On Nov. 4, the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission, presented Mark J. Simms of Bartlesville with the prestigious Dr. Ralph Dru Career and Professional Award.
Simms, who is Osage, Cherokee and Creek, is the owner of three businesses: Accent Pest Control, established in 1980, Bartlesville Properties, Inc., founded in 1989, and OnHand Printing located in Pawhuska, formed in 2013.
At the awards banquet held at the University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center, Alice Whitecloud, Co-Chair of the Commission’s Dream Keepers Committee, said, “I continually heard about his businesses from people in Bartlesville.”
Whitecloud said the Commission seeks to honor Native Americans who “are professional, business minded and who get out there and succeed – we felt he fit that criteria.” Through his accomplishments, he “makes Native Americans proud,” she added.
Having served six years on the newly reformed Osage Nation government, Simms retired from the Osage Nation Congress in 2012. Simms was sought out by President George W. Bush for his business expertise and served as an appointed member of the President’s Business Commission from 2001 to 2009.
Simms also served from 1994 - 1998 on the Osage National Council, serving as Second Speaker for two years and as Speaker for two years.
His business, Accent Pest Control, which employs a staff of eight, has grown to be the largest independently-owned Native American pest control company in Bartlesville.
In addition to managing his three businesses, Simms serves as a member of the Osage County Historical Society Museum board. Simms was appointed by Osage Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle on Jan. 14, 2013, to serve on the Osage Nation Energy Services board.
“I was from Tulsa originally and attended McClain High School in Tulsa,” Simms said. “It’s a great honor to come back and be among the others who are receiving awards.”
In creating these businesses Simms said, “I’ve sought to employ Native Americans and further Native Americans by creating jobs.”
Simms resides in Bartlesville with his wife, Linda Bellamy Simms, who serves as his business bookkeeper.