Oklahoma Inc.: Companies expand, contract and vanish over time

A look back at some of the highlights of Oklahoma Inc. rankings from five, 10 and 15 years ago.
by Don Mecoy Published: November 3, 2013
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Oklahoma Inc. gives us an annual perspective on our state's publicly traded companies. That has value in a world in which we track stock prices on a minute-by-minute basis.

Perhaps one can gain an even broader view by looking back at the results over longer periods of time. So I decided to travel back in time to review Oklahoma Inc. from five, 10 and 15 years ago, and offer a few observations.

2008

The massive economic collapse was peaking even as we were compiling Oklahoma Inc. Share prices of many state stocks were sliding, along with the broader market, as Oklahoma Inc. was published.

Top dog: In its first year as a public company, Continental Resources offered signs of things to come. The firm ranked first in total returns and earnings growth. CEO Harold Hamm graced the cover of Oklahoma Inc. along with the truck he used to start his energy business. Hamm's penchant for oil has served his shareholders well.

Gone, but not forgotten: GMX Resources Inc. The Oklahoma City energy company finished second in the 2008 rankings. This year, GMX shares fell off the stock exchange as the company sought bankruptcy protection.

Memories: Sarah Palin and Joe Biden staged their only debate between the two vice presidential candidates the same month Oklahoma Inc. was published. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged below 8,000 as U.S. policymakers cut interest rates and craft a bailout package.

2003

Energy companies reasserted their dominance in the Oklahoma Inc. rankings, with half of the top 10 companies from that industry. However, the top 10 included a healthy mix of firms, including a gadget-maker (Lowrance Electronics Inc.), bookseller (Educational Development Corp.) and phone company (Dobson Communications Corp.).

Top dog: Matrix Service Co., a Tulsa company that builds and maintains equipment and sites for other energy companies, vaulted to the head of the list after completing a merger that doubled the business' size. Matrix was the only Oklahoma public company that doubled its shareholders' money during the year.

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by Don Mecoy
Business Editor
Business Editor Don Mecoy has covered business news for more than a decade after earlier working on The Oklahoman's city, state and metro news desks, including a stint as city editor. He has won state and regional journalism awards for business,...
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