Oklahoma Watch has added four new directors to its board who bring decades of journalism, communications and business experience to the organization’s leadership team.
The new board members are Gerald Adams, Ed Kelley, Vince LoVoi and Brett Wesner.
Adams is a consultant at the Henry-Adams Companies LLC. Adams was a reporter, columnist and editor at the Shawnee News-Star before managing Robert Henry’s successful campaign for attorney general of Oklahoma in 1985. Adams subsequently served three Oklahoma attorneys general in communications and policy positions for a total of 15 years before joining the administrative staff of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. In 2002, Gov. Brad Henry asked Adams to become his chief of staff, a position he held throughout the governor’s two terms. Following completion of the final term, Gov. Henry and Adams established the Henry-Adams Companies LLC, a consulting firm headquartered in Norman.
Kelley was named director of experiential learning at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma in May 2015. He is a veteran news executive, coming to OU from Salt Lake City, where he was senior contributing editor at the Deseret News. He also has served as editor of The Washington Times in Washington, D.C. and The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City. Kelley has held a variety of other news positions in his career, including that of Washington bureau chief, managing editor and editorial page editor. He was named Editor of the Year in 1996 by the Washington-based National Press Foundation for overseeing The Oklahoman’s coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing.
LoVoi is publisher of This Land Press LLC, a new media company, founded in 2011. This Land Press was noted as “probably the best for-profit local journalism startup in the country” by the Columbia Journalism Review. This Land Press also operates This Land Films, a film production company that was invited to premiere its first feature-length documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. LoVoi also serves as managing partner of Mimosa Tree Capital Partners LLC, an investment firm in Oklahoma focused on socially responsible startups and turnarounds.
Brett Wesner is the founder of Wesner Publications Co., which publishes 10 newspapers and two magazines in rural communities across Oklahoma and Texas. He previously served as a press officer for OU President David Boren’s 1984 U.S. Senate campaign in Oklahoma. Following Boren’s landslide election, Wesner joined Boren’s Washington press office, becoming press secretary in 1987, at the start of the senator’s service as chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence and as a member of the special committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. A native of Cordell, Wesner returned to Oklahoma in 1990 to serve as executive director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
Other Oklahoma Watch board members are Co-Presidents Jim East, George Kaiser Family Foundation consultant, and Bob Ross, president and CEO of Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, and Sue Hale, journalism consultant. Stepping down from the board are Saxum CEO Renzi Stone and outgoing OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Joe Foote.