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ADA, Okla. – Rick McMurtrey was recently named East Central University’s 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year and presented the annual Limes Lecture to college and visiting high school students.

McMurtrey earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from ECU in 1980.

"I have always promoted the ECU School of Business as one of the best business schools in the Oklahoma region and, among the best in smaller colleges in the nation,” said McMurtrey. “I received a great education at ECU and have no doubt it provided a solid foundation that helped me succeed along the way."

McMurtrey has spent more than 30 years as a Sonic Drive-In franchisee, developing the Augusta market to 12 stores and over 600 employees with three more stores slated to open in the Augusta market in the next 12-18 months.  He served two terms on the Sonic Franchise Advisory Council and was awarded the Brand Leadership Award and the Marketing Award.

Prior to becoming a Sonic Drive-In franchisee, McMurtrey spent 13 years at Southwestern Bell Corporation. After graduating from ECU in 1980, he began his SBC career in 1981 as an entry-level Marketing Manager in Lawton, Okla., where he worked his way into middle management while working in marketing, public relations, installation and maintenance, and HR departments.

The annual Limes Lecture is named for Leonard Limes, who attended ECU in the 1940’s. He established the lectureship in 2000 with a $25,000 gift to the ECU Fondation. Limes’ vision was to bring entrepreneurs who would tell their stories to inspire ECU students and the community. The inspiration would lead entrepreneurs to create companies, wealth and jobs for Oklahoma’s economy.

Rick and his wife, Debbie, reside in Marietta, Ga. They have one son, Ricky, and a daughter, Jori.  

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