“I’m committed to my faith, family, serving the state, growing our businesses, and every once in a while, there may be a hobby,” laughed Rep. Brad Boles, District 51.
Prior to being elected in 2018 to the House of Representatives, Boles served on the Marlow school board and as the mayor of Marlow from 2014 to 2018.
“In any community, the schools are a critical part of the community,” he said. “When one of the school board members decided to not run again, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to help serve our community.”
During his time on the school board, the new Marlow Elementary School was built. “It was fun being part of that process and seeing that come to fruition,” said Boles.
When the Marlow mayor resigned in 2014, Boles was approached by council members to run for that position. He and his wife prayed about it and, “God opened this new door, giving me another opportunity to give back to the community,” he said. He served as the city’s mayor for four years before former Rep. Scott Biggs was appointed to a federal position by President Donald Trump.
Former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin gave a two-week filling deadline to run for the vacated seat. Again, Boles prayed about it, spoke with his family and business colleagues and took a leap of faith. In addition to the supportive and talented team at Wilco, “I really had to trust in Him that He would take care of our business while I was campaigning and ultimately in session if I won the election.”
During his campaign, Boles met several challenges. He was still mayor of Marlow, president of Wilco, involved with Leadership Oklahoma and needed to make time for the holidays with family. The campaign also came at a time when National Oilwell Varco, a Fortune 500 publicly traded company, began discussions about acquiring Wilco.
The freshman representative stepped into the capitol one week before the spring 2018 Teacher Walkout. “We had to make a lot of tough decisions,” he said. “But ultimately we stabilized the state budget and turned education funding around which was a clear message I received from my constituents while on the campaign trail.”
Boles currently serves as chairman of the County and Municipal Government Committee in the House and also serves on the House committees for Appropriations and Budgets Health, Government Efficiency, and Higher Education and Career Tech. He was also recently named vice chair of the state redistricting committee, the decennial process occurs after the census.
Of the 23 measures Boles has authored or co-authored, 14 were from the 2020 Legislative Session. Boles has authored a bills to improve efficiencies, transparency and help modernize city and county government, modify the timeframe to tag certain vehicles, increase motorists’ security by allowing them to mark out their addresses on a vehicle registration, and another to authorize counties to use an online competitive bidding system for projects.
“With COVID-19,” Boles said. “We had to re-prioritize our bills this year.” Of Boles’ eight bills that passed through the House, “two were passed through the Senate and signed into law by Governor Stitt.” Boles plans to rerun several of the remaining bills next year.
After a candidate challenge was granted by the State Election Board against a fellow Republican earlier this year, the lifelong Marlow resident was re-elected by default and will continue to serve District 51.
While in junior high and high school, Boles and his brother Mitch followed in Dad’s footsteps, working summers at Wilco, the business his grandfather Pete Boles started in 1973.
“We grew up around the family business, just like Dad did in the late ’70s,” he said. From mowing the grounds to working in the shop, the experience taught the brothers to cultivate a strong work ethic and learn the value of a dollar, he added.
In high school, Boles received the Academic All-State Award from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and was named High School Athlete of the Year. His academics and athletic ability earned him a baseball scholarship to Eastern Oklahoma State College at Wilburton where he was a starting catcher and Academic All-American. Most importantly at Eastern, he first met his wife Michelle there who was on a cheerleading scholarship. He later transferred to Dallas Baptist University where he was a two-year starting catcher for the NCAA Division 1 Patriots.
Boles graduated cum laude from DBU with a bachelor’s in business. He then earned master’s degrees in both business management and finance from the university.
While working toward his MBAs, Boles returned to Marlow, married Michelle, and began working as the third generation in the family business with his father Kris Boles, who was the CEO of Wilco. At 24, Boles was named President of Wilco, for the company that manufactures equipment for energy, agriculture, marine and aerospace industries.
Under his leadership, Wilco’s workforce increased from 100 employees to approximately 500 at its peak. Aside from God’s blessings, Boles attributes much of the company’s success to the oil and natural gas boom and a great team at Wilco.
Other company milestones during Boles’ guidance include receiving the 2010 Oklahoma Governors Award for Excellence in Exporting, being recognized by Inc. Magazine as the fastest-growing privately owned manufacturing businesses in Oklahoma, as well as the 30th fastest-growing in the U.S., he wrote. The company was also named Marlow’s Business of the Year.
When Wilco was acquired by NOV in 2018, Boles continues to oversee company operations.
While serving as chairman of the board for the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, Boles noticed that most manufacturers had the same recruitment and retention challenges he had at Wilco. That led him to co-found Philtek, an endeavor to provide skilled manufacturers and fabricators to partnering companies across the U.S. At the company’s peak, they had about 200 employees across multiple states.
In addition, Philtek helps small employers with recruiting, payroll, Human Resources, workers’ comp., insurance, wrongful termination suits and unemployment issues.
“We basically handle the back office duties for employers which in return allows the business owners to focus on growing the business they are so passionate about,” he said.
Boles is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXXI, and previous board member of the Oklahoma State Chamber. He actively supports the community through his service on the Advisory team for the Red River Technology Center by answering questions and giving pointers to graduating students as to what employers are looking for on applications and résumés. He is a former president and active board member of the Marlow Chamber of Commerce, active in the Marlow Lions Club and is a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Marlow First Baptist Church.
Brad has been married to his college sweetheart Michelle for 14 years.
“Michelle is involved with several local organizations, the PTA and church,” he said. “Our 7-year-old son Matthew loves baseball and I get to help coach his team. Our 9-year-old daughter Kristin loves music and was crowned Little Miss Oklahoma last year for her age division. She sings the national anthem at many community events and loves to sign in churches when asked.”
Looking ahead, Boles is excited to continue serving his state and district constituents in southwest Oklahoma that he loves so much.