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Generational Leaders

Meet Four of Cleveland County's Outstanding Men

Oklahomans are known for their toughness, capability, creativity and community spirit–qualities which are abundant in the four gentlemen we profile here. We thank each of them for sharing their time, talents and caring hearts with the community!

Bentley Hedges

Owner/Founder

Bentley Hedges Travel Service

Anyone who’s lived in Oklahoma or travels extensively will instantly recognize the name “Bentley Hedges.” The iconic travel service has been in business for more than half a century, thanks to the savvy leadership of its owner and namesake, along with his late wife, Alice Hedges, and other family members.

In 1974, Bentley left a long-term, successful career working in the aviation industry at Tinker Air Force Base and the Federal Aviation Administration after opening his fledgling company in 1970 and working both jobs simultaneously. Two years later he was joined by his daughter, Angie, and in 1999, his wife, Bonnie, joined the firm. Bentley Hedges Travel Service has thrived over the decades, weathering huge changes in the travel industry, including online competition.

“My love of aviation and interest in travel was the main influence in starting a travel agency,” he said. “I’ve watched a half-century of changes in aviation and the way people travel. It has been an industry full of awe and amazement.

“We have had the privilege of influencing and teaching many men and women the travel industry over the decades,” he added. “I’m still very proud when I see my name hanging over the door of our business, and even more proud that I’m still around to see it! I’ve always tried to lead by example, like my father taught me. Go to work every day, and work hard every day. Treating people with respect has earned me respect in return.”

As you would expect, Bentley has traveled the globe, organized countless cruises and group excursions, and can take credit for multiple generations of clients. His team also rose to the occasion post 9/11, when all airline flights were grounded.

“At that time, we serviced the FAA travel account, and our staff had to bring people back home from all over the world,” he said. “In 50 years, I have never been prouder of them.”

Above all, Bentley said, it’s been wonderful to work with his wife, Bonnie, and only daughter, Angie, who’s now the agency’s co-owner, president and CEO. A widower prior to marrying Bonnie (the company’s vice president of sales and marketing), their blended family includes five children, eight grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and Windy, their “coronavirus puppy.”

At age 92, Bentley isn’t ready to sit on the front porch just yet. He still organizes group tours, and is now developing a hemp farm—literally returning full circle to his roots as an Oklahoma farm boy.

“I’ll do it as long as I can climb on a tractor,” he said. “I love being outdoors in the sun. But most of all, I still love to travel.”

T.W. Shannon

CEO, Chickasaw Community Bank

“Life moves at the speed of relationships.”

That quote rings true for T.W. Shannon, CEO of Chickasaw Community Bank, who has been building relationships, breaking barriers and making history since the beginning of his professional career.

After an 11th-grade teacher “lit the spark” by recognizing his writing skills, T.W. determined to combine his love of writing and interest in politics. His skills earned him prestigious positions working for Oklahoma Congressman JC Watts and Sen. Tom Cole, while he spent evenings earning his law degree. From there it was a short step from working for elected officials, to becoming one himself.

T.W. made history in January 2013, when at age 34 he became the youngest-ever speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as well as the first Chickasaw and first African American to hold the post. He was also the first Republican ever elected to Oklahoma’s Congressional District 64.

After leaving office, T.W. became a high-level administrator for the Chickasaw Nation, and in 2017 was named CEO of Chickasaw Community Bank. Under his leadership, the bank has doubled its assets and helped thousands of people stay financially afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the national level, T.W. serves on the board of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), a Washington-based think tank dedicated to creating opportunities for people to escape generational poverty.

T.W. credits his success to his parents’ support, hard work and the influence of four key mentors: former Congressman and OU athlete J.C. Watts, Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole and Russell Perry, Oklahoma’s former Secretary of Commerce.

“Personally, I also was blessed with two wonderful parents and an amazing church family,” he said. “They thought I could be someone in this world and also that came with an expectation to not fail and to go on to do big things. That really meant something to me.”

For T.W., the best part of the day is the time spent with his family, especially traveling by RV. He and his wife, Devon, an OU English professor, have been married for nearly 20 years and are parents to Audrey Grace and Tahrohon.

“Being on the road and seeing America as a family has been one of the great joys in my life,” he said.

“I define success differently than most others I think,” he added. “Success to me is finding balance. I make effort to be there for my wife and kids, my community commitments and my role here at the bank. That includes recognizing that for each person that balance is different.”

