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Seat belt work clicks with the president of Beam's Seatbelts in Oklahoma City

Mike Bosley joined Beam's Seatbelts upon graduating college 17 years ago; today, he's president and co-owner of the company that makes seat belts for amusement parks and others worldwide.
by Paula Burkes Modified: September 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm •  Published: October 1, 2012

One need only visit the office of Mike Bosley, president of Beam's Seatbelts, to realize the manufacturing executive is a go-getter. Bosley has a standing desk.

Sitting weakens your muscles, burns far less fat and increases heart risks, the chief executive — who'd much rather stand than sit — tells anyone who'll listen. He's converted a few other executives around town, he said.

All that energy has paid off for Bosley's company, which makes seat belts for everything but cars or airplanes. The firm has 80 percent of the market for amusement parks worldwide, in addition to numerous clients in eight other industries from John Deere tractors and Caterpillar forklifts to military, emergency and postal vehicles. The company also refurbishes damaged car seat belts, which mostly have been chewed by dogs.

From its 77,000-square-foot plant, which is on 10 acres at 6420 S Air Depot, the company makes about 850,000 seat belts a year, using mostly polyester materials from West Virginia and Malaysia.

Bosley and partner Frank Smith about seven years ago bought Beam's, which offers a stock ownership plan to its 62 employees and pays 90 percent of workers' benefits.

Bosley, 40, recently sat down with The Oklahoman to talk about his professional and personal life. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Can you tell us about your roots?

A: I grew up on a cattle farm outside Ardmore with three tough ol' ladies: my mom, great aunt and great-grandmother. My father was never in the picture. My mom — who worked 30 years for Uniroyal Tire before retiring to Guthrie — and I lived in a trailer home next to my grandmother's house, where a boy cousin a year younger than I also lived. The farmhouse only had a fireplace; no gas or electric heat. So if you wanted to stay warm in the winter, you cut wood in the summer.

Q: And school?

A: I went to Plainview High School where I was a “mathlete.” I was on the football and wrestling teams, and took third in state on our track team's two-mile relay. Of my class of 63, I graduated second, with one B in algebra. I won a president's scholarship to Oklahoma Christian University and, to help pay for college, enlisted after my freshman year in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and served six years.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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Position: President, Beam's Seatbelts

Birth date: Flag Day, June 14, 1972 (In his office, he has a framed 46-star American flag, in honor of Oklahoma as the 46th state to join the union.)

Family: Dana, wife of 17 years (they met at Oklahoma Christian University); children Noah, 11, and Katie, 8

Education: Oklahoma Christian, bachelor's in mechanical engineering and master's in business.

Pastimes: The kids' sports events or traveling as a family to the mountains or to Jet, to dig up crystals at the Great Salt Plains; reading (mainly audio books including business authors Seth Godin and Chip and Dan Heath and Christian spiritualists Francis Chan and Donald Miller); and working out (he lifts weights or runs on a treadmill five days a week)

Community involvement: Edmond Church of Christ and Safe Kids Oklahoma, board president. Every Tuesday, his company loans two employees to Infant Crisis Services. Bosley's turn, as a paid volunteer, came week before last


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