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Executive Q&A: A welcome chance to return to Oklahoma

University of Central Oklahoma graduate Chris Scully worked more than a decade out of Oklahoma, before Dell drew him home.
by Paula Burkes Modified: August 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: August 18, 2013

When Ponca City native Chris Scully completed his graduate degree here in the mid-1990s, he found most of his job prospects were out of state.

Scully spent 11 years with Intel, in Oregon and Arizona, before Oklahoma — thanks to Dell — offered a competitive technology job to beckon him back in August 2006.

“I never was the guy who wanted to leave, but all the tech jobs were on the east and west coasts,” Scully, 42, said. “I'm so glad Dell picked Oklahoma City for a business center. It's what brought us home.”

In the seven years since his return, Scully's job has expanded from regional manager of environmental health and safety to facilities manager and, as of 18 months ago, one of two general managers — or site directors — for Dell's 175,000-square-foot business center at 3501 SW 15. There, some 2,000 employees work around the clock selling or supporting computers, and providing outsourced IT services to companies nationwide.

“I like the diversity of the job,” Scully said. “In one meeting, I can roll up my sleeves and be tactical, dealing with something specific like the temperature on the third floor,” he said. “And then, the next meeting is more strategic.”

He, his co-director and Gov. Mary Fallin recently sat down with Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell in Round Rock, Texas, to discuss Oklahoma's business environment.

Scully said he's excited about the vision of his CEO, who's making a bid to buy Dell, end its 25-year history as a publicly-held company and compete with smartphones and tablets that have taken a chunk out of the company's desktop and laptop business.

According to news reports, Dell plans to invest heavily in tablets and a new breed of hybrid personal computers that offer the touch-screen controls of mobile devices, as well as become a diversified seller of technology services, business software and high-end computers.

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

Q: Tell us about your roots.

A: My parents grew up and met in Barnsdall in Osage County before marrying and moving to Ponca City, where they still live. They both worked 30-plus years for Conoco; my mom in human resources and dad in data control. I have a sister, five years younger, who lives in Plano. Growing up, our family pretty much every Saturday would drive the one hour to Barnsdall to spend time with our big extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and then drive back on Sunday. During junior high and after high school graduation, I spent two full summers there with both sets of grandparents to play American Legion baseball; mostly as a left fielder. Other summers, and throughout college, I worked as a janitor and in maintenance for Conoco, which is what led to my choice of a college major.

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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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Chris Scully

• Position: General manager, Dell Oklahoma City Business Center.

• Birth date: Nov. 29, 1970.

• Family: Wife Leigh (they met at Ponca City High School when she was a 15-year-old cheerleader and he was a 17-year-old football player); daughters Jordan, a sophomore at Oklahoma State University, and Kaitlyn, a sophomore at Deer Creek High School; and son Shawn, a sixth-grader at Deer Creek.

• Education: University of Central Oklahoma, bachelor's in environmental health and safety, and master's in adult education.

• Home church: Quail Springs Baptist Church.

• Pastimes: Watching his daughter sing in church or act in school performances, and his son play sports. Also, restoring old cars, including a 1991 Mustang convertible Jordan drove to OSU this year and a 1928 Model A pickup.


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