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Thunder draws business, conversation to Oklahoma booth at Boston convention

BY JIM STAFFORD For The Oklahoman Modified: June 21, 2012 at 11:36 am •  Published: June 21, 2012

The success of the Oklahoma City Thunder has washed over the annual BIO International Convention here this week in a big way.

In elevators, on buses and especially at the OKBio exhibition booth on the floor of the Boston Convention Center, strangers have walked up to members of the Oklahoma delegation to tell them they are cheering for the Thunder in the finals.

But it goes deeper than that, said Sheri Stickley, president of the Oklahoma Bioscience Association. Call it a substantial ROI — return on investment — on what the team is bringing to Oklahoma, she said.

“I would say a third of the conversations here at the show are people coming up to us saying, ‘Go Thunder,” Stickley said. “It's getting us recognition, it's getting us traffic; I think it's getting us acceptance, it's getting us interest and allowing us to open the door and talk about our bioscience success story.”

As if to prove Stickley's point, a pair of visitors from different states — California and Massachusetts — walked up to the life-size cutout of Kevin Durant that adorns one end of the Oklahoma space a few minutes later and volunteered that they were both Thunder fans.

Then they posed for photos with KD.

Dan Luton, director of programs for the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, is among the Oklahomans at BIO who has witnessed the Thunder effect on visitors. And it's not just among random encounters on the exhibition floor, but conversations about doing business with or even relocating to Oklahoma, he said.

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