more of those we have in Enid, the healthier Enid is,” he said. “No matter who the winners are, the individuals who participated are winners. They’re winners because they represent individuals who are contributing to the health of the community.”

The keynote speaker for the event was Stewart Kennedy, an Oklahoma inventor and entrepreneur. Kennedy invented P.B. Slices, the serving-size peanut butter slices that debuted in 2001.

In his speech, Kennedy urged the business-owners in attendance to persevere, even when they fail.

His own story is fraught with disappointment. When he finally got the OK to sell P.B. Slices in Walmart, he had planned for a large marketing campaign. What he couldn’t plan for was that the campaign eventually would coincide with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The product was popular, however, and before long, it showed up in Walmart stores across the country.

“In 12 months we’d gone from 400 Supercenters to 1,700 Supercenters. Things were going great,” he said.

But then, a labor strike at one of the five peanut butter manufacturers shut down his supply. Because of that, he broke Walmart’s cardinal rule of keeping stock on the shelves.

“I lost my Walmart account overnight,” he said.

Kennedy wasn’t done, though, and he started selling to prisons — an ideal choice because the peanut butter didn’t require a knife to spread it on a sandwich. He also began marketing his slices as a doggy treat.

Federal regulations finally did the business in when the Food and Drug Administration required labeling on all foods that could come into contact with peanuts. That forced his manufacturers to stick with only their main sliced product: cheese.

“We have a choice,” Kennedy said about entrepreneurs. “Either we get up, get over and get on with life, or we get down and we give up and go away. We always have a choice.”

Now, Kennedy works in the field of hydrophobic materials, which can be used to insulate pipelines, shoes and other products from corrosive liquids by strongly repelling them.

He also has converted the Tulsa Public Schools bus fleet to operate on natural gas, he said.

Text Only
Local and State News
  • Lady_Liberty_A-26_3_BH_W.jpg Work begins on Lady Liberty's engine

    A-26 Lady Liberty Support Group has raised $20,000 of the $60,000 needed for rebuilding the engine of the bomber, which saw action in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cool Snap_Hass_W.jpg Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    A cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week, weather forecasters said Monday.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • City of Enid brand.jpg City moves next meeting to Monday

    Their meeting and study session, originally scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 5, will be on Monday instead.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • iw_worldtour_3lines_flat_hd.jpg TNA Impact Wrestling announces show in Enid

    TNA Impact Wrestling will make a stop in Enid in September.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trentadue.jpg Trial opening over video of Oklahoma City bombing

    Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue says the FBI won’t release security camera videos that show a second person was with Timothy McVeigh when he parked a truck outside the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb, killing 168 people.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Link

  • crime stoppers web.jpg Truck reported stolen in Enid

    The victim told the reporting officer sometime between 7:30 p.m. July 16 and 11:30 a.m. July 17, someone took a vehicle from in front of their residence. The vehicle is a gray 1991 Dodge Dakota displaying 2014 Oklahoma tag 205-HUV.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rodeo 1_W.jpg Rush of adrenaline

    Teen’s interest in bullriding leads to 4th-in-nation recognition at National High School Finals Rodeo.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2 earthquakes recorded

    Two small earthquakes were recorded Sunday in northwestern Oklahoma.

    July 27, 2014

  • County Commissioners meeting Monday

    The Board of Garfield County Commissioners is expected to receive an update Monday on work at the future home of the Enid and Garfield County Emergency Management office and the Garfield County Sheriff's Office.

    July 27, 2014

  • Fairview Play 2_W.jpg Funds raised from musical to help assisted living in Fairview

    A proposed $1.6 million assisted living facility in Fairview will soon be getting a boost in funding from musical performances and dinners.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

News Photos

Enid News & Eagle photos taken throughout February 2014. Enjoy full-access all ENE photos at