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What's in a company's name? [The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City :: ]
[January 26, 2014]

What's in a company's name? [The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City :: ]

(Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 26--When Bill Wasinger started his communications company as a side business in the early 1990s, he named it for his favorite baseball team -- the Chicago White Sox, more familiarly known as "the Pale Hose." Wasinger said he figured dubbing his firm "Pale Hose Communications" would serve as an attention-getting name and pay homage to his beloved Sox. "I actually never thought it would become a full-time entity, so I never gave too much thought to the name," he said.

However, after more than 20 years of awkward phone conversations -- "It's Pale Hose, not Pale Horse" -- and many explanations of the name's derivation, Pale Hose Communications still stands, Wasinger said. Though these days, he nearly always shortens it to "Ph Communications," he said.

Unique branding Oklahoma City brand consultant Malena Lott has named several Oklahoma City businesses -- starting in 2006 with her own brand consulting firm, the Athena Institute, which is named for the Greek goddess of wisdom. She branded Mariposa MedSpa after the Spanish word for butterfly, a symbol of transformation and beauty, and Verge Network Solutions because its clients are on the verge of growth and transitions.

"I typically look for names that have both meaning and are unique enough that they can own the name in the sector, both geographically and, ideally, nationwide," Lott said. "It's not just about being creative, but about being true to the brand promise," she said.

Integris Health was borne from a desire for integrity and integration, publicist Karen Wicker said.

"Integrity because of the organization's long-standing commitment to high-quality care, and integration because it was formed at a time when the statewide Baptist Health Organization and Baptist Medical Center were joining forces with Southwest Medical Center," she said.

Wicker christened her own firm "Candor PR" as a tribute to her family names of Chandler & Wicker, whose Latin roots are chandelier and wick, which means to thread transparency through a single point of illumination, like a candle, her company logo.

The following is a sampling of other Oklahoma organizations with the origins of their names: Aegis Roofing. The word aegis is identified with protection by a strong force with its roots in Greek mythology, co-owner Jonathan Marks said. The aegis is the breastplate of Athena and Zeus.

Bama Pie Company was named after the founder's wife, Cornelia Alabama Marshall.

Canadian Valley Technology Center. The school was named for the North and South Canadian rivers, which run through the heart of its district.

Cardinal Engineering. Founder Steve Mason named the firm for the Cardinal Rule, Stanford Cardinal (he's a Stanford University alum) and the St. Louis Cardinals (he's a fan).

"The pope has cardinals and cardinals are the prettiest birds outside my window in Oklahoma City," he said. "An image is better than a person's name or some weird made-up word for a company name. I didn't want to name it 'Mason Engineering,' as my goal was a company more than me." Chaparral Energy was named for a street on which the founder lived.

Chesapeake Energy. Founder Aubrey McClendon and his wife, Katie, attended Duke University and used to take weekend getaway trips to the Chesapeake Bay.

Enable Midstream. The name of the pipeline partnership between OGE Energy Corp.'s Enogex LLC and Houston-based CenterPoint Energy Inc. was chosen after a lengthy selection process involving the two partners, spokesman Brian Alford said. A Denver branding firm presented more than 30 options, both partners' leaderships chose their 10 favorites, and then the overlapping names were boiled down from five to three, with the latter being tested with a focus group of customers.

Finally, each of the partners' leaderships eliminated its least favorite among the three remaining names and "Enable" was the only name left. The company is about enabling customers' success, Alford said.

EZ Vein. Oklahoma physician Rob Perry named the company after a device he invented to help emergency medical technicians and other health care professionals insert catheters more easily into veins of trauma patients and others with collapsed or hard to find veins.

Nomac Drilling, a Chesapeake subsidiary. According to several industry observers, in Chesapeake's early years, founder Aubrey McClendon and partner Tom Ward hired a man named Mac to build some drilling rigs for Chesapeake. Things didn't work out and they ended up in court. Mac got to keep the company, but McClendon got the last word by naming his new drilling company "Nomac." NORDAM. The family that founded the Tulsa aircraft component manufacturing and repair company has strong Catholic roots and named it for Notre Dame, publicist Brent Gooden said. The company started out as Northeastern Oklahoma Research, Development and Manufacturing Company.

Petra Industries. The name was inspired by Matthew 16:18 when Jesus is speaking to Peter: "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church," which the founder's wife, Cindy Stewart, happened to be studying. Rock translates to the Aramaic root word "Petra," meaning of steady and unwavering.

Founder Bill Stewart embraced it, because he wanted to operate a business conducted on Biblical principles and one that wasn't tied strictly to its consumer electronics accessory business, so there'd be room to grow.

Riverfield Country Day School. The Tulsa school was so named because its founders envisioned a country campus with outdoor learning opportunities. However, it opened in August 1984 in a remodeled post office, with 40 children ages 3 months old to second grade. After enrollment more than doubled in five months, plans were accelerated to move to a field across the Arkansas River.

Sundance Photography. Amy Hawkins and her husband named their photography and design company after Sundance Lane, the street on which they shared their first home in Edmond.

Thunderground Storm Shelters. The owner combined the words "Thunder" and "underground" to name the Norman company.

Zebco Corp. As part of the World War II assets sale, its founder R.D. Hull bought the Tulsa building of the Zero Hour Bomb Co., which made explosives used in the oil well fracturing business and first manufactured the backlash free fishing reels Hull invented and for which the company is known today.

___ (c)2014 The Oklahoman Visit The Oklahoman at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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