Bob Funk named DASNR Champion by OSU
By Donald Stotts
Oklahoma State University
Robert A. “Bob” Funk of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area has been named a 2014 recipient of the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ DASNR Champion award.
“The award is one of the division’s highest honors and recognizes those with exceptional records of providing meaningful and lasting benefits to Oklahoma and the region as part of the state’s production, processing and related agricultural industries, in addition to being outstanding leaders in their communities and supporters of OSU’s land-grant mission,” said Mike Woods, DASNR interim vice president, dean and director.
Funk is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals, a multi-billion dollar company headquartered in Oklahoma City with more than 600 franchises in the United States, Canada and South Africa. Founded in 1983, the company serves clientele across a wide variety of industries, providing expertise in hiring evaluation, temporary staffing, professional searches and human resources.
According to the company website, Express has put more than 5 million people to work worldwide and nearly 295,000 in Oklahoma under Funk’s leadership.
Express Employment Professionals provides support to a number of local and international charities and organizations, among them Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for more than 20 years. The network provides medical resources, research and community outreach to help millions of children and teenagers in more than 170 hospitals in North America. Express has raised more than $4 million for member hospitals since 1991.
Funk also owns 37 Express offices in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas and stays active with Express-affiliated companies such as Express Clydesdales, Express Event Center, Express Travel Service, Express Event Professionals and Express Ranches.
“Bob Funk is a stockman, businessman, philanthropist and community leader who brings the vision and values of the American West into everything he does,” said Clint Rusk, head of the OSU Department of Animal Science.
Funk was honored as the International Franchising Association’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2000 and was inducted into the IFA’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Additional honors include being inducted into the Sales and Marketing Executives International Hall of Fame and the National Association of Personnel Services Hall of Fame. The Journal Record named Funk “Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO for a privately-held company” in 2013.
As the owner of Express Ranches, Funk oversees an operation that has its headquarters and a sales facility in Yukon, as well as ranching operations in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Beginning with 50 head of cattle, Express Ranches now ranks as one of the largest seedstock producers in the United States. The operation is home to an industry-renowned artificial insemination and embryo transfer program and has produced dozens of national champion animals in the show ring, as well as many performance trait leaders.
“Bob Funk began franchising his cattle operations internationally in China and western Europe, and has plans to expand into eastern European and South American countries,” Rusk said. “He uses his success to enhance the lives of people touched by any of his enterprises, particularly those in agriculture.”
Funk has shared beef cattle genetics with the OSU Purebred Beef Center and supported OSU’s Cowboy Classic sale by purchasing top-selling animals on an annual basis. The OSU Department of Animal Science recognized Funk with its prestigious Master Breeder Award in 2013.
Long interested in encouraging young people from agricultural backgrounds, Funk established the Express Ranches Progressive Junior Scholarship Program in 1995. This scholarship program is designed to help youth involved with livestock to further their education at accredited institutions.
“Junior exhibitors who purchase show heifers and steers from Express Ranches are eligible for scholarship awards up to $25,000 for their success in qualified shows,” Rusk said. “Thus far, approximately $2.5 million has been awarded to more than 400 youth.”
Funk also was instrumental in the effort to revitalize the Oklahoma Youth Expo, which now ranks among the largest junior livestock shows in the United States and provides scholarship support to hundreds of rural Oklahoma youth each year.
Always active in the community, Funk serves on numerous boards at the local, regional and national levels, including the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Baptist University and the Oklahoma Independent College Foundation. He served as the Oklahoma affiliated director of Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2009 and chair of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank from 2006-2007.
Funk graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and theology. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and received his master’s degree in business administration and theology from SPU. He holds three honorary degrees: an honorary doctorate of public service from SPU, awarded in 1995; an honorary doctorate of law presented by Oklahoma Baptist University in 2000; and an honorary doctorate of law presented by Southern Nazarene University in 2001.