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2017 Urban Pioneer Awards

The 16th Street Plaza District Association will honor Jonathan Fowler, Vice President of Operations of Fowler Holding Co., as the recipient of the 2017 Urban Pioneer Award at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 1 at the Oklahoma City University School of Law, 800 N Harvey Ave. Presented by Fowler Automotive and Oklahoma Employees Credit Union, the Urban Pioneer Award is given annually to individuals in the Oklahoma City community who exemplify Oklahoma’s pioneering spirit with their leadership and commitment to urban revitalization.

"Jonathan Fowler has a history of cultivating community wherever he goes. Jonathan’s leadership in advocating for music, arts, and culture is unmatched. Through local music series, food truck markets, and festivals his investment and support of the arts has created a positive impact that continues to enhance the quality of life for those who experience it. We are celebrating not only Jonathan’s impact in our Plaza District community but in communities across the state by naming him the 2017 Urban Pioneer.” – Ashley Terry, Plaza District Association Board President and Director of Public Life for Wheeler District.

Born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, Jonathan studied Letters at The University of Oklahoma after graduating from Casady High School. After college he worked as a financial analyst for Fowler Holding, eventually attending the National Automobile Dealer Academy. He opened Fowler Volkswagen in 2010, serving as GM of the store and as a member of the Volkswagen Dealer Council before moving back to the Holding Company in 2013 as VP of Operations.  

Jonathan has been passionate about the arts since an early age which later led to a passion for community service after college.  He was a founding member and former chair of the Norman Music Festival, served as president of the Norman Arts Council, and vice chair of the Norman Public Arts Board. Jonathan is also the producer for the VDub Sessions, a partnership with Fowler Volkswagen of Norman, and The SpyFM. Through working closely with organizations like the Plaza District, H&8th, Film Row, Historic Capitol Hill, Kendall Whittier in Tulsa, and the Downtown Norman Arts District Jonathan has developed a love for placemaking.  

This is the thirteenth year for the award.  Tom McDaniel was the first honoree in 2005, followed by Lou Kerr (2006), Meg Salyer (2007), Mike Turpen and Mark Funke (2008), Ann Simank (2009), Steve Mason (2010), Bill and Bob Ross (2011), Wayne Coyne and Michelle Martin (2012), Chip Fudge (2013), Midtown Renaissance (2014), Heather and Keith Paul (2015) and Paula Stover (2016).   The event is the largest fundraiser each year for the Plaza District Association.  Proceeds support ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts.  There are five sponsorship levels for table seating, ranging from $300 (seating for two) to $5,000 (presenting sponsor, seating for eight).  Email Cayla Lewis at for information. Individual tickets for the luncheon are now available for sale for $50 and can be purchased here.