2018 Distinguished Alumni Honoree
Steve Smith came to OMA by default. His father worked for Creole Petroleum Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey) in Venezuela. He attended the company-owned school for dependents through the eighth grade. There were no English speaking high schools where they lived, so it became necessary for him to attend a boarding school in the U.S. OMA was the obvious choice since the family was from Oklahoma.
While at OMA, Smith served as treasurer of his freshman class, was recognized on the Dean’s Honor Roll all but two semesters, and was on the Chapel Foundation. He was in the Marching Band and received the Band Award all four years. He also received the Merit Ribbon, Outstanding Company Award, Outstanding Cadet Identification Disk, and was awarded the Outstanding Military Science and Tactics Four award at the ’65 Graduation parade by General Smoller. Smith was also a member of the Chevron Society, the State Honor Society, and the Radio Club.
Smith graduated from OMA High School in spring 1965 and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma that same year. While there, he studied Mechanical Engineering and enrolled in the OU Army ROTC program. He found their ROTC to be relatively easy after four years of OMA, and as he was enrolling in the ROTC, he was asked “what would you like to be.” Smith replied First Sergeant would be OK and they let him have it. He then formed the company up and marched them to the parade field.
Smith spent the majority of his working career in the electrical utility industry. He retired from Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, where he spent 16 years as Chief Scheduler. His duties there included buying and selling energy and capacity for the member cities that make up OMPA. He then went to work for the American Electric Power company in Tulsa as an Electrical System Operator. After the northeast blackout of 2003, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation required all System Operators that operated the bulk electrical grid to be certified by the NERC. Smith held the highest certification for system operators (Reliability) for 16 years to insure the company was never in a position to lose control and encounter cascading outages, even at the expense of their own customers.
During Oklahoma’s crippling 2007 ice storm, the extensive training paid off and the majority of its customers were back online in less than five days.
During the summer months while attending OMA, Smith would fly back to Venezuela to be with his family. During this time, he served as a youth counselor at their nondenominational church summer camp, Campammento Maranatha. It was a church camp for expats as well as local kids at the beach on Lake Maracaibo. Smith was on the Board of Trustees at his church in Oklahoma City, the New Hope United Methodist Church. He has also served his neighborhood in various capacities as HOA president.