Plant Helps Ram Group Expand for Diversification / New President Brings Financial, Manufacturing, Marketing to City Firm in New Era

Article excerpt

During the 20 years up to 1981, Jerry Plant became a national oil and gas industry specialist for the Arthur Young accounting firm as a partner in Tulsa and then Midland, responsible for services to independents.

He joined the RAM Group Ltd. of Oklahoma City in 1982, helping William W. Talley II start a financial services operation to help oil and gas firms through the slump - negotiating workout agreements, acquisitions, mergers and capital infusions.

In 1983, Plant took another major step, joining the financially troubled Allied Materials Corp., Oklahoma City firm which manufactured roofing materials plus sealers for auto bodies and concrete paving joints. He went from chief financial officer to president in 1984 and led Allied through an orderly sale of operations, plants and equipment.

Now, Plant is bringing his wide variety of management and Certified Public Accountant experience to lead the RAM Group into the new diversified era of the Oklahoma economy. RAM Group's financial and marketing consulting services will be expanded to include banks, savings and loans, value-added firms in manufacturing and services, plus real estate.

Plant was named president of the RAM Group on Oct. 1, said Talley, who remains chairman. Fred A. Miller remains executive vice president for natural gas activities.

"The RAM Group is positioning itself for the present to help banks and savings and loans through current difficulties,'' said Plant, "and for the future in the development of value-added industry while we continue our oil and gas consulting.

"We believe Oklahoma must develop value-added firms in both manufacturing and services. However, there are not a lot of people who know how to go about it here, so we are bringing in people with these skills. There is a big difference between the financing of oil and gas and agriculture and the financing and development of value-added industry."

- In oil and gas and agriculture, commodities are taken out of the ground and sold according to the current market, he explained, with little strategic planning or marketing.

- Manufacturing and services firms must be "market driven," he said, with products developed to meet the needs of the market and expected changes in the market. This requires strategic and financial planning, quality control, cost control and marketing.

Diversification of Oklahoma's economy has been a byword of business and political leaders for several years, of course, in the effort bring the state out of a five-year recession. Getting it done, however, requires marketing expertise that is in short supply, because the state has been dominated by oil and gas and agriculture, said Plant.

Plant is convinced, however, that diversification must and will come.

"We have the potential with our central location and with operations such as Tinker Air Force Base, the Federal Aviation Administration and some major manufacturing firms," he said. "Companies can be developed to supply large operations with products.

"The key is to develop our own companies, because only Oklahoma-owned companies will bring wealth to Oklahoma.''

Financial institutions provide an immediate opportunity for the RAM Group, said Plant, because that industry is going through major changes right now. Not only have 67 Oklahoma banks failed in the last five years, but numerous savings and loans are seeking new capital both locally and nationally. …