Movers & Shakers

Oklahoma beckons bright minds from near and far.

Drs. Tim and Courtney Griffin, accomplished scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) in Oklahoma City, are trailblazers who have a lot of company. They are part of a growing number of professionals who have made the move to Oklahoma for both career advancement and a better way of life.

The Griffins are Harvard graduates who today work as medical research scientists in such advanced medical fields as aging, metabolism and cardiovascular research.

“We were both in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina,” says Tim Griffin. “I was a post-doctorate resident at Duke and she was a post-doc at UNC-Chapel Hill. We were there for seven years.”

Tim grew up in Sacramento, Calif., while Courtney was raised in Athens, Ga. “We met in Boston,” says Tim. “We did graduate work at UC-Berkeley and UC-California at San Francisco.”

Courtney says that “as we got close to the end of our post-doc training and were looking around the country, we were responding to job ads in our respective fields all over the US. We knew it would be a tough fit to find a place that met both of our needs. That was challenging.”

The perfect fit for both came in the form of OMRF. “It was by far the best fit for both of us scientifically,” says Courtney. “It became really clear that it was an easy decision for us. We were each being recruited on our own merits, and that made a difference for us. We had multiple offers from around the country, but this is where the stars aligned for both of us.”

With twin 12-year-old daughters, the Griffins say they have found the ideal place to live, work and raise a family. “We live just north of downtown Oklahoma City, just a mile and a half from where we both work, and our kids walk to school,” says Tim. “We have a pretty small work-school-home environment for our family. We have been here for seven years, and that has been a huge benefit for us.”

Sheryl Zayic, sustainment manager for airborne surveillance for command and control programs for Boeing, is another transplant who has come to love her new home. She moved earlier this year from the Pacific Northwest to Oklahoma City.

“I was offered a unique opportunity to relocate to a different area of the country and set up my team,” says Zayic. “Our organization was the first from our program to relocate, so it was a challenge and an adventure to be the first. I wanted to be able to help my team that was relocating by being right in the mix with them so that we could share and bond over our common experiences.”

Zayic says the move has been very rewarding both personally and professionally.

“The people of Oklahoma are sincerely welcoming and open,” she says. “When people say ‘Let’s do lunch’ or if you need help moving, they are sincere and follow through. We moved here prior to storm season, and I was amazed and humbled by the number of folks who called me at home to check on me during storms.”

She also likes the savings. “The cost of living in Oklahoma City is incredibly affordable,” Zayic notes. “I was pleased to fnd out that for ABET accredited engineering degrees, the state provides a $5,000-a-year, five-year tax credit, and I fully intend to take advantage of that incentive.”

Zayic says that more people need to come to Oklahoma to experience all the state has to offer. “I have gone hiking in the eastern part of the state, explored downtown and volunteered at some company-sponsored community events,” she adds. “Volunteering at the OKC Memorial Marathon was truly a heartwarming event. I was on the street to marshal traffic to ensure they did not interfere with the runners. The number of participants and their desire to honor those who lost their lives was amazing.”

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