Companies in metro allow employees to ‘Thunder Up!’
By Paula Burkes
[ JUNE 14, 2012 - OKLAHOMA CITY ] - The Thunder’s contention for the NBA championship has put a whole new spin on casual dress in the workplace.
Taking “dress for success” literally, many Oklahoma employers are allowing staffs, for every Thunder playoff game, to show up in their “Thunderwear” — typically slacks or nice jeans and a Thunder T-shirt, but no tennis shoes.
Among the countless companies and organizations that have loosened their corporate dress codes to allow their workforce to “Thunder Up” are Phillips Murrah, Crowe & Dunlevy and GableGotwals law firms, Accord Human Resources, Jones Public Relations, Metropolitan Library System, Coppermark Bank and Partners Human Resources.
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic has been encouraging staff to wear Thunder gear on Wednesday and Friday, and those at Saxum, an integrated communications agency, may wear Thunder gear on Friday, the companies said.
“It’s been great, and our customers love coming in and talking Thunder,” said Doug Fuller, president of Quail Creek Bank, which also allows Thunderwear.
Pam Fountain-Wilks, president of Principal Technologies, said her staff loves the extemporary perk.
“It certainly puts everyone in the spirit of winning,” she said.
Doug Tippens, chief executive of Yukon-based Bank of Commerce, also allows the Thunder casual dress and occasionally ties the dress-down opportunity to a $5 donation to the United Way.
“Normally, we’ll raise several hundred per game day,” Tippens said.
At i2E Inc., employees have been sporting Thunder blue all week.
“We’re proud of the way the Thunder represent our city and state,” CEO Tom Walker said, “and want to show our support for them as they battle the Heat for the NBA title.”
The administration of The Children’s Center in Bethany last week chose to create shirts for its nearly 500 employees to wear on playoff days.
“Our printer did a rush order so that we could have the shirts in time for the first finals game on Tuesday,” said spokeswoman Melissa Richey. “We announced the surprise to our employees during a meeting on Monday and they went crazy. It’s created quite a sense of pride for our employees at the hospital.”
Valerie Fried, human resources director of Capitol Abstract & Title Co., said employees may wear Thunder shirts on game days.
“We are a little more relaxed in the summer anyway, so cropped pants and sandals are also allowed,” Fried said. “However, people who are concerned with a polished, professional appearance, can opt to show their support in a professional way.”
Fried layered an orange tank with a blue tank and a white sweater — and added orange earrings.
“I looked Thundered up, but not in a T-shirt with writing on the front,” Fried said.
American Fidelity Assurance Co. expanded its casual dress on Fridays to include Thunder home playoff games, spokeswoman Lindsey Sparks said.
Employees were treated to an on-site opportunity to buy Thunder gear at a 10 percent discount when the Thunder merchandise truck set up shop at AFA a few weeks ago, Sparks said.
In two hours, 110 of the company’s nearly 1,000 employees made purchases, she said.
Meanwhile, University of Central Oklahoma president Don Betz declared Tuesday “Thunder Tuesday” and, with supervisor permission, encouraged employees to “Thunder Up” in creative ways to mark the first game of the finals, spokeswoman Tiffany Wilson said.
UCO students, faculty and staff members who donned Thunder gear took a group photograph at noon.
“Some donned beards in support of James Harden,” Wilson said.
The financial services department of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has allowed employees to wear Thunder shirts with jeans this week, Melissa Borchardt said.
“We are usually business attire Monday through Thursday with Fridays reserved for ‘Sooner Fridays,’ where we can wear OU shirts and jeans,” Borchardt said. “I don’t have enough Thunder shirts, though, to last me a whole week. “I need to go shopping!”