Standley Systems: Growing with Oklahoma


CHICKASHA – Technology probably wasn’t a buzzword in 1907, as Oklahoma was shedding its status as a territory and officially becoming the 46th state of the United States.

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CHICKASHA – Technology probably wasn’t a buzzword in 1907, as Oklahoma was shedding its status as a territory and officially becoming the 46th state of the United States.

It may not have been a buzzword and, undoubtedly, didn’t come near looking like technology of today; however, the printing and publishing industry had a strong foothold in Indian Territory dating back to 1835, according to Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) documents.

Seventy-two years before statehood, the Rev. Samuel A. Worcester had a printing press shipped to Union Mission in northeast Oklahoma in what is now present day Mayes County. He printed religious tracts and, eventually, the first book in the territory was printed there.

Even before the first land opening in 1889, many newspapers were already established in what became known as the “Twin Territories” after 1890. Two years after statehood, in 1909, the printing and publishing industry in Oklahoma ranked first in terms of number of employers, with 598 plants and over a thousand employees, which is documented by OHS. It was one of the top five industries in the new state.


Typewriters evolved through the years, dating back to the 14th Century, according to As publishing and newspaper businesses flooded into the new state, along with other enterprises, it’s safe to assume that typewriters were considered a staple tool of many offices.

It would also stand to reason that a company dedicated to cleaning, servicing and selling office machines would be successful. Fred Stanley, who was born in Indian Territory in 1902 to Clarence P. and Etna J. [Sorrells] Standley saw that entrepreneurial opportunity develop and expand.

In 1934, Etna traded Indian-allotted land in Amber (Grady County) to help her son, Fred Standley, buy a building in Chickasha. Soon after, he opened The Fred Standley Typewriter Company and sold manual typewriters and 10-key adding machines, according to biography information on the current Standley Systems website.

It was the birth of a company, which has stayed in the family, and grown right along with the state of Oklahoma. Eighty- five years down the road, in 2019, the company has evolved with technology and still adheres to their mission of staying ahead of industry trends and delivering products and services to facilitate growth of their customers’ businesses.

Fred’s stepsons Jim and Don Elliott worked for their stepfather and bought the company in 1968, renaming it Standley Office Machines.

Jim’s son, Tim, grew up taking apart and cleaning typewriters and worked for his father and uncle as a teenager. The next generation entered the family business, when Tim began working with his father and uncle the day he graduated high school in 1976. At age 27 in 1985, he took leadership of the business and is Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Don’s son, Greg, also remembers cleaning typewriters every summer.

“Back when the schools still had typing classes and rooms, we would load all the typewriters into the company vans in the summer and clean and oil all the typewriters,” Greg said.

After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in December 1990, Greg joined the family business and is now the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

“It was through the wisdom of Tim and Jimmy and Dad that the company transformed and began selling copiers and offering service and supply. Copiers transformed everything,” Greg said.

In 2000, the name of the company was changed to Standley Systems to reflect the full range of products and solutions offered, embracing technology as it advanced. In 2008, the fourth generation joined the family business when Tim’s son, Blake, became Standley Systems as Director of Operations.

“I was blessed with an incredible father,” Greg said. “Dad was my idol growing up and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I wasn’t mechanical, so I started selling when I first joined the company. After a few years, I managed an office and then came back to the home office and did accounting and finance work. As we grew, other opportunities opened up.”

The home grown Oklahoma business now services all 77 counties of the state through nine offices located in Chickasha, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, Ardmore, Duncan, Enid, Ponca City, and Woodward.


From typewriters to copiers to today’s technology that includes words like cybersecurity and optimization and network and cloud and integration, Standley’s has grown with developing technology through the years.

“We’re not just a copier business,” Greg said. “We are involved in incredible technology and we hire really bright people and we offer solutions for our customers.

“People are always going to need somebody to show up with a screwdriver – we solve problems. On the services side, we also help clients navigate the networks and systems and help them manage their business better.

“We want to be that trusted technology advisor. Again, we aren’t just a copier company. We are a technology company,” he said.

As new generations of the family continue to enter the business, Standley Systems intends to continue to grow right along with Oklahoma – just as it has from the beginning.