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The 2018 Oka’ Institute Sustainability Conference will take place on East Central University’s Campus Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 2-3, in ECU Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

This year, the conference will begin at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, with a picnic boxed lunch and a keynote address by Filtra Systems’ CEO Scott Bratten. The Institute will invite attendees to view Water Innovation and Technology demonstrations on the ECU Centennial Plaza following lunch.

The Student Research Poster Competition, for undergraduate students from regional universities in the state of Oklahoma, will begin at 4 p.m. The poster competition will continue through the 5 p.m. networking reception and will be followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Jimmy Emmons, of Emmons Farm in Leedey, Oklahoma, will deliver the evening keynote address shortly after dinner. Emmons is the first Oklahoman to receive the Leopold Conservation Award, which recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, well renowned as a visionary leader and strong advocate for water sustainability, will deliver the luncheon keynote address. There will be two morning keynote speakers. Dr. Todd Halihan, professor of geology at Oklahoma State University and McEllhiney Lecturer, will give the first morning keynote. Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLevi, the co-founder and CEO of, will be the second morning keynote, speaking about water innovation and technology in Israel.

Additional activities on Wednesday will include a segment about local vs. international water challenges, an ecosystems service valuation and presentations from the ECU faculty who participated in Summer Research. Leadership from agencies such as Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board and USDA Rural Development will provide unique insight into Oklahoma’s advancement. Wednesday afternoon will also include a legislative panel about water policy.

Continuing education credits will be offered to professional engineers and land surveyors, registered professional environmental specialists and registered professional sanitarians. An early bird registration price of $165 is available through Sept. 12. After that date, the full registration price is $215. You can register at If you would like to be a sponsor of the 2018 Sustainability Conference, please contact Susan Paddack at 580-559-5152

More details about speakers scheduled to present at the conference are below.

Governor Bill Anoatubby

Governor Anoatubby is considered to be one of the most visionary leaders in the state. Anoatubby became the 30th Governor of the Chickasaw Nation when he was elected into the position in 1987. He began his eighth consecutive term in office in 2015. In his first term, Anoatubby established goals of economic development and self-sufficiency for the Chickasaw Nation and its people. Today, the Chickasaw Nation is well on the way to achieving those goals.

Jimmy Emmons

In 2017, Jimmy Emmons, of Emmons Farm in Leedey, Oklahoma, was the first Oklahoman to receive the Leopold Conservation Award, which recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. Emmons will be sharing insights into innovative farming practices for a successful future, including crop rotations, cover crops and planned grazing management to decrease soil erosion and increase water infiltration, thus increasing production and profit margins.

Scott Bratten

Scott Bratten, B.S.Ch.E., M.B.A., has a 30-year career in the filtration industry, where he helped develop and commercialize many of Filtra-Systems’ 30 patented products. As CEO, he has led the expansion of the company internationally and has helped Filtra-Systems become a technology leader in every market it serves.  Scott will share his insights concerning produced water recycling and provide details on Filtra-Systems’ revolutionary SCOUT mobile water recycling system.

Dr. Baruch HaLevi

Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLevi was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, attended the University of Kansas and served as a synagogue rabbi in Des Moines, Iowa and Boston, Massachusetts, where he built a nationally acclaimed congregation of thousands of members. He is a serial entrepreneur, most notably co-founder of one of the largest medical cannabis companies on the East coast. He is co-founder and CEO of welaunch, a non-profit organization connecting the Silicon Prairie (U.S. Midwest) to the Start-up Nation (Israel), working with U.S. partners to access and implement Israeli innovation and technology with a focus on water-tech, ag-tech, food-tech and clean-tech. HaLevi is also a renowned motivational speaker and inspirational author.

Todd Halihan

The National Groundwater Association presents Todd Halihan as this year's McEllhiney Lecturer. Halihan, Ph.D., P.Gp., is a professor of geology at Oklahoma State University and chief technical officer for Aestus LLC. His professional interests center in subsurface characterization and sustainable water supply. He currently serves on the Oklahoma Governor’s Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity.


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