The summer cookout season may be over, but the fall grilling season is just getting under way. Tailgating and football are huge events in Oklahoma and David Jamison, president and engineer of Oskies, wants to help fans cheer on their favorite teams.
“To have your favorite team on a burger. Isn’t that priceless?” the Oskies website offers.
The basic concept behind Oskies is to provide custom-designed grill grates to backyard chefs. The company, which consists of Jamison and four part-timers, has created grill grates which include US Marine, Navy, Air force, Army, OSU and OU logos, to name a few.
“We also do high school grates and custom, personalized grates with family or corporation logos,” Jamison said, adding that the University of Oklahoma is the most popular design with the US Marine Corps logo a very close second.
He said Oskies has not yet received any odd requests for completely off-the-wall designs.
Like the service they provide, the name “Oskies” also has a unique history. Jamison said the name came from his wife, Karri, who heard him yell out “Oskie!” every time an interception was made during a football game he was watching.“She thought it was a cute football term so that is where the name came from,” he said.
Jamison has lived in Edmond for 20 years and has been married to Karri for 19 years. The two are parents to a son, Joel, who is 17 and a daughter, Gracie, who is 15.
Jamison earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. During the day, he works at Tinker Air Force Base as a test cell engineer, working on performance issues for jet engines. He runs Oskies on weekends and after work.
With Oskies, Jamison takes his experience with engineering to a whole new level. The company began with his interest in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and how this process worked. After experimenting to see if he could build such a machine, Jamison said he then had to justify the expense to his wife.
“Everyone has seen the Applebee’s commercial with their logo on their grate,” he began. “Talking with co-workers, the idea to put university logos was started.”
As it turned out, everyone loved the finished product.
Each Oskies grill grate starts out as a five foot by 10 foot sheet of 304 stainless steel. Once an order is received, Jamison looks through his collection of designs, choosing one that is the correct size for the customer’s grill. If he doesn’t have one, Jamison creates a design using a computer-aided design (CAD) program.
“Once I have the design I run it through a special program that turns the drawing into a code the computer can understand,” he explained.
The steel sheet is loaded onto the CNC machine and is ready for cutting. The computer moves the plasma cutter, “cutting the stainless as if it wasn’t even there.” According to www.stuffo.com, plasma cutters work at 30,000 degrees.
After the design has been cut, the grate is cleaned, de-burred, boxed and shipped. The production process takes about 30 minutes for cutting and 15 minutes for cleaning.
The entire process, from ordering to shipping and receiving each grate, can take up to two weeks and Jamison expects this time frame may take longer as the Christmas giving season approaches.
Although Oskies has only been in operation since July 2005, plans for expansion are already in the works. For one thing, more designs are soon to be available to discerning customers.
Jamison said he is in the process of getting permission from other schools to use their logos as each collegiate grate is an officially licensed product. He plans to start with the Big 12 Conference first, then continue to expand further. Two professional football teams are already available—the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks.
Currently, Oskies custom grill grates are sold mainly via the Internet, but Jamison said a few people do sell his products for him. Cripple Creek Stone Yard, St Grit, and Kingfisher Cookers are among them.
Jamison said prices for Oskies grates begin at $35, but average about $130.
“The price is dependent on size. Stainless steel is very expensive and drives the cost,” he explained.
One feature of the company’s website allows customers to design their custom grate beforehand to determine exactly what they want. Following a step-by-step process customers enter the shape of the grill grate they need, the type of design they want, and then enter their choice from a few different designs. Measurements are then entered and a price is generated before checkout.
For those uncomfortable with Internet ordering, phone orders are accepted by calling (405) 341-5906.