Self-portrait at MoMa with Jackson Pollock -- getting inspired after a long day of FinTech conversations with our partners in NYC!
I’m a creative connector and passionate builder of teams, apps, and experiences. I’ve been on the leading edge of digital transformation and omni-channel experience design and development within the Startups, Fast Casual/QSR space, State Government, and Banking — helping move teams from a hero culture to a team culture.
Leave your ego at the door and let’s go build something great!
I currently lead the digital banking strategy and experience delivery for two digital banking brands, as well as the responsibility for delivery of web and mobile banking experiences in support of our brick and mortar banks throughout Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and California. Our digital team consists of Product Owners, Product Designers, Financial Analysts, QA Engineers, DB Engineers, Front-End Developers, Back-End Developers, AWS Architects, and Program Management — all working here in OKC, in a hybrid remote work environment.
Over the past two years we've implemented a design led product delivery strategy with all of our teammates allocated to agile product teams (we call them PODs), to support our digital banking strategy. We are currently building 5 banking experiences (web & mobile apps), internal support tools, and a cloud-based micro-service infrastructure to deliver differentiated features to our digital experiences via APIs.
Official "Oklahoma State Purchasing Director" photo sesh
Sam continued his service to the State of Oklahoma as Governor Stitt's appointee to the Government Technology Applications Review Board (GTARB) in which Sam was the Board appointed Chairman through October of 2021. GTARB's legislated authority includes the review and approval of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) rates, as well as the review and approval of e-commerce portal fees and licensing rates by each of the 217 State Agencies, seeking to offer online licensing to the Citizens of Oklahoma.
In this role, Sam served as a consultant focused on elevating the voice of the customer on strategic projects throughout the State -- ensuring the physical and digital systems are built with citizen experience in mind.
Update on SB 1422, Central Purchasing Reform: On May 20, 2020, the Governor of Oklahoma signed into law Senate Bill 1422. This bill included reform of the Central Purchasing Act, which hadn't been comprehensively reviewed since 1998. The new legislation will help to empower agencies to purchase with less bureaucracy, while also increasing the audit and training arm of Central Purchasing. A big thanks to Senator Thompson and Representative Wallace for carrying the legislation through the State Legislature, and to Governor Stitt who asked us to bring bold ideas into the agencies we were leading.
With Governor Stitt's leadership and State COO, John Budd's backing, I was given the responsibility to lead Central Purchasing through a number of organizational changes, as well as the opportunity to draft this comprehensive reform with our talented legal and compliance team leads (Thanks Lisa & Robin for all your hard work). What an incredible 7 months of foundation building! The work we did allowed Central Purchasing the ability to provide unparalleled support during the Statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One more big thanks needs to go to Dan Sivard, who is now the State Purchasing Director, for his willingness to jump onto a fast moving train and join me in the work to build a more citizen centric Central Purchasing for the State of Oklahoma.
Watch Governor Stitt sign SB 1422
Sam led the state of Oklahoma's Central Purchasing Department, as the State Purchasing Director working to fulfill Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt's promise of continued focus on Digital Transformation and enhancing the citizen's experience with the state of Oklahoma.
Central Purchasing manages $416M in Statewide contract spend, and centralized procurement practices saved the State over $105M in 2019. Sam was asked to modernize procurement and pivot Central Purchasing from a regulatory agency to a customer service oriented team. To achieve these goals, Sam focused on these three initiatives:
People: New training program centered around knowing oneself, so they can better relate and serve purchasing partners throughout the State.
Policy: Modernization of the Central Purchasing Act, the first true reformatting and modernization of the act since 1998. SB 1422 has been passed out of committee and is working its way through the legislative process.
Platform: Negotiated $1.7M in new funding for Central Purchasing to invest in a new e-procurement system for the State of Oklahoma, including a $4M integration to our existing ERP system.
January, 29, 2019 - Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson files bill to modernize state agency spending
March 3, 2020 - Full Senate approves bill to modernize state agency spending
First brought into Government work by the COO of the State of Oklahoma (former CSO of Sonic Drive-In) to consult on a digital transformation strategy for the State of Oklahoma’s new Administration under Governor Kevin Stitt.
Sam spent 6 months focused on:
Sonic Drive-In's first ever "Innovation Director!"
Working out of a converted closet, we built the Order Ahead experience, then got to do a guerrilla video to show our Board the progress as we moved into Beta testing at our first store!
In his former role as the Director of Product Management at Sonic Drive-In, Sam was responsible for leading the design and development of consumer facing digital products, including Order Ahead across web, iOS, Android and our Point of Personalized Service (POPs) stalls. This omni-channel customer experience involved a revamp of the digital payments strategy. Sam led the procurement effort of multiple software solutions (both custom and off-the-shelf), which culminated in a new digital payment infrastructure and support for Credit Card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Paypal, and Venmo integrations for web and mobile platforms.
Since 2016, Sam has contributed in a leadership capacity to Sonic's digital transformation, referenced by Inspire Brands as a major reason behind their $2.3B acquisition of Sonic Drive-In in late 2018.
The teams Sam led were responsible for the retirement of an aging monolithic code base, lifting all infrastructure to AWS Cloud Services, procuring multiple vendor partners to assist in the implementation of SONIC's Digital Roadmap, and the development of continuous delivery, continuous integration infrastructure in support of the Digital Innovation Platform. Sam was also instrumental in leading the Domain API development which is now being utilized by Order Ahead on mobile apps, the website, POPS (kiosks) and the Voice UX platforms.
From 2014-2016, Sam led the experience design, vendor procurement and software implementation of Sonic's POPs stalls -- 80,000 touchscreens throughout Sonic's 3,600 stores. The POPs program helped boost same stores sales growth of 3% in the first two years of service at Drive-In's, and continues to be a differentiator across the QSR industry delivering personalization and order status for customers ordering via Order Ahead.
Previous to Sonic, Sam spent 8+ years in the startup world, he has worked on projects for the PGA, Subaru Motors, Ford, EA Sports, Starbucks, Blue Bottle, Stumptown, La Colombe, Kum & Go, Hy-Vee Grocery, Hallmark, and Mastercard. During these experiences, Sam contributed at the Director level in Marketing, Product Management, Procurement and Inventory Management and Business Development.
Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Venture Management
Pre-Physical Therapy with minor in Psychology; Two-year football varsity letter winner; All-WAC Academic Wide Receiver 2000 & 2001; President - FCA