Friends and colleagues of David E. Rainbolt responded with surprise and resounding applause when he was introduced as the 2012 Beaux Arts King.
This 67th Beaux Arts Ball Nov. 24 at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club was sponsored by the Beaux Arts Society. Each year the society selects a king based on his civic contributions and dedication to community service. In keeping with tradition, his identity is not announced to the public until the night of the ball. Proceeds from the event benefit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
Totally taken aback when he was notified that he had been chosen, Rainbolt said, “While I was flattered, my initial thought was … why the heck would they want me? I remember teasing my father a bit when he was king, so I am sure I will hear from him about it.”
Rainbolt said the only hesitation he had in accepting “was my fear of telling my youngest son he would have to miss the OU-OSU football game to attend the ball.”
On a more serious note, Rainbolt added that any initial reservation he might have had about accepting this honor faded quickly when he considered the proceeds from the ball benefit the art museum.
“Ironically, the first civic board I got involved with after I moved to Oklahoma in the early '80s was the Oklahoma Museum of Art. The issues we were dealing with back then tended to be about mere survival,” he said. “It is a testimony to how far our city has come to see how the museum has evolved into such a magnificent facility.”
Though he spends some of his spare time hunting, fly fishing and coaching Little League, Rainbolt dedicates many volunteer hours to the community. “I especially enjoy my work with institutions that focus on health related research and economic development,” he said. “I believe those areas will continue to have an enormous impact on the future opportunities and quality of life available to the people of Oklahoma.”
A graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in business administration and from Tulane University with a master's degree in business administration, Rainbolt is chief executive of BancFirst Corporation. He was chief financial officer of BancFirst from 1984 to 1991 and senior financial analyst, Republic Bank in Dallas from 1979-1982.
Being closely involved in the city's banking community, Rainbolt, when asked, shared some of his insights pertaining to the city's banking arena. He pointed out that the city has outperformed the rest of the country economically since the turn of the millennium. “I doubt there is much debate that Devon, Chesapeake, SandRidge and recently Continental Resources, have been the foundation of that performance. Inevitably, we will at one point — hopefully well into the future — go through a cycle where growth slows for a little while. However, that will not diminish how far we have come, nor that future generations will build again from that point.”
A past chairman of Downtown OKC, this community advocate said he continues to be amazed at how efficient the city has been in directing relatively limited resources toward projects with high impact.
“We have seen Bricktown, the Civic Center, the river complex, library, health science center, Automobile Alley, Myriad Gardens, the art museum, and of course, the Thunder and Chesapeake Arena, all come to pass in just a decade or two. This sort of metamorphosis is almost inconceivable over such a short time frame. In my mind, the only issues we have today are growth and challenges.”
While the convention center and boulevard will be a solid base to build around and the scope of the “Core to Shore” development is gargantuan, Rainbolt said the citizens of the city should expect assimilation and development of all that land to take awhile.
Regardless of economic cycles and growth problems, Rainbolt said he thinks history will judge this era in Oklahoma City very favorably.