Mark Revels, D.D.S.

Board-Certified Orthodontist

Co-Owner, Orthodontics Exclusively

Growing up in Ponca City, Mark Revels had two chief mentors—his Navy veteran grandfather and his local dentist, Dr. John Robinson, who also happened to be the town mayor. Years later their influence would culminate when Revels earned a highly coveted scholarship to the U.S. Navy’s prestigious Dental Officer Program, after receiving his D.D.S. degree from the University of Oklahoma. Upon graduating, he served with distinction aboard the USS Constellation CV-64 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I am extremely proud to be a veteran of the United States Navy,” Mark said. “My experiences there molded my character and had the biggest impact on me from a leadership standpoint, something that I utilize every day in my orthodontic practice. As an officer in the Navy Dental Corps, I was able to serve my country by helping the men and women who defended it, as well as others in need. These experiences influenced my desire to pursue specialty training in orthodontics and private practice.”

As co-owner of Norman’s Orthodontics Exclusively, Mark and his partner, Dr. Tim Shannon, serve their community devotedly, providing pro bono care for children and teens through local programs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Bridges of Norman. They’ve purchased much-needed playground equipment for eight Norman elementary schools and scoreboards for the gymnasiums at Irving and Whittier recreational centers. Each year they also buy several thousand boxes of Girl Scout cookies from local troops, which are distributed to overseas military and local first responders. Their newly created foundation, EmBrace, provides no-cost orthodontic care in partnership with local referring dental practices.

“Dr. Robinson had such a significant impact on our city when I was growing up,” Mark said. “His service with his church, civic leadership and Girl Scouts of America showed me what an impact you can have within community organizations and how to give back!”

For 20 years, Mark has been married to fellow dentist and classmate Dr. Stacy Revels, who he met at Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater, before they were both dental students. While he’s a die-hard Sooner and she was a graduate of Oklahoma State University, “my love for OU could not withstand my love for her,” he said, laughing. Today, Stacy Revels operates a private dental practice in Chickasha, and they are the proud parents of two sons: Blaine, 11, and Blake, 7.

The family loves to travel, and Mark is known as a “rabid” OU fan.

“Following OU athletics has always been a passion, and OU-Texas weekend holds a special place in my heart,” he said, noting that he will attend his 30th straight OU/Texas game in 2021. “My wife thinks it’s a ‘medical impairment,’” he said with a laugh, “but she enjoys going along for the shopping!”

Derek Geiges

Owner

Solid Rock Personal Training

As a successful University of Oklahoma student-athlete, Derek Geiges early on learned the importance of good work habits and discipline. Wrestling helped him overcome a lot of early-life adversity, solidified his love of strength and endurance training, and, he said, taught him invaluable skills for the transformation from an athletic to professional career.

After graduating from OU, Derek spent two years serving the Norman community as a police officer before taking a leap of faith and opening his own fitness studio, Solid Rock Personal Training, in 2016. For he and his young family, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

“I learned a lot when I was with the Norman PD, but I also knew I needed to pursue what I truly loved,” he said. “I decided to become a personal trainer because I absolutely love fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. I get the opportunity to inspire others to look good, move well and feel great so they can live an active lifestyle. Most individuals are not living a life to their full potential because their health is holding them back, and I love helping people discover the best version of themselves so they can have a higher quality of life.”

As a business owner and coach, Derek said he prefers to lead by example, with a structured routine enlivened by “goofiness” and a high-energy vibe. During the COVID-19 pandemic challenge, he and the Solid Rock team took every precaution to keep their staff and customers safe, including online training sessions, temperature checks at the doors, social distancing and intense sanitizing.

“We had to close for six weeks, which was a time of uncertainty, but we pivoted by continuing to provide training online and trucking forward,” he said. “It was a big hit, which was tough, but that is life. I view business as a sport. You are going to have winning seasons and losing seasons. Learn from your losses (weak points), refine and keep moving forward.”

Derek's passion for fitness is shared by his wife, Reagan, who was a gymnast at OU and is now a stay-at-home mom to their two children, 17-month-old Gracie and 1-month-old Beau.

“I absolutely love being a new parent,” he said. “I am a big kid at heart, so I love that I have an excuse now to be a big kid and act like a goofball with my kiddos!”

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