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2009 - Visionary Leadership - Ray Ackerman & Ron Norick

Ray Ackerman

Frm. OKC Mayor
Ron Norick

Compare a snapshot of downtown Oklahoma City in the late ‘80s with one today.  Not only are the changes plentiful and stunning, they represent a whole new economic engine powering the city.  Much of this is the result of the vision and tireless leadership of advertising executive Ray Ackerman and 11-year mayor, Ron Norick.

The inspiring transition from an oil bust town to a major league city in all senses of the word would have been almost impossible without the contributions of these two men - guiding and plowing the way.

Ron Norick became the Mayor of Oklahoma City in 1987.  After just a few years, he successfully led a temporary one-cent sales tax proposal that would alter the face of Oklahoma City forever. The Metropolitan Area Projects (much better known as MAPS) is considered the first program of its kind and the most aggressive and successful public and private partnership ever undertaken in the U.S.

The perfect complement to Mayor Norick, was the then Chairman-elect of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Ray Ackerman.  Ray championed the idea of connecting the North Canadian River to Bricktown by developing a series of dams and a canal. Today, that canal has become the centerpiece for a revitalized downtown area.  

In December of 1993, the visions of both men became a reality when Oklahoma City voters passed MAPS.   From Mayor Norick’s solid foundation, the MAPS franchise has continued to grow, just as the legacies of Oklahoma City’s “Old Man River,” Ray Ackerman, also have transformed the look, the vitality and the very economy of the state’s capitol city.

It would be impossible even to try to list the many accomplishments of these two individuals who have inspired civic leaders around the nation to follow in their footsteps.  But we are pleased and honored to introduce you to two men who are the very definition of visionary leadership in Oklahoma …. former Mayor Ron Norick and Ray Ackerman!